Aug 27, 2015 BY Diamond Foundry IN Style Guide
It’s not your fault that you don’t know anything about engagement rings. Nobody teaches this stuff, and – with a bit of luck – it won’t be one of your more repeatable skill sets. Maybe you’ve already asked your dad for advice, and he responded with some version of, “25 years ago, when I bought an engagement ring…” followed by ten minutes of incomprehensible nonsense.
It’s okay. You’re here now.
I’m going to walk you through the process of selecting an engagement ring. This portion of the guide is dedicated to diamonds. Frankly, unless your girlfriend has super unconventional tastes, her engagement ring will contain at least one diamond. What about ring size? Metal choice? Style preferences? Slow down, compadre. First things first. Everything that you need to know about diamonds is divided into four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat.
Don’t be fooled; the carat does not make the diamond! Most diamond experts will tell you that “cut” is the most important characteristic of a diamond because it has the greatest influence on overall beauty. Not to be confused with shape, “cut” determines the way a diamond reflects light – its sparkle. When cut correctly, light should reflect out the top of the diamond (the table.) In shallow cut diamonds, light leaks out the bottom. In diamonds that are cut too deep, it leaks out the side.
Cut ranges from “ideal” and “excellent” down to “fair.” Technically, you can buy a “poor” cut diamond, but seriously, this is an engagement ring. Take it from the experts: spend your money on a nice cut.
Diamonds are judged on a color scale ranging from D, connoting colorlessness, to Z, which indicates a yellow-brown or grayish tone. Typically, you want your diamond colorless – or as colorless as possible. To save money, go for a G color diamond. There isn’t a big visible difference between F and G, but the price jump is huge.
If your diamond is on the low end of the scale (anything K or lower), you can set it in gold to minimize the appearance of yellowness. However, with foundry diamonds this is typically less of a concern, as labs can better guard against impurities than the Earth’s crust.
Even something as strong and durable as diamond can come with a few flaws, and the clarity scale measures those flaws. The scale ranges from FL “Flawless” to I3 “Included.” An “inclusion” refers to a blemish that is visible to the naked eye. For an engagement ring, you want to select something between FL “Flawless” and VS1/VS2 “Very Slightly Included.”
To save money, experts recommend that you buy something in the “Very Slightly Included” range, as there is little difference between the blemishes in these diamonds and the next level up.
Even if you know nothing about diamonds, you probably know something about carats. The carat refers to the size of the diamond. Unlike the other three Cs, there isn’t a good trick with this one – if your girl wants a big diamond, she wants a big diamond.
Some experts suggest that if you need to skim on one of the other Cs to afford a bigger carat, then you should skim on clarity. Personally, I would prefer a small beautiful diamond over a big ugly one. But I’m not your girlfriend. Know thy partner is a good rule for this one.
In summary, the cut is the most important of the four Cs to consider when purchasing a diamond. Spend your money on a nice cut, and the diamond will sparkle. For a colorless diamond, buy something from D to G on the color scale – G is the biggest bang for your buck. If you can’t afford a clear color, then set the diamond in yellow gold. For clarity you want “Very Slightly Included” or higher to minimize visual blemishes. If your girlfriend needs a big rock, then sacrifice clarity for carat. Otherwise, buy as big as you can afford so that she knows how much you love her. (Kidding!) Good luck, and happy hunting.
For part 2 of the guide, go here.
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