A diamond engagement ring shouldn’t bleed you dry. While diamonds symbolize the eternity of a loving relationship, a ring shouldn’t have a life-changing impact on your finances. It’s why it is very important to set a realistic budget before shopping for a diamond, and to stick to it. But just because you don’t have a $50,000 to spend doesn’t mean that you can’t get a “wow” diamond ring.
There are ways to maximize the look of a diamond without going over your budget. Here are four:
Choose the right design
A ring’s design can really make or break how a diamond is showcased. For example, in order to make a diamond look bigger, the shank section – or the band – can be made a bit thinner in order to contrast nicely with the size of the diamond.
The way a diamond is set is also crucial in terms of maximizing its beauty. A diamond must be very securely set in place, and without the prongs covering up too much surface area. It takes a skilled diamond setter to do this properly. Often, you can choose 4 prongs instead of 6 in order to make the diamond look bigger and brighter.
Another way to increase the size and beauty of a ring without adding too much cost is to add some eye-catching sparkle with a halo. A halo is a series of smaller diamonds that encircle the center stone, making the piece look like brilliant flower.
The halo can be created using large or small round diamonds, following the shape of the center stone.
There are other shapes that can be created with a halo – like a cushion halo surrounding a round diamond ( this is became a more popular choice to those who want to add a modern touch to the classic halo )
Prioritize the 4C’s
When it comes to diamond rings, most people would agree that a larger center stone has more impact in terms of sparkle and beauty. You want the largest size (carat) and the most beautiful polish (cut) that your money can buy. You can, however, save money without having to choose a much smaller stone by sacrificing some of the other “C” qualities like clarity and color (without sacrificing beauty).
What are the 4C’s? Learn more here.
Once you’ve set your budget, you can then determine the size of your center stone. In order to cut costs, you can make small sacrifices to the color and the clarity of the stone. For example, when you’re choosing the color, you don’t necessarily need the highest color grade possible (color grade D). You can select a diamond with H or even I color which will look perfectly white to the naked eye. Only a trained jeweler with a special magnifying glass will notice slight yellowing.
The same can be said about clarity. To save money, you may consider selecting a stone with very slight imperfections, or a minimum grade of Si2. Again, your ring will appear flawless to everyone except a jeweler with a specialized loop.
*These two sacrifices cannot apply to emerald cut diamonds, where the table of the diamond is wider and has fewer facets , allowing one to notice imperfections or yellowing more easily.*
You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you “buy shy”.
Buying shy is a common term used in our industry, and can be one of the most valuable pieces of advice for saving money on diamonds. Here’s what it means: Choosing a diamond that weighs just under full carat or half-carat weights.
For example, instead of a 1.00 carat (which is 100-points) diamond, you may decide to pick a 0.90 carat stone. Instead of 0.50 carat (half carat) you’d pick a 0.49-0.48 carat stone. In both cases, the difference is so minute that they look the same to the untrained eye, and often cost significantly less.
Imagine, the diameter of a shy 0.90 carat diamond is 6.20 mm and the diameter of the 1.00 carat stone is 6.40 mm ( the difference of 0.20 mm ). Even if you put the two stones side by side, you won’t be able to tell them apart.
When selecting your stone, be sure to ask the supplier to look for carat weights just under some of these “popular” rounded numbers. You may be surprised at the price difference – which can be dramatic!
Consult a private jeweler