Not sure where to start?
Choosing your metal, the perfect stone and a most suiting design might seem a little overwhelming to begin with!
Here we hope to help you with your initial research. Please do take a look at the information we have put together below, outlining a few guidelines to consider. This includes types of metal, style recommendations to suit your lifestyle, diamonds and other precious gemstones perfect just for you, whatever your budget.
Take a look at the Menu for further information regarding Diamonds & coloured Gemstones.
+ Which metal?
+ Recycled or Fairmined Gold?
+ Which stone, size and shape?
+ Ethical sourcing
+ What style of setting?
+ Which band shape would be best?
+ What about the finish?
CHOOSING YOUR METAL
Be sure to match the metals on your rings that will be worn together, as the difference in metals can wear away the other. So if you have decided to go for 18ct yellow gold for your engagement ring, ideally it would be best for the wedding and eternity bands to match, and they will last much longer together.
PLATINUM is a hugely popular choice for wedding and engagement rings due to its wearability. It is hard wearing, long lasting and desirable for its hypo-allergenic properties.
GOLD is more malleable that Platinum and Palladium so often much easier to work with. White Gold is often slightly yellow in colour, as it is made by adding other metals including silver, to the Gold. As a result, it is often Rhodium plated, unless requested otherwise. We like the look of it left natural, which we refer to as 'Grey Gold'. Ask to see a sample in our Cheltenham Jewellery Boutique!
9ct Gold is 37.5% pure Gold and alloyed with a mixture of other metals to make it harder wearing. The purer the Gold, the softer it is, making 22ct Gold very soft. 9Ct Is a great choice as it is hard wearing, but 22ct Yellow Gold has a gorgeous warm hue. Gold is also available in a rose/red Gold colour which is hugely popular again (and a personal love of ours at the BG boutique!)
We can create your rings in 9/14/18 or 22ct Gold.
SILVER is the most commonly used metal for rings and is also a popular choice due to its malleability and highly reflective finish when polished. It is however more prone to tarnishing/oxidising which can be accelerated upon skin contact, down to the acids in our skin, perfumes, etc. Silver is often Rhodium plated to prevent this. However this is personal preference- perhaps you prefer a darker, more vintage look to your Silver! We love working in Silver to create our one of a kind textured wedding bands.
FAIRMINED & RECYCLED
All bespoke and collection pieces can be made using Fairmined Gold. Working with Fairmined certified artisanal mines makes a huge different to the lives of the miners, their families and their communities.
Or perhaps you have an unworn family heirloom you wish to re-build in to something you would like to wear again? We can re-use your own heirloom Gold to create something new! In the workshop, we prefer to work with recycled Silver, Gold and Platinum as much as we can.
We are often asked which Gemstones, particularly coloured stones, are most suitable for an engagement ring.
It is important when choosing your stone that it will withstand everyday wear against knocks, chemicals, and heat- given that it will probably have to be sized a couple of times during its lifetime.
For example, an opal (which is 5 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale) would be too soft for everyday wear and cannot take heat. Whereas a Sapphire (a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale) is a great choice as it very durable- it is found naturally in a range of colours including violet, green, yellow, orange, pink and purple- and at a range in price, of course! We specialise in sourcing natural and untreated coloured Gemstones at Bates Goldsmiths.
Diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs scale, and are the hardest mineral known to man. Whilst the scale shows only one number in difference between a Diamond and a Sapphire, a Diamond is in fact considerably harder. Both of these stones [and rubies too] make for great engagement and wedding ring gemstones.
It is also worth keeping in mind when designing your ring, that heat treated stones to enhance its colour can often be altered or lost altogether when re-heated. It is advised that any sizing in the future requires the stone to be removed beforehand.
At Bates Goldsmiths, we prefer to use untreated or heated stones, and specialise in ethically sourcing beautiful Gemstones of natural colour.
When buying a diamond, the size will vary depending on your budget and is determined also by the other C's that make up the '4c's'.
These are the CUT, CLARITY, COLOUR, and CARAT weight.
The higher the Diamond is graded near-colourless and well-cut for example, the more expensive it becomes.
Whilst there is a correlation, the CARAT refers to weight, and not a diamond's actual size. A 0.50 carat diamond, or '50 pointer', could vary in dimensions from one to another with the same carat weight. This weight to size ratio is known as a diamond's 'spread'.
Not to be confused here with a Diamonds cut; this refers to the overall outline of the shape of the stone.
The most popular is the brilliant round shape, but fancy cut shapes are gaining momentum again and are on the rise! These include pear and emerald shapes.
Some of our personal favourites include a princess, Asscher, Marquise, and the more unusual Kite, Shield and Crest shapes.
You could go for a single stone as a show stopper, perhaps add some sparkle to the shoulders- we love adding diamonds to the side of a lovely coloured Sapphire centre stone! Or perhaps you might prefer the look of a 3-or-5 stone ring - like the example below:
TYPE OF SETTING
When choosing a setting for your stone, you should consider a mount that also works well with your lifestyle. For example, if you are quite active or work with your hands, a high setting may not be the best-suited. It is worth discussing this when designing your ring to allow for your stone to sit lower, decreasing the risk of it catching.
You may also want to opt for a bezel setting, whereby the metal encompasses the stone all the way around with a thin layer of metal to secure the stone, as opposed to a claw/prong setting.
A claw setting however would allow for more light to enter the stone, and allows for more of the stone to be seen, thereby making it appear larger.
It is important to achieve a balance between the size of your wedding/engagement band/s and the setting.
A band too wide could overpower the stone thus making it appear much smaller, whilst a band too thin may not be enough to support a large stone/high setting causing it to roll forward.
However you might like to make a feature of this- we think a wide band paired with a slimmer band- thrown in with a bit of texture or some engraving for good measure- and you've got a lovely contemporary stack!
One more thing to consider if perhaps you have a more active lifestyle or work with your hands, a slightly thicker band would be a more durable option.
There are various styles that you could choose when designing your ring that will add to the overall aesthetic that you are looking to achieve, something best explored when discussing your commission ideas - we can show you a full range of styles to get you started.
A couple of profile examples for a band includes; FLAT, COURT (domed inside/out), FLAT-COURT (Flat outside, domed inside), OVAL (soft edges with a slight domed profile both sides), HALO (round), D-SHAPE, and knife-edge (triangular profile).
From high polished to textured, engraved or satin finished, this really is down to personal preference.
If you work with your hands a lot and have chosen a metal that can be prone to light scratching such as Platinum or Palladium, you may wish to have a textured, satin, brushed, or sandblasted finish.
When discussing your commission, we can show you a number of samples to give you an idea of how each of these could look.
Please get in touch to discuss your bespoke ideas: