Relationships are not created on the fly. It takes time and consideration to initiate a relationship. Since your spouse or bride-to-be is the most special person for you in the world, you should be considering giving her something really classy and unique. Diamonds are cherished objects of love. The sturdiness of the stone reflects in the relationship that is about to begin. That's why diamonds are the prime choice for couples engaging in a relationship.
Whether you are planning to propose your bride-to-be or you want to give your wife/partner a unique gift, diamond is a symbol of strong relationship and love that you have for her. Diamonds come in may shapes and forms. The prices vary depending on the four ‘C's - Cut, Color, Clarity and Cart-weight. Following is a beginner's guide to hunting down the perfect ring, from the initial diamond-grading stages to the most popular trends in stone selection and jewelry design
Diamond - the precious stone
Diamonds are ‘graded, ’ or rated, on four categories, as designated by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA): cut, color, clarity and carat-weight, also known as the “Four C's. " Each of these categories is graded independently of the others, allowing for an insightful multi-aspect rating system. The grading scale is as follows, from best to worst: Excellent, Very Good, Fair and Poor. When buying a diamond, make sure that each of the categories is given attention, and that none are glossed over by salespeople or disregarded entirely.
Cut is the most important aspect of diamond grading when it comes to brilliance and the overall beauty of a particular gem, and thus, is also most determinant of cost. Like crystals, diamonds capture light and then, dependent on how they are cut, reflect it back out a certain way, creating the ‘sparkle’ that one typically associates with wedding bands.
The classic, and most popular, diamond shapes are princess (square), oval, cushette (squared oval), round, pear (teardrop), emerald (rectangular) and marquise (eyelet).
Rounder cuts naturally reflect more light, and therefore sparkle more, than square stones. As such, it is all the more important these square stones are cut properly. The most prestigious cut rating is certified by the GIA and is called Ideal Cut. To adhere closely to the Ideal Cut standards, thus resulting in a maximum sparkle-to-surface-area ratio, a diamond cutter must sacrifice either beauty or carat-weight. Whether this matters, or to what extent, is entirely dependent on the young lady's (or whoever will be wearing the ring) taste.
The color of a diamond is customarily measured by the amount of yellow hue that is present in the gem. Diamonds that are considered more valuable generally have less of a yellow tint, unless they have enough to be considered a ‘yellow, ’ or ‘canary, ’ diamond, which range in shades from Easter-egg yellow to subtle amber. Every certified diamond is rated for color based on a master grading scale. This scale is composed of a lineup of five to seven gems, all having received a special certification from the GIA that allows them to serve as bases of comparison when it comes to determining stone color.
All certified diamonds are given a rating based on an alphabetic scale of D-Z. Diamonds in the category D-F are considered colorless, and are habitually the most prized of all gems. Those in category G-J are considered ‘nearly colorless, ’ or sometimes just as ‘white. ’ Stones graded K-M have a ‘very faint’ yellow tinge, which progresses steadily to a ‘very light yellow’ coloring in category N-P and finally, a ‘light yellow’ hue in diamonds graded R-Z.
Although wedding bands traditionally contain colorless or nearly-colorless stones, colored rocks are becoming increasingly more popular. There exists a broad spectrum of color in diamonds, the result of different geological formations and activity where the diamonds are incubated, so to speak. See below in the ‘trends’ section to learn more about colored stones.
Clarity is the measure of how ‘perfect’ the surface of a diamond is. While typically not a danger whatsoever to the physical appearance or durability of a stone, if large enough, imperfections, called “flaws, " may indeed do both. To check the clarity of a particular diamond, the gem is placed under a microscope that magnifies its size by ten times. It is then carefully examined by a trained appraiser, and given a clarity ‘rating’ of sorts, ranging from ‘flawless’ to ‘I-2’ or ‘I-3, ’ meaning that the diamond has imperfections that are visible to the naked eye, and whose durability will thus likely be compromised to a certain extent.
A carat is a unit of weight equivalent to one-fifth of a gram. Diamonds are nearly always measured and compared in carats. Typically, the more carats a diamond is, the more expensive it is. That said, the costs do not necessarily increase in an orderly fashion. For example, the median price of a 5/8 carat diamond is $900-2400, whereas the next step up in cuts, 3/4 carat, has a median price of $1400-2400. On the other hand, the median prices of 1/4 and 1/3 carat diamonds are $300-600 and $400-800, respectively.
The best way to make sure that you're getting a good deal when it comes to carat-weight is to shop around; always take a sampling of prices at similar stores before you make a final decision. For a good guide on diamond pricing visit American Star Diamond.
The major factors in choosing a ring's setting are the size, shape and weight of the stone. There are tons of options, so the best idea is to consult the jeweler that you're working with. When it comes to deciding between the four metals that rings are typically made from (gold, white gold, platinum and palladium), take into consideration the special characteristics of each. Traditional yellow gold is typically combined with other metals, called alloys, to produce a more lasting, lustrous setting. Gold comes in four carat weights: 10, 14, 18 and 24. Twenty-four carats equals 100 percent gold. Rings are typically made of 14 or 18 carat- weight gold.
White gold is a combination of yellow gold and nickel. Because of the use of this particular alloy, white gold is harder and more durable than yellow gold, and thus maintains its polish longer. Upon purchase, it usually looks identical to platinum, as it is plated in a metal called rhodium, which most often wears off after a few years. However, this problem is easily remedied by a simple re-plating procedure, which will restore its original color and sheen.
Platinum is much denser than gold, and has several other unique characteristics. It doesn't require combination with alloys for use in jewelry, and is thus hypoallergenic, a major plus for those who have, or easily develop, metal sensitivities. Also, its color does not change over time, since no alloys are used in it. There is, however, a price to be paid for all of this excellence, both on the price tag (platinum often runs up to $800 more than gold on a single ring) and over the lifetime of the ring (although it is denser than gold, it scratches much more easily and therefore requires frequent polishing).
Palladium is very similar to platinum, but usually costs much less. Like platinum, it retains its natural color and is hypoallergenic. However, it requires less polishing (although still more than gold) and has a slightly greyer tone (as opposed to the white patina of platinum).
A hot new trend that's being seen nationwide is the increased use of colored diamonds in wedding bands. Although you'd never believe it, diamonds naturally occur in a wide spectrum of colors, ranging from the traditional clear stone to rarer rocks in brilliant reds, blues, greens, pinks, purples, grays and yes, even browns.
That's right, I said brown diamonds. These exquisite stones, often called ‘blond’ or ‘cinnamon’ diamonds, pair wonderfully with clear and canary-colored stones, and, although unique, are still a neutral enough color to work for day-to-day wear. However, green stones are still these most coveted (and expensive) of all colored diamonds.
Why use colored diamonds? The answer is simple; personal expression. While the customary clear diamonds seen in wedding rings are still ubiquitous, some brides are taking the plunge into brandishing a uniquely-colored stone in hopes of standing out in the crowd. Although more common stones such as rubies or amethysts may be cheaper and appear similar to some colored diamonds, they do not have the same durability, and are thus not always recommended for those who plan on putting their ring through everyday wear and tear.
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