Choosing an engagement ring can be one of the most intimidating and anxiety-inducing experiences for a groom-to-be. The idea of spending so much money on something you know very little about can be disconcerting, to say the least.
Diamonds Are Forever, But They Weren't Always So Coveted
They have a long history that's both fascinating and bloody. The ancient Greeks thought diamonds were tears of the gods or splinters from falling stars, and medieval Italians believed that diamonds could cure ailments ranging from colic to snake bites.
But it wasn't until after the French Revolution that diamonds really took off as a coveted luxury item. Napoleon Bonaparte helped make them popular when he commissioned a diamond crown for his wife Josephine in 1796. It was the beginning of an enduring tradition of grooms giving their brides diamond engagement rings, and it's still going strong today.
Not All Diamonds Are Created Equal
Now that you’re making a major purchase, it’s important to know what you should be looking for. When picking out the perfect gemstone, there are four key factors you should keep in mind: color, cut, carat and clarity. These are known as the “4C’s” of diamond buying and can help you determine just how much sparkle your engagement ring will have.
The Four Cs Are Important, But The Fifth C Might Be Even More Important
We've all heard of the 4Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat. These factors help determine a diamond's value. But there's another C that's just as important — certificate. A certificate is an independent appraisal that provides information on the cut, color, clarity and carat weight of your diamond. It also provides an estimated value, which can be used to get insurance for your ring.
You can get a certificate from any gem lab (a laboratory that grades diamonds), but the most widely accepted lab is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). So when buying online, make sure your retailer has GIA-certified diamonds available for purchase.
There are two types of diamond certificates: appraisals and grading reports. An appraisal is a document that lists all of a diamond's characteristics along with its value — useful for getting insurance coverage
Sometimes Bigger Is Better, Sometimes It's Not
Many women will dream of an extravagant ring with a giant diamond. However, this isn't always necessary or possible depending on your budget. A smaller diamond can actually look larger if set in the right type of setting. For example, a halo setting can give the illusion of a much larger size by surrounding the center stone with small accent diamonds.
With so many choices, it's important to focus on the most important factors first
When you’re ready to buy an engagement ring, you may be overwhelmed at all the options available to you. With a little bit of research and some knowledge about diamonds, though, you can make the best decision for your fiancée-to-be.
In the end, I hope that you've learned a few things that you can use to improve your understanding of diamonds, and ultimately, help you make an informed decision. If nothing else, I hope that my personal experiences have shown you that there is more to diamonds than the 4C's. Diamonds are a complex gemstone with a history and story all their own. But knowing what to look for and how to go about it is half the battle. Happy shopping!
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