If you’re likely to join the 75% of British men who buy their “special lady” a diamonds engagement ring, you should pay close attention to the following tips. This isn’t something you need to get wrong. Not merely are you about to part with a large amount of money (all women know the engagement-ring mantra about the fiancé waving goodbye to at least a month’s salary), nevertheless, you are also about to acquire an object that will be a long lasting symbol of the most crucial relationship of your life.

There are universally agreed rules on buying diamonds. Follow them and you ought to all the pitfalls.

First, a geology lesson: diamonds are 99.95% pure crystallised carbon and can be hugely old – someone to three billion yrs . old, in fact. They will be the hardest naturally occurring substance known and are formed under the Earth’s surface when crystals of precious stone occur in volcano feed-pipes. When volcanoes erode down, they release diamonds from other feed-pipes into layers of gravel that are later mined. However, because of the relative rarity of the natural process, precious stone mines are located in simply a handful of sites throughout the world. In rough form, diamonds are shipped to the world’s cutting centres to be shaped and polished before being set as jewellery. It’s the hardness, brilliance and sparkle that emerges during this process that transforms them into a girl’s best ally.

Now for a quick history lesson, as you may well be curious to learn where the fashion began. Legend dictates that in 1477, a lovestruck Austrian, Archduke Maximilian, developed a gem of a concept: why not give Mary of Burgundy a Moissanite Engagement Rings to celebrate their imminent engagement? He positioned it on the third finger of her left hand – the finger believed by ancient Egyptians to truly have a vein that led right to the heart. It isn’t known if the marriage was successful, but you won’t need to worry about that.

The Four Cs
So given that you understand why you are buying an gemstone made out of a diamond, you can familiarise yourself with the “Four Cs” – cut, colour, clarity and carat. All must be looked at equally when you compare diamonds, but more than other factor, according to Tiffany and Co, it is the way the gemstone is cut that will determine its defining characteristic.

Cut: As the only real characteristic of the precious stone not influenced by nature, the cut is available to mistakes and bad practices. Cut a diamonds incorrectly and the defining sparkle will be compromised. It really is how the 57 or 58 facets (the tiny planes cut on the diamond’s surface) are angled and sized that dictate how light reflects and exits the diamond, an impact known as its “fire”. Make the cuts too deep or too shallow and the precious stone will be less brilliant.

The cut will also determine the shape of the diamond. The most common condition is the round cut, but others include the emerald, the pear, the marquise, the princess, the oval and the heart shape. Ask to see all of these shapes, only if in an image, to make sure you have covered your options.

Colour: The most effective and rare colour is white, in other words, colourless. Jewellers grade absolutely colourless diamonds with a “D”. The scale moves up to “Z” (don’t ask what happened into a, B and C) and, between these two extremes, diamonds will display subtle coloured tones. Diamonds with an extremely strong and distinct colour are extremely rare and are called fancies.

Clarity: Many people get unnecessarily hung up over the clarity of the diamond. Consider most diamonds with a jeweller’s loupe (magnifying eyeglass) and you will see small “inclusions”, also called “nature’s fingerprints”. They look like small clouds or feathers but are usually invisible to the naked eye. Inclusions make a difference the diamond’s fire, nonetheless they also make your diamonds unique and shouldn’t continually be seen as a fault. Why worry too much about something you can’t see, anyway? So long as the stone is graded SI1 (Slightly Included 1) or better (best & most expensive is IF, or Internally Flawless; worst is I3, or Imperfect 3), you ought to be all right.

Carat: The weight, and so the size, of any gemstone is measured by carat. A carat is equal to 0.2gm, or 200mgm. A carat is split into 100 smaller units called points. For example, three-quarters of your carat is 75 points. The common size of all engagement-ring diamonds is somewhere within one carat and half of a carat. Usually do not confuse carats with karats, the unit of purity for gold.

Any reputable jeweller will find out about the four Cs and become ready to talk you through all of them without prompt when displaying diamonds. But unless you desire to place your trust entirely in a jeweller, you should request a “cert stone” – a diamonds that has been assessed, graded and coded with a laser by an unbiased gemmological laboratory. The sort of certificate is important, as not absolutely all are universally recognised. By far the most internationally recognised are issued by GIA (the Gemmological Institute of America). Other popular certificates include HRD, IGL, EGL and AGS (see Diamond Certificate Issuers, right). The cost for a grading certificate varies depending after the carat of your diamond, but also for exact prices, contact a particular laboratory. , nor hesitate of organising your own certificate rather than accepting the jeweller’s recommendation.

Another justification so you can get cert stones is to protect against buying “diamonds” made out of substitutes. Zircon, white sapphire, topaz and quartz are natural minerals that can be almost colourless and used as natural precious stone substitutes. Synthetic substitutes include cubic zirconia and moissanite. Each one of these can be purchased as legitimately cheap alternatives, but be aware that they are occasionally, albeit rarely, passed off as real diamonds.

Diamonds can even be artificially treated, mostly by being fracture filled, irradiated or laser treated. All this is legal, so long as it is disclosed to the buyer, but if you wish a “real” and untreated diamond, guard yourself against terms such as “clarity enhanced”.

How much should I pay?
This is the fifth C – cost. Obviously, how much you spend is a personal matter, but you’ll no doubt hear that one or two months’ salary is typical. You can find one indicate say concerning this: it appears to stem from De Beers’ publicity machine. Spend whatever you like and can realistically afford. Understand that De Beers has a near monopoly on the precious stone industry and has an fascination with what you may spend. And scotch any thoughts a precious stone ring is a sound investment. A retailer can mark up a fresh gemstone ring by up to 100%, and it could lose half its value the moment that you leave the shop. Even with a diamond purchased at the almost wholesale rates of London’s jewellery centre, Hatton Garden, it might take more than five years to regain its price.

Give her what she wants
It is all well and good knowing your IFs from your I3s, but unless you buy her the right kind of engagement ring, all is lost. Perhaps the main little bit of advice is to never surprise her with a diamond ring, and not to buy something according to your own taste.

One way to determine what she likes is to have a cue from the style of jewellery that she already owns. Does she prefer modern or traditional? Does she favour white gold, gold, two-tone (white and yellow gold) or platinum (the most popular metal for engagement rings)? Also, how does she respond to other women’s engagement rings? Does she ever express a pastime in a specific style when flicking through fashion magazines? The probabilities are, however, after a quick consultation with her girlfriends and female relatives – if you can trust them with your secret – that you’ll glean a reasonably accurate picture of her likes and dislikes.

She’ll probably prefer a classic diamond solitaire – which take into account 76% of all sales of engagement rings – but there are many ways to provide a quality stone over a ring. Would she such as a Tiffany-style solitaire where prongs contain the diamond high? Or simply a basket setting, or various other low-head style? Unquestionably, though, you should involve her in the decision. It could run counter to your romantic instincts, but she’ll thank you.

1: Buying from a jeweller

There are alternatives to buying an gemstone from a jeweller. You might, perhaps, consider buying an antique ring from a shop or auction, but if you wish a fresh ring it is advisable to visit as much jewellers as is feasible to gauge what’s in the marketplace. It really is worth remembering that major high-street jewellers are inevitably pricier than London’s jewellery centre at Hatton Garden, if you can visit there – various shops, all in a single street – a lot the better. Consider, too, that jewellers are busiest in the run-up to Christmas and before ROMANTIC DAYS CELEBRATION. August is traditionally their slowest month, so it can be the best time to require an improved deal. Make sure you run this checklist through your mind every time you search for a shop:

· Does the store have a long-standing and solid local reputation?

· Do the staff evidently possess a sound gemmological knowledge? Watch out for gratuitous and unexplained jargon.

· May be the shop willing to market you diamonds with a well-known gemmological certificate? If so, make sure you keep carefully the original rather than copy.

· Is the shop an associate of any trade association? If so, which one?

· Will the shop present an in depth receipt with your purchase? This is key to any possible insurance claim or future repair.

· Does the shop may actually have a busy repairs service? (A good indication of customer trust.)

· Exactly which warranties and guarantees does the shop offer? Read them closely.

· Will the salesperson enable you to examine the gemstone by way of a loupe and on a white background? If diamonds are viewed on the black background, the eye’s perception of colour is hindered.