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Ever wonder why engagement rings cost so much?
A lot goes into that bit of bling besides just the 4 C’s (cut, carat, clarity, color). The setting and origin of your diamond, for example, play a role in the overall cost—as well as where you buy it, the warranty, and so much more!
So we sat down with an Accredited Jewelry Professional (and bona-fide expert on gemology) to get the inside scoop. Here are five secrets about the diamond industry you should know before you say “I do” to that sparkly engagement ring.
Quality matters more than quantity.
A lot of shoppers are impressed by carat, but it’s not just the size that counts. For a truly gorgeous ring, focus on quality. Consider the clarity and scintillation of your stone. What is the color grade? Are there inclusions? How was it cut? A brilliant cut gem such as a round or princess diamond will hide imperfections better than a step-cut gem such as an emerald-cut or baguette-cut diamond.
Conflict-free is harder to find than you’d think.
Many of the big jewelry chains cannot guarantee a conflict-free stone. Be aware of where your diamond comes from and get your stone from a certified, ethical source. Thanks to online resources, it’s much easier to find out of the store’s claims are legit. Also, you should be able to ask questions and get a detailed, intelligent response. Your ring is an investment. If the salesperson doesn’t seem to know what they are talking about, go elsewhere.
What the ring represents matters.
An engagement ring is more than just how much sparkle you can get for your buck. Your ring purchase symbolizes the promise of a life together, so consider your situation when picking a design. For example, avoid spending a ton if you are saving for a house or paying off debt. Choose a ring that best fits you right now, as a couple. While you shouldn’t settle for poor quality or a style you don’t like, remember that you can always add bands or upgrade in a few years for an anniversary or big life event.
Rings require regular maintenance.
Think you can throw a ring on your finger, and it’ll be good for 30 years? Um, not so much. Proper maintenance is important because the metal band gets worn down from everyday use and chemical exposure. Avoid applying lotions when you are wearing your ring, and skip generic jewelry cleaners. Stores will clean your ring with steam or an ultrasonic treatment, so take it in every six months (or at least every year) for a proper cleaning. Diamonds can scratch the metal or fall out if the settings are loose. If you suspect a damaged setting, immediately snap a photo and take your ring in for repair.
Protect your ring with insurance and safe keeping.
Your ring is made of precious metal and delicate stone, so treat it kindly. Get insurance so you won’t have to pay if it gets stolen or damaged. When you do take it off, keep it on a ring holder or put it in a trinket dish so it doesn’t get lost. Most gold blends and silver bands will tarnish over time because the metal slowly oxidizes when exposed to the air. When possible, store it in a bag or box. Even if it looks fine, take the ring back to the shop for routine cleanings and inspections.
Overall, you should choose a meaningful engagement ring that is right for your financial situation. As with a relationship, you can’t just forget about it and expect it to last. Take excellent care of your ring and you’ll be able to pass that bit of sparkly on to the next generation.