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Buying an Engagement Ring
If your child or grandchild has asked you to help him pick out an engagement ring, or if you are in the market yourself, CNN Money offers some suggestions for getting the most out of your budget:
Consider multiple stones. A solitaire diamond, especially a big one, is considerably more expensive than a ring that has multiple stones adding up to the same carat weight. You can, for example, go with a modest center stone encircled with smaller diamonds.
Look at different settings. Some settings make the stone look bigger, so ask to see the same size stone in a variety of settings.
Make sure your stone is certified. If you buy a diamond of a carat or more, your jeweler should give you a gemologist’s certification that states the stone’s four Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
Choose your metal. Platinum is more durable than gold and therefore less likely to show nicks and scratches. But it also is much more expensive.
Buy insurance. Once you walk out of the store, you need insurance to cover your ring if it is stolen, lost or damaged.
Get a number. Have the jeweler inscribe an identifying number on your stone. It won’t affect the appearance of the stone, and it might get you a discount from your insurer.
Consider going a little smaller. Say you want a one-carat stone. If you go for one that is slightly less than that, you will save a bundle and probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
Prepare for upgrading. Many couples replace their original engagement stone with a larger one as their resources improve. Ask the jeweler whether you can trade your stone in at a later date.
Consider custom. Can’t find exactly what you want? Talk to a jeweler about creating a custom piece. You might have to shop around a little, but you could be surprised at how relatively inexpensive it can be to have a one-of-a-kind design.
Buy the stone online. The stone is usually the most expensive component of the ring. There are a number of reputable online vendors that can sell you the stone, which you can take to your own jeweler to have it put into the setting. You also can buy the whole ring online.