Image courtesy of Malakh Kelevra
So it looks like you’re finally going to pop the question. That’s a pretty big step! While the promise of a long-term commitment to your partner is the most important aspect of asking , the ring buying decision takes center stage, since it’s a crowning representation of your everlasting love. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s totally true and you know it.
Now that you’ve decided to propose, where do you start? Where do you go? What types of questions do you ask the jeweler? How do you figure out what she’ll like? Well, don’t you fret about those questions just yet. Once you calculate the amount you can afford, this decision will shift to simple diamond and setting questions.
As the classic James Bond movie so eloquently states, “Diamonds are Forever.” You want the best quality diamond you can afford. How can you rate the choices, you ask? Well, first thing’s first: Always remember that no two diamonds are exactly alike. The second thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as a perfect or flawless diamond.
There are 4 characteristics that determine the quality of a diamond. They’re called the 4C's of diamonds and they control the price of all diamonds. The 4 C’s are:
4. Carat weight
Color: The most expensive diamonds are colorless. Therefore, it is the absence of color that affects the price. The less color that exists in a diamond, the higher the price. Obviously, the exceptions to this are fancy colored diamonds.
Clarity: Since diamonds are created by enduring high heat and tremendous pressure deep in the ground, they often suffer inclusions or blemishes. Buying a practically flawless diamond requires a healthy budget. However, finding a stone with minor inclusions or blemishes is easier and may fit your price range a little better. An experienced diamond expert can often hide the minor defect when setting the stone in a ring, making it appear flawless to the naked eye.
Cut: When properly cut, a quality diamond's facets blast and sparkle in the light. The cut interacts with natural or artificial light to produce a glimmering, awe-inspiring shine.
Carat weight: One metric carat weighs 200 milligrams. Every carat is further subdivided into 100 “points,” allowing each carat to be precisely measured all the way out to the hundredth decimal place. In short, the heavier the diamond, the greater the price if all the other specs are the same.
The setting you choose either enhances your diamond selection or detracts from it its beauty and sparkle. Your choice of setting typically depends on two primary factors, beyond price.
1. The number and quality of diamonds
2. Personal preference
Number and quality of diamonds: If you've chosen one fine diamond (a solitaire), the setting options will differ from multi-stone settings, typically for three or five stones. Most engagement rings are solitaires; while multi-stone ring clusters are more popular for anniversaries and other special occasions.
Personal preference: There are only two rules for settings. Get what you (or your girlfriend) will like, and be sure the setting enhances the wow factor of the diamond. Whether you prefer a traditional or unconventional setting, choose one that matches your personality (if it's for you) or the personality and taste of the receiver of the gift.
In addition to how much you spend, your budget often dictates the breakdown in dividing the cost of diamond and setting. Since diamonds are forever, most experienced people recommend spending more on the gemstone than the setting. The reasoning: You can always change the setting in the future should your tastes change.
Of course, a word of caution is appropriate. Do not skimp on the setting. Inexpensive settings can result in the loss of that perfect diamond. You’ve spent tons of hard-earned dollars on that ring and an exorbitant amount of time selecting just the right one.
Do be sure to pick a diamond and setting that you like and that you feel your best gal will love. Making the best choice will not only bring joy to the both of you, but it’ll also remain a symbol of the unwavering love for many years to come.