The Northcote Jewellers – Clapham, Battersea, Richmond, Putney, Chelsea, Kensington


Our Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring and preparing for a proposal is a very exciting time. Your partner will remember this day for the rest of their lives and with this comes a certain pressure to make it a magical experience. Choosing the perfect ring involves some key considerations; so the Northcote Jeweller have put together a short list of pointers that we think can assist you with the process. We have set out to share some wisdom and experience.

Gemological Institute of America

Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no agreed-upon standard by which diamonds could be judged. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world. Non GIA diamonds are simply those diamonds that have not been put through formal laboratory grading thus bringing their price down in comparison. It does not reflect the quality of the diamond, your trusted jeweller will supply you with the details on your diamond.

Beautiful. Rare. Cherished. Each diamond is unique and is a miracle of time, place and change. And each has specific qualities that establish its value

Colour Grade

 The more absent the colour in a diamond the more expensive the diamond will be worth. GIA have a colour grading system of D-to-Z. This measures the colour (or absence of colour) by making comparisons to masterstones under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions. A colour value is then established. Perfectly colourless diamonds are infact very rare and it is usually the graded ‘near colourless’ diamonds that are used in jewellery mostly. If a diamond features a colour other than yellow or brown or is further down the scale than Z, it is called a fancy colour diamond.

Source: GIA

Clarity Grade

To understand diamond clarity, we must first understand how diamonds are created. Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.

  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

Inclusions help gemologists to determine natural diamonds from synthetic. They occur as a result of the natural way diamond formation happens.

Source: GIA

Cut Grade

Diamonds are renowned for their ability to transmit light and sparkle so intensely. We often think of a diamond’s cut as shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear), but what diamond cut actually does mean how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. GIA specialists use high tech equipment to determine certain angled measurements which directly effects how the diamond will return light to the eye and the quality of its beauty and brilliance.

Source: GIA

Carat Weight

Carat weight is the defining term for diamond weight. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams. It is worth noting that because larger diamonds are more rare, usually all other factors being equal, a single diamond of the same weight as multiple diamonds will always be more expensive. For example a 1 carat stone would be worth more than four 0.25 carat stones. Carat weight is very specific, it subdivides each carat in to 100 points for an extremely accurate measurement.

Source: GIA

Ring Size

One of the initial things you may want to think about is finding your partners ring size. There are a couple of ways in which to do this, try borrowing a ring that is worn on the wedding finger or asking a family member or friend to assist you. Alternatively if you can get the circumference of their finger with a tape measure then the size can be established. Creativity in finding excuses and ways to do this will serve you well!


The budget for your engagement ring is a very personal thing. It is however something we advise you to make clear to your jeweller from the offset. This will enable them to show you pieces that attune to what suits you best and help you to keep within the budget you have set. Some people spend a month’s salary and some choose to spend 3 month’s. The market caters perfectly with a wide range to choose from.

The more information you disclose in the initial process, the easier it will be to help you find the ring for you.  

At The Northcote Jeweller our designs are inspired by Art Deco and vintage styles. We house stunning traditional diamonds and are well known for our vibrant gemstone combinations. If you are looking for an engagement ring that is unusual or somewhat unconventional, we have some truly beautiful rings to show you. Our virtual appointment system will allow to view a selection of rings via video call. A collection of pieces will be organised based upon your personal requirements. We are very excited to be able to open our doors to you from April 12th 2021.  A member of our team will be able to assist you in person from this date forward.


Have you considered the unique option of having a bespoke ring made for you based upon your own design? It does not have to be overtly expensive and every element is customisable. If you have a clear idea, great, but if not we can assist you in working through the design process every step of the way. At The Northcote Jeweller we have decades worth of experience in making jewellery for many happy customers. If you are interested in learning more please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Rings from The Collection

18ct Yellow Gold GIA Certified Ring
18ct Yellow Gold Emerald Cut GIA Certified Diamond Ring 0.50ct
18ct Yellow Gold GIA Certified Diamond Ring 0.90ct
18ct Rose Gold GIA Certified Diamond Ring
18ct White Gold GIA Certified Diamond Ring
18ct White Gold GIA Certified Trilogy Diamond Ring
Non GIA diamond engagement rings at The Northcote Jeweller

Source: The Northcote Jeweller
Source: The Northcote Jeweller

Precious Metal Options

It is important to think about the way in which the diamond will reflect from the metal you choose. White metals such as platinum and white gold will naturally make your diamond look whiter. Rose and yellow gold will give a slight colouration to the diamond. It is possible to combine metals so that the diamonds are housed in white metal even if the shank is a darker gold. Platinum is the whitest, most durable of all the metals and has a natural high polish shine to it.

White gold is made up of pure gold, mixed with alloy metals that have a silvery-white colour such as palladium and silver. White gold is often rhodium plated to give it the same platinum look. It is far more durable than silver and a lot higher in value, although not as expensive as platinum. White gold has become far more popular than classic yellow gold and is statistically the most popular choice of engagement ring metal. It has a fabulous quality feel and a contemporary and stylish look. It is entirely personal preference which metal you choose.

Wedding Ring Options

There are a wide range of different wedding bands on the market and we can guide you through the options. Depending on the design of the engagement ring you may need a straight band or a customised ring to fit the shape of the ring. We can talk you through all the options.

We cannot wait to welcome you all back into The Northcote Road Jewellers!

Please book a virtual appointment or come in and see us from the 12th April.


Gemological Institute of America


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