August 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
All wedding journeys tend to start with a ring that will remain on the bride’s hand from the engagement to the ‘I dos’ and throughout married life that follows. As such it’s important that the chosen ring will last a lifetime and offers the most sparkle for your buck.
To help you and your partner pick a winning rock, we’re handing the blog over this morning to GIA Diamonds Graduate Paul Gian. Keen to ensure that couples are clued up on the clarity, cut, color and carat of diamonds before making their ring purchase, expert Paul has set up handy website Beyond4cs.com and is here to share some of his gems of advice with you today…
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Can you tell us a little about your background in the diamond & jewellery market?
paul says: My story began back in 2012 when I needed to buy a proposal ring for my fiancée. It started months of frustrating online research as there was a lack of reliable information. As I started reading up, my interest in gemstones and diamonds grew. Since then, I’ve completed the GIA Diamonds Graduate program and built up my own gemstone collection.
When and why did you set up Beyond4cs.com and who is it aimed at?
A diamond engagement ring is possibly one of the most expensive purchases someone would make in their lifetime (besides a car and home). Beyond4cs.com was started in 2014 and it is targeted at fellow consumers to shed light on the engagement ring buying process.
What are the most important elements that should be taken into consideration when shopping for a diamond engagement ring to get the best quality diamond for the budget?
The cut quality of a diamond matters the most because it directly affects how much sparkle the diamond will have.
What would you say to those who have quite a modest budget, what types of diamonds should they be looking at?
It really boils down to personal preferences and needs. There isn’t a particular shape, color or clarity that’s going to appeal to everyone on the same level. In the current market, the most popular diamond shapes are round, princess and cushion.
What would you say are the benefits of having a diamond ring made bespoke and what are the benefits of picking a readymade design?
With bespoke rings, it is possible to achieve a one-of-a-kind ring redesign. Basically, the sky’s the limit. However, there’s always a risk of getting a finished product that doesn’t meet your standards.
On the other hand, a readymade design is usually cheaper and in most cases, you will be able to see how it will look before even buying it. Also, most jewellers will offer some form of money-back guarantee with readymade rings.
Where would you advise is best to shop for diamonds?
Again, it depends on what the consumer is looking for. If you are someone looking to get better value for money and better cut quality diamonds, going online is recommended. The selections and price points are just much better than what a physical store can offer.
Vendors like James Allen are revolutionising the industry with cutting edge video technology that enables consumers to inspect diamonds within the comfort of their homes.
If you are someone who cares about the prestige of a huge brand, Tiffany & Co. and Hearts on Fire are the brick and mortar stores you should shop at. However, that often means paying close to two times more for an identical diamond ring you can get online.
If an engagement ring is being bought as a surprise what research would you advise carrying out before purchasing to ensure the bride-to-be will like the chosen ring?
The correct ring size is one of the most important things you’ll need to find out. The next most important things for a buyer to do is research the recipient’s preferences. What would they like to receive (i.e. shape of the diamond, carat size expectations and engagement ring design?) If you can’t answer these questions prior to shopping, it makes buying a correct ring extremely difficult. For people who are clueless about what their recipient wants, start from the recipient’s Instagram/Pinterest account or try to get the answers with the help of a close friend from the bride-to-be.
How often should an engagement ring be cleaned to keep it in top condition?
Diamonds are dirt/grease magnets and a dirty stone impacts its ability to interact with light. If you want a diamond to perform to its best, I would recommend cleaning it at least once a week (a simple process of using a toothbrush and detergent would be sufficient).
What would you say is the most common mistake made by people when buying a diamond engagement ring?
The most common mistake people make is to assume that buying diamonds with higher clarity and higher colors would make them sparkle more. Color and clarity are rarity factors that directly affect pricing. On the other hand, the cut quality of a diamond is really what matters in terms of fire and overall brilliance.
If you could give just one top tip to selecting a quality diamond what would it be?
Make sure the diamond is graded by a reputable gemmological lab like GIA or AGS. This will ensure you get exactly what you paid for.
How can people find out more about Beyond4cs.com and get in touch with you?
This is pretty easy. Visit www.beyond4cs.com and if you like what you see, do sign up for our free newsletter. We reach out to subscribers to let them know of the latest posts and updates on the website. You can also get in touch with us with any diamond related questions here.
Anything to add?
Most people forget to enjoy the process of shopping for a diamond ring because they are too stressed out about the buying process. Regardless of where you decide to shop, do your research first and remember to have fun!
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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