According to The Knot, the average engagement ring purchase is $5403. By no means does that set a standard for every man to follow. Staring a new life together should begin without ring debt. No matter what your budget is, here is how to get the most bang for your buck.
To Make the Diamond Look Bigger
If your budget doesn’t allow for a larger stone, purchase a setting that will create the illusion of a larger center stone. A halo setting (ring of diamonds around the center stone) not only makes the center stone appear larger, but it adds a lot of sparkle.
Go for a prong setting for the center stone. It requires less metal, which means it will be less expensive. Prongs are also one of the best settings to show off the diamond and allow easy cleaning.
Pave for Sparkle
If you love sparkle but don’t have the budget for large accent diamonds, a pave setting (small diamonds set closely together) creates the illusion of a continuous surface of diamonds. Set a slightly smaller stone in a pave setting for a ton of sparkle.
Buy Just Shy
Diamond prices jump at a ½ carat and a carat, so buying a diamond that is just shy (just under) a ½ carat or carat could potentially save you 20%. Best of all, the size difference won’t be noticeable.
Don’t Buy Flawless
A flawless diamond is extremely rare, which In turn means it’s extremely expensive. The good news is you don’t have to buy a flawless diamond to get a gorgeous stone. The unaided human eye can’t see minute flaws in a stone, so when choosing to buy a diamond stay in the near colorless range for color and the VS-SI range of clarity. You’ll get a nice white diamond that is eye clean and you won’t have to pay up the wazoo.
Go for Gold/Palladium
Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold and because of its rarity it’s about double the price of gold. Platinum is a great metal because it is naturally white, won’t tarnish and is very strong.
Palladium, a sister metal to Platinum is a great inexpensive alternative. Palladium is about $250 more than gold and has the same properties as Platinum, besides being quite a bit lighter.
Gold is also a great alternative to Platinum and is the least expensive of the three.
Small but High Quality
Don’t buy a diamond that is the biggest you can get in your budget. Look at the quality of the diamond more so than the size, particularly the cut. The better cut a diamond has, the larger it looks and the more it hides flaws.
Don’t Go To Big Box Stores
Big Box stores tend to have higher prices and lower quality rings, while an independent jeweler tends to have lower prices and higher quality rings. By shopping Independent you’ll be supporting your local businesses while saving a little dough.
Moissanite is similar to a diamond in that it is made out of Silicon Carbide while a diamond is made entirely of Carbon, so they share similar properties. Moissanite is a near colorless stone that is second hardest to a diamond, so it can be worn every day. Moissanite is also a lot less expensive than a diamond, only about $400 per carat whereas a diamond starts at about $4,000 per carat.
If your girl likes a particular color go with a colored stone, preferably a Sapphire. Sapphires are the only colored stone hard enough to wear every day and come in a variety of colors. There are both natural and lab created Sapphires. For example a natural blue Sapphire is about $1,700 per carat and a lab create blue Sapphire is about $500 and has the same properties as a natural Sapphire.
Marquises, ovals and pears tend to elongate the finger, making the stones appear larger. They often cost less than a round diamond, so you can get a little more for your money.
Simple solitaires are often the least expensive style of ring. If you want something a little fancier than a solitaire but don’t want to jump to diamonds, add a little flair with engraving or filigree detail.
A Band of Diamonds
Opt out of a center stone and you’ll save a lot of money. Proposing with a band of diamonds has been a popular trend as of late. You can always add to the band later and start to stack, creating a finger full of sparkle.