Your engagement, wedding and eternity rings are a personal thing and these days, anything goes. Some couples opt for a very nice (and ornate) wedding ring, while others go for a more traditional setting.
White diamonds are still the big sellers, but more and more brides are choosing different coloured stones.
Alot of grooms are now proposing with a beautiful piece of jewellery, then taking their bride to the jewellery store to choose something together.
Ring shopping can be fun and a nice way to start your wedding planning journey together.
Of course, the things to remember when shopping is:
1. Have a think about what you want and what suits you.
If you work in certain industries where a ring can get in the way, either accept you cannot wear your ring to work, or get something that is practical. Big stones can be annoying at times – you can knock them, it can be hard to put your hands in your pockets (depending on the size of your rock and your setting) and remember, that diamonds are NOT unbreakable.
Also, remember to think of the whole set, not just the engagement ring. I always suggest that if a groom does want to buy the ring as a surprise (but hasn’t any idea what to get), go for something classic and simple…a solitaire, with high set diamond and straight edges on the band. This is an easy ring to fit pretty much any wedding ring to, without having to reshape the band or get a curved wedding band.
If you are someone who changes their mind about things, changes their style often – I’d go for a white diamond…it will age well, never go out of fashion and will go with everything!
How much do you want to spend? It’s not cheap and tradition suggests it should cost one to two months of your salary. There are ways to spend less (I mention these below).
3. Where to buy?
I’d suggest going into all shops to try on rings. Please don’t buy the first one you try on!
By going into different stores (from your Goldmark stores, right up to Tiffanys), you are seeing what they have, what their prices are and what you like. You learn the terminology and start to feel more confident with negotiating.
If you do find ‘the ring’ at a store, try to take a pic (if it’s unusual) and get some details about the stone (size, setting, cut) and about the metal (is it yellow, rose, white gold, platinum?). Then go to a reputable jeweller who owns their own store – they will be more willing to negotiate. While you are at it – order both engagement and wedding rings and negotiate as much as you can – you’ll have more bargaining power if you order both rings at once (and don’t forget about your grooms wedding band!). If you are not happy with the price, get their best deal in writing (on the back of a business card) and go elsewhere…but keep them for back up – just in case!
Alternatively, go to a diamond trader, then to a jeweler with your stones for the setting.
5. The 4 C’s.
The four important aspects when buying diamonds are:
Carat – is term which diamonds are measured. The larger the diamond, the more expensive as as you approach the one carat size, the price can go up dramatically. I recommend that clients go just under the one carat to make it a little more affordable. If your bride has small fingers, a one carat diamond might seem huge on her fingers. If she has large fingers, perhaps it might seem smaller.
Colour – white diamonds (this does not apply to coloured diamonds) are graded from D-X. D is colourless, while X is a little yellow (not yellow enough to look like a yellow diamond!).
G is usually the lowest I recommend going. Besides size (carat), colour is the other area I’d look to spend my budget. A beautiful coloured diamond looks amazing and never seems dirty (even after 7 years, I’ve never had my rings cleaned and you cannot tell…I was once asked by a friend where I got my engagement ring cleaned because it sparkled…I lost all sense of tact and told her I just had a very white diamond!).
If you are using a yellow gold, the colour G is fine. If you are using white gold or platinum – then a colourless diamond is better because the white metal will make your diamond look yellowish. A good trick (if you have a loose diamond, that is, not in a ring setting), is to get a plain white piece of paper and fold it in half. Put a D coloured diamond and a G coloured diamond in the middle of the folded paper at the same time and see the difference…you’ll be amazed! Those who go to diamond traders to buy their stones can ask to do this.
Clarity – this is how ‘perfect’ your diamond is. Most diamonds have flaws which reduce the cost of the diamond. Personally, I don’t care about flaws that need magification to see them. This is definitely an area you can save money!
The grades of flaws are:
Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare and expensive!
Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x magnification by a trained gemologist.
Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions more easily detected under 10x magnification.
Included (three grades). Inclusions visible under 10x magnification AS WELL AS to the human eye. I don’t recommend you buy these!
Cut – this does not refer to the shape of the diamond (brilliant, emerald, pear etc), it refers to the diamonds ‘brilliance’, which is that brightness that seems to come from the very heart of a diamond. The angles and finish of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance. The grades of a diamonds cut are:
* Very Good
* Fair & Poor
Aim for Ideal, Premium or very good.
The fifth C – certificate!
Make sure you get a valuation certificate and make sure you insure your ring/s
5. The when, who and how’s
- Typically, men propose to women – but there is exception to the rule!
- The man usually pays for the ring, however if it is bought together, sometimes the cost is shared.
- Wedding rings and engagement rings are usually on the left (or right – depending on cultures) hand, worn on the third finger. The Romans believed that the vein in that finger runs directly to the heart.
- The wedding ring is a never-ending circle, which symbolises everlasting love.
- On your wedding day, your engagement ring (if you have one) should go on your opposite hand so that during your ceremony, your wedding ring will be placed first on your finger, then the engagement ring fits in after. The practical reason for the wedding band on first is that the engagement ring (usually more elaborate) might be taken off for messy chores, without disturbing the band. The symbolic reason for wedding ring on first is that it’s closer to your heart.
- Eternity rings – like wedding rings, are a symbol of everlasting love. Although eternity rings are given to celebrate an anniversary or other special event such as the birth of a child, there is no precise occasion for which to give this gift (I am still waiting for mine!). This ring, if you are fortunate enough to receive one, should be placed after the engagement ring on your finger.
I love jewellery shopping and often take my couples shopping for at least one of their rings (usually the wedding ring). It’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of planning a wedding and I always encourage my couples enjoy it.