Best engagement rings: from princess cut to square, sparkling designs

·6-min read

Funny story: one of my friends threw up all over his fiance moments after he proposed.

To be fair to him, it was the turbulence that did it. You see, they were strapped into a helicopter, high above the skyscrapers of Manhattan. I dread to think of the pedestrians below.

Luckily, she’d already accepted. The point of this tale - apart from broadcasting his story to ES Best readers - is that when it comes to proposing, you can’t plan everything.

But you can choose the perfect ring.

On the timeline of life’s big moments, asking someone to marry you is up there. Even if you’re certain of the answer, there’s something about laying yourself bare and asking that special someone to share your life that can leave the most confident of us feeling… queasily vulnerable.

That’s why it’s so crucial to line up the elements of your proposal to perfection. Whether you’re planning a grand event with all their friends and family present, or a quiet heartfelt rendezvous, just the two of you, whipping out a dazzling rock that says all the things you can’t quite put into words can be the cincher.


When is the best time to get engaged in the UK?

Engagement season is fast approaching - according to bridal experts such as Bridebook and Brides, most couples get engaged from the end of November to February around Valentine’s Day.

What engagement ring design is most popular?

The ring you pick comes down to personal taste, but trends dictate the engagement ring is a flashier than a wedding band. Diamonds are, of course, traditional, but lately precious gems such as emeralds and sapphires have started to steal the spotlight.

Then there’s sapphires, a 12ct oval version of which you’ll find in the centre of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, once Princess Diana’s before it was passed on to Prince William.

How much should you spend on a ring?

Again, this very much comes down to the individual. Etiquette says that one should spend at least two months’ salary on a rock. However some traditions are ripe for revival, so work out how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping and fall in love with something unattainable.

Thanks to the advent of lab-grown diamonds, getting something impressively flashy isn’t as costly as it once was. They are identical to mined diamonds, apart from the comparatively low RRP.


How to pick the perfect engagement ring

It’s all in the research. If your proposal will be a surprise, you’ll need to work out their ring size first, to ensure the perfect fit. Forcing a too-small ring onto their finger is the quickest way to ruin the moment. Borrow one from their jewellery box to suss it out.

If you’re opting for a diamond, you’ll also need to shop with the four Cs in mind. Read our guide to shopping for diamonds here.

Whether you’ve been thinking about popping the big Q or you plan to pick out the perfect ring a deux, we’ve pulled together the ultimate engagement ring edit - each worthy of an I Do.

Find The One below

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Mappin & Webb Amelia Platinum Oval Diamond Engagement Ring

Three stone rings, also known as a trinity or trilogy ring, are a wonderful choice for engagements, representing past, present and future, or friendship, love and fidelity - winning combos from any angle. The stones have been cut into classic ovals and are each bordered with halos, offering flashes of brilliance with every twist and turn of the hand.

Buy now £6250.00, Mappin & Webb

Boucheron White Gold and Diamond Vendôme Lisere Engagement Ring

For fans of distinctive style with stripes of glamorous Art Deco, Boucheron’s ring is a real statement. Atop a white gold base sits clusters of diamonds and a black lacquer outline, highlighting the octagonal design. It’s a double-take piece, a real knockout.

Buy now £5800.00, Harrods

The Forever Diamond 18ct White Gold 0.40ct Total Ring

A twin row of diamonds leads to a certified central solitaire in this Forever Diamond ring from high street jeweller H.Samuel. Currently on sale from £1999, it has a flower-cut design featuring 73 facets all adding to the sparkle of this opulent piece.

H.Samuel’s engagement offering is substantial with thousands of designs to browse - and some options are currently 50 per cent off.

Buy now £1999.00, H.Samuel

Vrai diamond engagement rings

Sustainable lab-grown diamond company Vrai offers a more minimalist look. The company allows you to design the ideal ring by choosing a setting or diamond first, all helping to keep your final design feeling unique.

Buy now £1197.00, Vrai

The Diamond Store Danielle Lab Diamond Engagement Side Stone Ring in 18KW Gold

As the UK’s biggest seller of diamond jewellery, The Diamond Store’s engagement ring collection is worth a butchers to anyone even thinking about going on bended knee. There’s every style of diamond ring imaginable on the site, but we’ve had our heads turned by the Danielle, which sees a cushion cut GIA diamond set in a halo style with smaller stones arranged on either side on the band. It comes with a five-year guarantee.

Buy now £1349.00, The Diamond Store

Kiki Cushion 18ct Yellow Gold, Tapered Diamond Shoulders & Green Amethyst Ring

Green Amethyst steals the show here, making a persuasive alternative to a clear diamond. The gemstone is bordered by clear pave stones on the shoulders, all set on a band forged from 18ct yellow gold.

Buy now £1800.00, Goldsmiths

18ct White Gold 1ct Total Diamond Emerald Cut Bridal Set

The jeweller has been around since 1949 and offers a stunning array of engagement rings, designed to take your breath away. Prices start from a reasonable £85 up to £22k+ for a platinum band finished with a knuckle-duster rock. As well as engagement rings, you’ll also find bridal sets with a matching wedding band, like this Emerald Cut Bridal pairing.

Buy now £2499.00, Ernest Jones

Mozafarian Engagement ring

Vintage-looking engagement rings are a popular choice, thanks to their timeless appeal. Mozafarian's design comes set on 18ct white gold with a central diamond and smaller stones on the shoulders.

Buy now £3185.00, Harvey Nichols

Kimai The Frida Ring

Fresh contemporary style has a home at Kimai, a new jeweller that uses lab-grown diamonds for true traceability. All pieces are made to order for clients, which means you can make small changes if you like. Of the engagement ring collection, we’re very much taken with the Frida which offers a literal twist on a classic: an arm holding the main stone sweeps on the band, with diamonds featured throughout.

Prices from £1,955.

Buy now £1955.00, Kimai

Brilliant Earth Sapphire Joy Diamond Ring

Take your cues from the royal style Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge with this ring that - and we’ll risk treason to say it - looks even better than the rock on her left hand. A premium sapphire sits in a cloud of clear diamonds with more forming a pave arrangement on the band. As well as round, Brilliant Earth offers the sapphire in square and oval shapes as well as varying ring sizes and metal options.

Buy now £3405.00, Brilliant Earth

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