Engagement Ring Guide Part I: Sparkle

Marilyn Monroe sang, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, and lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the most important diamond a girl will receive… an engagement ring.  Most recently, I have been noticing lots of really different but amazing rings on other women and in the window’s of my neighborhood jewelers that are not what I have traditionally liked.  I’ve been thinking about, how to save money when buying a diamond, what makes it most sparkly, and what the priorities should be…

Deciding to do some research, I think I have narrowed it down to my top “engagement ring essentials”.  Because there is so much to learn and think about when buying a diamond, I wanted to break out these essentials into a series of posts to avoid an overwhelming amount of information.  It’s really interesting and really helpful in terms of understanding priorities when you are looking since there are SO MANY options, so many things to weigh, and of course since it’s costing several month’s salary.

1.  SPARKLE:  Bigger is not better if the diamond doesn’t shine.  This is not to say that I don’t want a big rock flashing about on my left hand, but recently I have seen some women with very large stones, that are dull, and not very pretty.  I’ve never been a diamond expert, but wanting to know what causes this dullness, lack of sparkle, and even cloudy appearance, I’ve done some research…  The factors that most affect a diamond’s sparkliness are CUT, SYMMETRY, DEPTH, and TABLE. 

    • CUT: This one is pretty easy to remember – the better the cut, the more light enters the diamond (meaning more sparkly).  This is probably the most important part to getting a sparkly diamond, so ALWAYS go for  the best cut possible (either ideal, or excellent).  Anything below that, and you will be losing significant sparkle. 


    • SYMMETRY: This refers to specific aspects of a diamond’s cut; with poor symmetry, light can be lost as it enters and exits the diamond – a good rule of thumb, symmetry and cut go hand in hand, so if you stick to an ideal/excellent cut, you will end up with good symmetry.  This diagram gives a good idea about how this works and why poor symmetry can be a BIG problem:


    • DEPTH: This is really a matter of quality control – if the diamond is too shallow or too deep, light is lost and the diamond looks dull – something really interesting that I learned was that a too deep diamond adds carat weight without looking bigger – shady!  The best diamonds are considered to range in depth percentage from 58% – 64%.  Be sure you specify this when looking and you’ll be good.
    • TABLE: Similar to depth – this is all in the cutting of a diamond, and is more mathmatical than anything; the ratio of the table width to diamond diameter and affects how much a diamond sparkles – the best diamonds range in table percentage from 53%-64%.  Stick to this, and you’ll be fine.

So much to learn, so little time!!!  Next up, the how to maximize the impact of your diamond!

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