Besides the exquisite beauty of wedding rings, there is a lot to know about metals, diamonds, and the care involved when choosing yours. This “Ring Primer” will help you understand all the basics.
Know your metals
14-karat gold is classic, popular, durable enough for daily wear, and can be polished easily. White gold is made mixing pure gold with other white metals such as silver, palladium or zinc, and can be a less expensive alternative to platinum. Extremely popular in the last decade or so, platinum is a very white, heavy (which many people like that substantial feel), and durable metal. A “sister” metal to platinum, palladium is a naturally white metal (whiter than white gold), and like platinum, it is strong, non-tarnishing and hypoallergenic. It’s also less expensive than platinum, making it a good metal to consider if you like the white metal look. Titanium and tungsten carbide have become popular for men’s wedding bands, and both of these metals are extremely durable, 100% hypoallergenic and relatively inexpensive.
Know your diamond
When shopping for a diamond, you will quickly be introduced to the “Four Cs” – cut, color, clarity and carat. All four features can make a dramatic impact on the quality, and therefore price, of a diamond.
Cut. Cut really refers to the proportions of a diamond and it’s facets, as opposed to its shape, which includes round, oval, pear, marquise, emerald, square, heart and triangle. Regardless of its shape, a diamond gets its brilliancy from the cutting, and maximizing the reflection of light.
Color. The best color is no color at all, because it reflects the most light. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) ranks diamonds on a standard 23-grade scale from D, a perfectly colorless stone, through Z, a light yellow stone.
Clarity. The number, color, nature, size and position of natural marks, called inclusions, contained in the gem, define clarity. Excellent clarity means light can pass unimpeded through the stone and increases its value. The GIA judges clarity based on a standard 11-point scale from “Flawless” through “Imperfect 3.”
Carat. Diamonds are weighed in carats, which may also be expressed as “points,” where one carat equals 100 points. A diamond of 50 points, for example, equals ½ carat.
Diamond Clarity Scale
FL & IF: Flawless and internally flawless (inclusions not visible under 10x magnification)
VVS1 & VVS2: Very, very slight inclusions (extremely difficult to see under 10x)
VS1 & VS2: Very slight inclusions (difficult to see under 10x)
SI1 & SI2: Small inclusions (noticeable under 10x)
I1, I2 & I3: Imperfect (flaws visible to the unaided eye)