A little expert help for all you schmucks.

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Fashion Journal

Choosing an engagement ring is a tricky business. Not only do you have to nail shape, cut, setting and colour, but you have to pick something just right for her.

We started feeling sorry for all you shmucks trying to navigate engagement rings, so we went to Cushla Whiting for advice.

The Melbourne based jeweller gets the balance between unique, sentimental, timeless and interesting justttt right. They source their gems from all around the world but everything is made right here in Melbourne.

In short, they're the experts. Here's what Anna from Cushla Whiting had to say.

1.    Set aside time
Time is everything. Don’t leave it until the last minute lads. Anna recommends giving yourself around three months. You want to do plenty of research and time to get a bespoke ring perfect for your lady.

“You also need to factor in time for sourcing a stone from overseas if you want something particular and the jeweller doesn’t have it already. It may be that you find the perfect ring straight away, but it’s always a good thing to have time up your sleeve in case it takes a while,” says Anna.

2.    Know what you’re looking for
If you and your partner have been tossing up the idea of marriage, then don’t be surprised if she has a little folder of pictures saved somewhere. According to Anna, it’s not unusual for girls to have Pinterest pages dedicated to their dream ring.

But if you're planning a surprise engagement, unfortunately you’ll probably be flying solo in this area. So it can help to bring in pictures of your lady to the jeweller. This is really helpful for the designer. As Anna explains, “even just seeing some photos of her and learning a bit about the kind of person she is helps Cushla in coming up with a design that reflects her style and individuality.”

3.    Find a jeweller
Start by visiting a few different places. You should be looking for a jeweller whose aesthetic lines up with her taste. You don’t have to settle on the first shop you enter. As Anna says, you want to avoid feeling pushed into things.

“Not every jewellery shop will be the right fit for what you want. If it doesn’t feel right just say ‘thank you for your time’ and walk away. When you find the right place, ring and design you will know, and it will feel easy and exciting.”

4.    Deal with a professional
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not a diamond expert. So to ensure you're getting the best quality stone, make sure you're dealing with a trained Gemmologist or diamond grader. All diamonds should come with a GIA certificate, which is an independent report on the quality of the diamond.

Keep in mind that diamonds with the same GIA certificate grade can still have a lot of difference in beauty. This means the stones shouldn’t necessarily be sold for the same price, even if their rating is the same.

Also avoid buying online. As Anna says, “there is no such thing as a bargain diamond. It is discounted for a reason. You need to see the diamond with your own eyes.”

5.    Choose your stone
There are a few key questions to ask yourself when picking out the stone.

Is she a diamond or a coloured stone girl? Does she wear brights or is she more monochrome?  Is she traditional and conservative or does she like to be unique? Does she like to make a statement?

A good designer’s role is to read people and come up with a product they’ll love and that matches their style.  

According to Anna, “it always helps if you’re working with someone who is able to interpret the answers to these questions and translate them into something especially tailored to them and their personality.”

6.    Choose your cut
One cut does not fit all. Trust us when we say it’s all in the details, and certain cuts do match certain personalities. You’ll want to nail this one fellas. You don’t want a Sex And The City repeat by giving her a pear-shaped cut with a gold band, do you?

If your gal is a lover of geometric design and clean, straight lines, she might find an asscher or emerald cut appealing. Anna says this type of lady may also like “more geometric and less sparkly diamonds like our hexagons, lozenges and bullets.”

A classic round diamond cut is perfect for ladies who love a little sparkle, and for the antique lovers? Consider a cushion cut with a rounded square shape, or a rose cut which has a softness to it and really complements antique design. 

Anna says you’ll also want to consider your lover’s hand shape. “Often it is about what stone shape is most flattering to their fingers. For example, oval diamonds really help to elongate the fingers.”

7.    Choose your metal
Without being creepy, spy on your partner’s current jewellery and the way she wears it. You want to match her existing style. Is she an all-silver kind of girl or does she mix it up? Knowing her style will help direct you to the perfect metal setting. Also consider what your partner does for a living and how careful she is with her things.  

“If she is very active and you think that it might be a ring she would want to wear all the time, then you might consider platinum over gold as it is a much more durable metal,” says Anna.

So there you have it lads, now go forth with confidence. You know your partner better than anyone, so trust your instincts. Happy hunting!


Images courtesy Cushla Whiting

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