Jos Skeates, Goldsmith and jewellery designer is one half of the husband-and-wife team that founded boutique jewellery retailer, EC One. Nearly twenty years on, Jos has seen hundreds of couples pass through the doors of EC One in search of the perfect ring. In this Guide to Proposing, Jos speaks of his top ten tips on how to find the one that will make her want to say “yes”.
1. Proposing with a ring is always much more romantic than being empty handed. You are much more likely to get a ‘yes’ when you turn up with a beautiful ring that you think she will like. Of course most women want to choose what they wear – long gone are the days when they had to settle for whatever they were given, so make sure the jewellers will exchange if it’s not quite right.
2. Research what you think she would like. Many partners make the mistake of buying what they like rather than thinking of what their partner would like. You were probably not drawn to her because she is just like you (let’s hope not!) so think about what sort of thing she would wear. Have a look in her jewellery box, and if you are really unsure, then take one of her friends along that you know you can trust.
3. Take a photo of her with you when you go shopping. At EC One we will often ask if the proposer has a photo of their partner. This can give us a better idea of what sort of person they are and what we think they might like. Practical things such as does she work with her hands and will she have to take the ring off when she is working may make a difference to your choice.
4. Don’t worry too much about the finger size. Most jewellers will stock an average size which can then be fitted once the ring has been given. If you can find a ring in her jewellery box that you know she wears then do take it to your jeweller. However it is unlikely that she wears anything on her engagement ring finger, so bear in mind any other will be just a guess.
5. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! Without a doubt, nothing says "marry me" more than a diamond. It is steeped in history as the most romantic stone and won’t be confused with a dress or cocktail ring when being given. Unless you know for certain she’s not a fan, diamonds are the biggest signal that you are serious. Diamonds are graded using the four C’s and a stone should be chosen in this order; Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat weight. Make sure you have a basic knowledge and above all trust the person who is selling you the stone. The Gemmological Institute of America has more information, or watch this quick video of Jos explaining in more detail.
6. Quality over size. Wherever possible always choose quality over size. A large diamond showing yellow colour and black carbon deposits doesn’t compare to a smaller, whiter more brilliant stone. In the same way a thin weedy looking ring won’t stand up to being worn day in day out.
7. Don’t buy a diamond ring without holding it in your hand. Two diamonds can look identical on the certificate, but small differences in proportion can affect the look of the stone. The size of the table (the flat top of the diamond), for example, can affect how it catches the light. A large table reflects more white light, a small table reflects the fire of the diamond. It’s really down to personal preference, and it’s something you need to see up close. You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, would you?
8. How much should it cost? This is often referred to as the fifth C! Most estimates vary from one to three months’ salary. My advice is always to set yourself a budget and don’t go too far away from that. There are ways to make the most of your budget; you will be able to have a bigger stone if you go for white gold over platinum, for example, or several smaller diamonds over a large single stone. In defence of the jeweller, they are selling you something that (if it is well made) is expected to be worn every day for the rest of her life. Pretty good value really.
9. Buy from people you like and have a long-standing solid reputation. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who proudly show their bargain ring bought with cash in the back room of some dodgy Hatton Garden ‘office’. Whoever you buy from, are they reputable, is the stone ‘conflict free’, and will they still be around when you come to buy a matching wedding band? All of her friends will ask your fiancé where the ring is from, and bargainbasement.com isn’t going to look very good….
10. Finally – the proposal. Here at EC One we hear lots of amazing stories of different proposals. They range from The London Eye to scuba diving! Whatever you decide, asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one of the most important things that you can do. Therefore, a good deal of consideration should be put into the timing and setting of this event. This is a memorable moment, which will be told and retold over the years to your friends, family, children, and grandchildren. Make it a story worth telling…….