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Diamond And Jewellery Blog | Poggenpoel

Lifestyle Considerations When Choosing An Engagement Ring Design - Wear and Tear.

Posted by Johan Poggenpoel on Jul 28, 2017 4:59:46 PM


The importance of lifestyle and occupation considerations cannot be overstated, and often minor changes to the engagement ring design can greatly improve your lifetime experience with the piece.

First of all - everyone knocks and bumps their ring at least a few times per day with varying degrees of force. Engagement rings should be able to withstand the vast majority of these impacts, but they’re far from bulletproof.

Ensuring a setting is sturdy takes effort, experience and an unwavering commitment to quality in terms of minimum specifications, especially in the area of prong/claw width. This is a great example of a stunning diamond that will be missing in action before December. 

Wear and tear on engagement rings.-1.jpg

This is where things get risky;

  • Any hard knock warrants a visit to your jeweller. We offer thorough cleanings and inspections free of charge for the lifetime of the ring. If a bump at breakfast is bugging you for more than a minute - come over. You should be enjoying your ring.
  • The accumulation of small knocks and bumps might slightly compromise the setting’s structure. 1 000 knocks might not pose any risk, but bump 1001 - damage. Visit us once a year for a check-up, and you’ll have reset the counter to 0.
  • “We’ll beat any quote” jewellers. If a jeweller’s sole mission is to be the cheapest he’s not caught up in quality. His products didn’t bring in foot traffic so he’s betting price will. Jewellers don’t move into the red on a ring. If he’s promised to beat my quote he’ll be digging in areas like trimming the design (to dangerous low levels) or skimping all round on labour hours and quality. I’m not writing this as an extremely exclusive jeweller that charges 300% more than everyone else. We’re very often the best priced, but we don’t do any discounts, because we don’t cut corners on your ring. A rare attitude.

Step 1: Fine-tune the design.

Some designs are just more durable than others.

Have a chat with your Poggenpoel designer about your occupation, hobbies and lifestyle.

If there are any design issues that will compromise the longevity of an engagement ring we’ll mention it and offer practical solutions and ideas. Our commitment to quality is infallible, and we won’t manufacture a ring that wouldn’t stand the test of time. We’d rather lose the sale than craft remotely compromised designs. We’re thousands of engagement rings in, and we have never had a single return due to poor quality.

A few occupations that are notoriously hard on engagement rings;

  • Teachers. I don’t know why people think primary school teacher’s hands have an easy life?
  • Athletes and fitness junkies that don’t want to worry about their engagement rings 24/7.
  • Nurses and doctors.
  • Construction and design jobs where samples of granite, tiles and other hard materials  are handled frequently.
  • Chefs.
  • Stay at home moms.
  • Dominatrixes.

On any design issues it’s always rewarding to get feedback from our Head of Design, Christo. He’s in charge of our design team that cooks up at least 15 stunning designs per day (a level of +/-4 000 per year). At an Average Joe Jeweller (AJJ) a 20 ring month would be massive. Let’s be generous and say AJJ keep this 20 ring per month level up all year. At this pace they will have to design for 16 years to get to 4 000. Christo is qualified to chip into the conversation.

Christo You’re Up!

A lot of what makes a good design is just common sense applied properly. No one ever falls at my feet at the end of a ring discussion worshiping me as the All-Wise-Design-Sage, but I see my fair share of “Aha!”, “But of course!” and “Why didn't I think of that?”.

Regardless of your design preference chances are excellent that we’ve previously designed and manufactured very similar or identical rings. We’re most probably not starting on a zero when working on your design. We give a lot of headspace given to ring designs. And you have access to that wealth of experience. Come in for a coffee and we’ll have a no pressure meeting that bypasses sales consultants for time being. You and your engagement ring’s proudest moment is when you drop that knee and pop open that box, but your ring’s life only starts there. From that moment on it lives on your fiance’s finger and does everything she does. Lets plan for that.

This is a highly tailored part of the ring design, so it is difficult to give a general spread, but here is what we consider:

Setting Styles;

We’re very confident in our claw settings, and the difference between a four or six claw setting is mainly visual. The four claw draws the eye towards a square where the six or eight claw setting draws the eye into a circle. If, however, the ring is going to be at risk of frequent hard impact and one claw were to fail you will find the five remaining claws will hold a diamond securely in place. Tube and tension settings seem slightly lower in popularity these days but both offer clean lines and decreased chance of something catching on the ring.


No one wants an overly high setting. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s also risky to be accidentally banging your ring around all day. Height is just another design element that needs to be in perfect harmony to the others.

In fear of a tower of babel inspired ring folks often overshoot and think a ring should be as flat and low as technically possible.

I get that and there are scenarios where I recomend exactly that. But it is a lot less than you think. A design often comes out richer, fuller and just generally better if it is allowed to breath a bit in the height department. This does not mean we do not take the height into consideration regarding the practicality of the ring. Let’s take a look at what I like to call the flow of the design, and consider what the ring does with the height it has?

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  • The left most ring, our Janess, has a single thickness all the way around. This type of design puts a lot of pop on the centre stone but, for some lifestyles the claw is slightly exposed and would take some punishment.
  • The next ring, Eline, just brings up subtle shoulders to support the stone and creates a sort of “ramp” for impact to bounce over the ring. This is a great design feature and should be practical for most lifestyles.
  • The third ring in the line, Ebele, offers rounded shoulders to the ring. This profile properly shields the ring and is recommended for anyone who works a lot with their hands.
  • The last one is the Eleanor, a second variant of the rounded shoulders. This is the type of approach we typically recommend for medical professionals, with smooth edges and minimal steps.

I analysed these rings purely on their practical appeal, irrespective of aesthetics. We can always make a plan to make a design work. Details such as halo’s, filigree, vintage finishes or anything that you would like remains on the table, we will just be smarter when we put everything together. The practicality of the ring is highly important and we treat it as such, but the first job of a ring is to take breath away, to wow and to bring forth tears of joy.

Step 2; Choose the right metal and gemstones.

100% pure gold (24k) is soft. Using moderate force you can actually indent your nail into a nugget. True story. Unless you’re looking for a rose or yellow colour, palladium and platinum are way more durable than 18k gold. Little fact; the platinum group metals account for about 90%+ of the work we do.

All gemstones other than diamonds will pick up scratches in all shades of severity. What can we do? The world is abrasive. 

Moissanite, sapphire and ruby are the most durable diamond alternatives. We stock all three if you'd like to come over and take a look. 

Diamonds are a great choice for an engagement ring and the reason isn’t: because de Beers.

This is the first piece of jewellery you’ll be wearing every day… all day… for a few decades (hopefully). A diamond will look just as great in 30 year’s time as it does today. Since it’s so durable we offer an upgrade plan where you receive 100% credit for your Poggenpoel™ diamond purchase whenever you wish to upgrade. When you trade in your diamond it will be as good as new.

Step 3; Good old routine maintenance.

Regardless of design, have your ring visit us for a clean and check-up (on the house) at least once per year, and after any significant knock. We use microscopes to check for any fractures in the metal and run every ring though a quality control cycle as if it was manufactured today.

It’s your ring, but I’m proud of our work, and I’d like to keep it in a top-notch state for you.

A good mindset would be to think of your engagement ring in the same vein as your smartphone. It’s an expensive everyday item that needs some extra care and TLC. Just keep it in mind.

Awesome! That’s it. If you have any questions, I’m available in the comments or you can reach out via johan@poggenpoel.com

You’ll have a great time at our studios and I highly encourage a visit. To book a time you can reach the Pretoria studio at 012 111 0525 and Rosebank at 010 020 6811.

Take care.

Johan Poggenpoel

Topics: Engagement Ring Advice, Diamonds, Palladium, Gemstones, Custom Engagement Rings