How To Choose An Engagement Ring
An engagement ring stays with you for the rest of your life, so it’s no surprise that many women opt to take charge when it comes to choosing their own ring.
SA’s diamond specialist, Yair Shimansky, CEO of Shimansky Jewellers shares his advice below on how to choose an engagement ring that you will love forever.
Shimansky emphasises that the design of the engagement ring is the most important factor, followed by a beautiful diamond to complement it. You should choose a ring that suits your style. Below Shimansky shares more advice on what to look for when buying an engagement ring.
SOMETHING OLD SOMETHING NEW
A family heirloom can hold immense sentimental value; however, things to consider include who the ring belonged to and your relationship with them, the love stories behind it and whether you genuinely love the design. When you are buying a ring from a trusted jeweller you can rest assured that you will be sold a conflict-free diamond that has been certified by an independent authority. This is not always the case with inherited jewellery and you should find out if the original certification documents have been kept.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A DIAMOND?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established the Four C’s, a universally accepted system of rating diamonds by cut, colour, clarity and carat. Any reputable jeweller will discuss the purchase of a diamond engagement ring within this framework. Here’s what to look out for:
Cut – this is the only aspect of a diamond that is not influenced by nature, and is therefore vulnerable to error and poor practices. A diamond must be cut at certain angles to specific proportions to correctly optimise its sparkle and to deliver a magnificent reflection of light. The ‘fire’ of a diamond is achieved by the tiny sides made on its surface, known as its facets. The cut also determines the shape of the diamond, which is important for your ring style. Diamond shapes include the most traditional round diamond and oval, emerald, pear, heart, marquise and princess shapes too.
Colour – In terms of colourless diamonds, the whiter the diamond the more valuable. However, many diamonds present an array of subtle warmer hues which can be more affordable and compliment certain ring styles. You will be shown where a diamond you are looking at falls in the colour scale, and more often than not, these colourations are so subtle that only a jeweller would be able to identify them. Diamonds with very distinct, dense colours are rare and they are known as ‘fancy diamonds’. They are much rarer and thus more expensive than colourless diamonds.
Clarity –Many diamonds display microscopic ‘inclusions’ that are only visible through a jeweller’s magnifying glass. Inclusions are natural and may take the form of delicate, cloud or feather patterns. While they might affect a diamond’s clarity under close scrutiny, they are what makes every diamond unique and are not to be considered as ‘faults’. Sometimes considered the least important of the 4’Cs in the decision making factor, ask for a clarity grading, but ultimately make your choice based on how brilliant the diamond looks to your naked eye.
Carat – The weight and size of a diamond is measured by a carat, which is equal to 0.2gm. If you believe that size matters most to you, you may set carat size as the most important assessment criteria. The average size of most diamonds used in engagement rings is between a half and one carat, but you shouldn’t sacrifice cut, colour and clarity, or ring design for a bigger diamond ring of lower quality. Rather balance all these criteria to get the best diamond that you can afford that suits a style of ring that you will love.
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Gold on the other hand is a more budget-friendly option that allows for greater personalisation with a choice between yellow, rose or white gold.
Although it is a softer metal than Platinum, 18K gold is fortified with other alloys while still maintaining a high level of purity, and it scratches less easily than Platinum. Bear in mind when choosing your metals that white gold requires rhodium plating every six months at a small cost, whereas Platinum, rose gold and yellow gold do not.