By Suzy Smith
For Blount Today
When a woman announces that she is engaged, the first thing her friends and family do is look for the ring.
When shopping for diamonds, a person should consider the four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat.
The cut refers to the dimension, the width and dimension, of the diamond, not to the shape of the diamond. A diamond can be cut to maintain weight or to maintain brilliance and light. To maximize sparkle, light, fire and brilliance diamonds are cut to near perfect proportions.
Clarity refers to the presence or absence of internal and external flaws and blemishes. Most diamonds have some blemishes either natural or they occur when mining or cutting the diamond. The fewer the flaws, the rarer the diamond is and consequently the more expensive it is.
The color refers to the saturation of color in the diamond. Colorless diamonds are rare and more appealing to the eye. The more color present means that some of the colors will be filtered out when the light is reflecting back and eliminates the fire in the diamond.
The carat weight of the diamond is the size of the diamond. The larger sizes are rare and thus more expensive. One carat equals one-fifth gram or 0.007 ounces.
Young couples may find that they simply can’t afford the ring the bride would most love to have. Charity Bragg Thompson, vice president of Bristol and Bragg Jewelers has a solution.
“Starting out, a couple may not be able to afford the ring of her dreams. They should know they can always trade up in the future. That’s one of our specialties. We have a generous trade up policy. If the ring is purchase at the store you get the full value of what was originally paid for the ring off of the cost of the upgraded piece,” she said.
Thompson also added that the main importance in choosing a jeweler is finding one you can trust, one who will be around for a while should you decide to upgrade or should you need service. “Our focus is always on quality and knowing the piece will sustain over time. We’re committed to service after the sale. Also, we have a jeweler who is full time and can handle any need like sizing, making minor adjustments and major adjustments,” she said.
“We do a lot of custom pieces for bridal sales. We work with the customer to decide what they are looking for and our jeweler either custom manufactures it or we go out and find the piece. Most of the time the bride-to-be has some input,” Thompson said. “After all, it’s a ring she’ll wear forever.”
According to Darryl Downey, owner of Fairview Jewelers, a popular cut for the engagement ring is the square cut which is also known as the princess cut. Another hot trend for engagement rings is the vintage or antique look. Eighteen carat white gold is an excellent mounting choice for the antique look, said Downey.
“If buying a nice ring with an antique look in a semi-mount, chances are the girl wants a matching band,” Downey said. White gold wedding bands are gaining popularity.
For men, the titanium band is jumping in popularity. The attraction to this lightweight metal is the strength and durability of this scratch resistant band.
A nice titanium band, which is grayish or almost white in color, will only cost $50 while the comparable gold bands run in the $200 price range, said Downey. One down side to the titanium band is that it can’t be re-sized. The same goes for tungsten, another light weight metal known for its durability. Some companies do offer an option to send back the band and replace it for a larger size. However, for some couples, the wedding band is symbolic of everlasting love, and they are sentimentally attached to the wedding band.
For women, high polished white or yellow gold provides a traditional look that will complement any engagement ring. Other wedding bands available are the diamond wrap and a channel band.
According to Downey, Fairview offers engagement rings in one/half carat up to two carat because they want to be able to offer something for anyone who is in the market for an engagement ring. They also can engrave the wedding band, which is a service they provide free for customers.
At R & K Jewelers, owners Kimberly and Randall May, like to start with the gleam in a bride-to-be’s eyes. One of the services they offer is rings as unique as the couple with custom-designed rings.
“We have 32 years of experience in the jewelry business. We start from scratch and make total custom jewelry,” said Kimberly May. “We can reuse gold and stones from old jewelry and that saves the customer money because we don’t charge them for what they bring in for us to use.”
For even more originality, nothing beats a fingerprint and that’s what R & K Jewelers can provide. “For custom pieces we can put a fingerprint of anyone on the inside of the jewelry. It adds a personal touch for the bride to have the groom’s fingerprint in her ring and the groom to have the bride’s fingerprint in his,” said Kimberly May. Since all the work is done right in the store, May said they can usually get a custom piece completed in three to four days depending on how complicated it is.
For more information call Kimberly or Randall May at 865-984-1390 or e-mail them at email@example.com.
For more information about Bristol & Bragg Jewelers, visit their Web site at www.bristolbragg.com or visit the store at 715 Watkins Road in Maryville. Their phone number is 865-982-8565.
Fairview Jewelers is located at 1831 West Broadway. To reach them, call 865-380-0999.