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Charlestown, OH Wedding Rings, Wedding Jewelry, Selecting a Diamond, Choosing a Setting

Charlestown, OH Wedding Guide

Wedding Rings
Jewelers; Wedding Jeweler; Jewelery Engravers

The engagement ring has long been a symbol of love and commitment.  When combined with the strength and eternity the diamond represents, this ring will stand as a depiction of your love and devotion for a long time to come.

Important decisions go into choosing the wedding rings.  What type of setting do you prefer?  How flawless of a diamond do you need?  What type of metal are you looking for?  Do you like elaborate simple rings?  Do you want a raised or flat setting?  Is the uniqueness of the ring important? Have you created your own style and looking for someone to make it?

The choices are endless but should be based on what you prefer.  Shop around for the ring and the right jeweler.  Make sure do some solid investigation before making the final decision.

Remember, this is the ring you will wear for the rest of your life.  It will become the most permanent aspect from your wedding and one you carry with you every day.  Make sure it is comfortable, and something you will want to wear 40 years from now.

While choices are endless, a more advanced knowledge will help you make a decision.  Prepare yourself with a few standard terms and quality measurements before you start shopping.

The Four C's of Diamond Quality

The quality of a diamond is measured on four standard criteria:  cut, clarity, carat (weight) and color.  The financial value of a diamond is based on how well it ranks in each of the above criteria.  While carat size may be most important to you, a two carat ring could be less expensive than a smaller carat due to its higher rank in cut, color and clarity.  Select a diamond that has the highest overall rank, while staying within the budget.

-Cut:  The cut of a diamond refers to the number, alignment and shape of its facets not the shape of the stone.  How well a diamond is cut will determine its brilliance and how well it will sparkle.  It is graded on two scales:  Excellent, Good, Average, Commercial and Irregular, as well as a number scale from 1+ (Excellent) up to 8 (Irregular).

-Clarity:  A diamond’s clarity is based on the number of imperfections and flaws it contains.  These flaws are called inclusions and they diminish the overall value.  All diamonds have flaws and many cannot be seen with the naked eye.  A flawless diamond is one that shows no visible inclusions when viewed under 10x magnification.  The most common imperfections include cracks, black carbon spots and cloudy areas. 

-Carat:  This refers to the overall weight of the diamond.  A one carat diamond equals 100 points and a .50 carat diamond or half of a carat equals 50 points.  While most people think weight has the highest impact on the cost of a diamond, the true value is determined when combined with the other three C’s.

-Color:  A high quality diamond is one that has the least amount of color.  The grade of a diamond is based on a scale from D (meaning colorless) to Z (meaning light yellow). Determine the color of your diamond by viewing it under natural or white light, not halogen lights.  Diamonds that are lower in quality can have a slight yellow hue.

How you judge your diamond will be based on personal preference.  Some think color is most important and others want a higher carat.  Keep in mind that some diamonds are cut to maximize their weight leaving in a number of imperfections or affecting the final cut.  Take the time to consider all aspects of the diamond you choose.

Ensuring your diamond ranks high in all four categories could significantly impact the budget.  Choose the diamond that is right for you while staying within the budget. If the ring is intended to be an investment and have resale value down the road, color and clarity will play a more important role. To maximize the value, color will need to rank D, E, or F and clarity should be close to flawless.

Before purchasing the final diamond, obtain a certificate for it from the Gemological Institute of America.  This certificate authenticates the 4C value of the diamond and ensures a jeweler has not inflated the grade of the diamond.  Any jeweler should be able to provide a certificate.  If they refuse, don’t buy the diamond.  There are a wide variety of jewelers that guarantee their diamonds are authenticated.

Take the time, together as a couple, to discuss what is most important in a diamond. This will provide upfront direction and avoid any difficult decisions once you reach the jewelry store. If budget is a big concern, opt for an alternative stone. Not every engagement or wedding ring must contain a diamond. Perhaps you can start with an alternative stone and upgrade to a diamond as an anniversary present.

Choosing a Shape
Jewelers; Wedding Jeweler; Jewelery Engravers

Choosing an engagement ring starts with the diamond and first priority should be selecting the shape.  You will choose the shape from a loose group of stones, and then work to find a permanent home or setting where it will reside for the next 50 plus years.
There are a wide variety of diamond shapes and the final choice should reflect the personality of the bride.  Some brides have strong opinions regarding the shape of the diamond they want.  Choose the shape that is optimal for your hand and setting.  The shape can greatly affect the look of the ring, and how it will look on your hand.

-Round:  This is the most popular shape of diamond and is also called a brilliant cut.  It is perfectly circular with a total of 58 facets and is the ring of choice due to its incredible sparkle.  More than three-fourths of all brides chose this shape.  It is very versatile, clean and looks good in a majority of settings.

-Emerald:  A rectangular shape with long, flat facets on the sides creating a large flat top that highlights the diamonds clarity.  It is slightly less brilliant but the larger top and longer facets can be very impressive and provide an elegant look.  Also know as a step cut as the facets resemble stair steps.

-Princess:  A more trendy and modern choice, this a square shape that has been designed with additional facet cuts to increase its overall sparkle and brilliance.  This is the second most popular shape and often stands alone in solitaire settings due to its brilliance.

-Marquise:  An oval shaped diamond with points at each end. It was named after the mistress of King Louis XIV of France as this shape resembled that of her smile.  This elongated shape can actually make the diamond appear bigger and is a good choice for those who want a larger carat weight but don’t want to pay for it.  The diamond's extension makes fingers appear longer and more slender.  It typically has 56 facets and can look beautiful highlighted by a group of smaller diamonds or looks classic and elegant as a solitaire.

-Oval:  Most closely resembles a round diamond and can be just as brilliant.  This elongated, rounder shape makes shorter fingers appear longer and looks great when surrounded by other gems.  It is the third most popular shape and typically appears as a three stone ring with two diamonds on the side.

-Pear:  This shape combines the tip of the marquise with the roundness of the oval, looking like a teardrop.  It began as a popular choice in pendants and earrings, and is now just as popular as an engagement ring.  It is wider or more elongated and based on its unique shape, it often stands alone.

-Heart:  Similar to a pear shaped diamond, these are a little wider with a cut in the middle making them into their symbol of love, heart shape.  This is a sentimental choice for ultimate romantics.  Skill and precision is required to cut the notch so inspect it carefully.

-Radiant:  This shape combines the elegance of the emerald with the brilliance of the round creating the perfect balance of two beautiful designs.  The corners of this diamond are more rounded to increase its brilliance and with 70 facets, it provides an incredible eye-catching sparkle.

Choosing a Metal
Jewelers; Wedding Jeweler; Jewelery Engravers

There are also a number of metals to choose from.  In choosing a metal, select the one that is right for you based on color and durability.  A wedding ring will need to stand the test of time so choose the metal that reflects your style and personality, and will withstand wear over the next several decades.

-Yellow Gold:  This is the standard wedding metal and has been the favorite choice of couples for years.  The richness of the color represents the warmth and love between the couple.  Most rings are made of either 14 or 18 karat gold with additional metals added to its content to provide strength.  The color of the metal changes depending on the number of karats so choose the one that best reflects your skin tones and preference.

-White Gold:  This metal was originally used to imitate platinum that was prohibited from being used for jewelry by the U.S. Government during WW II.  It provides the strength and durability of yellow gold in an elegant, more silver toned look.  The popularity of this metal has remained strong since the end of WWII and provides the classic and elegant look of platinum at a more affordable price.

-Platinum:  During WW II, the U.S. Government labeled platinum a strategic metal and prohibited its use in making jewelry.  While it had been the popular choice of metal for jewelry before the war, it took several years to regain its popularity after the ban was lifted.  Over the past several decades, platinum has once again grown to be one of the most widely used metals for jewelry, particularly wedding rings.  It offers elegance and beauty and is often chosen for its strength, durability and resilience to everyday wear, compared to the other metals.  It is hypoallergenic for those who react to certain metals.  It is the more expensive of the metals but many believe its strength and elegance are worth the added cost.

If you have difficulty deciding which color of metal to choose, you could use them both.  Two tone wedding rings are a popular choice, especially if the groom likes the yellow gold and his bride prefers white.  Combining them in the ring allows for both preferences to win, while still matching.  And if you prefer, you can both choose a different metal.  There is no rule stating that wedding ring metal has to match.  In addition to the above classic metals, many grooms are opting for alternative metals such as titanium, tungsten and palladium.

Shop for a Price
Jewelers; Wedding Jeweler; Jewelery Engravers

The greatest difference between jewelers will be selection of settings and price.  Some jewelers offer a wider variety of custom settings or will work with you to specially design a one-of-a-kind original setting.  Pricing will not be limited to the diamond's measure against the 4-Cs, but also the mark-up placed by the jeweler. Mark-up can range from 60 to 70% per store.

Get referrals to trusted jewelers from family and friends.  Ask the jeweler how long they have been in business and be wary of those just starting out.  There is a lot of turnover in jewelers, so choose one that has been around for a while.  Choose a jeweler who is willing to provide additional customer service.  Some jewelers will be offer a lifetime guarantee against breakage, ability to exchange or trade it in down the road, as well as free cleaning and prong inspection. 

Visit several different jewelers and take in the experience.  How clean was the store?  What was the quality of their offering?  Did they provide you with several diamonds to choose from?  Did they offer unique settings?  Were the salespeople kind and helpful?  Answers to these questions will help you make the most informed decision and feel good about your final choice.  Take the time to find the jeweler that is right for you and will make purchasing a positive experience.  The decisions you make will truly last a lifetime.

Get It Insured
Appraisers; Insurance Agencies

Once you have made the purchase, the engagement and wedding rings may be the single biggest investment you have ever made.  A sentimental value also grows with each day of marriage and before long they are considered priceless.  Like anything of this value, you should get them insured.

Start by calling your homeowners or renter's insurance agent.  Your policy may already include jewelry.  If it does not, discuss with your agent the cost to add jewelry to your policy or, if it can’t be included, purchase insurance specifically for jewelry.  For a number of policies, jewelry theft may be covered but not loss of jewelry.

Find out if there will be a deductible, if an appraisal is required, and the replacement terms, etc.  The additional cost to your policy should not be great and the peace of mind it can bring you may be worth it.

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