How to Buy an Engagement Ring
Men, are you looking to buy an engagement ring for your girlfriend? Girls, are you recently engaged and going to pick a diamond with your fiancé? If you answered yes to either of those questions then you need my guide to how to buy an engagement ring.
1. Diamonds Aren’t the Only Gems
They may be traditional, but if you simply can’t afford a diamond, there is a whole range of precious stones that you can choose for your ring.
These range from imitation diamonds like cubic zirconia, that give a similar effect at a fraction of the price, to rubies, sapphires, emeralds. If you go the non-traditional route there’s simply loads to choose from!
Choosing a different gem for your engagement ring may be wise if you’re on a tight budget.
2. … But Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
There’s no denying that diamonds are the number one choice for engagement rings. They have a lovely sparkle, are rare, everlasting and have an undeniable wow factor.
If you do want to stick with tradition, there are some important facts to know and terms to get your head around – you’ll be hearing them a lot.
3. The 4Cs matter
The 4Cs: Cut, clarity, carat and colour. Four words that you will hear over and over again in your hunt for a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds are always graded on their ability to reflect light – the 4Cs has a massive impact on that gorgeous sparkle.
Cut. The way the stone has been cut. The cut affects the shape of the ring – a round brilliant is indeed round, a princess cut is a lovely square shape. But cut is actually a technical term referring to the proportions, number of facets and polish of the diamond.
Clarity. This is a measure of how “perfect” a stone is – a high number of flaws and inclusions will give low clarity. These prevent light from passing through the diamond easily, affecting the gem’s trademark sparkle.
Carat. A measure of the weight (and so size) of the gem. I’m sorry to tell you, but bigger really doesn’t mean better. A smaller gem of higher clarity, with a better cut and colour will ususally be worth more than a high carat diamond with low clarity and poor colour.
Colour. Essentially the whiter the better – a colourless stone of grade D, E or F reflects light more beautifully than a light yellow gem of grade S – Z. That said it’s possible to buy stones known as “fancy diamonds” that have strong colours and are very valuable due to their rarity.
5. Buy a Certified Stone
Always choose a certified diamond: Whether you have the cash to spend on a supremely high quality diamond, or if you prefer a more modest gem for your engagement ring.
You will get a certificate providing you with an independent guarantee of the quality of your diamond when you choose a certified stone. This is important for your own peace of mind and helps to ensure that you don’t get ripped off by an unscrupulous jeweller.
6. White Metals Are A Perfect Complement to Diamonds
In recent years there has been a trend towards using platinum or white gold for engagement rings. And for one good reason: gold bands can cast a colour onto the diamond, which may affect their sparkle. White metals are simply the ideal choice for diamond rings
But, ultimately the metal that you choose for your band is entirely up to you. Whether you like platinum, rose gold or yellow, it’s a personal preference. If you’re happy with the look of the stone against the band then go for it!
The important thing to remember when picking your engagement ring is that there is an endless range of styles out there. The perfect ring is the one that you love that you can afford to buy.
Follow my tips for ensuring that you have a quality ring. But don’t be dictated to about the best engagement ring for you – by your mum, a shop assistant or anyone else offering you advice (yes, that includes me). Good luck!
Jim Ross is a manager at Portfolio of Fine Diamonds, a UK-based jeweller offering a stunning online collection of diamond rings