How to Spot Quality
Anything you plan to wear forever should be created with meticulous attention to detail. Side diamonds must match for clarity, color and cut, and be evenly set. Beware of mass produced rings which may be identified by hollowed foundations, poor casting and porosity. These rings are not as expensive up front, but they will break down over time resulting in higher repair costs and a ring that doesn't last a lifetime.
When you are searching for your dream ring, it is key to pay attention to the diamonds that are set in it. To get the maximum beauty and brilliance, you want the side diamonds to match for clarity, color and cut, so you cannot visibly see a difference.
Often the side diamonds in other rings have only limited brilliance and vary in size, color, and clarity.
If the diamonds are set unevenly or with gaps, they may fall out or rub together and chip. When choosing a ring with channel-set diamonds, view it under a 10x powered gemscope to see the precision in the setting.
The channel settings from many jewelers are uneven and sometimes very thin, making for diamonds that are set unevenly or with gaps.
Polish and Finish
It is vital to have a ring that does not have a porosity problem because that ring will break down over time and will not last a lifetime. Porosity refers to little surface holes that get worse as you go further into the metal. You do not want rough spots in the metal either. You want a smooth, lustrous, high polished finish to the metal.
Porosity makes a ring brittle and is non-repairable. A ring showing rough casting spots and little bubbles in the metal is porous. It is usually the result of mass producing rings with little quality control. Poor casting, over "cooking", under "cooking" and improperly mixed metal alloys cause porosity. This type of ring will not last a lifetime.
When deciding on the perfect ring for you, it is imperative to notice the thickness of the ring foundation. When less metal is used, the cost will be lower at first, but will cost more in the future because over time, the ring will either crack or fall apart.
Other rings are often much lighter in weight and wear out quickly because the metal of the foundation is thin, to cut production costs. You don't want a foundation that is thin and hollowed out, you want a solid foundation so it will last a lifetime.
When selecting a piece of jewelry, it is important to see that it has both a quality mark and trademark. A quality mark is a stamp on the piece that identifies the type and content of the metal. A trademark is a symbol registered with the government, that indicates the jewelry manufacturer responsible for creating the piece. The Federal Trade Commission requires that all jewelry stamped with a quality mark also be stamped with a manufacturer's trademark.