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).

Splitting The Cost Of An Engagement Ring

The traditional view of engagement ring spending has the man coughing up all the money for the ring. This is both traditional in terms of how money is spent, and also consistent with a tradition that the exact proposal has not been discussed previously with the fiance.

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However there are no rules that say it has to be this way. Indeed, if you are not traditional and believe in modern values you might set out deliberately to split the cost of the ring. For some people, it could be a big positive for the man to discuss the finance of the ring with his prospective wife. For others, it could be a big turnoff.

I prefer to approach this by pointing out that in the end there are so many other costs to consider, for a moderately priced engagement ring it becomes a moot point.

For example, consider the case where the ring costs $2000. Now think of the other costs of a wedding such as a wedding dress – perhaps another $2000, the wedding and reception – perhaps $20,000, a good suit – perhaps $1000 and so on. There are all sorts of other traditional issues with who pays for some of the other big-ticket items such as the wedding itself.

One approach, assuming both people and the couple are in a similar financial situation, is to make the payments as is convenient for all these items, and then split the costs at the end. What you would also do is split any financial gifts from the wedding.

If the man does choose to pay for the ring himself, it is still is responsibility to spend an amount of money that the couple would be happy spending. This is because the money spent on the engagement ring will have repercussions into the marriage, especially if the man takes out a loan to pay for it.

In a modern relationship, exercising some financial responsibility so that even if the man has paid for the ring himself, he isn't flat broke for the first year of the marriage, is commonsense.