Choosing a diamond for the first time is not always the easiest task seeing as there are so many factors to consider. To help you navigate this minefield, here is our simple guide to buying the best diamond engagement ring for your budget!
The first step to buying an engagement ring is deciding on a reasonable budget that is appropriate. Ignore any unwritten rules that say you have to spend 2 or 3 months salary and choose a budget that is sensible and right for you! During this stage it's important to take into account account how much you would like to spend on the proposal, as some proposal ideas can be expensive and take a chunk out of your engagement ring budget!
Once you have the budget sorted it's time to start taking inspiration for styles & designs that you like the look of. Recognising your partners style will definitely set you along the right path of choosing the perfect ring. Ask yourself: what kind of aesthetic does your partner have, are they: classic, sophisticated, glamorous, quirky, minimalist?
When choosing an engagement ring setting it is important to recognise that the price of the overall ring is determined by the cost of the diamond + the cost of the setting. A simple way of looking at this is that the more you spend on the setting itself the less of your budget you will have to spend on the center diamond. Knowing this can help you choose the right setting depending on which factors are most important to you. Here are three styles of setting that we recommend if you’re on a budget:
The Solitaire Setting
The solitaire engagement ring is the least expensive style as it doesn’t have any shoulder diamonds. The benefit of opting for a solitaire is that a larger portion of your budget will be dedicated to the center diamond - allowing you to choose a bigger & better quality diamond. This setting is a nice option if your bride to-be has a classic, minimalist style.
The Halo Setting
The halo setting is a very pretty engagement ring designed to accentuate the size of your center diamond. A halo of accent diamonds surrounds the center stone adding volume & sparkle. Although the halo setting is more expensive than the solitaire setting, it is a good option if you want your engagement ring to make the most impact for its budget. This setting suits glamorous & sophisticated styles.
The Fine Castle Setting
The fine castle set engagement ring can be a good option if you're sticking to a budget. This engagement ring features a scintillating row of minuscule accent diamonds which add a subtle hint of sparkle to your center stone. This engagement ring suits a simple, sophisticated & elegant style!
Once you have chosen your setting, it's time to consider which metal to choose. At Pure Carats all of our engagement rings are available in recycled 9ct & 18ct white, yellow & rose gold & platinum. The most budget friendly metal for an engagement ring is 9ct gold, it contains 37.5% pure gold and looks exactly the same as 18ct gold. The benefit of choosing 9ct gold instead of 18ct gold is that your ring setting will be less expensive, the downside is that 9ct gold is slightly less durable than 18ct and is more susceptible to scratches & knocks with everyday wear. The last option is platinum, which is the most expensive but also the most durable.
|Precious Metal||% Purity||Density||Durability|
|9ct Gold||37.5% pure gold||11.16||7/10|
|18ct Gold||75% pure gold||15.51||9/10|
|Platinum||95% pure platinum||21.45||10/10|
Quick tip: Take a look at your partner's existing jewellery. Which colour metal does he/she generally wear? This can be an easy indication as to which precious metal they would prefer. If your partner prefers yellow or rose gold then platinum will not be an option, in which case we recommend opting for 18ct yellow gold or 18ct rose gold.
Generally we recommend platinum as the best metal for engagement rings, because it's a denser material than all other precious metals. This density makes platinum the most robust material to withstand everyday wear. That being said 18ct gold still makes a great material for fine jewellery and is durable enough for everyday wear.
When deciding on an engagement ring, a larger portion of the budget is generally spent on the diamond rather than on the setting. Considering a lab diamond is a good way to make your engagement ring budget go much further. Lab created diamonds are identical to mined diamonds and are around 40-60% less expensive, allowing you to choose a diamond which is larger in carat weight and higher in quality. Listed below are the factors you should know about when choosing any diamond (natural or lab grown) on a budget:
Diamond shape is something to consider when choosing a diamond on a budget. Round brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular shape, which also makes them the most expensive. Opting for a fancy shaped diamond (any diamond shape which is not round) will allow you to choose a larger stone for the same price. Furthermore, the entire engagement ring will be designed around the center diamond so deciding on your diamond shape the starting point for your engagement ring design.
When choosing a diamond there are certain compromises you can make to ensure you get the most value out of your purchase, but first it's important that you understand the 4C’s, check out our guide to the 4C's to get a good understanding of what affects the diamonds’ price. Here is what we recommend:
Cut:The cut grade of a diamond is a measure of its ability to reflect & refract light, which is why the cut grade is the factor which affects the sparkle of a diamond the most. We recommend choosing a cut grade of very good, excellent or ideal to ensure that your diamond has optimum sparkle.
Colour: Opting for a G-H color diamond will guarantee it’s bright and white, whilst being less expensive than a D, E, or F colour diamond.
Clarity:Choosing a slightly lower clarity is a good compromise when it comes to your budget. If you choose an SI1 (Slightly Included 1) clarity diamond it will have inclusions but they will be invisible to the naked eye. Choosing an eye clean diamond is a slight compromise when it comes to its quality, but will allow you to choose a bigger diamond for the same price.
Carat Weight:Once you have a general idea of the colour, clarity & cut grade you prefer it can be easy to use these three factors to determine the biggest carat weight that suits your budget. In order to save even more on the carat weight, you could opt for a diamond which is slightly below a benchmark carat weight. For example, choose a 0.90ct instead of a 1ct or a 1.80ct instead of a 2ct. This will allow you to get the look you want whilst saving on the price of the diamond!
We recommend taking a look at our loose diamond listing to compare the prices of different diamonds.
We recommend opting for a diamond that has been independently certified by a reputable gemological grading laboratory such as: GIA, IGI, GCAL. This will ensure that you have an accurate grading of your diamond. Although uncertified diamonds can be less expensive we do not recommend them because you will not have a realistic, unbiased opinion of the quality of your diamond. At least with a certified diamond you have a piece of mind that you diamond in of the quality you expect!
If you’re looking to get the very best deal for your diamond, purchasing online from Pure Carats is a great way to save money. Our lab grown diamonds are available on our website in 360HD so you can see each and every imperfection under magnification before purchasing it. Our lab grown diamonds are offered at the best price on the market and we offer free shipping, returns & a lifetime warranty!
Being the UK’s largest online lab diamond source, we can provide the best value for money for your lab diamond. We even offer a custom made service, where you can work with our skilled CAD designers to create a completely custom made piece!
We hope you find our guide useful to help maximise your diamond budget as much as possible. Remember to set yourself a sensible budget and start on your diamond journey from there!
If you have any questions or need more information about lab grown diamonds feel free to contact us and our team will happily assist you!
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Does size matter when buying a diamond? We’re often asked this question when someone is purchasing a diamond for the first time. When buying a diamond, carat weight is a factor to consider, and can cause the tricky problem of diamond quality vs diamond size! This can be a difficult decision when it comes to size & quality. Is it better to have a bigger diamond or better quality?