The Solitaire Engagement Ring is a classic when it comes to engagement ring styles. This style was popularized by Tiffany and Co. diamonds, and is sometimes called a Tiffany setting.
History of Engagement Rings
The giving of engagement rings became popular in the United States around the end of the 19th century, but the giving of a diamond engagement ring did not gain popularity until the 1930s.
Today, nearly 80% of women are given a diamond or other gemstone ring as an engagement promise. Today, the man will either purchase a ring before asking the woman to marry him, or the couple may pick out and purchase the ring together after she accepts his proposal.
The solitaire setting has been the most popular style of engagement ring for many years, thanks to the Tiffany and Co. influence. Typically, if the ring is to be called a Tiffany setting, the diamond in the setting will be around one carat in weight, although this is not required. This setting is simple, allowing for maximum brilliance in the stone since the light is able to enter the stone from all angles.
The stone is held to the ring by four to six prongs, depending on the cut and size of the stone.
This is the most inexpensive and simple of all settings and is easy for jewelers to manipulate without causing damage to the original setting.
Sometimes, an engagement ring is given in a solitaire setting which is then converted into another type of setting to compliment the wedding band that is chosen. More often, the wedding band is worn underneath the solitaire ring setting.
How Much Should I Spend
Today, there is not a set limit on spending for men purchasing engagement rings. In the early parts of the 20th century, the diamond magnate De Beers began an ad campaign that encouraged men to spend at least three months’ salary on an engagement ring, in order to increase sales of their diamonds.
This became the standard by which many men purchased engagement rings for decades, but that standard is no longer a rule. As of 2007, the average price of an engagement ring in the U.S. was between $2,000 and $2,500. The cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of the diamond, as well as the type of metal it is set in will be major determining factors in the price.
The cut of a diamond is sometimes referred to as the “shape” of a diamond and is based on the angles at which light is best reflected through the stone. When a rough diamond is mined, it is polished and cut into a specific shape that is determined by both its chemical makeup and mathematical proportions that will result in the maximum light refraction, increasing the beauty of the stone.
The round brilliant cut is the most common cut for a diamond, and is very commonly seen in the traditional solitaire setting. This cut has many facets and refracts a large amount of the light that enters it, resulting in a very sparkly stone. Other cuts that are popular in solitaire rings are as follows:
- Princess cut: square shape
- Asscher cut: square shape with rounded corners, sometimes referred to as “cushion cut”
- Pear shape
- Emerald cut: rectangular
- Baguette cut: Long and slender, rod-like, typically used as a side-stone in a setting
- Heart or Flower-shaped
The color of a diamond earns the diamond a letter grade on a letter scale from D to Z. The most valuable diamonds are completely colorless, and these diamonds are labeled with a letter grade of “D.” These completely colorless diamonds are very rare, however, and so most of the fine diamonds in engagement rings are labeled as “E” or “F” diamonds.
These diamonds have small traces of color, but when set in jewelry, the color is nearly imperceptible. Color in diamonds is caused by chemical imperfections in the chemical structure at the molecular level. This cannot be altered once the diamond has been formed. Diamonds with the color grade of “Z” are also extremely rare and valuable. These diamonds are the yellow or canary diamond.
Colored diamonds, such as the pink diamond, the blue diamond, and the black diamond are very rare and very precious.
Clarity is a measure of the inclusions in a stone. An inclusion is defined as an imperfection that interferes with the light refraction in the stone. A diamond with few inclusions is rare, and these diamonds are the ones that are used for jewelry. Only about 20% of all diamonds mined pass this strict standard.
The other 80% of diamonds that are significantly included are used for industrial mining and other projects. Inclusions typically do not affect the diamond’s strength. Large cracks near the surface of a cut diamond can increase the likelihood of a fracture, but this serious of an inclusion is rare.
The carat is the measure of a diamond’s mass. A carat is defined as 200 milligrams, and the carat weight of a diamond is measured on a “points” scale. The price of the diamond will increase as the carat weight increases, as larger diamonds are much more rare and therefore more valuable.
Solitaire diamond rings can cost anywhere from under $1,000 to upwards of $10,000, depending on the type of diamond chosen. It is important to buy a diamond from a certified jeweler who will help in choosing the most perfect stone to fit your budget.
Decide what you can afford to pay, and take your budget to your jeweler. There are options that can increase the size of the stone for the amount of money that your jeweler can tell you about.
The setting is also a price determining factor. Common metals for solitaire settings are gold, white gold, and platinum. Platinum is by far the most expensive as it is the strongest of the metals. Gold and white gold are good options that may save you a little money in the long run. You can always upgrade or update the setting for the stone at a later date if you wish.
Choosing the Right Ring
When it comes to choosing the right ring, get creative. Enlist the help of her closest friends, just make sure that they are trustworthy to keep a secret! Get them to “borrow” a ring that she frequently wears in order to determine the correct size. Have them ask her about her favorite ring styles. Pay attention when she is admiring the engagement ring of another woman.
She will most likely be dropping hints for you. If you are still unsure, take her ring shopping, and let her choose her top three favorite styles. You can then go back and find one that is similar to her favorite styles and personalize it from there.
Pay attention to the color of jewelry that she is already wearing. If she typically wears only gold jewelry, your best bet will be to buy her a yellow gold setting.
If she only wears silver jewelry, your best option would be the platinum or the white gold, depending on your budget. If you are sincere in your love and pick the ring that you think will best suit her personality and her needs, go for it. She will love the ring you pick because it is from the man she loves.
About Wedding Bands
Many rings these days are sold as a bridal set. This means that at the time of purchase, you can buy the matching wedding band that will fit perfectly with the engagement ring. Some rings are still sold separately and the wedding band will need to be purchased at a later date. Be sure to talk to your jeweler about your options when purchasing the engagement ring.
Sometimes the wedding band can be discounted when bought at the same time as the engagement ring. Some jewelers will give discounts if both the man and woman’s wedding bands are bought together. Some engagement rings come with matching wedding bands for both the man and woman. With so many different options, it is important to get all the information you can from your jeweler before making this large purchase.
There are many popular brands of engagement rings today, and each brand is known for a different signature ring. The most popular brands are still the Tiffany and De Beers brand, as these have been around the longest. These brands typically offer the classic cuts and styles that have gained popularity over the last century.
Tacori is a brand known for its intricate designs and settings and new spins on old classics. This brand typically incorporates many smaller diamonds along the band and the setting. This is a beautiful touch, but will up the total carat weight of the ring, in turn increasing its value and price.
In choosing an engagement ring, remember that your wife-to-be will wear this piece of jewelry every day for the rest of her life. Choose a ring that is a good value, but also one that is as top quality as you can afford. Use a jeweler you trust. Ask around to find one that is known for honest, good work.
Look at this purchase as an investment in your future. Unlike cars or property, diamonds rarely depreciate in value. Buy your sweetheart something that will last forever and that will be beautiful forever. Don’t be afraid to save up your money for awhile. Know that your jeweler will most likely have a financing plan available for your purchase. Purchase the ring with your fiancee in mind. Know her style, then buy with confidence.