Things to Know: Buying an Engagement Ring

Purchasing an engagement ring can be quite a daunting task for both hubby and wife-to-be. Besides crossing the treacherous path of choosing a ring that you absolutely love, there's all those other questions - how many carats should it be, what cut do I like and what does diamond clarity mean, anyway? We've compiled a rough three-part diamond buying guide for you to make the process a little easier. This first part deals with the 4 important C's that you should consider when making your purchase - cut, clarity, colour and carat. Email these posts onto your significant other, and who know's, a solitaire could make its way onto your finger very soon! :) 

Straight off the bat, don't get a diamond's cut confused with it's shape. The cut refers to how the diamond has been cut to show off its reflective properties. It's important to understand this 'C' because a good cut gives the diamond its brilliance and sparkle, and that's exactly what we find so mesmerizing in diamonds. There are five grades of diamond cuts you can buy;
This cut is made to maximise brilliance and this category applies only to round diamonds. 
Premium cuts will have a slightly lower brilliance to Ideal cuts. Often in round diamonds though, premium cut diamonds can rival most ideal cuts, and are simply lower in price. 
Very good
These diamonds reflect most light that enters in them giving them a brilliance. In these cases, diamond cutters have chosen to stray from standard ideal cut diamonds in order to maintain the larger size of the diamond.  
These diamonds reflect much of the light that enters them and their proportions fall outside of the preferred range, again, because the diamond cutter wants to maintain the diamond as big as possible from the original rough crystal. Diamonds in this range are great value for money. 
Fair and Poor
This cut reflects a minimal portion of light that enters it. Usually these diamonds have been cut to maximise the carat weight over any other considerations.

Considering that diamonds are created, literally, under a lot of pressure, its no surprise that most of them will have flaws. There are two main flaws to look out for - inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions refer to flaws inside the diamond, blemishes to surface flaws. Inclusions could include flaws like air bubbles, cracks and non-diamond minerals contained in the diamond. Blemishes include scratches, pits and chips. While flaws lower the clarity of your diamond - they can be useful in mapping out the unique 'fingerprint' of your diamond. No two flaws will look the same and this is a great way of making your diamond identifiable. 
Below are the guidelines for how diamonds are graded for clarity: 
F: Flawless - no internal or external flaws. This is extremely rare. 
IF: Internally Flawless: No internal flaws, but some surface one's. 
VVS1 - VVS2: Minute flaws that are very difficult to detect. 
VS1 - VS2: Minute flaws seen only under 10x magnification
SI1 - SI2: Minute flaws more easily detected under 10x magnification 
I1- 12 - 13: Flaws visible to the human eye. (Don't buy this grade!) 

According to the Diamond Buying Guide, when "jewellers speak of a diamond's colour, they are usually referring to the presence or absence of colour in white diamonds". Colourless diamonds allow more light to enter through them and so emit more sparkle. Very few diamonds are completely colourless, thus the whiter a diamond's colour, the greater its value. Most jewellers refer to national professional colour scales to grade diamonds. This does not refer to actual colour diamonds (which can range from blue to green and pink). These diamonds are very rare and are valuable because of their colour. 

A carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh a diamond. One carat is equal to 0.2g. Interestignly, the word 'carat' comes from Carob seeds that people once used to balance scales. Typically, the materials that are required to form diamonds happen in very small quantities naturally. That means that larger diamonds are rarer than smaller onces, thus they have a greater carat or weight value and are more valuable. 

That's the first of our three part series on Engagement Rings. Our next instalment is all about ring shapes - you may know exactly what you're looking for in your mind, but might not know how to describe it to your jeweller and that's where we step in to lend a helping hand! :) 

Before you go, don't forget to our enter our AWESOME GLEE CANVAS GIVEAWAY. Today is your last day to enter, so get cracking. Winner's will be announced on the blog tomorrow. Simply visit Monday's post to find out how to enter! 

Picture Credits: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 //  

Labels: , , , ,