What You Should Know Before Shopping for Rings
For many couples, the selection of the diamond engagement ring and wedding rings will be their first experience in purchasing expensive, fine jewelry. As with many areas of wedding preparations, this lack of experience may leave you feeling a little bewildered and vulnerable. You’ll want to make sure you have a fairly good understanding of what is involved in purchasing a diamond in order to ensure that you receive the highest value for your dollar and in order to avoid being taken advantage of due to your inexperience. Lets’s run through a quick crash course!
When to shop for rings Wedding rings should be selected and purchased 6 -12 months before your wedding. This will allow you plenty of time to shop in a non-panicked environment for quality and value in your rings. It will also ensure that your rings arrive in time for your wedding in the event that they need to be special ordered or sized. In my many years of experience in dealing with brides and grooms, I’ve known of numerous cases where couples put off shopping for their wedding rings for far too long and as a result their rings did not arrive in time for the wedding date. In such cases, other rings had to be substituted, which takes much of the meaning away from the entire ceremony and experience. In many religions, a special part of the wedding ceremony is the blessing of the rings – a ritual for which it is really important to have the actual wedding rings present!
So, as with all of your wedding planning, get started in plenty of time. Avoid disaster by shopping for rings long before the wedding date, with an abundance of time to spare. so there will be no worrying and fretting at the last minute!
Where to make the purchase Select a jewelry store which has been in business for a number of years and is known for it’s good reputation. Your rings will cost a substantial sum, so you may want to look for a store that offers a good extended payment plan if you will not be able to pay for the rings in full. Such payment plans can vary greatly in their costs and benefits, so do take some time to shop and compare. One highly reputed online jeweller is Blue Nile . In addition to their magnificent selection, their web site is also an excellent source of guidance and education about selecting a diamond ring.
Determining quality & value When shopping for a diamond, there are 4 standard criteria which determine a diamond’s quality and value. They are:
Cut This refers to the shape of the diamond. There are 4 shapes or cuts to diamonds – round, marquis, emerald, and pear. The best, most desirable and ideal cut is round.
Clarity The level of clarity of the stone is extremely important in determining it’s value and quality. A stone is considered to be “flawless” if it has no imperfections or inclusions when looked at under 10 power magnification. You will want to purchase as close to a perfect stone as you can possibly can find within your price range. A system of ratings refers to the the level of the stone’s clarity, with the best stone being flawless, followed by vvs – very slightly included, vs – slightly included, si – slightly imperfect, and finally, i – imperfect.
Color The color of the diamond also determines it’s value and quality. Color is designated by a letter grade. The most ideal color in a diamond, and obviously the most valued and expensive, is designated by the letter grade D. This is a nearly colorless or blue-white stone. The letter grade designations go from there all the way to the letter Z, which would be a very dark stone. When purchasing a diamond, you want to come as close to the color grade D as you can possibly afford. This will give you the highest possible quality of stone. Obviously, your budget will influence how closely you are able to do this. A diamond in the G, H color range would be considered a very beautiful, white diamond.
Karat weight Karat weight is designated by a number of “points”. There are 100 points in a karat. Thus, 50 points would be 1/2 a karat, etc. While you will want to get the largest possible diamond you can afford, size is not everything if the diamond falls short when it comes to the other standards of clarity, cut and color.
How much to spend? A standard exists within the diamond industry which serves as a guideline as to how much you should expect to spend on a diamond – typically people spend 2 months of their combined salaries on the diamond engagement ring.
Authentication When purchasing a diamond, it is essential to ensure that you receive a certificate of appraisal with it. A certificate of appraisal will state the price of the diamond, the color, clarity, cut, and karat. It serves as authentication of the value and type of diamond you have bought. Do not go ahead with the purchase if the dealer will not provide this to you. Most legitimate and reputable dealers will do this automatically, without you even having to ask.
Symbolism of the ring Your rings are filled with symbolism, representing an endless circle of love. Remember that symbolism and your rings will hold even deeper meaning for you every time you look at them!