How to Buy a Diamond Ring - The Definitive Guide
Everything you need to know about cut, clarity and design
Buying an engagement ring is a horrifying experience for many men. How much to spend, what kind of design and the biggest question of all, will she say yes?
Diamond expert and fourth generation jeweler Cameron Marks says, "For guys who are going it alone, I suggest they go to a reputable jeweler, set a budget, and find a jeweler who they feel comfortable dealing with. The average spend on an engagement ring is around $10,000, with around 10% bought 'off the rack' and 90% either individually designed or chosen from stock items that are then tailored to suit the individual's taste. The most popular designs are very simple, elegant and timeless, featuring platinum settings that enhance the diamonds' natural beauty." Most men don't know the first thing about rings, or an eternity band, so below is a guide for everything Diamond Rings.
Diamond Ring Cuts:
Round Brilliant - The most popular cut because it's classic and timeless. A 58-facet cut that is calibrated through a precise formula to achieve maximum fire and brilliance
Oval - Popular among women who small hands or short fingers. The shape gives a flattering illusion of length to the hand.
Marquise - An elongated shape with pointed end. This cut was named after the Marquise de Pompadour after King Louis XIV commissioned its creation in honour of her dazzling smile.
Pear Shaped - This cut is shaped like a sparkling teardrop. Particularly beautiful for pendants or earrings.
Heart Shaped - Look for a stone with an even shape and a well-defined outline when choosing this shape.
Emerald Cut - This is a rectangular shaped diamond with cut corners. It is also known as a step cut as its broad, flat panes resemble stairs.
Princess Cut - This is a square or rectangular cut that is often paired with triangular diamonds on either side.
Trilliant - A triangular cut that was originally developed in Amsterdam.
Radiant Cut - A square or rectangular cut that has 70 facets.
Cushion Cut - An antique style of cut that has large facets and is a cross between a rectangle and an oval in shape.
Diamond Ring Clarity:
Clarity refers to the number of inclusions within the diamond, the rarest having no inclusions which is described flawless. Diamonds are graded by the number of inclusions and by the ease of how these are seen under 10 x magnification. The ratings are as follows:
F - Flawless. Extremely rare.
IF - Internally Flawless. No internal flaws but some surface flaws. Very rare.
VVS1 - VVS2 - Very, Very Slightly Included. Minute inclusions that are difficult to detect under 10 x magnification by a trained gemologist.
VS1 - VS2 - Very Slightly Included. Minute inclusion that are difficult to detect under 10 x magnification.
SI1 - S12 - Slightly Included. Minute inclusions easily seen with 10 x magnification.
I1 - I2 - I3 - Included. Inclusions visible under 10 x magnification as well as to the human eye.
Diamond Ring Carats:
Cost per carat is something that depends greatly on the quality of the diamond.
Diamond Ring Colour:
The clearer or more colourless the diamond, the more expensive it is, with the exception of coloured fancy diamonds.
Cameron Marks, who sells about 300 engagement rings a year, says that the most expensive one he has ever traded went for a whopping AUD$2.5million. Fortunately for that gentleman, 'Percy Marks' offers a unique policy; "For those brave enough to ask without knowing, we guarantee a refund if she says no," says Cameron.