Tips for Buying Engagement Rings

Everyone asks us for tips on buying engagement rings so we decided to get some industry insider’s thoughts on the subject. We asked for tips on what to look for, what to avoid, and any engagement ring buying traps out there.  And finally and most importantly, any money saving tips.

Chair with a gold solitaire diamond engagement ring

Lucky for us, and you, they were happy to help. They came back with all sorts of great tips and information that we’re thrilled to share with you.

No. 1 | Consider All Your Options

Don’t brush this first tip aside. It’s important. Don’t get carried away by social pressure and status. You really do need to consider all your options. You can buy a diamond engagement ring, a gemstone ring or pick up a vintage ring.  The choices are truly endless—Princess Diana, who could have had anything chose a sapphire engagement ring which Kate Middleton proudly wears today.

No. 2 | Knowledge is Money

Understand what you’re buying. Educate yourself on precious metals and gemstone and diamond grades. Learn about stone shapes and settings.  You don’t need extensive knowledge. You can learn everything you need right here and online.

If you go with a diamond, make sure you understand the 4 Cs. If you’re serious about getting the best deal and choosing the right ring, you need to be an educated consumer.

For example, 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.

No. 3 | Size Does Matter

This tip is about Carat weight and the effect it has on value. 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 rarer. And, round number diamonds like a 1/2 carat or 1 carat, cost more just because they are round numbers.

So, knock of one tenth of a carat when looking at diamonds that are 1 carat or larger. Visually the difference is small but the value difference can be huge and your savings can run into thousands of dollars.

The same is true with smaller diamonds. A .5 carat stone, will cost much more than a .49 simply because it can’t be called an even ‘1/2 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.

No. 4 | Save Money, Go for Gold!

Little things can make a big difference! 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’ll always end up paying a hefty premium for platinum.

The industry standard is 14K white gold and there is virtually no difference to the eye. The reason for 14K and not 18K or more, is that gold is a soft metal. It needs to be mixed with alloys to make it strong enough for every day wear and protect the stone.

Platinum is a little stronger and a little heavier but other than that there is little difference. It’s just not worth the dollars if you’re looking to save some money.

No. 5 | Color Your World!

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 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.

One last tip on diamond color, if you go below an “I” grade. If the diamond is set in white gold or platinum, you may notice the color more so than if you go with yellow or rose gold.

No. 6 | Color Your World, Take Two!

Birthstone rings and gemstone engagement rings are an excellent alternative to the traditional diamond ring. They are often much less expensive while being equally beautiful. We can’t help but think of Lady Di’s sapphire and diamond ring.

They’re also an interesting choice because they can be a symbol of your commitment while paying tribute to any given month. The month she was born, the month you got engaged, or the month you are to be married.

No. 7 | Setting The Scene

Save money without sacrificing ‘Bling!’ by choosing a setting that makes a diamond look bigger. Bezel settings and Halo settings are ideal for this.

A Bezel setting frames the stone in metal and offers great protection while a Halo setting frames the stone in small diamonds or diamond chips.

Make sure in both cases, that the setting is in white gold or platinum. The center diamond will blend with the surrounding metal and/or smaller stones so your diamond will look so much bigger than it really is.  It’s a great trick that fools the eye and gives you the most “Bling” for your buck!

No. 9 | Shop Around & Around Again

Buying an engagement ring today is easier than ever because of the internet. Reputable online jewelers will provide diamond grade certificates so you can compare apples to apples across the web.  They are also often cheaper that a local jewelry store because they sell more volume and can buy diamonds at bulk rates.

We like JamesAllen for online diamond and engagement ring shopping, but there are so many others out there too.

No. 10 | The Classics Win Every Time

Don’t feel pressured into buying a ring that’s the latest style or trend. Things we love today we can easily hate tomorrow.  This is one piece of jewelry that will be worn daily for years to come. It may also be passed down to future generations or be sold at some point. Trends come and go but your engagement ring won’t.

No. 11 | It’s Your Money, Be Firm

Always set an appropriate budget with a long term view.  A less expensive engagement ring can mean owning your first house that much sooner. Don’t spend beyond your means. The worst thing you could do is get yourselves into debt as you start your lives out together.

The old adage of spending two and three month’s was started by the savvy folks at DeBeers who also imprinted into our brains that an engagement ring should contain a diamond because “diamonds are forever”. Of course they’d want to play on our emotions and drain us of our very last cent—they’re a diamond company!

So know and plan your budget before engaging with salespeople. Be firm with them. Tell them that you don’t want to see or discuss anything that is out of your budget or you will take your business elsewhere.

No. 12 | Release The Pressure

Don’t be influenced by outside pressure, the desire to impress, or anyone who tries to make you feel cheap or question your commitment. Especially by friends or family who may want you to choose something you don’t want, or coax you into spending more.

Finally, don’t be pressured by a jeweler or salesperson into increasing your budget. Would you really expect a jeweler to advise you to spend less? “If he really loved her, he wouldn’t mind parting with all his cash, right?”  WRONG!

We hope these tips keep you on track.  They’re all about making smart choices and knowing what to look.  And, if you save money on an engagement ring along the way, even better!