We understand that choosing your engagement ring and wedding bands is romantic and that your heads are probably in the clouds, but your feet should be firmly on the ground before you part with your hard earned dollars. As with any major purchase, research what’s available so that you know what to expect in terms of quality, craftsmanship and price.
Ask your jeweller what documentation they provide with gem stones. Will you receive a valuation certificate, written warranty and detailed receipt or tax invoice? Also find out what after-sales service they offer, and whether or not they have a returns policy. For an unbiased assessment of a diamond’s quality, request an independent grading report from the Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia. And remember, be wary of those ‘too good to be true’ bargains – because they probably are!
Some brides inherit a ring that is a treasured family heirloom of great sentimental significance – a wonderful way to include the traditional ‘something old’ in their wedding day accessories. However, the selection of an antique ring can also be by personal choice, and many beautiful pieces are available at specialist stores.
Although over recent years coloured gems such as emeralds, rubies and sapphires have enjoyed a comeback, diamonds are still the most popular stone for engagement rings. But there are diamonds… and then there are diamonds! So before you start ring hunting, make sure you’re well acquainted with the all-important Four Cs of diamond selection: cut, colour, clarity and carat.
Fancy diamonds come in a variety of colours including blue, pink and yellow. However, the closer a white diamond is to colourless, the more perfect – and more valuable – it is deemed to be. Jewellers grade diamonds on a letter scale from D (colourless) through to Z (a light yellow). Variations in colour are caused by tiny impurities within the stone, which can affect its value by thousands of dollars.
The diamond’s clarity and beauty is determined by the number of flaws (tiny traces of non-crystallised carbon) that it contains. These flaws are known as inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external). Virtually all diamonds have imperfections to a greater or lesser degree and are given an industry standard clarity rating from FL (flawless) to 13 (a heavily flawed stone). A diamond with few flaws will appear dazzling and unclouded when put to a light and is, of course, much more valuable. A stone is said to be flawless if under 10-power magnification no flaws are visible.
A ‘carat’ refers to the weight rather than to the size of the stone, and is equal to 0.200 of a gram. However, this measurement alone has little bearing on the overall quality and therefore the value of a diamond. If two stones of equal quality are being compared, then obviously a two-carat diamond will be of greater value than a one-carat stone – but a smaller stone may be considerably more valuable than a larger, heavier stone if it is of superior cut, clarity and colour.
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