Precious gems

When considering gems, remember once again that you are likely to wear this ring every day for the rest of your life. Local jewellers are finding that more women want a few stones in their wedding band. All of these young brides are all about having bling! But on a practical level stone choice is important.

While softer stones can be beautiful, they aren't always the best choice for a wedding ring.
The international Mohs scale registers a stone's ability to resist abrasion – 10 (for diamonds) is the strongest and 1 (for talc) is the weakest. Anything less than a 7 is not recommended for a wedding ring. If you do a lot of work with your hands then it is probably wise to limit your selection to harder stones such as rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

As a rule of thumb, the darker the colour, the more expensive the stone.

Diamonds – a girl's best friend
Shopping for a diamond without educating yourself first can be frustrating and confusing. Anyone shopping for a special stone should first acquaint themselves with 'the for C's' – colour, cut, clarity, and carat. The wise among us also include a fifth C – cost.

With the exception of 'fancy coloured diamonds', the more colourless a diamond is, the more valuable it is. Jewellers grade diamonds on a scale from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). Anything more yellow than D is considered fancy and is much more expensive.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that cut means the actual shape of the diamond. In fact, it means the way the diamond was faceted to allow light to reflect from it. In a well-cut diamond, light enters the diamond and reflects straight back to the viewer's eye. Cut can be very difficult for a layperson to evaluate, which is why it is important to get an AGS certificate or a GIA certificate verifying the quality. Cut is graded ideal, premium, very good, good, fair, and poor. Generally, you should seek an ideal to very good grade.

Diamonds frequently have inclusions, or small flaws, air bubbles, scratches, or other minerals inside the diamond. The fewer inclusions a diamond has, the more valuable it its, and the more beautiful it is. The scale for grading a diamond's clarity is:

F: Flawless no internal or external inclusions.
IF: Internally flawless no internal inclusions, slight external inclusions.
VVS1-VVS2: Very Very Slightly Included – minute inclusions that are very difficult to detect under 10x (very high) magnification even by an experienced grader.
VS1-VS2: Very Slightly Included – minute inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye and seen only with difficulty under 10x magnification.
SI1-SI2: Slightly Included – invisible to the naked eye, yet easily seen by an experienced grader under 10x magnification.
I-13: Included inclusions are visible to the naked eye and affect brilliance.

This refers to the size of the stone. While some value carat above all, others prefer a small ring regardless of budget.

Ideally, you'll be able to try on a variety of sizes within your budget to see which size look best on you.

Now you know a little more about what is potentially one of the most important purchases of your life, be educated, be fearless – go forth and buy your perfect wedding ring!