How to Buy an Engagement Ring? - Part 1: Basics and Budget
Step 1: Figuring out your Budget
Unfortunately, we don't learn how to buy an engagement ring in school. You're on your own unless you know someone in the jewelry industry. Luckily, we're here to help.
Whether you like it or not, it comes down to money at the end of the day.
It is up to you on how much you want to spend. The amount controls everything from type of metal to size and quality of the diamond. Ignore all the nonsense about the diamond needing to be worth at least 2 months salary. Save your money on something more important like a nice honeymoon. You'll have plenty of time to adorn your partner in endless amounts of bling.
It's also important to keep some flexibility in your budget. I've seen people find their "perfect" ring while learning that it's a few hundred out of their budget. You also might run into several unforeseen expenses in metalwork or price fluctuations. The jeweler will not be hesitant to ask for proper compensation. Either way it is good to have some extra room for these extra costs.
My Opinion: Buy something small now and upgrade in a few years. Rings are lost and or broken all the time, especially by someone who is not used to wearing them. With a smaller ring, you've set your standards low and upgrading won't be too costly.
Step 2: Focus on the Basic Features of the Ring
We want to help get the perfect ring. Prepare yourself to make some compromises if you want to stretch your money. In some order you should rank the following:
- Diamond Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity
- Metal Type: Silver, 14k, 18k, Platinum, etc.
- Ring Design: Halo, Solitaire, 3 Stone, Custom, etc.
- Number of Accent Stones/Diamonds and Complexity of the Design
- Where you are Buying From: High-end retailer, local jeweler, online
- Payment Method: Cash, Credit Card, Loan, etc.
- Time to Figure All This Out
My Opinion on How to Buy an Engagement Ring
The task of how to buy an engagement ring is not difficult, but it requires a lot of planning. Most of the time, I see people going for a combination of the first three: diamond, metal, and ring design.