With Valentine’s – one of the most popular days of the year to propose – just around the corner, we thought we’d offer some advice on making that all-important decision: choosing the ring.
Diamond or no?
Though non-diamond alternatives are becoming increasingly popular, diamonds remain the stone of choice among most women when it comes to getting engaged. If you do decide to go down this route, then be sure to keep the 4Cs (the international diamond grading system) in mind as a useful guide when shopping around.
Minding your Cs and Qs
The 4Cs are: Clarity, Colour, Carat (weight) and Cut (how well the diamond’s facets interact with light). Quizzing your jeweller on these categories will help you to assess the quality, value and characteristics of any given diamond. (It’s also a good idea to ask for a GIA grading report at point of purchase.) The higher the 4Cs grading; the better the diamond.
A question of taste
However, one far less clear-cut factor is that of personal taste – especially when it comes to choosing what shape of diamond to go for. There are many shapes available; from the standard Round Brilliant cut, through to the Baguette, Trilliant and Marquise. Each style has its own unique set of qualities; while one woman may favour a Radiant cut, another may prefer the Pear.
A brief history
The practice of diamond cutting began in the middle ages, with the first guild of diamond cutters and polishers formed in 1375 in Nürnberg, Germany. The practice evolved over time; however it wasn’t until the invention of the bruting machine by Henry D. Morse and Charles M. Field in the early 1870s, coupled with an enormous influx of rough diamonds from South Africa, that it became a truly commercial enterprise.
Over the past century, diamond cutters have perfected the art by taking advantage of technological advancements, as well as applying advanced light theories and mathematical calculations to achieve optimum fire and brilliance.
Today, the Round Brilliant cut, originally developed by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919, is generally considered the classic choice, especially for the more traditional bride-to-be. A recent survey carried out by diamond jewellery e-tailer, Vashi.com, revealed that nearly 40% of women favour the Round Brilliant cut, and that Keira Knightley’s modest platinum band with a round-cut solitaire diamond is the ideal choice of 51% of future brides.
The stone has a total of 58 facets and is cut in the shape of a cone with a rounded top, enabling it to return the light that enters it.
The same survey put the Cushion cut in second-place, being the favoured choice of 20% of respondents. Also known as a Pillow cut, these diamonds can be square or rectangular. The style has grown in popularity over the last century, as its rounded corners and larger facets have been gradually perfected for enhanced brilliance.
The Emerald cut is a rather unique shape that has enjoyed a significant revival over the past couple of years. As the name suggests, this cutting-method was originally used for emeralds, however it is now applied to a range of gemstones.
The Emerald employs a step cut (a series of rectangular facets that are arranged in parallel to each edge of the diamond) with a rectangular top and chiseled corners, resulting in a hall-of-mirrors effect with an interplay of light and dark planes running through the body of the stone.
Other top choices include: the Princess, Oval, Heart and Radiant cut. Each one is more suited to different personalities and styles – from contemporary to retro, classic to chic. (Check out Bride.com, ‘What does your wedding ring say about you?’, to match these up.) If you want to surprise your fiancée-to-be, try looking through her current jewellery collection to see what styles she tends to favour.
Regardless of what shape you end up choosing, a diamond engagement ring represents a significant investment – in more ways than one. After finally settling on your choice, the next step is to make sure it’s fully protected, ready for a lifetime of happiness. At Assetsure we offer specialist Diamond Ring Insurance, especially designed with this purpose in mind.