What to think about

before you purchase

Traditionally, the engagement ring is the physical representation of the love and commitment that one person gives to another when proposing marriage. A symbol of long-lasting love and commitment.

Presumably, you've already been soul searching and come to the decision that you want to marry your partner, so now it's simply a case of using a little thought and some easy tricks to decide on a ring.

What's your preference? Perhaps you're only familiar with the classic one stone solitaire. Engagement rings these days come in many shapes and sizes, but the classic diamond solitaire is still the principal choice for most and almost impossible to get wrong. Brilliant effects can be achieved with multiple stones or Pavé settings and you may wish to boost the look of a smaller, less expensive central diamond by using a side stone setting with diamond sacross the shoulders or around the central stone in a 'halo' design. White metal halo style rings are currently the leading type of fancy diamond engagement ring.

Who can you ask? Don't be shy - ask your friends how they decided on their engagement rings, enquire amongst her friends, her mum, even your mum may be able to give you some priceless pointers on helping you choose.

Does your partner insist on a diamond? They may be traditional but increasingly people are choosing other stones. In choosing a different gemstone, for example, a Sapphire, like Kate Middleton's ring, you may also have unwittingly stumbled on a magnificent way to stretch your budget; Sapphires and Rubies, among other gemstones are less expensive per carat, so you may be able to afford a bigger centre stone than you would if you opted for a diamond.

If you don’t know all of the answers to these questions -don't panic. You just need a little help from your loved ones.

In purchasing an engagement ring, as with purchasing anything else, the more you know about it the better. This is probably the first time you have bought such a significant piece of jewellery and the good news is that we can help you get it right.