Buying a wedding ring is a very serious proposition and is as much, if not more stressful than purchasing an engagement ring. The wedding ring symbolizes your everlasting love of your partner and as such, should be purchase with scrutiny. Here are 5 things to consider prior to making your purchase.
#1) Diamond Quality
The overwhelming vast majority of wedding rings has at least one diamond on them. As said by the famous DeBeers company: A diamond is forever. However there are many different grades of diamonds and certifying authorities. The most popular and commonly accepted is the Gemological Institute of America [GIA]. The GIA Clarity Scale contains eleven grades. The scale analyzes all diamonds under ten times magnification with the highest rating being Flawless [FL] and the lowest Included 3 [I3].
As a buyer of a precious stone, you want the best possible quality, or a FL rating. According to GemsNY, “The FL rating indicates that there are zero inclusions or blemishes visible to a skilled grader under ten times magnification.” The kind of stone you don’t want would be the I3 grade which indicates that inclusions and blemishes are clearly visible to a grader under ten times magnification and affect transparency and brilliance of the stone to a normal observer. For more information on the grading scale, check out the GIA’s website:
#2) Diamond Size
The size of the center-stone is what most people are familiar. The unit of measurement for precious gems is the metric carat, which weighs 0.2 grams. To make things more complicated, each carat is divided into 100 “points”, so if you have a 2.0 carat diamond, it will have 200 points on it. The weight of your diamond is only one aspect of the overall quality of the stone [clarity, color and cut], but in the diamond industry, the precision of a measurement is made down to .001 carat. If a supplier is going to be that precise in their measurement, you should insist that your jeweler is as well and demand a diamond grading report. For more information on weight, see the GIA’s website:
The wedding ring you purchase is a symbol of your everlasting love. As such, you want the ring you purchase to show said love to your significant other to last forever. You accomplish this by ensuring that the ring purchased comes with a warranty. When analyzing the warranty, you want it to include both the stone and the mounting as a minimum. Ensure that you ask the jeweler if the warranty/service plan includes tightening the stone, replacing heads that hold the diamond in place securely, re-tipping the prongs and resizing as a bare minimum. By asking these questions and ensuring that the warranty and/o service plan includes these items, you will have peace of mind knowing that your significant other’s wedding ring is protected from dings and scratches. Once you know the basic plan covers those items, you can inquire to see if it includes cleaning the ring and potentially a rhodium plating to increase durability. This is especially important if your significant other leads a very active lifestyle and utilizes their hands frequently as it increases the likelihood that the ring will take an impact.
#4) Natural vs Synthetic Diamonds
In recent years there has been quite a bit of talk about lab produced diamonds versus diamonds that are mined. Fundamentally, a synthetic diamond is a product of technological development that was originally geared towards industrial cutting tools and natural diamonds are the product of a geological process. When buying a synthetic diamond, the two types that are virtually identical to natural diamonds are High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The differences between synthetic and natural diamonds are only apparent to a trained grader with equipment available in a gem laboratory. Additionally, the GIA issues a special Synthetic Diamond Grading Report to prevent confusion in the marketplace. If you don’t require a natural diamond for your ring, then it is important to consider a synthetic stone as an option. This is due to synthetic diamonds costing a bit less than a natural diamond. For more information on synthetic diamonds, check out Wikipedia:
#5) Custom vs Designer
Many wedding rings are generic canned designs from designer companies. Think of them like a pair of designer sunglasses in that they charge a premium price and have some customization possible, but at the end of the day there will be thousands if not tens of thousands of the same wedding ring on the market. If another person has the same wedding ring as your significant other, will they react poorly? If you think they might, then a custom designed ring is what both of you are looking for. With a custom ring, you should expect to pay more than a designer brand, but the flipside is that you get to pick EXACTLY what you want.