Tips for Choosing Diamond Shapes and Sizes for Engagement Rings
Are you browsing for diamond engagement rings at jewellery stores in cities such as Johannesburg or Cape Town? Now you no longer have to visit shop after shop; you can choose from an extensive range of diamond engagement rings or even custom-design your own diamond engagement ring with our online design facility. However, understanding the various shapes in which diamonds are set in engagement rings will help you choose a design and diamond shape that will fit your lifestyle, budget, physical features and style preferences. A few of the popular diamond shapes used in engagement rings are briefly discussed below, giving you the basic information to help make an informed decision.
Perhaps the all-time most popular shape, the round brilliant has been in use for quite some time. This, of course, also means that it is highly unlikely that it will lose its standing in the future. The round brilliant shape looks amazing on any type of finger. Whether your finger is short, slender, wide, or long, this is one diamond shape that will balance the overall look and feel of the ring. With it being such a popular shape, it is also well-suited to anyone who has to buy a diamond engagement ring on a tight budget. You can get a stunning end-result using the round brilliant diamond shape in the ring design at a cost significantly lower than the less popular shapes. Keep in mind that the diamond size still makes a difference on how the ring will look on your finger. If you have a wide finger, then you will want a larger diamond and if it is slender, then opting for a smaller diamond makes sense to create the perfect balance.
Almost as popular as the brilliant round shape, the princess cut, as the name suggests, is a rather popular choice amongst royalty. What is important to consider here is to balance the size of the diamond with the width and length of the finger. If you work on a tight budget, you can use the princess cut shape, as it is one of the more affordable diamond shapes. If your finger is short or rather slender, you stand to save some money, since a smaller diamond can appear larger simply because of the dimensions of your finger.
Think of the traditional way that a teardrop is drawn and you have a picture of what the shape is about. This type of shape is rarely used in diamond engagement rings, but with enough design skill, it can work. It is more suited to a pendant though. If you do select the teardrop, follow the same rules as for the oval shape.
Think of the shape of a rugby ball or even an American football to picture what the marquise diamond shape looks like. This cut is recommended for the bride who has slender, long fingers. The diamond looks odd on short or wide fingers, but with the right setting and ring design, it could still work.
Almost in the shape of the marquise, the oval diamond shape is a good all-round choice for thin, wide, long or short fingers. That being said, design balance is everything. If you have long and slender fingers, go with a medium-sized diamond. If you have short and slender fingers, then a smaller diamond is suggested because with this shape, the diamond appears wider than it is and a diamond that is too big can easily look out of place.
Diamonds come in many more shapes and we recommend viewing our extensive range or to call on us for professional assistance in custom-designing your engagement ring.
Emerging Trends for Engagement Rings in South Africa
Although wedding bands symbolise the bond between a husband and wife, it is invariably the more eye-catching engagement rings that capture most of the attention and provide the wow factor, not just in South Africa, but all over the world. The earliest record of them given to indicate the intention to marry dates from 1477, when the Austrian Archduke of the time presented his intended with a diamond ring set in the shape of her initial – M for Mary. However, some anthropologists suggest that, although they were attached to keys as a means to declare the male’s ownership and not worn on the finger, the custom may have originated far earlier, during Roman times. Even before that, it appears that cavemen tied grass cords around the waists, ankles, and wrists of their mates for the same purpose.
Over time, however, the role of the engagement ring has changed and is now seen as a token of love and betrothal – a symbolism that some of the more talented jewellery designers in South Africa (given the abundance of quality diamonds and other precious stones at their disposal) have found many innovative and beautiful ways to express. In fact, it was the discovery of vast deposits of diamonds in the Cape Colony that led to the De Beers mining company becoming responsible for 99% of the world’s stones and the dawn of an age in which many more people would now have access to them.
Just as clothing manufacturers must adjust to the changing trends in fashion, so too must manufacturing jewellers. Possibly one of the most successful developments of past times was the Tiffany setting in which a circle of six prongs was used to raise the stones above the supporting band, thus serving to maximise their brilliance. For many years, solitaires and clusters assembled in this manner dominated the market.
Today, new trends in the design of engagement rings by craftsmen both in South Africa and internationally are providing many new and exciting choices for the modern bride-to-be. Given that the average future husband is now called upon to invest at least two monthly salary cheques to cover the purchase price, it is important to make the selection with care. Some retail jewellers apply high mark-ups that can range from 300% to as much as 600%. Many couples, however, now choose an alternative option that ensures not just a more affordable product but an item of beautiful jewellery together with the guarantee of far greater value for the amount spent.
Rather than an off-the-shelf creation, they are opting for a bespoke design, purchasing good quality stones and having them set to their requirements. Given this freedom of choice, among current trends when purchasing engagement rings in South Africa, is an open setting that serves to better display the sparkle of a solitaire. For those seeking a clean-cut, modern look that will really showcase a stone, the so-called “over-under” style is rapidly gaining popularity.
Colour has always been part of the fashion statement and rose gold is now becoming a frequent replacement for its yellow and white relatives, as well as for platinum. Other colour trends are to be found among the stones themselves with a move to classics like rubies, emeralds and blue sapphires, and also to canary and black diamonds, morganite, and pink sapphires.
Needless to say, to be sure that trends such as these are successfully incorporated into your design, you will need to identify a master craftsman with the necessary skills and experience, and who can source the stones at competitive prices. Ticking both of these boxes, and with access to more than 10 000 high-quality, certified diamonds of between 0,3 and 5,0 carats, where better in South Africa than Naturally Diamonds to commission the engagement ring of your dreams at a price you can afford?
How to Choose the Metal for an Engagement Ring
Finding the best metal for an engagement ring is as important as selecting the overall style, the gemstone and the setting. However, when you do a Google Voice Search for “engagement ring near me” or “engagement rings Cape Town” you may locate only conventional jewellery stores where your choices are limited and where you most probably will not get all the information you need to make an informed buying decision.
The best option is to shop online and at sites such as Naturally Diamonds’ where you can obtain useful information and order your engagement ring whether you stay in Johannesburg or Cape Town. Moreover, we provide a straightforward guide on helping you to decide on the metal for the ring.
Choose According to her Lifestyle and Jewellery Preferences
Look at her current jewellery choices. Does she prefer warmer hues such as yellow or rose gold or does she prefer the silver coloured metals such as platinum of white gold? If she normally wears yellow or rose gold earrings or bracelets, then she most probably will appreciate an engagement ring that fits her overall preference for warmer hues.
It does not, however, mean that you have to stick to one metal. Many people wear gold and silver coloured jewellery together or do not have a set preference for the cooler or warmer hues. In this instance, you can consider a combination of yellow and white gold as it will enable her to wear the ring with all her jewellery. The band can be yellow gold with the diamond setting being white gold or platinum to give it a unique appearance that is also practical.
Practicality is Essential
The metal choice should be sensible. Each type of metal has its advantages and disadvantages in this regard. Platinum, for instance, bends on a direct hit. This means the platinum ring will not be damaged easily, but if the prongs bend away in response to a direct hit, the diamond may become loose and you will have to take the ring to a jeweller to have it fixed. White or yellow gold, on the other hand, may dent at such a hit, but the gemstone will stay in place.
Platinum becomes dull over time because of scratches, so regular polishing is recommended. White gold is treated with rhodium and you must have it plated annually or bi-annually to keep its shine. Tungsten is difficult to rework and if the ring is damaged it can be expensive to repair. Palladium has beauty similar to that of platinum, but is cheaper. Yellow gold needs polishing to keep it looking great for years to come.
White gold is beautiful, but if your bride is likely to work with harsh chemicals from time to time, it is not the best option as the chemicals can easily damage it. Palladium, because it is not yet widely used in the making of engagement rings, is also on the more expensive side. Not many jewellers have experience in working with the metal and if the ring is damaged it can be difficult to find someone skilled enough to repair it satisfactorily.
Yellow and white gold, as well as palladium and tungsten, are more affordable than platinum, but platinum requires less maintenance. If your initial budget does not allow for platinum then consider one of the other metals. If long-term low maintenance is a priority, it may be worth your while to save up to buy the platinum ring.
When buying from Naturally Diamonds, whether you live in Cape Town, Pretoria or any other town in South Africa, you have more choices. Moreover, because we have the expertise to work with the various metals, you can be assured of top quality workmanship.
Diamonds are still the most popular gemstones for engagement rings in South Africa. However, the choice of metal for the engagement ring may not be as straightforward since several options are available. Yellow gold, until very recently, has been the number one choice when it comes to wedding and engagement rings.
South Africa is a country rich in minerals, ensuring that you have more choices with yellow gold, platinum and white gold amongst the most popular metals used in engagement jewellery. Your selection at the end of the day will be based on preference for one metal, but we have shared some information on the most popular metals to help you make an informed decision based on practicality, aesthetic appeal, your budget, maintenance requirements and durability, rather than just tradition.
If you are looking for a durable metal that does not tarnish then platinum is for you. In addition, the metal does not corrode. Indeed, it tends to become even more beautiful as it ages, much like a bottle of good wine that acquires character as time passes.
If, however, you want a lighter ring on your finger then gold is the answer as platinum weighs between 40 to 60 per cent more than gold. Because it is so dense, it is also exceptionally strong and will therefore not dent easily in addition to the metal offering a rather secure setting for the precious centrepiece of the ring. That being said, platinum is not entirely scratchproof and if it is not properly maintained, it will eventually become dull in appearance because of scratches that it has sustained.
The metal has hypoallergenic qualities, but because it is also more difficult to work with than gold and is not as commonplace, it is often also a more expensive option for engagement rings. To keep the platinum ring shiny you will need to have it polished regularly.
If you are looking for the same elegance, but do not want to pay the high price associated with platinum rings in South Africa, white gold is a good choice. You should note that white gold starts out as yellow gold; it gets its white appearance from the combination with various alloys. Rhodium plating is applied at the end of the process and you may need to have it applied annually or bi-annually to ensure that the metal maintains its beautiful lustre. However, white gold takes longer to become dull in appearance than platinum.
Though it is the more conventional choice, yellow gold remains popular because of its unique colour. It being a rather versatile metal, yellow gold is well suited for usage in jewellery. Pure gold cannot be used for making jewellery because it is simply too soft. The solution is to have it combined with various alloys to make it stronger. Most rings come in 14K or 18K gold and although you can find 22K gold rings, they are only recommended if you are not likely to work in an environment where the ring can be damaged easily. The 18K indicates that 75% of the metal consists of gold and 14K indicates that gold makes up 58% of the metal. The other metals consist of copper, zinc, silver and nickel to add strength. The 14K gold is lighter yellow with the 22K gold having a rich deep yellow colour. Yellow gold has a warm feel to it, which is why so many brides still prefer the more traditional yellow gold for their engagement rings.
You will find that we can cater to your engagement ring design, gemstone, setting and metal choices to ensure you have the ring of your dreams.
As far back as 1477, the creative Archduke Maxmillian led the way for the popular trend of presenting diamond rings as engagement rings for women. The ring he presented to Mary of Burgundy was set in a traditional yellow gold band, with a unique setting in which diamonds were used to display the letter M.
Engagement rings for women are now an accepted custom, but the choices of metals, diamonds and settings have increased, ensuring that you can give her a unique ring that she will appreciate. Let us have a look at the popular recent choices and trends to provide some inspiration.
From Round to Square
The square bands, though more popular for male wedding bands, are now also used in female engagement ring styles. Brides have reported exceptional comfort with no pinching experienced.
Ergonomics are Important
Though beauty and elegance are still the first priority for women’s engagement rings, brides no longer accept suffering for the sake of beauty. They do not want designs that cause pinching of the skin, discomfort because of the metal rubbing against the adjacent fingers and they are not happy with rings that feel very heavy. The designers of today focus on ergonomics to ensure that the rings are equally beautiful and comfortable.
Think 9-D movies and you get the idea of what the side-detailed ring looks like. With these designs it is possible to ensure amazing detail and elegance regardless of whether you look at the ring from the top, front or side.
Lush flower-filled gardens have always inspired romance, but even more so today with a growing popularity in designs that include scrollwork of vines and petals in the settings.
Vintage is Back
Brides now often look at older designs stemming from the Victorian period for rings that can be passed down the family line. Of course, modern design techniques allow for a fusion of the vintage looks with modern features.
Brides wanting more diamonds on their fingers love the double bands of diamonds, giving an exceptionally bright and sparkling appearance.
If you are not satisfied with a single band engagement ring, the new trend of two bands interlocking on the same finger is for you. Another trend worth noting is the twisting bands with some even more adventurous in their design choices, using two different metals twisted to form a single band for a one-of-a-kind dimension.
Rose Gold Band
Though rose gold bands have been used in the past, the trend almost completely disappeared. However, you can expect it to make a comeback, which will certainly benefit the women who want an especially feminine-looking ring.
Mixing the Metals
Instead of using only one type of metal for the prongs, brides may opt for a combination of yellow gold and platinum prongs.
Less is More
No longer do you have to opt for the biggest diamond you can get. Discreet and delicate settings are back for the brides looking for subtlety. These designs are especially well suited to brides with slim and small hands.
White, blue and light yellow are the most popular diamonds used in engagement rings for women and will maintain their popularity in the years to come. However, for the unconventional bride there are now options such as black and pink diamonds, though rather rare. Tanzanite, sapphires and rubies have also become popular for usage in engagement ring settings.
Horizontal Oval Setting
Having an oval-cut diamond is certainly unique, but if you set it horizontally rather than the north-south way it makes a statement that will inspire.
More couples now sit together and design their dream rings. With companies such as Naturally Diamonds making it possible to choose from the metal to the diamond and the design, people are able to create their own unique and personalised engagement rings.