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Choosing your engagement ring(s!)

6th June 2006 |By

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, or so they say. And who wouldn’t want to have a sparkly rock on their finger to remind them how much they are loved?

Matching Silver Rings

Traditionally the engagement ring is chosen by  the man, who spends a month’s salary on a diamond ring, before going down on one knee to pop the question. These days most men still take the plunge and propose in this way. Other couples will choose an engagement ring together. And now some ladies are bringing sexual equality to their relationships by turning the tables on their men and producing a ‘mengagement ring!’

There are many different styles of engagement ring, from the classic princess cut solitaire diamond to the coloured gem stone band of rubies or emeralds. A vintage engagement ring could be just the thing for you or a bespoke ring that you design yourself.

How to choose the right ring for your partner, and pop the question.

Whether you’re buying a ring for a male or female partner, it’s important to get an idea of what they would like, before you go out and buy what you think they might like; it would be such a shame to get it wrong. Look for clues in what they currently wear – if they already have jewellery in white gold or platinum then it’s best to go for the same metal. If they love small, understated pieces then look for something along those lines, whereas if they favour large, showy jewellery then you could be in trouble financially! If your partner currently wears a ring then a jeweller may lend you a measuring stick for you to slip their current ring onto so you can get the size exactly right. If you can’t borrow one and they don’t wear the ring everyday then borrow the ring and take it into the shop for measuring – just don’t lose it or you’ll blow your surprise! Remember if you go for an unusually shaped ring with a curve or a twist, you may have problems finding a wedding band that will sit neatly next to it. To go that one step further consider having the ring engraved with words of never‐ending love and propose at a beautiful setting or on a memorable date.

The ‘mengagement ring’, the thinking woman’s Leap Year essential.

The brilliantly named ‘mengagement ring’, or men’s engagement ring, was launched as the modern man’s essential engagement accessory, and it’s catching on fast. It’s the ideal way for a confident woman, who believes in her sexual equality with her partner, to make a memorable gesture as she proposes to her man ‐ Leap Year or otherwise. Some couples will choose to have matching engagement rings as a symbol of their togetherness, others will choose their own styles based on their personal preferences. Mengagement rings are also a sure winner for civil partnerships between two men. It’s the most obvious way for a man to show his love and commitment to his partner in the lead up to their wedding.

The diamond ring, the ultimate engagement ring choice.

When it comes to choosing your diamond engagement ring(s), it’s useful to keep in mind the ‘four Cs’: the cut, colour, clarity and carat. There is now also another aspect to consider, whether you feel you should got for an ethical diamond, which has been mined without exploitation.

The skill in which a diamond has been cut will determine its brilliance. A well‐cut diamond will reflect light perfectly, from one facet to another. Equally, if a cut is too deep or too shallow, light can be lost through the bottom or the sides, resulting in a ‘less sparkly’ diamond (heaven forbid!). Cut also refers to the shape of the diamond, which can be called round, marquise, emerald, princess, pear, oval or heart. All are beautiful to look at, but round is the most ‘brilliant’ with its symmetrical shape allowing it to reflect nearly all the light that enters the diamond.

When it comes to colour in diamonds, less is definitely more. Diamonds are graded based on the presence or absence of colour. Colour in a diamond acts as a filter and diminishes the spectrum of colour that it emits so the less colourful the diamond, the more colourful the spectrum of light it emits, and the more valuable it is! Diamonds are graded on a colour scale ranging from D to Z. The most valuable diamond is absolutely colourless.

Diamonds have natural blemishes formed by minerals or fractures while they’re forming in the earth. These scratches or trace minerals are called ‘inclusions’ (so the ‘less included’ a stone, the better), and will generally disrupt the flow of light through the diamond. Most of these inclusions are only visible under a microscope and it’s always wise to select a diamond that looks clear to the eye.

We always think of carat as the size of the diamond, but actually it’s the weight. One carat is the equivalent of 200mg and the pricing structure can be quite complicated. For example, a one‐carat diamond won’t necessarily cost twice that of a half carat diamond. Larger stones are found less frequently, so their rarity makes them proportionately dearer. Quality is better than quantity, so it’s generally better to go for a high‐quality diamond of a lower carat, than a large, poor quality diamond.

Whatever you spend on an engagement ring, it’s the sentiment that is the most important thing and getting the style right for the person who is going to wear it. After all, if you get it right, your loved one may choose to wear that ring for the rest of their life.

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