Engagement rings and wedding sets can be some of the most significant purchases in a household, behind your car, your furniture, and the house itself. While at first blush it may seem gauche to look for “discount” diamonds, there are ways to save money when shopping for diamond engagement rings. Here are a few tips.
- Diamond Size
No doubt, a large stone will reflect more light and sparkle more fiercely than a smaller stone. But size is not the only way to capture that fire. A halo setting places a circle of smaller diamonds around the main stone, which can not only add sparkle and shine to the overall appearance, but can actually increase the apparent size of the main stone by up to 30%.
- Diamond Clarity
Clarity is rated on a scale from “F” (flawless), “IF” (internally flawless), “VVS” (very, very slightly included, with two levels), “VS” (very slightly included, with two levels), “SI” (slightly included, with two levels), and “I” (included, with three levels). But the majority of the scale is based on inclusions visible under 10x magnification. Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye until around SI2, meaning that almost three quarters of the entire scale contain diamonds with virtually invisible inclusions. You can easily save money by purchasing diamonds a little further down on the clarity scale without worrying about unsightly flaws.
- Diamond Color
“Colorless” diamonds are more expensive than diamonds graded further down the scale, but depending on your metal color and setting type, even the “whitest” of diamonds can appear colored. For example, a channel setting in yellow gold will naturally make the diamonds within the channel appear slightly yellower, as they take in the gold light and reflect it back out. As such, you can fill the channels with slightly more “colored” diamonds and pay a little bit less.
One final note about diamond grading: while the process is designed to make the grades as objective as possible, they simply cannot account for personal taste, and the inherent beauty of any given diamond. A diamond with a “lower” color rating may give off a warmer appearance, and certain combinations of nearly-invisible inclusions can create unique and beautiful reflection patterns. Never rely solely on a diamond’s grades. See it for yourself, and judge its beauty based on your criteria. You may be surprised at what you find.