How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring Page 0

How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Page 0
How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Handmade V’s Cast Jewellery
Top quality handmade jewellery
The best quality jewellery is made from solid 18ct gold or platinum, it is then formed by jewellers using rolling mills,
hammers, files and emery paper. Traditional jewellery manufacturing techniques cause the gold to be much harder
and stronger. The jewellery is therefore, more durable and holds a better polish and won’t bend or misshape. There
are no short cuts in quality, the end result will mean you have a piece of jewellery that is worth much more and can
be handed down for generations.
The Process:
Starting with new solid pieces of gold the jeweller uses the rollers to stretch and flatten the gold. The metal is then
hammered and filed until it can be shaped into the desired form. The metal becomes denser from being worked and
hit during the making process, creating a heavier more solid setting which is stronger, giving the ring a sharper,
cleaner and more elegant look. The piece is then sanded to give it a smooth finish and polishing to give it a beautiful
Cast Jewellery
Cast jewellery is a different manufacturing process all together. This process should mainly be used for mass
production items that are not worn everyday and are of lesser importance than an engagement ring. A model of the
jewellery is made in wax, a mould is then made and molten gold is poured into the mould. It is then broken open and
you have gold in the shape of a ring.
Dangers of Cast Jewellery:
The gold is softer and a lighter weight, it’s been heated to a liquid state, cooled quickly and without hammering. The
gold may have bubbles/holes in the surface or just under the surface. The softer gold does not hold a good polish
and scratches far more easily than a quality handmade product. With time, cast rings start to lose their round shape
and wear poorly, thinning on the underside of the ring. If you want a ring or piece of jewellery that will last and still
look good in 10 years time, handmade is the only way to go.
There may be little visual difference between a cast and handmade piece of jewellery however, there is a huge
difference which will affect the longevity of your engagement ring. There are weaknesses below the surface
especially with claws which are very delicate. If an item is not cast very well or cooled too soon, the metal becomes
very brittle and can cause the jewellery to break. A piece of gold jewellery that was cast is difficult to melt down and
reuse as cracks tend to appear during the manufacture. The main difference you will notice to begin with is the price
of handmade versus cast jewellery however, this is an excellent example when price really does reflect quality and is
not a place to try and cut costs.
Styles of an Era
Victorian (1835-1900) often set in yellow or rose gold, many Victorian style settings feature rows of
diamonds, using old "mine cut" diamonds. They may also include pearls, but not recommended for every
day wear. Surprisingly, the classic six-claw diamond solitaire was introduced in 1886.
Edwardian (1900-1920) Platinum became the vogue metal for Edwardian engagement rings. Lacy patterns,
milgraining, scrollwork and filigree detail, along with rose-cut diamonds and brilliant cut sapphires.
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Art Deco (1920-1930) engagement rings reflect the era with a streamlined geometric look. Early Art Deco
rings were colourful, using contrasting gemstones, but quickly changed to a platinum diamond pave style for
the glittery effect.
Keep in mind that antique engagement rings used softer stones such as emeralds, pearls, and opals. Today’s
diamonds have a far better, brighter cut and generally whiter diamonds are used. The style in the past sought for
slightly rose, green or yellow diamonds, the internal flaws in vintage diamonds are less desired in the modern era
where a cleaner, whiter stones is preferable.
Gold Choice
When choosing the metal and colour, most women have a definite preference, if she loves silver coloured jewellery,
white gold is by far the most popular choice. Platinum, a more precious metal is also available, but with a price tag
of roughly double that of 18ct white gold. It is nearly twice as heavy as 18ct gold, and is slightly softer, which means it may
scratch more easily. However, it does not lose its ultra white colour, so there is no need for Rhodium plating
(a white plating that goes over 18ct white gold to make it look as white as platinum). If she likes yellow gold, a
combination of white gold for the diamond setting (which leaves the the diamond looking white) and yellow gold
for the band is also a popular style.
The Diamond
Diamonds are natural crystals of varying size and shape, formed in the earth over millions of years. From this rough
gemstone, a diamond cutter will produce a diamond of the greatest size with the fewest flaws and the most
brilliance. Therefore there are many diamond shapes and sizes to choose from.
Round Brilliant Cut
This shape has set the standard for diamond shapes, and accounts for more than 70% of diamonds sold today. Its 58facet cut, from its crown (top), girdle (widest part) and pavilion (base), is calibrated through a precise formula to
achieve the maximum in fire and brilliance. It is the ideal shape for a diamond to be cut to maximise its beauty, as
they are designed to return more light and therefore sparkle more than any other cut.
Oval Shaped
The Oval cut has beautiful brilliance that is similar to a round diamond. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their
length can accentuate long, slender fingers. The history of the brilliant-cut oval diamond is relatively easy to track
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
because it is a relatively young shape. Created by Lazare Kaplan in the late 1950s -early 1960s, the oval brilliant cut is
an elliptical variation of the more common round brilliant. The modern oval cut is a fiery diamond that reflects light
brilliantly. It's a wonderful selection for someone who loves the sparkle of the round brilliant, but desires a less
common shape.
Marquise Cut
An elongated shape with pointed ends, the Marquise can be used as a solitaire or enhanced by smaller diamonds in a
cluster design. Marquise diamonds may sometimes show the bow-tie effect, which is a slightly darker section across
the centre of the stone, but if well cut, it should be bright all the way through.
Pear Shaped
Also called the Teardrop, the Pear shape is combining the best of the Oval and the Marquise, it is shaped most like a
sparkling teardrop and is particularly beautiful for pendants and earrings. Pear-shaped diamonds are prone to the
bow-tie effect, which is a slightly dark/dull section across the centre of the stone. This effect is more visible in some
stones than in others, but most have some form of bow-tie.
Heart Shaped
The Heart shape diamond is exactly what is sounds like, heart shaped and when cut with a nice even shape they can
have great brilliance and sparkle. The most romantic diamond cut, but be sure to look for a proportioned cut which
shows clear balance and cleft.
Emerald Cut
This is a rectangular shape with cut corners. It is known as a step cut because its concentric broad, flat planes
resemble steps. The emerald cut was originally developed for cutting emeralds. As the Emerald cut has fewer facets,
it is a simpler look stone with clean line. An Emerald cut diamond tends to be less fiery than a round brilliant cut, but
also tends to have broader, more dramatic flashes of light. The simple cut and the ability to look deep into an
Emerald cut means a lower colour grade and clarity tends to be more visible.
Princess Cut
This is a square or rectangular cut with numerous sparkling facets, it is a relatively new cut and is popular to use in
solitaire engagement rings. Because of its design, this cut sometimes requires more depth than round stones, in
order to maximize brilliance. The diamond depth percentages of 70% to 78% are common, but too much depth
reduces the measurement of the stone, which is not desired. If you love the fire of the traditional Round Brilliant Cut
(the standard diamond engagement ring cut), but want something a little different, the Princess cut could be a great
option. Princess Cut was designed for getting maximum brilliance from a square cut. Make sure the four corners of a
princess cut diamond are protected, as the points can be chipped if exposed.
Trilliant Cut
This is a triangular stone, often very shallow in depth. The design of the Trilliant can vary significantly from being a
straight triangular shape with pointed corners or a more rounded triangular shape. These diamonds are usually
positioned on either side of a Cushion cut, a Princess cut or Radiant cut.
Radiant Cut
This square or rectangular cut combines the elegance of the emerald shape diamond with the brilliance of the round,
and its 70 facets maximize the effect of its colour refraction. Because of its design, this cut requires more weight to
be directed toward the diamond's depth in order to maximize brilliance.
Asscher Cut
Also called square emerald cuts, the symmetrical back facets create a beautiful pattern of parallel lines creating
squares which radiate from the centre to the outside of the stone. This more simple cut created a lot of depth,
meaning you can look into the stone without the interference of many facets.
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Cushion Cut
An antique style of cut that looks like a cross between an Old Mine Cut (a deep cut with large facets that was
common in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. Cushion cut diamonds have also
become popular when Tiffany brought out a range of cushion cut engagement rings.
The shape of things to come in diamonds has already produced other fanciful and innovative styles such as the
flower, cloverleaf, triangle and kite, with the advent of the use of lasers in the cutting process. Some cuts are
variations on standard shapes, others spin off the natural crystal formation of the stone. Individuality and taste
determine the fashion, and the precise work of the gem cutter transforms each stone into a unique work of art.
Diamond Quality Comparison
The quality depends to a large degree on budget.
Do you want to go for the best quality stone and reduce the size, or go for size and reduce quality?
Going for size:
Good Colour H-I, Good Clarity Si2-Si3, Good Cut G-VG.
With these gradings, the biggest stone can fit into your budget.
Going for better quality: Very Good Colour F-G, Very Good Clarity Vs2-Si1, Very
Very Good - Excellent cut. With this option, the quality is
High and the size is slightly less.
Going for Top quality: Excellent or Top quality diamond.
D-E Colour, V VS1- VS1, Excellent Cut
It is advise to only choose a colour of G or above and Clarity of Si2 or above, so you are sure to get a beautiful stone
at the best possible price. It is highly recommended you know and understand the 4 C’s before buying as it is easy to
be misled with diamonds.
Cut: This is one factor not determined by nature, the cut grade of a diamonds refers to the preciseness of the
diamonds angels. Cut grading is split into 3 categories, the overall cut, the polish and the symmetry making up the
overall reflective qualities of the stone.
Table- This is the large, flat top facet of a diamond.
Crown- The upper portion of a cut gemstone, above the girdle.
Girdle - The narrow rim of a diamond that separates the crown from the pavilion. It is the largest diameter to
any part of the stone.
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Pavilion- The lower portion of the diamond, below the girdle. It is sometimes referred to as the base.
Culet -The tiny facet on the pointed bottom of the pavilion, which is the portion of a cut gem below the girdle.
As shown in the images below, when a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table and travels to the pavilion
where it reflects from one side to the other before reflecting back out of the diamond through the table and to the
observer's eye.
In a poorly cut diamond, the light that enters through the table reaches the facets and then 'leaks' out from the sides
or bottom of the diamond rather than reflecting back to the eye. Less light reflected back to the eye means less
brilliance. The best cut diamonds are those that follow a formula calculated to maximize brilliance. The most
important factor is how the depth compares to the diameter, and how the diameter of the table compares to the
diameter of the diamond.
The cut grades that are seen on Diamond certificates are as follows:
Ideal or Excellent
Very Good
Fair & Poor
Ideal or Excellent
This cut is intended to maximize brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. This category applies only to round diamonds.
Very Good
These diamonds reflect most of the light that enters them, creating a good deal of brilliance. With these diamonds,
the cutters have chosen to stray slightly from the exact diamond proportions in order to create a slightly larger
diamond or retain more weight from the original crystal. In many cases the parameters of diamonds in this range will
overlap with diamonds in the Ideal or Excellent range. Generally, the prices of these diamonds are slightly below that
of Excellent cuts.
Diamonds that reflect much of the light that enters them. Their proportions fall outside of the preferred range
because the cutter has chosen to create the largest possible diamond from the original rough crystal, rather than
cutting extra weight off to cut a smaller higher cut quality diamond. Diamonds in this range offer an excellent costsavings to customers who want to stay in a budget without sacrificing colour or clarity.
Fair & Poor
A diamond graded as fair or poor reflects only a small proportion of the light that enters it. Typically these diamonds
have been cut to maximize the carat weight over most other considerations.
Clarity: Diamond clarity is the identification of inclusions in and on the surface of a stone. They are guarantees of
the natural evolution of the original diamond crystal. Inclusions are such things as mineral specimens, crystals,
cracks, and non-diamond minerals found in the stone. Surface inclusions include scratches, pits, and chips.
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Diamonds are graded for clarity under 10x loupe magnification. Grades range from Flawless (diamonds which are
completely free of inclusions), to Included or Pique 3 (diamonds which possess large, heavy inclusions that are visible
to the naked eye).
F -Flawless: No internal or external flaws. Extremely rare.
IF -Internally Flawless: no internal flaws, but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1-VVS2 -Very Very Slightly Included (two grades). Minute inclusions very difficult to detect under 10x
magnification by a trained gemmologist.
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, but
impossible to see with the naked eye.
I1-I2-I3 or Pique 1,2 and 3.
Included (three grades). Inclusions visible to the human eye.
The presence of inclusions in diamonds lowers the clarity grade of the stone. These become an identification factor
for a diamond. Most diamond certificates come with a diagram of where the inclusions are in a stone. Since no two
diamonds are exactly the same, comparing the diamond's inclusions with the diagram on the diamond certificate,
offers assurance that the diamond matches the certificate.
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Colour: Diamonds are formed under intense heat and pressure, traces of other elements maybe present in their
atomic structure resulting in the variation in colour. Only a few diamonds are truly colourless therefore, the whiter
the diamond the greater the value.
When looking at white diamonds, colour refers to the presence or absence of an overall yellowish hue in the stone
or by how much the stone deviates from truly colourless. Only a few diamonds are truly colourless, therefore the
whiter a diamond's colour, the greater its value and more desirable to use for engagement rings. The recognised and
established colour scale for diamonds begins with the highest rating of D for colourless, and travels down the
alphabet, going from stones with a very faint or light yellowish hue to a dark brownish colour.
Diamonds graded D through G are naturally the most valuable and desirable because of their rarity. But you can still
obtain very attractive diamonds that are graded slightly less than colourless. Very faint hint of yellow will be
apparent in diamonds graded J through M, this colour can often be minimized by using yellow gold to mount the
diamond. This can be a very affordable way of getting a large stone that still has a lot of brilliance.
Carat: The carat of a diamond refers to its weight rather than its size or diameter. The value per carat increases with
carat size as larger rough diamonds occur less frequently. A carat is a unit of measurement equalling 0.2 grams.
Don't confuse "carat weight" with "karat," the method of determining the purity of gold. Large diamonds are rare
and have a greater value per carat. For that reason, when the price per carat is multiplied by the number of carats,
the price of a diamond raises exponentially.
Fluorescence is an effect that is seen in some gem-quality diamonds which, when exposed to long-wave and or short
wave ultraviolet light may show a fluoresent glow. Under most lighting conditions, this fluorescence is not
detectable to the eye. Rarely a very strong fluorescence diamond may give a slightly cloudy appearance. Generally
fluorescence makes no difference to the appearance of a diamond and in some instances stones with strong
fluorescence appear to be a better colour than stones without fluorescence. In the overwhelming majority of
diamonds, the strength of fluorescence has no widely noticeable effect on appearance. In many instances, observers
prefer the appearance of diamonds that have medium to strong fluorescence. In rare cases, some diamonds with
extremely strong fluorescence may appear hazy or oily; fewer than 0.2% of the fluorescent diamonds exhibit this
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Diamond Certificates
When purchasing a diamond it is important to understand the grading system used by the certification laboratories.
A Diamond certificate tells you the diamond's exact measurements, the weight, colour, clarity and quality of cut.
Certificates also serve as proof of the identity and value of a diamond. All the internal inclusions of the certified
stone are plotted on a diagram similar to a map. Some stones these days are laser inscribed on the girdle with a
serial number, registered on the certificate.
A certificate is not the same thing as an appraisal. A certificate describes the quality of a diamond, but it does not
place a monetary value on the gem. It simply presents the facts relating to the stone. An appraisal or valuation
places a monetary value on your diamond, but does not certify the quality of the diamond.
There are many diamond labs that issue certificates, the most recognised Australian certificates being the Australian
Diamond Grading Laboratory (ADGL), AustCERT, Gem Studies Lab (GSL), and international certificates such as
Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), International gemmological institute (IGI) and Diamond High Council (HRD).
Buying certified diamonds allows you to make an informed choice about your diamond selection.
Fancy Coloured Diamonds
Fancy coloured diamonds are extremely rare because unlike white diamonds, which still exist in nature in large
quantities, fancy colour diamonds constitute less than 0.05% of the rough diamonds manufactured globally and the
main producers are finding less every year. In order to classify diamonds as natural loose coloured diamonds, they
are certified and receive their own personal ID with all its details such as measurements, weight, shape, clarity,
polish, symmetry and fluorescence.
The prices of a natural loose diamond is affected by the 4 C’s in the same way as white diamonds, but tend to come
in many fancy cuts to emphasize the colour as much as possible. They will also appear as a single colour, without any
secondary hue, such as blue or fancy pink diamonds. When a diamond appears as a single colour, the price will
be considerably more expensive than a diamond with a secondary hue, such as a fancy brownish greenish yellow,
fancy orangey pink or fancy greyish blue.
The intensity grading system for fancy colour diamonds differs from white diamonds. Unlike white diamonds, which
range from the letter D-Z, fancy colour diamonds are graded by Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep ,
Fancy Dark, and Fancy Vivid, the stronger the colour of the diamond the higher the price.
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How to buy the perfect Engagement Ring
Pink Diamonds
Pink diamonds are the world's most desirable of the fancy coloured diamonds, with most of the loose pink diamonds
coming from the Argyle mine in Western Australia.
Orange Diamonds
Pure orange diamonds are very rare, and most orange diamonds will appear as a combination of yellow and orange.
Usually, this is either Fancy Yellow-Orange or Fancy Yellowish Orange, and of course, in stronger levels of intensity,
Fancy Intense, Fancy Deep and Fancy Vivid.
Yellow Diamonds
Natural yellow diamonds are the best known of the fancy colour diamonds. White diamond colour scales start with
the letter D, and ends with the letters X-Y-Z. These are the beginning of the yellow fancy colour, due to its yellow
shade. After XYZ, we have Light Yellow, Fancy Light Yellow, Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow, and Fancy Vivid
Blue Diamonds
Blue diamonds range from Light Blue, Fancy Light Blue, Fancy Blue, Fancy Intense Blue, Fancy Deep Blue, Fancy Dark
Blue, to Fancy Vivid Blue. Blue diamonds are extremely rare, which is shown in very high prices.
Black Diamonds
Black diamonds have become very popular and trendy due to their low price and strong colour. Unlike other fancy
colour diamonds such as blue and pink, the black is an opaque black which gives them their crystal pure colour.
There are natural black diamonds; and heated in rough black diamonds, which differ substantially in price due to
their rarity.
Richard Moser
Gemmologist, FGAA
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