An engagement is a happy, yet stressful, occasion for any man. When it comes to choosing the right engagement ring, many men get lost. When planning a pending wedding that will require significant expense, spending a fortune on a diamond engagement ring can be very disturbing. It doesn’t have to be, though, if you understand that the prices of rings vary greatly. If you do your homework and take the right steps, you can end up getting a stunning ring for the least amount of money.
The Cost of a Diamond Engagement Ring
If you are on a tight budget, there is no need to settle for a stainless steel ring with a cubic zirconia stone. You can easily find a real diamond ring as cheaply as $25. All you need to do is look. The cost of diamond rings can vary greatly, from as low as $25 to as high as $120,000. The price mostly depends on the qualities, but the setting and band material also matter.
The Diamond: A Tough Choice Made Easy
There are four “Cs” every man must know when choosing a diamond. They will help you find the best stone for your budget without being stressed out. All the specifications should be available in a store upon request.
1. The cut
The way the stone is cut affects it’s sparkling qualities. The better the diamond is cut, the larger it will appear, and the fewer flaws will be visible. In most stores, the cut is defined as “poor”, “fair”, “good”, “very good”, and “excellent”. Always look for the best cut you can afford. You can save on the carat, but don’t save on the cut. However, there is no reason to go for the “excellent” cut. The difference between “very good” and “excellent” is not obvious to the eye, but the price can be two times lower.
2. The color
The color of a diamond is rated from D to Z. D is a pure form with absolutely no color. Z has a hue visible to the eye. Only an expert jeweler can tell the difference between D and G. That’s why if you are trying to save money, the H, I or J diamonds are great choices. Diamonds that are graded “K” and lower will have a yellowish tint to them. For comparison, an “H” type costs one and a half times less than a “D”. The price significantly decreases as you go down the alphabet.
3. The clarity
The clarity of a diamond depends on the spots and blemishes that are found in the stone. They are referred to as “inclusions”. The highest ratings are as follows.
- FL – Flawless
- IF – Internally flawless
Then there are different variations such as VVSI1 – VVSI2 (very, very slight inclusions) and I3 (inclusions visible to the eye). Your best bet would be to find SI1 or SI2 (slightly included) stones. Most women don’t study their engagement ring with a magnifying glass or bring it to a professional jeweler to learn its real value. Only an expert can identify most inclusions. Inclusions visible to the eye are graded P1 – P3. An “IF” stone will cost twice as much as a “SI2” diamond.
4. The carat
The weight of a gemstone is measured in carats. The heavier the stone, the more expensive it is. If there are several stones on a ring, they are weighed together to get a total carat value. The weight of the diamond doesn’t necessarily affect its size. A diamond can look bigger while weighing less, which is a trick you can use to purchase an affordable ring.
Another trick buyers use to purchase a good diamond at a lower price is to go below a round number. A 0.97 carat diamond will cost less than a 1 carat one. A 1.97 carat stone will be cheaper than a 2 carat, and so forth. A 0.9 carat can cost 25% less than a 1 carat.
Besides the four “Cs”, there are two other factors that must be considered when choosing the perfect stone for the perfect engagement ring.
5. The shape
There are many different diamond shapes. The most popular is round. However, it all depends on the preference of your loved one.
Before you go shopping, take a look at the following shapes to narrow down your choice.
The most expensive diamond shape is round due to its popularity and the optimal brilliance it offers. If you go for fancy shapes such as heart, emerald or Asscher, you can save more than 25% compared to a round cut.
6. The setting
The setting is the way the diamond is placed on a band. This is also a question of preference. The overall rule is the simpler the setting, the cheaper the ring will be.
The Band: Last But Not Least
While the band doesn’t affect the cost of the ring as much as the diamond, it is still important when choosing the perfect ring. Here is the list of materials a band can be made from.
- Platinum – The most expensive and a heavy metal. It’s 30 times more rare and 40% heavier than gold. This metal is the most popular choice for expensive diamond engagement rings.
- Gold (yellow, white, rose and green) – The most versatile metal and a standard for engagement ring bands. The purity of gold is measured in karats. The fewer the karats, the cheaper the gold.
- Sterling silver – The most affordable option out of the precious metals. Sterling silver must consist of 92.5% pure silver. The stamp should read .925.
There are also alternative durable and lightweight metals that can be considered for an engagement ring.
- Cobalt – Very durable and hypoallergenic.
- Stainless steel – Sturdy and modern looking.
- Titanium–The most lightweight metal with a unique appearance.
- Tungsten – One of the hardest hypoallergenic metals.