Jewellery plays a key part in your wedding story. It marks the start of your life journey as a couple, and is at the very heart of your celebration. From your engagement ring, to wedding bands and jewellery you wear with your wedding dress, each piece is a timeless tribute to love and enduring commitment. Learn how to choose the right pieces and gems that will become heirlooms.
Things to Consider When Buying an Engagement Ring
For many men, it is nerve-wracking when it comes to an engagement ring purchase. What should I spend on it? Does it need to be a diamond ring? Will it meet her expectations? The questions can go on and on… But before you splash out, take your time to follow the three steps below to help you decide what to get.
Step 1: Define Her Personal Style: Is her style classic or romantic? Or does she like bold or edgy looks? What about her jewellery styles? Does she like wearing simple and elegant pieces or colourful statement stones?
Step 2: Ask For Input: You might not want to spoil the surprise by asking your fiancée directly about her preference. But you could find covert ways to get hints from her while walking past a jewellery store together. Or ask her best friend to see if she’s hinted in any way.
Step 3: Narrow Down Your Options and Set Your Budget: Once you’ve done some research, you can start narrowing down your options. Whether you would like to go with a diamond solitaire ring or one with multiple gemstones, you’re probably getting more clarity on how much you want to spend on the ring.
Understanding Precious Gems
As special as the occasion, you want to select wedding jewellery made with precious gems. The last thing you want to get is something that is made out of plastic or cheap materials that do not have any intrinsic value. There are only five jewels that are classified as precious. They are diamond, pearl, emerald, ruby and sapphire. Interestingly, pearls are the only organic gem on earth, which makes them more precious and valuable in comparison. Gemstones such as amethyst, opal and topaz are called semi-precious. They are less costly and have less intrinsic value than their precious counterparts.
What to Look For in Diamonds
Thanks to the creation of the 4Cs, which stands for cut, clarity, colour and carat weight, the world has a universal standard for judging the quality of a diamond and its value. The transparency in diamond grading means that consumers now have a benchmark when it comes to buying diamonds. To learn more about the diamond 4Cs, check out GIA’s detailed knowledge guide.
Once you understand the 4Cs, you can use them to your advantage to find a beautiful diamond within your budget. There’re a couple of tips you might find useful.
- Focus on the diamond’s cut and radiance and make size a lower priority
- Never choose a clarity grade of I1, I2 or I3, as inclusions in these diamonds are clearly visible to the naked eye. Inclusions in clarity grades of VS2, SI1 and SI2 are not always visible and can be a great option as they are much cheaper than the other grades above.
- The round cut diamond is the diamond shape that is least prone to show off its body colour compared against other cuts like the princess cut, emerald cut and marquise cut diamonds.
What You Should Know About Metals
Now you have a better idea on the basics of diamonds, it’s time to turn to the metals you get for your jewellery. Whether you’re buying engagement or wedding rings, or necklace and earrings for you to match your wedding gown, it’s important to understand the different types of metals used.
Gold continues to be the most popular precious metal choice for jewellery making. However, pure gold or 24ct gold is too soft to be used in fine jewellery. By combining with other metal alloys, gold comes in different purities like 18ct, 14ct, 10ct and 9ct. Only jewellery made with 18ct gold (75% gold) or above is considered fine jewellery. Depending on the type of alloys used in the mix, gold is available in colours such as yellow, white, rose and green.
One misconception a lot of people have is about gold vermeil. You might be tempted by its relatively lower price but it’s important to know that vermeil is NOT gold. It is made by plating sterling silver by a thin layer of gold, which is usually 2.5 microns or 0.0025 millimetres thick. Although it may have the appearance of gold, the coating can wear off over time.
Platinum is naturally white and is usually used in diamond jewellery. Compared to gold, platinum is five times as rare and commands a much higher price. It is a popular choice for wedding bands and engagement diamond rings.
Sterling silver or 925 silver contains 92.5% of pure silver. It’s perfect to make jewellery and is an inexpensive alternative to gold. Many bridal jewellery including bridesmaid bracelets and earrings are made with sterling silver thanks to it great durability. Sterling silver jewellery with rhodium plating has a bright finish and does not tarnish.