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).

Three months salary for an engagement ring

You may have heard by and by that the expected amount of money to spend on an engagement ring is three months of your salary. Many people who have heard the statement however, don't actually know where it came from originally.

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The origins of this phrase come from a marketing campaign run by the diamond company DeBeers. What does surprise some people is how long ago this marketing campaign was run – in the 1940s.

Yes – the "you must spend three months salary on your diamond engagement ring" phrase comes from more than 60 years ago.

Probably the more famous of the phrases coming from this marketing campaign is the phrase, "Diamonds are forever". More than half a century ago, diamonds were not considered as conventional an engagement ring present as they are today.

This advertising campaign has been one of the most successful in history – there is a reason why they are still using it today, and why some of the phrases from it have entered into everyday language.

So having heard the origins of the phrase, what is an appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring?

Well, that entirely depends on you and your partner. If you and your partner are the sort of couple which like to spend lots of money, and spending three months salary, or possibly even more, would be consistent with your lifestyle.

However, if you and your partner live a relatively frugal life, then three months salary would probably be overkill to spend on a diamond engagement ring. It might be more appropriate for you to spend perhaps a week's salary, or even less.

One other option which some couples follow is to buy a very modest diamond engagement ring when they first get engaged. Usually couples are in a relatively poor financial situation compared to many years later in their relationship. What these couples can do is upgrade to a much nicer diamond engagement ring a few years down the track when they have more money to spare. It can also be a nice way of renewing the engagement and marriage.