Whether your fiance surprised you with that amazing, sparkling diamond in a pretty box as he went down on one knee, or you have decided to choose one together, the prospect of choosing an engagement ring can be daunting.
Will you buy a ring off the shelf or will you have it custom made?
What cut and carat of the diamond should you choose? Remember that you will be the one wearing it for the rest of your life so you have to be happy. Here are the most important factors to consider.
Choosing your diamonds
American actress and sex siren, Mae West once said, “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.” The woman had a point.
But carats are only one of the ‘4Cs’ you need to consider when buying a diamond.
The 4Cs or characteristics are colour, cut, carat, and clarity.
Colour: Although many people think of gem quality diamonds as colourless, truly colourless diamonds are actually extremely rare. Most diamonds used in jewellery are nearly colourless with tints of yellow or brown. The colour of a diamond is graded by letter with D as exceptionally white to Z as the most tinted.
Cut: This describes the symmetry and proportions between the various parts of the stone, and determines how sparkly the diamond will shine.
The cut is not to be confused with the actual shape of the diamond eg. round or princess. This is the most important feature to consider, according to master jeweller Bill Mazis.
“A well cut diamond will sparkle nicely no matter the shape of the diamond as it will enhance its brilliance,” he says.
Carat: A diamond’s weight is measured in carats (one carat equals .2grams). Whilst size is the most obvious factor in determining the value of a diamond, bigger is not necessarily better.
“Two diamonds of equal size can have very unequal values depending on quality,” says Mazis.
Clarity:This defines how pure a diamond is, which depends on the number, size, brightness and location of the internal and external characteristics, including impurities inside the stone.
How do you know how your diamond rates? The diamond you select should come with an independent certificate which professionally grades each of the 4Cs to reveal the quality of your diamond.
Diamond shape: Bill Mazis says that a round diamond is the most popular shape for an engagement diamond, followed by princess (which is a square cut). But shape is an individual choice and if you want to be unique there are several different shapes to choose from including marquise, pear and heart.
Heavy metal: The Engagement band
Next, you need to consider the quality of the metal used for your engagement ring band. The obvious choices are gold or platinum.
“Whilst yellow gold was the traditional choice,18ct white gold is the most popular at the moment,” says Bill Mazis.
The other option to consider is whether you prefer a split band or a plain (single) band.
The Engagement ring design
Bill Mazis not only offers stunning engagement rings, but you also have the opportunity of designing your own custom ring design. Two of the popular styles include:
Solitaire: This is a ring with one stone only and is the most popular style. Conventional solitaire engagement rings use a four prong setting where the diamond stands out from the ring and is held by four metal ‘claws’.
The advantage of this setting is that it allows for the most light to enter the diamond and be refracted, increasing the diamonds’ sparkle.
Ring with shoulder diamonds: This usually consists of a large, central stone with an array of smaller stones on each side. Because of their exquisite elegance, pave engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular.
This design literally coats the entire surface of the ring with stones (on each side of the central stone).
Finally, rings are often classified by whether they are classic, contemporary, or antique.
Although this depends on personal taste, Mazis favours old world glamour.
Many of his pieces include delicate antique filigree and intricate detailing which look like lacework around the diamond.
• Consider your day to day activities when choosing your engagement ring. If you are likely to wear your ring out, consider a sturdier band or a diamond setting that is more secure such as bezel (safer than a prong setting).
• Consider a matching engagement ring and wedding band set which are made to fit one another perfectly. You don’t want to buy the perfect engagement ring and find that it clashes with your wedding ring.