What a week it has been! As I mentioned on Monday, I’m in Italy right now styling a wedding for a wonderful couple from Seattle, and the villa we are staying at right outside of Lucca could not be more beautiful! I feel so blessed and honored to be here, and I can’t wait to show you all the pretty wedding decor and resulting magic that is happening here in the Tuscan sunshine (and rain)! If you aren’t already, follow me on instagram for a bucket load of images and updates from the trip thus far!
In sticking with the wedding theme on the blog this week, I figured this the perfect time to talk about the oh so important engagement ring. A close girlfriend of mine reached out to me a few weeks back asking for advice on finding the perfect ring. Her fiance had proposed earlier this summer, but he wanted her to have a say in what her ring looked like. As a result she was having trouble finding a ring that suited her taste. She had already hit up all of the local ring shops she could think of with her fiance, and was feeling frustrated that she couldn’t find a setting she really loved. I cannot even imagine what kind of stress the guy (or gal!) is put under when they decide they want to pop the question to the love of their life – what size, what color, what setting, what shape?? The list of possibilities go on and on. Things become all the more complicated (and fun!) when both partners have a say in that final choice of ring.
Luckily I had the chance to attend a really fun (and really informative!) cocktail party put on by Blue Nile last week in downtown Seattle. Although Blue Nile fully admits that their initial boundary to launching their brand was the unnerving question as to whether or not folks would actually be willing to purchase such an important and symbolic piece of jewelry online. What they found quite quickly was that people actually were! They have become the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and help nearly 365,000 proposals happen every year…isn’t that crazy?! I got the chance to try on many of their beautiful and sparkly engagement rings (check out this instagram shot…which one happens to be your favorite? . . . that Kate Middleton look-a-like knocked me off my feet!). I was really impressed by their large selection of styles. I know when Adam was looking for a diamond for my ring setting, he searched high and low to find the perfect diamond to suit his budget and taste, and I have no doubt Blue Nile could have been a big help!
When it comes to finding that perfect diamond there are a few key factors (a few key C’s to be more specific) to keep in mind:
CUT – Blue Nile notes this one as being the most important of the 4 C’s. If you’re looking for a ring that is extra sparkly you will want to pay special attention to how the ring is cut – the higher the cut grade – the more sparkle. The cut of a diamond is ‘the measure of a diamond’s symmetry and light performance’. The team at Blue Nile also noted that the round cut (although the most popular) is also the most expensive. If you are on a budget, or want more diamond for your buck, consider an emerald or princess cut instead of a round cut.
COLOR – Before I had my own engagement ring I had no idea how many variations in color there were among diamonds. I found out later on that this was the ‘C’ that was most important to Adam. He wanted the most colorless ring he could afford to match the platinum color of my setting, so he went with a D grade colorless diamond. Blue Nile suggests that there is great value and little to no noticeable difference to the eye if you look for a diamond in the near colorless grade of G-I.
CLARITY – This is the ‘c’ that still has me a bit baffled. Clarity is ‘the measure of the number and size of a diamonds inclusions’. You won’t see most inclusions with the naked eye, which is why trained professionals use magnification to determine a diamonds clarity. Inclusions do not necessarily affect a diamonds beauty when viewed by the average person, so avoiding “flawless” is wise if you are looking to save money. Blue Nile does not carry anything below an SI2 – whereas a standard jewelry store typically carries SI2 and below.
CARAT WEIGHT – Oh the ever so controversial carat size! I would say this is probably the one ‘c’ that is most debatable or appreciated when it comes to engagement rings. Most men would prefer to go with a diamond that is of the highest quality (great cut, color and clarity) while more women would typically prefer to focus on obtaining a larger diamond within budget. Blue Nile suggests that you can save quite a bit if you choose to go with a diamond that is just under that full carat weight (i.e. if you want 1 carat, go just below at .97 and save or if you are going for 2 carats hit at the 1.97 range). Nobody will be able to tell the difference and your sweet partner can feel like they got a lot more diamond for their all hard-earned time-saving for that ring!
What about you? What has been your ring experience? Do you have a favorite diamond shape? If you’re on the hunt for an engagement ring, be sure to check out Blue Nile’s amazing selection! Hope you all enjoy your weekend! Adam and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary in Lucca tomorrow…can’t wait!
**Also, my friend Sally created the beautiful illustrations above. Isn’t her hand lettering just divine?! If you’re about to get married or have a fun event coming up, seriously get in touch with Sally – she is one of the best in the biz when it comes to custom paper details and hand lettering, and she ships her work all over the world!
This blog post was sponsored and created in collaboration with Blue Nile. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Original hand illustration by Sally Balt of La Happy.