Most people never get the opportunity to have a say in their engagement and wedding rings, and some people like it that way. Others may wish they could have had a bit of input, or even chosen the ring themselves. Most of the time, we’re so excited about being asked the big question that we don’t really think about it. But let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to voice your opinion, or even choose the ring yourself! Variety is great. I love having options to choose from, especially when it concerns something I’ll be wearing for the rest of my life. Options can become overwhelming if you’re not careful, and you can find yourself wishing your significant other would have just saved you the headache and chosen a ring on their own. Don’t allow this time, a time that is supposed to be fun and exciting, to become a headache. It doesn’t have to! I promise.
CHOOSE YOUR CUT – There are quite a few to choose from, and they’re all lovely in their own way. I adore Marquise, Oval, and Cushion cuts, Marquise being my favorite. Princess and Round tend to be on my not-so-favorite list. Why? No particular reason, other than they’re simply not my preference. I believe one of the worst things you can do is ask someone else what they like, and allow what they like to sway your decision. As I previously mentioned, this ring is going to be on YOUR finger, and what YOU love is all that matters. With that being said, here’s a look at some of the more popular cuts available…
Some cuts sparkle more than others, but not even the ideal cut of a Round Brilliant refracts all of the light it captures, at most it may reflect up to 92%. The following are estimated refractive qualities of popular shapes, compared against the industry standard, the Round Brilliant…
90% – Marquise, Oval, Pear.
80% – Heart.
70% – Princess, Trilion.
60% – Cushion, Emerald, Radiant, Asscher (Royal Asscher sparkles more).
45% – Baguette.
If you want a cut that’s a little less common, steer clear of the Round cut, as they make up approximately 75% of diamond sales.
COLOR, or lack thereof, is pretty important to some people, and not so much to others. A lot of women will sacrifice a small, colorless diamond if it means they can get a larger, faintly yellow diamond for the same price. If your setting is yellow gold, a slightly yellow diamond will be nearly undetectable, but if you prefer a white gold or platinum setting, you may want to consider investing in a D – J color grade diamond. Here’s a comparison of the color grades…
CLARITY can make or break a diamond; quite literally. A diamond with an I2 or I3 clarity grade can be dangerous and subject to breakage. Personally, I prefer to stay above VVS2. The following are clarity grade descriptions…
FL = Flawless. No internal or external flaws.
IF = Internally flawless. No internal flaws; slight external blemishes.
VVS1, VVS2 = Very, very slight inclusions. Extremely difficult for a professional to see under 10X magnification.
VS1, VS2 = Very slight inclusions. Very difficult for a professional to see under 10X magnification.
SI1, SI2 = Slight inclusions. Easy for a professional to see under 10X magnification.
I1, I2, I3 = Inclusions. Inclusions that can be easily visible to the naked eye. These diamonds are considered dangerous and subject to breakage.
A crappy clarity grade will not only affect the wear of your diamond, but also the way it appears visually. Yes, the poorer the grade, the more money you’ll save; but what good is a large diamond if it’s cloudy and full of inclusions? Here are some guides to help you visualize the differences in clarity grades.
CARAT weight is entirely up to the individual’s preference. Some people love bling, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Others prefer a more simple and understated approach. I, personally, find myself leaning more towards a 1 – 2 carat center diamond or smaller, depending on the setting and diamond cut.
Something to consider… Marquise and Oval cuts, with their narrow shapes, will make a smaller diamond appear larger. If the Heart cut is your thing, bigger really is better. It’s easy to lose the detail of the Heart in anything smaller than .50 carats.
Here’s a chart to give you an idea of the differences in carat weight…
SETTING can be one of the most important factors to consider. There are SO many to choose from, and it’s here where most people can begin to second guess themselves if they’re not 100% certain of what they love. I like the simplicity and elegance of a diamond paired with an Eternity band, but I absolutely love a halo setting. Don’t even get me started on double and triple halo settings! *sigh* With so many to choose from, it’s a great idea to search Google and begin narrowing down your likes, then visit a local jeweler (or even Wal•Mart, Target, etc.) to begin trying them on. Still not sure? Purchase CZ (Cubic Zirconia) rings with the settings you’re torn between, wear them for a few days, and see which one ends up being your ideal match.
In the grand scheme of things, while the ring does play a rather large role, it’s only a material item. The one thing that truly matters is you’re going to be spending the rest of your life, having adventures and creating memories, with the person you love, and there is nothing sweeter than that. With that being said, try not to stress over the little things too much, and simply enjoy this time in your life.