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Eager lovers of every generation face the same question when it comes to tying the knot: How do you budget for a ring that is supposed to represent the full intensity of your love? Fortunately, you can find your way through getting the best deal on an engagement ring with some creative, non-traditional thinking.
Engagement rings are all about symbolism, but you and your intended spouse can decide which symbols are important and may opt for a stone other than diamond. For example, moissanite, a newer stone, is nearly as hard as a diamond and even more fiery. If your betrothed’s heritage is especially meaningful, you could also opt to have the stone from a family heirloom remade into a new engagement ring.
Good jewelers are also skilled artisans, so your choices aren’t limited to the tray of ready-made samples that you see at the front of the shop. It’s often more economical to purchase a gemstone separately through a certified online dealer, and then have a jeweler create a setting for it. Prong settings, which look like tripods from the side, hold your stone securely but cost less than other settings because they require less metal.
If your heart is set on a diamond, you have some choices to make. You can save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars by choosing a 0.85 carat weight instead of 1 carat, for instance, and the difference will not be visible to the naked eye. Similarly, a diamond in the middle of the D to Z color scale (specifically in the G to L range) looks colorless but costs far less than one that is rated D or E. Avoid compromising on cut, however, because a poorly cut stone will lack inner fire.
Before you set foot in a jewelry shop or click through to that first online diamond purveyor, spend some quality time with your financial statements. The recommendation used to be that a young man spend two months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring, but that advice sprang from a bygone era. Current financial wisdom advises you don’t spend more than you can pay off before your wedding. Once you get married, your debts become shared, and making your future spouse share in paying for the ring can put a damper on romance.
Getting married involves taking steps toward financial responsibility. Begin your journey by getting the best deal you possibly can on the engagement ring.