Thursday 7 March 2019

3 Ways You Can Buy A Great Ring on a Budget

Falling in love is the easy part but buying an engagement ring—that's the tricky part, especially if you’re on a budget! But here's a little truth that most mall jewelers and chain retailers don't tell their customers: Beautiful diamonds and engagement rings can be affordable. Here are three ways you can get the most bang for your bling!

1. Be As Informed As Possible
To get the best deals (and to make sure you're not getting ripped off), you definitely need to know what you are getting into before you go shopping for that dream engagement ring. Buying a diamond and the ring is all about knowing the “4Cs” – cut, color, clarity and carat.

But, even before we get into the 4Cs, let's understand what is diamond grading. With a view to make the diamond trade more fair, there are many independent gemological labs that judge or grade diamonds on the 4Cs. Not all labs are equal in reputation, the GIA, AGS, IGI and HRD are some of the recognized ones. Diamond retailers send their diamonds to be graded to these labs and the labs issue a lab report that is often called a 'certificate'. So, you'll often hear the term 'certified diamonds'.
When you are browsing diamonds, whether in a store or online, choose diamonds that are graded by reputed gemological labs. Their grading system is fair and unbiased and also it becomes easy to compare diamonds across different retailers. Try to avoid diamonds that are graded in-house by the jewelry themselves.   

The very first and the most important factor is the cut. To put it simply, the cut of a diamond decides how much it will sparkle. The GIA grades diamonds as excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. Try to choose the best possible cut grade that you can within your budget. You can compromise on other 4Cs such as clarity or color, but get the best cut grade possible.

Besides the 4Cs, the diamond shape is also an important thing that should factor into your decision. For example, the round brilliant cut diamond has lots of sparkle but so does the princess diamond. The princess diamond also costs less per carat than the round brilliant so be sure to do your research.   
2. Smart Design
If you are on a tight budget, you can still buy a beautiful diamond ring as long as you make smart choices. There are many engagement ring styles to choose from and one of the popular ones is the halo engagement ring. In the halo ring, the center diamond is fully surrounded by smaller diamonds around its perimeter. When looking at the ring, due to the optical illusion the diamond appears to be one big diamond thus you get the look of a big diamond on a budget.

If the halo ring is not your style, you can use other similar optical illusions to get the look of a bigger diamond. Go for a tapered diamond band, where the band narrows around the center diamond. It focuses attention on the center diamond and makes it appear bigger than it is.

Another smart choice you can make is choosing a rose gold or yellow gold engagement ring. Let's go back to the diamond 4Cs for a moment. One of the smartest things shoppers can do is getting a diamond with a slightly warmer tint. These diamonds are cheaper than icy white diamonds. By getting a warmer color, a smart buyer can go big on the carat. They can then set their diamond in a rose gold or yellow gold ring, rather than platinum. What's the logic? A slightly warmer-hued diamond will fit perfectly in the golden warmer shades of rose or yellow gold.   

3. Look beyond traditional retailers
To find the best deal for your diamond engagement ring, you need to be patient and look around a bit and not choose the first thing you see. Besides going to jewelry stores, also check out other platforms like online retailers, estate sales, antique stores and buying pre-loved jewelry.

We recommend browsing online first for the initial research. When you browse online, it is possible to easily compare diamonds offered by different retailers.  Online retailers are actually a good idea when you want a beautiful ring on a budget. People have a misconception that online retailers offer subpar diamond but that's far from the truth. Most diamond retailers, whether they are a local store or an online operation, source their diamonds from the same pool of wholesalers. But online retailers are able to offer diamonds at a much lesser price due to their low cost of operations. Unlike jewelry stores, they don't spend on renting a premium space, upkeep of the store, security or a large sales staff. What most engagement ring shoppers don't realize is the cost of all these overheads is added into the price of their diamonds. When you go online, you get the same quality of diamond but minus the huge mark-up.

Even if you would like to go for a traditional store experience, you must ask about their policies. Do they have a good policy about repairs? Does it apply to smaller accent diamonds as well as the prongs of the ring? These are questions you should be asking. Do read reviews about the store online. How is their workmanship? How is their after-sales experience. Buying an engagement ring is a big decision and these questions are worth asking.

Another very important policy to ask about is the retailer's upgrade policy. An upgrade policy is when you can trade your original diamond for a bigger or better one when you can afford it. Why is this important? Because many young couples dream of buying a gorgeous diamond engagement ring and with an upgrade policy, they eventually can! You can buy a simple half a carat engagement ring but you can always upgrade it to an sparkling 1.5 carat or even a 2.0 carat in a couple of years. Just be sure to check the upgrade policy. It can involve a re-stocking fee or other conditions like buying a diamond that costs twice as much as the original diamond.

Be the smartest shopper you know with these ideas. 

Location: New York, NY, USA


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