(Tips and Hacks) How to Save Money on an Engagement Ring?


In this enlightening article by Afshin Shaddaie, a renowned expert jeweler at Estate Diamond Jewelry, you’ll discover practical and creative strategies to save money on an engagement ring without compromising too much on quality or style.

Drawing from decades of industry experience, Shaddaie shares insider tips and lesser-known approaches to make your engagement ring purchase memorable and affordable. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or not, this guide promises to equip you with the knowledge to make a savvy, budget-friendly choice in selecting the perfect ring.

  1. Find the Best Time of Year to Purchase
  2. Negotiate for a Discount from the Jeweler
  3. Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Color
  4. Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Clarity
  5. Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Carat Size
  6. Choose the Most Affordable Metal for the Ring
  7. Using an Heirloom Instead of Buying
  8. Buy Online = Save Money
  9. Pre-Set Your Budget Limits
  10. Look for Discounts and Special Deals
  11. Ignore the Two Month’s Salary Rule
  12. Plan Well Ahead

1. Save Money by Finding the Best Time to Purchase

Customer in showroom shopping for Engagement Ring from EDJ

Timing your engagement ring purchase to coincide with certain times of the year can result in substantial savings. Traditionally, jewelers may offer significant discounts during slower retail periods, such as post-December or mid-summer sales. Additionally, shopping during Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales can also provide opportunities to find high-quality rings at reduced prices.

To learn more about what time of year engagement rings are cheapest, click here.

2. Negotiate for a Discount from the Jeweler

Negotiating with jeweler for engagement ring in showroom

Negotiating a bargain with a jeweler can be an effective way to save money on an engagement ring, but it requires tact. It may also be beneficial to shop at multiple jewelers to get a sense of varying prices and styles, which can provide leverage in negotiations.

When discussing with the jeweler, express your interest in a particular ring but also mention your budget constraints. Being upfront about your budget can prompt the jeweler to offer alternatives or discounts that fit your price range. Additionally, consider asking about less tangible benefits like extended warranties or free resizing and cleaning services, which add value without increasing the cost.

Timing is also crucial in negotiating a bargain. Try to shop during off-peak seasons or during sales events when jewelers are more likely to be open to negotiation to meet sales targets. Be polite but assertive in your approach, and don’t hesitate to walk away if the deal doesn’t meet your expectations. Remember, jewelers are often willing to negotiate on price, especially for higher-end pieces or during slower business periods.

Feel free to read our guide on how to negotiate with jewelers.

3. How to Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Color

Gemologist picking out diamonds by color from tray

Understanding the impact of diamond color on pricing is crucial for finding a budget-friendly engagement ring. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamond color on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown), with D-grade diamonds being the most expensive due to their rarity and lack of color. As the scale progresses towards H, the diamonds exhibit slight color, yet remain relatively high in price due to their near-colorless appearance.

Diamond Color Grading Infograph

However, diamonds in the N to Z range, which display a more noticeable yellow or brown tint, are typically more affordable. These diamonds can be particularly appealing when set in yellow gold, complementing the metal’s warmth and pairing well with other colored gemstones, making them an attractive option for those who appreciate a unique aesthetic.

Our Advice: For those seeking a balance between cost and clarity, J, K, or L color diamonds offer a viable solution. They strike a middle ground, being more affordable than the higher grades but still retaining a level of clarity that minimizes noticeable color, especially when set in carefully chosen settings and metal types. This makes J, K, and L color diamonds a practical choice for budget-conscious buyers who don’t want to compromise too much on the visual appeal of their engagement ring.

4. How to Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Clarity

Gemologist louping a diamond with tweezers examining for clarity

Diamond clarity, which refers to the absence of inclusions (internal flaws) and blemishes (external imperfections), is a key factor influencing the price of a diamond. Flawless (FL) diamonds, with no visible inclusions or blemishes even under 10x magnification, command the highest prices due to their rarity. However, for those seeking to economize, opting for lower clarity grades can offer significant savings without noticeably affecting the diamond’s beauty.

Diamond Clarity Chart Infograph With Inclusions

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has established a clarity scale ranging from Flawless to Included, with several grades in between. For budget-conscious shoppers, diamonds in the Very Slightly Included (VS2) to Slightly Included (SI2) range present a practical compromise. In these grades, inclusions are present but are often only visible under magnification and not to the naked eye. This means that to an untrained observer, these diamonds appear virtually flawless, maintaining their allure and sparkle.

Our Advice: Opting for diamonds in the VS2 to SI2 clarity range can lead to substantial savings while still securing a stone that looks beautiful in an engagement ring setting. These diamonds allow for a more flexible budget, enabling purchasers to allocate funds to other ring elements like a unique setting or a larger carat size. This approach ensures that the ring remains both captivating and affordable, making it an ideal choice for those who want to maximize value without compromising on visual appeal.

5. How to Choose the Cheapest Diamond by Carat Size

Jeweler measuring diamond size on an engagement ring

When it comes to diamond size, it’s important to remember that bigger is not always better, especially in terms of cost. The carat, which measures the weight of a diamond, plays a significant role in determining its price, with higher-carat diamonds commanding a premium due to their size and rarity. However, opting for a larger carat size often requires compromises in other quality aspects like clarity, color, or cut, especially if working within a budget.

Three tips when trying to save money on carat size:

  1. If she favors styles like halo or cluster rings (where the center stone is surrounded by smaller diamonds), choosing a smaller center diamond can be more cost-effective while still achieving a stunning look. The halo setting enhances the perceived size and sparkle of the center stone, allowing for a smaller, less expensive diamond to make a significant impact.
  2. Another cost-saving strategy is to select diamonds with non-standard carat sizes, those that are just shy of the full or half-carat marks (like 0.95 instead of 1 carat). These diamonds often come at a lower price but are visually comparable in size to their full or half-carat counterparts. This approach can free up the budget to invest in better clarity or color.
  3. Additionally, trying to consider less conventionally shaped diamonds that have a larger spread can be beneficial. These diamonds may have a lower carat weight (and thus a lower price), but their cut can make them appear larger than they actually are. This allows for the appearance of a larger diamond without the added cost of a higher carat weight, striking a balance between visual appeal and affordability.
Jeweler working on yellow gold mounting setting for engagement ring in studio

When selecting the metal for an engagement ring, considering cost-effectiveness is key, as the choice of metal can significantly impact the overall price. Yellow and white gold are popular choices that are more affordable than some other metals, and their price is relatively similar, making the decision between them more about aesthetic preference than cost. Both offer a classic look and are durable enough for everyday wear, making them excellent choices for those on a tighter budget.

Platinum is on the higher end of the price spectrum due to its rarity and unique properties. While it may boast exceptional qualities like hypoallergenic properties and superior durability, it may not significantly alter the ring’s overall appearance compared to less expensive metals. Therefore, if budget constraints are a primary concern, opting for gold could be a wise decision without compromising the ring’s beauty or quality.

Important Note: That said, investing in platinum can be a prudent long-term choice. While platinum’s initial cost is higher, its longevity and lower maintenance costs over time can make it a more economical choice in the long run. Platinum’s resistance to wear and tear means fewer repairs, potentially offsetting the initial investment over the ring’s lifetime. Therefore, if the budget allows, considering platinum for its lasting qualities and skin-friendly properties could be a worthwhile investment, especially for an heirloom piece like a vintage platinum ring.

7. Save Money by Using an Heirloom Instead of Buying

Heirloom diamond engagement ring for proposal two hands together

Offering a family heirloom as an engagement ring is undoubtedly the most cost-effective choice, but it’s essential to navigate this option thoughtfully. Firstly, it’s crucial to ensure that your partner appreciates the style and sentiment of vintage rings, as this greatly influences the acceptance and emotional value of the heirloom. If the design doesn’t align with her preferences, consider the costs of potential modifications like resetting, which could approach the price of purchasing a new ring.

Regardless of its initial cost, an heirloom ring requires professional cleaning, appraisal, and insurance, which, while not excessively expensive, are necessary steps to preserve and protect its value. However, the true worth of an heirloom ring lies in its sentimental value and the historical legacy it carries. It’s more than just a piece of jewelry; it’s a symbol of family history and continuity.

Therefore, it’s imperative to have a thoughtful conversation with your future wife to understand her feelings about inheriting such a meaningful piece. Her emotional connection to the ring and its history is key to ensuring that the heirloom resonates with her and becomes a cherished symbol of your union. This approach not only considers the practical aspects of choosing an engagement ring but also honors the emotional significance that comes with an heirloom piece.

8. Buy Online = Save Money

Buying engagement ring on Estate Diamond Jewelry Website

Purchasing an engagement ring online can be a highly cost-effective option, provided you choose a reputable and trustworthy jeweler. While some may have reservations about the safety and quality assurance of buying such a significant item online, many established online jewelers meet and often exceed traditional brick-and-mortar stores’ quality and service standards.

The key advantage of online shopping is the potential for lower prices, as online retailers typically have lower overhead costs. Physical jewelry stores incur significant expenses, such as staff salaries, store maintenance, rent, and utility bills, which can inflate the price of their merchandise. In contrast, online retailers often have reduced operational costs, enabling them to offer more competitive prices on their rings.

Moreover, online shopping for an engagement ring offers a broader selection of styles and settings, often with more customization options than what might be available in physical stores. This expansive variety allows you to explore and compare a wide range of designs and prices, ensuring you find a ring that aligns with both your personal preferences and budget. While finding the right online jeweler requires careful research and due diligence, including verifying customer reviews and return policies, the effort can be highly rewarding.

Take Away: By shopping online, you’re more likely to secure a better quality diamond or a more exquisite setting while remaining within your budget. This approach not only offers financial savings but also the convenience and flexibility of browsing and purchasing from the comfort of your home, making the overall experience more personalized and less stressful.

9. Pre-Set Your Budget Limits

Couple talking while holding cups of coffee

At this point, you should clearly understand the ring style, type, and the store or stores with the best offers. Plus, you know the right time to make a purchase. So you can go ahead and determine the budget.

Setting the budget according to the rings you like is a mistake you might want to avoid. Consider the highest price you’re okay with, then figure out the price you shouldn’t go below.

This provides a ballpark range and opportunities to save without feeling like you’re lowballing the entire thing. And the added benefit is that it eliminates all the rings that don’t fit the range.

Click here to learn more about our budget calculator.

10. Look for Discounts and Special Deals

Customer of Estate Diamond Jewelry looking at engagement rings

These vary from one jeweler or vendor to another and might be time-based. The trick is understanding why a ring is discounted or offered as a special deal. Maybe it’s a style that’s hard to sell or the piece features some blemishes you should be aware of.

With this in mind, Estate Diamond Jewelry’s promotions are a great example of the discounts and special offers you should look for. The company may shave off 10% of the price on special days, and the offer rings with a negotiable price. Our store, for example, has a running 5% promotion that applies throughout the year (PROMOCODE: 5OFF).

Okay, 5% might not sound like much, but you should do quick math to determine how much you’re saving. Say, your eyes are set on a $5,000 ring. With 5% off you save a significant chunk of change. Not to mention the savings if your budget allows for a $10K or $15K ring.

11. Ignore the Two Month’s Salary Rule

husband and wife stressing about finances

The traditional guideline suggesting that an engagement ring should cost the equivalent of two months’ salary is increasingly viewed as outdated and impractical in modern times. Adhering strictly to this rule can lead to unnecessary financial strain.

Instead of focusing on meeting this arbitrary financial benchmark, it’s more sensible to set a budget that aligns with your personal financial situation and priorities. The ring should be seen as a symbol of love and commitment, not a measure of financial capability.

A more realistic approach involves finding a balance between the ring’s aesthetic appeal, quality, and affordability, ensuring that it holds sentimental value without causing undue financial burden.

In determining the budget for an engagement ring, it’s crucial to consider various factors unique to your circumstances, such as income, savings, and other financial commitments. The notion that there’s a one-size-fits-all percentage of income to spend on a ring is overly simplistic and doesn’t take into account individual financial realities and goals. It’s more important to focus on finding a ring that resonates with your partner’s style and preferences and reflects the uniqueness of your relationship. This approach allows you to select a meaningful and beautiful ring without adhering to an arbitrary spending rule.

Recently, we developed a budget calculator that should help you determine how much to spend on your engagement ring.

12. Plan Well Ahead

couple planning engagement ring purchase in advance

Planning well in advance for your engagement ring purchase can lead to significant savings. Early planning allows you to research and compare prices, explore a wider range of options, and take advantage of sales or seasonal discounts. It also provides ample time to save up for the ring, potentially reducing the need for financing options with high-interest rates.

Here are some of the things that you should research before buying:

  • Ring Styles and Designs: Understand different styles (solitaire, halo, three-stone, etc.) and their typical cost implications.
  • Diamond Quality and 4Cs: Learn about the 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat) and how they affect the diamond’s price and appearance.
  • Metal Options: Research the types of metals used (gold, platinum, silver, etc.), their durability, and price differences.
  • Ring Sizing and Adjustments: Know about ring sizing and potential costs for resizing.
  • Brand and Retailer Reputation: Investigate the reputation and reliability of jewelers and brands, including customer reviews and return policies.
  • Certification and Appraisal: Understand the importance of certification (e.g., GIA, AGS) for diamonds and the role of appraisals.
  • Insurance and Warranties: Look into insurance options and what warranties might cover.
  • Market Trends and Pricing: Stay informed about current market trends and average pricing for engagement rings.
  • Custom Design Costs: If considering a custom design, research the process and additional costs involved.
  • Sales and Discount Periods: Identify the best times to buy, such as during holiday sales or off-peak seasons.
  • Financing Options: Explore financing options, interest rates, and payment plans if necessary.

Talk to an Expert Jewelry

Afshin with Jewelry in showroom of estate diamond jewelry

When all’s said and done, the more you know
about engagement rings in general, the more money you’ll be able to save. To
that end, you’re now armed with all the money-saving details regarding color,
fluorescence, proper timing, reputable dealers, etc.

It’s also okay to extend your budget a little and to miss out on saving some money. Proposing to your loved one means you need to make certain sacrifices, financial and otherwise. But don’t get in debt because that’s something you don’t want to bring into your marriage.

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