Perhaps the most common fear of buying that perfect engagement ring for your beloved is walking away from the shop having spent over a thousand pounds, then showing it to a friend only to find out from them that it is a fake. On the other hand, perhaps you have been bought a beautiful diamond ring; having worn it for years you may suddenly be shocked to find out that the diamond is an imitation.
It is common for people not to have any knowledge of whether their diamond is real or not. The most common engagement rings are diamond set rings either as gold, white gold or as platinum. This is the most popular design and make, therefore having prior knowledge about jewellery will benefit you greatly. You can always approach expert jewellers to help you pick out the perfect ring, but some people would much prefer to buy a ring on a budget and cannot afford to approach larger jewellery establishments.
Diamond engagement rings were once only available to the most privileged and upper classed people particularly of those from aristocratic or royal connections. Many of the lower classed and middle classed people of the Victorian period kept to the usual birthstone rings and simple designs. Sometimes this would be decorated with floral designing. It was very rare to see diamonds until the late 19th century, when diamond mining became common making diamond accessible globally.
The first diamond engagement ring was thought to have been given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477, by Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The tradition was not picked up amongst local people until the 19th century, when the rich and wealthy would wear diamonds as a fashion accessory during balls and dinner parties. Engagements rings were plain gold or metallic material that was not a focus of fashion attention until the early twentieth century.
Present Day Diamond frenzy
From Hollywood stars to the woman next door, everyone is familiar with the diamond engagement ring trend, and as made famous by Marilyn Monroe, diamonds are a girl's best friend! There is nothing more appealing than seeing diamond engagement rings to symbolise the happy union. However, if you are a young person looking for that special diamond ring, the questions you will be asking yourself is how do you determine a diamond is real?
The first thing you will need to do is to research the four C's. These are Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. The carat refers to the weight of the diamond and range from a quarter to six carat. The higher the carat the more expensive the diamond. Clarity is what determines the numbers of naturally formed inclusions, for example, if the diamond is clear then it has brilliant clarity. These are measured using letters to signify the amount of inclusions such as Flawed - F, and Slight Inclusions - SI.
Colour is quite literally the colour of the diamond; they can come as completely colourless to brown. The colourless diamonds are the most desirable, although some diamonds can have a slight blue tint. Probably the most important of the four C's is the cut. An ideal cut diamond is of higher quality, because then this will reflect light from the heart of the diamond and reflect back to the eye. Without this brilliance of reflection then you know you have a lower quality diamond.
Once you have determined the difference between the four C's you will need to see whether a diamond is real or not. This is not difficult and but does take a bit of practise for those who do not know what to look for exactly. Keep in mind that Cubic zirconium and moissanite are common diamond stimulants. Therefore, it is not as impressive if you are presented with this.
When looking at diamond before it has been set into the ring, you can look out for its brightness and clarity. Hold the diamond up against a newspaper, and if you can read the text then you know the diamond is an imitation, because with a real diamond you cannot see the letters of the newspaper as it refracts a lot of light making it difficult to read the text. Holding it up against the light will also help you to determine whether it is a genuine gem or not, because there will be no colour reflect apart from while light.
One key point to remember is that all real diamonds are not perfect, but if you have a diamond that is not flawed and is completely brilliant in clarity, you will need to get it checked out, as imitation diamonds are usually perfect in clarity. You should try to avoid trying to hit it as well to see if it is real, because diamonds do fracture and will reduce in value if it does fracture.
Therefore, when shopping for engagement rings, particularly a diamond set ring you will now be better prepared or at least have some idea of what to expect. The above information is guidance only, the rest is up to you to research and find out. After all it is a special gift and the most important one of all, and it is better to be knowledgeable than having spent an extortionate amount on something that could be potentially fake.
Anna Stenning is an expert on diamond engagement rings, having helped many people choose the perfect ring for their loved ones.