When it comes to engagement rings, making a choice on where to buy can be an extremely tough decision. With so many companies out there, the first step of the diamond buying experience can seem more daunting than the actual proposal. Not to mention, diamonds can be prohibitively expensive for people on a tight budget. However, if you know where to look, there are many tips and tricks that you can use to help find a ring that is not only gorgeous, but doesn’t break the bank.
The #1 tip? Lab grown diamonds — a breakthrough trend in the diamond industry that provides buyers with a lower cost — and equally beautiful — option of identical quality. That’s right; identical. Why? Because cultured diamonds are real diamonds; check out the recent FTC changes to the definition of ‘diamond’ that proves it.
So, how much can you save by choosing lab-grown? Well carat for carat, cultured diamonds of similar cut and clarity are typically 20-30% less expensive than their traditionally mined counterparts. Or, as you might have already figured, that means smart shoppers can get a diamond that’s 20-30% larger for the same price.
A Primer on Lab-Created Diamonds
It’s important to realize that just because lab-grown diamonds are less expensive, it doesn’t mean they’re cheap. Believe it or not, the only thing that makes a lab-created diamond different from a mined diamond is its origin. Since the supply chain is a bit shorter for lab-grown diamonds, they touch fewer hands — making them less expensive.
Besides the lower price tag, lab-grown diamonds have a few other advantages:
More ethical. It’s no secret that the mined-diamond industry has come under fire for, among other things: exploiting miners and their families through forced labor; and, indirectly funding violent rebel movements in countries throughout Africa. Those diamonds are infamously known as “blood diamonds.”
Environmentally friendly. Because lab-created diamonds take considerably less energy to produce and bring to market, they have a markedly-smaller adverse effect on our environment than mined diamonds.
More Money-Saving Tips
Now that you know man made diamonds can save you a significant amount of cash without compromising quality, here are a few other tips that will stretch your engagement ring budget even more:
Buy shy. Generally speaking diamond prices increase disproportionately at the carat and half-carat marks, so make sure your diamond’s size is always just shy of a whole number. You can typically save upwards of 20%
by buying a diamond that is, for example, 1.8 carats instead of 2 carats. Best of all, the difference will be barely noticeable.
Get an emerald cut. An emerald cut is not only a timeless classic, but it’s also generally less expensive because they have fewer facets, which reduces the diamond’s shimmer. On the other hand, an emerald cut makes
the diamond appear larger than other cuts — so it is a cost-effective and satisfying trade-off for most people.
Choose a set. It’s not uncommon for jewelers to offer a discount if you choose to buy the engagement ring and the wedding band at the same time.
Consider a halo setting. You can create the illusion of a larger diamond with a halo setting, which is a circle of smaller stones around a larger center diamond.
All in all, purchasing an engagement ring can seem overwhelming. But, with the right tools and a bit of homework, you can easily find the ring of her dreams at a price that you’re both comfortable with.
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