Guide to buying an engagement ring.

Guide to buying an engagement ring.

If you are looking for a special ring it can be daunting,  there are so many choices to make, – so how do you go about finding the right ring at the right price?

I can offer you guidance throughout the process to have something special made, and can design and make the ring for you.
You can find out first through conversation with you partner what it is they would prefer
First settle on which precious metal you would like the ring to be created in………….
notice what your partner tends to wear already, or if it is not a surprise preferably ask them, will it be :-
• Silver,
• 9ct yellow gold,
• 9ct white gold,
• 18ct yellow gold or
• 18ct white gold ,
• platinum?

Then find out which stones are preferred.

Traditionally solitaire diamonds are  aspired to, or you could choose to have a larger coloured stone with supporting smaller diamonds.

I recently found out from a jewellers forum  a  good tip for finding out what your partners preference for design is .  To do this – notice where they place a vase or special object they value on a mantle piece, is it in the centre?, or off to the side?- this observation is a good indicator as to whether they like symmetry or asymmetry and that will help me in the design process to create something for you that will please them to wear.

I will also need their finger size to do the estimate , so if you can ‘borrow’ a ring that fits them already – that would be great, as you could get it measured by placing it on your own finger and marking where it comes to.

Then get your finger sized to that point in any local jewellers or if you can, come and see me.

Alternatively if they only wear a ring on the right hand ring finger we can design and make the ring slightly smaller than that, and it could then be stretched to fit if needed later.

Once you have settled on a size then I can get you a range of prices based on that and different qualities of stone.

if you decide to buy a Diamond then stones of 1 carat or more can be certificated so that you have an assurance that what you have bought is exactly as described.

For  smaller stones I generally recommend a VVS1 or VVS2 quality for the diamonds, this is best if you want the stones to have a ‘good fire and sparkle.’

Diamond Grading Terminology
A diamond’s cost is based on the characteristics known as the “4 C’s”. Clarity, Colour and Cut are the quality elements which together with the Carat Weight determining the value of a stone. The closer a diamond grades to the benchmark for each of these scales, the rarer and the more costly it will be.

The Cut has a profound effect on the visual appearance of a diamond and gives it the fire and sparkle.

Carat Weight
Carat is the unit of weight for all gemstones. One carat is subdivided into 100 “points”. Therefore a diamond measuring 75 points is 3/4 carat in weight, or 0.75ct. (There are five carats in a gram. )

Colour You have a choice in quality between pure flawless and approximately 9 grades of quality below that the top level, the top ones being the most beautiful stones.
Increasing degrees of colour are measured on a scale ranging from no colour at all, the traditional diamond (D) to deeply coloured (Z).
Beyond “Z” is the range where the diamond’s colour is , called “fancy colours”. Diamonds of known colour are used as comparison stones for colour grading.
Clarity is measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included
A diamond’s clarity is determined by internal characteristics called “inclusions” and surface features called “blemishes”. These irregularities are naturally occurring and were created in the liquid magma (volcanic rock) within which the diamond was formed.
This chart refers to the scale of inclusions, the fewer there are the better the stone is.

 THE GIA DIAMOND CLARITY SCALE says that the grades are defined by these descriptions:-

‘Flawless:  no inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.

IF Internally Flawless: No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification.
FL and IF Diamonds appear identical unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader. (Less than 3% of jewellery quality diamonds are rated IF.)

VVS1 Inclusions are typically only visible from the pavilion,Very, Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

VVS2 while VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown. In each, the inclusions are invisible to the eye, appearing identical to the higher grades unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader.

VS1 Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor. Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Perhaps 1 in 100 untrained observers can detect

VS2 inclusions may be seen with the naked eye, on close inspection under ideal conditions.

SI1 Slightly Included: Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. SI1 is the lowest grade with flaws often invisible to the naked eye.

SI2 inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye, although they will require close inspection.
I1
I2
I3 Included: Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.
I1 diamonds have inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye.’
(I would not normally recommend using these lower grades.)

As you can see from this Information, the quality level for the stone has an impact on the price you would pay for it, but will also, because of the various grades, give you room to adjust the choice of stone to fit your budget.

If for instance you want to keep to a particular size of stone such as a full or half carat , There will be the various qualities at different price levels to choose from in those sizes.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Another white stone to consider is white sapphire, which is beautiful but has slightly less fire to it.
This offers you the choice of a very good price in terms of a comparable sized diamond.

Topaz cabochon set in rose gold

blue topaz ring

Please make sure your partner would be happy with this idea, as it could be they would prefer a small diamond of a high quality rather than a larger sapphire.

If you would like coloured stones then I will be able to guide you through the alternatives.
I have found some stones such as topaz to be beautiful when cut as a cabochon stone, this is a relatively affordable stone even in a large size but can look stunning in a simple setting.

This is an illustration of a dress ring, but smaller topaz cabochon stones could be used to good effect in an engagement ring with supporting diamonds perhaps on either side of the centre stone.

Other semi precious stones such as garnet, citrine , lapis lazuli etc. can also be sourced as a cabochon stone.

Please feel free to enquire.

 

The illustration below is of a double commission I had from my clients to make a set of a new eternity and an engagement ring, created in 18ct yellow gold.

My clients’ diamonds from her original cluster ring were set into the flower ring shown here, a new diamond was supplied for the larger stone.

rings created on the theme of a garden in 18ct gold and set with diamonds.

rings created on the theme of a garden in 18ct gold and set with diamonds.

The two rings sit together with a space between for my clients wedding band.

The two rings sit together with a space between for my clients wedding band.

I received a wonderful testimonial from my client Karen:-

 A lovely testimonial, my thanks to  Karen  for the commissions.

A lovely testimonial, my thanks to Karen for the commissions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to Consolidate your thoughts by deciding:-


1 What size of stones you would like in mm across the stone
2. What shape you prefer, round, oval, square , emerald cut pear shape etc.
3. Which precious metal  you think your partner would choose.
4. Consider whether your partner likes simple designs, or elaborate designs   open  wire work ,wide or narrow shanks , ie (the band that goes around the finger.)
5. Claw set stones, or bezel set, (a ‘bezel’ set is a rub over of the metal all around the stone which holds it into the setting. If you imagine a small tube with the stone set into the top with a rim of metal holding it all round, that is a bezel setting.) This is one style of setting I use as a preference in many of my designs , and is more practical to wear, but for larger stones the claw setting allows  more light to shine through the stone..
6.  and finally What size is the ring to be?.

I am happy to work with you to finalize the design, you can then discuss the design details with me either by email, or phone and I will do a sketch to show you the final idea, it can still be tweaked at this stage.

If you have no idea what you would like made, in terms of a design, then I offer a selection of ideas for a charge of £55.00 or will interpret your ideas through our conversations, to come up with a finalized idea in a sketch to enable you to visualize it.

Once we have reached an agreement based on your choices above, I can get an estimate worked out;- then if you are happy with everything, and you wish to give me the ‘go ahead’ then normal delivery time would be 4 – 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the job..
I look forward to hearing from you…..

Please feel free to call me on 01509 239348
To make an appointment to see me in Loughborough, or come to see me at my shop in Melbourne in south Derbyshire which is normally open on Fridays and Saturdays 11-4.00 o clock (directions are on the ‘about’ page of this website). please give me a ring to confirm I will be there if you are coming a distance.
or you can email me on :-
helen@helenburrell.co.uk

Many thanks Helen.:)

About Helen Burrell

I am now a Jewellery Designer based in Loughborough and Melbourne Derbyshire, I started my career in jewellery design after doing a year's foundation course at Cheltenham college of Art. Following on from there I completed a three year degree course in 3 dimensional design at Loughborough college of Art and Design and specialised in jewellery making. Since then , I have run my own business,'Helen Burrell~Fine jewellery',- and have managed two shops. I have worked as a jewellery tutor, a healer and a bereavement counsellor and worked with children and young adults in the education system. I have now been established as a Designer and Goldsmith for over 30 years and I am developing ranges of jewellery as well as continuing my bespoke services.
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