Are you thinking about getting engaged? With so many options in bridal jewelry, it’s hard to know which is the most important thing to consider. Not sure what type of engagement ring or wedding band to purchase? We break down everything, from the 4Cs and diamond shapes, to getting your new purchase appraised. Read on for our top 10 tips about bridal jewelry.
1. First, it is important to find a jeweler that you trust. This is a big purchase and it is important to find a reputable jeweler.
2. Familiarize yourself with the 4Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. When buying a diamond, these are the most important factors to consider:
The brilliance and the sparkle of a diamond is determined by its cut. A diamond that is well cut allows the most amount of light to be reflected from each of its facets and dispersed through the top. We believe that the cut of a diamond is the most important of the 4Cs. Even with the perfect color and clarity, a diamond will look dull if it is not cut properly.
Almost all diamonds carry inclusions that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These also make diamonds unique, as no two diamonds are the same. However, these inclusions impacts a diamond’s clarity. The absence of inclusions or the fewer inclusions a diamond has means better clarity. Therefore, the better the clarity, the greater the value of the diamond.
Colorless diamonds come in a variety of color grades that are marked D through Z. D, E and F grade diamonds are the most rare and most expensive. These contain no color. The further down the scale you go, the more yellow appears in the diamond. Once a diamond gets past Z, then it is considered a Fancy color diamond. The more intense the color of the diamond, the more rare and expensive it will be.
The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. 1 carat equals 100 points. Diamonds may be referred to as a 3/4 carat stone or a .75 point diamond. The larger the diamond, the more valuable it is, however, it should not be the only consideration. The cut, clarity and color should all be considered for a desirable diamond.
3. Now that we have gone over the basics of the 4Cs, you may be wondering which of the 4Cs is the most important? When asked this question, David Schreibman, co-owner of Alson Jewelers has this to say, “Most people have a budget in mind when diamond shopping. I feel you get the best value for your dollar by choosing a diamond with an SI1 or SI2 clarity, G or H color and a very good cut grade. From there you can choose the right size diamond that fits your price range.”
4. Another factor to consider when buying a diamond is shape. Diamonds come in many shapes, each with unique characteristics. You may favor the flash of a round brilliant or the elegance of an emerald cut. Try on different shapes to determine which shape is best for you.
5. Once you purchase your diamond, make sure to ask your jeweler for a diamond grading report from the GIA. This report verifies the diamond’s quality.
6. Be sure you have your diamond appraised by your jeweler and insured in case it is lost or stolen.
7. When choosing a band for the groom-to-be, there are a few things to consider. What is his lifestyle and personality? Will he wear the band everyday or just on the weekends or special occasions? Does he have an office job or is he someone who works with his hands as a tradesman or mechanic? Does he dress conservatively or is he more fashion forward? Does he want to make a statement or is comfort his priority? These questions are important when choosing the type of metal for his band.
Following is a list of metals and their characteristics:
Gold – When looking at gold wedding bands, you will want to make sure you purchase a band in 14K or 18K. This will provide the best color and hold up well over time, versus a gold in 10K. Gold comes in three colors: yellow, white and rose.
White Gold – White gold is a great choice if you love the look of platinum but want a wedding band that doesn’t come with the platinum price tag.
Rose Gold – Rose gold is a hot new trend in bridal and we’re seeing it used in designs for women and men. The warm, subtle rose hue enhances the ring and makes it stand apart from the traditional yellow or white gold band.
Platinum – Platinum is a white metal that is long wearing and will not scratch as easily as gold. Platinum is more expensive than gold and is also a heavier metal. It is strong and durable with good resistance to scratching, corrosion and chemicals. It makes a great choice for the guy who wants something simple, elegant, and it will never go out of style.
Titanium – Titanium is a new metal that is being used for men’s wedding bands. It is the hardest natural metal yet very light weight and very comfortable. It is three times the strength of steel and is also hypoallergenic. Titanium is a great choice for the guy who would like something that is very light weight.
Tungsten – Tungsten carbide rings are very durable and retain many of the characteristics of pure tungsten metal, including a high melting point and high tensile strength. The rings are extremely resistant to scratching, and have a light gray color which can be darkened with brush finishing processes.
Sterling Silver – Sterling Silver is a softer metal than gold and requires more care than the other metals due to oxidation that can occur over time. Oxidation is easy to care for with the use of a polishing cloth or bringing it into a jeweler for cleaning. This type of metal comes in great styles and is perfect for the guy who is looking for something more casual for his wedding band.
8. When looking for wedding bands for the soon to be bride, the first thing to think about is if you want to wear your wedding band with your engagement ring or alone. This is an important consideration when looking for bands. We suggest trying on both styles to see what looks best with your engagement ring and what you are most comfortable wearing. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I want something classic or modern?
Do I want a band with diamonds or a plain metal band?
Do I want a band with fancy colored diamonds or gemstones?
9. Many brides are opting for the less traditional engagement ring and choosing something in color. Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are all excellent choices for an engagement ring and make for a very unique look.
10. Enjoy the process of looking for rings! This is a very special time in both of your lives and your engagement ring and wedding band will be something that you will cherish for a lifetime!
~Photo at top of page courtesy of Precison Set.