How to understand diamond engagement rings
Choosing an engagement ring for the proposer is no easy job and should not taken lightly! The propose is meant to wear that ring for the rest of their life. I think what my fiancé did was perfect, he proposed and we chose the ring together, (everyone’s perfect is different, don’t forget!).
So, whether you’re choosing your engagement ring, or you’re seeking advice for a friend (or hinting to a loved one!), I’ve written here what I learnt about diamond shopping when I was choosing my ring. How did he pop the question?
My engagement ring is a Soiltaire .32 carat, with VS1 clarity and H/I colour and a ‘brilliant’ cut. But what does that mean??
The 4c’s of Diamonds
To you or I simply we understand it as the diamond shape, Emerald Cut, Princess Cut etc. But technically (I think!) it’s the quality of the cut and how well it reflects the lights. Simple terms, its sparklyness! The more sparkly the better the cut!
This is to the with the chemical reaction with the diamond. It is rare to find a colourless diamond therefore this chart shows you how ‘perfectly coloured’ your diamond is. The lesser the colour or whiter the diamond, the higher the value (towards D).
“Natural diamonds are the result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the earth. This process can result in a variety of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes’.” http://4cs.gia.edu/EN-US/diamond-clarity.htm
Although to naked untrained eye you really wouldn’t’ notice any flaws, a jeweller with proper equipment will be able to tell you the clarity of your diamond. Again the higher up the scale the more valuable it is, yet rarer to find!
Now carat is a funny one as people often thing it’s the size of the stone. Well it’s actually the weight of the diamond, I won’t go into detail as it gets more complicated with the technical way in which they are weighed. Typically, 1 carat and up are the more valuable diamonds.
Bear in mind, 2 stones weighing 1 carat each may not be the same value due to the other 3c’s! Don’t be pushed into purchasing a massive diamond with amazing clarity and colour if it’s all a bit mind-boggling!
We had a budget and I love jewellery (simple and contemporary, not overly blingy), but I didn’t feel it was necessary to have the most flawless, colourless diamond in the shop, to be honest I just wanted a beautiful ring to the eye. Whoever asks to see your ring and looks at it more than a minute or two is probably a keen diamonder or looking to steal it! If I’m honest the weirdest thing about when I got my ring on Christmas Eve, when everyone wanted to see it, the reaction was less of the ‘wow, that’s amazing’ because it’s so dainty and simple, don’t be knocked by this, you’re wearing it for the rest of your life!
How did he pop the question?
We went for a meal at our first date pub, I think it was about 2 years and 8 months into our relationship. We were at the pub, waiting for food with a drink in hand and he produced some printed paper, “read this”. Well, I was gobsmacked, shook and welled up as I read “return flights booked from London to Reykjavik, Reykjavik to JFK” with lots of papers on trips and excursions and hotel bookings and I asked “seriously? But why! Thank you”. I was thinking ‘gosh what have I done to deserve an awesome trip like this?’ I couldn’t believe what a lovel kind gesture it was, I’ve never had a long-term serious relationship before so hadn’t realised what it would feel like to be spoilt and truly loved (and that I was doing well in it, for that matter!).
I told the hockey girls, “ooh… that’s a special trip, wonder whether he’ll pop the question…”, to be honest, I didn’t think anything of it, I was too excited about the trip, the thought never even entered my mind.
Fast forward to Iceland, he’s a nervous flyer and my suitcase didn’t arrive in Iceland, it was ‘left in London’, thanks to Icelandair, so that was a great start. Weather was terrible, so bad luck on that front too! Our Northern Lights trip was cancelled as it was the worst weather they had had for 20 years, however we made it to the Blue Lagoon hot springs. On entry the lady said “we advise you don’t wear watches, jewellery etc., the water is so strong it can tarnish and discolour it”, so I took all my jewellery off.
We entered the strangely warm water in the open and hid from the rain and wind. Took some shots on the GoPro and we walked in a sheltered path to admire the place. Here is where it goes fuzzy, the next think I remember is, “will you marry me?” as he produces a lovely ring of his mum’s, a lovely contemporary silver ring with a big blue stone. My reaction? Well I think I asked initially if he was kidding whilst giggling and shaking. I felt like it wasn’t real, you can’t imagine the question actually being asked, until it’s happened! It was said so normally like a casual conversation, which was about to change our lives! Of course I wrapped my arms around him, shaking and with a few tears because I’d just been asked to spend the rest of my life with the man I loved, someone loved me that much?! I must have said yes in their somewhere, but I don’t remember it! I asked the usual, ‘who knows? did you ask my dad?’ … He said it was an awkward situation with my dad, as in his words, he said ‘I’m taking a ring to Iceland, I hope that’s okay?’, hey that counts, he not exactly a traditionalist! All his friends knew about the trip, he’d been thinking about it all summer, he booked the trip in May and told me in the November.
His mum’s ring was a temporary engagement ring (but permanent ring that luckily fits my middle finger on my right hand), as he didn’t want to choose a ring without me. Never really thought about it before, but it made sense to me. I don’t know what I would have chosen, let alone him choosing me a ring for the rest of my life! What if he had bought a huge blingy sapphire with diamonds encrusted around the band? Whilst that may suit others, that is not my style.
So we went to NYC and hoped to find an ‘official’ ring there, I know what you’re thinking, ‘aww cute, great idea’. Don’t. Unless you have £10,000 to spend in Tiffany and Co or other rich shop.
We went to the ‘Diamond District’ thought nothing of it. Suddenly we were in what felt like a Strip on a clubbing holiday being hassled into every bar or shop not knowing what was real or fake! We spent 1- minutes there and left, decided it’s a big and serious purchase let’s get it at home when we’re back!
For the first few days I couldn’t believe it we were calling each other fiancé everywhere we went, the NYC helicopter man even got us an extra 5 minutes on our flights above the City that never sleeps. If you’ve ever been on a helicopter tour the flights range from 5-25 mins.
So back home we quickly learnt how difficult diamond shopping is if you have no knowledge. Luckily his step-grandad was a big diamond dealer for about 30 years and told us what we needed to know. We had been into a local jeweller that we knew of, earlier that day and found what turned out to be a lovely ring.
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