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choosing your engagment ring {victoria mary vintage guest post}

Hello! Welcome back, I hope you’re having a wonderfully romantic day! Today’s guest post comes from one of my favourite bridal accessories designers Vicky from Victoria Mary Vintage.  I was even lucky enough to be treated to one of her bespoke pieces by my husband this weekend on our first wedding anniversary (he did good!), using the traditional gemstone for your 1st year of marriage – pearls.  Now there’s an idea to remember ladies

:)

Vicky is passionate about jewellery, so who better to talk to us today about choosing the most important piece you will ever wear, your engagement ring.

***

{clockwise from top left: weddingfully, lovepromiseandring, pearlnecklaces, ringoblog, bridalwave, engagement experts, Betteridge, fashion7in1, glamour}

The ring. An emotive subject to say the least. 

To some, it is one of the most important purchases they will ever make, whereas others find it redundant, preferring to wear a simple wedding band only or even nothing at all.

I certainly fall into the first category. When I was a little girl, I used to try on my mother’s ring when she had left it on her dresser. Later I would wear my own rings that could pass as engagement rings on my left ring finger, just to see what it felt like. As someone who lives and breathes jewellery, my ring is the single most important piece of jewellery I will ever own – something that I will wear and love every day for the rest of my life. Every timeI look at it, it brings back lovely memories of our engagement and our wedding.

Now, if you’re engaged and shopping for a ring, or thinking of getting engaged and want to pass some tips on to the lovely husband-to-be-to-be, here is the skinny ~

{purseforum}

The basics ~

The four C’s

The four C’s are the basics of what you need to look for when buying a diamond – the 101 guide if you will. The combination of these will be the driving factor behind the price (other than whether or not you’re in Tiffany’s!)

1. Colour

{Gemnation}

Colour is graded by letters, from A to X. A is the purest white (or colourless) and it then gets gradually more yellow. The clearer the diamond is, the more light is allowed to pass through and therefore produce more sparkle. D, E and F are still considered colourless, HJ are considered “near colourless.” Mostly you will see rings in the D-J range which will all look white to the untrained eye.

2. Clarity

Clarity is a measure of how perfect the diamond is – and whether the diamond has any inclusions (flaws). The categories are, in order of perfect to less perfect, as follows: F (flawless), IF (internally flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (very very slightly included), VS1 and VS2 (very slightly included) and SI1 and SI2. Needless to say, a flawless F diamond is enormously more expensive than an SI2 diamond, however even SI2 will only show the inclusions under a 10x magnifier. I1,I2 and I3 are diamonds with inclusions visible to the naked eye – probably best avoided for your engagement ring.

3. Cut

{David Mann}

Contrary to popular belief, the cut is not the same thing as the shape of your diamond (brilliant, emerald, princess etc.). The cut is actually a measure of the diamond’s reflective qualities – the angles, depth and finish of the diamond. This C is one of the most important in determining how sparkly your diamond is, as a good cut will reflect light at the correct angles (remember reflection and refraction from physics class?) whereas a poorly cutdiamond (too deep, too shallow etc.) will leak the light through the bottom of the stone rather than reflecting it back up for fiery sparkle.

4. Carat

Carat is the easiest and probably one we’re all familiar with – the size of your bling. Or more accurately, carat is the weight of your ring. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. This is actually an important point to note, as some shapes of diamonds are naturally deeper, so it may appear smaller than another shape even though the carat weight is higher. You may also occasionally see the weight measured in “points” – an easy enough translation as one carat = 100 points. A small piece of advice here – it is very easy to become wrapped up in the four C’s when you are looking for your ring. When you are comparing diamonds, of course you want an F colour rather than G, and VS1 rather than VS2. But in large part, the differences are incredibly marginal and certainly not visible to the naked eye. Up to SI2 you won’t be able to see any imperfections at all without a very good magnifying glass. And unless you place your J colour ring next to an A colour ring (unlikely unless you mingle with celebrities) it will look as white and bright as pure snow on your finger.

The fifth C

There is also a fifth C which is worth bearing in mind – Certification. Diamonds from reputable sources should be certified and accompanied by the relevant certificate.
Typically issued by GIA or AGS, the certificate will specify the cut, colour, clarity and carat of your ring, and will guarantee it is from a legitimate source. Blood diamonds (not just a film with hunky Leo) are a very real issue, and cause absolute devastation on the communities that are caught up in it. Please make sure one of the most fabulous
purchases of your life has absolutely nothing to do with this awful trade.

Shape

{Diamonds Buyer Guide}

While the shape of your diamond is not considered one of the four Cs (maybe just because it doesn’t start with a C?), it is probably one of the most important choices for you. There are many different shapes available, but some of the most popular are~

Brilliant – the traditional, round shape with many a 58-facet cut giving a very sparkly, fiery diamond.
Oval – similar to the brilliant, but with an elongated shape giving a flattering illusion of length to fingers
Emerald – rectangular shape with geometrical step-cut facets
Princess – a more recent innovation, the princess is square cut with many facets – more sparkly than the traditional emerald
Marquise – a bit like the oval, but with pointed ends, inspired by the Marquise do Pompadour
Cushion – an antique style that is recently coming very much back into fashion, the cushion cut is similar to the oval but with deeper facets.
Asscher – frequently seen as an Art Deco choice with its square, geometrical stepcut facets

And now…the fun bit

{Chesapeake Detectives}

You’ve chosen your diamond – but what’s it actually going to look like? White gold? Yellow gold? Or even platinum? Platinum used to be massively more expensive than gold, but with the ever increasing gold price they are not that different now. Platinum is significantly stronger than gold though, so a good option if you’re having a delicate setting or are a bit clumsy (like me!).
What’s your style going to be?

Classic?

{Tiffany}

There is nothing more classic than the Tiffany Setting – a simple band with a six prong-set brilliant diamond. Created over a century ago, it is known as “the ring of rings.” You can see why!

Or perhaps you’re more of a vintage girl?

{Ziva Jewels}

There’s a huge amount of choice out there for vintage rings – both genuine vintage rings, which you will find in antique shops (and which I love – just thinking of the history of the ring and who might have worn it) as well as new rings in vintage style

{1. engagement rings, 2. Emma Parker Diamonds}

Sapphires were used extensively in Art Deco engagement rings and were frequently bezel-set (where the stone is encased in the metal, rather than held by individual prongs like you see more frequently today)

{HK Jewellery}

If you’re more modern than vintage, how about these beauties? There is lots of choice out there for new and interesting designs – I personally LOVE the three stone ring in the picture above. Really different but still so pretty.

{clockwise from top left: Black Diamond Ring, Rough Diamond Ring, Egyptian Engagement Ring, Leaf Engagement Ring, Knot Diamond Ring, Gold Chiffon Engagement Ring Set}

Or if you’re looking for something totally avant-garde, have a look on Etsy. Home to brilliant artists creating totally unique rings that will definitely be a talking point at all those engagement parties!

How about black diamonds or rough diamonds instead of the traditional facet cut stone? Or a really unique setting – the Egyptian engagement ring, above, is really striking, although perhaps not entirely practical!

One Last Note

When we were shopping for the ring, we were told we could “upgrade” later on in our marriage. Personally, I disagree with this – it would somehow take all the meaning out of the ring, and reduce it to just a commodity. My husband and I spent months searching for the perfect ring (we eventually had it made based on the design of an antique  ring) – I couldn’t bear to just swap it for something bigger, or more expensive.

***

My engagement ring (and wedding band) is the most beautiful and sentimental item I will ever own.  After years of absentmindedly looking at rings (and even sending hubby-to-be a few images) I was totally blindsided by the stunning ring he proposed with that I had already, unknowingly, chosen on a trip to South Africa!  So, whist all of the above is so completely important, remember it’s not just the size of your bling, but the meaning behind it that really counts

Did you choose your own engagement ring, or were you surprised by your husband to be with the perfect choice?  Tell us all about it!

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Comments
15 Responses to “choosing your engagment ring {victoria mary vintage guest post}”
  1. Brilliant in depth post! So helpful! I wish my husband had read this before he popped the question! ;)

  2. Ooooh I am loving the vintage rings in this post – some great advice!!

  3. Sorry this post got so long … there’s just so much to talk about when it comes to bling!

  4. Kate says:

    What a lovely post! There are not too many posts on this VERY important topic :) I got my beautiful ring from my grandmother, so my hubby chose to reset it in a slightly modern version of the classic solitaire she wore. And he got it just right. My engagement ring is simple and classic, and I wear it with a simple white gold wedding band. He knows me so well. Thanks Vicky for the interesting info!!!

  5. Lovely post, so many beautiful rings and options! I LOVE my engagement ring, we designed it ourselves – an oval pink star sapphire with little “star” diamonds- and it’s perfect for me. Actually it was made by the same people who made the rings in the modern section – HK Jewellery – so I was inspired to see if they still had mine online! It’s here, looking a lot better than I could ever make it look! ;o) http://www.hkjewellery.co.uk/details/web/type/rings/ID/2008

    • louise says:

      Thanks for sharing pics of your ring Emily! So pretty in pink, and I love that you broke with tradition and designed something that’s unqiquely you! xo

  6. Felicia says:

    This is a little late, but I just wanted to say thank you for mentioning ZIVA Jewels in your post :)

  7. Gary Ingram says:

    Hi B.Loved!

    What a lovely guest post! Very in depth and well informed, a joy to read! It’s such an important purchase, and there are so few decent guides on the subject!

    Will keep an eye on your blog :)

    Gary

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