Just about everyone we know ask us about saving money on an engagement ring so we decided to get some industry insider's thoughts on the subject.
A few things we already knew about but we also learned a couple of new and exciting things in our quest for money saving tips.
This tip is about understanding Carat Weight (yes, back to the 4Cs) and the effect it has on value. As we've mentioned before a 2 carat diamond is much more expensive than two 1 carat diamonds even though the total weight is the same, simply because they are more rare. And, round number diamonds like a "1/2 carat" 1 carat, or 3 carat diamonds have an added premium just because they are round numbers.
So our first tip is to knock of a tenth of a carat when looking at diamonds around 1 carat in size or larger. (You will notice the tenth of a carat difference in smaller diamonds but not when you hit 1 carat or more.)
The diamond pictured below on the left is .90 carats while the one on the right measures 1 carat... look at them very closely and you'll see that visually the difference is so small but the value difference can be huge and your savings can run into thousands of dollars.
The same is true with smaller diamonds. If you're looking at a .25 carat stone, compare it to a .23 or even a .27 and you'll be surprised by how much money you can save simply because it can't be called an even "1/4 carat". As crazy as it sounds even a diamond that is a little larger can be less expensive than one that is perfectly even number.
If you're serious about saving money on an engagement ring you need to do the work. You need to be an educated consumer. Besides Carat, you need to know about the other 4Cs (Clarity, Color, Cut) so that you know what you're buying and can compare apples to apples. To get solid and unbiased info on the 4Cs visit GIA's Education site.
Some diamond shapes require better color grades and higher clarity ratings than others. By knowing where you can scrimp and where you can save, you'll end up getting the best quality you can for the lowest price.
Engaging Tip: The best deals on diamonds and engagement rings are often online. Online retailers don't rely on local traffic and sell worldwide which means they buy in large quantities and get better pricing and can pass those savings on to you.
Little things can make a big difference to your pocketbook! Going for gold and passing on platinum is a great way to save money. Although platinum and gold fluctuate in price on a daily basis you will always end up paying a hefty premium for a platinum setting simply because it is rarer than gold.
The industry standard is 14K white gold and there is virtually no difference to the eye.
Platinum is a little stronger and a little heavier but other than that there is very little difference and not worth the dollars if you're looking to save some money. If you want to save even more, go for a simple and classic white gold prong setting.
Another one of the 4Cs, the color (or lack thereof) of a diamond can have a significant impact on its price. So if you're looking for ways to save money on an engagement ring go with the lowest color rating you can get away with. In the "colorless" diamond group, the ratings run from "D" through to "J". D, E, and F are the most expensive while G, H, I and J are considered near colorless.
To the naked eye, they will all pretty much look the same and the difference in cost is based on the rarity of D (or the higher grades) rather than them being more beautiful. So, go with the second group and save more than a few bucks. One thing to keep in mind if you go below an "I" grade is that if the stone is set in a white metal, you may notice the color more so than if you go with yellow gold.
A Bezel setting frames the stone in metal and is great for protecting the stone from chips and damage while a Halo setting also frames the stone but this time with small diamonds or diamond chips.
The examples above all come from JamesAllen. See how the halo or bezel work to make the center stone look bigger? It's a great trick that will fool the eye and save you dollars.
Just make sure that they're in white gold (as opposed to yellow or rose gold) so that the diamond blends in with the metal color. Your diamond will look so much bigger than it really is and you'll get the most "Bling" for your buck!
We hope these tips were helpful. Saving money on an engagement ring is all about making some smart choices and knowing what to look for.