Open book

Buying an Engagement Ring

Find the one. Check.

Ask her father for her hand in marriage. Check.

Buy engagement ring.

Hmmmm.... Buying an engagement ring can be an overwhelming task. There´s a lot of pressure: it´s a symbol of your love for your girlfriend, and it´s a token of your willingness to take your relationship to the next level. It doesn´t help that your fiancé will be showing off the ring to her friends and family


What should I be thinking about when buying a diamond engagement ring?

The classic engagement ring is composed of two parts: the diamond or diamonds and a setting. The best decision is one that involves finding the engagement ring setting she'll love; you should then devote the remainder of your budget to a beautiful diamond.


How Much Should I Invest?

This is an emotional event, and a purchase that will last a lifetime. The two-month salary convention is the traditional-but-slightly out-dated starting point. Marmalade advice is to focus on value and quality – regardless of how much you invest.

Before you start your journey, have a figure in mind and do your research. Be prepared to stretch your budget a bit if you find something perfect.


Choose the Ring She'll Love

Discovering what kind of ring she likes can be a challenge if you want to keep your proposal a secret.

Harness your inner James Bond for a bit of old–style reconnaissance. When you´re with your girlfriend, pay attention to the jewellery she wears. Does she wear a lot of gold? Maybe she´s a silver or platinum woman. Does she like simple, understated pieces? Or does she favour the big, glitzy variety?

Think about her personality: is she an outgoing girl who you know is going to want to show off her ring to everyone she meets? Then go for something big and sparkly.

Is she more reserved and simple in her taste, and doesn´t wear much jewellery at all? Then the hunt should be on for some understated and elegant.

We´ve helped hundreds find the perfect ring, so call us or pop in, and we´ll share our oodles of ideas and suggestions to help you find the perfect ring for your perfect lady.


I don´t know her ring size...

We usually make our rings for stock in an L, M or N, if we´ve not met the lady in question and sized her in store. We normally suggest that we make a stock size, and if it needs tweaking after the event, we can always size it professionally for you after your big day.

One good way to get your girlfriend´s ring size is to sneak out with a ring that she isn´t wearing and bring it to us to be measured. If you want to maintain the surprise factor, you´ll have to be sneaky about this. Swipe a ring from her jewellery box while she´s getting ready in the bathroom or recruit one of her friends to pocket a ring while she´s at her house. It should go without saying that getting a ring she doesn´t wear often will be easier to get away with.

We offer one free resize after purchase, we can do more than one re size, but it´s not great to do multiple resizing as this can make the ring thinner at the back.


Should it be a surprise?

We see so many more guys come in with their partners to pick out the ring, these days.

Sure, that equality is lovely and getting your wife-to-be to pick out the ring she wants means that the ring will fits and that she´ll like it, but we think it´s a bit of a shame.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show her how thoughtful and romantic you are.

Who doesn´t love a surprise? Really? Girls adore being proposed to – it buys into all those girlhood dreams of romance and knights in shining armour swooping her off her feet.

If you can successfully pull off this surprise, you will be the subject of envious conversations among your girlfriend´s friends, it´ll be a definite brownie point with your future mother-in-law, and your mates will silently acknowledge your achievement.

Making the engagement ring a surprise will take some work, but it´s well worth the time and money invested.

Surprising her is the only way to go, of course. Some women will insist that they pick out the ring. Some families have heritage heirloom pieces to use as an engagement ring. Check with her family and friends and go with your gut. Whatever you do, though ... make it perfect!


Choose the Right Diamond.

Marmalade bring you the knowledge you need to make the best decision. Whether you want the largest diamond, the highest-quality diamond, or a balance of diamond size and quality, we'll make sure you have a full understanding to make your engagement perfect.


Choosing Your Perfect Diamond Shape

To start, try and find out what shape she likes: round, oval, princess-cut, emerald-cut, Asscher-cut, marquise-cut, radiant-cut, pear-shaped, and heart-shaped diamonds. The majority of diamond engagement rings today are set with a round diamond. But we can make any ring in any shape – your wish is our command. Listen for the subtle hints, ask her friends and family. Some hands suit different diamond shapes better, have a look at her other jewellery see what she tends to like. We can source any shape diamond in any size for you.


Choosing Your Diamond Size

One of the best and simplest ways to determine which size diamond will suit her best is to find out what size she is hoping for.

If she has never told you, consider speaking to some of her friends -- they probably know.

There are some magic ´target weights´ when choosing diamonds e.g. 1/2ct, 3/4ct, 1ct, 1.5ct, 2ct etc. 'Under-sizes' are diamonds that weigh just below a magic weight. If you want a good value 1-carat diamond why not go for a 0.95carat stone, comparing to a 1-ct diamond of the same proportions even most jewellers wouldn´t be able to tell the difference and you will spend less money. Of course, little tricks like this means there aren´t manythat many under-size diamond available on the market because diamond cutters always aim to achieve a target weight. We will let you know what´s available when we talk.


Do you have different carat-weightdiamonds than the choices on your website?

Unlike a lot of other sites, all the items our site has are handmade by us and are in stock. If you want a different diamond, we will source it for you and arrange an appointment for a private viewing. If you would like us to quote for a specific size of diamond, please contact us to discuss it in more detail.


I can't see the exact carat, clarity or colour of diamond I want. Do you have more options?

Of course we do! If you can´t find your dream ring online, please contact us and, over a chat, we´ll work out what you want and source the loose diamonds for you.


Buying an Eternity Ring


Wedding Bands


Bespoke Handmade Jewellery

If you would like expert advice on any aspect of our diamond ring designs please call us on 0208742 1178 we can then discuss with you your requirements to help you with the perfect design


I have an idea for a ring; can it be made?

Most definitely. Our workshop team are all professional goldsmiths and have worked and trained at all the major haute joillarie houses. After an initial consultation, we can produce either a hand drawn ´paint up´ or a selection of photo realistic CAD images, so you can see exactly how the design will appear in real life. Our design service is totally free of charge, mainly because we love doing it.


I have seen a ring and it's not on your website. Can it be made?

If it´s physically possible to make, our teamwill eagerly get to work and make it. We have to check ring you have seen is not a trademarked or copyrighted design, though.


Where can I get more information to help me choose?


Precious Metals and Hallmarks - a Guide

What is the difference between platinum, white gold and silver?

Three of the most recognised and adored metals on the planet, platinum, white gold and silver are really rather different.

Rarer and heavier than gold, platinum´s stunning shimmer frames a diamond perfectly, and is used in jewellery for its strength and purity: while 18 carat gold is only 75% pure, platinum is nearer 95% pure, making it resistant to tarnishing and hypoallergenic, which makes it ideal for sensitive skin.

To make white gold, 75% pure gold is mixed with other metals, traditionally nickel, but now palladium, which results in a stunning white alloy. Rhodium is sometimes used to enhance the surface of white gold – and at Marmalade, we love to give white gold jewellery a new lease of life with a refinish rhodium plate items.

Silver is a far less expensive metal and is relatively soft. Sure, silver tarnishes, but sterling silver jewellery has long lasting beauty, which is maybe why it´s a leading metal in fashion jewellery. (Cont...)


What does 'carat' mean?

This lucky little word has a couple of meanings. When it´s used to describe gold, it reveals how pure the gold is. Gold is a soft metal, so it´s mixed with other metals to give it the strength and longevity so beautiful a metal deserves. The lower the carat, the lower the gold content.

  • 9ct 37.5% pure gold
  • 14ct 58.5% pure gold
  • 18ct 75% pure gold
  • 22ct 91.6% pure gold

To describe the weight of a gemstone, the word 'carat' is also used. One carat is about 0.2 gram of gem. Gems cost a lot of money, so when they are weighed they are weighed extremely carefully. The carat is divided into points, and 100 points make one carat. A stone weighing half a carat may also be described as weighing 50 points. Look at our gemstone guide for more information.


Hallmarks – Your protection


General Advice and Information about Jewellery


Care of Jewellery

To keep your jewellery dazzling for a long time, you should take care of them – same with everything, really!

Bring your best jewellery pieces in to Marmalade annually, and we´ll give them a spot of TLC, carry out any repairs and give them a good clean. If you´re bringing in a piece we sold or made for you, your annual TLC is on the house.

Day to day, though, there are several things you can do to keep your jewellery tip-top:

  • Keep hairspray and perfume away from metals or pearls to avoid discolouration.
  • Take your jewellery off for housework or gardening. It´ll enjoy the breakand will feel much better for not being in that kind of toiling environment.
  • Keep household chemicals well away from your jewellery.
  • Jewellery gleams when you use a dedicated jewellery cleaning product on your jewellery. Not so much when you don´t.
  • Don´t forget Marmalade offer a free-of-charge, while-you-wait jewellery steam-cleaning service. We´re nice like that.
  • A soft-lined box or pouch is the best place to store your jewellery when you´re not wearing it.
  • Diamond pieces don´t store well together – they can scratch each other. Keep them apart!


  • If the string on a pearl or beaded necklace breaks, bring it straight in to Marmalade for restringing.
  • Be aware that simple things like clapping your hands together can cause a surprising amount of damage when wearing rings on both hands. Try clapping with one hand!


Care of Silver

Avoid wearing all jewellery but especially silver in chlorinated water. This will discolour it. Too much light and air will also tarnish it. Keep silver in a dark, cool and dry place. If it does tarnish, lightly buff it with a silver polishing cloth, and steer clear of jewellery dip.


Care of Gold

Keep your gold glittering with these simple steps: Soap causes gold to appear dull and dingy, so remember to remove your jewellery when you shower or bathe. A soft jewellery polishing cloth with tarnish preventive will help you keep the gold pieces lustrous and shining, so use one.



Care of Gemstones

It's simply a matter of knowing what and what not to do when taking care of your precious stones.

  • Rule number 1: wipe your precious-stone jewellery with a clean soft damp cloth after wearing. This little habit will ensure that your jewellery is always looking its best.
  • Store your gemstone jewellery in a soft pouch when you´re not wearing it.
  • Avoid salt water and harsh chemicals such as chlorine bleach or detergents because they can cause damage. The chemicals erode the finish and polish of the gems, leaving them dull. Hairspray, perfume and perspiration can also cause dullness if not regularly cleaned off.