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Less is More: Engagement Rings on a Budget

Last updated on August 24, 2020

Toss out those old rules about how much to spend on an engagement ring. The old rules about laying out a certain amount of your salary no longer apply. With soaring housing prices and student loan payments, it’s time to rethink engagement ring spending.


Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to buy an engagement ring on a budget. With so many gorgeous and unique designs available at every price point, you’re sure to find the perfect ring--and one that won’t break the bank.


We’ve put together our best budget-minded tips to help you start your marriage off on the right financial foot.


Determine Your Budget

Before you start shopping (or even browsing), decide how much you want to spend on the ring. Getting married can be expensive, and if you overspend on the ring, you may find yourself strained in other areas.


This advice seems basic, but in your love-struck state, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind. Remember that you’ll soon be opening one another’s credit card bills, and go easy on your future.


Prioritise the 4Cs

Certification labs grade diamonds on four main factors (the 4Cs): cut, clarity, colour and carat.


Cut: A diamond’s cut determines how well the facets interact with light. Many people think the cut is the same as the shape, but it refers to the precision of the diamond’s artistry. 


Clarity: Diamonds form deep down in the earth over many thousands of years, and during this process, internal characteristics called “inclusions” and external attributes called “blemishes” can occur. Diamonds are graded on their inclusions and blemishes.


Colour: Chemically pure and structurally perfect diamonds have no colour. Therefore, colourless diamonds receive higher values than coloured diamonds. The colour scale ranges from D (colourless) to Z (yellow or brown).


Carat: Diamond weight is measured in “carats.” One carat equals 200 milligrams. All else being equal, diamond value rises with carat weight. Of course, two diamonds of equal carat weight can vary substantially in price, depending on their cut, clarity and colour.


Understanding the 4Cs will help you to know what kind of diamond to look for and whether or not you’re getting a fair deal. 


Consider which of the 4Cs is the highest priority for you. If you want a sizeable diamond, you might prioritise carat weight over other factors. Some people like the looks of yellower diamonds, in which case you’d lower your colour expectations and increase clarity or cut.


Research Rings and Find Compromises

You’ll probably find that you can’t tell the difference between diamonds with high clarity scores (VVS1) and low clarity scores (VS1, which usually contains a small inclusion). This is entirely normal, and if you’re able to save a great deal on a diamond with lower clarity, it makes sense to choose the less expensive one.


You can also stretch your budget further by choosing a style that offers your selected characteristics for less. For example, if you’re looking for a large solitaire but can’t afford a substantial diamond, you might want to consider a halo setting. Halos tend to make the centre stone appear larger.


Buy Shy

Diamond prices jump at certain carat weights, such as 1.0 and 1.5. If you’re looking for a bargain, buy just shy of these round numbers, and you can see substantial savings without any noticeable difference in size. 


Choose a Unique Stones

Diamonds haven’t always been the standard for engagement rings. It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that an ad copywriter came up with a slogan that changed the wedding jewellery market forever. “A Diamond is Forever,” said the motto, and diamonds quickly took over the engagement ring market.


But styles come and go. Brides in the 1930s rarely sported diamonds on their fingers, and today we see plenty of engagement rings that feature aquamarine, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. You’ll find that your engagement ring budget benefits from eschewing diamonds and aiming for a different precious gemstone.


When you find the perfect engagement ring, insure it with JewelCover. If the unexpected happens, you don’t want to have to purchase an entirely new ring. With our insurance, your ring will be covered for theft, loss and damage. Get in touch with us to find out how affordable jewel cover can be.


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