Ro­manc­ing the Stone/Fine Jew­ellery

Bride & Groom - - CONTENTS -

A time­less sym­bol of love and ro­mance, di­a­monds are for­ever. Se­lect­ing the per­fect piece of fine jew­ellery to cel­e­brate your union is an im­por­tant de­ci­sion. Here’s some ad­vice for choos­ing qual­ity en­gage­ment and wed­ding jew­ellery.

How to select a di­a­mond

When choos­ing a di­a­mond, al­ways con­sider the four ‘Cs’. Carat

A carat is the unit of mea­sure­ment to weigh di­a­monds – one carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Cut

Cut is a cru­cial con­sid­er­a­tion when se­lect­ing a di­a­mond. The qual­ity of the cut has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on a di­a­mond’s over­all ap­pear­ance. Not only does the cut de­ter­mine the shape of a stone, it also af­fects how the light re­flects through it and how much it will sparkle.

Some clas­sic di­a­mond cuts in­clude bril­liant round, oval, pear, princess (square), emer­ald (rec­tan­gle) and mar­quise (an oval with pointed ends).

Colour

Di­a­monds can range from be­ing com­pletely colour­less to hav­ing tints of brown or yel­low. Colour is graded on a scale from D to Z – di­a­monds D through to F are gen­er­ally the most valu­able as they are colour­less, but even di­a­monds with a grade of G to I show vir­tu­ally no colour to the un­trained eye. Di­a­monds from J to Z bear vary­ing de­grees of colour.

Di­a­monds can also come in shades of pink, yel­low and blue – pro­vid­ing a beau­ti­ful and valu­able al­ter­na­tive to the usual white shade.

Clar­ity

Most di­a­monds ac­quire flaws dur­ing their for­ma­tion from the earth’s pres­sure. Too many blem­ishes (sur­face flaws) and in­clu­sions (flaws within the stone), can af­fect the di­a­mond’s bril­liance. This means stones with fewer, or no, flaws, are nat­u­rally more valu­able.

While it’s im­por­tant to con­sider the four Cs, jeweller Greg Hol­land says there’s much more to choos­ing the right di­a­mond for you.

‘To just base your de­ci­sion on four ba­sic fac­tors is like buy­ing a new car be­cause of its colour, the tyres and whether it has a tow bar,’ he says. ‘Other fac­tors need to be con­sid­ered also and I’m able to ad­vise my cus­tomers on how to make the right choice.’

Bud­get

The tra­di­tional rule of thumb is to spend the equiv­a­lent of three months’ salary on an en­gage­ment ring. These days, how­ever, any­thing goes. Many cou­ples pur­chase their rings to­gether or sep­a­rately – the key is to have a fig­ure in mind and stick to it.

Round bril­liant di­a­monds tend to com­mand a pre­mium price be­cause of their pop­u­lar­ity and the wastage in cut­ting this shape – cou­ples on a bud­get may like to con­sider a dif­fer­ent cut, such as a princess. Alternatively, a clus­ter of smaller di­a­monds, which give the il­lu­sion of a larger stone, can be a less ex­pen­sive op­tion, or you may opt to forgo a colour­less di­a­mond for a slight tint, or scale back the carat.

Jeweller Julie Pi­jfers says re­mod­elling or us­ing the stones from in­her­ited jew­ellery is a great way to cre­ate a unique piece with spe­cial mean­ing.

‘Another op­tion is to choose a smaller, higher-grade stone, which will be brighter and “pop” more than a larger, low­er­grade stone.’

Re­mem­ber to con­sider prac­ti­cal­ity and dura­bil­ity, she ad­vises. ‘Choose some­thing that will stand the test of time, that won’t date, and can be handed down to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.’

Cus­tom design

Com­mis­sion­ing a be­spoke ring can be highly cost-ef­fec­tive. Choose a jeweller who will guide you through the process right from the ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion to se­lect­ing the right di­a­mond and de­sign­ing the ring. Ask for de­tailed writ­ten quotes to en­sure you stick to your bud­get.

Jeweller De­bra Fal­low­field makes all her pieces by hand, each slightly dif­fer­ent with its own nu­ances and per­son­al­ity.

‘Re­mem­ber, at the end of the day you get what you pay for. So do your re­search. Do not be afraid to ask be­fore you pur­chase: “Is it re­ally hand­made, and if so, where?”’

Some cou­ples have a spe­cific ring design in mind, while oth­ers like to try on dif­fer­ent styles to see what is most suit­able. Mag­a­zines and web­sites such as Pin­ter­est also of­fer a wealth of ideas, or you may find in­spi­ra­tion in your fam­ily his­tory or cul­ture.

‘My ad­vice is to trust your in­stincts,’ says Greg. ‘Take ad­vice from ex­pe­ri­enced crafts­peo­ple and don’t be per­suaded by sales peo­ple or spe­cial of­fers.’

Choos­ing a metal

The metal colour you choose re­ally comes down to per­sonal pref­er­ence, but as a guide: plat­inum and white gold suit most peo­ple, rose gold looks great against fair skin and yel­low gold suits olive tones. Plat­inum is the rarest and most pre­cious of these met­als and is ap­prox­i­mately twice the price of white gold. If you opt for gold, en­sure it is 18ct, which is harder and wears bet­ter than 14ct.

Cur­rent trends

Sparkling ha­los, bursts of colour and vin­tage or Art Deco-style rings are cur­rently in vogue.

‘Di­a­monds are for­ever in style, and vin­tage looks such as Art Deco and rose gold are very pop­u­lar at the mo­ment,’ says Julie.

‘For me, it’s colour,’ says Greg. ‘Whether that is metal choice or di­a­monds or coloured gems, colour is a fac­tor in most pieces we are craft­ing and it’s a great way to in­di­vid­u­alise a piece.’

Men’s wed­ding bands

Men now have a va­ri­ety of op­tions when it comes to wed­ding bands – the clas­sic golds of yel­low, white and rose re­main tra­di­tional choices, but met­als such as ti­ta­nium, tung­sten, cobalt and plat­inum are pop­u­lar with mod­ern grooms, says Tony Collins of Man Up Jew­ellery.

‘The sky is the limit for style, colour and fit with ti­ta­nium rings, while tung­sten rings are prac­ti­cally in­de­struc­tible and will hold their shine for years,’ he says.

When se­lect­ing the most ap­pro­pri­ate metal for your wed­ding ring it’s im­por­tant to con­sider your day job, your life­style and whether you are pre­pared to re­move it for cer­tain tasks.

‘The ti­ta­nium ring is strong and fairly re­silient but not in­de­struc­tible; tung­sten will work through any­thing and still come out shin­ing; while gold, de­pend­ing on the carat, will suf­fer,’ he says.

Di­a­mond & gem­stone shapes…

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