We’ve heard it for years. When you propose to the person you love, it’s customary to spend two months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring. (At least according to an old De Beers ad that somehow wormed its way into our collective cultural knowledge.) Well, not all of us can afford to do that. Even so, you want to give your future fiancé the best engagement ring you can afford. Fortunately for you, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you get the best and brightest diamond for your money.
1. It’s OK to compromise a little on color and clarity.
The quality and value of a diamond is determined by measuring the four Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. Here’s the thing though. To a normal person looking at the diamond without the use of a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe, color and clarity really aren’t that important up to a certain point. Color is rated on a scale from D to Z, D being the most colorless, and Z being visibly yellow. You can go down the scale as far as H or I and still get a great looking diamond at a significantly reduced price.
Likewise, clarity is also hard to distinguish if you’re not looking very closely. Clarity is determined based on how many flaws or inclusions the diamond has. The scale goes from FL for “flawless” to I3 for diamonds with many visible inclusions. You can go down as far as SI2 (slightly included) or I1 before inclusions become visible to the naked eye. The further down the scale you go, the less the diamond will cost, meaning you can afford to go big on carat weight. As long as your diamond is well cut, it will sparkle brilliantly no matter what the color or clarity is.
NOTE: Compromising on color and clarity will greatly affect the resale value of the diamond should you ever need to sell it. But since the hope is that she’ll keep this one forever, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
2. Consider a fancy, elongated shape.
Round diamonds are the most popular shape and therefore the most expensive. Not only might other shapes cost less, but they will generally look larger than round diamonds of equal carat weight. This is especially true if you get an elongated shape like a marquis or oval cut. The price you pay for the diamond is calculated by carat weight, so choosing one of those shapes could get you a larger-looking gem without the large price tag.
3. Look into a pavé setting for the diamond.
A pavé setting consists of very small diamonds arranged very close together in the setting so they create the illusion of a single larger diamond. When arranged around a center stone, they can make your diamond appear much larger than it actually is. Halo settings are currently very popular and achieve the same effect by having small diamonds mounted around the center stone in a circle. It is important to shop around if you’re considering this option. While many small diamonds are less expensive than one big one, the complexity of the setting can sometimes add to the cost. Compare multiple diamonds and settings to make sure you get the best deal.
4. Accent your diamond with other gemstones.
Other gemstones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires don’t cost as much as diamonds, and when you incorporate them into your ring design, they can sometimes make the diamond appear larger. This is also a great option if you or your significant other want a more colorful, unique and creative look. You can pack a lot more beauty, color and sparkle into the ring without spending a lot of money and you’ll get a one-of-a-kind look that’s sure to get people talking.
5. Consider a bezel setting.
If you have your heart set on a single diamond or you don’t want to spend the money on other gemstones or a fancy pavé setting, a bezel setting is a cost-effective way to enhance the apparent size of a white diamond, provided you like the way it looks. A bezel setting features a rim that encircles the diamond. If the ring is white gold or platinum, it can make a white diamond appear larger. You probably don’t want to use yellow gold for this one as it can give the diamond a yellowish appearance.
6. Look at illusion settings too.
An illusion setting means the diamond is mounted on a reflective plate before it’s set on the ring. This setting has the advantage of enhancing the appearance of your diamond in two different ways. Like other settings we’ve discussed, it makes the gem appear much larger, but the additional reflective surface also makes it sparkle more brilliantly, which is what most people look for in a diamond. One thing to note about the illusion setting: If the ring becomes damaged somehow, it’s much more difficult to repair.
7. Choose a thinner band.
This is a very simple and cost-effective way to make your diamond appear larger. The thinner the band is, the bigger the stone looks. When choosing a thinner band, it’s important to consult with the jeweler and make sure there won’t be any issues of stability, especially if you have a longer diamond shape. Also, thinner bands fit differently, so it’s important to have your finger properly sized before wearing a ring with a thin band. If you’re buying a diamond for a surprise engagement ring, you may want to take your new fiancé to the jewelry store after she says yes and have the ring sized before she starts wearing it every day.
Whatever your reason for looking for a diamond ring, we hope these tips can help save you some money. There is one other thing you can do to save some money on a purchase like this: sell your old diamond jewelry with Diamond Lighthouse. We’re guaranteed to get you more money for your diamond jewelry than anyone else. That’s because we don’t buy diamonds, we sell them for you. We have an elite network of expert diamond buyers and dealers who are looking for jewelry like yours. Since we only take a small commission after you’ve agreed to a final sale, we work hard to get you the most money for your diamond jewelry. With the money we can get you, you might be able to afford a diamond that actually is as large as it looks.