Winter has always been the most romantic season. Maybe it’s the snowflakes, or the fireplaces, or how she looks in a sweater. Combine that with the holidays, and you have the perfect environment to make memories that’ll last the rest of your lives.

So how will you make this December special? Whether you plan to spend the holidays curled up at home, on vacation somewhere special, or celebrating with your family or hers, there’s endless opportunity to propose.

You’ve already made the biggest, most important decision—this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now let us help you with the rest. Below are a few winter proposal ideas sure to provide a beautiful memory, and the beginning of something unforgettable.

1. You. Her. A bottle of wine. A delicious meal.

ritani-dinner-proposal

It doesn’t matter if you take her to her favorite restaurant or show off your culinary skills in the comfort of your home. The point is: this proposal is about you and her, and no one else.

2. Hide it in plain sight.

proposal-ideas-1 Use a special holiday ornament on your tree or the Hanukkah candle box to hide the ring. Ask her for a kiss under the Mistletoe, and then say something to pique her interest about what’s inside that Reindeer ornament or inconspicuous box of candles.

3. Call in the carollers.

christmas-carollers Photo: Digital Vision/Slate.com

Why? Because they’re charming and corny and undeniably cute. This is the one time of year where carolers are in season, so why not take advantage? Find yourself a merry crew, or enlist a group of friends to sing along as you get down on one knee.

4. Sock it to her.

xmas-stocking

There’s nothing as classic as stockings hung over the fireplace. Make Santa proud and put the ring in her Christmas stocking. Then let tradition take care of the rest.

5. Horse around.

horse-carriage

Whether you’re in NYC’s Central Park, visiting her hometown, or someplace special to you both, a romantic carriage ride through the city is a reliably magical and memorable experience. Sound too cliché? There’s a reason for that. It works.

6. Write your proposal in the snow.

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Photo: Twofoot Creative

Using rose petals, candles, or Christmas lights is a sweet and memorable way to ask for someone’s hand. Added bonus that it’s completely Instagram-worthy too.

7. Make it part of your other holiday activities.

mistletoe_kiss Photo: BRIT + CO
Bring it back to basics and get down on one knee while you’re decorating the Christmas tree together. Or on Christmas morning, before you open your gifts. We guarantee this’ll keep the two of you cozy and joyful at home all day long.

8. Make a toast.

Photo: Pumpikin Coach Events
Photo: Pumpkin Coach Events

Here’s one all the women at Ritani agree on. Bring her a glass of champagne with the ring tied to it with a silk ribbon. It’s simple, elegant, and keeps the focus on her.

9. Show your love with latte art.

 

Heads-up, aspiring baristas and hot chocolate fans. This one will get your lady’s heart pumping (and not just from the caffeine). Write your message on her favorite beverage with a coffee stencil.

10. Take her shopping.

 

If you’ve already talked about the ring, chances are she has thoughts on what it should look like. When you’re ready, take her holiday shopping and let her pick out the ring of her dreams.

11. Plan a party.

xmas-party

You know her well enough to know if she likes surprises. If she does, this one’s for you. All of you. Invite your friends and family and plan a surprise proposal party. Like they say, the more the merrier.

12. Get your girl with a getaway.

couples

Take a trip and propose while abroad. You’ll always have the place where you met, and the place where you live. Make the place where you get engaged somewhere spectacular.

13. Countdown to love.

new-years

Ring in the new year with a ring! Wait for the New Year’s Eve countdown. When the ball drops, get down on one knee and start your year with a Yes.

14. Take it to the studio.

studio

A Christmas photo shoot proposal will capture her joyful surprise, and leave you with a truly exceptional photo that documents the start of your new life together.

15. Make it picture perfect.

picture-perfect

Go to one of your favorite places, somewhere that has personal significance to you both. Once you’re there, ask someone to take a picture of you. When they do, drop down on one knee.

16. 30 Rock her world.

30-rock-skating Source: Massimiliano Silipigni/Flickr

If you’re confident on your feet, consider proposing at an ice skating rink like the one at New York’s Rockefeller Center. This sentimental public gesture won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

17. Put your love in the air.

marry-me-skywriting Source: Refinery29

Pick a clear day, and hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal overhead.

 

Find more proposal inspiration on Pinterest!

Engagement rings are made up of two important components: the center stone and the ring setting. While some may argue that one is more important than the other, the reality is that your special someone will be wearing both for the rest of your lives together.

If this is your first foray into the wonderful world of engagement rings, you may find all the options and factors that need to be considered a bit daunting. Luckily, we’ve already broken down everything you need to know about selecting a high quality diamond in this article.

Now, for the fun part. Stones of nearly all shapes and sizes can be fitted to most major setting styles. Additionally, these basic settings can be modified in various ways to achieve a truly unique effect. This is especially true at Ritani, where we handcraft each ring to ensure an perfect fit with your stone.

To help you navigate the options and hone in on your individual aesthetic, we present the most common engagement ring styles and settings.

Four Classic Engagement Ring Styles

The following make up the five basic categories of engagement ring styles. Although they may have different names according to retailer, their iconic shapes are unmistakable.

1. Solitaire

A solitaire setting features a single center diamond or gemstone atop a metal band, and can be found in either prong or bezel styles.

The prong style is what most shoppers picture when they think of a traditional engagement ring. Prongs are vertical elements on a band that hold a diamond in place. You can choose four, six or double-prongs depending on the look you want.

Four-prong solitaire setting in rose gold.
Four-prong solitaire setting in rose gold.

On the other hand, a full bezel setting completely encircles the center diamond or gemstone in the band’s metal. The full bezel is perhaps the most secure type of diamond setting, since there are no prongs or other sharp edges that can be caught or scraped. Semi-bezel options partially surround the center stone, letting in more light and increasing refraction, thus brilliance.

Semi bezel solitaire setting in white gold.
Semi bezel solitaire setting in white gold.

2. Halo

Like the solitaire, a halo setting is designed to hold a single diamond or gem. The difference is that a halo setting has a wide band of metal encircling the girdle of the diamond, and it is studded with smaller diamonds (often in pave or micropave style).

While halo settings are most commonly used to encircle round, oval or cushion shaped diamonds, they can be used with any stone shape. To create a more unique halo ring, jewelers may use an asscher, marquise or pear shaped center diamond.

The halo effect not only creates extra sparkle, but also larger overall size and total carat weight. This setting is one of the most popular choices for modern shoppers.

Halo setting in yellow gold.
Halo setting in yellow gold.

3. Three-Stone

The three-stone engagement ring setting features a larger center diamond or gem flanked by two additional stones on either side. The three stones are symbolic of the past, present and future. The two side stones are typically smaller in size than the central one, but the difference can vary. A popular way to customize the three-stone setting is to mix and match diamonds and gemstones. It is increasingly popular, for example, to pair a center diamond with emerald, sapphire or ruby side stones. Additionally, you can mix different stone shapes to beautiful effect, as in the ring below: a round center diamond flanked by tapered side baguettes.

Three-stone setting in white gold.
Three-stone setting in white gold.

4. Cathedral

Last but not least, the cathedral setting is a stunning architectural modification to the traditional solitaire. Much like the shape of an actual cathedral, this band gradually rises vertically and comes to a steeple-like point where the center diamond or gemstone rests. This not only adds structural stability, but also lifts the center stone further upward. The boost in height allows extra light to refract throughout the diamond, creating greater sparkle and brilliance. It is also possible to add side stones to a classic cathedral setting — the effect is a stunning Three-Stone Cathedral.

Three-stone cathedral engagement ring in yellow gold.
Three-stone cathedral engagement ring in yellow gold.

Six Ways to Customize Your Ring Band

The following methods can be used to add diamonds to any engagement or wedding ring band. They also describe the various ways that small diamonds can be secured in a halo setting.

1. Pavé Set Diamonds

In French, pavé means “cobblestone.” The term also refers to the way the diamonds fit together perfectly in a pavé setting, much like the stones on a cobblestone street. Though similar to a French setting in that both styles feature a strand of small diamonds secured by tiny prongs, a pavé setting is unique in one subtle way: its diamonds are inset into a groove rather than raised. Pavé is also different from a channel setting, which uses the pressure of the band, not prongs, to hold diamonds in place.

Detail view of diamond pavé band.

2. Micropavé Set Diamonds

A micropavé band uses even smaller diamonds than its pavé counterpart, making for an extremely precise and delicate setting. While a pavé style typically only has one strand of diamonds, a micropavé can have several. These are arranged in a checkered pattern, with two or more rows of diamonds lining the band.

Detail view of micropavé band.
Detail view of diamond micropavé band.

3. Channel Set Diamonds

A channel design features small diamonds inset into a groove, usually following the curve of the ring band. These stones are held in place by the pressure of the sides of the ring, much like a rail. This is distinct from pavé diamond settings which are held in place by prongs. Channel settings tend to create a strong, angular effect while pavé settings fall more on the delicate side of the style spectrum.

Detail view of channel set diamond band.

4. French Set Diamonds

The French setting features small diamonds raised with prongs around the band or in a halo around the center stone. The look creates the effect of a single, continuous line of sparkle. A double French setting features two smaller lines of diamonds around the band instead of one larger line.

Detail view of double French set diamond band.

Creating Your Unique Engagement Ring

No matter the shape or size of your gemstone, you can leverage major setting styles and popular diamond additions to create an engagement ring as unique and unforgettable as your love story. Start building your custom engagement ring today.

Shop Engagement Rings

When my now-husband and I started talking about getting engaged, I thought I already knew what style engagement ring I wanted. Like many women, I had spent hours looking on Pinterest at different styles of rings, and I had fallen in love with a Ritani semi-bezel ring. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was me in a ring: classic, but not boring; it was visually interesting but not glaring or dramatic. I thought it was the ring for me.

One night, my husband and I picked out a diamond (we’re part of the 42 percent of couples that shopped for an engagement ring together) and arranged for a Ritani Free In-Store Preview. Ritani set the diamond we picked in the semi-bezel setting and sent it to our local jeweler. A few days later, we got a call saying the ring was there, and we went to go try on my future engagement ring!!!!! I was really, really excited.

Except once I had it on my finger, I wasn’t as in love with the ring as I thought. It wasn’t the one.

I felt awful that Ritani had taken the time to set a diamond into the ring I thought I wanted. I sheepishly told the jeweler and he literally said, “No worries, Ritani’s free in-store preview program is really amazing. I just send it back to them–no issue at all.”

Now I was confused, was my life a lie? How could I not know what I wanted after all that time I spent swooning over rings on Instagram and Pinterest? I overlooked a few key details: what it would look like on my very petite hand and to my super particular, visually-driven eyes that had spent the last several years double-tapping pictures of just-engaged, perfectly manicured hands on Instagram. I had to start over and think about what would look good on my hands and that fit me as a person.

The jeweler brought out several more styles for me to try on: a halo with a french-set band, a classic open band, and a simple, elegant solitaire with a 1 carat center stone. He also brought out several fancy-shaped diamonds, an Asscher, marquise, princess, and oval, which I had never considered. The jeweler mentioned that because of my petite hands, I didn’t need as large of a diamond for the ring to look proportional (nearby, my husband sighed in relief).

The classic open band looked beautiful on my small hand and I loved how the halo looked–I kept staring at it and smiling, my heart aflutter. I hadn’t considered these options before.

A few months later, my husband surprised me with a halo engagement ring with an open band. The moral of this story: odds are, you may not really know what you want until you see it on your ring finger.

Open-Band-Diamond-Engagement-Ring-Christmas-Proposal-opt-840x640

How To Buy An Engagement Ring

There are no hard rules about what diamond shape you should wear–at Ritani, we believe the best diamond shape for you is the one you love, not what fits into society’s beauty standards about what types of hands are beautiful or not (who wrote those rules, anyway?). You write your own rules, and your hands are beautiful no matter what size they are.

At Ritani, we have a ring style and shape to flatter every finger and every hand, and there is one rule we DO believe in: wear what you love.

That said, the Ritani family has been in the diamond business since 1948, and what we’ve realized is that the goal is to find an engagement ring that looks good on your finger: not too small, not too big, but just right.

When looking at rings, you’ll need to settle on what shape of diamond you want. To decide this, start by looking at your hands: notice the length and width of your ring finger and in comparison to the rest of your hand. Then you can determine the best combination of stone size, diamond shape, and setting to create a ring that’s proportional to your hand size.

Best Diamond Shape For All Hands

As a reminder, there are ten diamond shapes to chose from: round, emerald, princess, cushion, Asscher, heart, marquise, oval, radiant, and pear.

Think about your lifestyle and what kind of shape and setting fits best with it.

Do you want a ring that’s subtle and doesn’t draw attention, or do you want a dramatic show-stopper?

Are you modest? Do you use your hands regularly? You might opt for a classic or solitaire setting that has less accent diamonds.

If you’re looking for an opulent, dramatic ring, you have plenty of options filled with bling like a halo, three-stone or masterwork.

Universally, round diamond shapes work for any hands, large or small.

Halo settings pair nicely with any sized finger, which is why halo engagement rings are Ritani’s most popular engagement ring style.

5-best-diamond-ring-shapes-opt-840x573

Best Diamond Shape For Smaller Hands

It’s all about proportion when it comes to small hands. Petite or short-fingered hands typically look best with smaller-sized diamond.

  • Go for stones cut in a small, round shape; Asscher, marquise, princess or oval, or pear cut may look good too.
  • Try thin or open ring bands.

Double-Halo-Engagement-Ring-Ritani-opt-840x632

Best Diamond Shapes for Wider Fingers

Having wide fingers gives you an advantage: you can easily pull off bolder, bigger rings.

  • Go for a fancy diamond shape: especially oval, marquise, rectangular or emerald shape.
  • Wide fingers mean you’ve got more room for bling: try a three-stone ring.
  • Try angular shapes or an asymmetrical design.
  • Consider a medium to wide band.

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Best Diamond Shape for Long Fingers or Skinny Hands

Long, thin fingers have a lot freedom when it comes to the shape and size of a center stone. Thanks to the overall size of a large hand, bigger stones appear more proportional.

  • Fancy, square and round stones work nicely on thin fingers.
  • Go for large, bold designs and wide-band statement pieces.
  • Consider thicker, heavier bands or double rows of diamonds.

Halo-Engagement-Ring-opt-840x560


The bottom line is that you should opt for the ring that you love–no matter what size, shape, or setting. With hundreds of settings, several metals, and plenty of band styles to pick from, you can feel confident about finding the right ring for you (or we can custom design one for you). You can choose a pre-designed ring or create your own, and then try the ring on in person at a partner jewelry store near you–at no cost and no obligation–with our free in-store preview program, like I did.

Selection of Ritani diamonds

Congratulations, you’ve decided to propose!

Now, you’re faced with a series of complex decisions to start the journey to marry the love of your life, including, but not limited to: budget, selecting the right diamond, setting and band, and finally, planning the perfect proposal. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you through the process of picking the best diamond you can buy. Our goal is to try to make this process a little easier for you by providing “Pro Tips” from our diamond expert, Josh Marion, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Read on to find out how to buy a diamond that the love of your life will cherish forever.

Determining Your Budget

The first thing you’ll want to consider is your budget. It’s customary to spend 3 months’ salary, but there are no rules for how much you should spend on an engagement ring; we believe it’s more important to find a ring your sweetheart will adore — one that reflects her personal style and your commitment to each other. Once you’ve selected your budget, it’s time to move on to the bling.

Shape: The Personality of the Diamond

Diamond shape makes the biggest impact on the look of your engagement ring. Shape names typically describe the stone’s profile when viewed from above (round, pear and oval), while some are named for a historical legacy like asscher and marquise. Starting here can help develop the personality of the ring. The most popular shape is round, with fancy shapes like princess and radiant following closely.

Pro Tip: A fancy shaped diamond is a term for any gemstone that is not round. If your partner wants a fancy shaped diamond, then you should focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond in addition to its cut. For instance, if you are going for that classic emerald look, you need to make sure you have a length-to-width ratio that is greater than 1:4. A ratio less than 1:4 will make the emerald shaped diamond look stubby. If a cushion shaped stone is what you’re after, it should look more square to accent the faceted cuts of the stone. Above all else, seeing a real picture of a fancy shape diamond or viewing it in person before buying is a must. If you’re unsure, our Virtual Gemologists are happy to help you select the perfect fancy shaped diamond.

The 411 on the 4 C’s

When selecting the highest quality diamond, it is important to determine which attribute of the diamond is the most important to your partner and yourself. Since each diamond is unique, knowing which characteristics are the most important to you will be key in selecting your diamond. Do you want the biggest diamond within your budget, the most sparkle, or the most unique look?

Whatever the case may be, figuring out which aspect of the diamond is the most important to you will make the rest of the decision-making process easy. With that in mind, let’s start with the basics. The 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat.

Cut: How Much Your Diamond Will Sparkle

Regardless of diamond shape, the most important C is cut. The cut, above all else, will be what gives your diamond the sparkle and fire that boasts quality. Cut has the greatest impact on a diamond’s appearance and quality. For a round shaped diamond, always look for either a Very Good or Excellent / Ideal cut. Don’t skimp out on sparkle when it comes to selecting your high quality diamond.

Pro Tip: If you would like a round diamond, focus on excellent cut, excellent polish and excellent symmetry. This is what we call in the industry a “Triple X” and will sparkle more than any other type of diamond.

Carat: How Big Your Diamond Will Be

Carat is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a rudimentary reflection of its size. Because carat is a record of a diamond’s weight – not its size – two diamonds of slightly different sizes may have the same carat weight.

Pro Tip: Why does size matter? Well, if your budget calls for any diamond that is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important. If you plan to buy a diamond of less than 1.25 carats, color is more important. Why? Well, a possible visible inclusion (SI2) in a 1.25 carat diamond is much easier to see with the unaided eye than it would be with a smaller diamond. This is because the 1.25 (or greater) carat diamond’s table or “top view” is larger, and thus the diamond is exposed to more light. On a smaller stone, the color of the gem is more important, for no matter the size you can tell the difference between a D-colored and J-colored diamond.

Color: How White Your Diamond Will Be

Color actually refers to the lack of color on the grading scale. D, E and F grades are considered to be Colorless and are rarer and more valuable. G through J are considered “Near-Colorless,” with only some color (yellow tones) visible in certain light. It’s important to note here that Ritani only sells diamonds that are rated J through D.

Pro Tip: Are you getting a yellow gold engagement ring setting? If so, you can save money on your diamond by choosing a color in the I to K range, since the yellow hue of the diamond will blend nicely with the setting. A white gold or platinum engagement ring setting would contrast negatively with the lower color grade and may make the yellow tint more noticeable. If you want an engagement ring in platinum or white gold, you will want the diamond to be at least a G on the color scale.

Clarity: How Flawless Your Diamond Will Be

Clarity describes how many natural “inclusions,” or flaws, exist in a diamond, and whether they are visible to the unaided eye. Clarity grades range from Flawless (FL) to Included 3 (I3). A grade of Flawless means there are no imperfections within the diamond or on its surface, even when viewed under 10x magnification. On the other end of the spectrum, a grade of Included 3 means large flaws are obvious to the unaided eye. Ritani offers diamonds ranging from Inclusion grades of Flawless to Slightly Included 2 (SI2).

Pro Tip: A clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 1 (VS1) or higher looks free of inclusions to the unaided eye. However, any diamond with a clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 2 (VS2), Slightly Included 1 (SI1) or Slightly Included 2 (SI2) may appear clean to the eye depending on the kind of inclusion. So, if you are considering a diamond graded VS2, SI1 or SI2, be sure to view a real image or see it in store before purchasing. This will allow you to make sure any inclusions are not overly obvious.

Top Tips for Selecting a High Quality Diamond

  1. Cut gives your diamond the sparkle and fire.
  2. For round shaped diamonds, focus on the “Triple X”: Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish, Excellent Symmetry.
  3. For fancy shaped diamonds, focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond.
  4. If the diamond is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important.
  5. If the diamond is less than 1.25 carats, color is more important.
  6. When purchasing yellow gold metal for your ring, save money by choosing a diamond color in the I to K range.
  7. For a platinum or white gold ring setting, the diamond should be at least a G on the color scale.

Now, go forth and search our diamonds!

1. What is palladium?

Palladium is a silvery-white precious metal that looks similar to white gold and platinum. Part of the platinum group metals (PGMs), it is rare, durable, lightweight and hypoallergenic. Named after an asteroid called Pallas (and rooted in Greek mythology), this metal can be a great option for engagement rings and wedding bands.

2. How rare is palladium?

According to Investopedia, it’s one of the rarest metals on earth. In fact, they say it’s about 15 times more rare than platinum and 30 times more rare than gold. Most of the palladium in the world comes from two countries: Russia and South Africa, where approximately 80% of it is mined and refined.

3. Is palladium a good choice for engagement rings or wedding bands?

Though it has similar chemical properties to platinum, palladium has a much lower melting point and is also not as dense. This gives it a lighter feel, which can be great for those who are not used to wearing jewelry.

Since an engagement ring or wedding band is typically worn every day, consider how comfortable that might be for you. While some prefer a ring with a little weight to you it, you may find that a palladium ring can be so light that you don’t even notice it on your finger.

Like platinum, it is also tarnish-resistant, appealing to those shopping for a low-maintenance option. Over time, small scratches produce a beautiful brushed patina on palladium without reducing any of its lustrous silver color. This is one way it differs from white gold rings, which require Rhodium replating every year or two to maintain their luster. Palladium’s durability makes it a solid choice for jewelry that will last a lifetime.

4. How durable is palladium?

Palladium is one of the hardest metals used for jewelry. Only rhodium, titanium, tungsten, and tungsten carbide are harder. Here’s where those precious metals fall on the Mohs hardness scale:

Metal Hardness Comparison
Metal Mohs Hardness Rating
Tungsten 7.5
Rhodium 6.0
Titanium 6.0
Palladium 4.8
Steel 4.0 – 4.5
Nickel 4.0
Iron 4.0
Platinum 3.5
Copper 3.0
Gold 2.5
Silver 2.5

While palladium is slightly harder than platinum, the lightness of the metal makes it less workable than platinum, which is more easily crafted, refurbished, and repolished.

5. Is palladium worth more than gold or platinum?

As with all precious metals, prices fluctuate based on numerous factors. One year ago, palladium was less expensive than gold and platinum, but with the fall of platinum prices, it is now significantly more than platinum and only marginally less expensive than gold.

Precious Metals Price Per Ounce
Gold Silver Platinum Palladium
Aug 23, 2018 1185.50 14.51 778.95 919.80
Aug 23, 2017 1291.00 17.11 979.75 937.95

A note about price: the price per ounce doesn’t mean that a ring made out of palladium will be more expensive than the same one made from platinum. As we mentioned earlier, palladium is much lighter (less dense) than platinum. This means it takes fewer grams of palladium to form the same size ring as a platinum one. However, platinum is largely considered a better quality precious metal and a better long term choice for jewelry.

6. What’s the best alternative to a palladium ring?

The best alternative to this metal is its better-known cousin, platinum. They share so many positive aspects — color, durability, and sensitive-skin compatibility — one of the only reasons people chose palladium over platinum was the price. So it’s actually a great time to purchase a platinum wedding ring, which promises to withstand years and years of use.

7. Is palladium bad for you?

Palladium is an excellent, safe choice for jewelry, since it’s hypoallergenic. However, like most metals, it definitely shouldn’t be ingested!

8. So what’s better: platinum or palladium?

As we mentioned, palladium and platinum are very similar metals. They’re both beautiful, very durable, and hypoallergenic. In terms of form and function, it just comes down to your personal preference, and how each option feels on your finger. In terms of price, it all depends on the current market value of each metal type.

Here’s a side by side summary of all the aspects described in this FAQ.

Palladium vs Platinum
Palladium Platinum
Color Light, silvery Light, silvery
Rarity 30x rarer than gold 15x rarer than gold
Hypoallergenic Yes Yes
Hardness (Mohs) 4.75 3.5
Weight 75% heavier than 14kt gold Same weight as 14kt gold
Price per ounce* $919.80 $778.95
Maintenance Develops patina over time Develops patina over time

*As of September 9, 2018.

Ready to find the wedding band of your dreams? Explore Ritani’s handcrafted wedding rings today.

SHOP RINGS NOW

The wedding ring is often overshadowed by its blingy counterpart, the engagement ring. Let’s be real, people rarely ask to look at this simple band, nor is it usually encountered with the same squeals of delight and awe. Yet arguably, the wedding band is the most meaningful piece of jewelry you’ll ever own.

After all, the engagement ring is a prelude to that other flashy affair – the wedding. But the wedding band signifies your marriage: the rest of your life together. And though the humble wedding band may not have the same sigh-inducing splendor as the engagement ring, it has the dependable strength needed to last a lifetime.

See the symbolism there?

This isn’t to say that wedding bands can’t also be gorgeous in their own right. Just look at these rings if you doubt that:

A post shared by Ritani (@ritani) on

A post shared by Ritani (@ritani) on

Mutual Decision-making

Wedding rings also underscore the fair and equal exchange between couples in modern marriages. Shopping for wedding bands together can be one of the first long-term decisions you make as a couple. Whether you opt for matching rings or go with unique styles that highlight your individuality (a la Prince Harry & Meghan), it’s a great exercise in decision-making that will impact you both for a long time. And this experience will be helpful once you’ve tied the knot and need to make other long-term decisions, like how much you want to spend on a house or how many kids you’re going to have.

Here are a few tips to choosing wedding bands as a couple:

1. Assess your personal styles.

Think about your personal styles. Are you daring and trendy while your partner is classic and conservative? Are you really into boho, vintage chic while your partner loves everything modern with clean lines?

If your styles diverge quite drastically, you may want to consider following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lead and get unique rings that match your individual personalities. If you have your heart set on matching rings, remember that the best compromises are not one-sided and that simplicity can be universally stylish.

2. Consider activities where metals matter.

The durability of a ring varies by its material, so it’s important to take your lifestyle into account. If you like the outdoors and do a lot of things like hiking and rock-climbing, invest in stronger metals like platinum, cobalt chrome, or tungsten carbide.

Pure yellow gold is actually quite malleable, which is why it’s usually alloyed with other metals for strength. Karats describe gold purity, so the higher the number, the softer the material. If your heart is set on a yellow gold wedding band, but you’re afraid that your active lifestyle may be too harsh for it, go for a 14kt yellow gold band. It won’t be as deeply yellow, but it will be more durable.

3. Establish a budget.

One of the most contentious issues in relationships can be money, so this is a great exercise in discussing the subject. Luckily, wedding bands are typically much more affordable than engagement rings even with the inclusion of accent diamonds or other gems. Don’t let anyone tell you how much you ‘should’ spend on wedding rings, just keep in mind this is an investment in something you’ll be wearing every day for many years.

4. Get a feel for what’s out there.

Wedding ring design has come a long way and there are tons of options. While many people purchase their wedding rings from the same place the groom purchased the engagement ring, this should be a mutual decision. Shopping around for rings will help you find just what you both want.

5. Customize it with engraving.

This is one of our favorite ways of taking wedding rings to the next level. This is especially true if you and your partner decide on completely different wedding ring styles. A paired engraving can tie it all together. You’ll find that the best jewelers also offer free engraving services.

Here are a few of our favorite engraving options:

His Hers
Ever mine – J.S. (her initials) Ever thine – E.S. (his initials)
I found a reason The reason is you
You and me against the world
J.S. + E.S 12.10.18 (wedding date)
To have To hold
To infinity… …and beyond

More than just a promise to marry, wedding bands are a constant reminder of the commitment you make every day. The circle signifies the never-ending bond you share, and it’s up to you if you want that circle to be simple and elegant, or covered in diamonds, gemstones, or intricate patterns.

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Round cut diamond header

Diamond fluorescence is a topic that many shoppers ask about. It’s a contested topic within the diamond industry itself, and experienced jewelers tend to have differing opinions about it. Here at Ritani, we’ve been crafting diamond jewelry for 20 years. Our diamond experts are here to provide objective answers to 12 of the most common diamond fluorescence questions.

Some jewelers say that fluorescence always has a negative effect on your diamond’s quality and appearance. But here at Ritani, we believe that diamond fluorescence is actually more a matter of personal taste. In fact, if you understand it correctly, it can be your friend when you’re ready to purchase.

1. What is diamond fluorescence?

“Fluorescence, in its most simple form, is the effect that ultraviolet (UV) light has on a diamond,” according to the GIA. UV lights (aka black lights), enhance the visibility of certain elements causing them to glow or radiate light. A diamond that glows under UV light is called ‘fluorescent’.

2. Do all GIA or AGSL certified diamonds receive a fluorescence grade?

Yes, every loose diamond with a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certificate has a fluorescence grade. You can find the fluorescence grade in the “Additional Grading Criteria” section of the GIA grading report.
GIA-diamond-grading-report-sample

If your stone has been graded by the AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratories), you’ll find the fluorescence grade under the Comments section.

agsl-diamond-grading-report-fluorescence

3. What is the grading scale for diamond fluorescence?

Diamond fluorescence chart. Photo credit: Adiamor.

The GIA’s fluorescence scale runs from least to most fluorescent: None, Faint, Medium, Strong, and Very Strong. The AGSL used to use the grading term “Inert” in addition to None, but now they combined the two terms under a Negligible fluorescence grade.

GIA and AGS Fluorescence Grading Scales

GIA None Faint Medium Strong Very Strong
AGS Negligible Medium Strong Very Strong

4. What causes diamond fluorescence?

When you get to be over a billion years old, you tend to absorb a few things. Certain trace minerals within a diamond can cause it to glow – or “fluoresce”– under UV light. The trace minerals that cause this effect are aluminum, boron, and nitrogen.

diamond fluorescence scale from the GIA

5. How is a diamond’s fluorescence level determined?

Grading labs use UV spectrum lights and a master set of fluorescent diamonds for comparison in order to determine a diamond’s fluorescence grade. Over 95% of loose diamonds that have fluorescence have blue fluorescence, meaning they will glow a pale blue when put under a UV light. The next most common fluorescence color is yellow.

See ‘How does diamond fluorescence affect color?‘ for ways this fluorescence can work for you.

6. What is the average or most common fluorescence grade?

round cut diamond with a fluorescence grade of None

The most common diamond fluorescence grade is None. Only about a quarter to a third of loose diamonds have some level of visible fluorescence, and less than 10% of this subset have fluorescence that affects their appearance under regular (non-UV) light. The least common fluorescence grade is the highest: Very Strong.

7. Does diamond fluorescence affect any of the 4C grades? How about diamond polish or symmetry?

Diamond fluorescence can affect a diamond’s color under certain types of lighting, but not any of the other 4Cs, polish or symmetry.

8. How does diamond fluorescence affect color?

Fluorescence can affect a diamond’s color grade in one of two ways. On one hand, consider a diamond with a lower color grade such as K or L, but with a high blue fluorescence grade. The diamond’s fluorescence will actually negate the yellow hue and make it appear more white in natural daylight.

On the other hand, yellow fluorescence can have a negative effect on a diamond’s color. Say you have a diamond with yellow fluorescence and an H or I color grade. In full sunlight, the diamond will intensify the faint yellow color grade.

In addition, diamonds with yellow or white fluorescence can appear to have hazy or milky hues.

9. Does fluorescence affect certain diamond shapes more?

Sorry, no gaming the system with this one. All of the diamond shapes, from round to princess to asscher, are affected equally by diamond fluorescence.

10. Do fancy color diamonds receive fluorescence grades?

Yes, colored diamonds are graded for fluorescence just like colorless stones. Unlike white diamonds, though, the vast majority of fancy colored diamonds look better with None or Faint fluorescence grades. You can imagine how both blue and yellow fluorescence could dilute or degrade the color quality of a fancy colored diamond.

11. How does diamond fluorescence affect price?

A fluorescence grade of Faint to Very Strong can lower a diamond’s price. Diamonds with fluorescence grades of None tend to be priced at a premium, since the traditional wisdom says that fluorescence is undesirable. However, fluorescence isn’t necessarily a negative trait, which means you can save money by choosing a diamond with some level of fluorescence.

Remember, fluorescence affects the appearance of a very small minority of loose diamonds under natural light. Further, diamonds with lower color grades can actually look better with a bit of blue fluorescence. It follows that you can get excellent value by choosing a diamond with a lower color grade that is enhanced by its fluorescence.

12. When did diamond fluorescence become an important part of diamond grading?

The GIA conducted a comprehensive study in 1997 about diamond fluorescence and how it affects appearance and color. Ever since, fluorescence has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the diamond industry.

If you’re unsure whether to choose a diamond with fluorescence, the best thing to do is to see a few diamonds for yourself. Take advantage of Ritani’s Free In Store Preview, or simply go into a local jeweler and ask to compare a few fluorescent diamonds to diamonds without fluorescence.


Want to read more about diamond fluorescence?

LEARN MORE

Have you ever been suspicious that a loose diamond you bought wasn’t real, or wondered whether your diamond jewelry was genuine? If the stone came with a certificate from the GIA or AGS, you can rest assured that it’s legit. However, if the diamond was a gift or an inheritance and you don’t have the certificate, you’re right to wonder.

If you’ve got a stone you’re in doubt about, here are 7 ways to check its authenticity.

Should you try the scratch test?

People used to think that the “scratch test” was the easiest way to test a diamond. The test is to simply scratch the loose stone against a mirror. The idea is that if the stone is hard enough to scratch the mirror, it’s probably a diamond.

In terms of the Mohs scale, however, this test proves inaccurate. The Mohs scale is a scientific measurement of mineral hardness. Glass is rated a 5.5, and diamonds, the hardest mineral, are a 10. So, genuine diamonds will scratch a mirror. On the other hand, so will quartz (7), moissanite (9.25), and cubic zirconia (8). Moissanite and cubic zirconia engagement rings are almost as hard as their diamond counterparts.

Most well-made synthetic diamonds will seem authentic if you only use the scratch test. Here are some other tests with more reliable results.

1. It’s a little too perfect: The Magnification Test

7-ways-magnification-test

What you need:

  • A magnifying glass with 10X magnification or higher
  • A diamond that you know is genuine
  • Your questionable stone

How it works:

First look at your questionable stone under the microscope. Then look at the genuine diamond, and compare the differences. The genuine diamond will have some internal or external flaws, known as inclusions. If the other stone is cubic zirconia or moissanite, it will have no internal flaws, and probably no external flaws either.

That’s because real diamonds are natural rocks that were formed in the earth, while cubic zirconia and moissanite are grown in labs. They’re not subject to all the environmental pressures that diamonds get while forming, so they don’t have those telltale quirks that identify a real diamond.

Caveats:

  • If you don’t have a real diamond to compare your loose stone to, you should head to your local jeweler.
  • If your questionable stone happens to be legit and has a clarity grade of Internally Flawless or Flawless, you won’t see any internal flaws. These are the rarest and most expensive diamond clarity grades though, and it’s unlikely a diamond of such high quality isn’t certified, unless its an heirloom piece.

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2. It retains heat: The Fog Test

fog-test-huff

What you need:

  • Yourself
  • The questionable stone

How it works:

Go to a relatively cool location, and blow hot air on the stone. (Just don’t do this in the middle of Central Park unless you want to get some funny looks.) You’re trying to surround the stone with warm moist air. Since a real diamond doesn’t retain heat well, your breath won’t create a fog on its surface. But a piece of moissanite will get fogged up quickly, just like your mirror, sunglasses, or cell phone screen.

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3. It doesn’t glow: The Black Light Test

diamond-black-light-lineWhat you need:

  • A strong UV light
  • The stone

How it works:

Hold the stone under the UV light, and see if the color seems to change at all. If the stone emits a bluish glow, it is most likely a real diamond.

Caveats:

Because of the way fluorescence in real diamonds works, this test isn’t definitive. Since some real diamonds don’t have any fluorescence, you wouldn’t see a blue glow even if it was real.

So, if the stone doesn’t emit a blue glow or glows a different color under the UV light, you can try another one of these tests at home. To get the most definitive answer, you should take it in to a professional jeweler.

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4. You can see right through it: The Newspaper Testdiamond-test-newspaper

What you need:

  • A newspaper
  • The stone in question

How it works:

Place the stone on top of the newspaper, and see if you can read the words on the page through it.
A real diamond of decent quality will refract light so intensely that you can’t see through it. On the other hand, cubic zirconia is more transparent, and you’ll be able to see right through it.

Caveats:

This test is less reliable if the stone is relatively small (less than a half-carat), or is set in a piece of jewelry, which can obstruct your view.

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5. It can’t take the heat: The Candle/Lighter Testdiamond-test-lighter

What you need:

  • A lighter or candle flame
  • A glass of very cold water
  • A pair of tweezers to hold the stone with
  • The stone in question (loose — don’t do this if it’s in a piece of jewelry!)

How it works:

Holding the loose stone with the tweezers, heat it up over the lighter or candle flame for about 30 – 45 seconds. Then, drop it immediately into the icy water. A real loose diamond will not react to this extreme temperature change (they’re made of extremely strong material). However, many fake diamonds – including those made of glass, cubic zirconia, or quartz – will break or shatter during this test.

Caveats:

If your stone survives this test, congratulations! But be prepared to clean off any residual ash from the flame afterward. The quickest way is to soak it in a solution of warm water and toothpaste for at least 3 minutes, then gently scrub it clean with a toothbrush.! And don’t forget to rinse!

For more tips on cleaning your ring, see our helpful infographic.

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6. It floats: The Water Testdiamond-test-float-line

What you need:

  • A glass of water
  • The loose stone

How it works:

Simply drop the loose stone into the water. Because loose diamonds are so dense, they should sink to the bottom when dropped in a glass of water. Many diamond fakes – glass and quartz included – will float or not sink as quickly because they’re less dense.

Caveats:

This test is not foolproof. Large pieces of cubic zirconia and moissanite can sink fairly quickly if they’re heavy enough, even though they’re not as dense as a diamond.

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diamond-test-conductivity7. It resists electricity: The Conductivity Test

What you need:

  • You’re going to have to leave the house for this one. Take your stone to a local jeweler.

How it works:

Something that not too many people know about diamonds is that they resist electricity. Testing a loose stone for electric conductivity is especially helpful if you aren’t sure whether your stone is a diamond or moissanite. Moissanite (if it is made well) can be extremely difficult to tell apart from a genuine diamond, having the same level of thermal conductivity. However, one relatively simple way to tell the difference is that moissanite will conduct electricity while a natural diamond will not.

With the rise of moissanite in today’s diamond market, the majority of jewelers have an electricity testing tool on hand to determine the real from the lab-created.

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If you have a loose stone or piece of diamond jewelry and you are unsure about its authenticity, try some of these home tests. Or, bring the stone to any of Ritani’s retail partners, who are sure to have electricity testing, UV lights, and more tools that can determine the difference between a real diamond and a fake.

Have you ever tested at home or at a jewelry store whether a diamond was real or fake? What were the results? Please share any comparison photos, comments, or additional questions in the comments below!

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