Shopping together for the perfect engagement ring is probably one of the most exciting moments for a soon-to-be married couple before the wedding. Make it special for the rest of your life too by choosing only the best. We tell you how...
By: Priyanka Choksi, Business Head India, A Jaffe
Posted on: October 10, 2011
Shopping together for the perfect engagement ring is probably one of the most exciting moments for a soon-to-be married couple before the wedding. Make it special for the rest of your life too by choosing only the best. We tell you how…
The tradition of an engagement ring dates back centuries to the early Romans. One would think that after more than 2000 years, we would know how to find the ideal ring. Unfortunately, most couples are dumbfounded when it comes to making this important decision. Often the task is left to a relative or close friend, which leads to the purchase of something adequate, but far from perfect.
According to leaders in the field, a woman looks at her engagement ring approximately one million times through the course of her lifetime. Whether it’s a fleeting glance or hours of admiration, you should enjoy every single one of those million moments. In India, we have extravagant weddings with designer lehengas and jaw dropping jewellery. They make for wonderful photos and a fabulous party. However, the one thing you walk around with every single day after your wedding, is your ring. Your ring should be special. It has to be.
While choosing a ring, there are technical, personal and budgetary criteria to consider. They are all related to each other and are equally important when it comes to your big decision.
As soon as you enter a jewellery showroom, you’re going to be bombarded with salesmen telling you about the 4 C’s and all the different certificates that prove authenticity. To simplify the process, here’s a run down of what they actually mean:
Carat: Carat is the size of the diamond based on weight. Traditionally, for an engagement ring, 0.50 cents to 2 carats is ideal. It should be comfortable enough to wear on a daily basis. There are always anniversaries and other milestones to demand larger fancier stones from your partner!
Colour: Diamonds are graded based on the whiteness of the stone. The highest grade is of DEF coloured stones and they demand a huge premium. Honestly, even to the trained eye, it is difficult to determine the colour of a stone without using a special eyeglass or loop. The important thing is you choose a stone that is white in your eyes as opposed to yellow. It’s a safe bet to stay within the GHI colour range. And most retailers will offer you this option.
Clarity: Grading diamond clarity has become more complicated over the years. Retailers will try to convince you that their diamonds are VVS quality or above because they know that you won’t be able to determine this for yourself. VVS is basically what a diamond expert would find in your diamond under a 10x microscope - very very small inclusions. How often are you going to be looking at your diamond through a microscope? When it comes to your engagement ring, a diamond of VVS to SI clarity would get the job done and it will significantly affect the price of your centre stone.
Cut: This is the easiest of the 4 C’s. The cut refers to the facets on your diamond and how they reflect light. Surely you want your diamond to sparkle, so it’s best to choose a diamond that is ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ in cut.
Remember to ask for a certificate from a trusted international lab such as the GIA, IGI or HRD.
If you aren’t sure which shape of diamond to get, my personal advice is try on rings with different fancy centre stones. You may covet an emerald, but a round might flatter your finger the most.
Contrary to the way most people buy engagement rings today, with focus on the centre stone alone, the mount plays an equally important role in your perfect ring. The setting of your diamond can enhance both your stone and the way your engagement ring looks on your hand. The design of a mount can vary based on the width of the band, the size of the accentuating side diamonds, the color of the metal as well as the aesthetic appeal of the ring itself.
Most specialist boutiques will keep in mind a 360-degree approach when designing an engagement ring. The top view and side view should be complementary. Attention to detail and overall comfort to the wearer are given utmost importance. To decide what kind of mount you prefer, there really is no substitute for trying on as many rings as possible and choosing what feels right. This isn’t a purchase you can make through an image in a book or on the Internet. You’re going to wear it everyday and look at it about a million times.
Never compromise on quality and durability while choosing the mount. You might have to pay a little more for high quality engineering, but it also means diamonds won’t fall out, the colour of the metal won’t tarnish and you’ll be comfortable wearing your ring for the rest of your life.
Leaving all the technicalities aside, your engagement ring should speak to you. There should be a personal story behind it that pops into your head every time you sneak a glance at the dazzler on your left hand. I love looking at my ring because it reminds me that my husband had selected the diamond months before he actually proposed. The second he saw it, he knew he had to buy it and keep it aside for me, no matter how long it took him to work up the nerve to pop the question! I chose the setting myself, and the process led to the opening of A.Jaffe in India. Whether it’s about your first meeting or the instant you fell in love, your ring should bring a smile on your face - always.
In the West, DeBeers led a campaign that seems to have set the bar for how much a man should spend on an engagement ring. They say it equates to three months of his salary. Assuming you’re going to live a happy and healthy life together and leaving out the days that you simply forgot to put it on, you’re going to wear your ring for about 15,000 days.
That should put everything into perspective.
Stick to your budget, but don’t compromise when it comes to choosing an engagement ring. If there’s anything worth splurging on, this is it.
Priyanka Choksi, Business Head India of the diamond engagement ring brand A Jaffe, has immense experience in retail and business, coupled with inherited knowledge of jewellery. Priyanka started her career working with her father at the Gitanjali Group. Soon after she bought A Jaffe to India, realizing that the country lacked a specialty engagement ring brand.