Engagement Ring Buyer’s Guide
Are you planning to pop the big question sometime soon? If so, you likely have dozens of questions on your mind. How many carats should the diamond be? What are the 4 Cs? What metal is best for the band? And the most important question – how much should you spend on an engagement ring?
In our comprehensive Engagement Ring Buyer’s Guide, we detail all of the information that you need to select the right ring for the love of your life.
What Is An Engagement Ring?
The first question we need to answer is – what is an engagement ring, and how does it differ from a wedding ring?
Engagement rings are a symbol of your commitment, and essentially demonstrate the giver’s desire to marry the recipient. The presentation of an engagement ring usually accompanies the famous question – ‘will you marry me?’ and a heartfelt wish that the answer will be yes!
Engagement rings are usually characterised by one larger, dominant stone, often surrounded by smaller stones. The most common precious stone for an engagement ring is a diamond, but some couples prefer a different gem stone. On the other hand, wedding rings are more commonly a simple, plain metal band, with or with diamonds. The wedding rings are usually exchanged during the wedding ceremony, and are typically worn below the engagement ring.
What Are The Four Cs?
The 4 Cs are a common mnemonic device that is used to help people remember the four main characteristics of a diamond’s structure, beauty, and composition. They stand for Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. These are evaluated on a scale, and help to determine a diamond’s quality, and in turn, its price.
If you are interested in a diamond’s official 4 C rating, you should have the stone tested by a lab. They should be registered with the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) or the Gem-A (Gemmological Association of Great Britain) licensing bodies.
(Note: GIA is independent Gemological Lab they do not register other lab (not a licensing Bodies) & Gem-A is a association based in UK and Most of the intranational famous Lab Like GIA, IGI, HRD EGL are not its member. So I think we should remove this lines.)
To the layperson, diamonds of drastically different qualities can look remarkably similar. However, when an expert assesses them under magnification, the differences become clear.
Diamond Cut specifically refers to the quality of a diamond’s angles, proportions, symmetrical facets, brilliance, fire, scintillation and finishing details. These factors directly impact a diamond’s ability to sparkle, along with its overall aesthetic appeal.
The GIA grades Diamond Cut on the scale of Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. The Ideal and Excellent grades, depending on Diamond Shape, signify proportions and angles cut for maximum brilliance and fire.
The most perfect diamond is completely clear and colourless, while the least desirable has a noticeable brown hue. Diamonds are graded from D to Z. A D grade diamond is the best, having a crystal clear colour, and coming at a significantly higher cost.
Note: D, E, F Grade diamonds are colourless and best colour grade diamonds.
For reference please check the image.
The best diamonds are free from blemishes and inclusions. Clarity is measured on the following scale:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
- VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
- VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
- VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
- SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
- SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
- I1 (Inclusions 1)
- I2 (Inclusions 2)
A diamond’s carat weight refers to its density and size. Of course, a relatively large diamond can be deceivingly light (and vice versa), and its cut can also affect its size. While you might think of the carat as the most crucial factor in the look of the stone, the overall beauty (so, its clarity and cut) are more important.
What Are The Different Diamond Shapes
There are quite a few different diamond shapes, and each is best suited to the specific stone. An expert jeweller will know how to cut a diamond to enhance its shine, brilliance, and beauty. Here are some of the most common diamond shapes that you will encounter in your engagement ring hunt.
- Brilliant Round
This is the most ‘sparkly’ of all of the diamond shapes.
A versatile and sophisticated shape that works well for many diamonds.
A symmetrical diamond with a tapered point.
Designed to elongate the wearer’s finger.
A squared shape that maintains its sparkle and brilliance.
A classic and romantic shape.
An Art Deco shape with an elegant appeal.
An elongated shape than extends the look of the fingers.
A rounded square that disperses the light beautifully.
A chic rectangular cut that displays the brilliance of the diamond.
What Are The Different Settings Available?
When it comes to an engagement ring setting, you have many different choices available. Here are some of the prettiest and most common options.
- Prong Setting
The prong setting is the most classic option for an engagement ring. It consists of a metal claw that holds the diamond in place.
- The Tiffany Setting
Iconic jewellers Tiffany & Co. created this solitaire six-prong setting in order to increase the sparkle and light return on the diamond. It’s important to note that only the legendary Tiffany can sell their signature setting, but many other companies will sell one that is nearly identical.
- Bezel Setting
The bezel setting is nearly as popular as the prong setting, beloved for its modern design and practicality. The bezel encloses the diamond with a thin rim, preventing it from catching on surfaces and fabrics. This is an ideal setting for an active person!
- Tension Setting
Don’t get tense when you think of the tension setting – it gets its name from the tension of a metal band securing the diamond, holding on to the stone with pressure.
- Channel Setting
The channel setting is commonly used to set a diamond amidst a series of smaller diamonds on the band. This prongless setting is also good for anyone with an active lifestyle.
- Pavé Setting
Pavé is pronounced “pa-vay,” and it means ‘to pave.’ Imagine a metal band ‘paved’ with diamonds, and you have a pavé setting.
- Cathedral Setting
This is an elegant and timeless engagement ring setting, inspired by the arches of a cathedral. It can use a variety of bezel, prong, and tension settings in order to achieve its pretty, architectural style.
Different Metal Types
Platinum has long been one of the most popular choices for wedding rings and engagement rings alike. It is hard, heavy, and rare, with a stunning white sheen.
- White Gold
White gold is an alloy of gold and palladium or silver, and the result is a gorgeous backdrop for a diamond and other precious gems.
- Yellow Gold
Yellow gold is the ‘gold’ that most people think of when they think of an engagement ring. Many yellow gold rings are a mixture of copper, silver, and pure gold.
Silver is a classic, economical choice that is popular for those looking for a good value ring. However, do note that it will tarnish and dent more easily than other metals.
Titanium is a less common metal for engagement rings, but it is steadily increasing in popularity. It is durable, light-weight, and hypo-allergenic, and characterised by its darker colour.
How To Make Sure You Get The Right Ring Size
- Have a good look at her rings
Even if it is on her right hand, if she already wears rings, you can snag one as an example. If you think she won’t notice, you can take it to the jeweller. If that’s not an option, trace the inside with a pencil onto a piece of paper.
- Ask her friends, mum, or sister
There’s a chance that she has tried on their rings, and maybe they fit. Even if not, there is a chance that they know the answer you seek.
- Slip a string around her finger while she sleeps
If your lady love is a deep sleeper, you can try to loop a piece of string or floss around her finger while she is asleep. Once you have the string at the right place (without it cutting in), snip it with scissors or mark it with a pen.
- Take your best guess
The next time you are holding her hand, have a look and feel at her index finger. The average woman’s ring finger is a 6, so you can gauge her size based on how you think she compares.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Much Should You Spend On An Engagement Ring?
This is an age-old question, and there is simply no consensus on the matter. While you will occasionally hear the figure ‘3 months salary’ bandied about, this is often considered out dated and designed to line the pockets of the diamond companies. The best rule of thumb is to spend what you can happily afford, and do your research to find a ring that you love that falls within your budget.
- Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?
While men do not typically wear engagement rings, times are changing. If you feel like you would like to rock an engagement ring, there’s no rule that you can’t!
- What Hand Does An Engagement Ring Go On?
Most people wear their engagement rings on their left hand.
- What Finger Does An Engagement Ring Go On?
Traditionally, people wear their engagement ring on their left index finger, owing to the (not completely accurate) belief that this is the closest ring to a vein that runs to you heart.
- Can An Engagement Ring Be Resized?
In nearly all cases, an engagement ring can be resized to make it bigger or to make it smaller.
Now that you have decided to make this declaration of your love and devotion, choosing the ring is your next important step. Selecting a ring is a big decision, but with the information listed above you can choose a setting, cut, and size that she will love.