You want to pop the question, but before that you have to buy an engagement ring which can be a very frustrating task. What size should the stone be in order to make her happy? What should it look like? Where should I buy it? How much money should I spend on it but not go into bankruptcy because of the purchase?
The fact is, you want to buy the perfect ring, but you don’t want to spend too much money (you need to be able to pay the bills and buy food afterwards, right?). Don’t get too tied up in the common thought that you should spend the equivalent of your 3 salaries. You should spend no more or less than you think is appropriate for that kind of thing. But engagement rings are so expensive, and how can you save some money when buying a symbol of commitment for your loved one? Lucky for you, we prepared some useful tips.
1. 1 carat or 0.95 carat – Does it really make that much difference?
Prices of the diamond you will buy for your (hopefully) future wife are set according to the carat weight and size. So buying a 0.95 carat ring (which is extremely close to 1 carat, obviously), according to a diamond cutter and experienced jeweler Anubh Shah, would be financially wiser than buying a 1 carat ring. This is because the price greatly depends on the size of the stone and its weight, so even a little discrepancy, a small difference in size and weight can majorly affect the price – therefore, a 0.95 carat ring costs much much less than a 1 carat ring. And you won’t even know the difference between the two – and there practically almost isn’t any.
2. Buy online.
As these days there is almost nothing you can’t buy online, such is the case with engagement rings as well. You can pay much less money for the same ring you would buy in a store if you buy it online. In fact, prices can be up to 20% lower if you buy online. One of these websites where you can search for a ring is eBay. Most of these rings are sold by jewelry stores and offer descriptions and warranties. Another good move would be to buy from a jeweler who is in another state, because that way you are free of paying taxes (and that means a lot, as taxes can be around 8% of the price).
However, you need to be very careful when shopping online, and look for feedback. If people are satisfied with the way that store or individual jewelry professional works, they will surely post some feedback. If there is none, don’t start any negotiations, especially if they are asking for payment in advance.
If everything with the store/individual is alright, but you are afraid that the size of the ring won’t fit your future fiancée, keep in mind that they can easily be resized and that it is not some expensive venture that you should be worried about.
3. Check the local pawn shops.
If you are not wealthy and can’t really afford a pricey engagement ring, but you want only the best for the woman you love, you don’t need to settle for second best nor wait until you come into money. Most local shops or jewelry resellers have engagement and other rings in their collection, so you might be lucky and find something gorgeous without spending too much.
4. Buying the stone and the setting in different stores.
If you are planning to propose a few months in advance, this may be the right choice for you. Buying these two separately can help you save a lot of money and make exactly the kind of ring she would like. After you buy both parts, you can go to your local jeweler to set the stone in the setting. The smartest choice would be to choose the setting in person by going to the jewelry store (to make sure you have the right size), and you can buy the diamond even online (as that is where you’ll get the best price).
5. The time of purchase also matters.
Since summer is the time when most weddings take place, it is natural to think that engagement rings will become more expensive during this period. But this is not exactly true. Just as summer is the time for weddings, winter is the time when most men choose to propose to their better halves. That is why winter is the time when the prices of engagement rings cannot be predicted – they are either higher than usual or on some sort of a discount. But what you want is something stable, so buying in summer is a good option. According to Anubh, “summers are slow for most jewelers and wholesalers so they’ll be more price-flexible to try and push inventory”.
6. Avoid brand name rings.
If you like branded things but don’t have the budget for them – don’t insist. Having a jeweler custom-make the ring and maybe even engrave the name of the brand will definitely cost you less, and that is what Anubh suggests you should do in that situation. But really, why does it have to be branded? Is the point in the beauty of the ring or in showing how ‘prestigious’ it is?