Happy Wednesday! We’ve hit the middle of the week, and I know I’m not the only one who has a hard time with the idea that I still have two whole days until the weekend. So, I’ve got some sparkly things to share with you all to cheer you up! Welcome to Engagement Rings 101!
Within the past three weeks, two of my dearest friends have gotten engaged. One of which had been calling and texting me as we obsessed about rings, when he’s finally going to ask, and whether or not she should be keeping her nails manicured. She and I tried to plan perfectly in order for her to be ready when it happened. We looked exactly like every girl duo in every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen. A few months ago she and I started talking about one of the most fun engagement topics – rings! Being a wedding planner and blogger, she asked me questions about what she should know. I knew the four C’s, but that was about where it ended. And my understanding of the four C’s was fuzzy at best. I quickly realized that, especially in my field, I should be much more educated on this topic than I am. All the excitement of her engagement got me thinking about how daunting it must be to go ring shopping. Whether you’re a groom trying to purchase a ring or a bride trying to pick one out, it can be very stressful. How do you know if you’re getting a quality ring? Could you be getting more for your money if you chose a different cut? Is getting the most carats possible what makes for a great ring? So I started researching everything you need to know about engagement rings before you buy.
First we need to discuss the four C’s. Growing up, I always thought the four C’s were invented over time by women who loved diamonds. I didn’t realize the four C’s were established by the Gemological Institute of America as a grading system to determine the quality of a diamond. The first of the four C’s is color.
Color refers to, obviously, the color of the diamond. A standard white diamond that is typically used in engagement rings can range on a scale of Colorless to Light (and more specifically D to Z). This means your diamond can be anywhere from a crystal clear color to a yellow or brown, and the less color the higher quality of diamond. The majority of diamonds in jewelry fall under “near colorless.”
Next up is clarity. Clarity is rated on a scale from Flawless to I3. This scale refers to a diamond’s blemishes or “inclusions” that occur naturally as the diamond forms under extreme heat and pressure. The fewer inclusions the rarer the diamond. The rarer the diamond, the higher quality it is. Most diamonds found on jewelry fall under “very slightly included” to “slightly included.”
Now we’re going to look at cut. I always thought cut referred to the shape of the diamond, but it is so much more than that. In fact this grading is very complex and a little beyond my understanding. According to the GIA website “it takes into account the brightness, fire, scintillation, weight ratio, girdle thickness, symmetry, and polish.” Ultimately, it refers to the amount of sparkle you get! The way the diamond reflects light determines it’s grade. This grading is a little more difficult as there is no perfect standard in which the diamond can meet. It is simply a matter of the diamond’s relationship to light based on the way it was cut. The grading ranges from Excellent to Poor.
And finally, carat. The amount of a diamond’s carat refers to its weight, not its size. Now it is fair to say the larger the diamond the more it weighs, but certain cuts can give you a diamond that appears larger while still having fewer carats. The more carats the rarer the diamond. And again, the rarer the diamond, the higher quality it is.
Now that we’ve gone over how to determine the value of a diamond it’s time to discuss how to buy her a ring she’ll love! There a lot of things to consider when shopping for a ring. Not every girl wants a perfect round diamond ring. What is most important is to know who you’re shopping for and then take a look at your options. Find out what shape you’re shopping for. There are many different styles of diamond shapes: round, square, marquise, pear, and more!
Another factor to consider is setting. Does she want a simple solitary diamond or a more ornate style like a halo or sidestones. This is something you’re going to want to know before walking into a store.
Another question to ask is what kind of band does she want. Does she prefer yellow or white gold? Does she like yellow gold that’s very yellow or more of a subtle yellow? That can determine if you want 14k gold or something higher. Also, you can get a matte finish if she prefers.
Engagement rings are expensive. For some people money is not a determinate when choosing rings. For most of us, it is a major, if not the largest, factor when choosing a ring. So to wrap up I have a few money saving tips to get the most for your money!
- Go to local jeweler. The large name brand stores aren’t going to be able to give you as good a deal as a local jeweler. They are selling from a corporate office in another state. Someone local will be able to cut out some of the costs a major retailer won’t be able to. Also, small businesses are typically able to work with you more since they are the ones making the financial decisions for the company as opposed to someone in a corporate office.
- Consider a rose cut diamond. A rose cut diamond has fewer facets underneath the diamond. This normally means the sparkles and shines are more subtle; however you can get a larger looking diamond for less. If you’re proposing to someone who cares more about size than shine then this could be a great option! However, if your girl is all about the sparkle, then you may want to pass on this tip.
- Think about not having a diamond as the center stone of the ring. I’m a huge fan of nontraditional rings that highlight a different precious or semi-precious stone as the prominent feature of the ring. (If it was good enough for Princess Diana it’s good enough for me)! If you want a large, wow-factor ring, for less then a sapphire or morganite ring may be just what you’re looking for!
- Finally, remember this is the 21st century. If you’re really uncomfortable with buying your love a ring they didn’t pick out then go together! If you still want it to be a surprise you don’t have to buy anything. Just go together in order to get a feel of what she likes, and what looks good on her.