Let us say this once and for all: there is no such thing as a “right amount” to spend on an engagement ring. Two months salary is a myth. If you’re going into debt to buy a ring – don’t. If you both would rather spend the money elsewhere – do. You should never feel pressured to spend more than what you’re comfortable with. Buy an engagement ring not because you have to, but because you want to.
Still looking for some general engagement ring budget guardrails? The average amount spent on an engagement ring last year was $6,000, according to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings survey. And the average diamond size was just under 1 carat: 0.9 to be precise.
Once you and your partner have decided what budget range feels right for your circumstance and priorities, here are some tips to help you get the most value for your money and score an affordable engagement ring.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to buy a flawless or even near-flawless diamond to get a jaw-droppingly gorgeous ring. Round and Princess diamonds are cut precisely to maximize brilliance and minimize the appearance of inclusions.
Let’s do a quick comparison of two round diamonds on leading online diamond bridal jewelry retailer www.jamesallen.com. Both are the same carat weight, but this one is a lower grade (H, VS2), priced at $6,150 and this one (G, VVS2), priced at $8,210.
Keep in mind that they are both magnified 15x, so if you can’t notice much of a difference in 360° High Definition, then you definitely won’t notice it in person. Knowing that, you can then decide for yourself the diamond grades that best balance your budget and expectations and will deliver the perfect affordable engagement ring.
Another way to score an affordable engagement ring is to buy an “under-sized” diamond – one that is just shy of the standard carat weight you were aiming to purchase. For example, if you’re looking to buy a 1-carat Round diamond, consider buying one that is slightly under a full carat. The difference will be virtually imperceptible and you’ll save a nice chunk of cash.
Let’s compare two diamonds with the same specs, except for the carat weight. Both of these diamonds are H-color, VS1, excellent cut, but this one weighs 1 carat and this one weighs .96 carat. To the naked eye, these 2 diamonds look virtually identical, but you’ll definitely notice the difference in your wallet.
One of the reasons we love collaborating with couples looking for engagement rings online is because it’s a sure-fire way to find an affordable engagement ring. The simple reason is this: online jewelers have less overhead, so they can sell the same products — and usually a much bigger selection — for less than brick and mortar stores.
Regardless of where you decide to shop, be sure that the diamonds you are exploring are certified by one of the top 3 grading laboratories: GIA, AGS, IGI. Keep in mind that two diamonds can be graded exactly the same on a diamond certificate, yet be priced differently, and the certificate won’t tell you why. You need to actually see a diamond to understand the nature of its inclusions. At www.JamesAllen.com you can interact with each and every one of our diamonds in 360° and superzoomed up to 40x, which is a much higher magnification than a jeweler’s loupe.
You also want to look for a money-back guarantee (no restocking fees), free ring resizing and 24/7 customer service. That way, you can feel secure with your purchase, knowing exactly what you’re getting before it arrives safely at your door.
And, a final bonus – four little words that go a long way: Shopping. In. Your. Underwear.