Tips and trends for buying the perfect engagement ring.
The business of selecting an engagement ring is such a personal and important event in the life of a couple that’s ready to take the next step that gone are the days when the ring’s selection was a private matter for just the groom. Today it seems that an outing to the jewelry store is de rigueur for a duo that’s madly in love.
While wedding dress fashion trends may come and go, a bride will proudly display her engagement ring on her hand every single day, regardless of her outfit, the event or the season. Of course, no matter the style of the rock, it will always be the story and meaning behind the ring that is really important, but the style of an engagement ring should be carefully considered.
There are four ‘C’s to think about when shopping for a diamond: color, clarity, cut and carat. The characteristics are rated according to the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) 4Cs of Diamond Quality, the first universally agreed-upon standard for describing and assessing the quality of diamonds.
Color. A chemically and structurally perfect diamond should have no hue. Rated on a scale from D (clear) to Z (increasing presence of yellow/brown/grey), diamonds in the D color-range are the clearest and most valuable with decreasing value as you go down the color scale. Most jewelry stores carry diamonds in the D to L (faint) color range.
Clarity. A diamond’s clarity is measured by how many flaws both internally (inclusions) and externally (blemishes) it has, as well as how big the flaws are and where they are placed. The GIA’s ratings go from “Flawless,” with basically no imperfections, to “Included,” which contain a significant number of imperfections. The flaws are what make your diamond unique, but you want to avoid stones with inclusions that affect its brilliance.
Cut. The cut of a diamond unleashes its sparkle. Artisans craft facets into the body of the stone in an arrangement that creates its shape and brilliance. Most standard diamond jewelry consists of “round brilliant diamonds,” but rings also come in cuts like emerald, princess and pear. No matter the shape, each stone is rated from “Excellent” to “Poor” based on the brilliance, sparkle and fire resulting from the cut.
Carat. A carat is how much a diamond weighs. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. The heavier the diamond, the more it weighs — unless it is flawed in the other three Cs.
While the 4Cs of Diamond Quality should always be taken into consideration before investing in a ring, so should the bride’s taste. We’ve broken down our five favorite settings, starting with classic and moving toward unique, to give you some inspiration.
Known for their simple elegance, Tiffany & Co. rings — especially their six-pronged, single-diamond Tiffany Setting — have been a staple for couples in love for ages now. Any version of this classic solitaire setting, in a blue box or not, highlights the beauty of a loose diamond and will be elegant until the end of time. This “no fuss” setting and its elevated, lone diamond are sure to be seen sparkling from across a crowded room. Gabriel & Co. solitaire engagement ring, Kirk & Company Jewelers, 117 Main St., Milford, kirkandcompanyjewelers.com.
Last year, the halo setting was a major trend for brides-to-be. In 2013, the industry has decided to build on this trend and up the ante a bit. The double halo setting simply takes the standard halo and adds another tier of smaller diamonds around the center stone. By using subtle, contrasting colors in the surrounding stones, the double halo manages to create the impression of a much larger center stone. Beauty aside, this setting is perfect for the couple that wants all of the sparkle without the intimidating price tag. Tacori handcrafted heirloom engagement ring with a double bloom spotlighting the center diamond, Richter & Phillips Co., 202 E. Sixth St., Downtown, richterphillips.com.
Though the meaning and commitment symbolized in an engagement ring cannot be compared from couple to couple, some brides are looking for something completely unique. Antique or vintage rings are a great option for the bride that loves a good story. These historic pieces can be handed down through the family or even discovered while traveling the globe. What’s fascinating about this trend, however, is that it’s actually not a trend at all. Because of the different history, size, color, price, etc. of each of the antique pieces, the bride will have something as personal as the love she shares with her partner. Art Deco European-cut engagement ring, Schwartz Jewelers, 6114 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, schwartzjewelers.net.
Having an engagement ring featuring a colored stone isn’t anything new by any means, but it’s definitely trending right now for brides-to-be. When Kate Middleton flashed her 18-carat blue sapphire engagement ring back in 2010, the world noticed. Much like an antique ring, having a bit of color for the center stone is a unique way to stand out among other brides. Ruby center stone surrounded by 28 diamonds, Boris Litwin Jewelers, 7565 Kenwood Road, Suite 204, Montgomery, 513-621-1123.
Although this trend doesn’t focus exclusively on the aesthetics of the engagement ring, it is something that is very important to many couples. Conflict-free diamonds are a fantastic choice because they have been obtained without the use of any violence. This trend (or ethical stance, rather) gained notoriety in 2006 when the movie Blood Diamond hit theaters. Suddenly this issue, of which many were unaware, was a discussion topic among couples looking for the perfect ring. Luckily, many jewelers have taken a stand and now exclusively sell conflict-free diamonds. SindurStyle, sindurstyle.com.