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Shopping Guide - backup

February 24, 2022 6 min read

Diamond Ring Shopping Guide

McGuire Diamonds Education

Top Tips for Engagement Ring Shopping

Shopping for an engagement ring can be a daunting experience. When looking online or in stores you will often be presented with a huge amount of choice, deals and offers. For example, one of our favourite lines is "up to 50% off due to our low overheads" I am sure you have already come across this online:). Our advice is to forget about the marketing, learn as much as you can online, and then shop around. Fit on jewellery and finally when you have decided on the style that you like you can then COMPARE value to maximise your budget. Remember to compare LIKE with LIKE (diamond certificate details) this is a must as small details can make a huge price difference. 

 Our clients receive QUALITY & VALUE. You deserve the same, to help you on your journey we have put together a list of our Top Tips for Engagement Ring Shopping, there is also a downloadable SHOPPING GUIDE for you to print and bring with you on your shopping trip.



What certification does the retailer offer?

As diamond comparisons can be made so can the quality of the laboratory that certifies them. Certification from a trusted laboratory should be a priority. We propose diamonds exclusively certified by the GIA, the most highly respected grading authority for the diamond trade worldwide. In the 1940s, GIA established the “4Cs” and the International Diamond Grading System – to this day, the worldwide standard for evaluating diamond quality. Other laboratories have lower grading standards and overestimate the grading of stones, giving you a false sense of quality and value.  Remember GIA for the reassurance that you are actually getting what it says on the tin.



Cut, Clarity, Colour & Carat...

Many of our clients ask for a diamond by focusing solely on the 4C's simply because it is the only knowledge most consumers research and understand. The 4C's are universal diamond trade guidelines developed to grade and judge a diamond’s rarity and price; it does not speak of a stone’s beauty or its desirability! Several diamonds will have identical 4C's listed on their GIA certificates with the same value, but when viewed side by side, their beauty or “make” are incomparable. One diamond will always be more desirable than its comparison.



It can alter the look and value of a stone 

Diamond Fluorescence, in its most simple form, is the effect that ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond. When you stand under a blue light or ultraviolet light, sometimes you can see your whites get brighter or your teeth appear to glow. UV rays have that same effect on a diamond. Fluorescence is the visible light that a diamond emits when it is exposed to the UV rays. The stronger the Fluorescence in a diamond the greater the affect on its price, a diamond with no Fluorescence being the most valuable. Only about 25% to 35% of diamonds exhibit some degree of Fluorescence. GIA Diamond Grading Reports and Diamond Dossiers describe a diamond’s Fluorescence by its intensity; None, Faint, Medium, Strong and Very Strong, when compared to master stones. Fluorescence is a factor in the value of a diamond. Do ask to look at certification to see if the diamond contains Fluorescence and note the intensity to help make comparisons.



Not just carat weight

When it comes to a diamond, size matters. Carat is the term used to measure the weight of a diamond. However two diamonds with identical carat weight can look very different in size.  The term 'spread' is used in the trade to talk about the dimensions of a diamond when looking at the face of the stone. When  shopping for a diamond and comparing one with another make sure you take dimensions into consideration.   Nobody wants a 1 carat diamond that looks like a .80 carat.  The four images below are all of identical carat weight, 1 carat, the dimensions of each however are very different. The dotted red arrows represent how light enters and exits the stone, reflecting off the facets within, this gives the sparkle. Fine Cut and Ideal Cut diamonds are best for sparkle.



Or the wedding band

Give consideration to the wedding band when shopping for the engagement ring to avoid it becoming a problem afterwards. Most people prefer a "wed-fit" engagement ring that allows a straight wedding band to sit flush (no gaps) beside your engagement ring.

The biggest change that I have witnessed in the jewellery trade over the last number of years is the selection of what I refer to as "factory rings" flooding into Ireland. These are mass produced and may be of inferior quality. Offering cheaper ready-made rings is an obvious way for the retailer to make cost savings. Customers are so focused on the diamond quality, they often forget to consider or question the quality of the ring. One of the most common problems with machine made and mass produced jewellery is that the diamonds or semi-precious stones aren’t securely set. When a professional setter sets diamonds or stones they set individually taking each stones shape and size into account. Machines on the other hand assume that all natural stones are created equal which is not always the case.​ Another important point to note relates specifically to white gold rings. White gold is an alloy of gold (which is yellow) mixed with at least one white metal usually nickel, manganese or palladium. Nickel is much cheaper than palladium so is widely used in mass produced jewellery, the problem with this is that this white gold turns yellow very quickly. Only purchase white gold jewellery that has a high palladium content (16%), this will dramatically reduce yellowing of the metal and eliminate the risk of nickel allergy. A jeweller making a handmade engagement ring has a reputation to protect and will take meticulous care to produce a ring that exceeds your expectation. You are also more certain that the materials used are of a higher quality.​

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