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Diamond engagement rings: Choose wisely!

When it comes to buying a diamond engagement ring, if the price is too good to be true, unfortunately, it usually is. With only a month until Valentine's Day, you may be searching for the perfect diamond engagement ring for that special someone. But before you buy that discounted diamond ring in the jewellery store or online, you need to know how to choose a good quality diamond. You should also consider using a jeweller who can offer excellent craftsmanship and flexibility in creating a specially handmade engagement ring that you'll be proud to propose with. Check out these top tips for choosing diamonds.

Diamond engagement ringWhen selecting any diamond there are four basic qualities to look for - they are the four C's: Clarity, cut, colour and carat. All diamonds of quality will have all of these qualities. Not one quality is more important than another; all are necessary for your diamond selection to be the best.

Clarity: Inclusions are imperfections in a diamond. Clarity measures the size and number of inclusions found in a diamond. Diamonds are made of carbon that has been compressed over time. Non-crystallized carbon traces are found in all diamonds. Inclusions are found in all diamonds and are one of the factors that make each diamond unique. A jeweller's loupe may be necessary to see some inclusions, as they are so small, while others are so large they affect the diamond's brilliance. A diamond's value is relative to the number of inclusions that are present. The fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond; the more inclusions, the cheaper the diamond will be. It is rare to find a diamond with few inclusions and they are very valuable.

Colour: Clear or white diamonds are the most common diamonds that we are familiar with. Diamonds may be found that are shades of brown or yellow. Letters starting with the letter D grades colour and ending with Z. Grade D are for stones that are truly colourless. Colourless stones are the rarest and therefore the most valuable. While colour, in general, reduces the value of a diamond, diamonds that are found that are a vivid colour, such as pink, can be extremely rare and valuable.

Carat: The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. Larger diamonds are the most expensive. One carat is divided into 100 points with a quarter (.25) carat diamond having a 25 point value.

Cut: The sparkle and brilliance of a diamond is achieved by how the diamond is cut. Cut is also what makes each diamond unique. Light enters and is reflected though the diamond by its cut. Cuts that are available are: oval, pear, marquise, princess and brilliant. To determine if a diamond is cut well the light will be reflected between the facets and dispersed from the top of the diamond. Light will escape from the ring or not be reflected if the cut of the diamond is too shallow or deep.

For a unique yet affordable diamond engagement ring, a jeweller that hand makes their own jewellery can often get you a better deal on diamonds than you can from the high street jewellery shops as they don't have the same financial overheads. They can get a selection of diamonds for you to choose from and will assist you in choosing the best quality diamond for your budget. Each diamond will usually come with its own certificate for peace of mind and insurance purposes. You are only charged for the materials and time taken to make your specific diamond ring.

Ready-made, mass produced diamond rings found in high street stores are generally higher priced or, more commonly, include inferior stones. The bottom line is that if you want a unique, affordable diamond ring, commission a handmade one that is tailor made to your requirements. Then she'll have to say yes!