Why You Should Buy A Diamond Engagement Ring

by on Jan 8 2013 - 43 Comments

I was reading a blog post a few weeks ago that argued that in order to save money, you should not buy a diamond for an engagement ring. With all of the engagements that happen around the Holiday season (I recently heard as many as 40% of couples get engaged during the Holiday season), engagement rings are a topic that is on the mind of many guys looking to pop the question. Whether you are thinking about proposing next week or marriage is not even on your radar, you must think about the quality of the ring you purchase now in order to save money in the future and have a ring that your spouse will be proud of for years to come.

There are three things that I want to touch on when it comes to buying an engagement ring:

1) This is a ring that is supposed to last “forever” (aka an entire lifetime)

You can buy any kind of stone today for an engagement ring and they are usually all beautiful. In fact, you can save LOADS of money by doing so! However, most stones are not made to last 40, 50, or 60 years when worn every single day.

Unless you are considering a different stone because your future wife really doesn’t like diamonds, or a certain type of stone holds some sentimental value to one of you or as a couple, it is not a good idea to purchase a non-diamond ring. Diamonds are known in the geology world as one of the hardest, most durable natural substances known. If you are purchasing an engagement ring, I would hope that you are confident that you will be married to your significant other for more than five to ten years. By going the cheaper route now and getting a different type of stone just to save money, you could be screwing yourself over later because you will have to buy a whole new ring when the stone doesn’t last.

2) Should you buy online?

NO! Often, buying online is going to be way less expensive than going to a big-name jeweler, such as Shane Co and definitely will be cheaper than going to Tiffany and Co. While I am not suggesting you have to go to the biggest, most expensive jeweler in the U.S. just to get a good deal for the future, buying online can end up costing more than you think. Most online stores do not have warranties built into the purchases. Warranties allow for the owners of a ring to be able to get their ring adjusted, cleaned, or fixed whenever they want…and usually free of charge. These costs can add up quick.

You may know yours or your girlfriend’s ring size already, but who is to say that won’t change when she is 60, or gains/loses a lot of weight? Will you or your girlfriend do everything to make sure the ring never, ever gets dirty? Will the stones never get loose? Probably not. The warranty that often comes with specific stores and in-person jewelers are important when adding up the total cost of purchasing a ring. Saving money by buying online isn’t really saving money at all when the long-term costs are considered.

3) Clarity matters

A lot of people may try to convince you that clarity doesn’t really matter and that it is just a way for a jeweler to get more money out of you. However, in reality the clarity level does matter. This is not to say that clarity is the only thing that matters when it comes to a diamond. What I am saying is that the higher level of clarity you get, the nicer the ring will look years down the road. It will always sparkle like new and will be something that you and your future spouse can be proud of for years to come.

When it comes to engagement rings, what is most important to you? Any tips for those who are looking to buy a ring sometime in the near future?
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Photo by ilovebutter
 

39 comments
MonetaryMusings
MonetaryMusings

Cleaning a ring should be as easy as mixing one part amonia and 5 or 6 parts water and letting it soak for a few minutes, agitating gently - makes diamonds shine brighter than new!

PlungedinDebt
PlungedinDebt

I think I have to disagree, while I have a beautiful diamond e-ring it's probably not the top quality clarity- I don't care nor would I care if it was real. Don't get me wrong I wanted an e-ring and wedding band, they're one of the biggest (yet subtle) statements in our society and I personally didn't want another stone (sapphire/ruby etc) but if he bought me a lab-made diamond I wouldn't care at all. While my e-ring is from a reputable jeweler here in town I could not justify the price of the wedding band I wanted, so we bought our wedding bands online for about 1/3 of the price. They were a little big but had a goldsmith size them for us for about 40.00 total. 

 

If I had a say in the matter, I'd buy a gold or platinum set lab-made 'diamond' wedding set (no worries about conflict diamonds and will last forever) and put the money 'saved' towards the wedding/our down payment/honeymoon whatever. 

PersonalFinanceBeat
PersonalFinanceBeat

Timely post. I got engaged over Thanksgiving, and yes, went through the entire researching and buying process. It was not fun!

 

I'd offer two pieces of advice. 1) Have an open conversation (assuming the engagement is not a total surprise) with your significant other about what type of ring she wants, about how much it will cost, and how much you think you can afford. 2) Once you find your budget and you're both happy with it -- just buy her whatever she asks for. Seriously. Chances are, she knows exactly what she wants -- don't try to get creative, just get whatever she wants. Trust me!

 

Mike

AverageJoeMoney
AverageJoeMoney

While I don't have an opinion that would be helpful to add on buying a ring, I'd say insuring it is WAY important. When I was an advisor I met a ton of people with expensive jewelry that they were wearing around without any insurance. What would they do if the stone popped out of the setting?

seedebtrun
seedebtrun

If I had it all to do over again... I would have talked my wife out of getting a diamond ring.. She does have one now, but I didn't go crazy with the expenses and buy something I couldn't afford.  But I wasn't aware of the mining situation in Africa at the time, and have since chosen to boycott diamond jewelry in general.

Jordann
Jordann

Wow couldn't disagree more. I got engaged in February 2012. My fiancé bought me a ring that isn't a real diamond, and he bought it on line! The size wasn't right, and the company provided amazing customer service, allowing us to get a new one in the right size in a matter of days. They also provided great warranty coverage. I don't mind that it's not the biggest or most beautiful ring on the block because we've been together for almost ten years, and I never had a ring all that time. I don't place much importance on my engagement ring, other than as something sparkly on my finger. If it fades or loses value over time, that's all right, it's just a piece of jewellery.

Money Life and More
Money Life and More

My girlfriend was looking at Moissanite which seems to be a legit alternative... much cheaper too!

RFIndependence
RFIndependence

I read a fascinating post about how diamonds were not an engagement tradition until a huge diamond company found out too many diamonds in her mine and wonder what to do with them! It changed my mind about diamonds being so nice and such a beautiful symbol, now I only see them as the overpriced product of excellent marketing!

KyleJames1
KyleJames1

My wife would agree with all your points Victoria. The one thing that always bothered me when I bouoght my wife's ring is this notion that a guy has to spend a certain amount depending on his annual salary. I always felt that was something pushed by the jewelry stores and always made me uncomfortable. And I don't say this because I am cheap! Thoughts?

eemusings
eemusings

Hmm, I must be one of the few that really doesn't care for diamonds. I ended up with a diamond engagement ring, however - it's a family antique from his side. For my wedding ring I plan to get a ruby ring (my birthstone). Personally, I don't care to broadcast my marital status to the world, so the argument that anything but a diamond could just be a random ring doesn't wash with me.

JustinatTheFrugalPath
JustinatTheFrugalPath

I purchased my wife's engagement ring the day after we were at the mall. She jokingly pointed at a ring and said if we ever got married I'd want a ring like that. It wasn't expensive and I ran out the next day and bought it with cash. She was very surprised and happy.

TacklingOurDebt
TacklingOurDebt

I love diamonds. When we got engaged we bought our rings in Jamaica and Cabo San Lucas, as we were on a cruise and many locations in the Caribbean have amazing diamond jewelery shops. We found great deals, but just to be sure they were real and of good clarity, we had them examined by a jeweler when we returned to Canada. We love them.

Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

When we got engaged, my husband was still doing student teaching, meaning no salary other than part time work he did as a landscaper. That was also before we used to buy whatever we wanted on credit, so I think my engagement ring cost around $500. It is a diamond and is pretty, but very small and probably not good quality. We always said he could get me a better one for our ten year anniversary. However, when it rolled around this past September, we were almost done with paying down credit card debt, and I really don't want a better one. I have to wash my hands a million times a day, put on gloves, poke at people's eyes. It would just be in the way or I'd take it off and lose it. I just don't care that much about jewelry, but I can see that if you are buying something once, you should do it right. I would not go into debt over it, though. That is no way to start a marriage. Good to see you posting today. I hope to see more in the future.

Beachbudget
Beachbudget

I would want a diamond I think but I don't like huge rings, so that should help. Something simple and beautiful. 

addvodka
addvodka

I wouldn't want any other stone other than diamond. Otherwise, people wonder if it's really an engagement ring or just a pretty ring you are wearing on the wrong finger. Plus, it's a one time purchase, unless you are flat broke, trying to cut edges just to save on it is a little silly to me. 

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

I buy almost everything online, but I could not imagine buying an engagement ring online. I say go with what the woman wants and that is generally going to be a diamond. I was able to give my wife my grandmother's engagement ring. She loves it, it's unique and has a great story behind it.

MonsterPiggyBank
MonsterPiggyBank

I couldn't imaging buying an engagement ring online - too risky for me.

GregatClubThrifty
GregatClubThrifty

We decided not to buy a diamond engagement ring not only to save money, but because my wife liked sapphires better. If somebody is really wanting a diamond, then they should go for it and by the best quality that they can, though.

PlungedinDebt
PlungedinDebt

 @AverageJoeMoney My e-ring has a lifetime warranty on it through the jewelers and we have it insured in the house insurance as well. 

Jordann
Jordann

 @seedebtrun That was another reason I was happy my fiancé didn't go with a diamond ring!

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @Jordann I respect your opinon and hope my wife's article didn't offend you too much.  With blogging it's impossible to put an opinion out there that everyone will agree with, and I'm sure there are many who agree with you : )

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @Beachbudget Victoria doesn't like huge rings either, it made it easy to pick out one that was a decent size but had a higher level of clarity.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@PlungedinDebt @AverageJoeMoney Where we bought our ring, if the stone pops out the ring retailer will give you a new stone of equal value.  You can upgrade, too, so if your stone of $2k fell off the prongs they will give you a $2k credit for a new one.  It's a lifetime warranty.


If you lose the whole ring, though, your'e on the hook for it.  We have insurance and it's relatively cheap considering the fact we don't have to worry about what we'd do if we lost one of our rings.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @Jordann @seedebtrun Not trying to start a debate here...but I was aware of the mining situation in Africa, and I went out of my way to make sure the diamond I bought did not come from a conflict-free zone.

Jordann
Jordann

 @DC @ Young Adult Money Hey! No offense taken, just rereading my comment, it came off MUCH snarkier/angrier than I intended. It's funny how people can have such different experiences/opinions when purchasing the same product.

seedebtrun
seedebtrun

 @DC @ Young Adult Money  @Jordann  Okay  DC.. that is great. I have no issues with that at all and certainly wasn't trying to start a debate either... Just throwing it out there as a factor that some may want to  consider. It is awesome that they have the Non-CF options available!