Terms You Need To Know Before Buying Diamond Engagement Rings

Author Lynelle Schmidt
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Date Sep 19, 2014
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Let's face it, shopping for diamond engagement rings can be difficult if the person selling it is throwing a bunch of words at you that you don't understand. You may be wondering, ""What in the world is a baguette diamond or a halo style ring?""

It's absolutely okay not to know these terms. Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to learning about diamonds and engagement rings. It's not always common knowledge, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty details of the ring and loose diamond.

That's why we're here to give you a list of key terms that you can use as a ""cheat sheet"" to get to understand and feel confident talking about diamond engagement rings. Here are all the basic terms we think you should know before shopping:

Four C's:

  • Cut - How light travels through a stone. Cut refers to the proportions of a stone, facet angles, finish and shape.
  • Clarity - Measures the amount/absence of inclusions in and blemishes on a diamond. Clarity ranges from flawless to included/imperfect.
  • Color - Measures the amount of body color (tint) in a diamond on a scale from colorless to yellow/brown or gray
  • Carat - Measures diamond weight. Diamonds can range from small fractions of a carat to many carats. (See what a 1 carat diamond actually looks like)

Anatomy of a Diamond:

  • Crown - The upper portion of a diamond, located between the table and girdle (midsection)
  • Culet - The small facet on the bottom tip of a diamond
  • Table - The uppermost flat surface and biggest facet of a stone
  • Facet - The flat surfaces on a cut stone. The placement of facets determines how much light reflects through the stone.
  • Girdle - The horizontal midsection and widest part of a diamond. The girdle may be polished, faceted or unpolished on a diamond.
  • Pavilion - The lower part of a diamond, located between the girdle and the culet

Diamond Cuts & Shapes:

  • Round Diamonds - Most popular diamond shape that maximizes the diamond's potential brightness
  • Princess Cut - Most popular fancy cut of diamond. Cut in a square shape that is flexible and can work in many engagement rings.
  • Oval Diamonds - Modified brilliant cut design, with fire and brilliance. The elongated shape can create the illusion of a greater sized diamond.
  • Marquise Diamonds - A football shaped, modified brilliant diamond cut. One of the largest surface areas of any diamond shape, and the elongated shape creates the illusion of greater sized diamond.
  • Cushion Cut - A square or rectangular cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow
  • Emerald Cut - Unique-looking diamonds with large, open tables. Gives off a hall-of-mirrors effect with the interplay of light and dark planes.
  • Asscher Cut - Similar to the emerald cut diamond, but has a square shape with larger step facets, higher crown, and smaller table. More brilliant than emerald cut diamonds.
  • Radiant Cut - Rectangular cut that has complete brilliant-cut facet pattern applied to both the crown and pavilion. Vibrant and lively diamond.
  • Baguette Cut - Long, rectangular cut diamonds with octagonal corners

Metals:

  • Karat - The standard measurement of gold. Pure gold is 24 Karats (not to be confused with diamond carat)
  • Platinum - A durable precious metal, valued for its white color and purity. Platinum is hypoallergenic. To be called platinum, it must contain at least 90% pure platinum (10% other metals).
  • Yellow Gold - Gold is naturally colored yellow. Both pure gold (24 karats) and gold alloy mixes can be yellow.
  • White Gold - Created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy
  • Rose Gold - The result of combining pure gold with large amounts of copper
  • Palladium - A silvery-white metal that shares some of platinum's properties but is not as dense, heavy or rare.

Types of Rings:

  • Classic - Simple and timeless, including styles such as the solitaire, three-stone, and rings with diamonds along the shoulder
  • Diamond Accent - Similar to classic, but with more diamond design for sparkle and a more individual statement
  • Diamond Halo - Has a ring of smaller diamonds around the center diamond, giving the illusion of a larger diamond ring
  • Vintage - Range from delicate diamond work reminiscent of 50 to 10 years ago or an engraved style
  • Diamond Intensive - Diamonds all over the ring that make a statement
  • Fancy Colored Diamond - Diamonds with a deep body color, including brown, yellow, blue, violet, orange, pink and red. Fancy color diamonds are unusual and therefore highly valued. They are rated Z+ on the color scale and have nine saturation levels from Faint to Fancy Vivid.

Settings:

  • Trellis - Built to be very sturdy with the criss crossing prongs to hold the diamond in place. The criss cross pattern that you can see from the side adds a little character and is more unique than the regular pronged setting.
  • Cathedral - A setting that comes to a peak at the top near the diamond. It holds the diamond in place and has sweeping arches of metal to frame the diamond on either side.
  • Bezel - Hold the diamond in place by circling it with a metal rim while extending slightly above the diamond's girdle. This is one of the most secure diamond settings out there, because the diamond is held safely between the metal and is even sunk a little below it to give it extra protection.
  • Knife Edge - Has two slanted sides on the ring that meet at a point on the top, which means that the shoulders of the ring are narrow and delicate
  • Wide Band - Bands that are the same width as the diamond. The two sides of the metal meet at the diamond without pinching in.
  • Vintage Inspired - Each vintage inspired ring is different but usually consists of intricate details that mimic the craftsmanship that is characteristic of jewelry from decades ago

Other:

  • Prong - The metal holding a diamond
  • Certification - A certification provides an unbiased description of the individual qualities that determine a diamond’s value and worth as evaluated by expert gemologists.
  • Loupe - A small, hand held, magnifying glass used by jewelers to look closer at a diamond for surface blemishes and inclusions

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