Getting engaged is one of the most thrilling milestones in life. The moment when it happens is full of nerve wracking excitement, for both parties involved (almost all guys are super nervous to pop the question…not because they’re afraid of the answer, but getting down on bended is kind of A BIG DEAL).
Traditionally speaking, when a man asks a woman for her hand in marriage, he also slides a pretty little (or not so little) sparkler on her finger to officially seal the deal. This is the part that can often be tricky; shopping for the ring. Some boyfriends have direction from their girls as to what she wants, while other dudes don’t have a clue. The key thing here is to be well informed before exploring the wonderful world of diamonds.
A little education on the subject can be most beneficial when deciding on the rock (one that will be worn for the rest of the woman’s life…no pressure or anything). Here is the ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of Ring Bling 101;
The 4 C’s
The 4 C’s of a diamond are the ways in which a jeweler determines the stone's value.
Let's break it down...
- Cut - Refers to the shape of the stone, cutting style, proportions and finish. A good cut enhances the brilliance of the stone, allowing it to catch the light in its many facets and really sparkle.
- Clarity - The clarity of the diamond is the extent to which the stone reaches flawlessness. All stones have natural flaws (internal flaws are called inclusions; external ones are known as blemishes). Although no diamond will be completely free of these imperfections, they are mostly invisible to the naked eye.
- Color – Rated on a graded scale, the colour of a diamond ranges from colourless to light yellow. The stones that are nearly colourless, or whitest, are more costly than the ones with a yellow or brown tint to them. Keep in mind, the way the diamond is set can change everything, and often the “right” setting can make the stone appear whiter.
- Carat – The carat is the actual weight of the diamond – this refers to the size of the stone.
Shapes and Cuts
As mentioned above, the cut of the diamond refers the way facets are cut into the stone. The shape, however, refers to the actual silhouette of the diamond. Certain shapes are cut in a specific way, while others can offer various cuts within the same shape.
- Round/Brilliant – the most popular choice for engagement rings, the round shape and brilliant cut allows for maximum sparkle.
- Princess – a square shaped stone with intricate facets offering the radiance of a brilliant cut.
- Oval – offering optimal gleam as a variation of the round stone but longer in shape; often appears bigger than a round stone of the same carat weight.
- Marquise – an oblong cut that often appears larger than its carat weight with facets similar to a round stone.
- Emerald – features a glazed shine and a boxy shape, either square or rectangular, but requires a very high clarity grade as it tends not to exude as much sparkle as some others.
- Cushion – a soft rectangular or pillow-like square shape with rounded edges, this cut gives off a soft glow.
- Asscher – a square shape similar to a square emerald, the parallel facets of this cut transmit a mesmeric pattern within the stone.
- Pear – also known as a teardrop shape, round on one end and pointed at the other, and cut resembling a brilliant diamond.
- Radiant – a cross between an emerald and a round cut, this shape is similar to a princess stone but emits the sparkle of a round diamond.
all images courtesy of engagediamonds.com
Now that you’re 'in the know', the best thing to do is research all the various settings online and if a proposal seems to be on the horizon, take a trip to a reputable jeweler that you’ve worked with in the past, or that comes highly recommended. A little window shopping never hurt anyone!
*A tip for the boys – if you’re afraid to make the wrong choice, or that she won’t like it, ask her mom, best friend, or snoop through her browser history…chances are she’s done some preliminary scouting before.
*A tip for the girls – don’t erase your browser history ;)