Choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting process and getting through the 'sales-speak' and jargon can put a lot of pressure on you - whether going it alone or choosing together with your partner. In this article, our GIA certified gemologist and Creative Director, Saveet, takes you through some of the most asked questions and his top tips to provide clarity.
What background research should a couple do before they visit a jeweller for the first time?
Finding and buying the perfect engagement ring isn’t like buying anything else - it is one of the most important purchases you will make. It is therefore important that you find a jeweller that you trust and can build a relationship with. As a jeweller with a heritage spanning four generations, Savvy+Sand understand the importance of building a strong relationship with each of our clients - listening, guiding and advising you on your special purchase.
It is also important that the jeweller offers a complete service, so you can be confident that if any issues arise in the future, they will be there to assist you. Savvy+Sand offers this and more - from in-house GIA-trained gemologists, our own workshop for servicing and repairs, and a team of qualified jewellery designers for all bespoke pieces.
How does the design process work?
We understand having your bespoke engagement ring can be a daunting process, but with Savvy+Sand, we are here to help and guide you throughout the entire process - we are experienced at simplifying the process and making even complex designs accessible. During the creative consultation, we will discuss various aspects of design, also referring to existing jewellery to help develop your own bespoke concepts. From the concept, we will recommend precious metal choices and diamond options, considering your budget at every step.
The process is organic, personal and continuously evolves until we have your perfect design. At Savvy+Sand, we pride ourselves on our sensitive and eclectic design approach taking inspiration from many sources including nature, nostalgia, fashion and, of course, you and your own design story.
What should somebody know before having a ring custom made?
It is important that the person designing your ring is a qualified specialist with experience - ask to see what they have designed in the past to see if it suits your style and your quality aspirations. Also, ask to see actual rings from the jeweller, so you can see the quality of the craftsmanship. At Savvy+Sand, our craftsmen are exceptionally skilled, experienced and passionate about their craft. The communication between our designers and craftsmen is seamless - meaning your design on paper is exactly how it will be when crafted.
Would you recommend buying the setting and diamond from the same store or getting them separately at different places?
This is very much down to the credentials of the jeweller and, of course, trust. It is important that the jeweller understands both diamonds and setting styles, as some diamonds will be better suited to particular settings and vice versa. Here at Savvy+Sand, our in-house GIA-trained gemologists and jewellery designers work hand-in-hand to create the perfect engagement ring.
What advice would you give to a couple who are on a budget but still want a beautiful ring?
Everything is possible with Savvy+Sand. As creative designers, our qualified designers work with you to find or even custom design your perfect engagement ring to suit your reasonable budget. If it's a ring you truly aspire to, we will advise the best way forward to fit within your price aspirations.
Which of the 4Cs are most important and which is least important?
Each of the 4Cs (Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat) are equally important, but which you prioritise is a matter of your personal taste and budget. At Savvy+Sand, our in-house GIA-trained gemologists are here to guide you in your decision.
Some of the things to consider given a specific budget :
If you would prefer a beautiful, sparkling diamond you would focus on Cut, while going down the scale a few levels on colour or clarity.
If size (Carat) is important, you can scale back a fraction of a carat to save money.
At Savvy+Sand, we offer ‘A Diamond Advisory Service’, which empowers our clients with transparent, reliable and comparable diamond knowledge to help in their decision, taking into consideration their budget, personal taste and diamond aspirations.
Making a decision on the 4Cs is a question of balance - you have to attain the right balance for the given price parameter. At Savvy+Sand, our specialists will provide the perfect balance of size, scintillation and price for you.
Which shapes offer the most sparkle?
Since all diamond shapes are very different, each has its own unique characteristics that determine its ‘sparkle’. The sparkle is technically referred to as a diamond’s light performance, which is measured by it’s Cut grade. The shape that has the best light performance, which results in brilliance, fire and scintillation is the Round Brilliant. This also happens to be the most popular shape that clients at Savvy+Sand opt for.
Having said this, we only select diamonds with the optimal light performance for our clients, regardless of the shape.
Most people want the biggest diamond size they can get within their budget. What’s our advice?
The engagement ring you choose will be on your hand every day for the rest of your life. The biggest diamond size - although it may look fantastic, as long as it is well balanced by the other Cs - may not be the most practical option for daily wear. Some things to consider are :
Do you work in a job where you take care of people or are hands-on? If so, you may find a bigger diamond is uncomfortable to wear and some occupations may even prevent you from wearing it.
Having a larger diamond also means that there is more surface area for dirt and grime to hide.
Is it wiser to get three small stones well cut, or one larger stone, not so well cut?
At Savvy+Sand, we recommend Excellent to Very Good Cut diamonds only.
However, it is more of a personal preference, as you may prefer size over quality. From an investment standpoint, quality is rarer, therefore, more valuable in general.
Do you think the differences in carat sizes (0.10ct, 0.20ct) or (0.90ct, 1.00ct) are noticeable?
It is important to remember that Carat is the weight of a diamond, a weight on a weighing scale. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams.
The difference between carat weights, which is a minimal difference, are rarely noticeably in size with diamonds of the same make.
What will be noticeable is measurements - for example, not all 1.00ct diamonds measure the same. Some will have a larger face (table) size, whilst others will be deeper with a narrow face size.
All things being equal, it is noticeable when comparing different diamond carat weights side-by-side, but the difference is minimal.
What are the alternatives to diamonds?
The level of brilliance, fire and scintillation found in diamonds is difficult to mimic, but the closest alternative is the Moissanite. Moissanite has properties very close to diamonds and sparkle just as well, albeit with a rainbow sparkle, rather than the white and rainbow sparkle of a diamond. We have sourced and set hundreds of Moissanite stones into our ring settings.
Another option is aboveground - or - lab-grown diamonds. Aboveground diamonds are diamonds. Aboveground diamonds are created in a specialised foundry that recreates the way in which the Earth forms diamonds. Each aboveground diamond grows in its own way, with one-of-a-kind inclusions and unique growth patterns. No two aboveground diamonds are alike. Each is unique to the core.
How long should somebody expect it to take for a ring to be ready, once they’ve selected the stone and setting?
At Savvy+Sand, each piece is handcrafted individually to the highest standards. In general, pieces with high design content can take between 4 - 8 weeks, though we can have some of our rings created in as little as a week.
Is the old saying of ‘three month’s salary’ still a typical spend on an engagement ring?
The three month’s salary ‘rule’ was an advertising drive embedded in popular culture a few decades ago. It is not really considered nowadays as a rule. We find it is now a personal decision based on the importance of that ring to the client’s fiancée.
What advice would you give to someone who is unsure of their partner's ring size?
It is a question that we are frequently asked at Savvy+Sand! You can pretend, for example, that you are going to buy a ring for your mother/ sister/ aunt etc. Make sure that the pretend recipient is someone whose hands are similar in size to your partner. Casually ask what her ring size is for reference.
Another great way to find out her ring size is to ask one of her friends. Ask the friend to take your partner engagement ring shopping for fun. Have her get sized by a jeweller and ask her friend to report back to you.
Another popular method is to ‘borrow’ one of her old rings for a day. You need to be careful with this method because you need to be sure that you take a ring that she wears on a similarly sized finger - the ring finger of her right hand being the closest choice.
If you simply can’t figure out the size or you don’t want to risk it, consider choosing a temporary setting to propose with, which we offer through our Proposal Ring Service.
Most Savvy+Sand rings can be re-sized depending on their design characteristics.
My ring is too big what can I do?
In most cases, it is possible to have the ring resized.
After purchasing my ring what should I do?
It is also important to insure your ring to cover you against loss, theft etc. We recommend specialised jewellery insurance, as they are often more experienced in dealing with claims.
Our Advice on looking after your ring
Protect all jewellery from sharp blows or strong pressure. Cosmetics, hair spray, perfumes, other substances and chemicals may cause build-up of grime, which diminishes the natural sheen of jewellery.
For cleaning, Savvy+Sand does not recommend cleaning solutions, which could damage your ring if used incorrectly.
Even though you may want to wear your engagement ring all the time, you have to remember that it is precious fine jewellery, so we recommend that you remove it when working with your hands, such as: performing household tasks, gardening, playing sports, bathing, swimming, using abrasive products or engaging in any activity that could damage or cause the loss of your jewellery.
All Savvy+Sand engagement rings come with a complimentary annual service, that keeps your engagement ring looking as beautiful as the first day you wore it.
Do I need the services of an appraiser after I receive the diamond ring even though it already has a grading certificate?
The grading certificate only certifies your main diamond. It does not state a replacement value. It is therefore important to have an updated valuation, which reflects the true replacement value of your ring in the event of loss or damage. We provide a complimentary valuation for all purchases from Savvy+Sand.