Diamonds are Forever: How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Ring

By: Andrew Regan

A diamond ring is perhaps the most traditional and everlasting symbol of love and marriage. The circular nature of a ring and the sparkling diamond, a rare, precious stone which is eye catchingly beautiful and can take anything up to 3 billion years to form is a symbol of enduring love.

But all diamond rings are not equal; there are an infinite number of metals, designs and styles of ring and then there's the diamond itself - each of which is unique. Diamonds are graded on four main factors: cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.

The cut of the diamond, refers to how well it was been sculpted by a diamond cutter. The diamond cutter's job is to cut the stone in such a way that makes the best use of light which requires immense experience and skill. A diamond that is well cut will allow light to be reflected from one facet to another, then dispersed through the top of the stone back to the viewer's eye, creating a classic diamond glitter and sparkle.

If the cut is too deep or too shallow, too much light escapes through the lower sides of the diamond (known as the pavilion) reducing the aesthetic appeal of the stone. Don't confuse cut (which refers to the facets on the face of the stone) with shape; diamonds can be fashioned in a variety of shapes such as round (brilliant), pear, oval and heart shape. Diamond wedding rings tend to utilise more subtle design, favouring multiple small, round stones as opposed to a single large stone, which are generally the style of engagement rings.

The colour of a diamond can vary from a faint yellow, through to pink, blue and green. Colours are caused by impurities, so although different colours can look very pleasing to the eye, completely colourless diamonds are considered to be of the highest quality as they allow light to pass through easily, resulting in light being dispersed and split into the colours of the spectrum, creating a rainbow effect.

Most diamonds contain tiny impurities known as "inclusions". These can interfere with the passage of light through the stone and are therefore undesirable. The gradation of inclusions found in a stone is known as the clarity. This can range from having none at all (producing what's called a flawless diamond) to inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

And finally, carat-weight refers to the weight of the stone as measured in carats. A diamond's value is based on all of these factors; a large carat weight stone, which is perfectly cut and has excellent clarity and colour will cost more that a diamond that has certain imperfections or is smaller.

When choosing a diamond wedding ring, be sure to take your time and ask the advice of your jeweller, who will be able to show you a range of diamonds and rings of different metals and styles of setting. And finally - take your time before choosing; a diamond is forever, so make sure you are completely happy with your ring before you buy.

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