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Many factors will play a role in determining how much to spend on your engagement ring. Your financial situation and partners expectations will be the two biggest factors on deciding how much to spend on your ring. Figure out what shape, size and look, your partner is drawn to.
When buying diamonds, choosing the right shape is crucial. Diamonds are available in varying shapes and sizes. A diamond shape not only refers to its outward appearance but also to how the diamond is cut. Knowledge of all the shapes will help you in selecting the proper shape for your ring. The most important factor is your partners taste in jewelry. Most couples have a discussion about shape size and look of the overall ring.
Round Brilliant Cut – This is the most popular cut and accounts for more than 75% of the diamonds being purchased. The brilliance and fire adds to their popularity.
Oval and Marquise diamonds offer symmetrical designs yielding a more elongated look, resulting in the appearance of a larger diamond.
Princess Cut – This square to rectangular shape, has 90degree cut corners, with faceting throughout the diamond, which enhances the brilliance of the diamond.
Emerald Cut – also known as the step cut, requires a greater clarity, due to the limited amount of faceting. This is generally rectangular in shape.
Pear Shape – This shape resembles a tear drop.
Heart Shape – This may be the most romantic choice, but cut will play an important factor on brilliance and size.
Cushion Shape – This is a square brilliant cut diamond, with rounded corners. The shape is of a pillow and the center has many facets, to maximize brilliance.
Radiant Cut – This is a rectangular cut, similar in shape to the Emerald cut, but more facet work. This will result in more brilliance.
Asscher – This is more of a square emerald cut. Facets are step cut and known for the ability to reflect light.
Other cuts – Trapezoid, Half-Moon, Kite, Trillion and Baguette shaped diamonds generally are used a complimentary side diamonds, flanking the center diamond of the engagement ring.
Carat weight will play a primary role in price. Smaller diamonds cost less to purchase, compared to a single diamond with the same carat weight. Example: buying three .50point diamonds will cost a fraction of what you will pay for one diamond weighing 1.50carats.
Another factor that determines price, is color grade. The color scale begins at D and runs to Z. The highest color grades are D, E and F, this is categorized as colorless. The near colorless range is G, H and I. The near colorless, will still look white and brilliant, but will cost less than colorless diamonds. As you move towards M, on the color scale, the diamond will take on a hint of yellow or brown.
Clarity also effects the cost of a diamond. The clarity scale begins at Internally Flawless and runs to Included. Almost all diamonds, have natural inclusions, that occur during the formation process in the earth’s core. The amount and type of inclusion will increase or decrease the cost of the diamond. The importance lies in inspecting them with the naked eye. If you have a SI1, this diamond will have inclusions, but they will NOT be visible with the naked eye. However, if a diamond has a clarity of I1 or I2, the inclusions will be visible and will affect the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond.
Cut plays an important role in deciding a diamond’s brilliance. Round Brilliant Cut diamonds, for example, have 58 facets, 33 of them are on the table and crown of the diamond. There are 24 facets on the pavilion or ‘bottom’ part of the diamond. All facets should be in geometrical relation with each other. This is known as symmetry. An excellent symmetry will allow light to flow in and out of the diamond properly, resulting in the maximum brilliance of the diamond. Diamonds that are not as symmetrical, may not allow light to flow freely, which may decrease the brilliancy.
Fluorescence is another characteristic of the diamond that should be considered before purchase. If nitrogen is present, during the formation process, some diamonds will ‘glow’ blue, under UV lighting. In some instances, fluorescence will make a diamond that has color (I-K) appear to be whiter in color. However, if the diamond has stronger fluorescence, it may give the diamond a hazy appearance.