Choosing an engagement ring should be simple in theory. Pick out a ring, buy it, and propose to the love of your life (who will, ideally, say yes).
Men who want to propose might wonder, “Is she going to like this ring for the next 50 years?” or “Should I go into debt to get a more expensive ring as long as I can pay it off?”
These are good questions to consider, and it’s important to note that there are many beautiful and high-quality engagement rings that you can love for years to come that won’t cost you a fortune or drive you into too much debt.
After all, financial strains can be difficult on any marriage, particularly a new one — so why set yourself up for stress when you can buy an affordable engagement ring that your other half is sure to love?
Focus on the Cut
Don’t let a jeweler overwhelm you with all that talk about cut, color, clarity, and carat. If you’re trying to buy the best ring your budget will allow, make your first priority the cut of the diamond. That’s where most of a ring’s sparkle comes from. Diamonds with a “very good” cut rating offer the best value for bargain seekers. They reflect almost as much light as an “ideal cut,” but cost significantly less.
Don’t Worry About Things You Can’t See
Jewelers love to pop diamonds under the microscope to show you their flaws. But how important are those flaws, if you can’t see them with the naked eye? Save yourself a bundle of money, and buy a diamond that’s “eye-clean.” That’s the industry term for a diamond that looks flawless to the eye. On the clarity grading scale, that’s a diamond with a VS1 grade or higher.
Buy an Odd Size
People tend to shop for half-carat rings or full-carat rings. They don’t usually walk into a jewelry store and ask for a .95-carat ring or a .47-carat ring, and that’s something you can work to your advantage. Buy a diamond that’s a speck smaller than the norm, and you can expect to save at least 15 to 20 percent. That’s a pretty big saving for such a tiny difference in size. Ask a jeweler to show you a one-carat ring and a .95-carat ring, and you won’t even be able to tell the difference between the two.
Choose a Halo Setting
Fake the look of a big diamond by choosing a halo setting. That’s a setting where a bunch of smaller accent stones surrounds the center stone. It can make the center diamond look as much as half a carat bigger. Use this trick to make a half-carat diamond look like a one-carat diamond, and you could save $2,400 or more.
Choose a Simple Prong Setting
Don’t get so wrapped up in the cost of the diamond, that you overlook the cost of the setting. All of that platinum or gold adds up, too. To keep the metal weight down, opt for a simple prong setting. It’s a timeless look that happens to be an affordable look.
Online jewelers have less overhead so they can afford to charge less. Spend some time visiting local jewelry stores to hone in on what you’re looking for. Then, take your search online. Reputable companies, like Blue Nile and James Allen, offer a pressure-free sales environment and a money-back guarantee. For the biggest savings, steer clear of any website attached to a big brick-and-mortar brand. Their online prices probably won’t be any better than their in-store prices.
Shop at the Right Time
Want the very best deal on an engagement ring? Then, you may want to avoid proposing at Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Since these are popular times to pop the question, the selection is likely to be picked over, making it less likely that you’ll find a bargain. Steer clear of that November through February shopping time frame, if you’re serious about finding a deal. The summer months are your best bet. Since it’s typically a slow sales time, you’ll find the prices are much more negotiable.