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Wednesday, 07 November 2012 05:16

How to Choose an Engagement Ring :: Know your diamonds.

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Diamonds tend to be the traditional engagement ring choice, because they are enduring, and match everything. Only deviate from a diamond if you know that your girlfriend loves another stone much, much more, or has voiced her intense dislike of diamonds. When choosing a diamond, be aware of the "Four C's", as follows:

 

  • Carat: This refers to the unit measurement of the diamond, and refers to weight (not size). Every carat has 100 points. Engagement rings are often 1 carat but the ring you choose will obviously depend on your budget. A 1 carat ring on a limited budget may not rate very highly in other areas, taking away from its overall beauty.

 

  • Color: The color of diamonds varies considerably and most people prefer a very white colored diamond for an engagement ring. Colors are graded from D (colorless and rare) and most good quality diamonds will be around F and H and grades D to I are acceptable to buy as they are almost identical when mounted.

 

  • Clarity: Being natural, there will be imperfections in the diamond. The less imperfections, the greater the clarity and the more light is reflected from the diamond, causing it to "sparkle". Naturally, more clarity increases its value. Perfectly flawless diamonds with no internal flaws or surface blemishes are very hard to find as they are extremely rare. Fewer flaws in a diamond result in greater brilliance as more light is reflected.
  • The scale used to grade clarity goes from F1 for a flawless diamond, to VVS1 and VVS2 for very slight inclusions, to VS1 and VS2 for very slight inclusions, SI1 and SI2 for slight inclusions and I1, I2 and I3 for imperfect diamonds.
  • Diamonds are magnified by 10 times to judge their clarity so very slight imperfections are difficult to see with the naked eye. This means that there is a range of diamonds available even for more modest budgets. If you can see a mark without magnification, however, think carefully before you buy. The location and darkness of an imperfection of any given grade (though probably not any "VVS" inclusion, which is simply too small, and rarely a VS inclusion) can affect its visibility so it is safest to see the imperfection magnified or in a magnified photograph before buying.
  • Cut: There are different ways to cut a diamond, and the type of cut impacts the sparkle of the diamond. The cut that produces the most sparkle is the round (or brilliant) cut, while radiant and princess cuts are good at hiding flaws. Other cuts including square, emerald, pear, marquise, cushion, ssscher, and heart-shaped. The oval shape looks best with larger stones, and looks bigger than the round cut. A high-quality cut (not necessarily above "Ideal") is more important than weight or an extremely high clarity or color grade: a diamond, like a road reflector, shines light back out the direction it came in and breaks it up a bit in the process. If the sides are ground at the wrong angles (sometimes through less-than-perfect workmanship, sometimes to increase weight with extra width or depth) quite a bit of light will not shine back out the right way--much more than would be lost to a very faint yellowish or brown tint or a speck visible under a loupe. It is also important to base your selection of diamonds based on objective data such as ASET or Idealscope images that you can acquire from your jeweler.This is particularly important if you are buying a diamond engagement ring online.

For more information about diamonds click here.

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