How To Buy An Engagement Ring

How To Buy An Engagement Ring

Are you or someone you know thinking about popping the question and buying an engagement ring? Congratulations! This is an exciting and momentous occasion, but it can also be overwhelming when it comes to choosing the perfect ring. Whether you are completely new to the world of jewelry or have some knowledge about lab-grown diamonds and gemstones, the process can be daunting to go through alone. But fear not, as this blog will guide you through the process, making it an enjoyable and memorable experience. So, let's dive in and discover how to buy the perfect engagement ring for your partner.

three gold diamond engagement rings resting on marble


One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to engagement rings is “How much should I spend?”. This can be a tricky question to answer, as it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and budget. Traditionally, it was said that an engagement ring should cost the equivalent of two to three months’ salary. However, in today's society, this traditional guideline is becoming less relevant. Especially as this advice originated from a marketing campaign by De Beers, the diamond mining conglomerate. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering the budget for an engagement ring is to stay within your means. Purchasing an engagement ring should not put you in a difficult financial situation, as this ring is just the beginning of your journey together. Think about the type of ring that your partner would like, as well as the quality and cut of the diamond or gemstone. Remember, the price of an engagement ring is not a direct reflection of the love and commitment you have for your partner. It’s simply a symbol of your promise to spend the rest of your life with them. In the end, the amount you spend on an engagement ring is entirely up to you. What’s most important is the thought, love, and emotion behind the ring. So, take your time, do your research, and choose a ring that not only fits within your budget but also speaks to your partner's heart. If budget is a concern, don't worry, we offer 0% finance options, which allow you to spread out the cost of your ring over a set period of time without any interest. This can make purchasing an engagement ring much more manageable and affordable. But always remember to stick to a budget that you are comfortable with and prioritize finding a ring that will truly make your partner happy.

Read our Finance Instructions here.


When choosing an engagement ring, it's important to not only consider the aesthetic appeal and cost, but also the sustainability of the materials used. It's no secret that purchasing mined diamonds is not a sustainable or ethical practice. Mined diamonds are extracted from the earth through a process that often involves harmful methods such as deforestation, displacement of communities, and exploitation of workers. This not only causes irreversible damage to the environment, but also has a negative impact on the lives of individuals and communities involved in the mining process. Additionally, the profits from mined diamonds often go towards funding conflicts and human rights violations in countries where they are sourced. By purchasing mined diamonds, we are perpetuating these harmful practices and supporting an industry that is not in line with our values of sustainability and ethical consumption. This is why at Ethica we have only ever sold lab-grown gem stones and diamonds. These stones are created in a controlled laboratory environment, eliminating the need for mining and reducing the negative effects on the environment. Furthermore, lab-grown diamonds and gemstones are far more affordable than mined diamonds, making them a budget-friendly and sustainable choice for an engagement ring. By opting for recycled metals and lab-grown stones, you can have a beautiful and meaningful symbol of your love while also making a positive impact on the environment.
You can read all about our sustainability policies here.

marie claire 2023 winner text overwritten on a green background

Ethica Diamonds - Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023 Winners


When considering proposing, it’s worth thinking in plenty of time about when you are going to propose. Our engagement rings are made to order and take between 3 - 5 weeks to be created. If you are in a rush, we have a few rings held in stock in our showroom – which you can receive in 5 working days from our Treasure Box collection. Alterations to the size, and engraving options are possible, but this will take slightly longer. Bespoke rings, which are made to your design, will take between 6 - 8, as we need to work with you to develop your style ideas and produce a design which meets your requirements. You can find out more about bespoke rings here.


Finding a style of ring that will be something that makes your intended fiancée go giddy with delight is not a small challenge – we appreciate this. Here are some pointers to help you get it right.

  • Check out her existing jewellery. Is everything silver coloured, or rose gold? Is it simple and elegant, or more elaborate? Is art deco her thing?
  • See if she has a Pinterest board, or has been liking engagement ring posts on Instagram. What’s the theme you’re seeing there? Is every single ring emerald cut maybe?
  • Has she been dropping hints? “Have you seen X’s engagement ring? It’s lovely / horrible / too big / too small.” “I’ve always wanted a solitaire.”
  • Can you take in an accomplice? Sisters, cousins, best friends or even children may be able to shed some light on her preferences, if they can be trusted to keep it secret that you’ve been enquiring.
  • Consider her lifestyle. If she’s always cycling, or riding horses, or wears gloves for work, a bezel setting might work better than a big elaborate one. If she always has perfect nails and immaculate grooming, then she might appreciate a larger, more glamorous ring as opposed to a simple solitaire.
  • Consider the shape of her hand and fingers. We have a whole blog about this, but make sure the ring is in proportion to her hand-size, and neither too wide nor too slender for her finger. Choosing a Ring To Suit Your Hand.
  • Does she love colour? We offer a variety of coloured lab-grown gemstones including coloured diamond, moissanite, sapphire and emerald which can be used to make a statement as a centre stone of to accent a central white diamond/moissanite.

Solitaire – a single diamond. Solitaires are available in every shape and size, with settings that range from classic elegance to quirky individuality. Higher and lower settings are available, including claws (3, 4, 6 or 8, straight or twisted), baskets, and bezel, which has a smooth profile.
Shoulder set – often a solitaire, with extras. Perhaps a pair of stones to set off the central diamond, or a trail of tiny diamonds to bracket it. Sometimes the shoulder stones will be baguette cut or other interesting shapes.
Trilogy – three stones. Similar to shoulder set, but with three stones of (almost) equal importance. Can represent past, present and future, or whatever else you want!
Halo – a ring of smaller stones surrounding a central stone. If you need big sparkle on a smaller budget, a halo ring might be the way to go.
Multi-stone – more than one stone of a similar size. Toi-et-Moi, eternity rings, five-stone and seven-stone rings can be a different look for an engagement, or form part of a wedding-ring set.
Modern – our modern settings were designed to be unique yet enduring. In this collection, you’ll find extraordinary, diamond-studded settings that are perfect for brides who desire a timeless engagement ring.


bespoke yellow gold engagement ring on a hand, with a round diamond and randomly scattered side diamonds

If you truly can’t find the ring you want anywhere, or have seen a picture but can’t find a physical one like it, or want one you’ve seen with mined diamonds to be reproduced with an ethical alternative, a ring designed just for you might be what you need. Here at Ethica, we have a bespoke service where we work with you from the initial ideas to the finished ring, aiming to create something that exceeds your expectations. You can find more about our Bespoke Service along with a host of examples of rings that we have created for happy customers in the past.


Arguably the most important aspect of an engagement ring, is the stone. At Ethica, we offer two stone options - Lab-grown diamonds and our signature gemstone, the Ethica Diamond (patented moissanite).

two identical halo engagement rings photographed side by side, one set with a moissanite (left) and the other with a lab diamond (right)

Laboratory grown diamonds are 100% pure carbon, meaning they are identical in every way to mined diamonds apart from the origin. Grown from a seed of diamond, the process is similar to how it would occur naturally, meaning that every diamond is different and varies in colour and clarity. We only offer lab-grown diamonds that are between E-J colour and VVS1 – SI clarity. Our laboratory grown diamonds are all independently certified by leading grading institutes and the certification depends on the grower that we source the stone from.

Ethica Diamonds are not laboratory grown diamonds, but lab grown stones, precisely cut from silicone carbide (moissanite) with a lab diamond infusion, offering the same toughness and longevity as diamonds. They truly radiate the same sparkle and brilliance as the finest diamonds and are made to last forever, to be passed on through the generations, without carrying the high cost and environmental toll associated with natural mined diamonds. Each stone is grown under strict conditions, cut by hand and fully faceted to exact diamond proportions, giving each stone incredible depth and sparkle, and independently certified by the IGI or GRI. Furthermore, the pricing is set according to manufacturing and retail costs, not to the artificially fixed diamond pricing structure.

table showing the differences between moissanite and lab grown diamonds

Choosing between the Ethica Diamond and Lab-Grown Diamonds is complete personal preference. Some people prefer the rainbow sparkle of the Ethica and the ability to get a larger stone with their budget, whereas some people prefer the fire and brilliance of a lab-grown diamond, and having a stone that is 100% carbon is important to them. 

THE 4 Cs

When choosing a diamond or similar stone, wherever it comes from, you will need to know about ‘The 4 Cs’. These are Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat.
Cut describes the shape and facets of the diamond, and is designed to reflect the most light and sparkle back from the stone. Many of the man-made diamonds in the Ethica Diamonds catalogue are ‘round brilliant cut’, but we also have rings with heart cut, emerald cut, marquise cut and other shapes of stones. We have a blog discussing the Different Diamond Shapes in more depth, and you can search our catalogue by shape of stone, if you have something particular in mind.
Clarity is the internal structure of the diamond, whether it has imperfections (known as inclusions) inside it. Inclusions are measured on a scale, ranging from Internally Flawless (IF), through Very very small inclusions (VVSI), to Very small inclusions (VSI), Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I). Obviously, the fewer flaws internally, the more expensive the diamond. Mined diamonds are available in all grades, but you will find many lab-grown diamonds, and the Ethica Diamond, are only created in the highest grades, as we can control the process of creation where nature likes to do her own thing!
The third C is Colour, which is graded alphabetically, from D to Z, with D-F being colourless (and more expensive) and a faint yellow tint becoming more pronounced as you get nearer the end of the alphabet. Fancy coloured diamonds are rare in nature, and command a high premium in price, but pink, blue and other colours can be sourced by Ethica Diamonds, because the growing process is strictly controlled in the lab.
Carat is the size of the diamond. It refers to the weight, rather than the size, so it’s possible to get diamonds of the same carat size which actually look very different in size, depending on the cut. A 1 carat diamond weighs 0.2 grams, and, if cut as a round brilliant stone, will be ~6.5mm across. An emerald cut 1 carat stone will be ~7x5mm. It's important to choose a carat size that will suit her hand, large carats can overwhelm small hands whereas a carat size that is too small may feel lost on bigger hands.

round brilliant diamonds in varying carat weights, lined up on a hand in order of size ascending from small to large

You can read more about the 4 C's and how to pick the perfect diamond on our diamond buying guide.


The final design question is what metal you should use for the ring. Ethica Diamonds offers platinum, and gold in three varieties: yellow, rose and white, so we will focus on those.

four engagement rings facing backwards in platinum, yellow gold, rose gold and white gold

Gold is a fascinating metal, with pure 24 karat gold being too soft to use in jewellery. Our gold is all 18 karat, with additional metals added to improve durability and also add colour. Rose gold has copper added, to give a red hue, and white gold has additional white metals, to ensure that it remains a silvery colour. Incidentally, we never produce jewellery in silver, as it is not robust enough.

Platinum is heavier than gold, so is more expensive as they’re both sold by weight. Some people like the extra weight on their hand, while others do not – it’s personal preference, so see if you can find out which your future fiancée likes. It is a harder metal than gold, so will gradually rub away at a gold ring, if they are worn side by side, so be aware of this when considering engagement and wedding rings.

You can read more about the different metals here on our website.


Getting the size of the ring right is important. At Ethica, we make all our rings to order, although we can re-size later if necessary.
There are a number of factors to consider when specifying the size of the ring you want –

  • The ring should be able to turn comfortably.
  • The hand swells when it’s warm, and changes shape during the day as well.
  • Left and right hands won’t match.

If you’re buying a ring as a surprise, you need to do some detective work – is there a ring you can measure that’s already the right size, have they already measured it that you can find out?
We have some more hints and tips on how to Find My Ring Size about getting the right fit, as well as links to a ring sizer that you can print out, to measure both existing rings and fingers. Don’t use string; it stretches!
close up of ring sliding onto finger


We want to take the fear and worry out of engagement ring shopping, and make it a special experience you can look back on fondly. Our team are here to support you and we strive to help our customers feel informed and empowered to make the choice that is right for them.

image displaying Ethica Diamond's services

We offer complimentary resizes on orders over £2000 have a 14-day approval period for all our jewellery, and will offer a complete refund on all items returned to us in new, complete, un-worn condition, within that period. We also offer an exchange policy, with refunds or additional payments as necessary. There are certain exclusions, including for bespoke or customised items, and you can find out all about the details of the two policies on our website. Your peace of mind is important to us, and we don’t want your fiancée to be stuck with a ring they dislike. You can read more about Warranty and Guarantee here.

We also offer our customers a lifetime aftercare service - as even with the best of care, jewellery pieces may require professional attention if you wear it daily. All our repair and re-finishing workshop services are carried out at a Loyalty Cost (non-profit) price.


Half the fun of proposing is presenting your beloved with a ring in a beautiful box, and watching her face light up as she opens it. Any jewellery ordered from Ethica is packaged in our beautiful, eco-friendly signature packaging, then in a second outer layer, which contains the certification information, and has no external branding at all. Our delivery service is fully insured, UK deliveries using the Royal Mail Special Delivery service, which tracked, signed for and delivered before 1pm the next day. Our overseas parcels travel by an insured courier.

close up of packaging, ring box being placed delicately into a postal box with branded tissue paper

The full details of the packaging and delivery are on our website here.


Insuring your precious purchase, should the worst happen, is essential. Again, it’s not something that features in the shiny articles in magazines, but it’s a part of real life. Make sure that your insurer will give you a like-for-like replacement, and covers items away from home. Check also whether there is a ‘specific items’ clause, and what the value limits are here, so you can list your jewellery, if necessary.

Most insurers will not have come across the Ethica Diamond before, and yours will probably want to see the certification and the receipt of purchase, which we provide for you. We will work with any insurer in the event of loss or damage, although we hope you never need to ask us!

We have a blog about aftercare and insurance. So, that’s everything we think someone needs to know before buying an engagement ring. Truth be told, you’ve done the difficult part already, finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with – this is the easy bit!

We wish you all the best, and hope that you get a ‘yes’ once you pop the question. Good Luck!

Engagement Ring Buying Guide
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