Engagement rings are a measure of your love — a testament to how well you know your partner. Above all else, the ring you design should be specifically tailored to her lifestyle and personality.
Selecting Your Centre Stone
Type of Centre Stone
Although diamonds are most common, you may also consider rare gemstones such as rubies, sapphires or emeralds. Gemstones are especially beautiful alternatives for individuals with a tighter budget. In this guide, we will cover diamonds.
Diamonds come in many different shapes, each with their advantages and disadvantages. The following are popular diamond shapes:
What Matters Most to You
Each diamond is unique and in order to find your perfect diamond, you will have to prioritise what matters most to you. When grading diamonds, there are 4 main factors that are considered: carat, clarity, colour and cut. Whilst carat weight increases price exponentially, going up and down clarity, colour or cut grades influences the diamond price generally by 15-20%.
Diamond Specialist strongly recommends choosing GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds as it is the international diamond grading standard.
The largest determinant of price is the carat weight (1 carat = 0.2g). The price of a diamond increases exponentially as you increase carat weight due to rarity. Although diamonds are most commonly measured in carat weight, we strongly recommend focusing instead on the actual dimensions of a diamond. Due to the way the diamond is cut, a 0.95ct diamond may appear larger than a 1ct diamond. Another detail to look out for are magic numbers, e.g. 1ct and 2ct. Demand for these sizes are high and their prices reflect that. Despite being visibly the same size, a 1ct and a 0.99ct may differ greatly in price.
Diamonds that are 100% eye-clean (with no visible inclusions or blemishes when viewed by the naked eye) exist within the:
FL (Flawless at 10x magnification)
IF (Internally Flawless at 10x magnification)
VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
VS1 (Very Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
VS2 (Very Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
It is also possible (but not always) for diamonds to be 100% eye-clean at:
SI1 (Slightly Included to the first degree at 10x magnification)
SI2 (Slightly Included to the second degree at 10x magnification)
Although the difference in clarity may be invisible, some clients prefer to invest in higher clarity diamonds. However, 100% eye-clean SI clarity diamonds are also very popular as they allow you to invest more in visible qualities of the diamond e.g. colour and size.
White diamonds are given a colour grading between D to Z (D being colourless and Z being lightly yellow.) Colourless diamonds are considered more desirable and are therefore more expensive than diamonds with a yellow tinge. Depending on your sensitivity to colour, most of our clients are not able to tell the difference from between the D to H range. If you do choose to go with a diamond lower in the colour scale, selecting yellow or rose gold for the band will help offset the yellowness in the diamond and make it appear whiter.
Cut grading is determined by a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The grading system consists of 5 cut grades: excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. As this is what makes a diamond sparkle at its best, we strongly recommend selecting diamonds within the excellent to very good cut grade.
Fluorescence is a natural occurrence in diamonds. It happens when there is nitrogen in the diamond, which reacts with UV light (black light) causing the diamond to emit blue, yellow, red or brown light. Generally, from none-faint, fluorescence is invisible unless examined under UV light. Depending on the diamond and the type of fluorescence (blue), it may positively affect the diamond, making it shine brighter and whiter than it would have otherwise. Diamond Specialist recommends looking at diamonds within the none-faint range as it does lower the cost of the diamond whilst remaining invisible in day-to-day life.
Important factors beyond the 4Cs
Although rarely mentioned, there are many factors that are crucial to the appearance of diamonds. As these factors are not included in their grading report, they are often overlooked (this is often the case for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ priced diamonds.)
BGM (Brown, Green, Milky)
Brown, green or milky diamonds are to be avoided. Brown and green tinged diamonds (unless you like the look of them) are considered undesirable in white diamonds as they are dark enough to be noticeable but too light to be considered a fancy coloured diamond. Milkiness turns white diamonds translucent or even opaque, thus eliminating the brilliance of the diamond.
Light, Medium, Dark Centres
Due to the way the diamond is cut in brilliant cut diamonds, some diamonds will appear to have more shadows in the centre of the diamond, even if the cut grade is the same. Unless you like the appearance of diamonds with dark centres, light or medium centres are recommended.
In elongated shapes such as the oval, pear, marquise and radiant cut diamonds, shadows in the centre of the diamond form a ‘bow-tie’ display. This occurs in varying degrees in these diamond shapes, from light to very noticeable.
GIA and other diamond certificates
Diamond Specialist strongly recommends purchasing GIA certified diamonds as they are the international standard for diamond grading. Diamonds graded by other institutions (although much more affordable) may differ greatly from your expectations as their standards are more relaxed than that of GIA.
Designing your ring setting
Lifestyle and Fashion
The ring you design should reflect her lifestyle and fashion. For example, high settings allow more light to enter the diamond, causing it to sparkle more. However, for women who use their hands often in their everyday life (e.g. gardeners, nurses, hairdressers), a low setting is recommended. This means that the diamond is placed closer to the wearer’s fingers and will therefore decrease its chance of being caught. As this topic is extensive and different for every client, we strongly recommend making an appointment for a free consultation with our specialists.
The easiest way to get started on designing your ring setting is to draw inspiration from existing ring designs. Search the internet and drop by jewellery stores to see what catches your eye. As we are a bespoke jeweller, our consultants will help you every step of the way to combine the elements you like along with your own original flair.
18K White Gold, Yellow Gold, Rose Gold and Platinum
When choosing the metal for your ring, aesthetics is the main determinant. 18K white gold and platinum are currently the most popular choices for engagement rings. When choosing between platinum and white gold (unless you are particularly fond of the platinum aesthetic), we recommend 18K white gold over platinum due to advantages in maintenance and cost. Although white gold scratches, it will not bend out of shape as easily as platinum. A rhodium coating can also be applied to white gold every couple of years to eliminate scratch marks and return your ring to its original state.