Are you planning a Valentines Day proposal to your loved one…? Valentines Day has arrived and so here are some top tips on buying an engagement ring. Whether you’re planning on proposing with a ring or taking your intended to the jewellers and letting them choose the ring themselves, here are some top tips for you. And they’ll make you sound like you’re and expert!
In the world of diamonds there is something known as the “Four C’s”
This is the way that diamonds are categorised or ranked. And ultimately shows their quality and associated value.
Each of the Four C’s relate to a different aspect of the diamond and of course the higher the grading then the greater the value of the diamond.
Its a great way to find a diamond that’s perfect for your intended (and that’s perfect for your budget!). For example if you wanted a large carat weight but don’t have the budget for everything being at the same grade then perhaps choose a lower colour grade for example.
Here’s how the Four C’s work and what they mean
Carat = weight
All diamonds are weighed and the weight they are given are measured in what is called ‘carats’. The easiest way to remember how this works is that just like £1 has 100 pennies; one carat is made up of 100 points.
A diamond’s carat weight tends to reflect its diameter as diamonds a cut to the best proportions to reflect the light which gives it its sparkle.
Cut = geometric proportions
The cut is all about how when the diamond is ‘cut’ how it ten affects its potential to reflect light around the stone and back out again at the viewer.
If you have a cut grade that is “good” through to “excellent” there will be a beautiful brilliance or a sparkle to the stone which is so important if you want your chosen diamond to shine bright like a diamond.
You also have different cut styles. For example one you will hear often is the term ‘brilliant cut’. If the diamond you are considering has a good cut grading and is a brilliant cut diamond then it will create lot of sparkle through its reflection of light. You will also hear references to ’emerald cut’, ‘square cut’, and ‘princess cut’ (my particular favourite!).
Diamonds can also be ‘cushion’ shaped. This means that they are either rectangular or square with their corners rounded to create a much softer appearance.
Colour = clear to yellow
Diamonds are graded from D through to Z. D is colourless and Z is yellow.
D coloured diamonds are top end of the budget diamonds depending on the size. However to an untrained eye you are unlikely to be able to see any difference until you get to around J depending on the cut of the diamond.
That said I rather love a yellow diamond!
I asked Sophie Cudworth, Creative Director at Beards in Cheltenham how they help to guide their customers on such an important purchase. She told me that “Looking for the perfect diamond for your loved one can be incredibly daunting. At Beards, we have already done much of the hard work for you. We select only the finest diamonds in the top three colours, D, E , F, and clarities from F-VS2 as standard. Even if a diamond looks good on paper, we inspect every one by eye before selecting them for our jewellery. This is to ensure they have the brightest refraction of light and the best proportions. In many ways, you’ve got to see a diamond sparkle in person to know if it’s the right one!”
Clarity = flaws or lack of them
There are a number of grades that run from ‘Flawless’ through to ‘Included 3’.
Flawless as its name suggests is just that. Completely free of any blemishes or ‘inclusions’. Flawless! At the other end of the grading you have a diamond with significant ‘inclusions’ or blemishes. These are naturally occurring minerals and small cracks. These are known in the trade as ‘feathers’.
The clarity grade is given depending on how many inclusions and in what position the inclusions are when the diamond is viewed under 10x magnification.
The majority of inclusions are not visible to the naked eye and therefore not something for most of us to worry about. Like all things flaws can be exquisite. For example some diamonds even have garnet crystals or rubies trapped inside them. Imagine that!
I also chatted to Sophie about how the Team at Beards design, create and make engagement rings. Its a real process of craftsmanship, huge experience, and creative design.
“We make every engagement ring in house in our workshop. With over 70 years collective experience, our expert team of goldsmiths and master setters bring every piece to life by hand. Using a combination of traditional techniques and cutting edge computer technology, each ring is designed, cast, set and polished to an exacting standard. Whether you chose a ring from our window, or have something designed just for you, know that your ring has been made to last for generations to come.”
I love the idea of passing jewellery down to the next generation. Knowing that your engagement ring is an heirloom piece (I know my nieces have their eye on mine!) that will be treasured by future generations.
One critical point we haven’t yet mentioned is cost. Also known as the Fifth C!
Traditionally in the UK it used to be one months salary however spend what you can realistically afford. You can always upgrade for say your 10th wedding anniversary!
You may hear that one to three months’ salary is the tradition but spend what you can realistically afford. Walking into a jewellers can be a daunting experience as very few of us will buy diamonds and gems regularly. Its just like getting married; you don’t do this every day, so lean on us professionals – its what we’re here for!
Beards Bespoke Design service is the perfect way of creating an engagement ring that is unique and personal, while also being affordable. They will work within your budget to create the perfect piece, from a little as £1000. Now that’s really not that scary! I recommend a visit to Beards to have a chat with one of their designers who will talk you through the process in a little more detail and to find out what beautiful piece they can make for you.
Beards are at 70 Promenade in Cheltenham. Call 01242 516238 to make your appointment and of course please do keep the team here at NKP posted on your proposals and engagement celebrations!
All images are ©Beards
Note: this post is not sponsored. At NKP we just like working with Beards!