You can’t argue with Kylie, Johnny Mathis, Harry Connick Jnr, Andy Williams or even the Cast of Glee – Christmas is just the best time of year!
The festive season is an exciting, colourful and fun-packed few weeks, slap-bang right in the middle of winter. It offers the perfect excuse to take time off and spend it eating, drinking, sharing presents and celebrating with family and friends.
The Best Time To Pop The Question?
No wonder then it’s the most popular time of the year for couples getting engaged. As wedding planners, for many years we’ve witnessed the rush of post-Christmas & New Year enquiries from recently engaged couples. And last year Facebook reviewed the data of 2,600,000 engaged couples and found that November (Thanksgiving) and December (Christmas & NY) were by far the most popular months that couples chose to get engaged.
Love is clearly in the air, as is the thought of ‘popping the question!’ So what better subject for today’s post than engagement rings?
A few months ago we put together a great little showcase on just this topic. Okay, so I’m the first to admit that this time around it’s a bit of a rehash. However, there’s no denying the fact that there’s no better time to showcase some of the most dazzling engagement rings you’ll ever see than right now.
You can view the article in full by clicking on the link below. And you never know… we might just have found the one for you!
Found the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with? Ready to ‘Pop The Question’? Sounds like it’s time to go shopping for engagement rings! (Gulp…)
According to recent research by Wedding Wire, most men still bravely venture out alone on this fateful quest. But there remains a sizeable minority – estimated to be 40% of men – who prefer to refer to their other-halves.
No matter which category you fall in to, the search often begins online. Enjoy then, our showcase of some of the most incredible and exquisite engagement rings available for 2017/18! Budgets range from £3,750.00 to £50,000.00
NOTICE: our previous post – on the 5C’s of Diamonds– accompanies his showcase. You’ll find tonnes of useful information to assist you.
DeBeers Engagement Ring
An exceptional, contemporary design featuring a 1 ct solitaire diamond with 0.5ct encircling pavé diamonds, set in platinum. Includes GIA certificate of assurance for the centre stone.
Inspired by the Ena Harkness English rose, the classically inspired Ena Harkness ring features a beautifully cut sapphire centre stone flanked by 2 diamonds in a platinum setting. Centre sapphire stone measures 9x7mm with two diamonds either side totalling approximately 0.64ct.
Rox’s diamond trilogy ring displays a 0.70ct centre emerald cut diamond flanked by two emerald cut diamond weighing 0.40ct each. There are a further 6 diamonds channel set in the shoulders, weighing 0.5cts total. The stones are set in 750 18ct Canadian white gold. Includes either GIA or IGI certificates
5 stone ring features 5 oval shaped diamonds set in a platinum shared-claw setting. Available in a variety of carat weights, this ring features 2.5 carats of diamonds graded colour: D-E, Clarity: VS1/VS2. Each diamond comes with its own GIA certificate.
Lewis Malka’s contemporary design features a main diamond set in a four claw open setting, with the shoulders set with princess cut diamonds and taper baguettes. The diamonds include a certificate, usually from the GIA.
Carat: from 0.5-4ct Colour: Any Clarity: Any Cut: Any Certificate: GIA possible Metal: Platinum Cost: From £3,750.00 for a 0.5ct centre diamond, depending on quality. Product code: LM009 Delivery: TBC Web:https://www.lewismalka.com/portfolio/lm009/
A unique, one off design from Catherine Best this hand crafted ring is set with a deep oval Emerald together with 1.21cts of baguette cut diamonds.
Blue Nile’s exquisite trilogy pave diamond and platinum ring boasts a fine 1carat diamond centre stone accompanied by an equally fine pair of 0.4 carat diamonds. There are a further 0.3 carats of diamonds set in the shoulders. The main diamonds are GIA or AGSL certified.
This hallmarked 950 platinum double halo cluster is set with a 1.2 carat cushion cut centre stone and 84 round brilliant cut diamonds weighing 0.55ct surrounding the centre and on the shoulders. GIA or IGI certificate for the centre stone.
Diamond Geezer’s exceptional solitaire diamond engagement ring includes diamond-set shoulders is in hallmarked platinum.
Carat: 1.01 ct total Colour: H Clarity: VVS2 Cut: Excellent Polish: Excellent Symmetry: Excellent Fluorescence: None Certificate: GIA Metal: Platinum Cost: From £7,970.00 Product code: 248877096 Delivery: 14 days Web:https://www.diamondgeezer.com/01-0142-8044.248877096
An incredible Art Deco-era find, this platinum ring features a glittering old European cut diamond accented by trillion-shaped natural sapphires and single cut diamonds (approx. 0.83 total carat weight).
Cartier’s antique 1930’s Art Deco emerald and diamond ring featured a 2.4carat central emerald-cut emerald set between rectangular-cut diamonds weighing 0.85 carats. There are also a pair of baguette-cut shoulder diamonds, approximately 0.25 carats, set in a fine platinum.
Finding the perfect diamond engagement ring takes a lot of thought, time and effort, not to mention cold, hard cash! There are a seemingly endless list of factors to consider and pitfalls to avoid. Style, shape, setting, stone (or stones), sizes, carats, cuts, clarities, colours… It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted!
So today we show you what to look out for when shopping for rocks. It’s our insider’s guide to diamond engagement rings using the 5C’s of diamond grading.
Got a budget in mind? Great! You’ll soon have an idea about what size rock/s you can afford. When you start browsing you’ll find jewellers referring to the so-called 4 C’s of diamond grading: carat, colour, clarity and cut. There is however an equally important but less publicised 5th ‘C’ – Certification.
There are numerous independent authorities and private laboratories that assess, grade and certificate diamonds, for a fee of course. The most notable are:
GIA – a Gemological Institute of America
AGS – American Gemological Society
IGI – International Gemological Institute
HRD – Diamond High Council
CIBJO – International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls, and Stones
EGL – European Gemological Laboratory
There are lots of other diamond grading companies too, all easily found online. And some jewellery stores such as Tiffany’s and Boodles even self-certificate their diamonds.
Diamond Certificates are supposed to help reassure the buyer that they are getting a specific quality of stone. However it is essential you understand that there is no uniform diamond grading scale and assessments will vary, so much so that if for instance you took the same diamond to the GIA and the EGL, you would get 2 very different certificates! And unfortunately some certificates are not even worth the paper they are written on.
There is hope though. The GIA is renowned for providing the most accurate, consistent and reliable certificates and as a result GIA certified stones cost significantly more than stones certified by the EGL or any other grading authority. This is demonstrated in the table below which features a selection of loose round stones from Quality Diamonds in London.
As you can see, when keeping all characteristics as similar as possible and the only variable being the certification authority, the table above shows the lowest priced 1 ct stone with a GIA certificate costs £2,545.00 more than the lowest priced 1ct stone from the EGL.
FACT: the EGL are renowned for upgrading stones colours and/or clarities by at least 2 or 3 times more than the GIA.
TIP: For peace of mind, only consider diamonds that are certified by the GIA.
Diamonds are the most popular gem stones because of their sparkle. The best cut diamonds possess an incredible sparkle and inner fire because their proportions, symmetry and polish enable them to reflect the most amount of light. Whereas a poorly cut diamond looks dull and lifeless because it allows light to pass through it.
The quality of the cut is therefore the most important factor to look for in a GIA certified stone. And of all the C’s the Cut is the only one you should never, ever compromise on. The cut grades are as follows:
TIP: Do not compromise on Cut – choose an Excellent cut stone. (Or certainly nothing less than a Very Good cut).
When purchasing a diamond ring, the first thing most people think about is carat size. It is important to understand that carat (ct) refers to the weight of the diamond and not the size as you might have thought. If you compare a 1 ct round diamond with a 0.5 ct stone, you will notice it does not look twice the size. In fact the difference in diameter is only 1.3mm! Whilst the difference between a 1 and 2 carat stone is just 1.7mm.
FACT: Only 1 in 1,000,000 rough diamonds are big enough to produce a 1 carat cut and finished stone.
1 carat diamonds are the most popular. It’s a nice, round number that guys and girls love. Let’s face it, a 1 carat diamond ring sounds soooo much better than a 0.9 carat ring!
However, what they fail to tell you is that if you want a 1 carat diamond you are likely to sacrifice quality and pay a premium for doing so. This is because most diamond cutters will, if possible, focus on cutting stones to the magical round number rather than cutting to enhance the stone’s natural characteristics. In so doing, the quality of the cutting – and therefore its appearance, brilliance, fire or sparkle – is often reduced.
Need proof? Take a look at the table below. Again the stones were sourced from Quality Diamonds in London.
Keeping all characteristics as similar as possible and the only variable being carat size, the lowest priced 0.9 ct GIA stone costs £4,540.00. Whereas the lowest priced 1 carat GIA stone costs £6,590.00. That’s a whopping 31% increase in cost, for a stone that’s only 10% bigger!
Unfortunately the same applies to stones cut to other magic round numbers – 0.5, 1.5, 2, 2.5 and so on.
TIP: Stones just under 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 or 3 carat offer great value for money
Of course, you don’t want to give your wife-to-be an engagement ring that’s only 0.9 carats! You want to hit the magic mark! Don’t worry, you still can… by setting some smaller diamonds in the shoulders or flanking or encircling the centre stone.
In case you didn’t know, diamonds come in a variety of colours and shades including pinks, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, purples and browns. However coloured diamonds are not the focus of our attention here. We are concentrating on white diamonds.
White diamonds are graded on a scale from clear and colourless through to light yellow. Colourless stones naturally command the highest prices in the market place.
Colourless: D, E, F
Near Colourless: G, H, I, J
Faint Yellow: K, L, M
Very Light Yellow: N, O, P, Q, R
Light Yellow: S. T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Colourless D and E graded diamonds are practically ice-white, very rare and expensive.
F colour diamonds possess a hint of colour that’s often only perceivable by a trained diamond grader when viewing diamonds side by side. And to the untrained eye it’s very difficult to tell the difference between a D, E & F coloured stone.
Diamonds graded near colourless G, H, I or J appear colourless when viewed face up. It is only when you look at them face down and against a white background that you will notice they possess a hint of colour.
Moreover, when a near colourless diamond is set in an engagement ring, it will be extremely difficult to tell whether it’s a colourless or near colourless stone! Therefore it’s a sensible idea to opt for a near colourless diamond since they offer the best value for money without noticeably compromising on quality.
Keeping all characteristics as similar as possible and the only variable being colour, the lowest priced 1ct D colour stone from Quality Diamonds costs £7,545.00. Whereas the lowest priced 1 carat I colour stone costs just £5,100.00. It’s a saving of 32%!
TIP: Near colourless H/I colour stones represent excellent value for money and won’t compromise on appearance.
The clarity of a diamond is an assessment of the stone’s blemishes. The more external blemishes or internal inclusions it has, the lower the clarity grading. Stones are graded accordingly:
FL, Flawless: No inclusions or blemishes visible to a skilled stone grader using 10x magnification.
IF, Internally Flawless: No inclusions and only blemishes visible to a skilled stone grader under 10x magnification. Less than 2% of all the diamonds in the world are FL & IF clarity.
VVS1/VVS2, Very, Very Small Inclusions 1/2: Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10X magnification. Approximately 7% of all diamonds are VVS clarity.
VS1/VS2, Very Small Inclusions 1/2: Some minor inclusions, some hard and some easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification. Approximately 14% of diamonds are graded VS.
SI1/SI2, Small Inclusions 1/2: Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification. 25% of all diamonds are SI clarity.
I1/I2, Inclusions 1/2: Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification affecting transparency and brilliance. 52% of diamonds are I clarity.
TIP: VS2 diamonds offer the best value for money. These ‘eye clean’ stones have no inclusions visible to the naked eye.
Having covered the 4/5 C’s of diamonds there is one other equally important factor to bear in mind. Unfortunately, it’s not a C… It’s an F!
Fluorescence refers to an often bluish hue that many diamonds possess and display when exposed to UV light. The amount varies from stone to stone and is graded from None to Very Strong. It can affect the appearance of a diamond for better or worse.
If you have your heart set on a Colourless/Near Colourless diamond in the D-G range, any level of Fluorescence can negatively impact on the appearance of the stone. No fluorescence is ideal and Faint fluorescence should be fine but you need to inspect the stone. Reject any with a Medium or higher rating.
However Near Colourless diamonds in the H-J range as well as some K colour stones will often benefit from Medium fluorescence, which can make them appear a shade whiter!
Whilst stones with Strong or Very Strong fluorescence may appear hazy or milky.
TIP: Opt for Faint or No Fluorescence in D-G stones & Medium Fluorescence in H-J stones
To ensure you get the highest possible quality and value for money, choose a diamond Certified by the GIA.
Always opt for an Excellent Cut
VS1 or VS2 Clarity represents exceptional value for money
And if you want a specific number of Carats in the ring, consider a slightly smaller centre stone and make up the rest of the carat weight with some small diamonds in the shoulders of the ring or encircling the centre stone.
Stephanie Browne – one of Australia’s top bridal jewellery designers – has spent almost 30 years designing and creating her unique and exquisite range of couture bridal jewellery and accessories.
In her latest collection she continues to draw inspiration from the timeless elegance and vintage glamour of the early 20th century, especially in the style of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.
She has an impressive collection on offer that includes tiaras, headpieces, combs, fascinators, earrings, necklaces and belts – and simply too many breathtaking pieces of jewellery to feature in one post. So here we are focussing on headpieces and combs.
Her collections are sold in a selection of bridal boutiques in the UK. Or you can order conveniently online. Prices in the region of £150.00 for a top of the range hair comb or £300.00 for a a headpiece.