Every year on February 14, star-crossed lovers from around the world take to bended knee to profess undying love and adoration while asking for their partner’s hand in marriage. The diamond engagement ring, now a staple of the traditional engagement ceremony, is often the third largest purchase the average person will make in his or her lifetime – behind a house and a car.
While the old adage of saving up three months’ salary for a ring is passé, purchasing a diamond engagement ring can be very costly, especially if you’re on a limited budget. Prices can vary considerably for seemingly similar stones. For example, a one-carat diamond can cost a few thousand dollars to over $15,000.
Beyond financial considerations, many young people describe feelings of concern about appearances and social pressure to keep up with peers. This sentiment can definitely inflate your budget. Finding an impressive diamond at a comfortable price point can quickly become a very stressful process. And, while you may have heard of the “four C’s” of a diamond – carat, cut, clarity, and color, it’s important to understand how these factors impact the pricing and look of a stone.
Here’s a quick guide to buying an impressive diamond engagement ring on a shoestring budget:
Buy below whole numbers
If you are looking for a 2-carat or 1-carat diamond, you can save money by buying a stone that is slightly lower than the whole number. For example, consider getting a 1.9 carat or 0.9 carat stone. Visually, no one will be able to tell the difference between a 2 carat or 1.9 carat stone when it’s set in the ring. In addition, you can save a few hundred dollars by buying the slightly smaller stone.
Cut is better than carat
Focus more on the diamond cut rather than on the carat size. It’s true most people focus on and talk about carat size, and your fiancé might as well, but a diamond gets its sparkle or brilliance from the type of cut it has, not the carat size. A smaller carat diamond can actually look larger if it was cut well. The cut of a diamond is a very important measure of quality, so make sure not to skimp on the cut quality. Try to purchase the highest cut grade within your budget. Also, you can go a little lower on the color grade because once the diamond is set onto the ring, no one will be able to tell the difference between an F color or an H color diamond.
Compare diamonds online
With the rise in e-commerce, many people are turning to the Internet to research prices and make this special purchase. Since buying an engagement ring is a large and significant purchase, you’re going to do some comparison shopping (and you should). You may be surprised to know that shopping online for a diamond can save you as much as 72%, according to a recent study released by online diamond retailer Blue Nile. Keep in mind that no two diamonds in the world are the same. While the “four C’s” may be the same, other elements like the table percentage, depth percentage or fluorescence will be different. Searching for diamonds online using sites like DiamondHedge.com puts all of the relevant information at your fingertips so that you can make an impressive and informed decision within your budget.
About Mehul Sompura
Mehul Sompura, the founder of Diamond Hedge, grew up working in the diamond industry. His family’s business focuses on the import/export of wholesale diamonds from around the world. DiamondHedge.com is the first mobile-friendly diamond comparison website. The company partners with top online jewelry retailers to provide an extensive and easily searchable database.