If you have the choice to save money on an engagement ring, which could put more money in your pocket for the wedding or a honeymoon or even as a down-payment on your first purchase together, such as a shared car or a house, what would you choose?
Diamond engagement rings can be expensive and depending on your desired carat size may require months of saving. But before you even think about putting your hard-earned money down on a beautiful engagement ring, you need to be aware of how to choose the best and yet save money.
And how exactly does one decide with so many engagement rings out there and an almost limitless number of options to complicate your decision.
Make a Budget
One of the best ways to save money on an engagement ring is to set a budget and follow it. Some people say to spend three months of income on a ring, which could represent a significant savings period on top of all your other monthly expenses. Others say to pick a reasonable amount and then try to find a ring that fits both your preferences and your budget.
That said, it’s hard to know how much you’ll need if you haven’t shopped around a bit, so feel free to head out to some stores and browse online shopping sites to get an idea for how much your ideal ring will cost. At some point, your preferences and your budget will align, allowing you to save money on an engagement ring while meeting your other criteria.
But whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of rushing in to such a large purchase. If you find a ring you like, make a mental note, and come back to it in a day or two, especially if it’s over your budget. Sure, it’s nice to buy an expensive engagement ring for your fiancée, but not if you must go into debt over it. It is advisable to spend an amount that’s comfortable for you.
The Four Cs of Engagement Rings
At the heart of every engagement ring is a beautiful diamond. Whether mined or lab-grown, all diamonds are judged by cut, color, clarity and carat, and each one represents a way to save money on an engagement ring.
- Cut refers to the craftsmanship of the diamond, including the way the stone sits and how it sparkles.
- Color is a measurement of how much tint or yellowing is apparent in the diamond, whereas colorless diamonds are of a higher quality than those that are slightly tinted.
- Clarity speaks to any blemishes that are apparent in the diamond.
- Carat is a measurement of weight of the diamond, with higher numbers representing larger and more expensive diamonds.
As you can see, saving money on an engagement ring can mean accepting a lower value in one of the four Cs. For example, if you go with a diamond that has an almost imperceptible level of color and maybe a blemish or two, you can get a larger, more brilliant diamond for a lower price.
However, you’ll want to avoid diamonds with significantly lower cut and color grades, otherwise you’ll lose out on the brilliance of a great stone. In fact, the grades of Fair, Poor or Good might not even refract enough light to sparkle like a diamond, which can send the wrong idea to your partner.
Don’t Forget to Comparison Shop
Diamonds are sold in retail stores, custom boutiques and by various dealers and websites online. Each diamond is also unique, with its own cut, color, clarity, and carat signifiers that will dictate price and how a diamond looks when viewed in person. Some diamonds are also made in labs while others are mined, but that’s why the four Cs exist so that you can compare different types of diamonds with a common reference point.
Online, pictures and the four Cs are even more important, so be sure to review all the materials at your disposal when evaluating a diamond. When in doubt, the values will tell you the true quality of a diamond, especially when the suggestive powers of an associate or flattering lighting can skew your perception.
It’s also important to note that engagement ring prices refer to the bundle of both diamond and ring, so you may need to ask for a specific price breakdown if you’re buying a ring and diamond together. If you’re comparing a diamond to a complete ring, you could end up blowing your budget on just a stone, leaving no money for a beautiful band to hold it in place.
Find ‘near ideal’ carat sizes
Once you’ve made a budget, considered your options, and decided on what you’re looking for in an affordable diamond engagement ring, it’s time to buy. But don’t make the mistake of going with the first ring you see that meets your criteria. By looking at diamonds that are just under your ideal numbers, you could save substantially on an engagement ring.
For example, instead of a 1.5-carat diamond, try to look for a 1.45-carat diamond, which could go for as much as 15% less. The same goes for cut, color and clarity by looking just below your desired values, you could save a lot for what might not even be a noticeable difference.
If choosing a smaller carat center stone, then consider a halo setting design. In a halo style, the main diamond sits surrounded by smaller, less expensive diamonds that magnifies the center. You could also propose with a single-set diamond, only to reset it in a setting of your partner’s choice after the engagement.
However, did you know that one of the best ways to save money on an engagement ring is to buy a lab-grown diamond?
Instead of supporting the inequities of the worldwide diamond trade, opt for lab grown diamonds which are virtually identical to mined diamonds but have the same optics and chemical composition. Without the right equipment, even professionals can’t distinguish between lab-grown and mined diamonds.
Get started now with our ring creator