You’ve liked more posts than you count of beautiful engagement rings on Instagram. You’ve pinned every size, shape and colour ring onto your Pinterest board. But do you know what it takes to pick the right engagement ring? Is bigger really better when it comes to diamond sizes?
We spoke with Drew Birrell, Diamond Expert and Gemmologist at Tiffany & Co. He gave us all the information you need to pick the right engagement ring as well as the most important things to keep in mind when doing it. And with that little turquoise box appearing in all girls’ dreams, there’s no one better to discuss these all-important questions with.
What are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for a diamond engagement ring?
The most important consideration when buying a diamond engagement ring is from who you buy it.
There are a multitude of things to consider when buying a diamond. That is why it is extremely important to find a diamond expert at a reputable jeweller who can guide you and help you with this important purchase. You need to find a jeweller with a strong reputation and a clear history and heritage of diamond expertise – a jeweller that you can have complete confidence in.
Most considerations when buying a diamond start with the 4 Cs – Colour, Clarity, Carat Weight and Cut. Proportion is also extremely important when considering a Fancy Cut such as a Pearshape, Oval or an Emerald Cut diamond. Considerations for a coloured diamond, like a yellow diamond, include the hue, tone and saturation of the diamond. But, there are other equally important considerations. What is the certificate that accompanies the diamond? Is it from a reputable and credible gemmological laboratory? Can you trust it? Can you be certain the diamond has not been enhanced for colour and clarity? Has it been responsibly sourced? Buying a diamond needs careful deliberation – it tends to be on the finger for a very long time! You also need to consider the after sales care. Will the jeweller be there in the future for cleaning, re-sizing, checking etc. not just now, but years from now?
Buying a diamond is an important milestone in many people’s lives. Confidence, trust and peace of mind are an essential part of the purchase. That is why where you buy the diamond is the primary and most crucial consideration.
What are your top tips for choosing the right diamond shape for your hand?
There are so many different diamond cuts – The Modern Round Brilliant Cut, The Emerald Cut, The Pearshape, The Princess Cut, The Novo and Lucida to name a few. All have their own characteristics and unique style. The top tip is to try on all the styles and see which one looks best on your finger. All diamond cuts have varying degrees of brilliance, scintillation and fire. The Modern Round Brilliant Cut is the Cut that gives the most brilliance and fire – it is the brightest Cut. Some prefer a more understated Cut that is not as bright but as elegant, such as the Emerald Cut. Some diamond Cuts – especially those that are elongated and have a longer length ‘north, south’ and run down the finger, such as a Pearshape and an Emerald Cut suit a longer finger. But they look equally elegant on all shapes and sizes of hands. The more styles you try on the more you will know which one style works the best for you.
How have tastes in diamonds changed over time?
Diamonds have been treasured by mankind for many thousands of years. Diamonds were first mined in India and were used as religious icons and for adornment for at least 3000 years and possibly as far back as 6000 years. Throughout human history, diamonds have been regarded as beautiful objects of desire. In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny stated “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”
Up until the huge diamond find in South Africa in 1866, diamonds were the preserve of the very wealthy and powerful. In Europe, only royalty and the nobility could afford diamonds and they were symbols of power and status. After the large deposits of diamonds were found in South Africa, diamonds became more available and the diamond company De Beers created a global market. In the 20th century, diamonds became the most important gemstone for engagement, bridal and celebration jewellery. A Diamond’s unique qualities – it is the hardest natural known substance to man, the way diamond interplays with light – its fire, dispersion and scintillation all made it incredibly desirable. Diamonds became the ultimate symbol of love and the phrase ‘A Diamond is Forever’ entered into the modern consciousness.
Developments in diamond cutting and polishing as well as in jewellery manufacturing ensure new styles and fashions are brought to market. But the desire to own and cherish a diamond and the value people attach to diamonds has not changed over time.
When choosing a coloured stone, what are some things to consider?
With Coloured Gemstones the main considerations should be on the hardness and durability of the gemstone. An engagement ring is on the hand for a very long time and tends to be a ring worn every day. Some coloured gemstones, due to their hardness and durability, should only be worn occasionally. Every coloured gemstone has its own unique characteristics. An expert jeweller will be able to give you advice on what would suit every day wear.
Of all the gemstones, why do you think people are so drawn to diamonds?
Diamond is the ‘King of Gemstones’ because of its unique qualities and properties. It is the hardest natural known substance to man. This allows it to take the highest polish which gives it a phenomenal reflection of light. It has the highest ‘hardness’ of any gemstone. This means a well looked after diamond will last for thousands of years without diminishing in its brightness, fire and scintillation. Nothing interplays with light the way a diamond does; nothing compares. The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek ‘adamas’ which means unalterable, unbreakable or untamed. This quality of enduring and lasting is one of the factors why diamond is the ultimate symbol of love and commitment. A beautifully crafted diamond expresses what cannot be put into words – it is a magnificent symbol of love, commitment and loyalty. The phrase ‘a diamond is forever’ wonderfully captures the essence of what giving a diamond means.
Scroll through our gallery of breath-taking Tiffany & Co diamond rings for inspiration. Who knows, you might even find ‘The One!’