How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring

August 30, 2023

This specialist guide will talk you through choosing a unique engagement ring you can treasure forever.

For over 50 years the experienced team at Charles Nobel Jewellers has been helping couples celebrate their upcoming nuptials with engagement rings that provide the perfect symbolism of their love and commitment. Choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting task, but we are here for you every step of the way before you walk down the aisle. From commissioning a bespoke engagement ring to pre-loved and lab-grown engagement ring options, we can help you select the ring that will make your proposal love story a dream come true.

5 key points when selecting an engagement ring:

engagement rings considerations
  1. Budget: Decide on a budget before you start shopping. This will help narrow down your choices and make it easier to find the perfect ring.
  1. Style: Consider the style of the ring and the type of metal you would like. Popular choices include yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum.
  1. Stone: Choose a stone that is meaningful to you and your partner. Popular choices include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
  1. Setting: Consider the setting of the stone. Trending setting choices include prong, bezel, and pavé settings.
  1. Size: Make sure the ring fits properly. Have your partner’s ring size to hand and know what will fit them comfortably.

Charles Nobel’s guide to popping the question and buying an engagement ring

An engagement ring is one of the most important investments you’ll ever make, so to help you know what to look for, we’ve collated all the biggest questions below, to think about before you get down on one knee.

1. Set a budget

Before selecting an engagement ring you should decide on a budget you feel comfortable with to ensure you find the best option for you.

The days of setting a budget equivalent to 3 month’s wages are thankfully behind us in today’s economic climate and the question now is how much can I afford and how much do I need to spend? Whether it’s a few hundred or a few thousand, you should be comfortable with your budget and it shouldn’t break the bank after all the average cost of a UK wedding is over £20,000 so you don’t want to empty the piggy bank before your partner has said yes. 

If you’re wondering how you can get an engagement ring on a budget, a good jeweller will be able to suggest a number of different options that fit into your price range – be it a more affordable style or stone. For bigger budgets you might go with platinum, the most expensive precious metal, for those looking to maximise your budget white and rose gold are also stunning and affordable options. 

The amount you choose to spend on an engagement ring ultimately depends on your personal financial situation and priorities. Discuss with your partner their expectations and preferences, they may have a specific desire which will influence the budget you set. 

Whatever your financial situation, we can assist you in finding a diamond or other gemstone that balances size with quality at a price that works within your budget. 

If you are purchasing a ring with Charles Nobel, we have a variety of flexible payment options including interest-free financing and easy monthly payments with Klarna.

2. Select a style

An engagement ring is a timeless symbol of your love that will last forever, so finding the right style to match the tastes of your partner is important. 

The best place to start is to look at their current jewellery and take note of their choices, you don’t want to get caught up in a jewellery trend that will expire before your first anniversary. 

Check their jewellery draw, notice if they prefer white or yellow gold jewellery and if their style is classic, vintage or more alternative. 

Taking cues from their current style to inform the style of your engagement ring will help ensure your partner loves their ring and enjoys wearing it every day. 

What do you already know about their style?

Consider your partner’s lifestyle – do they typically wear jewellery? Are they athletic? Do they use their hands often for work? Are they minimalist or stylish, simple or extravagant, modern or vintage, this will all impact their preferences? Cast your mind back to see if you have any insight into what your other half might like, they may have already dropped some hints.

We know that picking out the perfect ring is not as easy as it sounds, especially with so many different options to choose from so here are some of the basics to get you started.

We use the term “style” to refer to the overall look and feel of a ring, this may be the intricacy and details of a vintage ring or the sleek modern aesthetic of a modern band.

ring types

Choosing the best metal for your engagement ring

Picking the metal for an engagement ring is an important decision as it can greatly impact the overall appearance, durability, and cost of the ring.

The most common metals used for engagement rings are gold (yellow, white, and rose) and platinum. Each metal has its own unique properties, such as durability, hypoallergenic qualities, and colour. Choose the metal that best suits your style, needs, and budget.

Platinum Engagement Rings

Platinum is a premium metal choice known for its rarity, durability, and natural white colour. It is a hypoallergenic metal and is highly resistant to tarnish and corrosion. Platinum is a popular choice for engagement rings due to its strength and ability to securely hold precious gemstones. However, it is more expensive compared to other metal options.

Gold Engagement Rings

Gold is a classic choice for engagement rings and comes in various colours, including yellow, white, and rose gold. Pure gold is too soft for jewellery, so it is usually mixed with other metals to increase its durability. The purity of gold is measured in karats, with 24 karat gold being the purest. Common gold caratages for engagement rings are 14k and 18k, which offer a good balance of durability and value. It’s important to remember that in the opposite way to diamonds, the higher the karat of the gold, the lower the quality (durability).

White Gold Engagement Rings

White gold has a similar appearance to platinum but at a more affordable price point. It is created by alloying yellow gold with white metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver and is then coated with rhodium to enhance its whiteness. 

Some metals can scratch easier than others, so be sure to consider lifestyle and how sturdy your band needs to be before deciding. You’ll also want to think about if you want stones set in the band.

3. Pick a Stone

Deciding on the type of gemstone you prefer is just one of several things to consider when choosing the right rock for your engagement ring. 

Diamonds are the classic choice due to their brilliance and durability. Understanding the 4 C’s, cut, colour, carat weight, and clarity can help you identify the best diamond for your budget. But depending on your engagement ring budget and style choices you may consider alternative colourful gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, aquamarines or emeralds.

Picking a good gemstone for an engagement ring

When choosing a gemstone engagement ring, your best bet is to choose a gemstone of 7.5/10 and above on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The closer to 10/10 you get, the more durable your ring will be.

Each gemstone has its unique beauty and symbolism, so choose the one that resonates with you or the recipient of the ring. Depending upon the stone, size, and colour, gemstones can be a fraction of the cost of a similarly sized diamond.



The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning “invincible”.

Diamonds are formed deep in the Earth’s mantle under high pressure and temperature, this is what helps them to be so durable, scoring 10/10 Mohs.

Synthetic or lab-grown diamond engagement rings have become increasingly popular in recent years. These diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds but are created in a laboratory setting.

View all Diamond Engagement Rings



Aquamarine is a light blue that is shiny and symbolises tranquillity. It is 7.5/10 on the Hardness Scale and often comes flawless. 

As well as various shades of blue it can be found with a hint of green. It is believed to inspire calmness, clarity, and harmonious relationships. These qualities make it a meaningful choice for an engagement ring.

Aquamarine can be incorporated into various engagement ring designs, from classic solitaires to intricate vintage-inspired settings, and pairs well with a variety of metals, for a contemporary look choose white gold or platinum settings

View all Aquamarine Engagement Rings:


Rubies and Sapphires

Sapphire and its sister, Ruby, score 9/10 on the Mohs scale, making the family Corundum the hardest non-diamond gemstone available.

Some of the most famous sapphires in the world adorn incredible jewellery items around the world. The stunning Stuart Sapphire is found in the back of the Imperial State Crown

Whilst mostly dazzling in shades of blue sapphires can also be found in pink, yellow, green, and other colours.

View all Sapphire and Ruby Engagement Rings:

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Emeralds are durable at 7.5/10 Mohs and are mystical with their beautiful green allure. 

Deriving from the Sanskrit word “marakata” meaning ‘the green of growing things’ emeralds symbolise fertility and energy. 

The green colour of emeralds is caused by the presence of chromium and vanadium in the crystal structure of the mineral beryl.

View all Emerald Engagement Rings:

Deciding on your stone shape

The shape or cut of the stone will give your engagement ring its true character.

Whether it’s the timeless style of a round brilliant diamond, the ‘boat-shaped’ marquise cut, or the elegant and modern princess shape there are many choices for your engagement ring stone.

stone shapes

The choice of stone shape should reflect your personal style and preferences, as well as your partner’s taste. It’s essential to consider factors like finger shape, hand size, and individual style when making a decision. Ultimately, choose a shape that captures the sentiment and meaning behind your engagement and ask the Charles Nobel team for help deciding which is right for you.

4. Choose a setting

The setting of a ring is simply the placement of the stones on the engagement ring.

Once you’ve decided upon the cut of your diamond we offer a broad range of ring settings, the most popular choices being prong, bezel and pavé. We’ll help you narrow down the options by taking into account the style preferences, lifestyle, and personality of your partner.

To some extent, the type of diamond you’ve chosen will determine the setting, but if you’ve chosen a diamond shape that can be accommodated in any setting, it helps to know what they all mean. 

Here’s a brief exploration of some options.

style rings

Three Stone Engagement Rings:

This style symbolises the past, present, and future of a couple’s relationship. It features three stones set side by side, often with the centre stone larger than the two side stones.

Solitaire Engagement Rings:

For those with a simple, understated style, you can’t go wrong with a classic solitaire. They’re usually set with prongs and give maximum exposure to the diamond.

Cluster Engagement Rings:

A cluster ring can contain a large centre stone or a group of stones of equal size, set together in no particular way. The result is a lot of sparkle.

Vintage Engagement Rings:

A vintage setting often involves delicate metalwork, and as a result is often an exquisite choice for an engagement ring that looks a little bit different from the norm

In addition to our selected settings, inquire about creating custom engagement rings if you’re looking for a truly unique, one-of-a-kind design.

5. Get the right size

You can measure your partner’s ring size by using a ring sizer or by having a jeweller measure their finger. If you’re trying to surprise your partner then that might be a bit tricky to arouse their suspicions but don’t fret if you don’t know your partner’s ring size

If they wear rings on either their left or right third fingers, then borrow one and bring it to the CN store jeweller for sizing.

Top tip: If you think they might notice a ring out of the home, draw around the inside of your partner’s ring on a bit of paper and compare it against a ring size guide.

If you do get the size wrong though, don’t worry, you can always have it resized post-proposal.

Will you help me? Yes, we do! We thought you’d never ask

By following these tips, we hope that you can find the perfect engagement ring to mark your love and life together. But remember the best advice we could give you when selecting a ring…pick the one you like the most.

If you are looking for help with selecting the perfect engagement ring then pop into our New Milton store where the team will be happy to provide their expertise and advice. 

Book an Appointment or browse the latest engagement rings.

Customer reviews

Ali Geake

Absolutely fabulous customer service and beautiful earrings for my goddaughter. Thank you to Piers and Emma who offered such helpful advice and even a gift wrapping service for a last-minute present for my goddaughter. She was thrilled - and so was I! Highly recommend such a personal touch when jewellery shopping.

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Tamsin Beken

I highly recommend Charles Nobel and their lovely staff. They have done a brilliant job resizing my wedding ring, which is made up of three different types of gold so not an easy task. They were really helpful, professional and honest in their advice. Thank you!!

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Sharon Gallagher

Always an amazing service from the team at Charles Nobel , we have been buying jewellery from Piers for the last 8 years and would not go any where else. Always excellent quality at fair prices

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Shona Smith

My family and I have been going to Charles Nobel for many years and have always had beautiful pieces of jewellery and outstanding customer service. Charles Nobel have even redesigned jewellery for me, including my most sentimental piece of jewellery that I would never trust anyone else with. I went into Charles Nobel recently after a while for my mums 60th birthday present and it was like I had never been away. Piers and the team helped me to find a stunning pair of diamond earrings for my mum and spent their time advising me and looking after me. My mum was so thrilled and I am so happy with the jewellery and service I receive every single time. Thank you so much, I will be back soon!

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