Few things are as prized for their timeless beauty and elegance as diamonds. Diamond engagement rings are a classic expression of love, and wedding ring fashions often emphasize this gem. Despite their unmatched beauty, shopping for diamonds can be simply overwhelming. Two pieces of jewelry can look similar at first while having very different values, and fashion trends in women’s engagement rings can change seemingly at a moment’s notice. Luckily, you don’t need to attend a course in gemology to find the perfect piece. Knowing a few simple facts will help to narrow down your choices and make shopping for diamonds much easier.
Diamonds are formed when carbon deposits are subjected to high pressure at a relatively low temperature, which forces the atoms into highly symmetrical formation known as the “diamond lattice”. This arrangement is incredibly strong, making diamond the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth. The structure also allows light to pass through, turning the carbon from its usual dark color into a clear gemstone. Occasionally traces of other elements can create colored diamonds, while exposure to radiation can give diamonds a distinct green tint. The conditions present in the ground when a diamond grows affect its size and overall appearance, which are graded using “The Four Cs.”
The Four C’s Of Picking OUT
The Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring
Carat– Carat is the measure of a diamond’s weight. One carat is approximately 200mg. Due to differences in the shape and cut, two diamonds that are of equal weight can look very different from one another.
Clarity-A diamond’s clarity is the “perfection” of a stone. Inclusions, or flaws withing the stone, and blemishes on the outside of the stone can lower the diamond’s clarity. Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10X magnification. Many diamonds are listed as having slight inclusions which are apparent under magnification but not to the naked eye; these are more affordable than flawless diamonds with no inclusions.
Color– Diamonds are judged on their color, or rather lack thereof, and graded from completely colorless to yellow. Most commercially available diamonds have some degree of yellow coloring which is not easily visible. The highest grade colorless diamonds are exceedingly rare.
There are also naturally occurring colored diamonds which contain traces of elements other than carbon and may be more valuable than even the whitest of diamonds. In this case, the color is graded by its intensity with deep, saturated hues being more rare and valuable than paler colors. Much like white diamonds, the rarest colors are most valuable.
Cut– Commonly confused with shape, the diamond’s cut actually refers to its symmetry and proportion and influences the three optical effects of a diamond. The brilliance refers to how much light the diamond reflects back to the eye; a sub-optimal cut will create areas of darkness within a diamond. Fire refers to the prismatic effect, while scintillation is the “sparkle” of the gem. Poorly cut diamonds will seem dull and lifeless when compared to a gem with proper cut.
Once the diamond is graded, it’s time to consider aesthetics. While wedding ring fashions periodically change like any other style trend, there are some basic ways of describing all diamond rings.
Shape– Simply put, this is the shape that a diamond has been cut. A round shaped diamond is probably what comes immediately to mind for most people, but there are many other possibilities.
Other common shapes are variations of squares and rectangles. The Asscher cut is a brilliant square shape with angled corners, featured in a ring that Richard Burton gave to his wife Elizabeth Taylor. A cushion shape is a rounded square, a lovely choice for those who favor a vintage style. The baguette and the emerald cut are rectangular shapes which lend themselves well to a three-stone style that is a perennial favorite for womens engagement rings.
A less common shape is the oval shape and its relative the marquise. The marquise shape is similar to a thin oval, with sharply tapered ends. Either is an unconventional but gorgeous shape for a modern-looking ring.
For those who desire a more fanciful and romantic style of ring, diamonds can also be cut to pear shape, heart shape, and a rounded triangle known as a trillion.
Setting- This refers to the method used to attach diamonds to a piece of jewelry.
A bezel setting is created by forming a thin strip of metal around the diamond, then soldering it in place. This is the most secure setting for a jewel and is also very modern in appearance, while showcasing your diamond beautifully.
A prong setting is exactly what it sounds like: several prongs hold the diamond in place, allowing almost the entire stone to be visible. Classic diamond engagement rings often feature a solitaire, or single gem, held by a prong setting.
Channel set diamonds are suspended between two strips of metal and held in place by small notches in the metal. The bold look and protective nature of this type of setting makes it a good choice for mens wedding rings.
A pavé setting is created when many small diamonds are placed in the ring so closely together that the metal holding them in place is nearly invisible. The result is a stunning, sparkling band that catches and reflects the light with every movement of the hand. Men’s wedding rings frequently feature pavé settings, and it is also a beautiful choice for a woman who does not want a jewel to project outward from her wedding or engagement ring.
The one feature of a diamond ring that can’t be graded is the beauty of its style. Rings can be elegantly simple, or as opulent as the mind can dream. The only way to find your style is to visit our store and sample our selection of gorgeous rings. Knowing the basics of diamond shopping will give you and your significant other the confidence to choose the perfect diamond engagement ring.