Hurrah! You’ve agreed to tie the knot – now it’s time to find a ring that you both like, within budget, that will stand the test of time.

Nothing could alleviate the boredom of Lockdown 3.0 more effectively than a proposal of marriage on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, tracking down the ring of your dreams is surely the perfect pandemic pastime. And that is all before the wedding planning gets underway.

Buying an engagement ring is a big deal. Not only is it likely to cost a lot but it will also be with you – hopefully – for the rest of your life. There are certain things to consider before you make the leap – even if you have been fantasizing about this particular gem for most of your life.

The look

First, the look of the thing. Which metal are you after? Platinum, perhaps, or yellow gold? A coloured stone, a traditional diamond or a pretty combo? Which setting will you go for? Popular options include the claw setting, the cluster setting, the halo setting and the solitaire.

The ethics

Second, the ethics of the piece. The more we know about our planet, the trickier it can be to live sustainably. But when it comes to buying an engagement ring, you can make choices that have a limited social and environmental impact. Check with your jeweller, where possible, that your stones are conflict-free and your metal is Fairtrade.

How much are you willing to spend?

Third, how much to spend on your bit of bling. The age-old adage may have it that a man should spend three months salary on a ring for his betrothed but in reality there are no fixed rules. All that matters is that you love – and can afford – the ring that you end up buying. Remember, it is supposed to be a symbol of love not of status.

Browse and buy engagement rings online

Once you’ve pondered these key questions, take time to devour the sparkling goodies on the websites below.

Philippa Herbert

Sally and Philippa – who are friends, sisters-in-law and graduates of the Courtauld Institute of Art – founded their divine business in 2007. They began by casting babies’ hands and feet but now, having honed their craft, create beautiful bespoke pieces and their own range of jewellery. With their brilliant eye and obvious passion, they can help you design your dream engagement ring or rework an old piece of family jewellery if you prefer.

Jessica Mccormack

Jessica McCormack, who was born in New Zealand, has deservedly developed a cult following among the glitterati. Warning: she has the price tags to match. Vogue says the Mayfair jeweller ‘has perfected the art of diamond jewellery that treads the tightrope of distinctive contemporary design and everyday wearability.’ Her engagement rings are, simply, exquisite. The Moonshine Diamond & Sapphire Daisy Ring is the sum of most brides’ dreams. While a visit to her Mayfair atelier is ideal, McCormack’s digital sales have tripled in the pandemic.


Back in 1886, the US jeweller Charles Lewis Tiffany conceived and trademarked his Tiffany Setting engagement ring, which is iconic to this day. With flawless engineering, its six-prong platinum setting contains a brilliant cut diamond that will knock your socks off. Traditionalists with deep pockets need look no further. (Just don’t expect your other half to get the entire store shut down while he picks the perfect ring, as Nick Jonas did before proposing to Priyanka Chopra.)

Grays Antiques

If you’re after something with a bit of history, Grays Antiques is the place for you. When it opened in 1964, Grays was the first permanent covered antique market in the UK. The Mayfair emporium, which has been peopled by knowledgeable and charming antique dealers ever since, always has a huge selection of wonderfully original rings. It’s hard not to lust after the Art Deco numbers.


The fashion giant’s stunning fine jewellery edit contains rings that are at once cool and classic. Designers range from big names like Gucci and Stephen Webster to the lesser-known LA jeweller, Jennifer Meyer. Plus, it may surprise you to know that there is a ring on Net-A-Porter to suit every budget.

Monica Vinader

This stylish contemporary British jewellery brand will not break the bank. When they launched in 2008, they won Brand of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards. Built to wear, each piece comes with a five-year warranty and the promise of a lifetime repair service. Monica Vinader pieces have been spotted on the Duchess of Cambridge, Emma Watson and Olivia Palermo. Plus, all of their jewellery is made in 100 per cent recycled, rather than mined, silver or gold vermeil.

By Becky Ladenburg
February 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.