Wednesday, October 17, 2012
How to Buy An Engagement Ring - Knowing The 5 C's of Diamonds
Being in the wedding industry and having close connections in the high jewelry market, I've been lucky enough to have worn, seen and touched some of the most beautiful and rare diamond pieces in the country. I'm well versed in cuts, quality and styles, and believe me, there is a lot to know.
An engagement diamond ring is unlike any other piece of jewelry a woman will ever wear - it's a symbol of commitment and love and it should reflect her style, define her taste, and should be a piece she loves wearing.
When selecting an engagement ring for your soon-to-be betrothed, don't take it lightly. A lot of research, consideration and thought should be spent in making the decision. Many men actually smartly bring their betrothed into the selection process to ensure he gets it right the first time, rather than risk her not liking it. After all, it's on her hand permanently, and if she doesn't like it, it can be a pretty hairy situation considering the investment that's made (or lack there of). No woman wants to wear a piece of jewelry that she doesn't like on her hand every day.
There should be a careful balance in all defining characteristics when selecting a diamond. Size (carat) is NOT the only factor.
Make sure you focus on The Five C's:
Diamonds come in all colors of the spectrum ranging from colorless - the rarest & most valuable - to yellowish, reddish or bluish. Most diamonds appear white. The majority of diamonds are the warmer whites with tinge of yellow or brown. There are also diamonds in pastel colors such as pink, green and champagne.
When you are buying a diamond, color is an important factor in determining the price. Completely colorless, icy white diamonds are very rare and priced accordingly. 'Fancies' are diamonds whose colors are very apparent to the naked eye, such as deep red royal blue or the very rare black. These are extremely rare and costlier too.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. There are 100 points to a carat. A carat is equal to one fifth of a gram and there are 132 carats to an ounce. For instance, a 25 points diamond is 1/2 carat.
Bright and sparkling diamonds may appear all the same, but each one is different. In the process of crystallizing diamonds out of carbon, there are miniscule birthmarks-specks, bubbles and 'feathers' left in most of them. These natural characteristics are called 'inclusions'. Because of inclusions, each diamond has its own individuality.
Fewer the inclusions in a diamond, the more valuable it is, and costlier too. A flawless diamond is the one that has no visible inclusions when viewed under 10x power magnification by a trained skilled eye.
The cutter decides what shape the diamond will be. He takes into consideration the shape of the rough, its size, inclusions and how much weight will be lost in the cutting. The most popular shape for the engagement diamond is the round brilliant cut. This is usually cut from an eight-sided crystal. The marquise, oval, pear, emerald and heart-shaped diamonds are known as fancy cuts. These are all fashioned from different shapes of rough diamonds. The shapes of the facets differ in each of the cuts and these tiny polished planes of the surface of each diamond account for its brilliance and fire.
To the original four C's-Carat Weight, Color, Clarity and Cut a fifth has been added in modern times-Certificate. This modern 'C', which became important for most diamonds in the last few years, is the diamond certificate. The best-known and most widely accepted certificate is that issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The certificate is a quality analysis of a stone, a measurement of its weight, color and clarity.
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE & PREFERENCES IN CUT
I'm a vintage romantic kind of girl, so enjoy these amazing vintage and estate stunners pictured.
Old European Cut -
My favorite cut of diamond is the Old European Cut (OEC). They have a romantic and dream like sparkle and glow. Many are unfamiliar with this cut because it's unique. Old European Cut diamonds are the predecessor of the Round Brilliant and were very popular in Art Deco rings. However, the cuts of OEC diamonds are deeper and chunkier, whereas the round brilliant cuts are much more splintery. Old European Cuts are all hand cut which makes each antique OEC diamond unique, and they are also usually warmer in color. I find them breathtaking.
Antique Cushion Cut -
The cushion cut is an antique cut that most often resembles a cross between the Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. This cut is not as fiery or brilliant as many of the newer cuts, but it has a marvelously romantic and classic look and definitely stands out from the crowd of round brilliants.
Good luck on ring shopping Gentlemen!