In addition to considering the cut, carat, colour and clarity (the 4 Cs) of diamonds, there are many other things to think about when buying engagement rings… including whether or not the ring is conflict-free.
The term ‘blood diamond’ is not just the name of a movie – it is also the term used to describe diamonds that have been sourced unethically. The outcry of poor mining practices and corrupt warlords who use precious stones to fund crimes against humanity has led to an increase in standards among jewellers luckily, but it is still a good idea to ensure that your ring is certified to be 100% certain that it is indeed conflict-free.
Making Sure That Your Engagement Ring is Ethically Sourced
How do you know whether your diamond engagement ring is ethically sourced? Here are a few ways to check to see whether the ring is conflict-free…
- Check whether it has Kimberley Process certification. Created as a way to end the trade of conflict diamonds, the Kimberly Process was put into place by the UB in 2002. This system outlines the regulations and requirements required by countries to ensure that diamonds are mined and shipped in a humane, authentic way. Every diamond that meets these regulations will be shopped with a Kimberly Process certificate. If one is not provided, you will be unable to confirm where the stone is from and how it was mined, or whether it is sourced ethically.
- Make sure that your jeweller is regulated. Regulations from bodies such as the Mining Charter, which was passed by the South African government in 2008 to give more opportunity to previously disadvantaged people, will also show you whether the jeweller you use adheres to ethical practices. The Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator will only issue permits to jewellers who comply with these regulations.
- Go with handmade. Another way to ensure that your ring is authentic and made according to ethical standards is to choose handmade over mass produced items. Large scale retailers rely on bulk imports and cheap labour prices, which are not always supportive to local communities or fair trade practices. Handmade rings that are made locally in South Africa, by authorised, certified goldsmiths and jewellers are far more likely to be the real deal. Better still, you will be able to trace the origins of the metal, stone and handiwork very easily, which is seldom the case with retail jewellery.
- Check for diamond certification. You should also be presented with a certificate when buying any item of jewellery that features a genuine diamond. When buying a ring for your engagement, be sure that you have full history and guarantee with purchase. This will provide a warranty, help with insurance and allow you to be sure where the stone comes from.
Now that you have a better idea of what conflict-free engagement rings are all about, you can make your purchase with even greater peace of mind.
Classic style engagement rings, as the name implies, never seem to go out of fashion. Over the ages, ring trends have evolved to suit each era. Many eras such as the Art Deco and 20s brought a move towards more elaborate, bolder styles. Other eras, including more recent times, brought minimalist design to the forefront of jewellery. But classic ring styles have not changed much in this time.
What exactly constitutes ‘classic’ when it comes to diamond engagement rings, and what should you be looking for when choosing this type of ring?
A Guide to Classic Engagement Rings
Simply put, classic style is timeless, elegant and graceful. Rather than being about trend or era, it is about quality and iconic style. Thanks to famous brides over the decades, this style of ring brings to mind wearers such as Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly, Princess Diana, Duchess Kate Middleton and other stars such as Audrey Hepburn. In engagement rings, the following elements are distinctive of classic styles:
- Simple yet striking stones. Solitaire rings are timeless, while simple cuts such as oval, heart, pear and round remain classic choices over the ages. While the ring style may be simple, the focus here is on the stone, which means that clarity, colour and carat can be higher. As long as there are no visible flaws however, you can choose reasonably priced stones that have minuscule occlusions rather than aiming for absolute perfection (which often looks the same as stones with invisible flaws, but cost far more). Choose the best quality stone that your budget allows, and pay special attention to having a cut that allows optimal sparkle.
- Beautiful band. Platinum may be relatively modern compared to gold, but this metal is certainly a classic option for the ring’s band. As it is high shine and not prone to scratches or dullness, the brightness of this metal remains consistent. It is also good for those with skin allergies or sensitive skin, with hypoallergenic properties. White gold is another option to consider, offering a soft silvery colour that has a good shine, without being too overt or bold. Coloured golds such as yellow, rose and the rarer green gold can also be considered, but tend to be more dramatic than a simpler neutral metal.
- Subtle style details. Rather than opting for any ornate flourishes, etched bands, clustered stones or other details, a classic ring means keeping the design as subtle and simple as possible. Engraved initials or dates can be placed on the inside of the band, while settings should be practical rather than over the top. The majority of brides who favour a classic style of ring prefer this style in their clothing, jewellery and other tastes, too, so a ring that is versatile enough to suit any outfit is essential.
One of the best things about having your ring custom made by a skilled jeweller is that it gives you the chance to create your dream ring. Whether you have found some ring inspiration that gives you the perfect idea for a beautifully classic design, or you would like to have an expert jewellery designer create a design that meets your preferences, Cape Diamonds is your perfect choice for a variety of engagement ring styles, from classic to many other styles.