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Choosing an engagement ring.

The smart groom-to-be does his research before buying his fiancée a diamond ring! There are more styles and cuts to choose from than ever before. It’s not enough to be educated about the four Cs of diamonds – cut, color, clarity and carats. Now there are all types of diamond cuts and settings to choose from.

The most popular style of engagement ring is still the round brilliant. It’s one of the earliest cuts ever developed and now relies on precise mathematical equations to create a stone with fire and brilliance that the earliest gem cutters could only have dreamed of.

But many brides want something completely unique. There are many traditional cuts to choose from. A pear-shaped is just that – wider at one end than the other. Or she can choose popular cuts such as an oval, emerald or heart-shaped diamond. There are other cuts with unique faceting, such as the square princess-cut diamond which is probably the second most popular cut.

Some cuts are patented, like the elongated Ashoka diamond or the Asprey & Garrard Eternal cut diamond. Other branded and patented cuts include:

Elara – a square-cut diamond with rounded corners

Asscher – a square diamond with rounded facets that gives an unusual complexity to the diamond

Couples diamond – this diamond is faceted to reveal either a circle of hearts or arrows inside. It’s a truly unusual diamond that requires precise cutting for the image to appear properly.

The price of a diamond increases exponentially with its carat weight. A one-carat diamond costs much more than 10, 10-point diamonds and a two-carat diamond costs more than twice as much as a one-carat diamond (given equal quality in other areas).

One way to enhance an engagement ring is with embellishments such as baguettes or trillions. A baguette is a small emerald-shaped diamond that can be placed on either side of the main stones and a trillion is a triangle-shaped diamond that also is a good enhancement to the center stone.

 

What To Look For When It Comes To Diamond Quality !

 

If you want to begin judging diamond quality, you must first learn and understand the 4 C’s, which are four characteristics of diamonds that give the gemstone it’s overall value.  The 4 C’s for judging diamond quality include the diamonds colour, clarity, carats and cut.

 

Judging Col0ur

 

Most diamonds are considered to be ideal if they are transparent, or colourless.  Diamonds that are rated as colourless are the most expensive of diamonds.  The colours of diamonds are rated with an alphabet grading system that starts with “D” and ends with “Z”.  Completely colourless diamonds fall in the “D” and “E” grade, while coloured, fancy diamonds are at the other end of the alphabet, at “Y” and “Z”.

 

There are two main ways that jewellers’ use when judging diamond quality based on colour.  They may pull out a set of reference stones, and find the closest match between the diamond and the reference stone to determine its letter grade.  Alternatively, the jeweller may use a colorimeter, which can electronically measure the colour of the stone and determine its grade within 1/3 of a grade.

 

Judging Clarity

 

The clarity of a diamond refers to whether or not the diamond is clear all the way through, or whether it has tiny flaws and cloudy areas within the gemstone.  It’s actually very rare to have a diamond with absolute perfect clarity and no flaws, but most diamond flaws are not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a magnifying device.

 

The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) uses a magnification of about 10x when judging diamond quality based on the clarity.  It is important to do your research before purchasing a diamond to be sure you are not spending more money than you should.

 

Judging Carat Weight

 

Carat is the term we used to describe the weight of a diamond gemstone.  One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams of weight.  A single diamond with a high amount of carat weight is more expensive than the equivalent amount of carats in multiple stones.  This is because finding the larger diamonds is much more rare of an occurrence.  So if you want a 2-carat diamond ring, for example, you may decide to go with a half-carat diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds that add up to one and a half carats to give you the total of 2 carats!  Judging diamond quality by the amount of carats is difficult, since different shaped gemstones, and stones with different levels of clarity will be priced differently even if they have the same amount of carats.

 

 

 

Judging Cut

 

One of the most important factors in judging diamond quality is judging the cut of a diamond.  It’s important because a quality cut diamond will be more brilliant and reflects light more beautifully, and yet the cut of a diamond has the least impact on the overall price of the diamond.

 

When judging diamond quality on the cut of a diamond, look at the stone in a well lit area.  If the light seems to go into the stone and bounce back, showing a sparkling reflective surface, the diamond has a good cut.  The angles and shapes of a diamond are important to judging diamond quality and the overall appearance of your diamond.

 

There is much to consider when purchasing a diamond – especially diamond engagement rings! The tradition of presenting a woman with a diamond engagement ring when proposing began in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian presented a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy – and in most cases, the woman you plan to propose to will expect a ring to accompany that proposal!

First, determine how much you can afford for the ring . Most people use the ‘two months salary’ rule. This means that the ring should cost the equivalent of two months of your current salary. Because you have other bills to pay, saving up this amount of money may take quite a bit of time. You should consider financing. Simply go to the jeweller of your choice and tell them that you plan to buy an engagement ring, and that financing will be necessary. Go ahead and get the credit check out of the way, find out what your payments will be, and how much of a down payment is required.

Now, have your mother, sister, or your girlfriends best friend take your girlfriend shopping, and make sure that they gaze at the engagement rings to get an idea of what she might like. Make sure that the jewellery store you buy the ring from will allow you to exchange the ring, if that is required so  your girlfriend can exchange it for another if she isn’t happy with it! Most jewellers will not give a refund but will allow an exchange for a ring of equal or more value !

A mineral composed essentially of carbon that crystallizes in the “cubic,” or “isometric,” crystal system and is therefore singly refractive. IT is by far the hardest of all known natural substances (10 on Mohs’ scale); only manmade Borazon and synthetic diamond are as hard. In its transparent form, it is the most cherished and among the most highly valued gemstones. It occurs in colors ranging from colorless to yellow, brown, orange, green, blue, and violet. Reddish stones are known, but those of an intense red color approaching that of ruby are excessively rare. Its hardness and high refractive index (2.417) permits it to be fashioned as the most brilliant of all gems, and its dispersion (.044) produces a high degree of fire. The specific gravity is 3.52. Sources include various sections of south, west, southwest and middle Africa; Russia; central, east and northeast South America; India; Borneo; and Australia. It is also found in the United State, but not in commercial quantity.

The world’s biggest diamond, believed to be twice the size of the Cullinan, has been discovered in the North-West Province of South Africa. The find has electrified the diamond community, but the circumstances of the discovery are shrouded in mystery.

The diamond is expected to attract furious bidding from buyers worldwide and could fetch up to £15m.

A spokesman for the mining house which made yesterday’s find, Brett Joli, said the diamond was being rushed to a bank vault in Johannesburg and would be kept there for a couple of days “until we calm down and decide what we are going to do”. A security company was being hired to protect the precious stone.

The mining company which made the find has not been identified.

The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation said the stone was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan diamond.

Fred Cuellar, the founder of Diamond Cutters International and author of How to Buy a Diamond, said he first heard about the find a few days ago. “I get a phone call when any rare stone around the world is found and when I heard about this one it was stunning news.

“It caught everybody in the diamond industry offside. There will be a lot of mad bidding from a lot of private individuals as to who is going to buy this stone.”

The Cullinan, which was found near Pretoria more than a century ago, was until recently acknowledged to be the largest cut diamond in the world, weighing in at 530.20 carats. In 1985 it lost the record to the Golden Jubilee, which was found in the same mine as the Cullinan and weighed 545.67 carats.

In its rough state the Cullinan weighed 3,106.75 carats. It now forms part of King Edward’s sceptre and is in the Tower of London.

The Cartier diamond, famous as a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor, weighed a mere 240.80 carats rough and 69.42 carats cut.

Mr Cuellar said the most important information about the latest find was yet to be forthcoming, including whether it is colourless. “The reported size of the stone is accurate, but there are all these other factors we still don’t know and what matters now is how wide, how clear and how well cut it will be.

“Will this diamond rank above the best quality diamonds in the world? I can tell you right now, no. But in as far as the list of the largest diamonds ever found in the world goes, would it make that list? Yes it would.”

He said the first seven people who looked at the stone thought it was industrial grade, but that view has changed and it now appears to be a stone that will be cut into a piece of jewellery.

The quandary facing the owner of the diamond now is how best to cut the stone he said. “The thinking usually is with these types of things, we know how big we could get it but we don’t know how much it will hurt us on the quality side.”

The Cullinan, also known as the Star of Africa, was thought by some to be part of a larger stone which still lies somewhere undiscovered.

There will be interest in who made the find and how they will be rewarded. The black miner who discovered the Excelsior, said to be the second largest uncut diamond ever found, received a horse and saddle, and a sum of money.

Rock stars

· The Cullinan Diamond was discovered in 1905 and at 3,106 carats was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa – at 530 carats formerly the largest cut diamond – was one of the 105 gems cut from it.

· The Koh-i-noor is part of the British crown jewels. It originated in India but seized by Britain as a spoil of war in 1849. The diamond supposedly brings good luck to female owners and misfortune or death to any male who wears or owns it.

· The Hope Diamond is a large (45.52 carat), deep blue diamond. It is legendary for the curse it supposedly puts on whoever possesses it. Previous owners include Kings Louis XV and XVI and Marie Antoinette.

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