Buying a diamond engagement ring is undoubtedly a seminal moment in any man’s life. Done properly, it will be one of the single largest purchases he will make, and certainly among the most important: this ring is the physical embodiment of his love and commitment for his partner.
The diamond is the centrepiece of the ring, and its quality will make a strong statement. Therefore, it should go without saying that a great deal of thought and research must be undertaken before actually buying the diamond. As this article in GQ insists, rock solid knowledge is required. Here, then, are the important questions to ask before taking the plunge.
What is the carat?
Everyone will have heard of the term carat without necessarily knowing what it means. Well, instead of grams or kilos, diamonds are weighed in carats; as the carat weight increases so does the size of the diamond. The size is not a linear but a curve though, so a 2.0ct diamond won’t appear twice as big as a 1.0ct diamond. Bear this in mind when selecting a stone, for you may find a 0.90ct diamond offers better value than a 1.0ct version.
What is the diamond’s colour?
Did you know diamonds have a colour? Aren’t they all clear? Actually, they’re not. The diamond industry has adopted an alphabetical colour scale from D to Z, with D as the highest. D and E are completely colourless and rare but the differences between the top end and G are hard to distinguish. The lower down the scale, the diamond begins to develop a yellow or brown tint.
Can you explain the clarity of a diamond?
A clarity grading rates the diamond in terms of impurities and imperfections. When diamonds are formed – deep underground and under extreme pressure and heat – imperfections in the crystal structure can form and mineral impurities become trapped inside the stone. The grading of those impurities dictates the clarity.
Does the diamond need to be flawless?
No. While clarity grading starts from Flawless/Internally Flawless (FL/IF) the range includes Very Very Slightly Included (VSS1/VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1/VS2), Slightly Included (SI1/S12) and Included (I1, I2, I3). A VS1 diamond is unlikely to have an impurity visible to the naked eye and some stockists won’t provide stones which rank too low on the grading scale. 77Diamonds, in Mayfair, don’t consider anything below SI2 as suitable for jewellery.
Can I see the certification of the diamond?
To which you should be answered: “Yes, of course”. Having your diamond certified by one of the leading independent and recognised certification laboratories is considered essential for an unbiased assessment of the stone’s quality. The five leading diamond certification organisations are GIA, AGS, HRD, IGI and EGL. GIA is recognised as the strictest body.
What does contour mean?
The contour is the shape of the diamond. There are typically ten different shapes, ranging from Round Brilliant, to Oval, to Pear and even Heart.
What’s the best cut to have?
Different to contour (or shape) the cut is the grading that determines how well the diamond sparkles. It encapsulates Brightness (white light reflecting from the top surface), Fire (flares of colour) and Scintillation (flashes of light). Cut grades range from Excellent to Very Good, Fair and Poor.
How much does it cost?
Ultimately, this is the question that will definitely need to be asked and, in many (but not all) of cases, will dictate the purchase. If budget really isn’t an issue for you, then this question may be less vital. If it is, then it’s worth understanding the price early in discussions to manage expectations. A good stockist will work with you to ensure you are able to buy the best possible ring for the money you can afford.
What if she doesn’t like it?
This is where the pressure comes in – it’s down to the buyer to make the right decision. Ideally, that pre-purchasing homework will have included some thought on size, style, and so on. The worst case scenario is that it will have to be changed so have that conversation before sealing the deal.
What if I get the size wrong?
It’s hard to know for sure if you have the right size of ring. If the ring is being bought before the proposal, and it’s planned as a surprise, try to borrow a current ring for an accurate comparison. If this isn’t easy, some suppliers will proceed with a standard size ring and allow a free first resize.