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Engagement Ring Guide — What To Know Before You Buy

Ladies, this may be a post to show your beau! Today, our Advice Friday post is your complete engagement ring guide — from the various cuts and settings to knowing your Four C’s…you’ll learn everything you need to know to successfully purchase a ring that fits your personal style and that you’ll love for the rest of your life.

Shopping for an engagement ring can be an incredibly overwhelming process, especially if you go in without an idea of what you’re looking for. One of the first things you need to decide (after your budget, of course) is your cut. Your cut will determine what types of settings will work best for your ring.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s back up a little. The very first step in purchasing an engagement ring is determining a budget. Diamonds are priced based on the Four C’s — carat, clarity, cut and color. Carat is self explanatory, and we’ll get into cut in a minute, so let’s focus on clarity and color.

When diamonds form, many develop blemishes, or inclusions. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions will affect the appearance of the diamond. The clearer the diamond, the more brilliant the sparkle, and the higher the price. Diamond clarity ranges from Flawless (FL) to Included (I), on a sliding scale. Many inclusions are not visible to the naked eye until the middle of the grading scale. The color of the diamond will also affect the brilliance of the sparkle. Colorless diamonds reflect the most light, making them the most desirable, but also the most expensive. Diamond color ranges from Colorless (D) to Light Yellow (Z).

Guys, chat with your fiance-to-be and learn which of the Four C’s are most important to her. For example, she may be willing to sacrifice a little clarity or color for a larger stone.

Now for the fun part…the cut. The cut of the diamond is the most obvious of the Four C’s, and most likely the one brides-to-be care the most about. Cutting a diamond involves faceting, which increases the sparkle of the stone. Below is a visual guide for diamond cuts.

All you need to know about engagement rings
A marquise cut diamond is oval shaped with pointed ends. A princess cut is incredibly popular, as it is a simple, brilliant square stone. A radiant diamond is designed for maximum sparkle and is often rectangular in shape with cropped corners. A cushion cut diamond is a cross between a rectangular stone and an oval stone, and is similar to the shape of a pillow. A round diamond is the most popular and most classic shape. The more facets your jeweler adds to a round stone, the more sparkle the ring will have. Pear and heart cut diamonds  are exactly like they sound! An emerald cut diamond is rectangular with cropped corners and long facets. An asscher diamond is a unique stone with a stepped square cut.

Once you’ve chosen the cut, you’re almost there! To secure your ring, you’ll need to decide on a setting. Once you choose a style — be it a solitaire, three stone or split band — your jeweler can ensure your diamond is secured properly. Three to six prongs will hold your diamond in place. Prongs can be pointed, rounded, flat or v-shaped, depending on the size, cut and setting of the stone. Four prongs will show more of a diamond, but a six prong ring is more secure. Heart, marquise or pear shaped diamonds need to have their pointed ends cradled in v-shaped prongs for protection from chips and nicks. For emerald cut stones, flat prongs are usually the best choice.

So remember, do some research before you head into your local jewelry store to select your engagement ring. It’s a big decision! You will, after all, be wearing it for the rest of your life!

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