Though wedding and engagement rings are valuable for the precious materials used to craft them like gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and gemstones, most people will agree that their sentimental value goes far beyond their monetary value. For this reason, properly matching the style of the wedding and engagement rings to your prospective bride is one of the most important steps on your way to a most memorable proposal. If she cares for large stones, for example, you may want to focus more on the size of the diamond, rather than on the ring’s design. But, if you know she likes special settings, you should consider looking at designer settings. And then there is the metal of her preference and matching the engagement ring to the wedding ring. In short, the options are many and there is a lot to consider. Rest assured that with the help of this simple guide, you will find the perfect engagement and wedding rings for your bride-to-be.
As you are probably well aware, when buying an engagement ring or a wedding ring the first thing to consider is your budget. The budget should be rationed between the diamond and the engagement ring in which it is set. For example, if you decide the stone is more important you might want to look for the best diamond you can afford set in a simple mounting in 14kt gold. And if your bride prefers white, then you should consider a smaller diamond with a more elaborate platinum setting with diamond accent stones that will enhance the shine and beauty of the center stone. Fortunately, the selection range is so vast; anyone can find something within their budget. Here are some factors to consider.
Step 1 – Metal
First you will need to decide from which metal your ring will be made. If you are uncertain of your choice, you might like to know that the two most popular choices are platinum and 18K gold. Both are lustrous, durable metals and, most importantly, beautiful materials to work with. 14kt Gold is also wonderful to work with and is offers a less expensive alternative.
Step 2 – Setting Style
Next you will need to choose the stone mounting, also referred to as the setting of the stone.
There are four main styles.
Solitaire settings are the most common setting of a diamond on an engagement ring, in which a single diamond is mounted on top of the ring by four prongs, or by a circular band of metal around the edge of the stone. The latter is called a bezel setting.
More intricate settings can be found by seeking out designer jewelry.
Settings with Side Stones
Another popular setting includes side stones. Small diamonds or gemstones are set into the body of the ring as an addition to a solitaire setting or as a way to mount the main diamond.
This adds sparkle to a ring, and when colored gemstones are used the ring shines with a burst of color. Furthermore, setting the ring with side stones provides sturdier protection to the center stone.
Settings with Matching Bands
When a bride wants to wear her wedding ring on the same finger as her engagement ring, settings with matching bands is something to consider. The design can be as elaborate or as plain as you wish. Take your time to thoroughly sort through the wide selection at your choice.
The three-stone setting has recently gained popularity amongst soon to be married couples. The three stones, usually all diamonds, symbolize the past, present and future of your journey together as a couple.
And today, thanks to advanced technology, you can even create your own ring, making it as personal as it gets. Just bear in mind this approach requires designing skills!
Matching the Ring to the Bride
In the search for the perfect engagement ring, you always find yourself asking that eternal question: “Will she like it?” You’ll find a bit of sleuthing always provides an answer. Examine the type of jewelry your bride to be already owns, consult her close friends and relatives or try to discreetly find out from her on your own. The information you gather will go a long way in showing her how much you care.
If secrecy is not an issue, you can always shop together. Traditionally the man would surprise his wife to be with the engagement ring, but things have changed and today many women prefer to choose their own engagement ring. If your beloved shares this preference, you may propose with a simpler ring and kindly tell your partner you left the most important decision in the proposal to the wiser person between you both; she gets to choose her engagement ring.
There are very few purchases in life as important and large as the purchase of a wedding ring. Choosing the right diamond can be tricky to many people. The information below will provide you with all of the basic information you need to guide you confidently through this process.
Step 1 – Budget
Every culture has a guideline regarding the budget of engagement and wedding rings and that is exactly what it is, a guideline. Regardless, there are very few purchases in life as important and large as the purchase of wedding and engagement rings. Choosing the right diamond can be tricky to many people. The information below will provide you with all of the basic information you need to guide you confidently through this process. Remember, whichever ring you chose it will last for generations to come, so just focus on your love and you should do just fine.
|Step 2 – Shape|
As each diamond shape has its own unique aesthetics, different people tend to prefer different shapes. Bear in mind that suitability is much affected by properly matching the shape of the diamond with the type of the finger. This quick guide will teach you the basic differences between the different diamond shapes.
Round-This is the most popular and traditional shape of diamond. Diamond cutters have been working with this shape for hundreds of years, maximizing brilliance and shine that can be obtained. This shape offers great flexibility regarding the grades for clarity, color, and cut while retaining its brilliance and shine as you would want it to.
Marquise-This is the ideal shape for those who are looking to emphasize size. It is common to combine this stone with other shapes such as pear. This unique shape creates the effect of longer and more slender hands. The outline of a diamond is determined by its length to width ratio, which also provides some image of the shape and look of the diamond.
Emerald-The most impressive quality of this shape is its inner structure, as it retains the original diamond’s clarity in a vast range of rectangular shapes and sizes. Remember, regardless of the shape of your choice, you must always ask to see the clarity plot and check for the diamond’s certificate.
Radiant-These diamonds are known for their unique corners that are trimmed with utmost care and perfection. The sparkle of this cut makes it perfect for all shape combinations, even with round and baguette, to produce the most exquisite ring. Again, since the dimensions of these shapes are numerous we recommend you learn the length to width ratio. This will give you a good idea as to how the diamond will look from above before you come in to purchase it.
Pear-The teardrop shape of this diamond is what makes it so romantic. They are specially cut to produce maximum shine and their elongated slender shape will give any finger a slimmer appearance. And, of course, the romanticism associated with this shape bestows a softer, more delicate look upon any ring in which it is set.
Princess-The Princess cut diamonds come in both square and rectangular forms. Due to their cut these diamonds are especially brilliant and their color is displayed in a most unique way. As oppose to other diamonds that display their color mostly in the center, the Princess diamonds display distinct color in the corners as well.
Oval-The traditional cut of the oval diamond is a length to width ratio between 1.33 and 1.66 and its shine is mesmerizing to behold. This is a very popular cut in all types of jewelry, so your bride to be could easily match it with the rest of her attire. Another great advantage to this cut is that it too, like the marquise and the oval diamond, gives the hand and fingers a slimmer, more delicate look.
Trilliant-These triangularly shaped diamonds are considered to be one of the fanciest cuts available; the perfect choice for those who are looking to put on a show. With 50 facets cut in equal dimensions, these diamonds are astonishingly beautiful in their symmetry and radiance. Their unique shape and appearance are known to attract looks and to awe all who are surrounding.
Heart-This unique diamond shape was originated from the more traditional pear shape, when a cleft was made in the top of the pear. As heart is the symbol of love and diamonds are the symbol of eternity, this shape is a most romantic and meaningful choice for an engagement ring. We recommend matching the size of your heart shaped diamond according to the mounting size on your ring for that extra snug fit.
Asscher-Often confused with the emerald cut, the pavilion of this almost square shaped diamond is cut in a rectangular style and this is what makes it different and so popular amongst many celebrities. Like other diamonds, the color you choose will be visible in the corners of the diamond, but always look at the certification and the depth ration while purchasing a diamond.
Cushion-This classic cut earned its name for its natural pillow like shape. The corners are rounded and the facets are cut larger to increase the stones natural shine as well as give rise to clarity in the appearance of the diamond. These diamonds come in special square and rectangular shapes, as upon closer look inspection you will see a combination of oval and old mine cuts.
Step 3 – Know Your C’s
The 4 famous C’s – cut, color, clarity and carat – are actually the 4 main characteristics by which the quality of a diamond is determined. Truth is you can find a large variety of diamond sizes and qualities within any given budget frame; the challenge is to determine which of the 4C’s is most important to you in order to make the best choice for you.
Cut-The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance and sparkle, thus providing direct indication to the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond. Diamonds which are badly cut can appear dull and lifeless even with perfect clarity and color. On the other hand, finely cut diamonds, in most cases, will sparkle brilliantly even with average or below average color and clarity. Perfect cuts are pretty rare and thus produce more valuable diamonds.
Color-The color of a diamond results from light passing through chemical impurities and/or defects in the crystalline structure, altering the amount of light absorption pattern making color visible to the human eye. There are many diamond colors and many hues, but the most common of them is yellow. The yellow hue/color scale ranks the lack of color with the highest letter grades and ranges from D (colorless) to Z (heavy yellow). There are also diamonds with a color grade beyond Z. These diamonds are denoted as “fancy” diamonds and are graded using their own scale and terminology. As the purity and intensity of the color increase, so do the rarity and value of the diamond.
Clarity-The clarity of a diamond is a measure of the number and type of inclusions within the diamond and on its surface. The fewer the inclusions visible under a 10X magnifier, the higher the clarity grade which ranges from flawless to heavily included.
Carat-The “carat” is, in effect, the weight and size of a diamond. The value of a diamond rises exponentially with its size. Most diamonds fall in between 0.01 carat and 1.00 in size. In other words, they range between a hundredth of a carat and a full carat in weight.
Fluorescence is another characteristic of the diamond that should be considered before buying. It refers to the blue light, which is emitted by some diamonds under black UV lights. Fluorescence is a complicated characteristic as it can either decrease or increase the worth of a diamond. Fluorescence is mostly influential while evaluating stones that have yellowish tinge as J, because strong or medium Fluorescence can make them appear white.
Now that you are more familiar with the basics, we can dive deeper into the finer details.
The more you know the more confident and calm you will be while shopping for your diamond.
The Cutting’s Edge
Even in its roughest condition, a diamond lets light pass through it. Early on in history, stone cutters realized you can get extra sparkle by faceting the diamond, and made it their goal to find the best combination of facet size, shape and angle that will produce the most beautiful sparkle. Eventually it was proven that the most efficient way to maximize the stone’s best qualities is one particular design of 58 facets; and this became known as the ideal cut. To this day it is a standard in the industry, and is the shape that most people associate with diamonds.
Since the course of the light through the stone creates the diamond’s sparkle, there is no overstating the importance of the skill of diamond cutters. Even the slightest variance in the angle or size of a single facet will affect the symmetry of the stone, thus affecting its value. Diamond cutting is a meticulous art within the confines of exact scientific boundaries.
This does not mean, however, that the diamonds that are cut to an ideal shape are automatically the best. Determining which future shape will produce the best effect once a particular rough diamond is polished, is an important requirement of a highly skilled cutter. Since rough diamonds come in all kinds of shapes, any one of the different diamond shapes has as much claim to being perfect as the ideal cut, particularly if it produced a larger stone. In fact, most of the world’s most famous diamonds are not ideal cuts as it did not produce the largest stone possible.
The Color Absence
Most people are not aware of that, but diamonds do have a natural color. In fact, most diamonds on sale actually have a tinge of color ranging from the faintest hint to a strong hue. Color determination, much like cutting diamonds, is a precise and most accurate process which affects the final value of the diamond.
The color of a diamond results from light passing through chemical impurities and/or defects in the crystalline structure, altering the amount of light absorption pattern making color visible to the human eye. There are many diamond colors and many hues, but the most common of them is yellow. Thus color is a normal feature in diamonds and does not automatically marks inferiority in a stone.
In fact, some diamonds with intense colors are often referred to as “fancy color” diamonds and have marvelous names like cognac, champagne and canary. In actuality, the stones possessing most intense and pure color are rarer than those that are absolutely clear; making perfectly colored pink champagne diamonds, for example, more expensive than clear diamonds of the same size and cutting.
In short, whether we discus clarity or color, purity and intensity equal rarity equal value. Here is an easy to understand color grading scale. Remember, both edges of the scale represent the rarest and most valuable stones.
D-F Absolutely colorless. This is the highest color grade and it is quite rare.
G-J Near to colorless. In this category you will find stones that can appear colorless when set in white gold or platinum, making them a little more affordable and perfect for wedding and engagement rings.
K-M Faint natural ting. These diamonds may appear “dirty” inside, thus they are not recommended for fancy jewelry of any kind.
N-R Very light natural color. Laboratories use a list of 27 color hues that span the full spectrum for colored diamonds and other precious and semi-precious gems.
S-Z Fancy colored diamonds. These can reach grades even beyond Z and are also graded using separate systems which indicate the characteristics of the color, and not just its presence.
Congratulations, you’ve decided to get engaged and started looking for an engagement ring. You must be overwhelmed with all the decisions you need to make. Hopefully, we can help set your mind at ease in regards to some aspects.
Firstly, you’ll need a diamond. Of course, you know that. That’s why you’re here. The question is should you buy online or go to your local brick and mortar store. As there are many advantages and disadvantages to each diamond shopping method, we recommend examining them both. After carefully considering all aspects you are sure to make the best decision for you.
Online Shopping Advantages
Price: It’s well known that diamond prices offered by online stores are lower than what is offered in retail stores. No doubt, this is great leverage online shopping has over brick and mortar store. The reason why online prices can reach as low as 50% less than at the store is due to the fact that online diamond dealers simply have much less overhead than brick and mortar stores. Without all the extra overhead one can afford to offer merchandise at a much lower cost, making online shopping very tempting indeed.
Convenience: What a great joy it is to shop for diamonds while lying in bed! Searching, comparing and finding exactly what you want is so much easier with the user-friendly guides and easily navigated websites online stores provide. And of course, think of all the time and effort you will save on your search by simply opening multiple windows for the sake of comparison instead of running around town from store to store.
Selection: Having hundreds of stores at your fingertips definitely increases the range of diamond and engagement ring selection in multitudes. Online stores have enormous stocks of readily customizable products providing the largest selection possible. Many online stores in fact act as a mediating factor between the supplier and the customer and do not hold any actual stock. By doing so, they open the range of selection even further because you actually get to browse several different suppliers at one website.
Store Shopping Advantages
Firsthand impression: True, you are not professionally educated in diamonds and you would not know the difference between a quality D colored diamond and a K colored one just by looking at them. True, many online stores have magnificent and almost lifelike 3D videos of their diamonds and engagement rings to create a more tangible shopping experience. But also true, it is way too easy to modify a picture so you’re product will look better than it does in person. And besides, firsthand experience always adds to your feeling of confidence and reassurance.
Returns: For many this is a worst case scenario! Though most online diamond stores offer a 30 day full refund, you still find yourself maxed out on your card for at least 2 months, gasping for air until the matter is settled. It is fully agreed that when it comes to payment methods and returns brick and mortar stores have the full advantage. Actually, some online stores have realized that and now offer a unique new combination – purchase online and pay at the store. (Learn More)
Now that you have all the facts, you can make a calculated smart decision as to where to shop for your diamonds and engagement ring based on the criteria that suits you best. Personally we recommend you look for the certified online merchants who provide diamonds authenticity certificates and give you the option of making the actual payments at your local brick and mortar store.