Wedding ring purchase, a risky business

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    By Jeffrey Blackmun

    Most every man at some time or another will be in the market for an engagement ring. Undoubtedly, most men will have no idea where or how to start.

    There are a few basics that every guy should know before he buys the ring of his girlfriend’s dreams.

    “Do your homework,” said owner of Wilson Diamonds, Richard Wilson.

    Diamonds are graded using four basic characteristics, invented by the Gemological Institute of America, commonly referred to as the four C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

    Cut refers to the dimensions, proportions and angles of a diamond. Cut is graded from ideal one all the way down to class four.

    “Cut is by far the most important factor for beauty,” Wilson said.

    The color of a diamond is graded on a scale from D to Z. These grades range from colorless to light yellow diamonds.

    Clarity of a diamond depends on how many flaws or inclusions it contains. Some diamonds are internally flawless, but most have some flaws.

    Last, carat weight refers to how much a diamond weighs or how big it is. This is determined on a point scale, 1.00 is one-carat, .50 is a half-carat and so on.

    “The people who shop around and do their homework will get the best deals,” said owner of Payne Diamonds, David Payne.

    Buyers should be careful of jewelry stores that degrade other stores, try to sell a diamond that is already mounted, pressure customers to buy or claim that the ring is on sale, said Payne.

    “Don’t get suckered into the frills and thrills of a big jewelry store,” Payne said.

    Wilson offered the same precaution, “Grade inflation is very common. That’s why you have to do your homework.”

    Buying the perfect ring for a girl is personal. Some girls want to pick out a ring, others want to be surprised.

    “If you want an element of surprise be aware of what she wears now. Notice the size, shape, color and widths of her jewelry. Be in tune to the little things,” said Kenny Downing at Schubach Jewelers.

    “Know if she wants a solitaire or if she wants other diamonds around it,” Downing said. “Once you’re in the store, be customer sharp and understand what you’re looking for and looking at.”

    Choosing a metal to go with the diamond is easier. Most people choose between yellow gold, white gold and platinum.

    “Platinum is the hot item right now,” Payne said.

    In fact, Wilson Diamonds reports that two-thirds of everything it sells is either white gold or platinum.

    Remember, education and patience can make all the difference in making a girls dreams come true.

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