Designing your own engagement ring online has never been easier. Prospective grooms now have the opportunity to use sites such as Mondera.com. This gives them the functionality to design every aspect of the ring.
Before shopping online it is worth noting that wedding guidelines state that a man should spend approximately two months' salary on a diamond engagement ring, though obviously this is totally up to the groom at the end of the day. I would recommend though that you take the time to browse the internet and to educate yourself on all the possible options. In order to successfully design your ring it is important to understand each decision you make whilst making your order. This is one area where you don't want to make a costly mistake. It would also be prudent to take a look at your partner's existing rings to see if she has any strong preferences. Does she refer yellow or white gold, or even platinum, is there a common style that she buys for herself?
Using Mondera.com as an example, here are the steps you need to make. Firstly go to their build a ring page.
Select Your Diamond And Setting
The first step in creating the perfect unique ring is to select a diamond design, this involves choosing from the following shapes: round, princess, emerald, radiant, oval, pear, marquise, heart or asscher.
One of the most popular is the Round Diamond Cut. This shape is generally more expensive than any of the other fancy shapes that can be bought. It is of course not perfectly round but in fact has 58 facets including the culet. One of the newest shapes is the attractive Princess Cut, the appealing factor being the fact that it is rectangular but with the brilliance of a round cut. Another rectangular shape is the Emerald, this though has a “step cut” as opposed to a “brilliant cut” where its facets are broad.
Take time to browse the many images and pictures of these shapes before you make your final decision, and try to judge what shape would sit well on your partner's finger.
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2. Enter Price
Once you have decided on the diamond shape you can input your desired price range or leave it blank. I recommend you don’t enter a price as you are only searching at this stage and it is much more fun and informative to see all the options - even if you can't afford them all!
3. Select Your Search
Your options are Dynamic and Basic Search. The default is Dynamic, though please note that this requires Java. If your browser does not have this plug-in please click here
Within the Dynamic Search you have the ability to narrow your search down by moving the 5 sliders for Carat, Cut, Price, Color and Clarity.
As you can imagine there is quite a bit to understanding the terminology and science of each of these subjects, fortunately just a brief understanding of each will enable you to make an educated diamond ring purchase.
To begin with it is important to know that the metric carat equals 0.20gram. You should be able to chose from a scale starting at ¼ and then onto 1/3, ½, ¾, 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4, and finally 13ct. As always you will need to work within your budget and determine the maximum carat weight you can afford without making too much of a sacrifice on the cut, color and clarify. If your preference is to build an engagement ring that has a heavy carat weight you may have to select a good cut, SI1–SI2 clarity and color in the “G – J near colorless” range
Diamond cut as used in the Four C's refers to a stones ability to reflect light, not its outward appearance. We often confuse the shape of a diamond (round, pear, emerald, etc.) with the cut.
A good cut brings out the best. Just like a good haircut enhances the face, a good diamond cut will enhance the stone. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light it absorbs back out through its top surface, or table.
The “Cut” of the diamond is often referred to as the most important characteristic because without the right cut the sparkle will be dull despite perfect color and clarity. The diamond’s brilliance or sparkle is determined by its width and depth, perfect proportions will mean the light will enter the diamond and exit in the form of maximum brilliance. If the diamond is too shallow the light will escape through the sides and if it is too deep the light will exit from the bottom.
All diamonds are graded with the following characteristics: “ideal cut”, “very good cut”, “good cut”, “fair cut” and “poor cut”. An “ideal cut”” diamond represents roughly 3% of diamond quality based on cut, a “very good cut” represents 15%, “good cut” represents 25%, “fair cut” represents 35% and “poor cut” includes all diamonds that do not meet the “fair cut” proportion standards.
In addition the polish and symmetry of the diamond are two other important factors to be taken in to considerable when studying the cut of the diamond. The polish grade describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, a dull polish will mean a lack of sparkle. The diamond’s symmetry grade refers to the alignment of the facets, light can be misdirected if the diamond possesses poor symmetry. All diamonds are graded with a American Gem Society “AGSL” or The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grading report. The AGSL report has the following sliding scale of ideal (ID), excellent (EX), very good (VG), and good (G). A (GIA) grading report ranks a diamond’s symmetry with a scale that starts with excellent (EX), then very good (VG), and ends with good (G).
If you retain any information from this article, make it this. The diamond's cut may be the most important feature. It is the cut that will have the most effect on how the diamond looks. A well-cut diamond will seem to generate a glow that comes from inside the stone. A poorly cut diamond will have little eye-catching sparkle. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a gemologist to know a well-cut diamond when you see one.
Next you need to decide the "color" of your chosen engagement diamond. The most expensive are those that have no color, known as white diamonds, these have hardly any yellow or brown in them. The scale on which the color of diamonds is measured is easy to understand as it is a simple sliding scale devised by the GIA where "D" is colorless and "Z" is yellow. In between you have grades such a "M" which is know as faint yellow and "R" known as very light yellow. Any diamonds that are graded "D" through to "F" are essentially colorless, and basically differ in transparency. These are will be highly sought after and consequently expensive. From K on, slight hints of color begin to appear.
Remember a diamond's value is strongly influenced by its color. People tend to prefer diamonds that are colorless, thus the more yellow you see - the cheaper it will be. You may also come across another color scale devised by the American Gem Society Labs. This works on grading color from zero to ten, where zero is completely colorless.
I recommend you do not buy a diamond graded with any other method than the two mentioned above.
Next you need to select the clarity of the diamond you would like to buy. Diamonds with blemishes or inclusions are obviously not as rare as those without and hence a premium is paid for flawless diamonds. In fact if a diamond is completely free of blemishes when viewed under 10x loupe magnification it is deemed to be internally flawless (IF). The clarify ranges from IF, VVS1-VVS2, VS1-VS2, SI1-SI2 and through to I1-I3, this being a ring where inclusions are visible under 10x magnification as well as to the human eye.
After carat weight, diamond clarity has the biggest influence on price. Truly clear, faultless diamonds are rare and extremely expensive.
Most diamonds that have already been found to be jewelry grade look clear to the naked eye. Clarity is measured by what is not there. When a skilled gemologist grades a diamond's clarity, he will downgrade the stone if he finds inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions are imperfections, cracks or spots of colors within the diamond itself.
Blemishes are flaws on the exterior that may have been caused during cutting or polishing. Clarity matters because flaws affect a diamonds ability to reflect light. Obviously, you probably want to avoid diamonds in the lowest clarity grade category. Beyond that let your eye be the guide. Does the diamond sparkle? Can you see any imperfections that distract from the beauty?
Diamond clarity can be enhanced using lasers and fillings. Your diamond certificate should clearly state any treatments that have been used. Remember any clear fillings used to seal small surface cracks are not permanent and will need to be periodically inspected and perhaps replaced.
F - In this case F is a very good and very rare grade. A diamond given an F grade is judged to be flawless.
IF - These diamonds are internally flawless and also extremely rare. They may have minor surface blemishes.
VVS1-VVS2 - These grades are given to diamonds that have very, very slight inclusions that are very difficult for even an expert to detect under a microscope.
VS1-VS2 - Diamonds in this category have very slight inclusions that are not easily seen under a microscope.
SI1-SI2 - The slight inclusions in these diamonds can be seen when magnified 10 times under a microscope.
I1, I2 and I3 - Diamonds at this grade-level have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.
Each diamond that fits your search criteria is listed with detailed information, including the certificate number, measurements, depth, table, gridle, culet, polish, symmetry and fluorescence.
Choosing yor setting
Once you have selected the diamond you want you are presented with a choice of settings. These include traditional solitaire setting, diamond accent setting, and gemstone accent setting. Each type of setting comes in a variety of styles, for instance the band you chose may be 18k white gold, 18k yellow gold or platinum. For example a band of platinum with a four-prong head accommodates a round diamond well, it is up to you though to study all of the alternatives.
Selecting the right ring size
Once you have selected the setting the final design choice is to decide on the ring size. Obviously for the ring to be a secret and a wonderful surprise it is different to measure your future wife's finger without her knowing. The measurement you need is in millimetres, we thus recommend you borrow a ring that you know your partners wears on her fourth ring and carefully place it on your little finger. Next make a note of wear it fits on the finger and use a piece of string or strip of paper to wrap around this point. Use a pen to mark the point that the string or paper overlaps itself, thus allowing you to measure the length in millimetres. Once you have this measurement you can use this chart to select the official size.
Alternative ways to get your partner's ring size without her knowing can be found at About.com
The only thing to do now is to pay for the price and wait for delivery within 3 - 4 weeks!
Good luck with your quest to build the perfect diamond engagement ring for your wife to be, hopefully with the information supplied above and by reading the detailed descriptions found on the merchant websites you will feel more comfortable with your purchase decisions.
Further Advice For Grooms On Buying Engagement Rings:
Engagement Ring Advice for Guys by Carly Wickell at About.com
Engagement Rings: Settings 101 at TheKnot.com
How To Buy Diamond Engagement Rings or Loose diamonds & Avoid Scams by Jeff Ostroff at BridalTips.com
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Designer Diamond Engagement Rings at Whiteflash.com
How To Win A Stunning Engagement Ring
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