My Story and What You Should Know about Diamond Ring Shopping
Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a relationship. We all do it differently. Some of us have the question popped at us with a diamond ring ready and waiting, some of us pop the question and some of us decide to pop the question together, either way, it’s a very special time full of love and emotion.
I had the question popped at me while on a week long stay in Paris for Valentines. After dinner in the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, my then boyfriend and I walked out to take in the stunning views of Paris by starlight and after he nervously said some very lovely things, he popped the question and I said yes … very rose-mantic as they say. My Fiancé didn’t have a ring that night as his idea was to pick it together, which I have to admit, suited me perfectly!
So the following day we rambled around Paris looking for a ring. I tried on a few here and there but I didn’t see or try on ‘The One’. I was quite open about the type of ring I wanted too and had considered pearls, sapphires, rubies etc but when it came down to it I felt that a diamond would suit me best, and after all ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’.
So we didn’t find ‘The One’ in Paris but my Fiancé did have a Plan B and that was to hop on a train and go to Antwerp, the Diamond Capital of the World and so that is what we did. I would love to be able to say that I was clued up on diamonds from experience but the truth of it is that I didn’t have a clue. My Fiancé did have some knowledge as he had secretly been clueing himself up for this day … sweet. However, to prepare for our diamond engagement ring hunt, the night before we set off for Antwerp we did some online research. We read about the type of diamonds there are, their shapes, their sizes but most importantly we read about the Diamond District in Antwerp. We read reviews on the do’s and don’t when buying diamonds there and we took note of the best rated and reputable jewellery shops, goldsmiths and designers.
I am glad we took the time to do this as the Diamond District was chocablock with Diamond stores from the moment we stepped off the train and it was nice to have an understanding of where we wanted to visit. I am also glad that we did travel to Antwerp as I did find ‘The One’! FIrstly I chose a beautiful band/ring and then we both chose the diamond that the designer set into the ring. We left the premises, explored the city and called back at the end of business to collect it. It was a very precious moment as our designer, Phillipe, presented the ring in a vintage jewellery box that played music when I opened it … Awww! I then tried it on, smiled and then smiled some more, actually I didn’t stop smiling…
However I didn’t wear my engagement ring immediately as my Fiancé had another plan in store for me and MY engagement ring. We’d already talked about the bridge in Paris near Notre Dame that has thousands of padlocks locked to it with names of lovers on them, we’d talked about how we should add one … so later that evening we took a walk around Paris and when we came to Pont de l’Archevêché or ‘The Love Bridge’ we locked our padlock to it, threw a key in the Seine (we kept the other two for memories sake) and my Fiancé got down on one knee and placed the ring on my finger …and it’s been there ever since!
What you need to know
So I mentioned that I hadn’t a clue about choosing a diamond before I did my bit of research, well if you are thinking of popping the question or if you have a feeling that the question will be popped at you, now is the time to get clued up. Firstly you need to decide on what metal you want the ring to be … yellow/white/rose gold? … platinum? … then you need to choose the diamond shape … but most importantly you need to know about the diamond!
When choosing a diamond you must consider the Four C’s
Carat – This is the weight or size of the diamond.
Colour – Diamonds can vary in colour, from colourless to yellow/brown tinted. The most expensive are colourless.
Clarity – This is based on the inclusions (flaws inside the diamond) and blemishes (flaws outside)
Cut – How the diamond is cut effects the brilliance of the diamond, bad cutting = bad sparkles.
What you should also remember is that size isn’t everything when it comes to your sparkler. Of course I’m sure the bigger the diamond, the better … but remember just because the diamond in an engagement ring is HUGE doesn’t make it overly expensive as it could be a bad quality diamond when it comes to the Four C’s. So when choosing your engagement ring, decide on what is important to you, whether you want quality or quantity (as in size). Personally I think a balance of both is important and that’s how our decision was made – good quality / good size – using the Four C’s.
This chart from The Institute of Gemology in Antwerp is excellent and explains the Four C’s perfectly. The website is also really worth a visit and will give you great buying advise, whether you are buying your diamond engagement ring from your local jeweller, in the nearest city or abroad.
There are lots of styles of rings available, diamond bands, plain bands … it can be overwhelming but remember to take your time, be very certain before you make your decision and pay for it, and make sure that you are 100% happy with your ring when you receive it (I’ve read some horror stories about wrong sizes and stones etc, I’ve also talked with a local Goldsmith here in Ireland who has been asked to repair many rings that were so badly made that they literally fell apart – not to frighten you) … take all these things into consideration because hopefully either you or your loved one (or both) will be wearing the chosen one for many years to come … Happy Ring Shopping!!!