Talking the Talk (Engagement Ring Style)

B. Jones Photography. Seattle Wedding Photographer

POP QUIZ! Tell me the 4 Cs! Okay, you may know all of those, most ready to be engaged person does…but does your significant other?  They really should.  Unless your love plans on popping the question with a family heirloom, or you two are planning on tattoo rings (you do you!) then you should know how to speak the engagement ring lingo.  An engagement ring can be a HUGE investment; months of salary saved up.  You don’t want to have buyer’s remorse because you didn’t do your research, so consider this your engagement ring class: Ring Speak 101.  By the way, those 4 Cs are cut, color, clarity, and carat. Okay, let’s dive in.

Lesson One

Learn your shapes.  There are ten primary stone shapes: round, princess, pear, cushion, heart, asscher, oval, emerald, marquise & radiant.  You may not know you have a preference yet, but you will.  Don’t assume you know what you’ll like, the cuts all look different on every person’s finger, give them all a try.  Round brilliant, princess and cushion cuts are pretty popular right now, but I’d include a radiant cut in there, too.

Lesson Two

Cut.  There’s your first C!  Shape and cut is easy to confuse, but they are two totally different things.  The cut refers to the angles and the facets of the stone.  A stone that is too shallow (short) will let light escape from the bottom.  A stone that is cut too deep lets the light out from the sides.  A perfectly cut stone will not only capture more light, but it will reflect it back to the top, which is what gives you that brilliant sparkle when you are showing it off. Round brilliant and princess cuts will usually give you the best sparkle because of their symmetrical cut.

Lesson Three

When you look down at your ring, do you want to see your diamond floating by itself, surrounded by tiny stones, or get the feeling that your ring is nothing but diamonds?  The setting is just as individual as the diamond cut and should be well-thought out.  

  • Prong setting: perfect for a classic solitaire.  This setting lets the diamond stand out while securing it.
  • Halo setting gives you the security of your large stone being held by prongs while adding a border of smaller stones around it.  Not only does it give the illusion of a larger main stone, but the border protects the sides of the diamond from damage. Plus it’s pretty. 
  • Channel setting: a great choice for wedding bands, or someone who wants to wear their ring all the time but may be a little harder on their hands.  
  • Invisible setting: definitely the most popular setting these days.  It’s a little like mixing the halo setting with a channel setting.  You get your big center diamond, surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds and a full band of smaller diamonds in a grid pattern.  These are beautiful settings, but buyer beware, they’re also a riskier choice than the others.  Because of the intricacies, it can be harder to keep the diamonds in place, and repairs will cost more.  Get insurance on this one, that’s just a non-negotiable.
  • Pavé and micro-pavé: think lots of tiny diamonds paved together to create a solid appearance.  Pavé is beautiful, but like the invisible setting carries a higher risk of losing a stone.  Insure this one, too.

Lesson Four

Not all metals are created the same.  Platinum has become extremely popular, because it is extremely durable and is great for brides with sensitive skin, and it’s a gorgeous color.  There is your classic gold, which typically comes in white, yellow and millennial rose.  Okay, just rose, but I had you for a second.  You could go with palladium (little grayer than platinum) or even a recycled metal band for the environmentally conscious.  Choices, choices!

Lesson Five & Six

Color.  You’re actually looking for an absence of color as if you are looking through a glass of perfectly clear water.  Clarity: you’re looking for a stone without “blemishes” or “inclusions.”  Most of the time these are too tiny to see even with a microscope, and no diamond is perfectly pure, but the closer it comes, the higher the cost.  

Lesson Seven

Here’s a biggie.  Carat weight, which is a measurement of how much a diamond weights.  200 mg=1 carat. It’s not too complicated, the heavier the stone, the more expensive it’ll be. But keep in mind, that bigger isn’t always better because not everyone’s hands can carry that much stone.  No, I don’t mean it’ll be too heavy, I mean it won’t look right.  This is also where your setting comes into play.  If you want a big stone look but don’t have the budget for that 2-carat solitaire, a halo setting could be the answer to your prayers.  Big stone appearance with a smaller stone price.  

Lesson Eight

Diamonds come with strings.  Not all diamonds are sourced responsibility and conflict-free.  While there is no real guarantee, conflict-free diamonds are something you should be looking into.  There are even human-made diamonds called Moissanite, which thanks to being made in a lab, rival the brightest diamonds, and they come at a fraction of the price.  

Final Lesson

Here’s the big one…have the talk! Don’t leave your love to shop blind, hoping they chose a shape/setting/design you like.  Drop hints.  Leave your browser open to your favorite rings.  GO RING SHOPPING TOGETHER!  Let the proposal be the surprise, after all; you’re going to be wearing that ring A LONG TIME, so speak up, girl!