An engagement ring is one of the most important purchases someone will make. It is also one of the most precious gifts someone will ever receive. Since most people do not buy an excessive amount of diamonds, it can be hard to determine exactly what the “perfect” diamond is, especially when that definition is different to everyone. But, there are a few factors that you can examine that will help you find the ideal diamond ring for the special person in your life.
Deciding on the Center Stone
The center stone is the focal point of an engagement ring. It is the first feature people look at and the object of all of the “oohs” and “aahs” your fiance will receive when they are wearing the ring. You have many choices for the center stone, so there are several factors you need to keep in mind before making your final decision, including:
– The first place to start is thinking about what your partner likes and wants. If you have discussed getting engaged and perhaps even shopped for rings, this part is easier than if the proposal is a complete surprise. If you are going to make it a complete surprise, going with a round diamond is always a sure-fire choice. If she is a little more electic in taste, then you could go opt for an oval or pear cut diamond which is different enough from the classic round diamond without going too far into left field.
– The next factor you need to consider is the price point with which you are comfortable. The old standard used to be spending two-months worth of your salary, but that has gone by the wayside. You can easily find a beautiful ring without completely breaking your bank. So, choose something in the price range you can afford. If it comes from the heart, she will love it regardless of what it costs. There truly is no right amount to spend on the ring.
– Another factor to consider when choosing the best center stone is how the diamond will wear. The stone and settings you choose will determine how well the ring will hold up over time and how much maintenance it will need. Ask your jeweler if there are any special considerations of which you need to be aware before you purchase a specific setting and stone.
Cut vs. Shape
People often confuse cut and shape in terms of diamonds. But, they are two different qualities. The shape simply refers to the appearance of the stone and the cut refers to the stone’s ability to reflect light.
There are 10 common shapes of diamonds:
The Four C’s
Even people who are not familiar with the process of purchasing a diamond ring have likely heard about the “Four Cs”. The Four Cs are different categories that designate various features of the diamond that buyers should look at closely before making a final purchase. The four Cs are cut, color, clarity and carat.
The cut of a diamond is perhaps the most important feature to look for when choosing an engagement ring. The cut gives a diamond sparkle. Without a high-quality cut, even the most expensive diamond can appear dull and lifeless. Further, a poorly-cut diamond can look smaller than it actually is if the cuts are too deep.
After someone notices the sparkle of a ring, the second quality that is noticed is the stone’s color. Color does not refer to the shade of the stone (i.e. a blue, pink or chocolate diamond) but rather, the absence of color of the diamond. The less color a diamond has, the better quality it is. The color of a diamond is graded on a scale that ranges from D-Z. Diamonds with a grade of “D” are absolutely colorless and those with a grade between K-Z have noticeable color to them. The best diamonds are graded anywhere from “D” through “H”.
The clarity of a diamond is determined by the amount of small imperfections, or inclusions, a diamond has. At Mark’s Diamonds we like to stay in the “eye clean” range meaning that you won’t see any inclusions with the naked eye. Clarity grade can greatly affect the value of the diamond. Grades IF (internally flawless), VVS1, VVS2, VS1 and VS2 are considered “eye clean.”
Carat is a term most people associate with diamonds. However, many people misunderstand the term and assume it only refers to the stone’s size. But, it is actually a measurement of its weight.Often, the cut of a diamond will have an effect on its weight. Normally, the bigger a diamond is, the higher its carat value is and the more valuable it is. Carat size is linked to the size of the stone in millimeters and the price of the stone goes up exponentially when it hits critical carat weights (0.30ct, 0.40ct, 0.50ct, 0.70ct, 0.90ct,1.00ct, 1.50ct, 2.00ct, 3.00ct, 4.00ct, 5.00ct and 10.00ct). To maximize your diamond budget, look for rings that fall slightly below a critical weight as carat weight is the most determining factor in diamond price.
A brilliant-cut diamond is one that has triangular or kite shaped facets that spread outward from the center of the stone. This type of cut truly makes a diamond shine. Most often, when a diamond is presented with a brilliant-cut style, it is described as a cone-shape. One of the most popular diamond styles of all time is the round brilliant, because it has exceptional beauty and style.
A step-cut diamond is one that is either square or rectangular in shape and the facets are positioned parallel to each other. The facets on a step-cut ring appear larger than they do on other cuts of diamonds. Step-cut diamond rings are known for their beauty and clarity. The three most popular step-cut diamonds are the emerald cut, the asscher cut and the baguette cut. Some interesting points about step-cut diamonds that may help you in choosing the perfect one include:
– The most important grades for step-cut diamonds are clarity and cut
– Step-cuts are excellent for vintage-style engagement rings
– Baguette diamonds are best used as accent pieces.
Solitaire Vs. Halo Settings
The two most common types of ring settings are solitaire and halo. You cannot go wrong with either of these settings, but here is some helpful information so you can understand and appreciate the difference between the two.
– A solitaire ring has one center stone on one single band. Just because there is just one center stone, though, does not mean there is only one style of solitaire ring. In fact, there are many styles from which you can choose, ranging from antique-looking to looks that are on-trend. Regardless of the style you choose, the focus will always be on the center stone. It is the ideal choice for women who want to show off the size and beauty of their ring.
– A halo setting consists of a center stone of any shape that is surrounded by smaller stones. There are also many varieties of this type of setting. Further, diamond rings often come in double or triple halos as well as the single variety. You can find halos that are simple and those that are more ornate in nature. Halos can help you stretch your budget, because they make the center stone look bigger than it actually is and can take the focus away from a center diamond that has imperfections.
If you are looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring to show the love of your life how much you love and adore her, the experts at Mark’s Diamonds can help you make the right choice. We have over 35 years of experience that we will put to work to make sure you and your love are happy with the ring you choose.