One of the most important things when it’s time to get engaged is, of course, the ring. They say that a diamond is forever, and that marketing campaign has made millions for a reason: It’s true. Women tend to keep those diamond engagement rings forever, so what is chosen now will essentially be one of the investments of a lifetime. For that reason, the diamond selection process is key; but most people don’t have the expertise to navigate the ring displays without the proper guidance. Enter the experts.
The age-old advice is to focus on the three C’s: color, cut, and clarity. Crucial to determining that is the grading system established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which rates color and clarity as well as cut guidelines for round brilliant diamonds. “We like to go over grading with our customers so that they’re informed about their buying decisions and feel confident about their selections,” says India Earheart of McKenzie & Smiley Jewelers in Clarksville. Generally, the more colorless the diamond and the higher the clarity, the more expensive it will be. Fewer flaws and inclusions make it a more rare gem, so the price tag often reflects the rating.
Carat size is also undeniably high on the list when it comes to discussion points, and Earheart says, “In my experience, many ladies would rather come down a bit in diamond quality in order to increase size.” That said, the shape of the diamond also plays into how big it appears. “Elongated shapes like ovals and marquises tend to ‘face up’ larger than some of the other shapes. We also carry specialty cuts which are actually designed to feature more diamond surface, thereby making the diamond appear to have a higher carat weight.”
Diamonds are indeed forever, but even they experience trends. So what cuts are trending now? According to Earheart, pear-shaped diamonds are making a strong comeback, while ovals also top wish lists. For those women who like a softer take on a square or rectangular shape, cushion cut diamonds are their perfect match.
Whatever you choose, the most important thing is, of course, the sentiment behind it. “First impressions are extremely important when selecting a diamond,” says Earheart. “If it doesn’t immediately call your attention with its shape, faceting, brilliance and fire, then continue looking! We have many GIA certified diamonds available, but none of those details will matter as much as the diamond’s own inherent liveliness and beauty. Shape and faceting achieved by the diamond cutter will determine the finished diamond’s liveliness; but in the end, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” And while the three C’s are crucial in the value of a diamond, nothing is more crucial than the three words that come after: “She said yes!”