It is a truth universally acknowledged that shopping for women is a minefield for most men, and jewellery shopping is even more so. Arguably the most important piece they'll ever have to shop for is the engagement ring.
Flashier than a wedding band, the engagement ring is the centrepiece of the proposal and so should take your breath away at first sight before being admired by everyone else. It should embody all the love, purity and beauty in your relationship while also fitting in with your individual taste.
Anyone going diamond hunting will need to take into account the Four C's - cut, colour, clarity and carat. It's these four factors that determine the cost and quality of the stone and therefore the overall ring price.
Cut is, hands down, the most important, refering to the angles and proportions of the diamond. A good cut is what gives a diamond its magnetic sparkle, helping to reflect light from one facet to another and funnelling light through the top of the stone.
Next to consider is colour. Diamonds may all look the same to the untrained eye, but they actually come in different hues on a colour spectrum that ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Completely colourless diamonds are the priciest and most rare, while white diamonds are the most popular. In the end, it comes down to your personal taste.
Clarity concerns the imperfections of a diamond, looking at how clear the stone is. When jewellers talk about the clarity of a diamond, they are likely to discuss the stone's 'inclusions', which are fractures or minerals trapped inside the diamond. Basically, the fewer inclusions, the better. When choosing at a diamond, avoid ones with inclusions set at the top or in the centre, as this can affect the dispersion of light.
Carat is the least crucial of the Four C's, refering to the weight of the diamond. The heavier the rock, the more its going to cost, but there's no need to get hung up on the weight. Jewellers can mount and shape a diamond to give the illusion that it's bigger than the carat weight might suggest.