Shopping for an engagement ring can be a daunting experience for many, so the experts at Diamond Boutique are revealing their simple four-step guide to help you make that all-important decision a little easier. Gemstone: Round Brilliant vs. Fancy Shapes Once you’ve decided between a diamond and a coloured gemstone, you have to choose the shape. There are two options: a round brilliant or a fancy shape. Popular fancy shapes include marquise, emerald and pear amongst many others. Round brilliant is an all time favourite for engagement rings. When cut into the round shape, the angles of the gemstone enhance the fire and brilliance at its best. Carat for carat, the marquise has one of the largest surface areas, making it a good choice when trying to maximize perceived size. The best feature about the emerald is that one can see basically everything that is happening inside the gemstone! This is what makes this shape so very enticing. The pear shape has excellent symmetry, making it so alluring and unique. It is also one of the few shapes that show the strongest colour. Metal: White Gold vs. Platinum The next stage is choosing the correct metal, here we compare the two most popular choices: white gold and platinum. White gold is naturally yellow as it is composed of gold, alloys and rhodium plating. In practical terms, white gold generally holds up to everyday wear better, as it is lighter than platinum. However the rhodium plating will wear off over time and will require re-plating. Platinum scratches easier than gold, making white gold a better choice. Platinum is a rare metal that is composed out of 95% pure platinum. Naturally white, platinum makes a perfect match for engagement rings, as it does not require rhodium plating. Well known for its brilliant lustre, strength and durability, platinum is the perfect choice for people who carry out physical activities on a regular basis. Style: Classic vs. Contemporary vs. Vintage Moving on, it’s time to decide what style you want the engagement ring to be. There are usually three styles to choose from: The most popular style of engagement rings is classic. Classic refers to engagement rings that have a plain band, usually in gold or platinum, with a solitaire diamond or coloured gemstone set in a beautiful 4 or 6 prong setting. An elegant beauty. The second most popular style is contemporary. This style is made of engagement rings that feature diamond halos around the centre stone; diamonds on the shoulders or diamonds set in the gallery of the ring. A touch of glamour. The third style is vintage engagement rings. This is for those who prefer something a little quirky and different. Consisting of rings that feature milgrain details, intricate patterns, elaborate galleries or dainty bands. A timeless piece. Design: Ready Made vs. Bespoke The final stage is whether you are going to buy a ring from the shelf or go down the route of a bespoke design. Bespoke engagement rings are becoming very popular; they're the perfect way to express your love and intentions with something more unique and personal. Diamond Boutique's Art of Possible service starts by a FREE consultation with a specialist. The customer’s inspiration and ideas are then used to make a 2D sketch of the ring, before a 3D CAD model is created to allow them a better look at the ring from all angles. Once the customer has approved the design, Diamond Boutique will create their dream ring. We hope this has been useful advice and wish you all the very best on your engagement ring shopping!