Picking out an engagement ring is an exciting first step towards a marriage, whether you’re picking rings as a couple or surprising your loved one with a ring when you pop the question. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a ring, so for those uninformed on elements like cut, clarity, and carat, this guide gives you everything you’ll need to know when selecting a diamond ring.
Cut does not refer to the shape of the diamond, but rather the way that the diamond interacts with and reflects light. This basically means how sparkly the diamond is, based on light reflected, symmetry, and polish. Cut is often hard to identify for the untrained eye, but a helpful trick is to compare the light and dark facets of the diamond when you look at it from above.
Carat is the measurement of weight of the diamond. Since weight generally coincides with size, the higher the carat, the larger the diamond. The average carat size for the main stone of an engagement ring is around 1 carat. The carat of a diamond will factor into its price.
Diamonds are meant to be clear in color, so color actually means the lack thereof in a diamond. The rarest, most popular and expensive diamonds have no color, whereas other diamonds are less pure and sometimes have a slight hue to them. Color is rated from D (the clearest) to Z (visibly yellow in hue).
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or blemishes in diamonds, tiny flecks of color (usually black or white) in the stone. These occur naturally as diamonds form, but the most highly-valued diamonds are virtually blemish-free. The more inclusions there are and how visible they are to the naked eye will affect the clarity of the diamond, and ultimately the price.
Shape is one of the most important factors when choosing a ring, and depends on the brides personal style and preference. Popular shapes include round, oval, Emerald, Asscher (square emerald), cushion (square with rounded corners), princess (square, flat top and pyramidal), marquise (long, pointed oval), and pear (teardrop-shaped).
The setting of the diamond is another essential element to consider, and refers to how the diamond sits on the band and what, if anything, frames it. The most popular setting styles include the following:
Solitaire is a single stone, the simplest and most popular engagement ring setting.
Sidestone settings have a single diamond in the middle, with other diamonds or gemstones flanking the main one.
Three stone features three diamonds next to one another, usually with a larger center stone, representing the past, present, and future.
Pavee is the setting of one main diamond surrounded by tiny diamonds to add depth and sparkle.
The band of the ring should take into account the bride’s personal style. Bands typically come in yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, and silver. Picking the band depends on color preference and durability, as platinum is more durable than gold or silver, but also loses its shine faster.
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