Planning a Christmas Engagement?

Diamond Rings at Auction

For those planning a festive engagement, auction remains a fantastic way to source the perfect ring to symbollise your love. According to Harper's Bazaar, the period between December and March is the most popular time for engagements, with 40% of annual engagements happening during this special time between Christmas and Valentine's Day. 

Wilson 55's Christmas Fine Jewellery & Watches Sale takes place on Thursday 2nd December and features some simply stunning pieces that would make wonderful engagement rings. With examples from the likes of Tiffany & Co., solitaires, cluster rings, as well as coloured gemstone rings, this sale has a great selection of lots to choose from. Understandably, choosing an engagement ring can be an overwhelming task, so our Jewellery Specialist Liz Bailey MA FGA DGA CPAA is on hand to answer all of your questions! 

 

What kind of engagement ring should I get?

 

This is the most popular question asked by propspective brides and grooms worldwide! The answer to this depends on many different factors in keeping with the personal style and taste of each couple. Some questions to think about when narrowing your idea of the perfect engagement ring down are:

  • What colour metal does she like or wear most frequently? Do they wear yellow, white, or rose gold jewellery? It is wise to choose a ring that would complement their existing pieces so they can be worn together.  
  • What is the style of your prospective bride? Is she classic and minimal? Does she like to make a statement? Is her taste ultra-modern, or would she prefer a vintage or antique style ring?
  • What is her lifestyle like? For more active ladies, a ring with a flatter profile may be a more comfortable and practical option than a larger showstopping ring.

Tiffany engagement ring

Lot 91A: A Tiffany & Co. 18ct gold diamond single stone ring, the brilliant cut diamond weighing 0.34ct within a six claw setting, estimated colour G-H, estimated clarity VS, signed Tiffany & Co., hallmarks for London, ring size I, gross weight 2.4g. With maker's ring box, box, and bag. £400-600.

 

The ring that conjurs to most peoples minds when the words 'engagement ring' are uttered is the iconic Tiffany diamond ring. The 'Tiffany' setting is something of an institution in the jewellery world, and comprises a single diamond encased in a classic, simple and timeless claw setting. Featured in our sale is a beautiful Tiffany diamond ring, set with a 0.34ct brilliant cut diamond. Renowned for their wonderful craftsmanship, and exacting standards in the diamonds they use, it is easy to see why a Tiffany diamond ring is on the top of many brides' wishlists! Our example is complete with Tiffany & Co. ring box, as well as unique Tiffany diamond number inscibed to the inside of the band. 

Lot 160: A diamond cluster ring, of geometric design, the circular cut diamond within a vari cut diamond hexagonal surround and brilliant cut diamond shoulders, estimated total diamond weight 0.55ct, principal diamond estimated 0.25ct, estimated colour K-L, estimated clarity SI2-P1, stamped PLAT, ring size P1/2, gross weight 3.5g. £620-720.

 

If you are looking for something slightly different to the traditional solitaire, styles to consider include the diamond halo ring, diamond cluster ring, diamond trilogy ring, diamond crossover ring or diamond band ring. Diamond halo rings have been hugely popular in the last few years, with beautifully glimmering diamond surrounds in geometric, floral or circular shapes and completed with diamond set shoulders. The Art Deco inspired diamond ring pictured above features both brilliant and baguette cut diamonds in an eye-catching hexagonal surround, making it the perfect piece for those wanting to stand out! Below is a Victorian inspired cluster ring, set with an array of old cut diamonds in an eye-catching marquise outline, another great and alternative choice to the diamond solitaire. 

Lot 100: An 18ct gold diamond cluster ring, the old cut diamond cluster with scrolling shoulders, estimated total diamond weight 0.85ct, hallmarks for Chester, ring size N1/2, gross weight 3.8g. £300-400.

Lot 152: A diamond eternity ring, the single cut diamond line within a channel setting, estimated total diamond weight 1.25cts, stamped PLAT, ring size O, gross weight 3.6g. £400-600.

 

A style of engagement ring to rise the most in popularity during the last couple of years is the diamond band ring, or eternity ring. With the circumstances of postponed weddings and plans over Covid, the allure of a band ring that can signify both engagement and wedding has become hugely popular with modern couples. A classic, meaningful and simple statement, you can never go wrong with a diamond band ring! 

 

What should I spend on an engagement ring?

Lot 112: A diamond single stone ring, the brilliant cut diamond weighing approx. 2.10cts, within an eight claw setting, estimated colour H-I, estimated clarity P1-P2, stamped 18ct, ring size Q, gross weight 4g. £4,500-6,500.

 

In modern day terms, the oft-repeated De Beers marketing strategy of an engagement ring equivalent to 'three months' salary' does seem slightly outdated. However, by buying an engagement ring through auction, you are not only procuring a brilliantly unique piece, but you are also guaranteed to get a lot more ring for your money. Our sales feature rings from a starting estimate of £50 upwards, and so there is something to cater every budget conceivable! 

 

What cut/clarity/carat/colour diamond should I look for in an engagement ring?

 

The 'four Cs' of diamond grading are hugely important to consider when buying a diamond ring, and frequently it is a case of balancing out these factors to suit your budget and requirements! In certain cases, people favour one factor, for example carat weight, above all others - but I would recommend for a ring to be worn over a lifetime that a balance of these four aspects is the best strategy!

 

Carat Weight

Carat weight is a measure of the weight and therefore perceived size of the diamond. A carat is equivalent to 0.2g, and the most popular and 'traditional' size for a solitaire engagement ring is 1ct. The carat weight of a stone is roughly viewable by its 'spread' - the diameter of the stone for round cuts and width x height for fancy cuts. However, a ring that suits the wearer and of a good overall quality should always be preferable!

 

Colour

Colourless, or 'white' diamonds are graded on a scale from D-Z, with D being colourless, and grades further down the scale possessing more and more body colour, noticable first with the table facet down, and later down the scale noticably tinted when viewed face up. With the exception of fancy coloured diamonds, generally the less colour visible in the stone is more sought-after, and therefore more valuable. Whilst many automatically favor the D-F colour grades, it is worth considering that grades G-J are also classed on the GIA colour scale as 'near colourless.' 

Lot 96: An 18ct gold diamond single stone ring, the brilliant cut diamond weighing approx. 1.65cts within a six claw setting, estimated colour G-H, estimated clarity SI2, hallmarks for Sheffield, ring size Q, gross weight 4.2g. £4,500-6,500.

 

Clarity 

The clarity of a diamond reflects how 'clean,' or free from imperfections the stone is when viewed face up and through magnification. Clarity is graded from Flawless to Pique, with flawless, VVS, VS and SI1 grades featuring imperfections that are only visible with close inspection under magnification and so are all desirable clarity grades for engagement rings.

 

Cut 

The cut grade is assessed for the quality, symmetry and proportions of the diamond cut. Graded from Excellent to Poor, the cut is an important grade as it indicates how well the diamond will reflect and disperse light - therefore affecting the brilliance and scintillation of the stone. 

Another aspect to consider with cut is which facet arrangement and shape to choose in the first place! Whether you opt for the classic round brilliant cut, or one of the fancy cuts, this will be the first thing that is noticeable in an engagement ring! Fancy cut diamonds (i.e. diamonds that are not round cut) are a great way to reflect your personal style in a ring. These eye-catching diamonds often appear larger than their actual carat weight owing to their comparatively large table facets. Below is a beautiful marquise cut diamond ring that would look fantastic on a fashion forward fiance! 

marquise cut diamond ring

Lot 104A: A diamond single stone ring, the marquise cut diamond weighing 1ct within a six claw setting, with brilliant cut diamond shoulders, principal diamond estimated colour I-J, estimated clarity VS, estimated total diamond weight 1.30cts, stamped 'PL', ring size I1/2, gross weight 6g. £1,500-2,500.

 

What coloured gemstones do you recommend for alternative engagement rings?

 

Coloured gemstone engagement rings are another way to express your personal style in an engagement ring, and form a wonderful alternative to a diamond engagement ring. The main thing to consider in any gemstone-set ring is the durability and hardness of the gemstone, compared to the relative wear of the ring. For a ring that is to be worn over a lifetime, I would recommend selecting a gemstone with a high hardness! Sapphire is a gemstone with a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale of 1-10, and comes in a kaleidoscopic choice of colours, making it a fantastic gemstone for an alternative engagement ring. Other gemstones to consider include topaz, spinel and tourmaline.

Lot 107: An 18ct gold sapphire and diamond cluster ring, the rectangular shape sapphire weighing approx. 6.65cts, within a brilliant cut diamond surround, estimated total diamond weight 1.40cts, hallmarks for London, ring size M1/2, gross weight 7.2g. Verbal obtained from Anchorcert on 16.11.21 stating that the sapphire is natural, with an origin of Sri Lanka/Madagascar. £3,500-5,500.

 

Our Fine Jewellery & Watches Sale will be on view from Monday 29th November until Wednesday 1st December from 10am until 4pm by appointment. Our specialist Liz is both DGA and FGA qualified through the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and will be on hand to help advise any clients looking at rings. Contact us to book an appointment, or for any further assistance.

 


For further information on any of our lots in the Fine Jewellery & Watches, or Timed Jewellery & Watches Sale, or to consign your own pieces for our next Jewellery Sale, contact us via liz.bailey@wilson55.com.  

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