Ring Buying Guide
Yellow gold is a long lasting precious metal, and a really popular choice. The fineness of gold is measured in carats, with 24 carat (ct) being pure gold. Pure gold is too soft to be used in making jewellery, so it gets mixed with other metals such as copper and silver to make it stronger. The carat tells you how many parts of gold and how many parts of other metal are in the gold alloy. Be careful not to mix 9ct and 18ct gold as the 9ct gold will wear down the 18 ct gold!
White gold is usually rhodium plated to enhance the whiteness but you'll need to have it re-plated every 12 to 18 months so it stays nice and shiny.
Silver has become just as popular as gold, and looks just as fabulous. Silver jewellery can get tarnished from time to time, but it doesn't mean that it's faulty. Wearing your jewellery helps keep it in good condition. If it starts to show signs of tarnish you can rub it with a soft dry cloth or clean it with some silver cleaner to get it back to its best.
This precious metal is rarer than gold and is an A-list favourite, it never fades or tarnishes and is the most durable. It's silvery-white in colour, and rarely causes allergic reactions. It is quite dense and heavy so when you try on a platinum ring it will feel much heavier than an identical one made from 18ct Gold. Platinum is best if you're planning to wear your jewellery every day (wedding rings, engagement rings etc) and no plating is needed.
A hallmark is a quality control mark placed on gold, silver and platinum and it's a safeguard for purchasers. Basically, the hallmark shows that it has been tested by an independent body (at the Assay Office) and guarantees that the metal is of one the legal standards of fineness (purity).
A hallmark also lets your jeweller quickly check what carat your jewelery is if you have to take it in for repairs or alterations. It is a legal requirement for most articles of precious metal above a certain minimum weight to carry an approved hallmark.
The British hallmark is made up of at least three compulsory symbols:
The Sponsor's Mark : This indicates the manufacturer, or sponsor of the item. This consists of the initials of the company who sent in the item for assaying.
The Fineness Mark : This indicates what the metal is and its standard of purity in parts per thousand.
The Assay Office Mark : This identifies the Assay Office at which the item was tested and marked. Leopard represents London, Anchor represents Birmingham, Rose represents Sheffield and the Castle represents Edinburgh.
As well as being a girl's best friend, diamonds have been given and worn as symbols of love and power for centuries, so they're an ideal way to express your love for someone.
This refers to the weight measurement or size of a diamond with each carat being divided into 100 points (pts). Therefore a 50 point diamond would be half a carat.
|Carat (Decimal)||Carat (Fraction)||Points|
|0.75||3/4 carat||75 points|
|0.50||1/2 carat||50 points|
|0.33||1/3 carat||33 points|
|0.10||1/10 carat||10 points|
|0.05||1/20 carat||5 points|
|0.01||1/100 carat||1 point|
This refers to the shape of a diamond and the way it reflects light and sparkles. Popular shapes include a round brilliant cut, emerald cut, oval cut and princess cut.
This refers to the degree to which a diamond is free from naturally occurring inclusions in the stone. The fewer the inclusions, the rarer the diamond is.
Diamonds of different quality vary in colour from black to yellow. Generally speaking for clear "white" diamonds, the less colour in a diamond, the rarer it is.
The profile of a wedding ring is what it looks like if you saw it in cross section. The main profiles you will encounter are; court shaped, D shaped, flat court shaped and flat shaped.
Court Shaped wedding rings are curved on the inside and curved on the outside often known as comfort fit as there are no sharp edges to dig into the skin.
Flat Court shaped wedding rings are flat on the outside and curved on the inside to maintain the comfort effect but will match the sometimes flat surface of some engagement rings.
D Shaped wedding rings are flat on the inside and curved on the outside to give a lighter ring than a court and a profile that many prefer.
Flat shaped wedding rings are flat on both the outside and the inside again reflecting the profile of many diamond engagement rings.
If you're thinking of buying a ring then download our free size guide below - it's really easy to use, just follow the step-by-step instructions!
To keep your jewellery in tip-top condition;
- Avoid contact with water, perfumes, lotions and chlorinated water (like at the swimming baths). This can also affect the jewellery settings
- Store jewellery carefully and separately in a secure jewellery box
- Keep chains fastened so that they don't get into a tangle
- Check fine jewellery for damage or wear on a regular basis
- Gently rub gold and silver jewellery with a soft, clean cloth to clean and get the best shine
- Diamond jewellery can be carefully cleaned with a soft brush and soapy water, or with a suitable jewellery cleaning solution or similar product