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How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: Apr 6


Here at The Sapphire Merchant, We are All About Custom Engagement Rings Done a Little Differently!


Tri-Colour Sapphire Engagement Ring with Diamond Work
Tri-Colour Sapphire Engagement Ring with Diamond Work

We curate our gems from source and know the story behind each and every one. Our gems are authentic, unique, and of the highest quality. We see ourselves as the custodians of these incredible and magnificent expressions of nature, and we lovingly care for them while they are in our possession. It brings us great joy working with our stock of incredible natural jewels, and we know you will find the perfect gemstone option for your custom engagement ring. Here is our advice to help guide your engagement ring journey. Ensuring you choose the perfect option for your significant other.




An Engagement Ring is a Token Lovingly Offered as a Proposal to Wed


It symbolises so many wonderful things. It expresses your commitment. It is your love personified into a heartfelt gift of intrinsic value and beauty. It is a keepsake that signifies an unbreakable bond shared between two lovers. An engagement ring is the ultimate symbol of your love story. For these reasons, choosing the perfect engagement ring is a big decision! Here at The Sapphire Merchant, we make this process an extraordinary journey for you.


Paraiba Tourmaline and 18k Yellow Gold Engagement Ring
Paraiba Tourmaline and 18k Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

Where Do You Start When Conceptualising a Custom Engagement Ring?


Why not get out a pen and paper and start a brainstorming session? These things to think about will help you build the vision for your engagement ring.


Consider your significant other. The engagement ring is for them to wear and to enjoy for a lifetime to come. Designing a ring that best suits your partner's aesthetic should be considered. Some questions to ask yourself: Does my partner wear much jewellery? If they do, do they wear yellow gold or white gold (silver)? Do they wear simple designs? Or do they like jewellery that is a little more blingy? What is their favourite colour? Are they understated with their style, or are they a flamboyant fashionista? Keep the answers to these questions in mind when designing your custom engagement ring.


Consider Your Budget for Your Engagement Ring


Budget is one of the first factors to consider when choosing the right engagement ring. There are many traditions around engagements and weddings, and it was once said that the budget for an engagement ring should be the value of one month of your wage or salary earnings. This came about with a clever marketing campaign by De Beers (the largest diamond wholesaler in the world) after the great depression. Using the catchphrase 'diamonds are forever', De Beers added this guideline to their campaign, increasing diamond sales by 50%. In truth, your budget should be an amount you feel comfortable with. Consider that a custom engagement ring is a luxury item that weaves together precious coloured gemstones, diamonds and gold. You get what you pay for. It is an investment into your love story, a promise and a commitment. It is difficult to place a monetary value on an item that will be treated as priceless; however, think of it as the ultimate material token of your love for your significant other!


Aquamarine with Diamond Halo Engagement Ring
Aquamarine with Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Our Top Engagement Ring Gemstone Picks:


Choosing the centre gem is the biggest decision when building your custom engagement ring. An engagement ring is generally built around this centre gemstone, which will likely inspire the entire ring.


Why Do Sapphires Make a Good Engagement Ring Gemstone?


Sapphires are the birthstone of September, and they symbolise commitment and faithfulness. Sapphires are by far the most popular engagement ring gemstone choice here in New Zealand and Australia and with good reason. Sapphires are durable! Just under a diamond on the hardness scale (9), they tolerate the wear and tear of everyday life and withstand the test of time! Sapphires come in over 1500 identified shades of colour, giving a vast range of choices regarding the look and personality of your engagement ring design. Given the broad range of carat sizes available and clarity gradings scaling from internally flawless to significantly included, sapphire options are accessible to everyone. There is a sapphire choice that will suit every aesthetic and be ideal for every engagement ring. 




Why Does Tourmaline Make a Good Engagement Ring Gemstone?

Tourmaline is the birthstone of October and symbolises serenity and wisdom. Tourmaline is an exceptional gemstone with vibrant colours, perfect cuts, and near-flawless clarity options. Tourmaline ranks lower on the hardness scale (7.5). The softer nature of this gem can be considered, with the design style and features of your tourmaline engagement ring tailored to offer it further protection and allow it to withstand the test of time. Tourmaline is renowned for its incredible pink, peach, and green shades, with more significant cuts and carat sizes generally better priced than comparable sapphires. When choosing a Tourmaline for an engagement ring, we advise that you select an internally flawless (IF) through to very slight inclusions (VS) clarity option. An inclusion-free, eye-clean stone will increase its durability. This rule doesn't extend to Paraiba Tourmaline, where significant inclusions are tolerated due to the extreme rarity of the gemstone. There is a perfect tourmaline choice that will suit every aesthetic and be ideal for every engagement ring.




Why Does Garnet Make a Good Engagement Ring Gemstone?


Garnet is an extraordinary gemstone! Garnet is the birthstone of January and signifies love and commitment. Demantoid, Rhodolite, Spessartite, and Tsavorite are the underdogs regarding engagement ring gemstone choices. We think Garnet is of a calibre of its own! There are multiple types of garnet, some extremely rare and only found in particular geographic locations. For this reason, it is sometimes opted for due to association with a person, a place, or a memory. Garnet has a high refractive index and an incredibly vibrant colour range, including greens, oranges and pinks. This means that a garnet sparkles with a brilliance that rivals a diamond. Using a garnet for an engagement ring takes you from the usual course of sapphires and diamonds and allows you to create something truly one-of-a-kind. There is a perfect garnet choice that will suit every aesthetic and be ideal for every engagement ring. 




The Hardness of the Gem Should Be Considered


When choosing an engagement ring, the hardness of the gem should be considered. We use the Mohs hardness scale to rank gems' durability and hardness. We advise that anything over a 7.00 on the Mohs hardness ranking is generally suitable for an engagement ring. However, given an engagement ring is worn day in and day out, the harder the gem the better. Here is a quick guide for the most popular gem choices for engagement rings based on hardness: Diamond ranks 10. Sapphire and Ruby rank 9. Spinel, Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, Rhodolite Garnet and Tsavorite Garnet rank 7.50. Tourmaline ranks 7. If you are opting for a gemstone lower on the hardness scale, we can create an engagement ring design that works to beautifully frame your gem and protect it so it withstands the test of time.


The most popular gem cuts for an engagement ring. Cushion, Emerald, Heart, Oval, Pear, Round
The most popular gem cuts for an engagement ring

The Most Popular Gem Shape and Cut for an Engagement Ring


Considering the shape and cut of a gem is a great place to start when narrowing down the perfect gemstone for your engagement ring. For the person buying and designing, this is the perfect way to add your preference to the custom ring. Most gravitate toward a particular shape and usually favour one over the choices available. The most sought-after shapes/cuts for engagement rings are:


Cushion Shape

Emerald Shape

Heart Shape

Oval Shape

Pear Shape

Round Shape


Choosing a Gem Colour for My Engagement Ring


When choosing an engagement ring, colour adds visual interest and vibrance to your custom design. With the right colour choice, you can capture your partner's essence and personality. Consider what colours your significant other wears on a regular basis or if they have ever mentioned their favourite colours? Do they have a favourite flower? What catches their eye in nature? The answers to these questions may give you clues on a colour that will work well with skin tone and best suit their personality.


Symbolism of colour in coloured gemstones:


Green - new life, growth and ambition

Blue - fortune, intelligence and morality

Purple - inner peace and comfort

Red - passion, romance, power and sensuality

Orange - self-expression, brilliance and creativity

Pink - unconditional love and devotion

Peach - compassion, joy and tenderness

Yellow - happiness, energy and warmth


Choosing an Engagement Ring Style


Once you have chosen a centre gemstone for your engagement ring, the next task is to choose a setting that resonates with you. A little bit of your own research can go a long way. Use Pinterest or Instagram and search 'engagement ring'. Have a browse and see what engagement rings stand out to you. Narrow it down to the features. You may find several inspirational photos in which you can single out certain details. It is with these details we can create your own unique engagement.


4.35ct Fancy Yellow Diamond Ring
4.35ct Fancy Yellow Diamond Ring

Certain Engagement Ring Styles Stand the Test of Time


The Solitaire Ring Engagement Ring - Uses a single centre gemstone and has a plain or diamond band.


The 3-Stone Ring Engagement Ring - Uses a larger centre gemstone and a pair of diamonds on each side of the centre gem. Has a plain or diamond band.


The Halo Ring - Uses a single centre gemstone and has a halo of diamonds around the centre gemstone. Has a plain band or diamond band.


These engagement ring styles are further individualised by gold colour choice (yellow gold, white gold or rose gold), diamond sizes and shapes, band thickness and shape, and overall setting type for the gems.


Bring Your Engagement Ring Design to Life with CAD


The CAD (computer-aided design) process brings your engagement ring vision to fruition. This is where the magic happens! After gaining a clear understanding of your vision, our talented CAD designer goes to work creating a first draft CAD of your engagement ring. We present this to you, and from here, we can play around with all design aspects and make modifications as requested. We have no limit on how many modifications can be made. We work until your design is perfected. When you are completely in love with your engagement ring design, we then provide you with a final cost to have your heirloom engagement ring manufactured.


Example of The Sapphire Merchant CAD design process
Example of The Sapphire Merchant CAD design process


Contact The Sapphire Merchant to learn more about our easy and streamlined process for building an engagement ring. If you can dream it, we can make it!









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