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A comprehensive guide for choosing the diamond engagement rings Brisbane has to offer

A helpful guide for explaining the complicated world of diamond selection and how to choose the perfect ring for your fiance

It is not every day that you get the exciting chance to choose or be surprised with a diamond engagement ring! Often, it is the most important, meaningful, and expensive ring purchase a person can make in their lifetime. Not only a symbol of love and commitment, it also serves as a sparkly, daily reminder of lifelong dedication. Therefore you want to ensure the wearer is as in love with the ring as they are with the person that gave it to them! But where to start?

Suppose you haven't delved into the world of diamonds before and are not a jewellery savant. In that case, navigating the four c's - cut, colour, carat, and clarity can seem overwhelming. Not to mention the added choices of the style of setting, diamond shape, metal colour, stone orientation, the list goes on, and this is all before we consider the all-important B word! Budget!

To assist you in your journey of finding a breathtaking engagement ring, and to help alleviate some of the confusion, we have compiled a comprehensive guide brimming with helpful tips and budget savvy suggestions for finding the perfect diamond engagement ring in Brisbane.

To start the process, consider the following questions:

  • What style of ring is preferred?
  • What is the budget?
  • How much sparkle (fire and brilliance) is wanted?
  • Is size the most important factor?
  • Will this style of ring be suitable for the lifestyle of the wearer?
  • What is the preferred metal colour?
  • Is the ring going just to have one stone or multiple stones?

What are the four C's and which one is most critical?

Cut

The most critical of the four C's when choosing your diamond is 'cut'! While you may hear people swoon over carat size or colour, the cut is crucial in determining a diamonds beauty and radiance. Regardless of the colour or carat, a poorly cut diamond will not reflect the light to the eyes and may appear dull and lifeless. Not to be confused with a diamonds shape, a diamonds cut is determined by how well a diamond is polished, how well proportioned the stone is, its depth, symmetry, and fire (the dispersion of light into the colours of the visible spectrum, seen as flashes of colour).

How do I know if my diamond is well cut?

When cutting a diamond, the aim is to strike an optimal balance between the quality of the cut and the carat size of a diamond. With clients often want to maximise carat size, it is essential to note the grade of the cut when choosing a diamond to ensure brilliance and sparkle aren't compromised in the process. To ensure consistency across the industry, a diamond is given a grading cut:

Excellent - provides the highest level of fire and brilliance. Pristinely and precisely cut, it reflects almost all of the light that touches the diamond.

Very good - Comparable in quality and light reflection to an excellent cut diamond. Often they appear to exhibit similar radiance and sparkle to the naked eye.

Good - These diamonds are cut to maximise the original diamonds size instead of focusing on producing a smaller excellent cut quality diamond. While they still reflect light, the sparkle is often disproportionate and noticeably less brilliant.

Fair - Ideal for smaller size stones on a ring, the light quickly exits through the bottom and sides of these diamonds.

Poor - Very rare due to the lack-lustre nature of the stone and lack of brilliance.

Diamond purchasing tip: Choose a diamond with a cut grade of very good or excellent for round diamonds and good or better in fancy shape diamonds. When choosing a diamond in this range, make sure its symmetry and polish are very good or excellent so that the impact of the above-average cut is not diminished. If you are concerned with size but also on a budget, a diamond of fair - good cut will lend itself better to fancy shapes. While the diamond will lack the scintillation and brilliance of a well-cut diamond, it will allow more bling for your bucks with a significant increase in size.

Where do I start when deciding the shape of the diamond?

Looking for something breathtaking and striking? Are you drawn to intricate detail? Or is a timeless aesthetic more to your liking? Regardless of your preference, the shape of your diamond will be the piece de resistance of your engagement ring. If you've begun the process without having your heart set on a particular form, then the good news is you can objectively weigh up the pros and cons of each type. If budget is crucial when deciding, fancy shape diamonds may be your best friend. Oval, emerald, pear and marquise cuts can appear more significant than their round counterparts due to their elongated form. Having said that, a well-cut round diamond will make up in sparkle and brilliance what it may lack in size! To assist in the decision-making process, we've listed the 'for' and 'against' for each diamond:

Round Brilliant

A brilliant-cut round diamonds sparkle is classic and timeless and will leave a lasting impression. A round-brilliant cuts sparkle is created by having most facets angled towards each other, creating a kaleidoscopic light mirroring effect. The cut style and quality will ensure that a diamond with a smaller carat will appear significantly more prominent, even though its face-up surface area won't be as large. Great news, becausethis popular shape is also the most expensive!

Oval

Of late, oval diamonds have been making a daring play at the hearts of engaged couples! It is easy to see why, with an oval cut diamond costing up to thirty percent less than a round cut ring of the same weight. In addition, oval cut diamonds have a lovely lengthening effect on the hand, are most popular in a North-South setting and mask any inclusions in the stone.

Buying Tip: Due to the nature of the cut, all oval cut diamonds will have a 'bowtie' effect in the middle of the ring. Scrutinise the stone to ensure this doesn't result in dull or dark patches in the centre of your ring.

Princess Cut

The princess cut appears larger in the squarer version of the brilliant round cut due to more extended diagonal measurements. While it's no secret that they won't quite match the brilliance of the round cut, what you slightly lose in sparkle you confidently make up for in size. They can be well suited to solitaire and three-stone engagement rings, but can catch or snag on the corners and need to be well protected by prongs to avoid damage or chipping.

Emerald and Asscher Cut

Perfect for capturing the glamour of a bygone era, this vintage-inspired cut creates a captivating 'hall of mirrors' effect. While this cut won't hide inclusions or imperfections, the chiselled step cuts with linear facets allow for broader light flashes and beautiful reflection of both white and coloured light.

Buying tip: Ensure that the shape is symmetrical and that there are no dark patches that absorb the light.

Radiant

Radiant cut diamonds feature rectangular cuts with bevelled edges. Excellent at both hiding inclusions while providing the brilliance of round cut. Their bevelled edges offer excellent stability, making them ideal for active lifestyles.

Buying Tip: Steer away from a bezel setting if choosing this alluring cut and opt for a prong setting instead. Partner a radiant cut engagement ring with a wedding band featuring radiant cut diamonds for the icing on the cake.

Cushion

As the name suggests, these diamonds have gentle outlines shaped like a cushion. Romantic and timeless these diamonds offer a softer and more 'feminine' option for those wanting a 'squarer' shape but without the harsh angles.

Buying tip: Want to make the experience more colourful? Choose a coloured gem such as a ruby, sapphire or emerald cut in the cushion shape for a statement-making piece.

Pear

Exceptionally popular in Halo style settings, it doesn't get more unique than a pear-shaped diamond. Boasting a large surface area but at a fraction of the price of a round cut this diamonds 'teardrop' shape, like the oval, is captivating and flattering. Ensure your diamond is set correctly and protected adequately to avoid chipping at the tip.

Buying Tip: To ensure maximum shimmer check the symmetry of the cut.

Heart

Distinctive and embued with romance, this unique, heart-shaped diamond has experienced a resurgence on the engagement ring scene. With proportion playing an equally important role as symmetry, the two lobes of the heart should be identical.

Buying Tip: Opt for a larger carat size with a complimenting setting; otherwise, the diamond may seem dwarfed and lose the definition of the shape.

Marquise

Dating back to 18th century France, this elongated, elliptical-shaped diamond-cut boasts the highest surface area to carat ratio of any diamond shape. Best set with prongs protecting either end of the stone, the Marquise is often celebrated for its unique, eye-catching shape.

Now that I've decided on a shape, what is the best setting style?

The following essential factors influence how your engagement ring looks and feels and guide how your stone should be set.

Prong

Most rings feature 4 or 6 prongs designed to mount and securely hold the diamond in place. Prong settings are often the preferred style of setting. They are unobtrusive, provide minimal metal interference, allow more light to hit the diamond, compliment almost all diamond shapes, and are customisable, allowing the diamond to be easily lowered or elevated. A well-designed ring should have prongs that look proportional and do not overshadow or take away from the diamonds shape or cut.

Buying Tip: When purchasing a ring with a prong setting, ensure that the prongs sit snugly against the diamond with no visible gaps. Poorly made prongs will repeatedly catch on clothes and hair over time. Run your fingers over the prongs to ensure a smooth and well-fashioned finish.

Bezel

Unlike a prong setting, a bezel setting either partially or wholly encloses the diamond in a protective thin metal rim. Popular with people with active lifestyles, they protect more vulnerable stones from the threat of chipping or being dislodged from the setting and can also be cleverly fashioned to hide inclusions on the edge of the diamond.

Something to consider: A bezel setting will reduce the amount of light entering the diamond, so the same diamond will appear less brilliant than in a prong setting.

Tiffany

This world-famous setting was created in 1886 by Charles Lewis Tiffany. Classic, feminine and timeless, it features a round brilliant cut diamond set high with a six claw setting. The secret of the Tiffany settings allure is due to the amount of light that can penetrate the stone.

Cluster

Similar to the pave setting, cluster settings feature multiple smaller stones fashioned together to appear like one large stone. Used to replicate a large square or round diamond, they can also be fashioned to create more bespoke shapes such as flowers and often are favoured for their mid-century or art deco feel.

Things to consider: A multitude of diamonds equals a multitude of prongs which inevitably means more maintenance. Therefore, it will be necessary to check that the prongs haven't been damaged regularly!

Halo

A halo setting is a great option for creating a 'wow' effect. Instead of choosing one sizeable diamond, multiple small diamonds can be set , know as pavé, closely around a centre stone to create an alluring field or 'path' of sparkle that makes the stone appear larger than it is. The benefit 'more sparkle for your spend!'

Something to consider: Depending on the style of the Pave settings, these rings can be harder to resize.

Cathedral

Named because of the two regal arches that hold the setting in place which mimick a cathedral building, this setting allows the diamond to sit up high while being securely flanked by the two elegant metal arches.

Buying tip: Like a Tiffany setting, the cathedral setting elevates the stone but will require more time and effort when cleaning due to the added number of crevices.

Channel

Snag-free in its design, channel rings feature stones set between a 'thick metal channel' which secures the diamonds tightly. A popular choice for people who like the pave' look but are looking for a more durable setting.

Split-shank

An iconic design, a split-shank ring is different from other styles in that the band parts as it reaches the centre diamond. This distinctive design aids the ring in looking more ornate and embellished as the shank (or band) is often pavé for a feminine yet contemporary look.

Tension

Using compression to hold the diamond in place, a tension setting offers a unique and modern alternative for those looking to embrace something less traditional. Appearing as though the stone is suspended in air, it is secured by exerting pressure from both sides of the band onto the stone, sometimes aided by minor grooves or minature prongs.

Before you buy: While tension rings will allow for an abundance of light to interact with your diamond, they cannot be resized.

East-West

The stone's horizontal location identifies an east to west setting, which runs perpendicular to the finger. Emerald, oval and marquise stones work best in this setting. While it won't have the elongating effect on the hand that a north-south setting has, the stone will appear larger.

Clarity

A geologist determines the purity and rarity of a stone and the degree to which it is free from blemishes and inclusions (small imperfections). In addition, a geologist determines clarity by using a 10x magnification and a grading system which assigns each diamond a rating on the clarity scale. Naturally occurring, these inclusions can affect the diamonds transference and reflection of light. Therefore, when assigning a clarity grade to a diamond, the number, size, nature, and position of these inclusions and how they affect the stones overall appearance are evaluated.

Diamonds are graded into 6 categories and 11 diamond categories:

Flawless Diamonds (FL)

  • No internal of external inclusions (incredibly rare)

Internally Flawless Diamonds (IF)

  • Some small blemishes or inclusions may be visible under a microscope
  • No inclusions internally, may present some surface blemishes
  • Visually eye clean

*Good to know: The term 'eye clean' means that the diamonds inclusions are not visible to the naked eye and require magnification to be seen. *

Very, Very Slightly Included Diamonds (VVS) - VVS1, VVS2

  • Have tiny inclusions that can be hard to pickup even under magnification
  • Visually eye clean

Very Slightly Included Diamonds (VS) - VS1, VS2

  • Inclusions range from difficult (VS1) to easier to see (VS2) at 10x magnification

Slightly Included Diamonds (S1) - SI1, SI2

  • Inclusions are noticeable at 10x magnification
  • SI diamonds are often eye clean
  • SI2 diamonds may have some detectable inclusions to the eye, especially if viewed from the side.

Included Diamonds (I) - I1, I2, I3

  • I clarity diamonds have noticeable and obvious inclusions that visibly impact the appearance of the diamond.
  • Not recommended for engagement rings

While it may feel tempting to want to choose to buy a flawless diamond or an internally flawless diamond, prioritising the cut quality or carat weight will be a better allocation of your budget. While an FL or IL diamond may 'prove to be a better diamond on paper', there is little difference in the visual appearance between this diamond grade and a VVS1 or VVS2 diamond. What you forgo in moving down the clarity scale, you will be able to compensate for in cut quality and carat size.

Carat

The carat of a diamond is an industry specific term that refers to how much a diamond weighs. A carat is 200 milligrams, and each carat is then further subdivided into 100 'points. This system allows jewellers to give exact carat measurements. Typically, the greater the carat weight, the greater the cost of the diamond because larger diamonds are preferred. However, the cost of two diamonds of equal carat weight can vary immensely based on the other three C's.

Buying tip: A clever tip when buying a round diamond is to choose a diamond that is just under a popular weight. For e.g. a 0.97CT will be much cheaper than its 1.0CT counterpart, and the difference is indistinguishable to the eye!!

Colour

When discussing diamond colour, the grading of the diamond refers to the diamonds lack of colour—the 'whiter' the diamond, the higher its grading and desirability. Grading levels begin at Grade D (the whitest) and end at a Grade Z (noticeable yellow or brown tones).

Diamonds graded D,E and F are the most valuable as the differences in colour are only detectable by trained gemologists and barely noticeable unless placed side by side. If choosing diamonds with a grading of D-F the setting should either be in white gold or platinum. If set in yellow gold, the white diamonds pick up the metals yellow tones.

Buying tip: If you choose a diamond over 1 carat and are looking for a diamond that appears colourless to the naked eye, consider a G-H grade. If your diamond is under 1 carat, then an I-J coloured diamond will be comparable. If your budget doesn't stretch to both a quality cut and a higher colour graded diamond, then opt for the quality cut over colour.

Coloured stones

While diamonds may be a girl's best friend, next in line for her attention are coloured stones. For those wanting to step away from tradition and are drawn to colour, popular options include rubies, emeralds, pink tourmalines, yellow diamonds, and sapphires, the hardiest gems next to a diamond.

Choosing the perfect type of metal

Just as important (and exciting) as choosing the cut, shape and setting of your diamond is the bands colour and metal that supports it.

Here are four key things to consider when deciding on the perfect metal ring colour:

  1. Skin colour - while rose gold will suit almost all skin types, warmer skin tones are better suited to yellow gold and cooler skin tones lend themselves well to white gold, platinum and silver.
  2. Lifestyle - Are you active and don't want to remove your rings constantly? Then opt for the more durable of the metals - 18ct gold or platinum. These metals are recommended for those wearing their rings daily and experiencing lots of wear and tear.
  3. White gold or platinum? White gold and platinum look comparable; however, a white gold band will need re-plating every two years. Platinum, on the other hand, is hypoallergenic, doesn't tarnish and is incredibly durable.
  4. Try before you buy! It may sound ludicrous but don't get too invested in a particular style of ring or colour until you have tried it. What may look great in a catalogue or on a friend's hand may not suit yours.

Something to consider: Love the idea of a colourless diamond but are worried that your gold band will affect the hue? Have the diamond set in platinum or white gold, and then choose yellow gold for the band.

Wedding Bands

Often in the excitement of choosing an engagement ring, the second most important ring of your life can become an afterthought. While there are no hard and fast rules about having a matching wedding band with your spouse, the style of engagement ring you choose will affect whether or not your wedding band will need to be custom made. Depending on the shape of your setting, you can either choose to buy your engagement ring and wedding ring as a bridal set, purchase the two separately or have your wedding band customised to fit snugly against your engagement ring.

When choosing a wedding band, it will be important that the metal type and colour are complimentary. In addition, the band should sit tightly against the engagement ring, so it doesn't rub and weaken the setting. While your wedding band can be a statement in itself, your engagement ring should remain the hero of the ensemble. Another important consideration is the width of the band. If the band of your engagement ring is thick, a thin wedding band will seem disproportionate and vice-versa.

Diamonds set in a cathedral setting will have ample space for a wedding band to sit flush beneath the stone. However, if the stone protrudes or is a large stone set in a north-south style, you may want to consider a contoured or notched wedding band. Both bands are designed to either follow the contour of your engagement ring or have a piece of the band 'notched' out to compensate for the stone.

Suprise or shop together?

The biggest question to answer when choosing a ring is 'is this going to be a surprise, or will we be picking it together?' If you want to stick to tradition and think your partner will relish the surprise (but feel a little nervous about making the decision alone), consider taking a family member or friend intimately acquainted with your partner's style. A second opinion can be invaluable when making this lifelong decision and investment. Discreetly take a ring that your partner frequently wears on their left hand and get it sized by the jeweller (using a mandrel), keeping in mind that unless you know their exact ring size it will probably need resizing.

Remember, it is always easier to size a ring down than to size a ring up!!

If choosing a ring becomes a joint venture, consider having your partner narrow it down to two or three rings that they love and then make the final choice as a surprise. Again, be open in your communication. Before shopping, ensure you are both on the same page in terms of budget and ring affordability.

Caring for your rings

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and like all great relationships, they require time and care!

  1. Clean your rings regularly - every 2 to three weeks, soak your ring overnight in a cup of warm water with some liquid detergent. Gently clean with a soft toothbrush to remove any build-up or residue and then rinse and dry.
  2. Regularly check your rings setting, especially the prongs that are holding your diamond in place. If your hand or ring has sustained a hard knock or caught on something, take it to the jeweller to ensure your prized diamond isn't at risk of coming loose.
  3. While it can be good to remove your rings for strenuous activities or wash hands, be strategic where and when you take rings off, so they don't get lost or left on someone's bathroom basin.

Try this tip: Keep ring dishes in key locations of your home. Then, if you do take them off to wash your hands, you'll have a safe and consistent place to put them.

A list of the best Brisbane jewellers who can design and craft your engagement ring:

Hogans Family Jewellers

With their artisans boasting over 150 years of combined experience, the passionate team at Hogans jewellers are renowned for creating bespoke, generational pieces for their customers. With a commitment to excellence, sustainability and a guarantee that all diamonds are of the highest quality and conflict-free, they are the first choice for couples who prioritise attention to detail. Operating in the Toowoomba region for over 75 years, this family-based business is well acquainted with the art of customising and creating perfect pieces for that once in a lifetime proposal or even engagment present ideas.

'I have been a happy customer of Hogan's Family Jewellers for two decades, and I can speak from experience that there is no better jewellery boutique. Whether I have purchased new jewellery, had jewellery remodelled, or custom designed, Hogan's expertise, quality, and value are of the highest standard. Lachlan Hogan has recently designed and made a 6-carat diamond ring for us, with the centre stone being 5ct. We knew that there was only one jeweller we could trust to deliver a unique and spectacular piece of "sparkle" that will be a family heirloom for generations to come.' Anna Maria

Hardy Brothers

A name synonymous with luxury and elegance, the Hardy Brothers is one of the most revered design houses in the Asia Pacific. Boasting a legacy that extends back to 1853 and set apart by the Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, they offer unmatched quality and craftsmanship. Premium stones showcased in flawless settings are offered in both traditional styles and breathtaking modern interpretations.

'We're careful to ensure that our customer's vision is at the centre of the process, not our own.' Stuart Bishop, Hardy Brothers CEO

Diamondport Brisbane city

With a commitment to creativity and bespoke customer service, Diamondport Jewellers prioritise buying their diamonds direct from international diamond cutters and passing the savings onto their customers. A handy 'drop a hint' feature allows you to share preferred rings with your soon-to-be significant other. Offering free engagement ring resizing, they are committed to living up to their claims of being Brisbane's finest diamond engagement ring specialist.

'My fiancé worked with Ashley and the team at Diamondport to design my dream engagement ring. I was blown away by the elegant pear cut and the custom basket design. Beau proposed about a month ago, and every day since, I catch myself staring at it with awe and pinching myself that this ring is mine forever. I met with Ashley soon after our engagement for a post-proposal follow-up session. He provided me with a range of information and tips for ring care. I would recommend this company to those in the market for their forever ring.' Rose

Lannah Dunn Fine Jewellery

Celebrating rarity, beauty, creativity, and uncompromising quality Lannah Dunn specialises in antique and vintage pieces. With antique pieces personally sourced from both the UK and France, they offer a highly curated collection of unique and one-off pieces.

'I'm one lucky lady. The ladies at Lannah Dunn Toowoomba helped pick a selection of the most beautiful antique, and Art Deco engagement rings for my now fiancé to choose from and was so kind and patient with both of us during our visits. Their advice, expertise and suggestions were spot on, and I now get to spend the rest of my life wearing one of their stunning works of art. There's no need to shop anywhere else. I'm an absolute Lannah Dunn addict and will now be shopping there for their unique pieces for years to come. Thank you so much for being such an essential part of our story.' Kirsten

McKinney's

Purveyors of fine diamonds, the McKinney diamond house features international jewellery collections and coveted Ashoka and Argyle pink diamond pieces. Couples looking for high-end engagement rings and wedding bands can also book a private online experience to view their collection.

Ryley Jewellery Creations

Combining artistry with passion the team at Ryley creations, headed by Ewen Ryley, offer a bespoke experience when designing and crafting your engagement ring. With a focus on exceptional customer service, which includes a private design appointment in their impressive studio, all creations come with a complimentary clean and inspection service for life and are also backed by a lifetime warranty.

'My Fiancé and I wanted to design my engagement ring together and we really wanted to make sure we went somewhere local and supported a smaller business. Ewan was AMAZING. He sat down with us and explained the whole process, what kind of gold and diamonds would work for the design I was after. 3 weeks later I had the ring I had dreamt of on my hand. Thank you so much to the team, we will forever be grateful.' Kiara

Ashley Douglas

Located in the heritage-listed Argyle Arcade, this distinguished jewellery house has provided Brisbane couples with beautiful engagement and wedding rings for over 20 years. With a wealth of experience and providing a comprehensive suite of services, they specialise in customising engagement rings and both menand women's wedding bands. Be sure to peruse their selection of black diamonds if looking for something truly unique.

' Ashley Douglas Jewellers, what can I say...Another impeccable experience and truly exceptional job! Masters in their craft, truly lovely and genuine people, Ashley has done a stellar job on our wedding bands nearly two years after popping the question! Ashley and Douglas helped me with the engagement ring from start to finish. Now Ashley has finished it off with a fantastic wedding band for myself and the perfect wedding ring to compliment the engagement ring. Amazing, amazing work!' Emma

From start to finish, these diamond Brisbane engagment ring stores are here to guide you every step of the way when crafting and choosing the perfect engagement ring for your partner.

Claude & Me Jewellery

Trusted and respected family jeweller, Claude & Me Jewellery, prides itself on investing in meaningful customer relationships. Find Claude’s boutique store on bustling Park Road, Milton, where you’ll discover the finest range of exceptionally designed engagement rings. Or book yourself one-on-one specialist service with Claude, where he’ll endeavour to meet all your bespoke desires. Proudly family owned and operated, the name Claude & Me is the name shared between Claude and his customers.

“Beautiful store with lovely and helpful people. Very generous service and would definitely recommend for those special moments” Corey

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