Article original published in “The Carousel“
It’s the most important proposal ever, but before you pop the question and present that dazzling diamond, check out these five carat tips…
Whether you’ve bought the rock and plan to design your beloved a bespoke engagement ring or you’re shopping on the day for a ring to impress your one-true-love at dinner that night, there are a few extra details that can add a whole lot more sparkle to your proposal. Identical twins and second-generation jewellers, Daniel and James Cliff from Robert Cliff Master Jewellers in Sydney, reveal their top tips for receiving that all important ‘Yes!’ with a rock that rocks on Valentine’s Day…
Don’t Forget the Fifth C for ‘Confidence’
The Four C’s – Carat, Colour, Clarity and Cut – are crucial for judging the quality and value of a diamond. But according to Daniel and James, it’s the Fifth C, Confidence in your diamond and the price you paid for it, that is just as important. “Always get a diamond grading certificate from a reputable valuation company like GIA (Gemology Institute of America), they’re very stringent when they value a stone,” advises James. “It is like a birth certificate for that diamond – it tells you everything you need to know regarding the specifications of that diamond.”
If you don’t want to be retelling your dodgy diamond story to A Current Affair, always go with a jeweller you trust – a jeweller who has been recommended to you and has been in business for a considerable time. Being comfortable is key. “Buying a diamond is a big investment,” warns James. “I wouldn’t buy a car from a car dealer if I thought he was a dodgy idiot!”
Consider the Element of Surprise
Some girls can be fairly unsubtle when it comes to their preferred styles of engagement rings. Glossy ads in high-end fashion magazines left open on the coffee table and Pinterest albums dedicated to their ‘dream’ ring are not hard to decipher.
“Listen to what she likes, she will tell you, in a number of ways,” says Daniel. “Of our clients buying engagement rings, 60% are men choosing the ‘surprise’ ring, 30% are couples choosing together and 10% are men buying the diamond on its own to be designed into the ring she has always wanted.”
“If your bride-to-be doesn’t fall in love with your design, we can always adjust the design or completely redesign the ring,” adds James.
Look To the Stars For Inspiration
Celebrity engagement bling and what fashion designers choose to accessorise with on the runway all influence engagement ring trends.
“The ‘halo’ engagement ring – like Nicole Richie’s – whether it be round, square or cushion cut – is extremely popular. The ‘halo’ style makes the centre diamond look big,” explains Daniel. “Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, which once belonged to Princess Diana, is another popular style. We also have many requests for Miranda Kerr and Beyonce’s style of engagement rings.”
“White gold and platinum are the most popular colours for rings but we’re seeing a rise in rose gold.” adds Daniel. “White diamonds are still number one for an engagement ring, followed by sapphires or rubies. Some girls love pink diamonds but they’re so expensive.”
The six-claw classic solitaire ring is always a popular style, so too the three-stone ring with one main stone in the middle and two smaller stones, either side.
“Round cut is the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings at the moment but we’re seeing fancy diamond shapes such as square, cushion, oval, marquis and trillion cuts rising in popularity,” says Daniel.
Make It Romantic
Romance is not dead. James and Daniel are privy to clients’ plans from the simple to the well-orchestrated. “Picnics seem to be the popular way to go for proposals – perhaps because they’re quiet, there is less pressure,” muses James.
Incidentally, identical twins, James and Daniel, both chose picnics, champagne and a professionally bound book filled with photos and memories of their relationship thus far with their partners, with the last page asking ‘Will You Marry Me?’ Both were a success
Daniel advises against hiding the ring in the bottom of a champagne glass or in a chocolate. The chances of a ‘yes’ from your soul-mate at the Emergency Department after swallowing the engagement ring will not be likely. “One guy booked a holiday on an island to propose – and when he got there, the island was so busy he panicked because he couldn’t get a quiet moment alone – so he ended up doing it in his lounge room at home when they got back,” says James.
“Last week someone bought an Emerald cut diamond and took his wife-to-be for a walk along the Bronte-to-Bondi walk. He had a big box ‘planted’ along the walk – inside it was a giant disco ball with the ring hanging from the bottom of it! And a sign saying ‘Will You Marry me?’” explains Daniel. “They were walking along and he said ‘What’s this? Someone’s left a box here…’ He had a friend keeping guard to make sure no one else picked up the box! Other clients proposed on the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunrise and another client who flew to New York to propose on top of the Empire State Building.”
Set Your Budget
The old ‘rule’ of three months salary no longer applies when calculating how much to spend on an engagement ring. But you do need a firm idea of what your budget is.
“Big and flashy doesn’t necessarily equal good,” says Daniel. “Often, simple is best.”
However, the ‘you get what you pay for’ adage does apply. “Diamonds in hand-made rings will be far more secure than a ring manufactured by a machine in China. Nothing lasts as well as jewellery that is hand made. For a little bit more money you can get the Ferrari instead of the Holden,” smiles Daniel. “You can either get the Holden from the chain store, and every chain store has something similar, or you can spend a little bit more and get the Ferrari. You get the uniqueness of designing your own ring, the full experience of us being a part of your engagement, the service, the experience, the champagne and all your visions come to life.”
Remember, You Can Always Upgrade
Over time, fashion and tastes change, finances (hopefully) improve and suddenly your ‘old’ engagement ring is looking ‘tired’. Consider revamping your sweetheart’s engagement ring for Valentine’s Day. “It is quite common,” says Daniel. “We’ve had many clients come back to us to have their engagement rings remodelled. We mostly ‘add’ stones or swap bands from yellow gold to white gold, to match more recent jewellery they’ve acquired.”
Check out the engagement ring range at Robert Cliff Master Jewellers.