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Buying an Engagement Ring on a Budget

Buying an engagement ring is an exciting process. By educating yourself with some basic knowledge about diamonds and jewelry you can find your dream engagement ring at a great price.

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Here are some basic guidelines on how to buy an engagement ring on a budget:

1.   The Diamond Centre Stone Can Be The Biggest Cost Element

Believe it or not, the diamond that is chosen to be the center piece of your ring can be the greatest cost element.  It is possible to have two identical rings, with two totally different diamonds used as the center piece, that are thousands of dollars different in cost.  Our recommendation is to always start your search by finding a setting (the style of ring itself) that you love first, then getting the best Diamond Center stone you can with the rest of your budget.

2.   Choose a Diamond With a Clarity and Color Grade that Looks “Clean” to the Naked Eye

When it comes to white (non-fancy) diamonds, most consumers can’t tell the difference between diamonds on the very high end of the clarity scale, such as those classified as having very very slight inclusions (VVS1), and those lower on the scale which contain very slight or slight inclusions (VS1 or SI1). In the case of many SI1 diamonds, for example, the flaws are only visible under 10X magnification, although the price difference between a VVS1 and an SI1 diamond is considerable.

Keep in mind that some diamond cuts, such as the popular round cut, mask inclusions and flaws very well. So if you’re on a budget, you don’t necessarily need to buy an internally flawless diamond. A lower-clarity stone that looks clear to the naked eye is probably sufficient.

The same advice applies to a diamond’s Color Grade.   “D” or “F” diamond (colorless) can easily cost double that of an I (near colorless) diamond of the same cut, although most people can’t tell difference between the two. Experts advise people on a budget to use your eye as a guide. So if you’re on a budget, you don’t need to buy a diamond that’s on the highest end of the color scale. We recommend you come in and visit Jewels by the Sea to in store to help you see the difference (or lack there-of) in color grades so you can make an informed buying decision.

3.   Learn About “Magic Numbers”

Many ladies will tell you that they want “A Carat” (1.00ct) Diamond Center Stone.  That Carat Weight certainly has become a prestigious benchmark.  Most grooms-to-be want to accommodate their bride-to-be’s desires.  It is important for both parties to understand though, that the diamond industry has something called “Magic Numbers”.  What that means is that because the demand for diamonds that are exactly, or just over 1.00ct is so great, the price for diamonds that are exactly or just over 1.00cts is actually significantly higher than a diamond that is just under 1.00cts.  For example, a diamond that is 1.00cts exactly can cost up to 20% more than another diamond with otherwise identical grading that is just 5% smaller!  The bottom line is that if you are on a budget, it is often very wise to purchase a Diamond Centre Stone that is just under that “Magic Number”.   It is next to impossible to see the difference in the size of the stones but you can save a significant amount.  Food for thought.

4.   Good Polish is Good Enough

A diamond’s polish refers to the smoothness of the exterior surface of the stone. When it comes to diamond’s polish, a “Good” grade is good enough for most cases. Most consumers can’t tell the difference between a diamond with “good” and the more-expensive “excellent” polish.

5.   White Gold is a Great Alternative to Platinum

Although platinum has become the ring metal of choice, it is also the most expensive of the precious metals used in jewelry. White gold, on the other hand, is an excellent and affordable alternative to platinum and a great choice for the budget conscious shopper who wants the look of platinum. White gold has a stunning appearance and a white/gray patina that resembles platinum. White gold is also very durable, has a high scratch resistance factor, and does an excellent job of drawing attention to a diamond’s brilliance.