How to Save Money on Engagement Rings: Pop the Question Without Breaking the Bank
Want to save money on an engagement ring? Learn how to choose a diamond and which type of setting gets the most bang for your buck!
Just because you’re getting ready to spend the rest of your life with someone doesn’t mean it should take a lifetime to pay for the ring. Although many wedding traditions of the past relied on sweeping demonstrations of wealth and economic potential, that climate is rapidly transforming today.
Recent developments in engineering, mining operations, online shopping, and cultural attitudes are among several factors that have increased affordable access to diamonds and jewelry. To make the most of these ongoing changes, here’s how to save serious cash on an engagement ring that will still stun and delight your partner.
What Goes Into the Price of Your Ring?
To bring down the cost of your engagement ring to something that fits your budget, it will help to understand why rings can be so expensive in the first place.
For diamond engagement rings, the central diamond will usually make up most of the cost. In the past, diamonds were quite tricky to find, making them appear rare and, therefore, more valuable.
An increase in the supply of diamonds, through both advancements in mining and the emergence of lab-grown stones, has made it possible to acquire them at a more affordable cost.
Still, a diamond’s cost predominantly depends on four factors that jewelers call the four Cs.
The Four Cs
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) defines four characteristics that help establish a standardized valuation of diamonds.
Carat weight is the most easily recognized and commonly discussed of the four Cs. It describes the mass of the stone. One carat equals 200 milligrams.
Clarity rates the quality of the stone in terms of visible imperfections. Flawless, the highest rating for clarity, means the stone has no inclusions, surface defects, or blemishes.
Color describes the purity of color in the stone. This rating ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow hue) for a clear diamond.
Cut describes two facets of a diamond. The first is the shape of the stone, such as round, princess, cushion, or oval. Yet, in terms of valuation, cut is also a measurement. This measurement denotes the quality of the cut work done on the diamond, ranging from Excellent to Poor.
Creation is a newer term that many now consider “the fifth C” of diamond valuations. It denotes whether a stone is naturally occurring or lab-grown. Although chemically and visually identical to equivalent natural stones, lab-grown diamonds are easier to produce and typically cheaper to buy.
Engagement Rings and Cultural Expectations
Apart from the cost itself, one of the most stressful things about buying an engagement ring is navigating the cultural expectations that go into it.
For instance, most of us have heard the supposed rule that you need to spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring. It’s unclear where this figure came from, but feel free to ignore it.
The same goes for style and appearance. Clear diamonds are typical for engagement rings, but they are not required. If you and your partner prefer less-common styles, colors, and shapes, then nothing should stop you from going in that direction.
Above all, you should consider what you can afford and the style of ring your partner will love. The key is to strike a balance between those two areas of consideration.
How You Can Save Money on Your Engagement Ring
Choose Your Cs
You can use the four Cs to reduce your diamond’s cost significantly. One way to do that is to prioritize one or two traits while going a little lower on the others. For example, if you want a large stone, consider one with less-than-perfect color. Alternatively, a smaller stone with exquisite clarity and cut quality can be visually stunning.
With the four Cs, slight differences in ratings can make a sizable price difference. For example, a stone with VVS1 (very, very slightly included) clarity will likely be much cheaper than an equivalent stone with flawless clarity, even though the difference is often indistinguishable without specialized equipment.
Think About the Setting
While much of your ring-buying focus will be on the stone, the setting is also crucial to cost and appearance. For instance, a band with many additional stones can quickly raise your bill. On the other hand, simple solitaire settings never go out of style and are a great way to keep the cost of your ring in a reasonable range.
The metals you choose are also a significant factor. For example, 14K white gold is cheaper and more durable than platinum, although the latter is currently more popular. The two metals have a similar appearance, but one is likely a better choice for both cost and longevity.
Shop all Your Options
Online shopping is a lifesaver for reducing the cost of your engagement ring. You can not only choose between many online merchants but also use filters to pare down their selection to the perfect stone and setting for you and your partner.
Take your time, and use this leverage to zero in on the best deal for the best ring for your proposal. Check out different stores, play with their filters and look at prices for different settings and stones. Your sweetie isn’t going anywhere, and this decision is worth a bit of patience.
Fulfilling Your Commitment Without Draining Your Accounts
Your engagement ring symbolizes the lifelong commitment you intend to make to your partner. In the modern age, that commitment likely includes mutual decisions, financial prudence, and long-term goals. Let the ring you choose represent those values rather than circumvent them.
You have many tools to help you choose a ring that will wow and woo your partner without draining your money. Marriage is a long road ahead. Take this as your first opportunity to begin on secure and stable footing together.
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