Ask The Experts: The Ring Master

Smart bling shoppers know there’s a lot more to look for than the four C’s (color, clarity, carat, cut). Finding the perfect bands takes patience, perseverance, and a little insider advice.

wedding rings

Photograph by JÖrg Meyer

A jewelry industry vet who began his career at Cartier in Paris, Gerard Riveron has seen a lot of rocks. Now Dorfman Jewelers’ executive director, he says that when choosing the diamond you may spend a lifetime with, it’s not all about pedigree. “You have to fall in love with it,” he explains. “What matters is attraction. You’re » not buying a piece of paper that says H or G or VS1—you’re buying a beautiful thing that you’ll hopefully wear forever.”

[sidebar]Let’s start with the age-old question: platinum or gold?
Most engagement rings are mounted in platinum. We rarely have customers who want yellow gold: When you buy a diamond, a yellow band can make the stone itself appear off-white.

We know all about the four C’s, but which is really most important when choosing a diamond ring?
I would put color at number one, because that’s what you see first. And it’s a stronger investment. You shouldn’t buy a diamond with a color grading below G.

A ring is many couples’ first big jewelry purchase. How can they be sure they’re making a smart investment?
First, pick a diamond you really like. If it’s in your budget, ask for details about the stone’s quality and ask to see the diamond’s certificate.

Do you advise women to coordinate their wedding band and engagement ring?
Women often care more about the symbolic nature of a wedding band and don’t feel the need to match it perfectly to the engagement ring. I’ve seen some do wedding bands with sapphires and rubies mixed with diamonds, and some who get simple platinum bands.

Are his-and-hers matching wedding bands something to go for?
For some couples, especially young ones, the need to bond and create an additional show of love means purchasing matching styles. Other people choose to buy different ones.

Do your customers typically pick out the rock together, or is it usually just the groom-to-be?
Women frequently come in early to take a look. When it becomes a more serious proposition, the couple usually come in together. After the selection is made, the man often purchases it alone. I always tell men never to pick out a ring without involving their significant other—you want her to really love it.

But what if he wants it to be a surprise? How can he get the right size?
We suggest he photocopy one of her rings, or try it on and show us where it fell on his finger so we can get a measurement. It’s important to use a ring she wears on her left hand because most of the time, the right hand is one size larger.

What should the affianced keep in mind when considering the possibility of an eventual upgrade?
This happens all the time—five or 10 years after they purchase a two-carat, couples grow into a four- or five-carat diamond. We advise people with an eye on resale to invest more in a single stone than in a fancy setting.

Should a woman eventually ditch her engagement ring and just wear the band? I don’t know any woman who wants to stop wearing her engagement ring, unless she is getting divorced! And sometimes, even after the divorce, if the diamond is really big, she may have it remounted into a different ring.

What’s hot in rings these days?
For engagement rings, a micro-pave mounting with a round diamond. But I also see a return to the simple, classic four-prong mounting in platinum or 18-karat white gold. Many women also want a wedding band that “sticks” exactly to the engagement ring.

Dorfman Jewelers, 24 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-2022,