Congratulations! You’ve found the one and you are now looking to propose to your special someone. This is such an exciting time in both of your lives so of course we want to help you every step of the way. Whether you are just starting your research or you are homing in on the perfect style, this guide will cover all you need to know on how to buy an engagement ring.
The 4 C’s
You may have heard about the 4 C’s but would be forgiven if you found it all a bit overwhelming, so let us explain. Diamonds are categorised by 4 main factors Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat, all of which contribute to the overall beauty of the diamond. The below descriptions detail each component in turn, giving you all the jargon busting information you need to make the right decision.
This is less about the shape and more about the sparkle as the cut defines the way the light reflects throughout the diamond. The more depth the diamond has the more likely the light is to bounce across. The cut is usually graded as either good, fair or excellent. An excellent cut will have just the right amount of depth and width for the light to bounce straight across.
This relates to the quality of the diamond and any visual impairments that may be seen. Internal impurities are called inclusions and external marks are called blemishes. The highest quality diamond would be referred to as flawless whereas a diamond with internal markings or visual cloudiness would be referred to as included. Each diamond follows a grading system using a 10x magnification process to give each one its own classification. But remember, inclusions are naturally occurring so you don’t have to dismiss a diamond if it isn’t flawless.
The colour of a diamond is graded D to Z, with D being the whitest in appearance and Z being yellow. D is more expensive but to the untrained eye there is very little difference between D and say, a G. It’s not until you approach the latter end of the alphabet that a yellow tint is more apparent. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad diamond, it just means it isn’t as clear. You may actually prefer a more yellow diamond, not only for appearance but also the price tag as the more yellow it is, the cheaper it will be.
This is the one people tend to become fixated on. A lot of people assume the bigger the carat the better the ring but this isn’t the case. The carat determines the weight, not the size. You will most probably notice a considerable jump in price for anything above 1 carat so it’s worth taking into consideration the size and shape of the diamond when it comes to budget as no one will ask how much it weighs in years to come, it’s all about the appearance and of course the sparkle.
Although it’s yourself who is making the purchase, it's best to keep that special someone in mind when choosing the style. What does she like? What would suit her? What has she hinted at? (Just me that hinted? Ok, moving on. . .) Either way, this ring symbolises your forever and will be worn by her every day so it’s important to get it right, no pressure.
Solitaire - A single diamond.
Halo - A single diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds, giving a larger appearance.
Cluster - A collection of smaller gemstones creating a larger surface are.
If ever there was a time where first impressions mattered the most, this is it. As the box opens and the diamond dazzles, what will the love of your life see? Oval, round, princess, emerald, marquise, pear or radiant? Each of these styles vary in design so it’s all about personal preference, therefore taking the time to decide on the perfect shape ad style combination will mean everything when it comes to asking the question.
This is most probably one of the biggest investments you will make both emotionally and financially so it’s important to get it right. The above information will give you an indication on what to look for but ultimately it comes down to what you can afford. Does it need to be special, yes, does it need to break the bank, no. Reputable jewellers will offer finance options enabling you to choose the ring of her dreams at affordable installments. Some might offer a layaway system where you pay it off in installments before you collect it, or you could do it the old fashioned way and save, either way it’s got to work for you.
A great way of getting more bang for your buck is to really do your homework on the style and shape combination. A good example of this is, say you have your heart set on a round diamond but can’t afford a single solitaire, then how about looking for a round cluster ring? Or a round halo design? Just as impressive, but a fraction of the price.
As always, we are here to help and advise on how to buy an engagement ring, so why not browse our collection of diamond engagement rings, platinum engagement rings or 9ct gold engagement rings for an abundance of inspiration, or contact us on 028 92 670 566 for more information on any of the collections.
We guarantee your journey to a lifetime of happiness starts right here with Lowry Jewellers.