The solitaire diamond ring is a design classic. Simple yet elegant, it remains a very popular choice. You might imagine, then, that opting for a solitaire ring makes choosing easy. Not so. If you want a ring that’s going to impress for years to come, there are a few things you need to think about before deciding on the final ring.
Solitaire ring designs range from classic to the contemporary, can be graceful, audacious, plain or sophisticated. In any case, working out what your true love likes is the first hurdle. Obviously, if you are choosing the ring together, this is simple: the bride-to-be will tell you what she likes. But for those traditional and romantic souls who plan to go down on one knee, it’s a little but trickier. However, don’t panic – help is at hand. Here are some simple tips to help you find the perfect ring and guarantee a loud and whole-hearted “Yes!”
Tip number one: Look at what she already wears
Look at the rings she wears most often, as these will be a good indication of the style she prefers for day-to-day wear. Note that occasional wear and fashion rings may skew the picture – just because she likes to wear bling for a night out doesn’t mean she will want to wear that type of ring day in and day out for the rest of her life.
Tip number two: Enlist help
You may wish to enlist some covert tactics to work out your partner’s preferences, so why not ask a trusted friend or family member to dig for information on your behalf! It’s got to be someone you trust not to give away your intentions, so choose wisely, but once you have the undercover operative in place, suggest they leaf through a catalogue or an online shop such as ours and ask your partner what they like and why. Finding out that your partner would love a Princess cut diamond most of all, or that high quality matters more to them than size, for example, is priceless information that you might not otherwise be able to find out without asking directly and ruining the surprise.
Tip number three: Finding out whether to go gold or platinum
All you have to do is look at the rings your partner already wears regularly and find out what metal they are. Mostly platinum? Easy! Yellow gold? Well there’s your answer. However there are a couple of things you still need to think about.
Firstly, if your partner already wears a ring on a finger adjacent to her wedding finger, you will need to find out what metal it is and match it up - and if it’s gold, you need to find out the carat. If you put rings of different carats next to each other, the softer gold ring will be worn thin by harder gold over time. For this reason, it is best that they are of the same carat gold. However, if there is no adjacent ring to worry about, then you have free reign. In this case, if you are thinking of gold, you will need to know a little about the different carats in order to make a wise choice.
Pure gold is far too soft to make jewellery without distorting. Therefore, to make it stronger and more hardwearing, metals are added. 9 carat gold is the hardest wearing and cheapest as it has the most additives. However, the lower proportion of gold means some people feel it doesn’t look as beautiful as 18 carat gold. 18 carat gold is an ideal choice, balancing beauty with durability so that the ring will look fantastic for years to come.
Tip number four: follow the idiot’s guide to choosing a diamond
There are many factors to consider when choosing a diamond, but here’s a simple guide to getting a diamond that fits your budget and still looks magnificent:
Whilst D colour diamonds are the whitest, all diamonds within the range D-H will appear white to the naked eye and show no discernable difference to the lay person. This means you can opt for a colour towards the G/H end of the scale rather than the D/E end and still get a beautifully white diamond at a fraction of the cost.
This is rated on a scale from Excellent, through Very Good, Good, and Fair, to Poor, and the grade relates to the how near to ideal the diamond’s proportions are. This is important because a well-cut diamond will capture light and show the sparkle and rainbow colours that we expect from gem grade diamonds. For this reason, we suggest you only accept a diamond with a Good cut or above.
Clarity refers to the level of imperfections in the diamond. As diamonds are natural, they all have flaws to some degree or another. At the top end of the clarity scale is the Flawless diamond. These are very rare and will show no imperfections to the naked eye, being so clean that even a gemmologist will have trouble finding flaws with a loupe or microscope. As with colour, such perfection comes at a price, but worry not as diamonds with clarity ratings of VVS1 and 2, VS1 and 2, and SI1 also perform well and will show no imperfections to the naked eye, allowing you to choose a diamond that is less expensive but which is still beautiful. Avoid diamonds that are S13, I1, I2 or I3, as these have imperfections that are visible with the naked eye. Look at clarity in more detail here.
This last factor is the one that has the most significant affect on price. For many people, bigger is better when it comes to diamonds. Everyone understands that the larger a diamond, the more expensive it is, but the pricing of diamonds is a little more complex than that. A 2 carat diamond will not simply be double the price of an equal quality 1 carat diamond. Larger diamonds are rarer than smaller diamonds, and this rarity means that the price per carat increases with carat weight. Therefore, a 2 carat diamond will be more than double the cost of an equal quality 1 carat diamond.
When trying to get the largest diamond you can afford within your budget, don’t ignore cut, colour and clarity. Bear in mind that dropping even a tiny proportion of a carat in size (say from 0.54 carats to 0.51 carats) will allow you to choose higher ratings for colour, cut and clarity, so that your diamond is only very slightly smaller but performs so much better for around the same cost. Remember, as long as your diamond is coloured H or above, with a clarity of SI2 or higher, and a Good or better cut, you can choose any carat size and the diamond will be beautiful.
So there you have it!
With a little covert action and some basic diamond and gold knowledge, you are perfectly set up to choose a ring that your partner will absolutely adore... Just remember, as long as the style reflects her taste and you stay above the minimum requirements for a well performing diamond, you are sure to make a good choice.
Now what are you waiting for? Start looking for your true love’s perfect diamond engagement ring.
Dianne is the blog and customer support fairy for online jewellery company 1791 Diamonds Limited, proud supplier of unique designer gold and platinum diamond engagement rings.
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