There is no shortage of fun ways to waste your money. Overpaying for an engagement ring is certainly not one of them. Instead of trusting jittery sales-staff fueled by promises of commission you need to do your own research, consider your options thoroughly and talk to a few jewellers before making any diamond related purchase. These 5 easy steps will get you well on you way to a great deal on an engagement ring.
Set A Budget, and Stick To it!
Ignore all rules of thumb that you might have heard. The engagement ring budget is 100% your decision, and there shouldn’t be any pressure to overcommit yourself on this large purchase. If this is your first engagement ring purchase it’s a good idea to visit a few jewellers/websites to gain a better understanding of prices before setting your budget. Diamond engagement rings aren’t cheap and if prices are way higher than your anticipated budget you still have choices available. Firstly; you can always save up for a few months should it make sense to you, or look at alternative gemstones like Sapphire and Ruby.
Understand The 4C’s of Diamonds
The price of a diamond is influenced mainly by its Colour, Clarity, Cut grade and weight (Carat) - the 4C’s.
Colour: Diamond colours range from D (colourless) to Z (prominent yellow). You don’t have to pay the hefty premiums for the top colours to get a diamond that appears white in a ring. G, H, I And J colour diamonds are excellent buys. You do get other colours of diamonds (blue, orange, red etc) but they are extremely expensive and therefore by default excluded from the scope of this blog post!
Clarity: Although it’s nice to know your diamond is clean under 10X magnification - an engagement ring is generally viewed with the naked eye. If you want a diamond that appears clean to the naked eye, but aren’t too fussed about minor inclusions visible under 10X magnification take a look at the VS2, Si1 and Si2 clarities. That’s what I would buy.
Cut: Every facet of a diamond should be polished to very specific angle
specifications to ensure that light is optimally reflected within the stone. The quality of the cut greatly affects the appearance of a diamond. Take a good look at the diamond grading certificate and ensure that it is graded as either “Excellent” or “Very Good” cut. There are some decent “Good” cuts available - but without proper diamond knowledge they might be best avoided.
Carat: This merely refers to the weight/size of the stone. Generally size matters to the ladies so its best to get the colour, cut and clarity gradings to within recommended parameters and then optimize the size within you allocated budget.
Keeping It In The Family
It’s the season of love and you might just find yourself falling in love with grandma all over again! Talk to your close family during this pre-engagement period. We often find that moms and grandmas have a diamond in the safe that they have been burning to give to you for that overdue engagement ring. No begging required - just disclose to your family that you plan on getting engaged and someone might surface with something smooth and sparkly! Who knew?
Use Palladium As Metal
Platinum is vastly superior to white gold - but it comes at a hefty price. Luckily(!) there is an excellent metal called palladium in the platinum group of metals. This metal is just as strong as platinum, 6% optically lighter and weighs considerably less than platinum. All the benefits of platinum at about a third of the price. Personally I would never recommend any other metal - regardless of budget.
Don't Buy From Overpriced Mall Based Jewellers
Do you want to get robbed? This is a great way to get robbed! Ok, on a serious note; mall based jewellers have very high expenses that need to be covered out of store sales. Just think about it... at least two full sets of staff, high rent with turnover clauses, provisions for mandatory refurbishment, insurance policies, holding cost of dead stock etc. Profit margins need to be sky high to cover these monthly expenses. This is a very expensive (outdated?) business model. There is nothing wrong with browsing; so go ahead and visit a few jewellers to discover what tickles your fancy. The world has changed, and just as you are free to browse online you are free to browse in-store.
Final Note of Caution
You should NOT be looking for the cheapest jeweller per se. Find a jeweller with a good reputation, tons of references, an active social media presence, and a solid money back guarantee. The fantastic deal your friend’s shady uncle is offering you might turn out to be a spectacular ripoff.
Furthermore, a diamond grading certificate is only as good as the grading laboratory that issued it. Stick to diamonds graded by G.I.A, D.I.A and the South African branch of E.G.L.
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