Monday, November 8, 2010

Men Selecting a Diamond Engagement Ring

If you are like most men, just thinking of picking out an engagement ring makes you break into a cold sweat. You worry about finding the right style, the best diamond, and of course, the cost. You will find that the best way to calm your nerves is to go into the process with a little basic knowledge.

Many guys are not very comfortable in a jewelry store, but they feel right at home surfing the internet. This can be a great way to do a little basic research on diamonds before starting to shop for one. Another good idea is to ask around for recommendations on jewelry stores. They are not all created equal, and the right one will be a place where the quality is high, the costs are in line with the quality, and the staff is informative but not pushy. Trust is everything when it comes to buying a diamond.

When picking out this important piece of bridal jewelry, there are a few main things you will have to consider: the diamond itself, the setting, and of course the design. Since your beloved will be wearing her engagement ring every day and even picking out other bridal jewelry that complements it, obviously you want it to be something that she really loves. To get advice on style, you can either try to get hints from your girlfriend, or turn to her mother or best friend for pointers.

Diamonds have their own language, and it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the terminology before you start shopping for an engagement ring. You can do this online, or even stop into a jewelry store and ask them to give you a basic education in diamonds. Stores will be happy to do it, because they figure that you will come back to them when you are ready to actually pick out a ring.

The basic things to know about diamonds are: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Color refers to the amount of yellow in a diamond or the lack thereof. A colorless diamond (graded D-F) will be the most rare and most expensive. The top of the near-colorless range (grades G and H), can also give you an icy sparkle at a lower price. (Although some brides will see a hint of yellow in an H, so be careful!) Anything lower down the color scale will definitely be more yellow and less desirable. The exception is the natural fancy colored diamonds, primarily yellow, but also pink, blue, orange, and purple. Once the color saturation gets strong enough, it is considered to be a rare and valuable gem.

Clarity refers to the inclusions (marks, scratches, carbon, etc.) in a diamond. The fewer the better! The grades run from IF (internally flawless) down to I (inclusions which are visible to the naked eye). Most couples will be happiest with diamonds graded VS - SI for clarity, which gives you a balance of the natural inclusions (which should be seen only under magnification) and the price.

Carat weight is easy: 100 points = a carat, so a half carat diamond would be 50 points. This is strictly a matter of your taste and budget; just keep in mind that when it comes to diamonds, most women believe that bigger is better! The cut refers to the shape of the diamond. The round brilliant is the most popular by far, but other favorites include the princess cut, the emerald cut, and the Asscher cut. The marquise and heart shapes were big in the 1980s, but are not so much in style now.

Once you are armed with the basic facts, you will feel much more confident in choosing the perfect diamond engagement ring for your girlfriend. Then all you have to do is muster up the courage to pop the question, and you will be on the road to wedded bliss!

By Bridget Mora

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