Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings

The search for perfect diamond solitaire engagement rings can be an exciting time in the life of any couple. But long before this sparkling gemstone was regarded as the symbol of marital commitment, it held the fascination of many civilizations. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that these stones were splinters from falling stars. The practice of giving diamond rings as a symbol of the promise to marry dates all the way back to 1477 when Archduke Maximillion of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. That royal tradition continues today as couples choose the perfect stones, settings and cuts of diamonds to honor their promises of love. Whether the preference is for traditional round shape or delicate princess cut diamond engagement rings, or any number of styles, the excitement of purchasing this precious stone still holds great meaning and symbolism. The Bible talks about the value of a healthy marriage; "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord." (Proverbs 14:19)

Perhaps part of the fascination with these stones lies in their uniqueness. Each gem is one of a kind with no two stones alike. In days past, these precious stones were strictly the domain of royalty and the extremely wealthy. In 1870, diamond mines were discovered in Africa, making the stone available to the ordinary man or woman who could afford one. Early ring designs were cluttered with ornamentation and did not show the stone off in its full beauty. The idea of creating simple diamond solitaire engagement rings came along much later, and the startling brilliance of the stone itself was allowed to take the spotlight. These stones are formed below the earth's surface under great heat and pressure. Volcanic eruptions bring ore to the surface of the earth, ore that brings with it precious gems for mining. Eighty percent of today's stones are mined in seven countries; Russia, Angola, Zaire, Namibia, South Africa, and Australia.

One choice that the consumer must make when selecting an engagement ring is the cut. Popular choices are princess cut diamond engagement rings. The princess cut is a relatively recent design. A combination of cuts make this shape unique, incorporating step cuts around the top edges of the stone which leaves a small, flat table on the top. Brilliant cuts below give the stone more facets and therefore more vivacity and spark. Both the princess and the radiant cuts have a square appearance, but the princess shape has a smaller table allowing for a different type of refraction. Other popular stone shapes are the round shape, the oval shape, the emerald shape, the pear shape, the radiant shape, the trilliant shape, the asscher shape, the cushion shape, the heart shape, and the marquis shape. Each shape has its own benefits and drawbacks. An emerald shaped stone requires a stone with few flaws since these flaws are very obvious in this cut. The marquis is another popular shape for engagement rings and is often used in conjunction with other stones. The oval shape can be a good style for women with smaller hands.

Whether selecting diamond solitaire engagement rings or a ring with a combination of stones, diamond certification is an important safeguard. Consumers should think of certification as a report card for their stone. Independent laboratories grade the stones and guarantee their quality and value. The grading process looks at the four C's of diamond quality, cut, carat weight, clarity, and color. Any imperfections are noted and explained and the florescence of the stone is examined. Florescence is determined by placing the stone under ultra violet light and checking the amount of light the stone gives off. Color of the stone can range from colorless, the highest grade, to yellow, the lowest grade. No matter what choice has been made regarding ring styles, whether choosing princess cut diamond engagement rings or any other style, the proper cut on a stone will allow the gem to reflect the largest amount of light. The importance of certification is to give the consumer the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the stone that they are purchasing is genuine and of good quality.

Many consumers are concerned about purchasing stones that are considered conflict free. Before the industry was properly regulated, rebel leaders in diamond producing countries took advantage of these loose restrictions by using profits from the sales of these stones to finance acts of violence and war. Steps have now been taken to regulate gemstone trade and insure that most stones available across the globe are conflict free. Once a ring has been selected, issues such as appraisal and insurance need to be considered. Insuring something as financially valuable and emotionally meaningful as an engagement ring is a smart move. Often precious jewelry can be protected on an existing renter's or homeowner's insurance policy. Taking care of any diamond solitaire engagement rings also involves making sure that they are protected in case of theft or loss.

Many business offer consumers the opportunity to design their own engagement ring. Popular choices such as princess cut diamond engagement rings can be given a personal twist through these design services. The consumer is taken step by step through each choice from stone shape to the choice of gold, silver or platinum, to the addition of side stones if the consumer prefers. In addition to this service, most jewelers stock a wide variety of ring mounts and settings, making the available choices almost endless.

Diamond Engagement Rings

Diamond engagement rings are the stuff dreams are made of for brides-to-be across much of the western world. Beginning in the 1930's with a strong ad campaign from the diamond industry, these often quite expensive beauties have become the typical sought after prize for those who have nodded yes to the age old question. So today, the quest for the biggest rock for the least amount of money is an ongoing adventure for most male suitors, and if they are savvy, will pick out the ring ahead of the proposal. If not, and the hunt for the perfect ring becomes a couple's joint expedition, the possibility that the actual ring chosen will be far beyond the man's original budget price is quite real. Expensive gem rings are worn by 80% of women in the United States who have nodded yes, and by many single women who have been convinced by slick ad campaigns that they deserve to at least wear a diamond solitaire on their right hand in an apparent declaration of self love.

Giving diamond engagement rings may have been given the impetus needed to become a recent social phenomenon with two critical events taking place; one was manufactured and the other one was legal in nature. The first was the diamond industry's brilliant move to encourage Hollywood starlets to wear large diamonds on their hands, thus creating a "gotta have it" atmosphere among young admiring women. The second was when US courts began saying no to breach of promise lawsuits brought on by jilted engaged women whose fiances backed out of promises to marry. The monetary investment that a man made in the form of an expensive gem ring appeared to satisfy most untrusting young women. After those two big twists in social awareness took place, the giving of rock studded engagement rings took off like a rocket.

Diamonds are actually almost as common as dirt, but one would never know it by the ad campaigns of suppliers and the jewelers that sell them. In the nineteen forties and early fifties, stones set in a solitaire setting for engagement purposes bubbled around eighty dollars, not leaving the jewelers with a very big profit margin. So the industry began hinting to the young men and women reaching the age of permitted marriage that the bigger the diamond engagement rings stone, the more love was represented. It's still a very unsubtle advertising message sent out today and apparently continues to fall on many unsuspecting and receptive ears of pre-wedding consumers. But proving one's love with average three thousand dollar diamond engagement rings misses the mark completely when it comes to proving love. Instead of a ring, how about the novel idea of displaying genuine love to a person over a period of time? "Charity (love) suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up...doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil." (I Corinthians 13: 4, 5)

If the average starry eyed young man listens to the jeweler's incredibly presumptuous spiel, he should spend at least the equivalent of two or three months of his total income on a diamond in order to truly prove his love. That's the rule of thumb manufactured by the industry and is about as nauseating a marketing ploy as has ever been contrived by Madison Avenue. And of course, according to the retailer of diamond engagement rings, a nearly flawless stone ought to represent that flawless love, despite the fact most flaws can't be seen by the naked eye and is going to cost a lot more than the one with a few flaws that can't be seen except under a microscope. Of the three "c's" of diamond buying: color, cut and clarity, clarity might be the most visual of diamond flaws and may only eliminate a few diamonds that should be more suited for a cat's collar. That's why picking out a ring ahead of time is a fair way of getting a very good price on a flawed stone that only the young man need know about. Not all secrets have to be shared.

Diamond engagement rings can vary in price from a few hundred dollars to literally tens of thousands. Most are purchased already designed and put together in a beautiful setting, but jewelers are happy to custom design a ring to the demands of the customer. White or yellow gold are the two choices in gold color and many shapes of diamonds are available, with some shapes more expensive than others. Of course, retailers offer credit programs that allow rings to be paid over a period of several years. Some retailers offer remorse insurance, allowing a diamond to be returned within a certain period of time should the relationship end before the wedding takes place. Trying to sell an engagement ring can be a very difficult thing to do, and often when it is accomplished a big loss must be assumed.

Sadly, most couples who marry spend about 1/20 of the time being counseled before marriage compared to wedding planning hours. Often there is no counseling ahead of time, yet countless hours are spent poring over diamond engagement rings and bride's magazines. Since about half of marriages end in divorce in the US, one would think that more time would be spent on the most important pre wedding activity a couple can ever engage in (counseling), yet the diamond and wedding planning industries continue to win out. The true test of a couple's love is not in yellow or white gold or platinum diamond engagement rings, or in the size of the wedding party or the cost of the honeymoon, but rather in the extent to which unconditional love is practiced between the duo.

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