Buying an engagement ring is a crazy, fabulous feeling. But because of the money involved, you want to be certain you’re doing it right. Whether or not you’re planning on buying the ring with your significant other, there are certain steps you can take to make sure that it – like your partner – is The One.
1. Decide what shape you want
Most engagement rings comprise a band set with a precious stone. The cut of the stone – whether that stone is a diamond, sapphire, emerald, or something else – affects the price of the ring. Round cuts are the most expensive. Pear and marquise shapes are slightly less so.
2. You don’t have to go with a diamond.
Since 2017, non-diamond engagement rings have become more and more popular; a trend that’s actually a resurgence of a retro 60s style. Diamond alternatives include sapphires (made hugely popular by Kate Middleton’s engagement ring), emeralds, and rubies. But you could consider an opal centrepiece or even white sapphire or morganite. A little bit of research into the different kinds of precious stones available will help you make your decision.
3. Keep an open mind about carat size
You know that whole debate about quality versus quantity? It applies to engagement rings too. Some people want a larger stone, while others are happier with a smaller high-quality cut. Here’s a small tip: choosing a less common carat size can save you a significant amount of money. A diamond that is shy of common weights (like a .92 carat instead of a 1 carat) will be a lot less expensive without looking less expensive.
4. Choose a metal for the ring band
Engagement rings and wedding bands are traditionally made from yellow gold, silver, white gold, or platinum. In recent years, rose gold has emerged as a modern alternative. When choosing the band, there are certain not-so-obvious things to keep in mind. Your partner’s lifestyle, for example, because some metals scratch easier than others. Here’s another helpful tip: if you have your heart set on platinum but can’t afford it, consider silver instead. They look similar but silver is far more affordable.
5. Don’t forget to take the wedding band into account
You think you’ve found the perfect engagement ring. But how perfect will it look when it’s positioned next to a wedding band? If the stone in the ring is too big, it may not sit well against the band. If your partner wants a gold wedding band – as many do – a platinum ring alongside it would be (in this writer’s opinion) an abomination that should never be seen on anyone’s finger.
6. Buy a certified ring
You will definitely be getting your money’s worth if you buy a certified stone from an accredited laboratory. Many non-accredited ones have inflated grades, which means customers often end up with a lower quality diamond. This is a very common trick played by jewellery stores, so don’t assume integrity on the part of the seller.
7. If you’re on a tight budget, check out wholesale sellers
Private diamond retailers and wholesalers come with one big benefit: no unnecessary mark-ups. They will also often work with you on a one-to-one basis to create a customised ring. A non-traditional retailer can afford to give you time and attention at more affordable prices because they have lower overheads – this can save you as much as 30 per cent.
8. Don’t be afraid to negotiate
If you are, take along a relative or friend who isn’t daunted by a bit of haggling. Engagement rings are often marked up well beyond necessary margins – sometimes as much as 50 per cent. That’s why doing your research is really important. It will arm you with the knowledge you need to negotiate confidently.
Buying an engagement ring can create a lot of pressure. Don’t let it get to you. This is one of the happiest times of your entire life. The ring should reflect that, instead of taking away from it.
Good luck (and congratulations).