What You Should Know About Buying Engagement Rings Online
Buying engagement rings online doesn't have to be confusing or intimidating. In fact, the nice thing about shopping online is that you can browse several online stores without the hassle of traveling from store to store listening to endless sales pitches. Shopping for an engagement ring online can be quite a good experience if you buy from reputable jewelers like Blue Nile and Mondera. Make sure you get an appraisal done by a GIA certified appraiser within one month after your purchase in case there are any issues.
The first thing you'll want to consider is your ring size. If you don't know what it is, most jewelry stores in your town can take your ring size quickly. If you don't feel like going to a jewelry store, then you can get it online. Sites like Blue Nile will send you a ring sizer within several days. How's that for service!
Next, you'll want to decide what style and type of metal is right for you. White and yellow gold come in 14K or 18K. 14K has more alloy in the mixture and is therefore harder than 18K gold. This means it wears better and doesn't scratch as easily. This is something to consider if you work with your hands a lot. 18K gold is more valuable, obviously because it has more gold in it, but is softer and more yellow in color. The yellow could bring out more of the yellow in your diamond if the diamond has some yellow in it as most diamonds do. Platinum is another metal that is becoming popular these days. Its very hard and durable so it doesn't scratch as easily as gold does, and it really brings out the luster in a diamond. There are thousands of styles to choose from online, so you shouldn't have much trouble finding something you love.
Diamonds are graded according to three main factors, Cut, Clarity, and Color. Cut refers to the shape of the diamond. There are many different shapes, but the most brilliant diamonds are round cuts. That's because if the round shape is cut properly (i.e. ideal cut), the maximum amount of light is reflected back to you, bringing out the maximum brilliance of the diamond. If the round diamond is not cut to ideal proportions, some of the light leaks out of the bottom of the diamond causing a loss of brilliance. The next grade is clarity. Clarity refers to how many inclusions, or flaws are in the diamond. Diamonds are rated Flawless (no imperfections) to VVS 1 & 2 (very, very slight), to VS 1 & 2 (very slight), to SI 1 & 2 (slight), to I diamonds (imperfect). I would stay away from I diamonds, because they tend to be cloudy, ugly looking diamonds that have the potential to crack in some instances. They may be cheap, but not worth the money you do pay. If you're on a budget, stay in the SI 1 to VS 2 range, since the inclusions are generally not noticeable to the naked eye. You're definitely going to pay less than you would pay for a flawless or VVS 1, 2 diamond and the differences aren't all that noticeable.
Color is the third grading criteria. Although there are many different colors of diamonds around the world, most diamonds are yellow in color if they are not colorless. The grading starts with D (or colorless) diamonds and works through the alphabet; E, F, G, H, I all the way down to Z, which is a yellow colored diamond. Of course, you'll pay more for the D, E, and F colors. When you get past J color, the yellow starts to become noticeable, so stick to above J in color and you should be fine.
The final consideration is the design of the ring. If the ring has a lot of accent diamonds that are set in prongs, it will tend to snag on things, potentially losing one of your diamonds. The safest settings have channel, or pave set accent diamonds, which have no prongs. The center diamond will generally be set in prongs and this is to bring out the maximum beauty, because it allows the most light in. It can either be a 4 prong or 6 prong setting. Obviously, a 6 prong setting is safer and I would recommend it for any diamond over 1 carat. If you have a 6 prong setting for any diamond under a carat, the diamond tends to get lost in the setting. A cathedral setting helps to protect the center diamond somewhat by partially covering the sides of the diamond against sudden impacts. Above all, pick a design you love while keeping in mind the practicality of wearing your ring forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Paul Kozar is an ex-jeweler and now owner of Engagement Rings Online, a website dedicated to helping couples find their perfect ring online.
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