The Ultimate How-To Guide to Selecting an Engagement Ring

After my two last posts, I had a few readers write in asking how to actually pick an engagement ring.  Here is an easy guide to help them and any other guy or couple (couples pick out rings together these days) who is thinking of getting that very special ring.

The first step is to do a little research and instruct ourselves.  If you are selecting diamonds, and most of you will, you first have to be aware of the the four C's.  They are:

Cut:  refers to the shape of the diamond. It can be round, square, oval, emerald cut which is rectangular, square (also known as princess cut), pear shaped, etc.

Color:  When a gemologist of jeweler refers to diamond color we are usually referring to the presence or absence of color in white diamonds.  Color is a result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over time.

A colorless diamond allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, so a colorless diamond will emit more sparkle and fire.  Only a few rare diamonds are truly colorless, making a diamond that is whiter have a greater value.  The diagram above is the professional jewelers' color scale. When you are choosing a diamond keep in mind that even though the most valuable diamonds are naturally graded D through F, diamonds graded G through I show virtually no color to the untrained eye.

FYI: These rules do not apply to fancy colored diamonds by the way.  These are rare and expensive and come   in colors such as black, yellow, and blue.  I love working with these because they are very special, although I usually don't use them when I'm designing an engagement ring.

Clarity:  describes the purity of the stone. It refers to its imperfections or "inclusions".  Inclusions interfere with the light passing through the stone.  The fewer inclusions a diamond has the more beautiful and valuable it will be.  The GIA rates them from Flawless to Imperfect 3.

Carats:  is how we measure the size of the stone.  The more carats you buy the bigger the bling.  This however is only one way to determine the value of the stone.  Two diamonds of the same wight will not necessarily reflect the same value.  Chose wisely.

Now, although diamonds are timeless, times do change and one can see different trends in engagement rings.  I think that especially now, with Prince William having given Kate Middleton (now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) a sapphire engagement ring, we are going to be seeing different colored stones and original designs.  This is not a new trend, since Charles did the same for Diana over three decades ago, inspiring copycats around the world.

Whatever your choice may be, the most important thing to take into consideration is the bride's taste.  We all remember the infamous scene in Sex and the City where Carrie gets that hideous ring.  The last thing you want is that kind of a reaction.  So the best advice?  Know your bride.  If you do (and I hope you do since you will marry her) anything you choose will be nothing short of spectacular in her eyes. Just remember, wherever you purchase the ring, to get a certificate of authenticity with all the details of the piece.

Happy shopping
Dani K

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