“How big should the diamond be?” It’s a question we’re asked often here at Lebrusan Studio by curious romantics shopping for engagement rings.
The simple answer? There isno simple answer. Like any symbolic and highly personal piece of jewellery, your engagement ring is an expression of you and your story, which means there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
To assist you in your unique journey to The Ring, we have compiled some tips for selecting a carat weight that’s right for you…
First and foremost, the basics. Carat is the unit of measurement for diamond weight. One carat equals ⅕ of a gram, or 200 milligrams. A diamond’s carat weight is sometimes synonymous with its size, but other factors, such as the way in which the diamond is cut, also have an impact on its carat weight.
It’s easy to be influenced by the belief that bigger is better. In response to that archaic rule, we say: Says who?
When it comes to choosing the size of this engagement ring’s central diamond, allow your budget to guide you. Don’t let anyone tell you that needless cash-splashing is the only way to demonstrate that you care. Be honest with yourself, establish a maximum limit that works for you and don’t feel pressured to stray from it. This will serve as a stable benchmark for you and your jeweller to work from as you explore your options – and any good jeweller would be pleased to talk you through a variety of possibilities that are sympathetic to it.
Remember that carat weight isn’t the only ‘C’ to affect a diamond’s price, too; Its cut, clarity and colour gradings also play into its desirability, and thus how expensive it is. In the context of ethical engagement rings, a diamond’s provenance is generally the fifth contributing factor to its price. For example, a 0.5ct diamond of traceable Canadian origin would cost around 15% more than a recycled diamond of exactly the same weight. You might find that the unique story behind your diamond instinctively takes priority over its size. Equally, if going large is paramount, then taking the recycled route is an excellent means of getting more carats for your coins.
At the core of every creative decision you make whilst choosing this engagement ring should be one fundamental question: How is it going to look on their hand? Each hand is a unique genetic composition and symbolises a lifetime of experiences lived, sensations felt, skills acquired and messages conveyed. No two sets of hands are the same.
If theirs are particularly dainty, there’s no need to go ginormous on the diamond front. Diamonds of 0.2ct - 0.3ct will always look demure regardless of context, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the impact attained by a smaller diamond of 0.4ct - 0.6ct. On the flip side, wider fingers are often best enhanced by substantial sparklers in the region of 0.8ct - 1.5ct, which cover a little more surface area. If your partner's aware of your plans to propose, you might find it useful to book a jewellery consultation or two, enabling them to try on some sample rings and get a feel for what works on their finger.
For more tips on choosing an engagement ring that suits their hand, check out our dedicated blog post.
Is your partner a hands-on person; somebody who leads an active lifestyle? Does their day job involve manual labour? Do they spend their free time playing sports or digging in the garden? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s feasible their engagement ring will need to incorporate an element of practicality into its design. Luckily, diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, which means they’re incredibly difficult to break. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re invincible. If a substantial sparkler is what their heart is set on, it might be worth considering a streamlined rub-over setting that envelops its centrepiece in a sealed dome and minimises the risk of knocking or catching.
You can learn a little more about diamond settings here.
If your partner dreams of an engagement ring that packs a punch but your budget punches slightly below the heavyweight class, don’t panic; there are a variety of clever ways to get your money’s worth.
If typical 'perfection' is not a flavour that takes your fancy, you might find pleasure in exploring options that are typically less ‘desirable’ than the colourless and crystal-clear standard of excellence. Though graded low on the clarity front, diamonds that are heavily included – like salt and pepper diamonds - possess character that can’t be emulated, and are often fascinating in appearance. Meanwhile, diamonds with tinges of yellow and brown are graded low on the colour scale, but are gorgeously complimentary of warm skin tones and yellow or rose-coloured metals. When compared to the rarity of high-grade diamonds, the abundance of stones like these goes hand in hand with their ‘imperfections’ to make them much cheaper. This affordability kicks open the doors of possibility when it comes to stone size and cut.
If maximum sparkle is your preference, you might find that the halo setting is the boost your diamond needs. Encircling a stone with a nimbus of smaller diamonds, the halo creates an amplified visual impression, enhancing its centrepiece a serious way and enabling you to create impact without the price tag of a high-carat centrepiece.
Though white sapphires have a much lower refractive index than their intensely brilliant diamond friends, their resilience and colourless hue make them a great substitute, with their comparative affordability making large sizes and fancy cuts far more attainable. If you're willing to forfeit a little sparkle for the sake of a large presence, it might be worth considering a fair-traded white sapphire instead.
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