If you’re shopping for an engagement ring, it’s safe to say that you’re preparing to enter a new chapter to your life. It’s exhilarating. It’s exciting. It’s…expensive. While some aspects of this new chapter require a significant financial investment, you can save money by being frugal in others. An engagement ring is one such category as you can save a substantial amount of money by keeping several guidelines in mind. Here are six simple ways to cut costs when shopping for the perfect engagement ring.
1. Opt for Online
There’s something to be said for walking into a jewelry store hand-in-hand with your loved one and being swept off your feet by the stylish saleswoman behind the counter. Physical stores have their advantages – primarily, being able to try on the ring (or rings) of your choosing.
When it comes to your wallet, however, you’ll find that online shopping is the way to go. The reason is simple: brick-and-mortar jewelry stores are competing with other nearby stores and price their pieces accordingly. Online retailers are competing on a much larger scale against both physical stores and other online stores. The result? To stay competitive, online retailers must offer pieces at much lower costs. Also, online retailers have much lower overhead to operate their businesses. These savings, naturally, get passed down to the consumer. Thus, due to the financial make-up of online jewelers, you will be able to find more economical engagement ring options than those found at physical stores.
Before making any purchase, ensure that the online retailer is legitimate. The site should offer multiple photos of the rings and stones for sale, and only offer stones that have been certified by gemologists.
2. Go for 0.9
People are easily wrapped up by numbers and it’s no different for engagement rings. Carat count is one of the first questions asked to newly-jeweled fiancées. In the world of dollars and cents, however, it’s important to know the relationship between carat size and cost.
One carat is largely considered a standard size, but few could tell the difference between a 1 carat stone and a 0.9 carat stone just by looking at them. The difference on the price tag, however, is clear; reducing the carats from 1 to 0.9 reduces the price by an average of 30%. Similar savings can be found whenever you decrease from whole number carats to a slightly lower decimal.
3. Be Your Own Judge
In addition to carats, diamonds are rated based on clarity and color. Diamonds with high purity counts and high color grades fetch a higher price no matter where you shop. These are considered trademarks of a stone’s quality, but should they determine how you feel about your diamond?
The answer is no. Engagement rings are pieces of jewelry: they exist to make the wearer look and feel great. To assess the quality of diamonds, rely on your own senses rather than depending too heavily on numbers on a sticker. Imperfections in a diamond’s clarity may be imperceptible to the naked eye but may have a significant impact on the cost of the stone. Similarly, diamonds with low color grade may still appear white and may have a considerably lower price tag.
Diamonds are also rated on cut, the last for the notorious 4 C’s (carats, clarity, color, cut). Though it may be tempting, this is one area you should never sacrifice for price. Poorly cut diamonds lose their shine after a while, no matter how often you clean or try to maintain them. Always buy the best cut that you can afford. It’ll be worth it in the end.
4. Spread the Love
One simple and straight forward way to cut back on engagement ring costs is to consider the style of the ring you wish to purchase. Solitary rings feature only one diamond making the number of carats of that single diamond all the more important, and all the more pricey. One higher-carat diamond is more expensive than several diamonds of lower carat count.
Consider other styles to incorporate smaller diamonds into your ring. A halo setting ring, for example, includes one stone in the center encircled by other smaller diamonds. Halo rings give the illusion of a much larger diamond at a considerably less expensive price point.
5. Consider your Options
Even though the above tips refer to diamonds, remember that diamonds are not the only stone out there befitting an engagement ring. If a diamond stone is not essential to you or your betrothed, try looking at non-diamond options.
Gemstones come in a wide array of colors and have resurged in popularity in recent years. Gemologists praise sapphires and rubies as well-suited options for engagement rings. These stones age well as they are high on the mineral hardness scale, just one notch below diamonds. Synthetic diamonds, too, are viable options for the financially conscious.
6. Play with Shapes
If you’re looking to save money, consider avoiding traditional diamond cuts. Round diamonds, often considered to be the most traditional of all shapes, take the most skill to cut correctly. This requirement of skill translates into a higher price tag based solely on the cut of the diamond.
As an alternative, square-shaped diamonds have many advantages. They refract light in a way that enhances the diamond’s sparkle and makes the diamond look larger – all for a lower price than round cut diamonds.
Engagement rings are an integral part of the engagement process for many couples. This piece of jewelry symbolizes a couple’s love and commitment, and therefore should be selected with care. You can find an engagement ring that perfectly suits you and your significant other without breaking the bank by following the above tips: opt for online, go for 0.9, be your own judge, spread the love, consider your options, and play with shape.