Tradition may dictate that an engagement ring should be a surprise, lovingly picked out by whomever is offering it up to you, but for those of us with a strong sense of personal style, there’s nothing wrong with dropping some hints – after all, you’re the one who’s going to be wearing it. But where to look, what to look out for and how to be sure you don’t fall out of love (with the ring, not your other half)? This is a purchase imbued with longevity and importance, so the stakes are high. Indeed, for many of us, shopping for stones is completely out of our comfort zone.

Start with the designer – the brands that instantly appeal will tell you something about the type of ring you can make a lasting commitment to. The likes of Boucheron specialize in impeccable craftsmanship and outstanding sparkle. Its ‘Quatre Radiant Edition’ diamond rings are made up of four signature bands (including a dazzling layer of diamonds) in homage to the house’s jewelry-making heritage. Chopard’s ‘Happy Hearts’ collection includes exquisite statement rings for those with bold tastebuds. Meanwhile, Bayco’s extravagant, antique-inspired designs are popular with royalty.

If you want a classic with a twist, then Milanese jewelry maison Pomellato is sure to win your affections. Its ‘Nudo’ 18-karat rose and white gold diamond ring is encrusted with the shimmering brilliance of 0.84 carats of diamonds, placed meticulously to resemble a single stone.

For something more unconventional, there’s a clutch of independent, boundary-pushing, female-led brands who should be on your radar, too. Anita Ko, Melissa Kaye and Suzanne Kalan all create rings with an equal measure of personality and elegance. Kalan’s signature ‘Fireworks’ setting, where the stones are mounted to look as though they’ve been spontaneously scattered, is perfect for brides seeking a more modern design.

Before any ‘I dos’, take heed of the ‘don’ts’: don’t go with something you admire but feels out of kilter with the rest of your wardrobe and jewelry; this needs to be the jewel in your crown, not a standalone piece. And choose colors and styles that feel inherently ‘you’ – if that means something less traditional, then go for it. Ultimately, though, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Just like the object of your affection, if you fall in love, nothing else matters.