Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

Reducing the cost of an engagement ring

With most people feeling some form of financial pressure these days, it pays to look at your options for reducing the cost of an engagement ring.

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If you are set on buying a diamond engagement ring, one option is to buy the ring online. Most of the major online diamond retailers operate at significantly lower margins than traditional brick and mortar stores. This translates into a much lower price for you the consumer.

Online companies like James Allen or Blue Nile are very large companies which offer significant discounts on what you can get at your local shopping centre. These are very large companies that have been around for several years and have a very good reputation. But you should be careful of smaller online retailers who may not have the same high standards as the major companies.

Obviously, you can wait until your local jewellery store has a sale as well. Usually during the sales discounts of 50 per cent or more can be found. If you’ve got a little bit of time to find your ring, you can visit all your local jewellery stores and put your name on their mail or phone lists, and they will tell you when they have specials going on. Some stores even have special VIP nights, where members are given a glass of wine in a private showing of some new jewellery. Just be careful buying jewellery when you’ve had a few drinks. There’s no guarantee that the prices offered to you as a VIP are any better than normal.

Another alternative to buying a diamond is to buy an artificially created diamond. There are several companies which specialize in making synthetic diamonds which are generally much cheaper than diamonds found naturally.

If your heart isn’t set on a diamond, there are many semi-precious gemstones that can be used instead. Some examples of these semi-precious gemstones are rubies, sapphires, aquamarine and emeralds. But bear in mind that some of these semi-precious stones can actually be more expensive than a similarly sized diamond.

If your family owns a ring, you can save on the setting and just buy a diamond and have it set. Or, if you really need to save money, you can just use the ring as is.

If you buy your ring online, you should have a separate price for the diamonds and the setting. Your notice that the setting can often cost as much or more than the diamond. On a site like James Allen or Blue Nile, it’s fairly easy to go over $1000 for the setting alone, especially if there are additional diamond set in the setting. By keeping the setting simple, you may be able to save many hundreds of dollars.

You can also reduce the cost of the setting by choosing a less valuable metal such as silver, or by choosing white or yellow gold instead of platinum.

Once again, if you’re buying your engagement ring online, you can save money in the long run by buying a matching engagement ring and wedding ring set. This is often cheaper than buying them separately, and will save you time searching for a wedding ring to match your engagement ring.

Buying a secondhand ring is another option. You can get secondhand rings from places like pawnshops, used jewelers, and deceased’s estate sales. But make sure you check first with your partner whether this is something they would be happy to do. Some people would prefer to get a smaller diamond which has never been worn by anyone before.