How to Choose the Perfect
Options are a good thing. Except when you have so many that you don't know where to begin. Well this handy how-to-buy-a-diamond-engagement-ring guide should help.
The cut is and is considered the most important factor when purchasing a stone. It is what gives diamonds that other-worldly sparkle while hiding blemishes and determining the shape, size and facets of the stone.
When done correctly, diamond cutters pay close attention to proportion and symmetry to allowing for maximum:
Brightness: the light reflected from the diamond
Fire: how the light is scattered through the diamond to create a rainbow of light
Scintillation: the amount of sparkles that cross the surface of a diamond as it moves under light
How cut is graded:
Ideal > Near Ideal > Excellent > Very Good > Good > Fair > Poor
Focus on cut, rather than color or clarity, for the diamond with the most
sparkle and beauty.
Diamonds come in a broad range of colors. Traditionally, white diamonds are used in engagement rings. The top of the scale, boasts "near colorless" or the whitest, and most expensive of diamonds, moving down the scale, you begin to see hints of yellow or brown.
How color is graded:
Color is graded on a 23-grade scale ranging from D (near colorless) to Z (more yellow/brown)
Moving down the color scale toward H or I lets you buy a diamond that still
appears white, but is more common and thus more affordable.
The clarity grade is a reminder that, after all, a diamond is a thing of nature — and like most natural things, it's rarely perfect. Most diamonds have flaws, known as inclusions or blemishes. A good cut will hide the blemishes or work around them. The clarity grade measures these blemishes.
How color is graded:
f–if Flawless or Internally Flawless
vvs1–vvs2 Very Very Slight Inclusions
vs1–vs2 Very Slight Inclusions
SI1– SI2 Slight Inclusions
I1– I3 Inclusions
Many inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Looking to save some cash?
Choose a lower grade diamond and have a good look - if you can't see the
blemishes you can probably accept a lower grade and save on cost without
Carat is a measurement of weight. Carat is the biggest factor in the price of the diamond and even small differences can often result in a disproportionate spread in cost.
How carat is graded:
Diamonds are graded by carat (ct) and points - with 100 points equalling one carat.
If shaving off cost on a diamond, start by looking at a diamond 10 or 15
points less than a diamond you like. It's likely you'll have difficulty seeing a
big difference, but you may save hundreds of dollars.
THE CURVES: What's your shape?
Like people, diamonds come in different shapes - and factor in to the ring's overall style.
What you choose is based on personal preference. Most common shapes are:
An elegant, beloved classic, the solitaire features a single stone with a plain mounting. Solitaires are one of the most popular engagement ring settings.
Halo: Halo engagement ring settings feature a center diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds. The smaller diamonds makes the center stone appear larger and adds to the ring's overall sparkle.
Three stone engagement rings consist of a center diamond flanked by two smaller side diamonds, accentuating the size and brilliance of the center stone.
A pave engagement ring is encrusted with very small diamonds along the band to give the appearance of a solid diamond surface. The result is such that the diamonds appear to blend together for extraordinary fire and brilliance.
Diamond band engagement rings have dazzling diamonds set through either half or all the way around the ring band.
Soft, white hue
40% harder than 14k gold; helps engravings look sharper
Scratches over time but use polish to remove
Must be 95% pure platinum to be sold in U.S.
30x rarer than gold
24k Gold is extremely soft
Can be buffed with soft cloth to keep shiny and smooth
Measured in karats, gold is traditionally alloyed with other metals to add strength and color.
24k = 100% gold
Comes in 10K, 14K, or 18K depending on the ratio of metal alloy to gold
Pure silver is similar in hue to platinum, but less shiny
Very soft, like gold
Needs to be kept in tarnish-proof storage and be taken care of
Must be 92.5% pure silver to be sold in U.S.
One of the most affordable precious metals