The hardest “I do” for a man is at the jewellers, buying an engagement ring for his bride-to-be. These days, modern couples select the ring together to avoid making a mistake with such expensive (and crucial) purchases. But when she’s coo-ing and sighing and longing and yearning for that ring; how much should you be spending?
Diamond prices vary wildly. Two stones of the same size and cut but different colour and clarity can have price differentials of 40 to 50 percent from one another. Don’t expect your jeweller to help you navigate the diamond pricing minefield or help you get clarity either. The industry is very much about smoke and mirrors, how else would they get you to shelf out all that money on a little clear stone?
Before you start shopping for engagement rings
Decide what your budget is, and where the outer limits of your budget lay. If you’ve set a budget of $10,000, would you say yes to a ring that cost $12,500 if it was the one? And where is your cut-off point? $13,000? $15,000?
Having a budget before you set out is going to make you feel more at ease and give you greater control, especially when you’re at the jewellers. Immediately discard options that are far too expensive and explore options within you’re price range.
Know what you want ladies
Before you set off to the stores, try to have an idea of what you want. If you see something that catches your fancy in store, that’s always a pleasant surprise but if you go in not knowing what you want and just wanting to ‘look around’, it’s not going to help you narrow down your choices that fit in your price range.
Which of the 4C’s are more important to you?
If you want a diamond that sparkles and gives you butterflies in your stomach, then cut is the most important aspect for you. A smaller stone of a better cut can be far more expensive than a bigger stone of an average cut. So you’d be spending more money, but no-one else would know about it. You would however, be owning something that the general masses don’t. So which will it be? Something big, or a cut above the rest?
If you want to splurge in an understated way, this is the area to do it in.
Most diamonds will have a flaw, but think of it as the stone’s birthmark. You won’t even notice it’s there. Diamonds without a single flaw are highly prized and priced. So if you want to save money on a diamond, this is where to do it. Just take note of the clarity rating when comparing stones and their pries.
Again, this is another department you can save in. Diamond colours D to F are the most expensive, but if you go for G to I, you’ll barely notice the difference and still be staying within the top 10 percent of stones. You’ll be paying a lot less and not sacrificing anything you can see.
How big? If size matters to you then you’ll have to get a lower grade diamond to fit the stone into your budget.
Be firm and disciplined when you go shopping. If your budget is $6,000, stick to it and don’t let jewellers convince you with enticing finance deals and cliché sales hooks. If they don’t have what you’re after and in your price range, walk out.
Another way to get bang for your buck when it comes to engagement rings is buying them overseas. Singapore and Hong Kong hold jewellery fares, and if you’re thinking about spending over $10,000 on a ring, then you might find you can buy something better plus get a week’s holiday by buying your ring overseas.
Just watch out for GST charges on your way back into the country, it’s still an option worth exploring.
How much did you spend on an engagement ring?
Was it too much or too little? How did you save money for an engagement ring?