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The best engagement rings to give in 2022

Best engagement ring

Before you get down on one knee, let us help you pick the most stylish and sustainable ring for any budget

When it comes to investment purchases, an engagement ring is up there. Combine the potential expense with the excitement and nerves of proposing to your love – not to mention all the talk of ‘clarity’ and ‘cut’ – and buying the right engagement ring can feel like a bit of a minefield.

“It’s about getting that balance between budget and quality,” advises Emelie Tyler, managing director of Purely Diamonds. “It’s always best to work backwards – set yourself a budget, then choose a style you like. Once that’s been done, you can look at colour, clarity and carat. You don’t need the top quality to have a beautiful diamond. What’s important is that it sparkles to the naked eye and has no visible inclusions or obvious yellow tints.”

An engagement ring is also a timeless symbol of your love, so you should look to your future fiancé and take cues from their tastes when it comes to choosing the perfect design. After all, this ring should be an extension of their personal style – do they prefer white gold or yellow? Coloured stones or classic diamonds? Contemporary cuts or vintage pieces?

“Trends will come and go, but as the saying goes, ‘diamonds are forever’ – so just keep it simple if you’re unsure,” suggests Emelie. “When in doubt, platinum engagement rings with round diamonds remain the most popular,” she adds.

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How to choose the best engagement ring for you

How much should I spend?

In the 1930s, it was the advertising geniuses at De Beers who created the myth that a reasonable and “responsible” amount to spend on a ring was a month’s salary. By the eighties, it had jumped to two. Today? Three months is often banded around as a reference – but it’s all just clever marketing. The truth is, there’s no right answer when it comes to how much you should spend on an engagement ring, and in fact, it should come down to your budget and your partner’s preferences. Many prefer smaller, less expensive gemstones, while others like to go down the vintage route. Purchase a ring that’s right for the recipient. not one that aligns with what social media says you should spend.

Should I create a bespoke engagement ring?

There’s something to be said for a custom-made design – it certainly feels more romantic than picking out something off-the-peg because it requires more thought. Thankfully, many jewellers offer a made-to-order service, which enables them to offer a complete range of diamond qualities and a vast collection of designs and styles. It also allows them to be more competitively priced. Specialist jewellers will often have an online ring builder that allows you to choose your style, metal, setting and gemstone to make the whole process a breeze.

How can I tell what their ring size is?

If you’re planning on keeping the proposal under wraps, this is an undercover task that requires some planning. It might be worth discreetly asking family or friends if they know, or if your partner wears other rings, borrow one to take to a jeweller for sizing. If you can’t get away with taking the ring out of the house, trace the inside and compare it against an online size guide. Try not to worry too much about this, though – most rings can be resized if they’re not the perfect fit.

What’s the difference in metals?

At top end of the scale, platinum is the most precious and sought-after. It’s also the most durable. The silvery-white finish complements the clarity and brightness of a diamond, and it will never tarnish. Unless your partner has an alternative preference, platinum is the best option because it’s so hardwearing. “As a rule, we recommend that people simply buy the best they can afford so that this ring – a symbol of their love – will stand the test of time,” advises Gary Ingram, CEO of The Diamond Store. “Platinum is great for this.”

Some people prefer to wear yellow gold, while rose gold is also becoming a popular choice – it has a vintage look, which many consider fashionable and romantic. Both are great options and come with a wide range of price options – always go 18k if your budget allows.

Finally, white gold is a high-quality metal also suited to engagement rings, and is often considered an affordable alternative to platinum, but it will require some maintenance over time.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

“Lab-grown diamonds are an option for those who are concerned about the environmental and social impact of diamond mining,” says Gary. “They are real diamonds – not synthetic imitations as people might think – because they’re grown from tiny, mined diamond seeds under laboratory conditions that mimic volcanic heat and pressure. The reason they’re described as environmentally sustainable and socially ethical is because they don’t have to be extracted from the earth – and the added advantage, of course, is that there are no mining or transportation costs, and so they can give you a 30% to 60% larger diamond for your money.”

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The best engagement rings in 2022

1. The Diamond Store Anastasia Lab Diamond Halo Ring: Best for classic diamonds

Price: From £1,385 | Buy now from The Diamond Store

Who could say no to this sparkler? Within the double halo setting sits a cushion-cut lab-grown diamond, while smaller diamonds cover the split-shank band, all handcrafted in 18k white gold. Customise it by choosing the diamond clarity, diamond size and setting for yourself (it’s also available in platinum), but whichever you choose, the meticulously handpicked diamonds make it feel way more expensive than it actually is. If you’re looking for something that feels exclusive, this glittering design will turn heads for sure, and the countless five-star reviews only attest to the quality.

Key specs – Metal: White gold; Carat: 18k; Gemstone: Lab-grown diamond; Customisable: Yes

Buy now from The Diamond Store

2. Jessica Flinn Callie Teal Sapphire Trilogy Ring in Rose Gold: Best rose gold ring

Price: £1,790 | Buy now from Jessica Flinn

There’s something so romantic and alluring about this dreamy teal sapphire set against two white diamonds and a rose gold band. When choosing or designing a ring, the setting really shouldn’t be an afterthought, and the shape of the claw on this band is particularly beautiful. The subtle shape of this ring means it will nestle well with most wedding band designs, but especially wave-shaped rings (which feature a small, dipped section to allow room for your engagement ring).

Key specs – Metal: Rose gold; Carat: 18k; Gemstone: Diamond and sapphire; Customisable: No

Buy now from Jessica Flinn

3. Purely Diamonds Round Cut Diamond Ring with Shoulder Stones: Best for customisation

Price: From £1,202 | Buy now from Purely Diamonds

If you’re looking for a dazzler with a difference, this ring features a brilliant round-cut diamond with small, matching shoulder diamonds on a stunning plaited band for maximum sparkle. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and the unusual texture makes it incredibly eye-catching. Purely Diamonds is known for its broad customisation options and ethically sourced gemstones, and this design can also be made in platinum, 18k rose or yellow gold, with the option to choose your own colour, carat and clarity of diamond. Elegant and modern, and a great price.

Key specs – Metal: White gold; Carat: 18k; Gemstone: Diamond; Customisable: Yes

Buy now from Purely Diamonds

4. Goldsmiths Platinum Pear-Cut Solitaire Ring: Best timeless style

Price: £3,500 | Buy now from Goldsmiths

This classic pear-cut solitaire diamond ring from Goldsmiths will win the heart of any modern and refined bride-to-be. The online retailer stocks several incredible designs from the likes of Mappin & Webb and Jenny Packham, but it was this clean and elegant ring from the store’s own range that caught our eye. It feels as luxurious as the price tag, the shape and size of the diamond more than holds its own, and the fact it’s made from hardwearing platinum means it will stand the test of time.

Key specs – Metal: Platinum; Gemstone: Diamond; Customisable: No

Buy now from Goldsmiths

5. Aurum Women’s Spinel Ring: Best sustainable brand

Price: £842 | Buy now from Aurum

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, particularly if your partner likes to wear statement jewellery. This delicate design from Icelandic designer Aurum features a beautiful, teal-coloured spinel surrounded by small diamonds, and the floral-like design draws inspiration from botanical influences, just like many of Aurum’s other jewellery pieces.

In line with its sustainability principles, the company only works with lab-grown diamonds and recycled gold. With its eye-catching yellow gold band, this feminine design looks incredibly beautiful from all angles and is also available in 18k.

Key specs – Metal: Gold; Carat: 14k; Gemstone: Lab-grown spinel; Customisable: Yes

Buy now from Aurum

6. Dinny Hall Elyhara Diamond Trilogy Ring: Best for small diamonds

Price: £1,500 | Buy now from Liberty

Go big or go home shouldn’t be the mantra here – and if you’re looking for a classic style with a contemporary upgrade, this petite diamond ring could be perfect. It features a delicate trio of brilliant-cut white diamonds – each presented in an early Georgian-inspired half-orb claw setting – and looks great when worn alone or stacked with one of the Notting Hill-based designer’s diamond crown rings for a truly modern bridal pairing. The band is slim yet highly polished and can be ordered in both yellow and white gold.

Key specs – Metal: White gold; Carat: 18k; Gemstone: Diamond; Customisable: No

Buy now from Liberty

7. Taylor & Hart Arcadia Emerald Diamond Solitaire in Platinum: Best vintage-inspired ring

Price: From £1,080 | Buy now from Taylor & Hart

When we talk about emerald in this case, we mean the shape of the diamond. We love the charm of this iconic vintage-style design, but the shape of the gemstone can be changed, as can the band metal if rose or yellow gold is more their thing. The geometric lines of the milgrain detail surrounding the diamond give it an art deco feel, and only adds to the sparkle.

Each of Taylor & Hart’s rings traditionally feature a small, round signature ruby on the inside of the band which, again, can be changed for a more personalised touch.

Key specs – Metal: Platinum; Gemstone: Diamond; Customisable: Yes

Buy now from Taylor & Hart

8. Fenton Solitaire Emerald Yellow Gold Ring: Best statement ring

Price: £2,600 | Buy now from Fenton

Renowned for exquisite gemstones and timeless designs with a modern twist, Fenton is a brand not afraid to play with colour. All the label’s rings are available in blue sapphire, ruby, pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, garnet and aquamarine, too, but we were drawn to this incredible emerald number. The yellow gold band and simple claw setting really let the gem do the talking, and if your partner is looking for a strong design that really matches up to their own style, this ring is unique, sharp and modern – yet a totally wearable and timeless piece.

Key specs – Metal: Yellow gold; Carat: 18k; Gemstone: Emerald; Customisable: Yes

Buy now from Fenton

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