Bridal Club Magazine
Buying an engagement ring
Which metal for your engagement ring?
Brides-to-be often have strong preferences when it comes to the
metal used in their engagement ring. Here are the most popular
A yellow gold engagement ring is the
traditional choice. 24k is the purest but also the softest variety,
so is not generally recommended for engagement rings. 14k and 18k
gold are less pure but harder and therefore more likely to make a
durable engagement ring.
A white gold engagement ring will complement
any silver or platinum jewellery you may have already. However, a
white gold engagement ring is often plated with rhodium to enhance
its appearance, and this plating is likely to wear off with
A platinum engagement ring is another popular
choice. This silvery metal is highly resistant to damage. It's much
rarer than gold and is therefore more expensive, but a platinum
engagement ring will last a lifetime.
A titanium engagement ring is a more modern
choice since it is only relatively recently that this striking
greyish metal has been used for jewellery. It is extremely durable
and can be carved without losing its strength. A titanium
engagement ring is a real talking point.
The stone: a non-diamond engagement ring
Not every woman has her heart set on a diamond engagement ring.
It might be worth considering the huge range of other stones that
can be used in a beautiful - and highly individual - ring.
One of the most popular choices today is a tanzanite engagement
ring. A gorgeous purplish-blue gem, tanzanite is far rarer than
diamonds as it has only ever been found in one location -
Other people love emeralds, sapphires, or rubies. If a stone has
a particular significance for you, go for it. A word of caution,
however: many stones - tanzanite included - are much less hard than
diamonds, and are likely to need more care.
If your budget will not stretch to diamonds but you love their
classic look, go for a cubic zirconia engagement ring. When the cut
of the stone is good it can be difficult for anyone but an expert
to distinguish a cubic zirconia from a diamond, yet a cubic
zirconia engagement ring can be bought for a fraction of the
Diamonds - the four Cs
A diamond is an investment, and you want to be certain you're
not being ripped off when you head out to buy a diamond engagement
ring. Above all, look out for the so-called 'Four Cs' - clarity,
colour, cut and carat.
The clarity of a diamond refers to how pure it
is. Most diamonds contain tiny marks, or 'inclusions' . These are
usually not visible to the naked eye, but will significantly affect
the price of the diamond. The scale used to measure a diamond's
clarity ranges from FL, which denotes a flawless and extremely
precious diamond, to I3, at the other end of the scale.
The colour of a diamond is measured by a scale
of letters, from colourless D - the most valuable type - to Z,
which has a very noticeable tint, and should be much cheaper.
The carat of the diamond is its weight, with
one carat weighing 0.2 grams. This is often thought of as the most
important way to judge a diamond, but it should be pointed out that
it is by no means the only important gauge of quality.
The cut of the diamond is the only one of the
four Cs that can be influenced by the craftsman, and even the
largest diamond needs to be well cut to be shown to best advantage.
A well cut diamond will shine brilliantly.
When choosing a diamond, seek out a retailer that is able to
provide a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certificate to
guarantee the stone's quality.
Many diamonds are mined in war zones, with the proceeds of their
sale being used to finance war. These are known as 'conflict
diamonds' or 'blood diamonds'. If this thought disturbs you, opt
for a conflict-free diamond instead.
Conflict-free stones are guaranteed not to have been obtained
through the use of violence, human-rights abuses, or environmental
destruction. These diamonds are tracked from the mine to the
cutting and polishing, to ensure that ethical practices are used
throughout. It might take a little research to find a conflict-free
engagement ring, but many people feel this is time well spent.