Diamond Rings

Diamonds Rings: Not Just For Weddings Anymore

If you think diamond rings are limited to marriages or engagements, think again -- that's not necessarily true anymore. And we're not just talking about the huge rocks that some rappers like to brag about, either; in the past couple of decades, diamond rings have become mainstream. More and more men are wearing them, and it's not uncommon to see them worn simply as decoration, rather than as announcements of marriage or pending nuptials. Of course, that's not to say that this particular use of diamond rings will ever go out of style, especially with all those celebrities flaunting their gigantic multi-carat diamond engagement and wedding rings.

Expansion into the masculine world

One new territory that diamond rings have recently ventured into is that of men's jewelry. In the past, men's rings -- especially wedding rings -- were rather understated affairs, often just plain bands of gold or white gold undecorated with stones. Those are still available, but men's rings have since stepped up in the world, and diamonds are the next big thing. Ten-karat gold rings with a channeled row of baguette diamonds are popular, offering a quiet elegance that many men find appealing; but it's not all that difficult to find something a little more extravagant -- or even a lot more. If you give a jeweler enough money, they'll be happy to pave a ring the size of a postcard with diamonds, for that glaring nouveau-rapper look -- but it would probably cost something like the GNP of a small country. On the garishness range, men's diamond rings scale down from there to half-inch platinum bands encrusted with pavé-set diamonds costing merely in the tens of thousands of dollars, to bright rings of precious metal sprinkled with varying numbers of tasteful stones for $2,000 of less.

What's important in the diamond game

Male or female, when you're on the prowl for diamond rings you need to keep in mind the four C's -- cut, clarity, color, and carat. All these will affect the price of your new ring, and may affect other factors too, like cut and setting. Cuts are an education of their own; in addition to the two basic cuts, brilliant and step, you'll have to deal with ten basic shapes (cushion, emerald, heart, marquise, oval, pear, princess, radiant, round, and trilliant). As far as settings go, you'll have the option of multi-stone settings, single-stone settings, invisible settings, channel settings, pavé settings, and even tension settings. The latter type is especially interesting, because the stone is held only by the tension or springiness of the ring material, allowing light to shine unimpeded through the jewel. It results in clunky rings, though if you don't mind that, you're just fine.

If showing off isn't your style or just isn't necessary, consider going with quiet rings with low bezel-type settings. While flashy rings are fun, they're just not safe in some environments. If you work around machinery, for example, big, catchy rings aren't for you, assuming you want to keep all your fingers.

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