Monday, 17 September 2012 16:02

How to Choose an Engagement Ring :: Be Familiar.

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Be familiar with the terms that you'll be confronted with when shopping for a ring.

Giving the impression that you know what you're looking for will increase your confidence and help you to ward off any disreputable ring sellers. Here are some of the terms to be familiar with:


  1. Band: The band is the circular part of the ring that sits around the finger. It's usually made from gold, silver, or platinum, although it can be made from some other combination of metals. Gold is yellow-orange in its natural state and is normally alloyed with another metal for durability. Some prefer the lighter yellow color of less-pure gold such as 14K or 10K. "White gold" is gold alloyed with metals purposely to give the mixture an off-white color and must be plated with another metal--rhodium is common--for a bright silvery appearance. The plating wears off; some jewelers will replate their rings from time to time for free. Platinum is hard, strong and naturally silvery but will dull slightly from a mirror finish over time with wear, which is not necessarily a problem. Since a gold setting will make a diamond look very slightly yellowish, it is a waste of money to buy a very high color grade diamond to put in it.
  2. Setting: The setting refers to the piece that holds the gemstone in place, which is attached to the band. The setting can be "pronged" or "invisible".[1] Some rings combine a platinum setting with a gold band for the special background color of gold and the contrast, lack of diamond-tinting, and strength of platinum. A setting with a bezel, or at least six prongs for some redundancy, can be safer for a ring that is likely to be worn during significant activity.
  3. Gemstone: The gemstone is the feature piece of the ring, usually a diamond. Occasionally, this is facetiously referred to as a "rock". The bigger the stone, the better according to many, although it's more important to go with your girlfriend's personality and preferences rather than assuming this. The gemstone doesn't have to be a diamond (see below) but reasons for deviating from this should be good ones!
  4. The 4 C's: These are the carat, color, clarity and cut of the gemstone (usually a diamond).
  5. The 5th C: Cost. A cubic zirconia can be beautiful and indistinguishable from a diamond only by a jeweler or other expert. It is softer than a real diamond so it may dull over the years. Lab Diamonds are another great alternative to traditional diamonds. Generally cost 5-10% of what a traditional diamond would, and looking just a beautiful, they definitely deserve some research. A rhodium-plated silver ring can be indistinguishable (except for the identifying mark an honest seller should put on the inside) from a rhodium-plated white-gold one. These can be a good option for a couple with little money up front. An alternative is a smallish real diamond (the price goes up very fast with size, so a very nice one of less than a half-carat, whose face area will be more than half of that of a one-carat diamond, will be a few hundred dollars) in a simple real gold ring.
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