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5 things to think about when buying an engagement ring

14 JULY 2014

When Cheryl Cole shared a photo of her diamond engagement ring on Instagram, fans and jewellers were quick to analyse and admire the star's latest piece of jewellery.

While Cheryl Cole's husband Jean-Bernard Fernandez Versini, who has dated the singer for three months, seemed confident with his choice of ring, future grooms who know less about diamonds may want to ask these five questions before buying, as explained by jewellers Ingle & Rhode.

 

Cheryl Cole's engagement ring

Cheryl Cole's emerald-cut engagement ring



1. What kind of stone should I go for?

Diamonds are traditionally most popular, but understanding how these are graded will help you get to grips. A diamond's value is determined by its weight (carats) and its quality (colour, clarity and cut), collectively known as the four C's.

Carat – this is the most important question to ask a jeweller of the four C's. The more carats a ring has the heavier it is, with one carat equal to one fifth of a gram.

Colour – the colour of diamonds is graded from D (perfect white) to Z (severely discoloured).

Clarity – a diamond's imperfections can be graded using 10 ratings, from IF (Internally Flawless) to I3 (the lowest grade of clarity).

Cut – the term refers to the diamond's proportions, symmetry and polish and is related to how a diamond reflects and refracts light – essentially how much it sparkles. A stone with a poor cut won't shine as much.

While diamonds are traditionally the most popular type of stone, another good alternative – especially for those wanting a coloured ring – is a sapphire. These come in yellow and pink, or the on-trend royal blue, as worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton.

 

Engagement ring

Royal blue sapphire diamond rings, as worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, are soaring in popularity



2. What design of engagement ring should I go for?

Design and style are very subjective and it's important to understand what your partner would be happy to wear – for many years to come. Going for a single or multiple stone is the first area your jeweller should help with.

Consider whether your partner likes the art, architecture and fashion of a particular time period, such as vintage, which you can incorporate into the ring. Classic and art deco influences are popular at the moment.

3. What kind of band should I pick?

The three main choices your jeweller should present will be gold, platinum and silver.

Beyond this however, many offer more sustainable options for the band. In addition to Fairtrade gold, many jewellers now sell rings made from recycled metal. A number of refineries source only old materials which can be melted down and re-used, helping to reduce the social and environmental impact from gold and silver mining.

 

The most important of the four C's is the carat, meaning its weight 



4. How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

As much as you want to pay! Reputable jewellers should be experienced and flexible enough to work to a range of prices, so set your budget and stick to it.

5. Where do the diamonds come from?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where profits are often put before ethical considerations so help take the power back by demanding official proof – any jeweller should be able to produce certification that says where the diamond was mined from.

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