Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

Mokume-Gane Engagement Rings

The Mokume-gane engagement ring has its origins in 17th century Japan, where this mixed-metal technique was used to make samurai swords! Luckily for engagement ring connoisseurs (and perhaps unluckily for the samurai), the trade in swords dropped off, so the artisans had to find something else to do with their skills. So they switched to jewellery and other items.

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So what is a Mokume-gane ring? It’s a ring with layering of differently colored metals. Some metals that may be combined are white gold, yellow gold, brass, iron, bronze and titanium, silver, platinum and rose gold. To exaggerate the color and also create more color differences, the metals are often intentionally corroded.

Most Mokume-gane rings today are sold as is, without any diamond or other stone attached. This is because the ring itself is a work of art and very impressive. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t add a diamond as the crowning glory of the ring. You can add a single solitaire style arrangement, or perhaps channel set diamonds or scattered diamonds. Of course, you’ll need to find a jeweler who can do this for you, which is no easy feat.

Because the ring isn’t one solid metal hunk, they need to be looked after. If particular metal alloys such as silver are present in the ring, they may go black in bits – the silver needs to be restored in this case which isn’t hard. Men traditionally buy mokume-gane rings, no doubt partially attracted by the impressive sword history.