Canadian Diamond Education Center
This page focusses on diamond engagement rings
but the information can be applied towards any type of diamond jewelry.
How To Buy Diamond Jewelry
How To Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring
When buying a diamond engagement ring you have a two
main things to consider. You have the actual diamond stone as well as
the setting (ring) that will hold and support the diamond stone. It
should go without saying that the better the quality of the setting
and diamond stone - the more expensive the over all price of the engagement
The Diamond Stone
Let's look at the diamond stone first. If you haven't
heard it by now the basic rule to follow when buying a diamond engagement
ring is called the 4 C's. This stands for Cut, Clarity, Carat and Color.
Depending on your budget you can play with these 4 C's to get the best
diamond stone for your particular price range.
The Diamond - Cut:
This is arguably the most important of the 4 C's.
The cut determines the shape, and size of the diamond - and therefore
the way the diamond reflects light. This is measured in color and brilliance.
The more colorful and bright a diamond is the more it will cost.
The Diamond - Clarity:
The Clarity of a diamond is measured by the number
of very tiny natural imperfections called "inclusions" contained
in the diamond. It takes training, experience and a 10 power microscope
to determine the Clarity of a diamond so dealing with a respectable gem
dealer is crucial. They will look at the size, number, position, nature
and color of these imperfections as well as any surface blemishes to grade
the clarity of the diamond. Another important factor relating to the clarity
of a diamond is transparency or texture. You can also judge the clarity
of the diamond by the cloudiness.
The Diamond - Carat: Diamonds are weighted
in a standard called a carat. One carat equals 200 milligrams. The larger
the diamond the more points or facets it can contain. One carat consists
of 100 points. Therefore, a diamond of 50 points weighs .50 carats. Remember,
two diamonds that have the same carat weight may have very different values,
depending upon the stone's cut, clarity and color.
The Diamond - Color: Diamonds naturally
occur in a variety of colors. These diamonds range from colorless, faint
yellow or brown, to rare pinks, blues, greens and other colors known as
fancies. At least a trace of yellow, brown or grey body color are present
in most diamonds. Generally speaking, the less color a diamond has, the
more valuable it is. The absence of color will allow light to pass and
create a colorful rainbow of diffracting light. Looking at the scale below
you will see that D to F color grades will be the most expensive with
the S-Z at the other end of the price scale.
The Ring And SettingNow we can look at the ring setting that will hold
the diamond. There are still few things to consider before you are done.
You have to think of the material that the diamond ring will be made
from and how many stones will be installed into the finished ring.
Ring Material: The two most common ring
materials today are 18 Carat Gold and Platinum.
Platinum is far more rare than gold. It is very strong, durable and
will last a lifetime but these qualities also make it difficult to work
with. Look for a Platinum composition of 90-95% pure platinum.
18 Carat Gold is the most common type of diamond engagement ring in
the world. It is easy to work with and polished well. Look for a gold
composition of 75% gold (the other 25% will be metal alloys to give
No matter what material you choose it may be
a good idea to request that the prongs that hold the diamond into place
are made from Platinum for greater strength and security.
Avoid gold plated metals! They are very cheap alternatives that you
will need to replace within a very short period of time.
There are several traditional setting styles. There
is the Solitaire with its elegant single stone mounted alone on the ring.
You could opt for a setting with side stones where the one larger diamond
is flanked by smaller stones on either side. These smaller stones do not
need to be of the best quality. Finally you could go with the Three-Stone
Setting with one larger diamond with a slightly smaller diamond(of similar
quality) on either side. There is also the option of have matching wedding
bands mounted with small diamonds.
What You Will Need To Know
Before you go looking for a ring you are going
to need to know a few of your bride-to-be's likes and dislikes.
* Does she want 18 Carat Gold or Platinum?
* What type of cut does she want?
* How many stones in the setting?
* Does she want matched bands?
* Is size or quality more important?
* Most importantly, what is her ring size? (Get this one right!)
How To Save Money And Still Get A Great Ring
One great secret of the jewelry world is the Manufacturer
Jeweler. These are not your store front merchants that you see in the
malls and shopping centers. These are smaller shops that actually manufacture
the pieces for the major brands. You can see significant savings by going
direct to the person who will actually make the ring. Often you will need
a reference or invitation so ask your friends - one of them may be your
ticket in to major savings!