Rings are the most personal and emotive of all jewellery items. A beautiful ring nestled in a luxury gift box is guaranteed to bring happiness to its new owner

This guide will help you choose the perfect ring for the person and the occasion you’re buying it for. We’ll also advise you on how to get the best quality for your money and how to measure ring size correctly.

Above all, we’re here to help you choose a ring that your lucky gift recipient will LOVE!

What Occasion Is The Ring For?

Rings come in many styles. Some symbolize special life events, some are fashion accessories, and many rings can fulfil both roles at the same time. Note that we have a special buyer’s guide for Engagement Rings. If you’re shopping for another type of ring such as Engagement Rings, Weddings Rings, Anniversary Rings or Push Present rings – or just want overall expert ring buying advice – then read on.

Who Is The Ring For?

Now that you know what type of ring would suit the occasion, next you’ll want to consider the ring wearer’s personal taste and style.
Are they elegant and classic, or colourful and flamboyant?

What Kind Of Jewellery Do They Already Wear?

Type of Engagement Rings

As an example, let’s say you’re buying a ring for your mother’s 50th birthday. She loves colourful gemstones, so you might want to give her a ring featuring her birthstone gem. If she only wears yellow gold, that should be the precious metal in the ring’s band.

A small word of advice for men: If you’re buying jewellery for your girlfriend, but aren’t intending to propose marriage, be aware that a gift ring may be misinterpreted as an engagement ring. The best jewellery gifts before engagement are bracelets, pendants, and earrings.

When in doubt, ask family or friends to help you choose.

Assessing Quality And Price

A ring’s quality and price are determined by three factors: the type of precious metal used in the band, the gem grade of any diamonds or gems used, and the right jewellery that offers the best value for money

Precious Metals

The most hard-wearing, valuable and expensive metal is platinum, followed by 18K white gold, 18K yellow gold, 14K and 9K golds, and finally, silver. Palladium is also a recognized precious metal and its value is roughly the same as white gold’s.

A hallmark stamp inside your ring’s band will tell you what kind of metal has been used and guarantee its purity.

Diamonds And Gems

1. Choose your Carat Weight Range

2. Choose your Diamond Shape

3. Choose the Cut Quality

4. Choose the Ideal Color Grade

5. Choose the Optimal Clarity Grade

6. Make Smart Choices about Fluorescence, Polish & Symmetry

7. Choose the Right Certificate

This is probably the most important question you will ask yourself when buying a diamond because compared to all the other factor, carat weight has the greatest effect on a diamond’s price.

1. Choose your Carat Weight Range

Additionally, carat weight is of supreme importance because this is what will primarily determine the size of the diamond you buy (check out the average diamond size people buy). What are your fiance-to-be’s expectations? Is she expecting a 2-carat diamond? Will she be disappointed with a 0.50-carat diamond?

These are crucial issues, so make sure to do your research thoroughly before you buy it. If you can’t speak to her about it, try to speak with her friends or family. In most cases, the answer will be “the larger the better,” but it’s always good to know what her minimum expectations are.

2. Choose your Diamond Shape

All Diamond Shape

The second most important issue you’ll have to figure out when buying a diamond is what diamond shape is your girlfriend expecting? The answer to this question is purely a matter of aesthetics. There’s no calculation you can make that will tell you what she wants.

For this question, more than any other, try consulting her friends. Very possibly, she’s mentioned it before to one of them. If you simply can’t get the answer, and you absolutely do not want to ask her, then the safest bet is the Round Brilliant.

The Most Common Shape

Rounds are the most common diamond shape by far. Most sites have a 30-day return policy, so if you order it close enough to the proposal date, and you get it wrong, you can always send it back and buy what she really wants.

Keep in mind, however, that shape can affect a loose diamond’s price. All else being equal, round brilliant loose diamonds cost more than the other shapes (generally called “fancy shapes”). This is a beautiful 1.00ct round diamond for ₤4,820. This cushion cut with identical color and clarity is only ₤2,721.

The reason for this is that round brilliant certified diamonds have a much lower yield-from-rough than the other shapes.

3. Choose the Cut Quality

The first two questions simply set the stage for real technical decisions. Now that you know how big of a stone you need and what shape it should be, you need to decide on the Cut Quality.

Cut Quality will also have a notable effect on the price of a diamond. Choosing a cut quality can be tricky, however, since cut grades are not standardized at all across the different vendors.

Some vendors only offer a cut grade on their round diamonds and base them on the certificate’s cut grade (with the exception of AGS, the labs do not offer cut grades on fancy shapes).

Different Labs – Different Cut Grades

Diamond Cut Grade

Other vendors disregard the certificate’s cut grade altogether on rounds and fancy shapes and use their own matrix of cut grades based on the diamonds’ measurements.

Combining these different strategies in a meaningful way is difficult, to say the least. Whenever possible, you should use the certificate’s cut grade over and above the individual site’s cut grade.

Reviewer’s Advice

My advice for the cut grade is this: If you are looking for a round brilliant diamond, only search for “Ideal/Excellent” grade diamonds. If you are searching for a fancy shape, however, then it might pay to either include “Premium” or to disregard the cut grade altogether.

This is not to say that cut grade is not important – on the contrary, it’s of utmost importance. It’s simply saying that many vendors don’t correctly report fancy shape cut grades, so why filter out many results from your search which might be great choices.

4. Choose the Ideal Color Grade

More so than a Diamond’s Clarity, a Diamond’s Colour has a serious effect on both a diamond’s appearance and price. For recommendations as to the best colour to choose for the best value, see our article about diamond colour.

It is important to remember that different shapes reflect the colour at different strengths, so your choice of optimal colour, balancing the diamond’s appearance with the diamond’s price, will depend greatly on what diamond the shape you’ve chosen.

5. Choose the Optimal Clarity Grade

As opposed to Colour and Carats, I like to think about Diamond Clarity not in terms of a sliding scale of grades, but as a binary grade. What I mean by this is that all I care about when evaluating clarity is whether or not a loose diamond is clean to the naked eye.

If it’s any cleaner than that, it’s just going to cost you more money without giving you anything back in return. You’re better off buying the lowest possible clarity grade that is still clean to the naked eye and using the money you saved to either buy yourself a larger diamond or a diamond with a higher colour.

Evaluating Clarity Online

With most vendors, this isn’t possible because you can’t see the diamond before you buy it. If you have any doubt as to whether or not a stone’s inclusion pattern will be clean to the naked eye or not, please feel free to email me a link to the stone and I’ll be happy to take a look for you and give you my educated opinion.

For an informative overview of the different clarity grades, take a look at this diamond clarity chart.

6. Make Smart Choices about Fluorescence, Polish, and Symmetry

These will also affect a stone’s value (but not necessarily its appearance) to some degree, although much less so than the factors mentioned above. For an in-depth discussion of each of these three factors, please see these individual articles: Fluorescence, Polish, and Symmetry.

7. Choose the Right Certificate

You should consider only GIA Certified Diamonds and AGS Certified Diamonds in your search for a loose diamond.

You should stay away from IGI, EGL, and HRD Certified diamonds because we have found in our professional experience that their results cannot be relied upon due to their consistent inconsistency in grading.

Feel free to read the articles I wrote on each individual lab linked to above.

All four factors must be weighed up before value can be established. To fully understand diamond and gem quality, read our Diamond Guide Gem Guides.


The more complex your ring’s setting and design are – and the more skill that’s needed to make it – the higher its quality and value. That’s why a craftsmanship guarantee offered by a retailer is always a good indication that your ring has been made to a high standard. For example, all of our jewellery is made by hand in our workshop by our very own, highly experienced jeweller. That’s how we know all our jewellery will stand the test of time – and why we can confidently offer a five-year guarantee on every single item we sell.

Watch a VIDEO to see our jeweller making a ring!

Ring Size

Finding out the correct ring size is vital. If a ring doesn’t fit, it can ruin your big gift-giving moment. Never guess a finger measurement, because not all rings can be exchanged, resized or returned later. Plus sending a ring back for resizing would only cost you more money.

Here are three easy ways to get an accurate ring measurement:

● Take an existing ring and measure it with a mobile phone RING SIZER APP

Measure the finger with a Free Ring Sizer Download the Ring Size Guide

● Ask a jeweller to measure an existing ring or the person’s finger

DO write the ring size down. It’s one of those things that’s incredibly easy to forget.

DON’T use a piece of string or any other DIY method to measure the ring size. They’re not reliable and will almost certainly result in disappointment.

Finally, Buying the Ring! & Choosing Right Jeweller

Now that you know what kind of ring you want, how you should assess its quality, and how to get the correct ring size, it’s time to shop! Look for a helpful retailer that offers you the most choice within your budget and style. Online jewellers tend to have the best prices because they have smaller overheads than high street shops.

Check that your retailer…

● Abides by UK hallmarking laws

● Is a British Jewellers’ Association member

● Offers a craftsmanship guarantee

● Offers free insured delivery when buying online

Check that your ring…

● Is definitely what you want

● Is the correct size

● Has a return & refund policy that suits your needs

Finally, Find Out A Jewellery Gift Box

It won’t increase the value or beauty of your ring, but it’s a safe place to store your jewellery – and a beautiful presentation will make your gift-giving moment even more memorable!