Buying an engagement ring shouldn’t be stressful. More often than not, it is.
Why? Maybe it’s your first rodeo and you have no idea what you’re doing or where to start. You’ve done your homework, you’ve hit the online guides, but you still don’t quite feel like you get it. You’re trying to hit that sweet spot of the four Cs—cut, color, clarity, and carat—but you're so overwhelmed you just keep putting off taking that first step of going to talk to someone. Above all, you just want to start this chapter of your life feeling confident you made a choice guided by trustworthy people.
The answer to your ring-finding predicament lies at Cleves and Lonnemann Jewelers. The Bellevue store is one of the quaint fixtures of the Tri-State. Founded in 1932 during the Great Depression, today it’s a fourth-generation owned family business with sights set on long-term success.
Here’s why that matters to you: Local businesses like Cleves and Lonnemann don’t survive on one-off sales. They survive on starting lifelong relationships with their customers. The hope is you have such a good experience getting your engagement ring there that it’s the only place you go for all of your jewelry needs. Hence they stand firm in their belief that they can find you the ring you're looking for, and that you will leave happy, satisfied, confident, and relaxed. Why? Because it’s in their best interest. And it's exactly what you’d expect from one of Cincinnati’s oldest and most distinguished names in ring design.
After speaking with them, here are a few tips we've put together on buying an engagement ring.
IDENTIFY YOUR BUDGET
Don’t pay attention to the “three months’ salary” thing. Instead, get a number in your head, a number you’re comfortable with, and stick with it. You don’t want to begin married life on the lamb from debt collectors.
STYLE AND SETTING
The most popular style of engagement ring is a round cut diamond in a classic solitaire mount. If this is where your ring journey begins and ends, you’ve done well for yourself. It’s popular because it’s timeless—as it turns out, round cuts makes for bright and beautiful stones.
If your eye is drawn to another cut, that’s fine too. Some popular alternatives include the princess cut (square), the cushion cut (between square round and tapered edges), and the emerald cut (rectangular).
Prices can start to go up as you think about more elaborate ring settings. For a baseline addition you might consider bezels around the diamond; this can make the diamond look more substantial than it would set alone. The bezel setting has been used as far back as the middle ages and continues to be used today. Speaking of settings that go back to the middle ages, one way to go about choosing your setting might be to focus on your betrothed’s personality. If she might like something vintage, Art Deco looks are popular now, and Cleves and Lonnemann has an impeccable selection to offer. They also have a variety of genuine Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian mountings as well.
Once you know how you want the ring to look, you should devote some time to understanding cut, color, clarity, and carat.
A diamond’s cut is about how beautiful it is—how much the gem will sparkle when light passes through it. When a diamond has been properly cut, the diamond’s ability to reflect and refract light is enhanced. Cut is often cited as the most important factor in diamond quality.
That said, carat is the first thing you’ll notice when looking at a diamond. Strictly speaking, it’s just a measure of how large a diamond is.
When talking about color, to the untrained eye it is difficult to detect a single color grade difference when the stones are held side by side. Even though we have been taught through our lives that getting a grade of a "D" or an "F" is a bad thing... this is not the case for diamonds! A D-grade diamond is fully colorless—that’s as good as it gets! A Z-grade diamond, on the other hand, will look noticeably yellow. But when it comes to you and your budget, only experts can tell the difference in anything graded higher than G, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck opting for a G or even an H over a colorless stone.
Lastly, clarity is how many imperfections a stone has. Imperfections refer to inclusions, blemishes, feathers, and the like. To be clear, almost every diamond has these things in some form or another. How prevalent they are—and how much they impact the diamond’s quality—is what matters. As with diamond color, anything above a certain level (SI1 or SI2) is difficult to notice without a magnifying glass. You may hear this referred to as "eye clean."
With all of these things considered, the key to finding a ring that not only matches the style you want but also stays on budget is to balance the four Cs. Maybe you slightly adjust the clarity and the color grade to keep the cut and carat where you want. Or maybe the color is more important to you than the carat, so you make adjustments in the other direction. Whatever the case, Cleves and Lonnemann is there to help. They understand you might want to prioritize some things above others, and they have all the tools and expertise to get you there.
After all, proposing is stressful enough. Buying an engagement ring shouldn’t be.
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Cleves and Lonnemann Jewelers is located at 319 Fairfield Avenue (41073).