Newly engaged couple, embracing. Harling's Jewellers

How to Choose an Engagement Ring - From Diamond Cut to Design

- Published with permission from Elegant Life Events

Diamond Cut, Clarity, Colour, and Carat Weight - What to Know to Choose the Perfect Ring!

In addition to the 4C’s of diamond rings (cut, clarity, colour and carat weight), there are many fine details to consider when it comes to choosing an engagement ring. And it’s these details that will enhance the proposal experience and create a piece your soon-to-be fiancee will cherish for years to come. It may be uncharted territory for you - and that’s ok! Educating yourself on the details will help you choose the best - whether you’re shopping for the ring together or planning a total surprise. 

The Facts About Diamond Cut, Clarity, Colour, and Carat Weight

Today, brides-to-be, or even hopeful brides are way ahead of the game when it comes to choosing the styles they love. A quick look at their Pinterest boards may be a good indicator of their personal taste in gems, as well as the shape of diamond or gem they prefer. Carats, cuts, colour and clarity can be a little trickier. Here’s what you should know before you start shopping so you can find a beautiful diamond to suit your budget:

  1. Diamond cut: The cut of the diamond or gem might be the most important factor when choosing a ring for a couple different reasons; Even a high-carat diamond can appear dull if the cut is improper. A poorly cut diamond will not reflect light as well, nor shine as brilliantly as a well-cut diamond. This is why diamond cuts are divided into a grading system:

    • Excellent
    • Very good
    • Good
    • Fair
    • Poor

    It’s important not to confuse the cut of a diamond with the shape, such as oval, round, heart,

  2. Diamond colour: Again, this term can be a little confusing since it doesn’t refer to coloured diamonds (unless you’re talking about fancy grade). It instead refers to the colourlessness of the diamond, which can range from colourless to slightly yellow. Here is the scale in which diamonds are judged and how to look for the best type based on the lettering system:

    - Colourless - graded as D, E, F
    - Nearly colourless - G, H, I, J
    - Faint - K,L,M
    - Very light - N,O,P,Q,R
    - Light - S,T,U,V,W,Y,Z
    - Fancy - These are diamonds which actually contain colour such as blue, pink, and yellow. They are graded and priced by their intensity, which means a small diamond may be more expensive based on its colour saturation.

  3. Diamond clarity: Imperfections inside a diamond are called inclusions. These slight imperfections can occur as a result of mining or simply during the crystallisation process as the diamond is formed. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a diamond:

    - Flawless (FL) - When magnified 10x, these diamonds have no visible flaws whatsoever. You should know, that only 2% of the world’s diamonds are truly flawless.

    - Internally flawless (IF) - This means that there are small surface inclusions that can easily be buffed or polished away.

    - Very, very small inclusions (VVS) - This is often the highest grade of diamond carried by retail locations. The imperfections in a VVS diamond are hard to see internally under magnification or they are small surface imperfections.

    - Very small inclusions (VS) - This grade can refer to large or small, hard to find inclusions.

    - Small inclusions (SI) - A jewellery professional would be able to find the imperfections in this type of diamond.

    - Imperfect (I) - The lowest valued diamond. A professional may even be able to see imperfections without a lens.

  4. Carat weight: Last but not least, diamond carat weight measures the total weight of a diamond. This reflects in the size of the diamond, with larger stones obviously being more expensive than smaller stones.

Before you begin shopping, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind so you can find the best possible diamond without breaking the bank. Jewellery retailers will also help you choose based on your budget, or build a custom ring to suit your ideas. 

Diamond Ring Design Trends

Timeless, trendy or custom? Beyond the gem, the cut, the colour or the carats, you should consider your partner’s lifestyle. Does she work with her hands or maintain a desk job? Which ring would suit her everyday routine? You want the engagement ring to be stunning and elegant, yet wearable and not garish. 

Perhaps you or your love have a special family heirloom that can be re-created into a beautiful new piece. This can add depth and intimacy into your love story, knowing your ring is a special piece of family history given a new life. 

More recently, brides-to-be are choosing unique bands and designs to accompany their diamonds, along with multiple stone accents and a return to traditional gold. You can thank the royals and other celebrities for making these trends popular. 

Diamond Ring Shapes 

Diamond Shape Slideshow Harling's


Should You Go It Alone Or Shop Together? 

Chances are if you’ve been together a while, you’re both on the same wavelength when it comes to getting married. In fact, most couples discuss marriage before getting engaged and many have already begun to make wedding plans together. In this case, your bride-to-be may be telling you all you need to hear in order to choose the ring of her dreams. In fact, she may have even sent you the specifics, taking out the guesswork on your part

However, not every couple is on board with the modern approach and surprise engagements haven’t fallen completely to the wayside. 

One option to consider when planning a surprise proposal - if you’re not 100% sure you’ll choose the right ring, a placeholder ring can do the trick. This is a modern trend that makes perfect sense and doesn’t spoil the thrill or romance of a surprise engagement. Speak to a local jewellery retailer about your intentions, and they’ll probably be happy to loan you a ring (for a fee) in order to make the occasion memorable. Then, once you’re engaged, you and your finance can shop for the perfect ring together.

Beyond the diamond cut and all the logistics of choosing a diamond ring, shopping for an engagement ring is an exciting milestone! Whether you’re planning a total surprise or choosing the ring together, take time to enjoy this romantic process. 



Working with an Experienced Jeweller to Choose an Engagement Ring

Not all jewellers are created equal. A mall jeweller often doesn’t have either the time or the expertise to offer the best diamond ring shopping experience. However, working with a luxury diamond retailer such as Harling’s Jewellers can make the process enjoyable, even fun. 

At Harling’s, the focus is on the customer. Whether you’re shopping as a couple or looking for the ideal ring to accompany a proposal, the professionals there will treat you to a ‘harling’s pour,’ which is a glass of wine while you browse the selections. This helps to make the process special.

Some things to look for in a jeweller: 

  • Are they knowledgeable about the 4C’s and aware of the latest engagement ring trends
  • What designers do they carry, such as Tacori, Hearts on Fire, or Simon G.? 
  • Do they have real diamond engagement rings that you can try on in the shop? 
  • Are there reviews, and can you see evidence of happy customers?

Buying a ring is perhaps one of the largest, most important purchases you will ever make. So, above all, you want to have complete trust in the professionalism of your jeweller. 

Was your engagement a surprise or did you plan it all together? What’s your preference? 

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