What To Know Before Buying A Ring: Ring Buying Guide From The Chelsea Bijouterie

A ring is often a treasured piece of jewellery, given on engagement, marriage, or a similarly significant occasion. Highly visible on the hand, many people own a few rings that define them or mean a great deal to them. It’s something most people will wear every day, and therefore buying one should take a lot of consideration and care.

The experts at Chelsea Bijouterie have created a helpful buying guide that covers all points that you should consider when buying a ring.

How much should you spend on a ring?

Obviously the very first step in this exciting adventure is for you to decide roughly how much you want to spend on the ring. The price you pay for your ring will depend largely on the type and size of the stone or stones, so have look online to see what is available for the price you have in mind.

Diamonds are generally the most expensive followed by rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. All other stones tend to be far less expensive. A single large stone is more expensive than, say three smaller stones of the same weight. Also, a ring by a renowned designer will cost more. In general, a diamond of 0.9 carat should be quite a lot cheaper than a stone of the same quality that is 1.1 ct. However, with antique and vintage rings the carat weight is only known as an estimate, to know the stones weight exactly it would need to be removed from its setting and weighed.

Choosing the metal for your ring

Silver is used for relatively cheap rings and is seldom mounted with diamonds, rubies or sapphires. Also, silver tarnishes very quickly and will need constant cleaning.

Gold is yellow, but if it is mixed with other metals, we can get white gold or pink gold. Gold mainly comes as 9 carat or 18 carats, both can be mounted with the precious stones, diamond, ruby and sapphire. Gold hardly tarnishes and will need very little cleaning.

Platinum, like gold is used to set the best quality stones. It was first used in jewellery in the early 1900s by the great jewellery houses like Cartier and Tiffany. Platinum is much harder than gold and therefore can be worked in finer, lighter and more intricate designs. Also, like gold, it does not tarnish.

What stones can you get in a ring?

The choice of whether to have a ring set with diamond, ruby or sapphire or perhaps another rare gemstone is a very personal one and needs thought and study. The choice is vast, you can choose a ring with a single stone or several stones or even a mixture of different types of gems.

The main choice is then whether to choose a solitaire or perhaps a three stone, or even a five stone ring or a cluster ring. The diamond solitaire is perhaps the classic choice, but so then is the sapphire cluster ring as chosen by Princess Diana, a 12ct Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds all set in 18ct white gold shank.

Precious gemstones are said to have special powers of healing and to be the bringers of luck. Diamonds are associated with purity and everlasting love, sapphires truth and order, rubies with health and wealth, finally emeralds bring happiness and contentment. You may also be influenced by your birthstone; each month of the year has its own stone or stones.

The signs of the Zodiac also have gems linked to them and they are not necessarily the same as the former. Another fascinating aspect you could consider is the healing properties of different stones

Choosing a ring based on purpose

If you are looking for a ring which you can wear all day every day, then one which fits fairly flat to the finger would be a good choice. A ring that is too high and sits up proud from the finger might tend to get caught on clothes or be knocked. Also rings which have large prominent setting may slip round the finger. On the other hand, if the ring is for special occasions, then you might give more weight to form and artistic considerations.

Vintage or newly made?

Again, the choice of a new ring or a vintage / antique ring is very personal. Some people like to think that they are the first person to wear the ring.

Others are attracted to the romance and mystery of vintage jewellery. In general vintage jewellery like for like is cheaper. If you choose vintage / antique jewellery you can purchase a ring that has been around for centuries and holds a rich history of each wearer with it.

What size ring do you need?

Rings are sized in three key systems. The British sizing runs from E to Z, the European system from 40 to 60 or the American two to nine.  

You can buy plastic ring-finger sizers or email us, and we will send you one free.

Most jewellery stores will be able to size your finger, or your hand if you wish to purchase a ring for a finger other than your ring finger.

Should my ring come with a certificate?

Very few vintage rings have a certificate, either a newer one or the original certificate. If there is a certificate it will normally only refer to the qualities of the stone. There are many companies offering a certificate service, some of these companies’ certificates are more exact and reliable than others, which you can purchase if you wish to understand your ring and the stones in it.

Diamond of less than one carat are not normally certificated. In addition to this a true diamond appraisal can only be obtained with the stone removed from the ring.

Modern, constructed rings can be made with a certificate, as the stones can be appraised before it is set.

Does a ring need to be hallmarked?

Obviously if a ring has genuine hallmarks, then identifying its age and origin is much simpler. A true hallmark will tell you where the ring was tested and registered, of which metal and of what quality and the date at which the ring was hallmarked.

However, the vast majority of antique / vintage jewellery, even extremely expensive pieces by the large designers, were not hallmarked. When examining antique jewellery, you have to pay attention to the materials used, the style and design and the quality of the workmanship.

Get in Touch

The experts at the Chelsea Bijouterie provide all this information in our online shop and are happy to discuss any of our products with you. Please get in touch if you have any questions.