The 4 'Cs' are important when choosing a ring and are a balancing act. One ‘C’ on its own will not make a beautiful diamond ring. For example a diamond could be 'IF' (Internally flawless) poorly cut and with low colour. What will the onlooker see? A dull diamond! The ‘5th C’, as in ‘see’ with your eyes, is the ultimate deciding factor as to whether a diamond is beautiful or not.
CUT: Shape, Symmetry & Proportion determines how diamonds reflect light. Cut is all about how light reflects and the diamond scintillates ie the fire in a diamonds. It is about the precision of the cuts to create the diamond facets. Cut is often underestimated in the 4Cs. However, it can impact on a diamonds overall beauty. In round brilliant cut diamonds; proportions, polish & symmetry are studied. However, fancy cut diamonds don’t have the same stringent criteria as round diamonds. The eye dictates what is preferable. For example some prefer fatter pears while others prefer them to be more elongated.
CLARITY: Size, number & locations of inclusions affects a diamonds clarity. A high clarity stone has fewer inclusions than one of a lower clarity. Most inclusions are only noticeable under 10 x magnifications. Inclusions can be seen as a diamonds’ birthmark. The diamond has been created over millions of years under extreme conditions with these inclusions. Machine made items can be ‘perfect’ but nature created diamonds to have their own unique characteristics with no 2 diamond being the same.
COLOUR: Colourless to Near Colourless are most desirable as the diamond looks brighter and clearer. Fancy coloured diamonds could be used to make an engagement ring or create a halo around a colourless/near colourless diamond. The less colour the rarer the diamond. Diamonds range from colourless to yellow unless catagorised as fancy coloured diamonds. Diamonds are graded on lack of colour with ‘D’ being the whitest: D for Diamonds!
CARAT: Size is measured by weight. 1ct is 0.02 grams. 1ct is made up of 100 pts. The larger the carat weight the rarer the diamond. Be careful not to choose too shallow a diamond even though the diamond has a large carat weight. Light needs to reflect from the diamond in order to get optimum sparkle. Also doubling the carat weight will not double the viual size of the diamond in a ring i.e. the diameter. Carat refers to weight and not diameter. The carat weight is distributed evenly across the diamond i.e. pavilion, depth of stone, sides of diamond, etc
Other important factors when choosing an engagement ring:
- You should ‘love’ your ring rather than ‘like’ it! It is one of the most special pieces of jewellery you will ever be given.
- Use your eye. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person may like a ‘D’ colour, another a ‘H’ colour diamond. One person a simple solitaire, another a more ornate ring.
- The 4 Cs are important but don’t let jargon bewilder you. Use your eyesight.
- An engagement ring should reflect personality and exude your sense of style.
- An engagement ring should be a style which will ‘grow old with you’. It is not a fashion piece of jewellery but rather a piece to represent your enduring love.
- Most popular shapes in our opinion:
Round Brilliant Cuts
Emerald & Ascher cuts
Trillions make great side stones There are so many different shapes to choose from and different shapes appeal to different people.
Some may like the classical round shape and all the facets whilst others prefer the simple cutting pattern of an emerald cut stone. Others may like the length of a marquise or a pear which keeps the round shape and the length.
- Finger Size & Shape needs considered when choosing a diamond ring. A short finger can make a diamond look larger whereas a longer finger quite often needs a larger ring. Some cuts such as marquise can slim the finger. It is always worth trying on a variety of styles and settings as this will help establish what suits you best.
- Setting The setting is not only about security but also how it frames the diamond. A round brilliant cut diamond of the same clarity, colour and size can look extremely different depending on the style of setting chosen. Do you prefer a plain or decorative ring? Which is more appealing; a modern style engagement ring or contemporary one? These considerations are important when choosing an engagement ring and especially if you decide to commission one.
- If you want a more unique engagement ring then perhaps its best to design your own ring. By opting for a custom made engagement ring you can have an input into every aspect of the design and be involved in the design process. Should you decide to design your own ring, you need to be brave and confident in your choices. Most importantly have confidence in your jeweller’s ability to produce a beautiful ring. If this is something your jeweller specialises in they will be able to inspire confidence and produce a stunning piece of jewellery.
- Spend what you can afford. Of course there is no price on love but we all must work within our means. There are so many wonderful engagement rings styles available within varying price points. An experienced jeweller will be able to advise you how to create the look you want for the budget you have allocated. If you visit a jewellery store specialising in engagement rings they will keep a larger stock of engagement rings and a wider variety of styles than other jewellers. In addition, an engagement ring specialist should keep real rings for customers to see rather than ‘brass & glass’ samples.
- If you need to spread the cost of the ring enquire about payment options as many jewellers offer credit terms or lay by facilities.