Choosing an Engagement Ring
An engagement ring is really in a class of its own. Apart from your wedding ring, there are few other pieces of jewellery that you will purchase over your lifetime that you will expect to wear as constantly as this jewellery. For this reason careful thought must be given to several aspects of this purchase. Once again, putting romance aside, let’s take a practical look at a few considerations when looking for wedding jewellery.
While it is most common to have a diamond in an engagement ring, some, either for sentiment or monetary reasons, choose other stones. A popular choice today is the pink sapphire, maybe due to it’s similarity to a pink diamond in appearance. As a jeweller, I would practically advise against this as with many other stones. Sapphire is the next step from diamond on the Mohs scale of hardness, however this scale is not linear. In other words the jump from diamond at 10 to sapphire at 9 is very large. Over several years a sapphire and most other stones will wear, scratch and chip, likely leaving you somewhat disappointed and perhaps up for some expensive alterations. A diamond will not have this trouble and therefore is the perfect choice for engagement rings and wedding bands.
There are not so many choices when it comes to metals. However from what is available, once again, choosing one for wedding jewellery is still important. 9ct gold has a tendency to tarnish. In intricate areas of a ring design, this can be hard to get clean again and look a little unsightly. Silver is impractical because of its softness in same manner as higher carat golds (such as 20, 22 and 24 carat). Some Platinums can be too soft also, so it is good to ask which alloy to use when using platinum. For more information on jewellery metals, see our article on choosing the right metal.
The design and craftsmanship.
Once again due the role of wedding jewellery, different consideration needs to be given to these attributes. This piece you will want to last your lifetime. For this reason look at things like, the band thickness, the band width, and durability of the little details. While having diamonds all over the surface or all around the band looks great, will this stand up to 30 or 40 years of wear and tear? When it does wear, will the stones still be secure? What sort of wear will you subject the ring to with your lifestyle and will it be strong enough to withstand this? This is where it is helpful to deal directly with the craftsperson to discuss such details.