Essential guide: How to buy an engagement ring online

An engagement ring is one of the most important purchases you'll ever make, so it's important to get it right. If you can't quite tell your clarity from your cut, our essential guide is here to make buying an engagement ring as easy as possible.

Updated on 23 April 2024 • Written By Ellie Donnell

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Essential guide: How to buy an engagement ring online

There’s a lot of pressure attached to buying an engagement ring. It’s probably one of the biggest, and most important, purchases you’ll ever make, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Even if the thought of getting down on one knee fills you with pre-proposal jitters, we're here to ensure you’re totally confident that your engagement ring is perfect.


Choosing an engagement ring can be a bit of a minefield. Do you go for a yellow gold or white gold band? Diamond or gemstone? One stone or three? We’d recommend having a discussion with your partner beforehand to find out what they like. Even if it’s just a rough idea, this will help hugely when narrowing down your search, especially when faced with literally thousands of styles online. Of course, if you want to keep your proposal a total surprise, then you can always talk to friends and family about what they think your prospective fiancée will like.

There’s a lot more to buying an engagement ring than just the style. How much do you want to spend on a ring? How far in advance should you buy one? And which are the best online jewellers to buy from? To help you in your search, we’ve answered all your FAQs below in our ultimate guide to buying an engagement ring online, from finding the right ring size to what to do if your partner doesn’t like diamonds.

It might seem a little scary at the start, but purchasing an engagement ring should be an exciting task filled with hope and joy for the future. If you don’t quite feel like that yet, we’re here to ensure the process remains as stress-free as possible. Happy searching, and good luck!

How much should you spend on a ring?

Ah, the ever-unanswered question. It’s a little blurry, isn’t it? The old wives' tale goes that a ring should cost three months of your salary, but that’s a totally outdated (and unreasonable) ask. It varies from person to person, depending on where you are financially and what your other half wants, but the most important thing is that your ring is meaningful to the person you're proposing to.

An engagement ring is precious whether you spend £200 or £20,000. We recommend focusing on buying one that’s personal to your partner and reflects where you are in your life.

Is it safe to buy an engagement ring online?

Absolutely! But it’s important to do your research first before going ahead and ‘adding to cart’. Check out the jeweller, including what they stand for and what their credentials are. This shouldn’t be much of a problem for big-name brands, but smaller companies might need a more thorough background check to ensure they're reputable. Do they have reviews? Where do they source and grade their diamonds? If you’re buying a diamond ring, for example, make sure that it comes with the appropriate certification. 

How far in advance should you buy a ring?

As ever, the answer depends on the person. However, we’d suggest giving yourself six to eight weeks before the proposal to source a ring. It can take a while to decide exactly what you want, and depending on the jeweller, there might be a lengthy delivery time as they’ll need to have it sized it for you. And if you’re creating a custom ring, then we’d recommend giving yourself a little more lead time.

What should you look for in a diamond?

You might have heard people bang on about the four C’s - clarity, carat, colour and cut – but this is definitely a good place to start. Here’s a quick lowdown on each C:

Clarity refers to the number of flaws or internal marks on the stone. It’s normal for diamonds to have a few blemishes, but many are internal so aren’t visible to the naked eye. Focus your search on these ones, rather than going for perfect clarity, which will cost you dearly.

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. The higher the carat, the heavier the diamond. For reference, a carat is equal to 200 milligrams, so a 5-carat stone weighs one gram.

Colour does what it says on the tin! While diamonds tend to be white, there’s actually a huge spectrum of colours they can be, from grey to pink and yellow.

Cut refers to the shape of the stone and how well it is cut and polished. The type of cut ranges from excellent to very good, good, fair and poor, but the best cuts are perfectly symmetrical, polished and shine the brightest.

When it comes to shape there are endless variations, although round, oval, and square are some of the most common. Alternatives include pear-shaped, marquise, cushion and asscher.

How do I buy the right ring size?

Getting the right ring size isn’t mandatory (you can always resize it later), but if you want your ring to fit like a glove from the off, there are a few things you can do in preparation. If your partner already wears lots of rings, borrow one and show it to a jeweller to find out the size. You could ask friends and family if they know their ring size, or be up front about it and ask your partner to measure their finger pre-proposal. It’s up to you!

What if I don’t want to buy a diamond ring?

They say that diamonds are forever, and while they certainly are a classic choice, diamond alternatives have become increasingly popular over the last few years. You can buy some stunning gemstone rings these days, fitted with sapphires, rubies and emeralds to name a few, and which make a vibrant choice for more unorthodox couples. Our guide to the best sustainable engagement rings includes a wealth of beautiful alternatives, from pink emeralds to pearls.

How do I buy a custom ring online?

Many jewellers offer a bespoke ring service so you can create a piece that’s truly unique to the wearer. This allows you to toggle every element of the ring to your exact requirements, from design to stone and materials. The main thing to think about first is budget, as this will influence how ambitious you can be with your ring.

The process can look different per site. Some allow you to ‘build’ you design by selecting each element individually. Others will ask you to visit the store in person for a consultation, so you can chat to the designer about what you want.

Which are the best jewellers to buy an engagement ring online?

There are myriad online jewellers selling stunning engagement rings, but these ones all come highly rated. We've made sure to include a decent range, from big-name brands to smaller, sustainablity-focused jewellers. 


silver rings

Beaverbrooks offers a huge engagement rings section which you can filter by style, metal, price, carat, stone or shape. You’ll find rings under £1,500, all the way up to £5,000+ styles, and they even offer a range for men’s engagement rings which we think is rather refreshing.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Beaverbrooks


twisted gold ring with two diamonds

Pandora might not be the first brand you think of when it comes to engagement bands, but they’ve recently launched a lab-grown diamond collection which includes a short but sweet range of rings. Its designs are chic, simple and affordable, and can be engraved with a personal message if you like.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? No, but it does offer personal engravings
Find out more: Pandora


blue and gold ring

If you’ve ever found yourself on the ground floor of Liberty, you’ll know it boasts a fantastic selection of own-brand and designer jewellery. Of course, we don’t expect you to trek all the way to London’s Regent Street, so you’ll be pleased to know you can browse its range online. Liberty’s engagement ring collection isn’t lengthy, but sometimes that can be a good thing! Discover everything from simple solitaire bands to quirky designs and colourful gemstones.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? No
Find out more: Liberty

Mappin & Webb

yellow diamond ring

Alongside Rolex watches, designer jewellery and pre-owned pieces, Mappin & Webb offer a huge range of engagement rings, with everything from classic styles to unique creations on its website. You can create a bespoke piece if you prefer, or browse its range of gemstone rings instead. We love this delicate number featuring yellow and white pear cut diamonds. 
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Mappin & Webb

Purely Diamonds

simple gold and silver rings

With plenty of recent, top-rated reviews online, Purely Diamonds is a safe bet for all your engagement ring needs. It's a British business that has been around since 1979, and makes all its jewellery at its London workshop in Farringdon. Refine your search online by style, stone shape or metal. 
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Purely Diamonds


pave band with teardrop diamonds

Jewellery icon Goldsmiths is a major player in the engagement ring world. It offers hundreds of styles, from halo to cluster, vintage, three-stone and more, as well as bridal ring sets if you’d like to get ahead and start thinking about your wedding ring too.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? No, but it does offer a bespoke wedding ring service
Find out more: Goldsmiths

Ernest Jones

Hand with diamond ring

Ernest Jones is a reliable big-name brand that offers a vast collection of engagement rings. You’ll find something for every budget and style here, with a comprehensive list of filters allowing you to really drill down your search. Alongside Ernest Jones rings, it also sells an array of designer brands, from Vera Wang to Thomas Sabo.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Ernest Jones


Emerald square ring

Fenton offers a comprehensive selection of gemstone rings, lab grown and natural diamond rings, plus simple wedding bands. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your engagement ring needs!
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Fenton

Brilliant Earth

gemstone rings and diamond rings

Brilliant Earth specialises in ethical jewellery, from offering lab-grown and pre-owned diamonds that are never newly mined, to using only recycled metals. It also offers a decent selection of gemstones if you're after an alternative to classic diamonds.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Brilliant Earth

Lark & Berry

Plaited white gold ring

All of Lark & Berry’s engagement rings are made with lab-grown diamonds to offer a more ethical approach to luxury. They’re on the pricier side, with pre-designed options starting at £2,825, but its commitment to using only sustainable materials, and ability to customise every ring to your exact requirements, means you do have to pay a premium.
Does it offer a bespoke ring service? Yes
Find out more: Lark & Berry

They said 'yes?! Congratulations. Now, it's time to start planning the wedding. Read this handy guide if you've just got engaged and aren't sure what to do next.

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