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Trend Spotlight: Colorful Engagement Rings

Posted by Kevin Ulrich on 14 December 2015

carrie underwood engagement ring

Photo by: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Trendy brides-to-be are increasingly opting for colored diamonds. Nontraditional engagement diamond colors, like yellow and pink, let brides-to-be stand out from the crowd. Kelly Clarkson’s yellow canary diamond engagement ring is a true stunner and made even more special by the fact it was custom-designed by her husband, Brandon Blackstock. Not to be out done, fellow American Idol alum Carrie Underwood has been sporting a flawless, yellow diamond engagement ring since her 2009 engagement to hockey player Mike Fisher. Perhaps the most stunning celebrity engagement ring belongs to Blake Lively, who wears an extremely rare seven-carat pink diamond set in delicate rose gold and pave diamonds.

For even bolder statements, brides are opting for colorful center gems like sapphires, rubies and emeralds, which give off an instant, vintage vibe. When Evan Ross proposed to Ashlee Simpson, he opted for a unique Art Deco-style engagement ring that features a 5-carat marquise-cut diamond accented with rubies and 140 small white diamonds. Ashlee’s sister Jessica Simpson also has her own ruby-and-diamond engagement ring, with the center 5-carate ruby selected to honor Jessica’s July birthday.

The resurgence of gemstone engagement rings is thanks in part to Prince William’s decision to propose to bride Kate Middleton with his late-mother Princess Diana’s stunning sapphire and diamond ring. The 18-carat oval sapphire is surrounded by 14 diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold– truly a ring fit for a queen!

Are your engagement ring dreams in color? Here’s how to use the 4C’s when evaluating a colored diamond:

  1. Color. Unlike clear diamonds the goal here is color intensity, depth and richness of color. The more intense the color, the more rare (and valuable) the diamond will be. Check to be sure that the diamond is certified as naturally colored and that it has not been exposed to potential irritants like dyes or irradiation.
  2. Clarity. Clarity matters less for colored diamonds, since the color tends to mask the diamond’s inclusions. If you are flanking your central colored diamond with a colorless diamond setting, check that these smaller diamonds have a high clarity rating, which will enhance their natural brilliance.
  3. Cut. Unlike colorless diamonds that are cut to emphasize brilliance, colored diamonds are cut primarily to emphasize their color. In fact, too much brilliance can sometimes detract from a diamond’s natural color. When selecting a diamond, be sure the cut flatters the color and does not detract.
  4. Carat. Since both colored diamonds and large diamonds are rare findings, expect the cost for a colored diamond to rise dramatically with the carat weight.

Do you dream of a colorful engagement ring but are not sure if a colored diamond is right for you? You can still add color to the ring by opting for colorful accent stones. Sapphires, emeralds and rubies are all popular accent stone options that can give your solitaire diamond a unique look. Or opt for a traditional diamond in a rose gold setting; the rosy, feminine hue is universally flattering for all skin tones.

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Is your love in the air – or is it set in stone?

A diamond is a forever investment. Understanding the four C’s – carat, color, clarity and cut – will ensure that you make a smart selection. While some of these differences are not visible to the naked eye, they do directly impact a diamond’s overall quality and price. When selecting your perfect diamond, keep the following in mind:

Cut

A diamond’s “cut” grading measures whether a stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle– it’s what brings fire to the ice and catches your eye. Cut is different from the shape of the diamond (e.g., princess cut, emerald cut, etc.). The cut evaluation rates the diamond’s angles and brilliance, evaluating the diamond’s proportion, facet arrangement and overall workmanship quality. Diamond cut grades range from “excellent” to “poor” with the excellent rating resembling the ideal cut illustrated below.

Diamond Cuts

Clarity

Virtually all diamonds for sale today include minor irregularities or imperfections, although these imperfections are rarely visible to the naked eye. The minor imperfections in a diamond are caused by the liquid volcanic rock in which a diamond is created. While diamonds are primarily pure carbon, during the crystallization process, other nearby minerals may become trapped within the cooling mass, which in turn affects the diamond’s clarity.

Clarity is measured on a scale with grades running from “flawless” (virtually no imperfections) to “included” (imperfections heavily included). “Pure” diamonds are flawless or internally flawless; these diamonds are exceedingly rare and expensive. VVS-1 and VVS-2 grade diamonds have very, very small inclusions; VS-1 and VS-2 diamond have very small inclusions; SI-1 and SI-2 diamonds have small inclusions; and I-1, I-2 and I-3 diamonds are heavily included. Diamonds are graded under a 10X magnifying glass in good lighting by an experienced grader. The final grade is determined by how easily the grader can see the inclusions and blemishes.

Color

The “color” rating actually refers to the absence of color in a diamond. Like a drop of pure spring water, when it comes to diamonds, the less color, the better. The jewelry industry recognizes the highest quality gemstones by purity of hue. In order to demine the absence or presence of different hues, an experienced diamond grader will compare the diamond to “master stones” using artificial or natural northern daylight. Colorless diamonds are graded either D, E or F. Near colorless diamonds are graded G, H, I or J. Slightly tinted diamonds receive a K, L, M or N rating. Very light yellow diamonds are graded O, P, or Q; light yellow diamonds are graded R, S, or T; yellow diamonds receive a U, V or W grading and light fancy diamonds are graded X, Y or Z.

Diamond Color

Carat

The most well-known of the four C’s, “carat” is the unit of measurement for ta diamond’s weight. A carat is subdivided into 100 “points”; for example, a 50-point diamond is “half a carat” or “0.5 ct”. Today, many individuals also equate carat with size. Generally speaking, the higher the carat weight, the larger (and more expensive) the stone. However, color, clarity and cut also affect a diamond’s price; two diamonds of equal carat weight may have very different prices due to these three ratings.