Buying the perfect engagement ring for your sweetheart is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of factors that you have to take into consideration even before thinking about buying a bauble! Remember that this ring is a symbol of your love and commitment to her, so it has to be extra special, and it has to reflect you relationship. Here is a list of things to take into account before you commit to a ring and before she commits to you!
The 4 Cs. If you're planning on giving her the perfect diamond ring, you have to first understand the gem. Unless you've bought one before, purchasing the stone is a new experience, so you have to educate yourself about your choices. Knowing which diamond to buy means learning about the 4 Cs of a diamond: cut, clarity, color and carat weight.
Cut. According to Blue Nile, the cut of the diamond is the gem's most important characteristic because it will have the greatest overall influence on the brilliance and beauty of the stone. The cut doesn’t actually refer to the diamond's shape. Instead, it refers to the angles, proportion and finish that the diamond is given during the cutting process. An ideally cut gems will be able to maximize the stone's brilliance and will disperse light to full capacity.
Clarity. "Clarity is a measure of the number and size of the tiny imperfections that occur in almost all diamonds," according to the Blue Nile website. These flaws are called clouds, inclusions or blemishes. Of course, the least amount of imperfection are considered to be Flawless, Internally Flawless," and these gems are more expensive than those with imperfections.
Color. The color of the diamond actually refers to its whiteness or colorlessness (Diamonds with colors like blue and red are considered to be fancy color diamonds and are in a different grade of their own.). The more transparent and colorless the gem is, the better the grade will be. The highest color grade is the D or Absolutely Colorless and is extremely rare. The lowest on the scale is a Z-N Noticeable Color.
Carat Weight. This is perhaps, the C that most people are familiar with, and as the name implies, this refers to the weight of the diamond. This is also the factor that most people might attach the price to, and though not entirely accurate (you have to take the other Cs into account to truly understand the value of a diamond), it's still important to consider the carat weight in terms of cost. According to Blue Nile, "diamond prices jump at the full- and half-carat weights," so analyze the difference in cost of an extra half-carat when making your decision. At the same time, you might want to look for a Blue Nile Promotion Code on your purchase.
Shape. The cut of the diamond is different from its shape. The shape of the gem is its actual geometry and what it looks from the top down and not how much it reflects light, and Blue Nile recognizes 10 different shapes: round, princess, emerald, asscher, marquise, oval, radiant, pear, heart and cushion.
The round cut is perhaps the most popular out of all the shapes, while the princess cut - a square cut - is the most popular non-round cut. Both the emerald and the asscher cuts are characterized by their pavilion, or the rectangular facets on the sides. The difference is that the emerald is more of a rectangular shape while the asscher is a square. According to Secret Diamond, "The [marquise] shape was created and inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour," who was also known as Jeanne Antoinette Poisson and was a member of the French court and the royal mistress of Louis XV. The shape can be characterized as an oval with two pointed ends.
For the true romantic, a heart-shaped diamond may just be the way to go. For a unique shape that's been used for more than a century, the cushion cut - also known as the pillow cut due to its rounded corners - may just be the perfect choice.
You can also never go wrong with the classic oval or the beautiful radiant cut, a rectangular shaped diamond with trimmed corners. Going for something a little bit different? The pear cut, also known as the teardrop, might just be the right choice for the woman in your life, composed of a single point and a rounded end.
Setting. Besides the 4 Cs and the shape of a diamond, its setting on the ring might also be an important consideration before purchasing a bauble for your sweetie. The Knot lists several settings to take into account.
Prong. The prong is perhaps the most common type of setting for diamonds and other valuable gems. This involves three to six claws that hold the stone firmly in place on top of the head of the bauble. The website explains that while this is the most common type of setting, having too much claws can overwhelm smaller gemstones. At the same time, a prong can easily get caught in clothing or hair.
Tension. A tension setting is "A design in which the compression-spring pressure of the shank holds the stone firmly in place. The minimal interference of metal can give the impressions that the stone is 'floating,'" explains The Knot.
Bezel. The oldest type of setting, a bezel is a metal rim or band with a groove and flange which completely holds the stone in place. The great thing about this setting is that it secures the diamond fairly well considering the stone is completely surrounded in metal. However, a bezel setting might not be able to properly showcase the true beauty and brilliance of the diamond.
For wedding bands or diamonds that surround a center cut, other settings like pave, channel and bar can also be used.
Her Style. Your loved one's style and aesthetic is an important factor when choosing an engagement ring, and many guys seem to take this for granted - remember that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better! When looking for the perfect gem, take into consideration your beau's tastes, as well as her personality.
Is she the adventurous and outdoorsy type? A giant bling may not be the right choice for her. Instead opt for a piece that can withstand her daredevil stunts and maneuvers. Is she more of the classic type? Her wardrobe might consist of traditional apparels, and a simple pearl necklace is a staple in every outfit. If this sounds like her, why not check out a traditional diamond ring that she'll surely appreciate? You can even look into vintage rings that exude romanticism and class. For the free-spirited boho chick who enjoys wearing flowing dresses and colorful beads, a diamond ring might not even be what she desires. Take into account a colored gem as a substitute for the flashy gem. Blue sapphires, for instance, have become the new "it" engagement ring, thanks to Kate Middleton. She might even appreciate it more if you presented her with her birthstone.
If you have no clue as to what her tastes are when it comes to jewelry, you just have to be a little bit more observant. Check out what she wear on an everyday basis - better yet, snoop around in her jewelry box to see the styles that she prefers! If the two of you have been thinking about getting married for a while and have openly talked about it, she's probably already even dropped hints about the ring of her dreams!
When shopping for an engagement ring, it's also a good idea to bring along one of your loved one's best friends or family member. Having a second opinion - an opinion that matters to her dearly - will ensure that you get the perfect bauble to pop the question with. This individual will also more than likely have had conversation with your sweetie regarding her dream diamond engagement ring, so don't be afraid to ask as long as she promises not to splurge any details to your future bride!
Previous: Gearing up for sports
Next: Save money while taking your vacation