Engagement Ring Hacks
It seems like every other article that pops up on your feed these days tells you how to “hack” something. Your smoothie. Your sleep routine. Your Bullet Journal. Your fidget spinner. But what about engagement ring hacks? Seeing as that’s our area of expertise, we thought we’d explore the idea.
Now, we aren’t talking about DIY-ing anything in or around your e ring (pleeeeeeease don’t try that at home.) No, we’re actually talking about ways you can hack your engagement ring budget – and who doesn’t want to find out more about that?!
These engagement ring budget hacks can help you save thousands (seriously!) on your ring. So before you start dreaming up ways to make your actual ring unique (we’ve got a lot to say about that too) let’s talk about how you can save a ton of money on your engagement ring.
Hack your diamond color! A diamond’s color is an important factor of what makes it beautiful, but int he grand scheme of things, it’s at the lower end of the importance scale for the 4 C’s. Color is sooo hard to detect “in the wild” – it’s even difficult for gemologists, who grade diamonds in basically an all white room, all white box, all white lab coat, all white everything to prevent any reflection interfering with their grading. It’s also highly objective. Two expert GIA gemologists might not agree on a diamond’s color on different days. The color we perceive is influenced by everything from mood to caffeine consumption. So once your ring is set in its mounting and glittering around on your finger, it’s very very hard to tell say, an F color from a G color. But the difference between those two color grades could be several hundred dollars! So we say, for the best deal on a diamond, to look for a stone somewhere in the Near Colorless range (G-J.) And skip the premium prices on a Colorless diamond (D-F) unless you’re a. buying an emerald cut (they demand better color) or b. buying a BIG diamond that’s otherwise pretty much perfect (protect your investment) or c. buying a solitaire in platinum setting and you want it to be as pristine and bright as possible. And even then, you can still save a ton of money by opting for an F grade instead of a D. You can read more about diamond color grading here.
Let’s talk clarity! Clarity is what makes a diamond glitter (well, part of it – a lot of it has to do with Cut, but we’ll get to that later.) Clarity is determined by the presence of any internal or external characteristics on a diamond, and how prominent they are. When diamonds form, it’s an organic process. Things like their surrounding elements, particles of minerals within the carbon, and the growth structure of the diamond itself all determine just how “clear” the cut and polished diamond can get. Practically every single diamond has some internal or external clarity characteristics. The ones that don’t are graded as Flawless or Internally Flawless. They are stunning, relatively rare, and super, very, extra expensive compared to diamonds with the same carat weight, color, and cut. If you’re not on a budget and you want your rock to be Flawless, go for it! Just know that the second you set it in a mounting it’s now considered “Internally Flawless” because the prongs themselves have interfered with your beautiful diamond’s perfection. If you are on a budget, however, know that you don’t need to spring for an IF engagement ring to get one that looks perfect to the naked eye. This is what jewelers call “eye clean” (you can read more about our Top Secret lingo here.) An eye clean diamond has inclusions, but they’re usually white in color and hidden by your diamond’s facets or your ring’s prongs. They’re sneaky and we love them. They usually fall in the VVS (Very Very Slightly Included) to VS (Very Slightly Included) range, and they will save you beaucoup bucks.
Ok, onto Cut! Cut is the most important of the 4 C’s (yep, we said it.) While all the 4 C’s work together to make a diamond beautiful, Cut is what makes it, well, a diamond. It’s what makes it sparkle like no other gem. It’s what makes it shine so brightly, cast rainbows all around while you show off your rock, reflect and refract light, makes your diamond look big or small, shows off it’s beauty….etc., etc. It’s important! So we never want you to skimp here, and we always say you should get the very best Cut grade you can afford. at the very least, your diamond should have a Cut grade of Good – but we want you to aim for Excellent! Even if it means getting more lenient with your Color and Clarity grades and…yep. Your Carat weight. We saved the best for last.
Engagement Ring Hack #4
When most people think diamonds, the first thing they want to know is “how many carats?” This is a worthy question, but it’s not the only one you should ask! Carat weight is but a small part of what makes a diamond unique. It measures the diamond’s weight – not its size. Yes, a higher carat weight and heavier diamond usually corresponds with a bigger diamond, but not always. What you want is a diamond with good spread (here we go with the lingo again.) A diamond with good spread means an expert diamond cutter has balanced the stone perfectly to achieve maximum surface area on the top view (what everyone looks at anyway when it’s on your hand) without sacrificing the right proportions that will determine the diamond’s Cut grade and how well it reflects and refracts light (aka glitters.) This will nab you a bigger looking diamond without the accompanying higher price/carat weight. Another hack to save money in this area is to shop for a diamond juuuuust shy of your ideal carat weight. So if you want a 2 carat stone, look for one that’s 1.80 – 1.99cts. Diamonds are priced by carat weight, and they jump at certain markers – they don’t gradually increase in price as they get bigger. Instead, they’re priced “per carat” so every diamond between 1-1.99 carats is priced at that rate and prorated. A 2 carat diamond warrants a price hike though, so a 2 carat will be a lot more expensive, not just double the price of a 1 carat. Finding a diamond right under that jump will get you a stone that’s priced at the lower rate and is practically impossible to tell from the even 2 carats. Read more about carat weight in depth here.
The best engagement ring hack, of course, is to shop with a jeweler you trust. He or she can show you, side by side, the examples we’ve mentioned above. And you’ll be amazed by how little you can tell the difference and how much these small hacks will add up to when it comes to your bottom line!