Diamond Engagement Ring Buying Tips For Couples

Top 20 diamond engagement rings

A diamond engagement ring is usually a must-buy whenever there's a marriage. The question many men have is figuring out how to buy the right diamond engagement ring and how much to spend. There are so many diamond engagement rings to choose from!

If you are like most men, you will have no idea what to look for when buying a diamond engagement ring. I'll share with you the specifications necessary to buy the best diamond engagement ring possible for your money. For reference, I got married in 2008 and bought a diamond engagement ring from New York City.

One of my good friends is getting married, and he asked me, “Sam, what on earth am I supposed to get her for an engagement ring?” What a question, that's not easily answered. Generally, the right answer is “whatever she wants!” However, as we all know, sometimes ladies are harder to read than a children's book in large print!

In the spirit of personal finance, let's discuss some tips for buying a diamond engagement ring.

Tips For Buying Diamond Engagement Rings

Here are all my tips for buying a diamond engagement ring.

1) Decide between a luxury brand such as Tiffany's, or a no name brand for 30-50% less.

Only two things really determine this decision: What she wants, and whether you can afford it. Most people will tell you that buying a name brand ring is a waste of money, because diamonds are a commodity, and all come from the same mines controlled by DeBeers.

Some women are aggressively against spending the premium, so buying one of the top 20 engagement rings on Blue Nile could be a well suited and affordable choice. But, if your woman adamantly wants that Tiffany's Legacy diamond ring, and you get her something else, she may secretly be disappointed. Finding out this basic viewpoint is tantamount!

Pros for buying a name brand diamond engagement ring

Brand value resonates strongly with a lot of women and guarantees a minimum quality control involved. Tiffany's, for example explicitly states they will only buy diamonds of exceptional clarity and near colorless or better. Furthermore, you have worldwide customer support, and a fun reason to always go to a Tiffany's store.

Cons for buying a brand name diamond engagement ring

50-100% more expensive and people may think you're wasteful for spending the extra money since we all know diamonds are a commodity, artificially priced due to a restriction in supply.

Remember, the premium you spend could be used for other things, such as a nice honeymoon, the wedding, or good old fashion savings. Take a look at sites such as BlueNile.com, which has great tools in your search for the right rock at the right price.

There's no right choice or wrong choice to this decision, just what your woman wants! It's also worth highlighting “The Diamond-Water Paradox.” The paradox is that although water is essential to life, water is vastly less valuable than diamonds, which is non-essential to life. Some women might object!

2) The Four Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat!


Cut refers to the facet proportions on the surface of the diamond. The precise positioning of these facets determines the beauty of the stone. A proper cut with the right table, crown, pavilion depth, girdle, and symmetry will maximize the fire and brilliance of the diamond.

The most common and desirable cut tends to be the “Ideal Brilliant Cut.” You have to be most careful here, b/c independent dealers can really shortchange you with imperfect cuts, thereby selling you a diamond for more than what it's really worth. CAUTION!


Clarity is essentially how clear the diamond is. Every diamond has blemishes of some sort, be it black carbon, inclusions, or chips. It's ok to have these blemishes, but preferably not viewable to the naked eye. Who knows, you might get a massive discount if you can point out some small black carbon right inside a prong where nobody can see.

The ratings from best to worst are: FL (Flawless) IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1-VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included), and VS1-VS2 (Very Slightly Included), SI1 (Slightly Included 1) and SI2 (Slightly Included 2). The best bang for your buck is VS1 and VVS2. Prices rise exponentially the higher you go.


Color for diamond engagement rings goes from Colorless (D, E, F), Near Colorless (G, H, I, J), and Faint Yellow (K, L, M). The closer to colorless, the better.

Forget about D and even E. Go for F, G, or H, as prices also rise exponentially in this department as well. You can't tell the difference until you get to I. Get your diamond and cone a white piece of paper around it to see its true colorness. You'll be surprised how pristine H color is.


Carat is the most recognizable aspect and commented on aspect of the diamond engagement ring. We're talking as small as 0.18 carats to as large as 3+ carats in normal stores. One carat equals 0.2 grams.

You can get your fiancé a 3 carat that's cheaper than a 1 carat because of the lack of clarity, cut, and color. However, most women mention to me they'd rather have quality over carat size.

One of the key things to note is that at every half-carat and 1 carat level, the price jump is huge. In other words, a 0.99 carat ring will sell for at least 10% less than a 1 carat, even if a 1 carat diamond is only 1% larger i.e. negligible. The same goes for 1.49 vs. 1.5, and 1.99 vs. 2.0 carat etc.

3) Understand what your girlfriend's friends are wearing.

If they all have 2 carat diamond rings with VVS1 clarity, and E color, well, it's going to be tough not getting at least 1 carat with similar qualities. If her friends all have 0.5-carat rings, then getting much more than 1 carat may be poor form.

Also, from the guy's perspective, you don't want to get your fiancé something so nice, that it makes your buddies look bad.

4) Use referrals.

If you aren't going to the established brand names to buy a diamond engagement ring, the absolute best and easiest way to go is through a friend's referral. Obviously, your friend and his wife must be happy with what they have.

People have been getting married forever, and dealers rely on referrals. If the referral is out of state, all the better b/c he can design or copy a ring, and ship it to you, thereby saving sales tax. Remember to always have the ring GIA certified as well.

5) Price.

We must not ignore the cost of the ring. Women love to discuss what a man “should” spend on the engagement ring. Some believe the amount spent should be 3 months gross salary. Another woman, who comes from an extremely wealthy family, mentioned a ring should be flawless, and contain 0.1 carat for each year of age at the time of proposal.

In other words, if she's 28, then a 2.8 carat flawless and near colorless diamond engagement ring for $80,000+ is what he should buy! Yeah right! Be sure to check out the new rule for engagement ring buying.

To put things in perspective, studies have shown that the average size and cost for a diamond ring is about 1.2 carats and costs around $6,351. In big cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the average carat size is closer to 1.8-2.0 and $35,000!

The formula I propose all men and women to adhere to is that a man should spend as much as the present value of his automobile! If you're driving a $100,000 Porsche 911 Cabriolet, well then off to Harry Winston you go for that 2.5 carat pink diamond!

If you're driving a 10 year old Honda Civic, then perhaps a $3,000, 0.3 carat, SI1, I color will do. How can your woman expect you to spend much more than what you've spent on your car? However, to not spend as much on the ring as you do your car shows that you are selfish and may love your car more than you love her! Women tell me this, so I have to agree. :)

6) Survey your colleagues.

During my diamond engagement ring search, I surveyed every single woman on my floor about what they'd like so I could be in tune with what women want today. I thought they'd be more understanding, telling me to go with my gut.

Instead, they were all very opinionated and all knew exactly what they wanted. “I want a minimum of 1.5 carats with D, E, or F in an eternity ring setting,” one female colleague insisted. Pretty intimidating, I must admit, but useful.

7) Investigate even more.

To get a basic idea of what my wife wanted, I would casually ask her what she thought of so and so's ring, which would hopefully lead up to her revealing what she'd prefer. Everybody loves a nice surprise, but it is nearly impossible not to reveal a little intention, even if you ask her girlfriend to secretly ask on your behalf.

Girls always talk, especially about diamond engagement rings! This point goes back to point #1. We guys need to get her at least the basic cut and design of what she wants.

8} Finally, as soon as you buy it, insure it!

Every single insurance agency has property insurance, and personal insurance policies for rings, watches, and other expensive things. Insurance isn't that cheap. It'll cost probably $30-40 bucks a year for every $1,000 you spend on the ring.

In conclusion, the ultimate way to save thousands on a diamond engagement ring is to choose this combination: Buy a non brand name ring, 0.99 carats (or whatever carat just 0.1 below the half/full carat level), H color, VS1 clarity with no inclusions or carbon from an out of state dealer.

I have to imagine this combination is good enough for 80% of the women out there!  You can't really go wrong hovering around 1 carat, because that will straddle right in with the 0.5-to-1.5 population.

Ladies, please tell me if I'm wrong. Tiffany's had their Novo style in this combination for $15,000 when I was researching rings. My dealer could have got the same specs and design for $6,500 after tax. Who couldn't use an extra $8,500? That $8,500 will be worth over $12,000 after 5 years in a 4% CD.

Another View On Diamond Engagement Rings

When buying a diamond engagement ring, it's good to be practical. Spend within your budget so you don't get stressed out over your finances once married.

However, here's a different perspective on diamond engagement rings from a friend. He said, “Sam, we men should buy whatever we can get away with!This may sound trite, but if a woman is happy with 0.8 carats to 1.3 carats, then wouldn't it behoove the guy to purchase the lower end of the range since she is happy with the range? Clearly, surprising on the upside is preferred.

The more secure a man is with his girlfriend saying “yes”, the more he may think this way. The opposite may be true, for younger relationships.

I don't claim to have the right answers. At the end of the day, if your woman truly loves you, she'll be happy with whatever you thoughtfully decide…. most of the time!

If finances are tough, I would simply have an open conversation. Discuss your finances to get on the same page. In an uncertain economic climate, I may even take a step back and put a diamond engagement ring on delay. Instead, give each other gold or silver bands and “upgrade” when things improve.

Why do we have to go for diamonds anyway? Why not go for ruby's or aqua marines? Unfortunately, there seems to be so much pressure from society for one to spend lavishly on engagement rings. I'm not buying into the extravagance, and neither should you if you're serious about building your savings.

Top 20 Most Popular Engagement Rings

Top 20 engagement rings

Curious what the most popular diamond engagement ring designs are right now? Check out the latest top 20 most popular engagement rings. There are so many beautiful choices nowadays with that wow factor you’re looking for.

It’s hard to go horribly wrong with a classic solitaire or princess cut of course. But, it’s definitely worth looking at all the different designs out there. After all, you know the first thing everyone will say when they find out you’re engaged is, “Congrats! Show me the ring!!”

If you want to add your own personal touches to one of the most popular engagement ring designs or get a custom ring , it’s easier than ever to do so now. Blue Nile, the first and largest on-line diamond retailer, has a Build Your Own Ring feature that lets you choose from over 300 settings. Filter by price, metal, metal karat, band width, designer, material and more.

Once you find a setting, select a diamond using convenient filters for price, carat, cut, clarity, color and much more. Being able to browse for engagement rings and compare prices from home or anywhere you have internet access is great. The last thing you want is a salesperson hovering over you!

Related post:

Is There Ever A Right Time To Upgrade Your Engagement Ring 

Important note for women. If your man doesn't make that much, absolutely know that he wants to give you the world. Most of the time, he just doesn't have enough money. All he can do is research the heck out of diamond engagement rings. Hopefully, he'll come as close to what he thinks you'd like within his means.

If you still aren't satisfied with what he gets, don't tell him. You will crush his spirits. Instead, suggest that he spent too much money. Also try and exchange your diamond engagement ring for something cheaper. Hopefully, you can get a ring more suitable to your tastes. Diamond engagement ring shopping is difficult. Guys want to do their best!


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

56 thoughts on “Diamond Engagement Ring Buying Tips For Couples”

  1. Kate Hansen

    I like how you said to get a referral from a friend! My brother is wanting to propose to his girlfriend in a couple of weeks, and he was telling me last night about how he wants to find the perfect engagement ring for it. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to him so he can know how to find a good engagement ring for his girlfriend!

  2. Thank you for talking about the carat of a diamond and how that refers to the size of the diamond. My girlfriend has mentioned to me that she wants to have a 2-carat diamond but I didn’t know what that meant. Now I know that is the size of the diamond that she wants.

  3. having inherited a rather massive, nearly 3ct solitare from my mom…I am glad that when I was given the choice of an engagement ring I chose what I considered looked nice on my hand. I wish I wasn’t divorced I still love my little emerald cut Kays engagement and wedding band set over that “headlight that was the Bling after the Fling.” Mom even told me to sell it after she died that it wasn’t sentimental. Now every time I try to sell the headlight size ring they only want to give peanuts for it. It appraised for much more. please do an article on getting your money back out of diamond.

  4. Ryan The Price of Diamonds King

    Too many people think the more weight, the more expensive it should be. Correction! There are too many factors that determine the price of diamonds and a true jeweler should be able to tell you that. I have .87ct diamonds that look bigger and shine better than most of the 1.2ct diamonds in stock.

  5. Isn’t most of buying a ring (or not buying a ring) about getting something that is consistent with your beliefs, and your lifestyle (which determines how much you spend), and ultimately, that is something you are both comfortable with. For some, that will be a ring out of a cereal box packet, while for others (a small few) that will be a million dollar diamond ring.

    1. Hi Michael, I think it is, but that’s the problem. We buy more than we can afford all the time, so general rules come up such as the 3 month salary rule or whatever. If a guy can spend $50,000 on a car, he should be able to spend $50,000 on a ring! Which begs the question, can he really spend $50,000 on a car?

  6. Good tips. Buying an odd carat diamond instead of a round number carat diamond (i.e. .95 v 1.00) is a good way to save some money. No one will be able to tell the difference.
    .-= RingShopper´s last blog ..The Four C’s =-.

  7. Excellent Blog….
    Is buying diamonds (25K range) on internet safe?
    Have any of you have any experience to share buying from any of the following internet stores? Excel Diamonds or Adiamor or BlueNile.com all of which are rated A or A+ by BBB… you bloggers may have some experience to share.

    Also any experience buying from Belgium or Amsterdam or Europe in general? Is ie less expensive?

    1. Hi Raj – I’ve bought jewelry online before, and so have many of my friends/colleagues. I don’t think there is a value cut off to determine what is safe or not, but sites like BlueNile are pretty common and handle 25K+ diamonds all the time.

      G luck!

  8. Wow! What an interesting and long thread here.

    You know at one time it didn’t have to be a diamond as long as it was a precious stone. But white goes with everything and DeBeers did an exceptional job or marketing and then controlling the supply!

    I do think it is important that the man have a good idea of the style of ring. When I got mine the style was to my way of thinking at the time a little old fashioned but I did not want to hurt him so wore it for years and years until one day on its annual cleaning the jeweler told me that the prongs were beginning to wear – I took that opportunity to have the diamond transferred to a completely different setting. It looked positively mahveluss dahlink! … and still does. To DH’s credit, he went for quality and you’ve got to like that!
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Mental Meanderings on a Sunday Morning =-.

  9. Diamonds aren’t forever, however they are for suckers!
    They are pieces of polished carbon with the supply controled by a cartel…wake up.

  10. Two days ago my fiance gave me a ring that we both chose at a wonderful local jeweler. I chose the setting, then he went by himself and chose the diamond. I loved the ring for a whole night, until the next day, from my insurance agent, I learned the price. It is twice his months’ salary, as a lot of web-sutes “teach”, but he earns 6 figures. Yesterday I returned the ring and told him I could not accept it. I had told him many times previosuly that I find it appalling that people waste so much money on jewelry just to pamper their egos, that I was looking for a simple simbol of love, and I specifically was looking for a small, understated ring. I could not look at that diamond without feeling angry and disappointed that after being for two years with me and spending 2 weekends shopping for a ring together, he preferred his ego, “went with a flow”. I now believe we are not yet ready for marriage. Guys, before you go for a ring, LISTEN to your girl. Not all of us are gold-diggers.

    1. Natasha – Ouch. Have you taken it too far though? Your fiance/boyfriend was only trying to do what’s right and make you happy. He may have thought about surprising you on the upside. Is it really his ego that go in the way? I would be crushed if my fiance started scolding me, and telling me we weren’t ready after I put all my time and money into buying what I think would make her happy.

      Returning the ring is one thing, but why get angry? He should have listened more if you’ve had explicit conversations, but I bet he was only trying to do what he thought would make you happy. Rgds, Sam-urai

  11. I have to confirm the “NY 2”. In the outer boroughs I would say 1 ct is the average, but I live in Manhattan and have a 2.1 ct from Tiffany and I have to say all my married Manhattan girlfriends have 2 ct + (but not all are brand names). But you know, we also all make six figures, including the girls. The awesome thing about Tiffany is that you can go in anytime you like and have the ring cleaned and inspected and the service is so amazing and the setting is so lovely. Also, Tiffany offers a one time upgrade if in the future you’d like to get a bigger diamond or choose a different setting. The quality is very high. I think most people can tell right away the difference between a Tiffany ring and say, one from the Diamond District (totally sketchy btw). And the rings really sparkle- the most common comment about my ring is “it’s SO sparkly!”. So I don’t recommend Diamond District but I have seen a bunch of 2 ct diamonds from Blue Nile which are pretty nice.

    And I will admit it took some convincing my hubby, who is from Pennsylvania. But it was worth it … I LOVE my ring! :)

    1. Anon – Thanks for the “NY 2” confirmation! Wow, I pity the pressure of the guy who has to buy a high quality 2, who ISN’T making 6 figures. $20-40,000 is so much to spend on a ring.

      You’re right about Tiffany’s, in that when you buy there, at least your ring has gone through the highest of quality controls. The service is great, and being able to go to a Tiffany’s store anywhere in the world to admire the jewlery and get yours cleaned is so much fun.

      Glad you love your ring. Hope you love your husband even more! :) I’d love to get the perspectives of your other girlfriends, and their husbands if you can let them know about this post. Best, Sam

  12. i gotta say.. this was really well put together. from a ‘financial standpoint,’ i agree with basically everything you say. in terms of insuring the diamond, i think anyone could agree this is a must. but one thing I would have added is that insuring a diamond can be a bit tricky if you don’t follow an earlier tip you have here: get the diamond with a grading report from GIA. Whatever agency you go with, if they see a grading report / cert from GIA – the most reputable lab and household name – they’ll have no problem insuring it. So yeah, get that report like this guide says and end up insured so everything is rosy and good heh.

  13. My boyfriend and I have talked about this…we are going to get a CZ in the .75-1 carat range, probably in a white gold setting. ~$500 for that, and then another ~$200 for a matching band.

    His ring will probably be more expensive, as he has big knuckles and so we’ll pay more for one of those hinged rings so he can take it on and off without pain, but still have it fitted to the size of his finger below the knuckle. But still, I think we’ll be well below $2K on the three rings for both of us.

    1. Honey – Sounds like a GREAT plan! My wife and I were talking about a CZ or a man made diamond as well. You can’t tell the difference between a CZ and a real diamond at all.

      It’s SO worth it to save money on this stuff now, and not get yourselves in debt. When you have the funds, you can always “upgrade.”

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. Best of luck on the wedding!! :) FS

  14. My husband and I had a local jewelry artist design my engagement ring. He was clueless and I didn’t want diamonds. I bought an oval blue-green sapphire and two tiny Cz’s off of ebay. I also took in some scrap gold which she discounted from the value of the amount used in the ring. In the end we paid for her labor and got a very unique ring which we both love. It’s definitely not worth thousands, but that doesn’t really matter to me. We have better uses for that money.

    P.S. The only thing I’ve ever wanted from Tiffany is a sterling silver monkey straw, which is now discontinued.

    1. Hi Danna – Thanks for sharing. I’m sure many guys out there would love to have a girlfriend like you! I like the Tiffany’s silver jewelry. Pretty affordable, and nice designs. Thanks for stopping by! RB

  15. I will never forget the experience of entering the Harry Winston store in NYC, and getting escorted into one of the private rooms to look a Harry Winston engagement rings. It's another level because there aren't that many people. You don't have to spend a ridiculous amount there. $20-30,000 will work!

  16. after reading whole discussion and blog finally i would like to say something about this, the blog is perfect and i would appriciate for this, the perfect guideline for choosing and buying diamond engagement ring, discussion and comments are also need to appriciate for sharing their own experince, see more information about diamond engagement ring and diamond jewelry at

  17. RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40

    Quick update. Several of my female friends in NYC have told me of the "New York 2." Essentially, they say that women in NYC should expect AT LEAST a 2 carat diamond engagement ring and that the 1.6 carat stat is low for the city of Manhattan. I guess so, since 1.6 would include all the outer burrows.

    I don't know about 2 carats. Unless you've got some large fingers, doesn't it look a little gaudy? But then again, if every one of your friends have a 2 carat diamond ring or more, then I guess it'll fit right in. Poor guys in NYC!



  18. RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40

    Hi Anon 6:34pm – I like both too. De Beers really has a nice selection, and I love how they have the one point diamond inside the band. Their pricing is slightly cheaper than Tiffany's as well.

    If you go to an independent jeweler, the great thing is that you can haggle on price. You can get that 10% off right there, you just have to haggle like you don't care. He or She who cares LEAST wins!

    Good luck and welcome to RB30RB40! Hope you come back and visit some more, and share some these articles with your friends.



  19. I have spent the last few days in TIffany's and De Beers looking at rings with my fiance…. I have learnt a lot! I think we are swinging towards a De Beers one. I guess I'm lucky in that the rings over 1.5 carats just look too big, so we're going for something smaller than that, but hopefully with a good quality. I was surprised at the number of rings that were of color G and clarity S1 (and the price of them).

    We're from Europe but currently in the US and it seems to be slightly cheaper here. Does anyone have any advice or experience on this? Saving nearly 10% on a $5K-10K ring appeals to me!

    By the way, this looks like a great site for pricing the gem itself:
    . I will check out Blue Nile also.

    Great article and comments.

  20. RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40

    Andy – That's a GREAT tip regarding going through the insurance agent! It would be a no brainer for them to find the lowest cost provider and replace goods. Awesome. I don't plan to buy another engagement ring, but if I do, i'll go this route :) But, in the meantime, readers and friends should know this tip.



  21. Ignore was probably the wrong word. I was basically stating that you should not get caught up in trying to find the "perfect" combo of Cs as the most important thing that matters is what the diamond looks like from 18 inches. You need to educate yourself and know how price moves in line with these variables. With a little effort you should be able to find a diamond with some sub par "Cs" but still looks pretty incredible from a foot and a half away, which is about as close as anyone is going to get to look at your wifes ring.

    If you want a really good tip ask you insurance agent to put you in contact with their broker for replacement diamonds. A little diamond secret is that your insurance company gets wholesale pricing on diamonds for insurance claims. So if you buy and insure a diamond with an value apprased at $25k with a wholesale of 15k, the insurance agent generally gets to replace your diamond for 15k, even though you are paying a policy for a 25k diamond. This is why its very important to get some sort of certificate documenting your diamond to make sure you get a suitable replacement. Your agent most likely isn't going to cut you a check for 25k, that's for sure. But anyway, a simple call to your agent asking about an insurance policy on a diamond, and then a friendly ask to be put in touch with their replacement broker could very well yield a good contact for a diamond. ;)

  22. Andy – you can't ignore the "Cs" b/c they are key determinants of price. Without knowledge, you could kept ripped off by an independent dealer.

  23. Good advive, but here is the one thing that I realized long after I dropped more than I care to admit on my wifes ring…. The only time that anyone is going to hold up your diamond to a 'loop' and scrutinize it as closely as a professional will be during the purchase process. If anyone is reading this looking for advice / guidance — get the biggest ring that has as much sparkle from 18-24 inches away. Don't get something that looks big and cheap but get something that 'looks' impressive at normal viewing distance. Ignore the "Cs" as this just gets you all too Confused and everyone hates to Comprimise; but these things don't matter. Most women have dirt and smudges on their rings doing far more visual damage than an microcosm of color / quality variance. Cut is important and will impact the vibrance / sparkle factor. You want a big diamond with lots of sparkle that isn't blatnatly flawed from 18 inches. Personally, flaws give a diamond character and personality. 98% of the people will not be able to call out an I / J color diamond from 18 inces away so don't get too caught up. This advice will save you bug money if you can swallow just a bit of pride.

  24. Tiffany's definitely has a buy back policy for the amount you purchased for IF you choose to upgrade. In this economy, it's cool to ask for discounts! :)

  25. ApprenticeofLife

    I never even asked about a return policy, didn't think I would return it ever. And I figure I can sell it or go to a pawn shop if I need the money in the future! For a fleeting moment I thought about asking for a discount but who does at a place like De Beers or Tiffany? But I bet you now everyone asks for one! Hmm, I should see if they have a buy-back policy!

  26. Apprentice – Wow, 2 hours of champagne, very clever of the salesperson! Do you remember if there is a return policy on jewelry? I must imagine yes, but I think a lot of people feel guilty returning things. I know i do. Just gotta bite my life and do it.

    Good point about CZs! :)



    Rich By 30 Retire By 40

  27. ApprenticeofLife

    Not having been proposed to (not in a formal way anyways)and not envisioning someone slipping a ring on my finger anytime soon, I will say that what matters is the person who buys the ring and how you feel about that person. I don't know how many people can tell a real diamond ring (or a really expensive expensive one) from a cubic Zarconia. I purchased a pair of De Beers earrings for the price of a car several yrs ago. I had no intention of spending that much, but after the sales lady served me several glasses of champagne over a 2 hr period and told me I "deserve" to treat myself well, I said why not!! That was a brilliant sales technique as they are trained to sell you an "emotional" appeal. One day I put a cubic one on one ear, and the DeBeers one on another, and asked my mom which one is the real one, she pointed to the cubic one! I should have bought a car!

  28. Ryan – BTW, on the Tiffany's angle… it's more than the brand, it's the designs they produce. They have designs such as the Legacy, Novo, and Etoile which stand out as their signature designs which most women who are fascinated with engagement rings will know about. The classic 6 prong setting is more common and hard to tell, but quite beautiful as well.

    I'm just playing devil's advocate here.



    Rich By 30, Retire By 40

  29. Ryan – welcome to my blog. The referral game is just another way to get a discount. If you're going to buy from a non brand store, you might as well get a referral because the jeweler will most definitely give you a further discount. I've seen time and time again where people who go to jewelers on referral get 10%+ off what they think they were going to get just by name dropping. Why? B/c the jeweler hopes that by providing you good service and a quality product, you will in turn refer your friends to him or her.

    Bluenile.com is fine, and a fantastic tool for figuring out the various cuts, sizes, and costs. However, with something so important such as an engagement ring i would venture to guess many people want to actually see the rock in person first and touch it with their own bare hands. Also, by going to your referral, or your local jewelry, you get free cleaning and service, which can't be done online.

    My friends have used bluenile.com before for jewelry, and enjoy the pricing and product.



    Rich by 30, Retire By 40

  30. RB,
    It's an interesting post, and a good discussion. But I think the choice really comes down to Tiffany's or BlueNile. I realize you mentioned BlueNile, but I don't think you gave them enough of an endorsement. "A friend's referral?" Give me a break. You can decide to help pay for a jewelry store's rent, inventory maintenance, salespeople, and all other traditional overhead, or go with the most efficient, streamlined purchasing process for a completely certified commodity.

    I don't think much of Tiffany's myself, but I recognize that the name has cache'. The only problem is, really, when people see your ring, are you going to make sure they look at the brand (I guess it's written, right?). Maybe you could carry the little blue box around forever. Either way, it's in poor taste, I think.

    For the record, when I was 23, I bought from BlueNile, just over a carat, VS1, H i think, and Ideal maybe.

    Now I'm much closer to 30, and if I was doing it again, I might go up to the 2 carat mark. But I have alot more money now, and I didn't then. But maybe that would still be too much to spend, who knows? Maybe 1.5 would be tastefully rich.

    I just discoverd your blog, and I enjoy it.

  31. Fabulously Broke – Thnx for sharing! I've had your type of strong responses when I was talking to several female colleagues. But, I always wonder whether they secretly wouldn't mind a Tiffany's or Cartier you know? Also, i tell ya… some guys aren't exactly sure the girl will propose. It may be a slam dunk for some, but for others, there's that fear. So, guys start thinking, well….. to ensure that she will say yes, let me just spend that extra 5-10K to really make sure.

    All this said, I think getting something of your own, with your own touches and designs may be the best way to go. It's personalized, and nobody else has it. If you go to Tiffany's, which I like, you may buy that ring, but know that there are thousands around the world being sold just like it. Designing your own, with inspiration from a brand name designer is the way I'd go.



  32. Fabulously Broke

    Oh and Tiffany is just another brand name for "Sucker".

    Sorry girls. It's how I feel. Their jewelery is too plain to be worth that kind of cash.

    A bean? Really? A BEAN? Or a CHAIN around your neck as a choker with a dog tag in the shape of a heart?

    (sorry.. to anyone who owns the above necklaces)

  33. Fabulously Broke

    Big fat resounding NO to wanting 3 months of a salary in a ring

    Are you kidding me? What a waste of money

    Most women don't even end up wearing the ring in fear of losing it or getting mugged, so they wear slim bands instead

    I'd like a ring, yeah.. but maybe an emerald or a sapphire, something unique and small, not something big and flashy.

    I'd like a man made diamond if it was available for cheaper. It's still a diamond :) And it is flawless AND cheaper. Good call, Anon.

    I could not care less about the ring itself, as long as it wasn't made out of plastic or anything but gold or a metal and something that was reasonably priced so I don't cry in thinking WE (we already) wasted $5k on a RING.

  34. I wonder if women would find man made diamonds acceptable, or is there a stigma against "unnatural diamonds"? They are flawless, and much cheaper. Sounds good to me no?

  35. I just keep thinking about all the torture and murder and rape behind those sparkly diamonds. My fiance knows I love pretty rings, but I want no part of any blood diamonds, thanks very much.

  36. Any woman who expects a at least a 2 carat diamond ring is hiiiiiiiiigh maintenance and not someone I'd want. Granted, if the husband wants to get her a 2 carat ring, who is she to refuse? I think spending more than $5,000 is kind of ridiculous if you can't pay cash.

  37. Anon 7:31pm – The De Beers retailer is pretty sweet. My favorite is their signature one point diamond in the inside of the ban. De Beers is also more affordable than Tiffany's and Cartier. Big thumbs up for De Beers from me.



  38. De Beers was the real show stopper & eye catcher for me. The most stunning diamond I've ever layed my eyes on…a diamond always at its best & a guy can never go wrong making his choice like my guy did. He was my hero and he wowed me again, that's for certain! Thanks my love…kisses

  39. Rachel, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your story! Congrats to you two. I like your part about “less debt = less stress = more happiness”. Memories really are so much more meaningful than material things, agree 100%.



  40. I know a lot of gals who were very clear to their fiances that they wanted a 2.0 carat rock from Tiffany's. All I kept thinking to myself was "Are you kidding me?!" I suppose if the guy is loaded might as well get the best, but even if I had enough money to get something that expensive I'd rather spend the money on an amazing honeymoon and avoiding too much debt. Memories mean more to me than material things. And less debt = less stress + more happiness

    Anyway, I like to keep it real and made it clear to my husband that I didn't need or want a name brand ring and was more interested in a unique, delicate design and not the size of the diamond. The cost of some rings is just unbearable. I would feel guilty and even scared wearing something that costs as much as a luxury car

    Ladies – let your guy know what you like, and even though he's buying the ring – think about cost b/c if he has to take on debt to get it for you, that debt will soon be your debt too!

    I told my hubbie what I liked and I couldn't be happier. I was wowed and so touched with what he picked out. And we are both comfortable with what he paid. You can get great quality and styles without a designer name stamped on the band. Good luck to all the soon to be engaged!


  41. Anon 5:06am – Ahhh, that is what every guy hopes to hear. Most guys will try our best, but often times, we just donno for sure. May you have a long and happy marriage! :) Rgds, FS

  42. I love my engagement ring because my husband chose it. I honestly don't care about the 4 c's or the price. In fact I hope it wasn't too expensive. I love the idea that he was at the jewellery store and chose the ring he thought I'd like most.
    Of course you want to give her the most beautiful ring you can possibly find. But if you think your girlfriend will be dissapointed because the ring does not have enough carats, not the right clarity or was not as expensive as she had hoped, you might want to reconsider proposing.

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