So, you’re ready to pop the big question. You’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about whether your partner is “the one” or not, and now you have to wrap your head around another difficult decision, choosing the ring. Then you have to calculate what you’re willing to spend for it. A generalized view is that you must spend about 3 months of your salary on a ring, but it isn’t a hard-set rule, and in these trying times, here are some suggestions we can give you to get the most bang for your buck, while still impressing your precious beloved.
Consider a Diamond Substitute
If on a tight-budget, consider lab-created diamonds. The most common lab-created diamond substitute is Cubic Zirconia. These are beautiful, flawless, and come in a myriad of shapes and colors for your choosing. If the idea of an artificial stone seems unappealing, you could also try clear Sapphires, Topazes, or Zircon. Sapphires make a good substitute because of their hardness (which is only second to diamond) and their clear counterparts are much more affordable than real diamonds and still look beautiful. Clear Topaz can be bought for low prices and are available in large cuts. Zircon, the natural mineral, also makes a beautiful and affordable substitute as its sparkle resembles that of diamonds and can often be mistaken for real diamonds without proper testing.
Check out Pawn Shops
Pawn shops can have some very nice rings that can be purchased for much less than their brand-new equivalents. When purchasing from a pawn shop, make sure that it is a reputable store and ask if they can provide paperwork like that from GIA (the largest diamond-certifying company) to verify that the stones are in fact diamonds, and what they are worth.
Be Particular About the Diamond
To do this, you should be familiar with the 4C’s of diamonds: clarity, color, carat and cut. The clarity of the diamond refers to the visibility of flaws (cracks) inside the diamond. Color is simple and divides diamonds into two categories: colorless and fancy (colored), where clearer diamonds are much costlier. Carat refers to the diamond’s weight, and choosing a diamond with slightly less weight (even .10 carats) can make a huge difference on the price. Finally, the biggest secret is the cut. The cut is a huge factor in determining the price of a diamond, as a good cut will show a very brilliant diamond and command a premium. The style of the cut however can be deceiving as a 1-carat table-cut diamond looks much bigger than a brilliant-cut diamond of the same weight. So, if you’d like the diamond to look bigger and have a perceived high value, go for the table-cut instead.
Buy Smaller but More Diamonds
The larger a diamond is, the higher its price per carat becomes. Say a 1-carat diamond costs $1,400 per carat, but if you looked at a 2-carat diamond, you wouldn’t see a $2,800 price tag, you would more likely see it jump up to $3,200 or so. This is because larger, gem-quality diamonds are rarer, so dealers would price more per carat for larger diamonds. You can also use this as an advantage. You can get ring designs with three clumped small diamonds or have smaller diamonds surround the ring.
These tricks should help you buy the most attractive ring available for your budget. Remember, that it isn’t about the size or brilliance of the ring that’s most important, but your intention behind it, which is to love its bearer forever.