There’s no getting around the fact that the engagement ring tends to eat a large chunk out of your wedding budget. According to the Knot, the average amount couples spend on an engagement ring is about $5600 or 16% of the total cost of the wedding.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little bit of know-how and some compromise, you can make significant savings on your ring.
Let’s take a look at the top myths surrounding engagement rings and how to save on big.
1- You have to buy a diamond
No you don’t. Most people believe that if it’s an engagement ring, it’s got to be a diamond, and no other stone will do. This view originated with the clever marketing strategy begun by the De Beers diamond cartel back in the 1930s, which we’re guessing you’ve probably heard of.
Diamond or cubic zirconia? Who can tell?
We’re not dissing diamonds. They’re extremely durable, brilliant and beautiful stones but they’re not the only gemstones out there. There’s a world of suitable diamond alternatives to choose from.
Some excellent options include sapphires (which come in a range of colors), rubies, morganite and topaz. For diamond look-alike stones, consider white sapphire, moissanite, goshenite and white topaz. For simulants, high-quality cubic zirconia is a great option.
2- You should spend 2 months’ salary
This myth has its origins in, you guessed it, another De Beers diamond campaign. With a tagline that said “2 months’ salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future will be like” the campaign put a price on love. It got into the Western mindset and is something that most people don’t think to question. But why 2 months? Why not 3 or 1? It seems a bit random. Because it is.
Pick a budget you can afford and that your significant other will be happy with too. Not every girl wants a ring that breaks the bank. Why not discuss how much you both are comfortable spending on the ring and use the rest of the money for something else, like a deposit for a house.
3- You have to get a big stone
1 carat diamonds are the golden standard for an engagement ring but of course, the bigger the better. With celebrities like JLo Flaunting their massive rocks, us common folk are galvanized into believing that only large diamonds will do. But this is mainly in the US, because around the world, people have different ideas about diamond sizes. In Japan, for example, .30 carat size diamonds are the norm and in Australia, it’s not about the size but the quality of the diamond.
Courtesy of Jennifer Lopez / @jlo
Focus on the quality of the ring rather than the size of the stone. Instead of picking out a 2-carat ring, for example, opt for a beautiful, well cut stone that sparkles and stands out on a well-crafted band.
Also, if you are going with diamonds, look for stones just under the standard weights. A .90 stone is often much cheaper than a 1.0 carat stone.
4- The round cut is the best
The word best is subjective and while it’s true that over 75% of all diamond’s rings sold feature round brilliant cuts, it doesn’t mean that this is the only way to do it. There are at least 9 popular diamond shapes (called fancy shapes) that almost every diamond retailer offers, with each having pros and cons. While the round is a symmetrical, highly brilliant shape, it’s also the most expensive.
Why not explore other options, like pear, marquise, oval or Asscher, that are equally brilliant and gorgeous but come at a lower price point? These cuts are all lower in price than the round brilliant and you can save a fair bit by opting to go fancy.
5- A diamond ring is an investment
A diamond ring is not a good investment. Most people think that diamonds are extremely rare and valuable, but they’re not. The only reason diamonds are so expensive is because of false scarcity practices carried out by the diamond industry. Think about diamonds like cars and not like gold. Gold always retains its value whereas diamonds loses a huge chunk of its value the minute you buy it. You can rarely sell a diamond for the price you bought it for.
Buy the ring for the love of the look and don’t worry about it being an investment. Most people never sell an engagement ring anyway, and these tend to become family heirlooms.
6- The ring has to be a surprise
Most young men go through agonizing hours, planning the proposal and worrying about the ring. And this is lovely, and sweet and will make for a moment that you both remember forever. But you don’t have to take all the burden on your shoulders. Like many of the ‘rules’ of the engagement process, this isn’t set in stone.
You can still go ahead and surprise her with your proposal, but instead of fretting over the ring, choose a cheap replica and use that as your proposal ring. Afterwards, you can discuss and buy the final ring together. If you’re both more practically inclined, then you can discuss the engagement from the start and start browsing rings together. Always be honest about how much you both can afford to spend and what really matters to the two of you. There’s no point hitting her with information about why diamonds are a rip-off if she’s always dreamed of having a diamond ring.