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Fashion & Jewellery Guide

Choosing the Ring

So, you've decided to take the plunge and go for broke by asking the beautiful love of your life to marry you. You've got the romantic occasion planned to perfection, right down to the finest detail, and have spent what seems like the best part of a millennium deciding exactly what to say while down on bended knee, practising to your heart's content in front of the mirror.

But have you remembered the most important thing of all? Have you actually bought the engagement ring?

Many loved-up proposers go around in circles when it comes to choosing the right finger adornment to help woo their beloved and persuade her to walk down the aisle with them. After all, not only must the ring be a statement and declaration of love and commitment to a lifetime of happiness together, it must also reflect their partner's personality, style and taste, so they feel proud and comfortable flashing it around and showing it off.

Then there's the other major consideration, of course. Quite aside from the whole look and wearability of the ring itself, exactly how much ought you to be spending? Is ransacking your savings and inheritance from Grandma the order of the day, or is it better to hold back, show a little more reserve and get something a bit less 'blingful'? According to recent research, this is one key area where couples are likely to disagree, so menfolk, please take careful note.

A study by Platinum Guild International found that the average British male plans to splash one and a half month's salary slipping a stunning ring on his bride-to-be's finger.

Just 15 per cent would put aside two month's wages, while a stingy one in five admit they'd only fork out a week's worth of cash.

By contrast, the women of this world have decidedly far higher expectations.

A quarter of love struck ladies confessed they'd like their man to spend two month's wages on an engagement ring, while one in 20 little princesses wanted a right royal ring worth a whole year of their fiance's salary.

A feisty 40 per cent would even unceremoniously hand the ring back if they didn't like it.

Ruth Donaldson of Platinum Guild International said: "Because engagement rings are an enduring and public reminder of their relationship, it's no wonder women want something that reflects years of dreaming.

"But although they have high expectations, there really is the perfect ring out there, for every budget.

"Your local independent jeweller, or any of the larger retailers including Ernest Jones, Goldsmiths and Beaverbrooks will have a fabulous collection of engagement and wedding rings at extremely reasonable prices."

Two thirds of the men quizzed for the research said they'd buy the ring before popping the question, which means getting the size right is extremely important.

You don't want to ruin the big champagne moment by squeezing onto her finger a ring that's too small, or having to hunt around for something to secure one on that's annoyingly too big, so make sure you do your research before you head off to the high street.

If your lady has a ring she wears on her engagement finger, sneak it away and take it to the jeweller with you, or make an impression of it in some soap, clay, Plasticine or Blue tak.

Alternatively, you could get a bit of paper and draw a line round the inside of the ring, or simply push it down onto one of your own fingers and mark the spot it stops at with a pen. Beaverbrooks's website has a downloadable ring size guide, which may also be useful.

No matter how well you know your lady and how in tune you are with what she likes and looks good in, chances are you will still struggle when it comes to choosing things for her to wear, including jewellery.

This is the case for many men, so don't be afraid to ask friends and family (who are capable of keeping a secret) for advice and input on ring style and design. They're sure to have a pretty good idea of what will dazzle and impress - and what will fall far short of the mark - and you might just find their words of wisdom really invaluable.


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