10 Tips to Stretch Your Budget While Engagement Ring Shopping

Aug 30th 2021

10 Tips to Stretch Your Budget While Engagement Ring Shopping

We know the dilemma all too well. You’ve started engagement ring shopping for your special someone, but the prices are steeper than you hoped. The process can be frustrating, but all is not lost! Check out these 10 important tips that will stretch your budget and get you closer to the ring of their dreams.

1. Choose a “Near Colorless” Diamond: If you’re unfamiliar, diamond color is rated on a 23-point scale developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The scale begins with “D” (a colorless diamond) and ends with “Z” (a light yellow or brown diamond). Although a colorless diamond creates more sparkle, finding one can be a pricey hunt. You can instead choose a “near colorless” diamond, which would fall between “G” and “J” on the color scale. The stone will be an economical choice and look completely colorless to the naked eye.

Diamond Color

2. Find a Well-Cut Diamond: Considered a diamond’s most important feature, the cut refers to a stone’s proportions and how its flat surfaces and angles are cut and polished. This impacts how light passes through the gem and therefore the level of sparkle. A better diamond cut will reflect more light and make the stone look larger, meaning you can choose a slightly smaller diamond for a lower price.

Diamond Cut

3. Take Notice of Diamond Clarity: It’s extremely rare to find a flawless diamond. As a result, stones with minor imperfections are cheaper and readily available. But many of these defects are only visible under 10x magnification to trained diamond graders. Without such intense scrutiny, diamonds with minor imperfections, specifically those ranging from VS1-SI2 on the GIA Diamond Clarity Scale, will appear flawless to the naked eye.

Diamond Clairty

4. Opt for Lab-Grown Diamonds: These are actually real diamonds! They’re sustainably created in a laboratory and made of carbon, just like natural diamonds that were formed billions of years ago below the Earth’s surface. Lab-grown diamonds have the same look, durability and sparkle as natural diamonds, but they cost 30-40% less. An ideal choice for the practical shopper!

5. Consider a Diamond Alternative: Diamond alternatives (aka simulants), such as moissanites, are a beautiful and cost-effective option. Moissanites are created in a laboratory and made of the rare mineral, silicon carbide. These gemstones are highly durable, brilliant and look similar to diamonds. But they cost 70% less than natural diamonds. While moissanites don’t follow the same grading system as diamonds, they’re a great choice if you’re after a large center stone.

6. Pick a Cluster: A cluster engagement ring features close-set smaller diamonds that resemble a larger stone. The stones sometimes form unique shapes, such as a flower or starburst. Ring prices mainly depend on the center stone’s weight, but a cluster ring’s smaller diamonds offer a larger total carat weight at a lower price.

7. Show Us Your Halo: Halo engagement rings usually feature a larger center stone surrounded by a circle of smaller diamonds. The smaller stones make the center diamond look larger by attracting the viewer’s eye. If you opt for a halo setting, you can choose a slightly smaller, less expensive center stone without sacrificing appearance.

8. Three Stones Are Better Than One: As the name suggests, three-stone engagement rings highlight three stones: a larger, center diamond/gemstone and smaller stones on both sides. Each stone represents the past, present and future — a symbol of the journey that you and your partner are about to take. The extra sparkle from the added stones creates the illusion that the stones are larger than those in a solitaire ring. Similar to a halo setting, you can save a few dollars and select slightly smaller stones.

9. Seek Out Fancy Shapes: By now, you may know that diamonds come in more than just round shapes. Elongated diamonds, such as oval, emerald and marquise shapes, often appear larger, as their surfaces take up more space on one’s finger. Once again, you can save with a slightly smaller diamond while maintaining size and appearance.

10. Don’t Forget About Prongs: Ring shoppers probably don’t think much about prongs (aka the metal claws that hold a gemstone in place), but they factor into ring appearance and price more than you may realize. If you’re looking to economize, we recommend finding a ring style with slender or fewer prongs. Doing so will expose more of the diamond surface, and you can therefore choose a smaller stone.


Have a question? We can help!

Gage Diamonds is Chicago's premier jewelry showroom and online retailer of engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry. All of our diamonds are hand selected and evaluated to ensure each stone has minimal inclusions or blemishes seen by the naked eye.

We’re committed to helping you find the ring of your dreams. For inspiration, browse our website or set up an appointment with a member of our trusted staff at our in-person showroom.

We offer no-credit-needed financing – feel free to apply and get your approval within 24 hours!

Pay over time, because love shouldn’t wait.