Where to start when buying diamonds
For most of the 20th Century, engagement rings have traditionally been ‘round brilliant cut’ diamonds to a simple mount of 18ct yellow gold, platinum and more recently, 18ct white gold. However, the 21st century is seeing a curve in the direction of coloured stones, including yellow diamonds, or harder to find pink or blue diamonds for those with deep pockets wishing to impress. Other popular coloured stones for engagement rings are sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. The traditional blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds (Kate Middleton’s engagement ring) doesn’t seem to be losing its charm or popularity anytime soon. Basically- anything goes today as an engagement ring- allowing the soon-to-be-bride’s personality to shine through.
Where to start? The Basics- Breaking Down The Four C’s:
When selecting a diamond engagement ring, the best place to start is with the basics: The Four C’s. The Four C’s- famous in the jewellery world- cover the basics of a diamond’s appearance.
- Cut: Implies both its shape (including it’s proportions and symmetry) and the brilliance of the stone (what makes it sparkle!). This is the most important factor of any diamond.
- Clarity: Refers to the amount of inclusions, or internal flaws, that a diamond has. The majority of diamonds have inclusions and the terminology begins with ‘Flawless’ and ends with ‘Included’. (Best is ‘Flawless’, follows through to ‘Internally Flawless’, ‘Very Very Slightly Included’, ‘Very Slightly Included’, ‘Slightly Included’, and finally ‘Included’. Most inclusions are not visible to the naked eye).
- Colour: Graded using the alphabet, starting with ‘D’ which is absolutely colourless and goes all the way to Z, when the stones are visibly yellow or grey. (D, E, F are all considered colourless, after that G, H, I are near colourless, and after this J, K, etc are drawing slight colour).
- Carat: Refers to the size of the diamond (1 carat is equal to .200g in weight- the same no matter the shape of the stone).
Spoilt for Choice- Diamond Cuts to Choose from for your engagement ring:
Diamonds are like snowflakes- no two are exactly alike- and that extends to the variety of shapes in which diamonds are cut. Here are some of the most popular and well-known shapes:
- Round: The round cut will always be the most popular and classic shape, beloved for its unmatched brilliance and beauty.
- Princess: A very popular diamond, the princess cut has pointed corners and is traditionally square shaped.
- Pear: Also known as the teardrop diamond, the pear cut is a cross between the round and marquise.
- Emerald: Rectangular shaped and the ultimate vintage cut, an emerald exudes old-world glamour.
- Cushion: Cushion or pillow shapes were very fashionable during Victorian times, and are making a comeback
- Asscher: Usually hand cut giving character, the Asscher is square with cut corners, instead of rectangular like Emerald.
- Radiant: Radiant stones have more facets underneath that create more pronounced light refraction when viewing the top of the stone.
- Marquise: Oval shaped but with pointed edges.
- Heart: Probably the most romantic of all the shapes, what symbolises love more than a heart?
- Oval: Oval cut diamonds help to create the illusion of length along the finger.