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Jack Jahan from Ramsdens Jewellery, shares his expert tips for buying an engagement ring for marriage later in life.

Any engagement — whether or not you’ve been married before — is always a momentous occasion, and you no doubt want every detail of your proposal to be perfect. But, even if this isn’t the first time you’ve chosen an engagement ring, shopping for such an important piece of jewellery can be quite overwhelming, and there’s a lot to consider. For instance, how much should you spend, and how can you find out what sort of thing she likes without spoiling the surprise? Are they any rules or conventions to follow? What if it doesn’t fit? In this article, I’ll answer all of these questions, and share a few tips that will help you sweep her off her feet with the perfect engagement ring.

Are there any rules or traditions to follow?

When it comes to buying a ring for your second engagement, there are no strict rules or conventions to follow — it’s all a matter of personal taste and finding something that speaks to your relationship. The only consideration I would suggest is picking a style that doesn’t look too similar to your partner’s first engagement ring, to signify the unique nature of your new love. So, you may want to learn more about what their former ring looked like before you start shopping if you don’t already know. But again, this is isn’t a hard and fast rule — the most important thing is to pick something that reflects your love and your partner’s individual tastes.

Many people also believe that a person shouldn’t wear their engagement ring from a former marriage at the same time as a new ring. But, again, this is a matter of personal choice, and will likely depend on your partner’s feelings and circumstances regarding their first marriage. Even if they do decide to stop wearing their old ring, it doesn’t mean they need to part with it completely if it holds sentimental value for them. Some women choose to commemorate a spouse who has passed away by having the gems from their engagement ring re-set in a necklace or other piece of jewellery, leaving their ring finger free for their new sparkler.

How much should I spend?

Again, there are no strict rules about how much your ring should cost. You’ve probably heard the old-fashioned maxim that a ring should cost the equivalent of two months’ salary— this idea dates back to the 1930s when it was introduced as a marketing ploy by De Beers to encourage men to splash out on a diamond ring. It started out as a single month’s salary, but De Beers increased this to two during the 1980s to try and increase spending. So, it’s really not an age-old tradition at all!

Whether you follow the two-month ‘rule’ is up to you. It may be an advertising tactic, but it’s also a sensible rule of thumb that can help men get the best possible ring they can afford without going over budget. When marrying later in life, you’ll likely have more cash to splash on your ring than you did the first time around, so you can even spend a bit more than the two-month rule, if you think that’s what your partner will like.

Just remember to be sensible: there’s no point splurging half your pension on a ring you can’t really afford — it’s the thought that counts, not the price tag. It’s well worth having a conversation with your other half to find out what their priorities are: you might discover that they would rather spend more money on the wedding, or a luxurious honeymoon.

Engagement Ring

How do I find a ring that fits?

One aspect of ring shopping that many people find quite stressful is working out which size to buy. This can be especially tricky if you want your proposal to be a surprise, but there are a couple of tricks you can use. If your wife-to-be frequently wears another ring on her ring finger (that’s the third finger on the left hand, traditionally) then you could measure this when she’s not wearing it to find out her ring size.

But, try not to stress out about finding a ring that fits perfectly. Most engagement rings can be resized very quickly and affordably at a reputable jeweller, usually for around £20–50. So, there’s no need to panic if you discover it’s a little big or small on the day of your proposal.

How do I know what style she’ll like?

There are a few ways to work out what style of ring your bride-to-be might be interested in. Some ladies might have a very specific idea of what they want, in which case they might have dropped hints. I’d also recommend taking a look at the sort of jewellery she wears most often. For instance, does she prefer gold or silver jewellery? Does she like lots of flashy gems, or smaller, more subtle stones? Is she into colourful pieces, or does she usually sport simpler styles?

If you don’t feel confident making the decision yourself, you can always ask her friends — you could even ask one of her friends to take her window shopping, to find out what sort thing she likes. If you’re really uncertain, buy a simple placeholder ring, and take your bride out shopping for the real deal after she’s said yes!

Whether it’s your second, third, or even your fourth marriage, engagement is always a very special event, which can really put the pressure on you to find the right ring! Keep these tips in mind and you should have no trouble finding a ring that your other half will love.