Diamonds 101

Say it with some sparkle

Diamonds are an age-old symbol of love - and giving one to someone else is a sign of serious commitment. The fire of a well-cut stone can dazzle the eye from across a room. The archetypal engagement ring is a round brilliant diamond solitaire set in yellow gold, but the times, they are a-changing! Today there are dozens of popular options for stone shape and quality as well as the ring’s setting itself.

The best things in life are free, but the most sparkly sure aren’t
Guys, we feel for you. If you’re the one shelling out for the engagement ring, we understand that they don’t come cheap. The old rule of thumb is that an engagement ring should cost two months’ salary. If you’re living on your own or don’t have a fabulous income, saving up two months’ salary can take a long time - maybe longer than the two of you want to wait.

Listen for clues from your significant other about what’s important in a ring. If it’s size, there are ways to save money by choosing a diamond that doesn’t rank as high in cut, clarity or color. If she cares more about the shape of the stone or that you came up with a thoughtful proposal, you’re in the clear. Choosing estate diamonds or recycled stones - ones that have been previously owned or previously set - are other ways to save money.

Take a long hard look at your finances before you go ring shopping and figure out what you can really afford to spend. Remember, the engagement ring is just the start. Once you’re engaged, there are many, many more things you’ll need to budget for.

Faux letter words
Some people will shudder at even the mere mention of diamond alternatives, but let’s clear the air. Diamonds can cost serious dough, especially if you’re looking for one to set in a high quality engagement ring, but there are other options. Manufactured diamonds and diamond alternatives like cubic zirconium and moissanite all look just like diamonds but are a fraction of the cost.

Not sure how to sell her on a diamond alternative? Many environmentally and socially conscious couples wouldn’t go any other way since manufactured diamonds and diamond alternatives are earth-friendly and free from political conflict. Some of the best jewelers in the world can’t tell the difference between these and genuine diamonds, so quality shouldn’t be an issue. For some couples, authentic diamonds are the only way to go, for others, these alternatives are wonderful options.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices available to you and the inevitable sales pressure of your first trip to the jewelers. This is a life-long investment, so take some time to get educated and you won’t have any problems choosing the perfect ring for your big question.

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