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Friday, July 5, 2013

Diamond Dan On : How To Choose An Engagement Ring - A Guide For The Australian Male

I first met Diamond Dan a number of years ago when I was sweating to buy a diamond for a woman who would eventually throw the ring off the side of a highway so that I had to spend forty minutes on my hands and knees in mud just to find it. In a strange way I really think that they owed me my money back after such a terrible ending to such an expensive experience, but today Dan paid me back by writing something for you readers which is invaluable. A guide to buying an engagement ring. Don't go through what I went through - here is Dan putting his best foot forward to help you navigate the world of diamonds and rings.

{Incidentally, if Dan looks familiar it is because he is an actor and you would have seen him on The Underbelly series amongst a number of other roles.}

Diamond Dan, in your opinion, if a man between the age of 25-30 was on a salary of say $120,000 a year, what do you think is a sensible amount of money he should allow for on an engagement ring? What about $60,000?

The standard rule is that a diamond and the engagement ring should cost roughly 2-3 months’ worth of your salary. That notion was created by industry leader De Beers in the early 20th century as global diamond-awareness marketing campaign. Some people may tell you that the deeper you reach in your pocket, the deeper your love but we don't agree. We believe that the more time you spend and effort in attaining the right diamond / ring, the more your partner will notice this. Sometimes bigger things come in smaller packages.
In saying that, buying a diamond ring shouldn't be looked at as an expenditure but rather as a form of investment which can be passed on from parents to children and hold its' value over the years.
On a romantic note, I would like to remind you that diamonds are nature's product and are billions of years old. Therefore, what better symbol of eternal love to give your partner than a diamond! Instead of looking at rings for their investment value, buy ones that symbolize your love, and that you'll want to wear for the rest of your lives.

Carat or clarity? And can you please explain to us a little about how you grade diamonds and how someone might go about researching diamonds before they go looking to purchase them? Is there a type of diamond which perhaps represents better value or better re-sale value?

When you first start researching diamonds, it is best to start with The 4 C’s – Carat, Cut, Colour & Clarity. All 4Cs are important. GIA (The Gemmological institute of America) created the 4Cs as a universal method for establishing the quality of any diamond anywhere in the world. The 4C's gives diamond consumers and retailers two very important things:
Diamond Dan

1. The quality of diamonds can be communicated in a universal language

2. Diamond-buying consumers can know exactly what they are about to purchase.

The combination of the 4Cs directly affects the cost of the diamond, but at the end of the day it comes down to personal taste and budget.

In my view, a diamond has to stand out and therefore I'd first go for size. Then I’d make sure that the cut grade is of very good to excellent to maximise its' sparkle. Next, my preference would be colour, the higher the better (the top 4 colours from D to G are colourless, called in the trade 'collection colours'). The human eye is able to distinguish between colour and the whiter the diamond (clear) the more fire it emits and captures the eye.

Now, the Clarity: Diamonds, like people, have imperfections; imperfections are what make us beautiful.  There is nothing wrong with some inclusions. I would go lower on the clarity, so long as there aren’t any major inclusions that stand out and scream at me.

Diamond Cut Shapes

In conclusion; to get more bling for your buck: Colour E-F , Clarity Si1-Si2, Cut Excellent to Very Good . That way you can go higher on the Carat and get more diamond.

Practical knowledge is second to none. Unlike buying a car or a TV, diamonds are a rare commodity that we seldom purchase and the average person's knowledge of them is small.  I highly recommend getting a very basic understanding of the 4Cs, having a good idea of what your budget is, and decide on the style and shape of the diamond you are after. However, speaking to an experienced industry person who you can not only trust but who understands you and your personal needs, is the most useful thing you can do in order to make the experience an enjoyable and memorable one.

Okay, so the cut of a diamond – brilliant seems to be the classic, but what do you think about cushion cut and what other cuts can people experiment with? What keeps the best re-sale value?

Round Brilliant cut- The modern Round Brilliant cut, with its' average 58 facets which maximize the amount of light that the stone gives off is the most classic and famous throughout history. It will never date and will always keep its value over time. There are many other beautiful shapes but they do go in and out of fashion with changes in market trends.
Photo: GIA

Personally, I love the Pear-Shape cut a.k.a Tear-drop. I find that shape both elegant and feminine as it is edgy and sexy, and you will not see it very often so it is quite unique. The Cushion Cut is another favourite, as it has the brilliancy of the Round Brilliant and soft rounded corners, but since they are cut 'heavy',  the beauty of the stone stands out more once they go up in carat weight, say from 1.00 carat and over.

What kind of engagement ring would you propose with and what would be the story behind your choice? You mentioned hearts & arrows, what is this characteristic of a diamond?

I would propose in one of 2 ways depending on what my ‘future bride’ is like
The 1st option – I would propose with a loose diamond presented in a clear glass top box. This way my fiancĂ© would have a say in the final design she is after and we could enjoy this experience together. After all, it takes two to make a marriage and what a better way to start than with such an experience. This option is also good when you are not sure of the design your partner is after.

This is not for everyone as some people want to be surprised and be presented with the final ring. And so, if I had a clear idea of what my future bride likes (given the hints and magazines left casually lying around), I would choose the Diamond Solitaire Engagement ring………..

White gold or platinum for the setting and what kind of setting is very popular these days?

White Gold or Platinum is a matter of taste and budget. Platinum is dearer than white gold and has a matt look as opposed to 18k white gold which is less expensive and is generally shinier. Personally I like to say that Gold is Gold is Gold.

The Classic Solitaire Claw Setting is the most popular, with either a plain band or a band with small Round diamonds. With a minimum use in metal it maximizes the amount of light hitting the rock and still keeps it safe and protected.

Has the demand for ‘bespoke’ or ‘custom-made’ designs been increasing with your business?

Most definitely!  At Rich&Mor we value our customer’s involvement and input. We believe that buying a diamond ring should be as enjoyable as it is a memorable process. A high degree of ‘customisation’ and involvement of the end-user (a happy bride in most cases) is something we pride ourselves with. A custom-made diamond engagement ring is the right way to say I love you.

Rich & Mor custom work

 If you could design an engagement ring again, with a budget of say $120,000 dollars, what would you design and could you sketch it for us?

With that kind of a budget I'd go for a big rock of the highest colour D and si1 or si2 clarity. A 4 CT Dsi1 will fit that budget.  That way the size and colours are maximized. As I said before inclusions are ok as long as not black or standout and take away from the stone.
I’d also like to stay with a classy look that showcases the rock on its own without adding any smaller diamonds and with minimum use of metal. A beautiful handmade 6 claw ring with a fine 2mm band in 18k white gold will look elegant, powerful and timeless.

Diamond Dan in his office, Sydney CBD
For more information you can contact Rich & Mor Diamonds by clicking here. They also run a nice FB page here.

And, as a really interesting post script, have a look at Dan take you through some seriously huge diamonds at the Tel Aviv diamond exchange below.


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