Choosing an engagement ring for the love of your life can be quite difficult. The price of the ring is at first, perhaps the biggest consideration of all but later on it might become apparent that getting the RIGHT ring is the real obstacle to overcome.
Diamond engagement rings come in a mind-boggling variety of shapes, colors and styles. You can almost say that there are as many rings on this earth as there are stars in the sky, but only one particular star can make your partner’s eyes twinkle and her heart skip a beat. To help you take the guesswork out so you can concentrate on more important things like your proposal rather than on the details, here are several great tips on how to choose the perfect engagement ring. This is possibly the quickest and easiest guide you’ll ever use.
Stick to your budget – A lot of emotions come into play when looking for the right ring and it’s easy to go overboard especially if you already have money set aside, but this will surely result to financial strain which is something you do not want to start your new life on. Always keep in mind where the ring’s budget fits in the big picture and make sure that it does not take precedence over other expenses such as your wedding, honeymoon, and the cost of setting up a new household.
Get a reputable jeweler – Before you can choose a ring, you’ll need a jeweler who you feel safe disclosing sensitive information with, such as your salary and budget. A good starting point would be to check if the jeweler of your choice has a history or satisfied customers and is a member of the Jewelers of America (JBT) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Now that you have a jeweler to help you out, it’s time to learn about some of the most important details which will determine the price of your ring.
The Band – The ring itself should be a fitting platform that can showcase the quality of the diamond attached to it. The only precious metals which are worthy to be used on engagement rings are gold and platinum.
Pure gold, by itself, is too soft and can only be used in jewelry when alloyed with copper, silver, nickel, and zinc. The ratio of gold to alloy metals is what determines the carat weight. Engagement bands usually come in either 18K gold (75% gold, 25% alloy) or 14k (58.3% gold, 41.7% alloy).
Platinum, on the other hand, is almost always 95% pure and is much more durable and resistant to tarnish compared to gold. It is also hypo-allergenic which makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin. However, platinum bands are around 2-4 times more expensive than gold bands.
White gold is gold which is alloyed with a white metal such as nickel, manganese or palladium. It is often considered to be a cheaper alternative which has the same visual appeal as platinum.
The Diamond – This is the usually the one thing that the buyer is most concerned about, but the value of a diamond does not rely solely on its size alone. Jewelers look at the “4 C’s” to determine a stone’s value.
- Carat weight – This merely refers to the weight of the diamond.
- Cut – This refers to the facets, finish and proportions of the diamond. A diamond’s prized brilliance and “fire” largely depends on its cut.
- Color – It is a consensus that the less color, the better, with colorless diamonds being extremely rare. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) uses a scale to rate diamond color which starts from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow).
- Clarity – The GIA also uses a scale to rate a diamond’s clarity, with FL (flawless) being the highest, down to I (included). Flaws are either inclusions, blemishes or both. An inclusion can be a crystal or cracks embedded in the diamond while blemishes are nicks and scratched obtained through the cutting process.
- Although flawless diamonds are highly prized and are very rare, flaws can also serve as a diamond’s unique fingerprint and is a good indicator of its natural origin.
Another huge consideration when getting a diamond is its shape. This is the overall form of the diamond and should not be confused with Cut. It is interesting to know that the final shape a diamond takes greatly affects its brilliance and fire and also determines how well the ring complements the wearer’s hand. Some shapes can even conceal or reveal a diamond’s flaws. The three most popular diamond shapes are:
- Round – This is the most famous diamond shape, and for a good reason. The iconic round cut that has come to represent diamonds the world over maximizes the brilliance and reflective properties of a diamond more than any other shape.
- Princess – This is a very versatile shape in which the diamond is cut into a square with numerous facets. It does well to hide inclusions a diamond may have.
- Emerald – Emerald shaped diamonds are either square or rectangular and feature step facets and beveled corners. This shape, however, brings our inclusions and inferior color which is why it is typically done on diamonds of high clarity.