You’ve decided to propose marriage to your significant other; the next step: getting them the right ring. However, this can be easier said than done because the price of diamonds keeps rising from day to day. A one-carat diamond can set you back anywhere from $4,500 to $6,000 these days, so most people can’t exactly walk into a jewelry shop and pay cash for a diamond engagement or wedding ring!
Does it Matter?
For those on the outside looking in, it might seem like way too much money and energy to spend on a piece of jewelry, but choosing the right ring can influence how your future marriage ends up.
According to recent research from Emory University in the US, couples who have been married for more than 13 years and those who spent between $2,000-$4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to experience a marital split than those who spent between $500 and $2,000. On the other hand, those who spent less than $500 on an engagement ring were actually at a much higher risk of getting divorced.
“wedding-related rings are intensely personal purchases,” says Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate at Finder.com.” Couples buy them with the intention of wearing them forever so it’s understandable that getting good quality is often a high priority. However, prices can fluctuate wildly, so it’s important to do your due diligence with research to get the best deal.”
It may seem like you’re doomed no matter which way you look at it. However, it’s not impossible to find a good deal. You need to know where to look and what to avoid. Here are some of the top tips to help you find a good deal on an engagement or wedding ring:
Research Your Options
Make sure to look around so that you can be sure of what you want to get before you make the purchase. McDermott warns against giving in to pressure and purchasing something you can’t return later once you realize you made the wrong choice. She suggests looking around to find your style, then narrowing down the options before settling on the perfect one.
Vintage stores are great places to look for high-quality rings that come at a much lower price. “Even if not a perfect fit, the cost to resize can still be much cheaper than buying a custom-made ring from the outset,” says McDermott.
Watch out for Scams
Some local jewelry retailers can scam unsuspecting buyers if they aren’t careful. Naresh Rammohan, a New Yorker who recently purchased her own engagement ring online says that “they will scam you on price in addition to your wallet and your money.” Since physical stores have a much larger financial burden themselves, such as employee salaries, rent, overheads, insurance, etc. they tend to mark up their prices to make a profit, she adds further.
Don’t Focus Too Much on Clarity
When purchasing a diamond, people are told to look for the four C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. However, not all of these are equally important and each of them can individually significantly affect the price of a diamond.
That’s why, says Dan Moran, a private jeweler and diamond expert, it’s better not to over-focus on clarity. While it does matter, Moran discourages his clients from using clarity as one of the main reasons to decide whether or not to purchase a diamond. “As long as a diamond is clean to the naked eye, why would you spend more?” he says. “You’ll more than likely never look at your diamond under a jeweler’s loupe again after you purchase it.”
Focus on Cut
On the other hand, cut is one of the “C’s” that Moran says one should be hyper-focused on. “A diamond’s only job is to sparkle and it’s the cut of the diamond that does that,” he says. “If you’re considering buying a poorly cut diamond just because it’s cheaper, buy a piece of glass for $15 and save yourself the trouble. Take a so-so rough diamond and cut it perfectly, and it will look beautiful. Take a top-of-the-line rough diamond and cut it poorly, and it will look like garbage.”
Buy What You Can Afford
The ring is only the first step, and the first expense that comes up in the process of getting married, so make sure you don’t go into debt by spending more than you can afford. “It’s long been a popular thought that you want to spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring,” he says. “This is bad advice.”
An engagement ring is pretty special because it signifies your love and commitment. However, it shouldn’t cause you so much stress that you’re constantly worrying about it. “You don’t want to spend too much on the ring and then resent it later,” adds Moran. “That’s a bad way to start out any new marriage.”
Focus on What Matters
Ultimately, the ring is a pretty insignificant part of the journey you are about to go on with your partner. It’s better to focus on that instead of obsessing over what ring you buy.
“Don’t worry about the ring,” says Robert Barrows, owner of R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations, in Burlingame, Cal, “Just make sure you’ve got the right person to marry.”