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).

What is an affordable engagement ring?

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding how much you should spend on an engagement ring. Some of these misconceptions have been driven by the diamond industry. Others have been perpetuated by the media and society in general.

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For example, many people talk about the average cost of an engagement ring. Usually the figure given is around $3000 U.S. But this figure should be treated with caution. It’s the average amount spent in most western countries by people from all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs.

And the figure is not necessarily that accurate. It matches well to the statistics given by a large diamond companies, but there are two problems with that. One is that the diamond companies have a vested interest to drive up diamond prices so they may present the figures in order to achieve this goal. Secondly, the statistics don’t necessarily take into account more unorthodox options, such as buying an engagement ring secondhand or making one yourself.

The real problem, however, is that the average price of an engagement ring, even if accurate, isn’t really that useful to you. Your decision should be based on what you are comfortable doing as a couple and based on your lifestyle.

Let’s take two extremes. If you live life to the full, and spend all of your salary on fun things, then you may choose to buy an extravagant wedding engagement ring. Conversely, if you live a simple life, with few material possessions, you might choose to make your own engagement ring out of something as simple as a piece of wood.

Ultimately, an affordable engagement ring is what you are comfortable purchasing. Don’t let diamond companies, friends, family, or society pressure you into doing something that you will regret.