A ring to say ‘I love you’

PUBLISHED: 17:37 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:37 10 February 2014

Michael Birnie rings - for Suffolk mag buyers guide

Michael Birnie rings - for Suffolk mag buyers guide


Choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting task, but with the right help and guidance you could walk away with the perfect symbol of long-lasting love

Jewellery designer Michael Birnie and his wife Linda have years of experience in helping potential grooms (and brides) find what they’re looking for and at their shop in Bury St Edmunds you’ll find a range of pieces designed and produced by Michael, as well as collections from other niche designers.

When choosing an engagement ring, one really important aspect to consider is the metal of the ring itself.

Although he also works in gold and silver, Michael specialises in platinum jewellery and both he and Linda believe this is the best material for an engagement ring.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful metal,” Linda enthused. “I suppose we’d say it is the ultimate luxurious metal – because it’s pure, it’s rare and it will last you a lifetime.

“Platinum is 10 times rarer than gold and is only mined commercially in two places in the world – Russia and South Africa,” she added.

Another fairly new metal which is a good choice for an engagement ring is palladium, Linda said.

“Palladium has only been hallmarked (designated a precious metal for jewellery) since 2009 so it’s a very new metal to the jewellery industry,” she explained. “It came in as an alternative to white gold.”

Both palladium and platinum are good options for engagement and wedding rings because they are intrinsically white and don’t need plating to achieve their glistening look. This is in contrast to white gold, which will often need re-plating every two years or so to retain its shine.

Michael’s tips

Try not to have a pre-set idea of what you want and make sure you look at lots of different rings.

Always ask to see the wedding ring that sits with that engagement ring and be sure you’re happy with both.

Remember that some rings will need more looking after than others.

Do your research – there’s plenty of information on the internet about diamond quality and cuts.

Go for the best colour diamond you can afford – the colour is what will give it its whiteness and sparkle.

Take your time when choosing a ring and don’t feel pressurised.


Matthew Moreton of Aspens in Woodbridge offers advice for would-be grooms

Halo rings (a solitaire surrounded by a circle of smaller diamonds) are becoming popular.

If you look at coloured stones, stick to pinks and blues to “play it safe”.

Allow at least four weeks for a bespoke ring to be completed.

Antique rings are a no-no as engagement/wedding bands as they probably won’t last another lifetime. Aspens can take stones from an heirloom ring and place them in a replica ring.

Jewellers, such as Aspens, can design wedding and engagement rings to sit flush beside one another for comfort.

Everyone has one hand slightly bigger than the other. Therefore, if you steal a ring from your future bride for sizing her engagement ring, make sure you know which hand and finger she wears it on. That way you can gauge whether you need a size up or down.


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