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    Planning to pop the question? Here is Christie’s guide to buying the perfect engagement ring

    Synopsis

    Colour, clarity, cut and carat weight are the standards for judging the quality of any diamond.

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    A certificate documents the vital statistics of a diamond, including its weight, colour and clarity, the proportions of the stone, the cut and polish, and whether it has fluorescence, which is generally not a plus point.
    An engagement ring is meant to be worn and cherished for a lifetime — small wonder it can be such a daunting purchase. Marie-Cecile Ciasmolo, a jewellery specialist at Christie's, walks through all you need to know, no matter your budget.

    Surprise surprise
    A surprise proposal coupled with the presentation of a beautiful ring from your pocket is very exciting. It’s also a bit risky. You should know her preferences in terms of what kind of stone, type of setting, and colour of metal. Consider the design of other jewellery she loves, or ask her mother or close girlfriend for an idea of her preferences. However, shopping for a ring together is in itself a romantic exercise, and the safest way to make certain she loves it.

    Size matters
    If it’s to be a surprise you need to be crafty: the best solution is always to have one of her rings measured by a jeweller. There can be up to a half finger-size difference between the left and right hands, which can be easily adjusted after you have given the ring.

    Diamond for the win
    The diamond is the hardest substance known to man and has more brilliance and fire than any other gemstone. It will withstand daily wear and look beautiful for decades. Having said this, a diamond can be damaged if knocked against a rock or marble surface, and it can be scratched by another diamond, which is why diamond jewellery should always be carried or stored individually in pouches.

    What to look for
    The number of prongs and how they’re constructed is very important. There should be four to six prongs securing the stone. Assess the durability of the prongs, especially on a pre-worn ring. If they are made of thin metal, it’s not impossible for a claw to get caught on clothing and be bent backwards; if the ring only has four prongs, you could lose your stone.

    What are the Four C’s?
    Colour, clarity, cut and carat weight, which are the standards for judging the quality of any diamond. Developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in 1953, the grading system is used throughout the world and is a trusted indication of quality.

    Which of the Four C’s is most important?
    They’re all to be considered together. You should closely compare different stones, and weigh factors such as size against colour and clarity. Remember this ring will be worn every day and doesn’t have to be a top-rated D Flawless. With the naked eye, people can’t identify a VVS1 diamond from a VS2, but the price can be significantly different.

    What about a diamond certificate?
    Always ask for a certificate and, if necessary, get advice to help you fully understand it. A certificate documents the vital statistics of a diamond, including its weight, colour and clarity, the proportions of the stone, the cut and polish, and whether it has fluorescence, which is generally not a plus point. It will also say if the diamond has graining.

    Christie’s recommends and only uses GIA certificates. An old cut stone may not have a certificate, but one can usually be obtained in a few weeks. Certificates that are several years old may need to be updated in case the stone has been damaged since it was issued.

    Besides diamonds, which gemstones are popular for engagement rings?
    Sapphires and rubies are both very popular engagement stones and their high degree of hardness, second only to diamonds, makes them durable for a lifetime. Emeralds are not as hard or as durable as sapphires, rubies and diamonds, however if they are set with a gold rubover setting this will greatly help to protect the emerald in the long term.

    Are some stones not ideal for engagement rings?
    Opals may dry out and crack with daily wear and are better for occasional wear. Pearls, whether cultured or natural, can absorb liquids and stain. Cultured pearls usually have several microns of nacre — diamond-shaped crystals of calcium carbonate, also known as mother-of-pearl — on the surface, which will eventually erode and not look as good in five to 10 years. Overall, it’s best to avoid stones graded below 7 in hardness.

    What about gold versus platinum?
    The decision to select a ring in yellow, white or pink gold versus platinum is a personal one. Platinum is slightly more dense, making it heavier than gold, and some people enjoy this more solid feel. Platinum will dull a bit with age but can be polished, while white gold brightens with wearing. Platinum is more ductile, and therefore it’s often used in delicate settings.
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    1 Comment on this Story

    Abby58 days ago
    1-3 months salary is outdated. Match the cost of your vehicle. Guys, no matter their age,can tell you their vehicle costs off the top of their head.If your intended isn't worth a ring equal to amount as you paid for your vehicle, are you really sure you want to marry?
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