One of the most popular choices when it comes to engagement rings are diamonds set in a yellow gold ring. These days other gems such as sapphires, emeralds or even rubies are popular and the ring can be made from rose gold, white gold or even platinum.
Solitaire Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamond engagement rings come in six basic ring styles: solitaire (pictured left), trilogy, solitaire with shoulder diamonds, bridal set, halo and cluster. A solitaire diamond ring, as the name suggests consists of one diamond held in a pronged setting. There are usually either four or six prongs that hold the diamond in place. A four prong exposes the diamond to more light and allows it to sparkle just a little bit brighter than the six prong setting. The six prong setting will hold the diamond more securely if you feel your ring is going to encounter some wear and tear!
There are ten different shapes diamonds can come in: round, princess, emerald, asscher, marquise, oval, radiant, pear, heart and cushion.
Diamonds – How Many Carats?
One of the ways in which diamonds are compared is by their weight which is measured in carats. One carat is equal to 200 mg. Solitaire engagement rings usually start at 1/3 carat and can be as heavy as 5 carats. The price of any diamond ring is dependent not only on the weight of the diamond(s) but also on the cut, clarity and color.
Diamond Engagement Rings Clarity
The GIA diamond grading scale is divided into six categories:
- Flawless category (FL) diamonds which have no inclusions or blemishes that are visible under 10x magnification
- Internally Flawless category (IF) diamonds which have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification, but do have small blemishes on the diamond surface.
- Very, Very Slightly Included category (VVS) diamonds which have minute inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification. The VVS category is sub divided into two grades; VVS1 which denotes a higher clarity grade than VVS2.
- Very Slightly Included category (VS) diamonds which have minor inclusions that are difficult to see when viewed under 10x magnification. The VS category is sub divided into two grades; VS1 denotes a higher clarity grade than VS2.
- Slightly Included category (SI) diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are easy/very easy to see when viewed under 10x magnification.The SI category is sub divided into two grades; SI1 denotes a higher clarity grade than SI2.
- Included category (I) diamonds have obvious inclusions that are clearly visible under 10x magnification. The I category is sub divided into three grades; I1 denotes a higher clarity grade than I2, which in turn is higher than I3.
Diamond Engagement Rings Cut
Sometimes confused with shape (round, heart, oval, marquise, pear),a diamond’s cut is about how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. The cut of a diamond is complex and technically difficult to analyze.
Once again, in America, the cut standards are decided by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA calculates the proportions of those facets that influence the diamond’s face-up appearance. These distinctions allow GIA to evaluate how a diamond interacts with light to create these beautiful visual effects:
- Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
- Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
- Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond
Diamond Engagement Rings Color
Diamonds actually come in a variety of colors, some of them are highly prized and very expensive (pinks, blues, yellow even black). But when it comes to a white diamond, a hint of yellow will mean a lower price. The less color a white diamond has the more it will reflect light making it more sparkly and more valuable.
As for clarity and cut the GIA has a color scale that has been adopted by the diamond industry:
D, E and F Colorless
G, H and I Near Colorless
K, L and M Faint Color
N, O, P, Q, R, Very Light Color
S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z Light Color
Diamonds that are rated D-F should only be set in white gold or platinum as if they are set in yellow the gold reflects color, which negates the diamond’s colorless effect.
Trilogy Or Three Stone Diamond Engagement Rings
As the name suggests, a trilogy or trinity diamond engagement ring has three stones. You can have the three diamonds equal sized – that is weighing the same in carats. Or you can have the stones graduated, with the largest diamond in the middle and two smaller sized diamonds to the left and the right. For traditional graduation, the center stone is equal in weight to the two diamonds on the sides. So if the center diamond is 1/2 carat, the two side diamonds are 1/4 carat each. You can have a lesser graduation if you wish, the decision is yours!
The traditional meaning of a trilogy ring is that each stone represents a period in your life: the center stone represents the present and if you choose a graduated ring it is the largest stone. The stone to the left represents the past and the stone to the right represents the future.
An alternative meaning for the trinity engagement ring is that the three stones represent friendship, love and fidelity. A beautiful representation of your future partner.
The side stones do not have to be diamonds, they can be sapphires, emeralds or any other stones your prefer!
Solitaire With Shoulder Diamonds Engagement Rings
A solitaire with shoulder diamonds ring consists of a central solitaire diamond (usually round but can be other shapes) with extra smaller stones along the shoulders of the ring. The shoulder of a diamond engagement ring marks the point between the shank or band of the ring and the setting which holds the stone. The shoulder of a ring is the area between the shank or band of the ring and the setting which holds the stone.
The shoulders of the ring which holds the stones can be various designs. They can be parallel, straight, twisted or tapering. And the way that the diamonds are attached to the shoulders can be different as well. They can be set along a channel cut within the band, or held in a claw setting – in a single row or two rows known as double shoulder..
Shoulder diamonds can be incorporated with other styles such as the halo design, making the central stone seem larger and increasing the bling down the sides of the ring. Depending on the size of the diamonds used on the shoulders, this design is also known as pavé or micro-pavé.
A bridal set consists of a wedding ring and an engagement ring which matches that is purchased all in one go. Although used synonymously, a wedding set is slightly different and contains an engagement ring and wedding ring for the bride as well as a wedding ring for the groom.
Choosing a matching wedding and engagement ring from the offset avoids a lot of problems you can encounter when trying to match a wedding ring to an engagement ring:
- Proportion – a bigger wedding band could overwhelm your engagement ring and make the diamonds look smaller or insignificant. And if the wedding ring also features diamonds, unless they are a similar cut and clarity in the same setting, the rings will look out of sync.
- Style – Your engagement ring may be Art Deco, Edwardian or Victorian, you may even be unsure of its design origins, which will make it even harder to match to a wedding ring.
- Metal – gold comes in different “strengths” and colors – is it white gold or is it platinum? Is it 10K gold or 14K gold? Unless you remember the exact karatage of the metal band of your engagement ring it is going to be hard to match, and mismatched metals can scratch and even erode the softer one.
- Fit – especially if you have chosen a non solitaire shaped diamond such as the pear, marquise or heart shape, the wedding band may not “fit” with the stone so the rings will not sit correctly on the finger. The wedding band may even cause wear on the diamond.
Halo Diamond Engagement Rings
What is a Halo ring? A halo ring consists of a central diamond encircled by round pavé or micro-pavé (or the diamond could be encircled by other gemstones such as sapphires). The obvious advantage of a halo ring is that it makes your diamond look much bigger than it is – by as much as an extra half a carat. Giving you much more bling for your buck!
The halo engagement ring first appeared in the 1920s, during the Art Deco movement. Today halo rings come in second place in popularity just behind the classic solitaire.
You can combine the halo design with shoulder diamonds with pavé diamonds covering part of the shank of the ring.
Halo rings do not have to be based just around a solitaire, this design also works with oval, pear, emerald and marquise diamonds. The central diamond could be surrounded by other stones such as sapphires, emeralds or rubies – or even consider surrounding the central diamond with pavé diamonds of different colors.
To increase the bling even further, you can add another circle of pavé diamonds for a double halo… or perhaps even triple halo!
Cluster Diamond Engagement Rings
What is a cluster diamond engagement ring? Similar to the idea of a halo ring, a cluster diamond ring uses smaller diamonds to look like one larger diamond. Because the cluster ring consists of smaller diamonds, which are cheaper, these rings are usually a cost effective way of getting the same overall look.
Cluster diamond rings can be combined with other design traits such as pavé shoulder diamonds to enhance the bling even more!
History Of The Engagement Ring
An engagement ring is a ring, usually worn on the third finger of the left hand, that indicates that the person wearing it is engaged to be married. Engagement rings are worn mostly by women, and the rings generally feature diamonds or other gemstones. In some cultures men too wear engagement rings and in other cultures the engagement rings are also used as wedding rings.
Traceable back as far as Roman times, the Roman bride-to-be was believed to be given two rings, a gold one which she wore in public, and one made of iron which she wore at home while doing the housework.