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Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring

on Oct 10, 2014 3:17 PM

The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Proposal: Part 1 of 3

Finding a ring shouldn't be harder than finding a partner

Whether you choose the perfect engagement ring all on your own, get a few subtle "hints" from your partner or visit a jeweler together to pick out your favorite, you want to be armed with plenty of information before making the big purchase.

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Princess cut diamond

Shape Up

And you thought you were finished with geometry after high school. One of the first decisions you and your partner need to make is what shape of stone you like best.

From traditional round cuts to the unique pear-shaped stone, there's a cut to match every personality.

Be Brilliant

The cut, clarity and color of the stone impacts how brilliant it appears. Brilliance, in relation to diamonds, is the amount of light that is returned to the eye from both internal and external surfaces. This is what makes a great diamond sparkle from across the room!

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Round cut diamond

A well-cut diamond, with many, very specific facets will give off a more brilliant reflection than a poorly cut diamond. The round brilliant cut is famous for its 58 facets designed to yield the maximum amount of light reflection.

A diamond's clarity also plays a huge part in its sparkle factor. Clarity is affected by any characteristics created within the stone when formed by nature or as a result of the cutting process. Internal spots or lines are called inclusions, which can interfere with light attempting to pass through. Clarity is graded on a scale of Imperfect (I) to Flawless (Fl), gaining more brilliance as it climbs the scale.

The last factor to affect the appearance of a diamond is the color. While colored diamonds, or fancies, are gaining in popularity, the traditional "colorless" diamond is still number one. Color grading begins with the near colorless D, E or F and runs all the way down to Z, appearing more yellow the farther down the alphabet you go.

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Pavé setting

Ready, Get Set

Setting refers to the metal framework in which the stone is mounted. The same diamond shape in a traditional four-prong setting versus a modern bezel setting can create an entirely different tone for a ring.

Getting the right combination is essential to finding the ring that best suits your partner's personality.

Mind Your Metals

Just when you thought you had it all figured out, you have to decide which metal to choose for the band as well!

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Gold bands


Platinum is a great hypoallergenic choice because it is especially pure. Gold is less durable, but comes in a variety of colors, which have become popular as of late.

While gold and platinum are the two most popular options, the choices don't end there. Some couples choose palladium, which has a greyer hue than platinum, and some are going eco-friendly with a recycled metal band!

Engagement Ring Trends

Now that you're thoroughly overwhelmed with our crash course on engagement ring basics, The Knot has some current trends that might help send you down the right path to the perfect proposal!

There's a "perfect" ring out there for everyone. With the proper considerations, you'll make smart and savvy jewelry purchases. And don't be afraid to ask your jeweler for help!

Made the big purchase? Share what you chose in the comments!

Read more:
Part 2 - The Little Known Way to Ruin the Perfect Proposal
Part 3 - 10 Dos and Don'ts to Planning the Perfect Proposal

 

How to Clean & Care for Your Diamond Engagement Ring

 

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