Buying an anniversary band is not an easy task because there are so many factors to consider. Here we have outlined the most important characteristics you should pay attention to when comparing and choosing diamond anniversary bands.
Choosing the Style of the Bands
One of the first things to do when selecting anniversary bands is to choose a design and style. You should decide on the number of stones in the ring, their size, and their arrangement.
If you opt for a model that features bigger diamonds, you should also make sure that they are of high enough quality, especially when it comes to clarity.
Larger stones are more visible, and if they have flaws that are easily seen with the naked eye, it will be more noticeable that the diamonds in the ring are of lower quality.
Compared with bigger diamonds, smaller stones are cheaper per carat, so a ring with such diamonds might be less expensive than one with larger stones, even if the total carat weight of both bands is equal.
Also, smaller diamonds with weight lower than 0.2 carats are usually cut with fewer facets, and the simplicity of their cuts contributes to their lower prices.
Models with bigger center diamonds and smaller side stones around them are also common.
With these bands, you should make sure that the side stones are not so small that the center stone overpowers them; they also shouldn’t be so big as to make the center diamond less prominent.
Most important, the color quality grades of the side stones should match that of the center stone.
Comparing and Choosing the Quality of the Diamonds
There are four main characteristics that you should pay attention to when selecting the quality of the diamonds in an anniversary band: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Color refers to whether the stone is colorless or has yellow tints, as well as how strong these tints are.
It is recommended that you choose stones that do not look visibly yellowish when set in the ring.
This doesn’t mean that you need to buy the best (and most expensive) color, but rather that the diamonds should be colorless enough so that no visible hues spoil their appearance.
Pay special attention to color in models with combinations or clusters of diamonds. You should make sure that all stones in such a setting have consistent color. Otherwise, dramatic differences in color quality might be visible as darker and brighter patches when looking at the band.
The metal of the setting is also important when choosing a color grade.
With yellow gold, you can opt for diamonds in a lower color range, as the yellow color of the setting will neutralize to an extent the yellowish tints in the stones.
With platinum or white gold, however, you need to choose a higher color grade to make sure there are no visible yellow hues in the diamonds, as such tints would stand out when the stones are set in a white metal.
Clarity refers to the number and size of visible flaws inside a diamond and on its surface.
When selecting bands, you should make sure that the stones in them are not marred by the presence of inclusions visible with the naked eye. These diamonds’ clarity should be high enough so that such flaws are not readily visible.
Once you’ve reached that clarity level, however, a higher clarity grade won’t make much of a difference, and it is not worth it to pay additional money only to get the highest clarity possible.
The cut of a diamond is especially important, as its proportions determine how well the stone will reflect light and how brilliant it will be. As already mentioned, cut is not as important for small stones, which usually have simplified cuts.
For bigger diamonds (0.25 carats and more), however, cut becomes increasingly important.
You should make sure that such stones are well cut, and it is recommended that you don’t buy stones with a cut grade lower than Good.
Diamonds graded Fair and Poor on cut tend to be significantly less brilliant and look drab.
The carat weight of the individual stones in the ring varies depending on its design, whose choice is ultimately up to you.
The important thing to remember here is that the bigger the stones in a band, the more expensive it will be, all else being equal. This is because bigger diamonds are rarer and cost more per carat.
Choosing the Band’s Setting
Choosing a setting for the diamonds in an anniversary band comes down to deciding on metal and design for the mounting.
Platinum is one of the most recommended choices for anniversary bands, as it is one of the most durable metals.
White gold is another good option, and it is cheaper than platinum.
Yellow gold bends and wears out more easily because it is softer, so this is not the best metal if you are looking for durability.
As for the type of setting, prongs are a popular choice to hold diamonds in rings, but this type of setting is not the safest, although it leaves a significant portion of the stone visible.
Bezel settings are a safer option, especially for center stones. However, this setting hides more of the stone compared with prong settings.
Channel settings are often used in anniversary bands to place stones in the ring’s body, along its circumference.
This setting is pretty safe, but you should know that resizing and repairing such a band would be tricky, as bending the ring could deform the channels in which the diamonds are set.
Also, cleaning stones in a channel setting is harder than taking care of those in a prong setting, for example.
Pave settings are also popular for anniversary bands. In these rings, lots of small stones are held by tiny droplets of metal, and the result is a surface studded with diamonds.
Before buying such a band, you should make sure that the stones are well aligned and do not overlap, that the prongs do not stick out so as to catch on your clothes or hair, and that there are no loose diamonds.
The invisible setting is another type that is popular, mainly because the diamonds in such rings are held by a metal framework that is not visible, and there are no prongs or bezels to hide parts of the stones.
Invisible settings, however, tend to be less secure, and many people complain that the diamonds in them fall off easily. This is why such bands are not recommended to be worn when doing extensive work with your hands.
Where to Buy a Diamond Ring?
For diamond rings, we highly recommend James Allen (read our review) because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in a ring.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.