Well, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk all things sparkly – yep, the next instalment of my bridal diaries is about my engagement ring. As I briefly mentioned in my last post, Chris proposed to me with a gorgeous emerald ring that his mother had wanted me to have. It gave her the perfect opportunity to pass a ring down through the family and also meant the pressure wasn’t so high on Chris to pick the perfect ring in advance… although it turns out he’s actually pretty good at that!
Pictured: The proposal ring
Before he proposed, Chris had done his research on rings (knowing him, this would probably be enough to fill an encyclopedia – this boy likes to be thorough!). He started at Tiffanys for inspiration (well why not!) and continued his journey of discovery around Old Bond Street and Hatton Garden.
Pictured: One of our visits at Old Bond Street
He had an idea of what I’d like and was working on a design based on a pave halo style. I’d always hankered after a vintage-style ring as I’m a sucker for old-school glamour, and Chris knew I was keen on a cushion cut diamond as a centrepiece. He’d got an idea of budget and timings from discussions with jewellers, and had even picked a ring that he thought would be the one.
So with a design in mind, off we went to Hatton Garden to look at rings together, both to make sure we shared the same ideas and to pick the jeweller who would make the ring for us. We went in as many shops as possible and tried on as many styles as possible, just so that we could rule out the definite no-no’s and hell yeah, what girl doesn’t want to spend the day, trying on lots of sparkle!
Truth be told, it was exhausting – if you’re ever doing this yourself, make sure you plan to lose the entire day as there’s so much to look at and talk about. Your choice of jeweller is really important as you have to trust them on so many levels – not just on the diamonds themselves (you can’t ever forget that they’re salesmen at the end of the day) but also on pricing, timescales, design input, and after-care service once the ring has been made. After a day of talking and trying (and pricing!), we chose the jeweller we wanted to work with – in the end we went with a company that would allow us to design the ring, and would then produce a 3D model for us to try, before actually going to “print” on the ring itself. This was appealing because I found it really hard to visualise how the final ring would sit on my finger i.e. how wide and high the diamond would sit – my job means I’m forever handling delicate items and doing intricate work, and wanted to make sure the ring wouldn’t interfere with my paper-handling! oh and I have super tiny fingers which didn’t help!
Jeweller picked, the next step was to pick the diamond itself. Sounds easy, right? Don’t you believe it – this was where things got really confusing! As you’ll no doubt know, it’s all about ‘The four C’s’ – Cut / Clarity / Colour / Carat. Each of these things can affect the look of the diamond and how it will sparkle (and it’s value). Sounds simple enough, but when you start combining all 4 elements it starts getting tricky as, unless you’re blessed with an open budget, you’ll need to make compromises on one or more areas. In addition to the 4 C’s, you’ve also got to consider the shape of the diamond, the type of certification, the grade of polish, it’s level of fluoresence – the list goes on!
Taking the easiest C first, Carat, or weight of the diamond – this is an indicator of a diamond’s size (but remember it doesn’t tell the whole story – as diamonds come in a variety of shapes and proportions).
Clarity next – this is a measure of how ‘perfect’ the diamond is. This was news to me as I thought diamonds were all perfect but it turns out that, just like the people wearing them, diamonds all come with their own individual and unique flaws made whilst the diamond was being created. There is a grading system that runs from “Flawless” (i.e. a perfect specimen) to “Included”. It doesn’t sound much, but it makes a real difference to a look and feel of a diamond – not to mention the cost, as dropping down a few grades of clarity can probably half the price of a diamond!
Cut – this isn’t really the shape of the diamond (round, cushion, princess etc) but the proportions of the cut and how well light will get bounced around inside (the better the internal bounce, the sparklier the diamond)! An Excellent cut diamond means that it’s proportions are ideal to reflect the light around the diamond and give it that magical sparkle.
Colour – After viewing lots of diamonds, this was the most important factor for me (but there’s no right answer – it’s all down to individual tastes). The spectrum goes from D-Z with ‘D’ being colourless and ‘Z’ being yellow. We selected a colour and then saw lots of variations of that in different clarity and carat options. I won’t go into every detail about the diamond as there’s so much more to cover, but girls, these boys that go pick your rings for you really must find it tough!
So, diamond now selected, we needed to finalise the design and see the ring in a 3D model so that we could get a really good idea of how it will fit for size, as well as check how our little details worked in the flesh. When it returned I was really pleased but Chris spotted a few minor details that could improve how we’d initially drawn it – hang on, aren’t I supposed to be the creative one! Turns out ‘Mr Research’ is now ‘Mr Creative’! He was into little details (there’s a lawyer for you), like the shape of the struts that hold the diamond (which included him having surreal conversations on how these could be made into a ‘lions paw’) to add a little more delicacy to the ring. Everything he suggested was perfect and I just sat there all smug and proud watching him get excited about our little ‘project’.
Once the model was signed off, it was off to be made up for real. A week or two later and we got the call – the ring was ready for trying on for size and further comments. Eeek!! I went in expecting to have further little finishing tweaks but it was perfect first time round.
So without further ado, hey presto – here’s my gorgeous diamond engagement ring
I’ll wear it with pride, forever and ever!
Of course the cat wanted in on the action too, so thought I’d also share this one:
Lot of love and sparkle,