Whoever came up with “first comes love, then comes marriage” missed a few steps along the way. Between those initial butterflies and a lifetime together are a lot of things, especially expensive things, one of which being the engagement ring. For most couples, finding a proposal-worthy piece tops the list, and there are affordable wedding rings out there. With a bit of knowledge and creative thinking, you should be able to get your wedding jewelry for a song.
Bargain hunters unite! With a bit of planning, you can scope out jewelry stores for the timing of their annual clearance sales. Often, wedding rings are overstocked or have been there a while. You may get a stunner wedding band or ring for a steal. Another option is to limit yourself to searching the store’s markdown section to find a quality diamond ring at a bargain price.
Local, reputable pawn shops often have a plethora of discarded engagement rings. Make someone else’s loss your gain, and scour cases for the perfect fit. Another option when shopping for an affordable engagement ring is to head to the estate section of your local jewelry store. There are often one-of-a-kind and vintage rings that you can get for a fraction of the cost of a new piece.
You can also find an affordable wedding ring at antique shops and via seller sites, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, but be wary. Ensure that the seller has the receipt or paperwork for the ring to ensure that you’re getting what you pay for. Also, see if your family has any remaining pieces in their jewelry stash. Using an heirloom can make proposing that much more special.
Nowadays, the word “custom” can come with a hefty price tag. However, that may not always be the case when hiring a jewelry designer. An artist can work within your price range and offer a variety of options to fit within your budget and engagement ring style. Plus, it’s a huge bonus to be able to get an affordable, one-of-a-kind piece.
Suppose you have an heirloom diamond or a discarded ring made of precious metal, that’s even better! Alloys can be melted, and gemstones added to create custom engagement rings. Using what you already have can reduce the cost and help you create the perfect ring.
Diamonds are valuable and are best set in metal that’s worthy of them. However, if you have your heart set on an expensive metal, such as platinum, you may want to opt for a different type. Alloys such as tungsten, steel, and titanium will lighten the cost of your ring. A big bonus is that some of the lesser-priced alternative metals are incredibly durable. So, what you lack in value, you gain in longevity.
A simple swap is to forgo the diamond and go with a look alike. Cubic zirconia has come a long way, and only the two of you will know it’s a dupe. Just be upfront with your fiance, as some have been caught trying to pass off a fake. Yikes! You could go with a different gem altogether, use a birthstone, or opt for a colored rock, such as sapphire or emerald.
If you must have a diamond ring, then there are ways to sacrifice in some areas to gain in others. For example, if the size is essential, look at stones that are lesser in quality. Lower-rated diamonds may have slight inclusions or a bit of a yellowish cast. If the diamond’s grade is crucial, then choose a slightly lower diamond carat size to put quality over quantity. Another option is to go for a less expensive, lab-grown diamond.
Often, solitaires are costly. There is also a significant difference between a one-carat diamond and a ring with a total diamond weight of one carat. Choosing a piece with several smaller stones, instead of one large rock can make your bling more affordable.
If your heart is set on a solitaire, go a bit under the weight you want. A .96 carat diamond is often less expensive than a one-carat ring. Even though the difference is only .04 carats, there are weight increments in the jewelry industry that serve as price markers.
A salesperson can often be your ally, and the smaller the chain store, the better. If you head to a pawn shop or local jewelry boutique, sometimes you can ask for a percentage off the price. You may score a better deal, especially if you’re talking to the owner. Politely asking if they could extend a discount can go a long way.
When dealing with a large chain, pick your clerk’s brain about affordable wedding rings. Ask them if any specials are coming up or if any rings may be marked down soon. It’s a win for everyone, as you help them clear out their stock.
Many couples enjoy shopping online so that they can compare prices and styles without being put on the spot. The added pressure of a salesperson can clutter the mind. Of course, the caveat with purchasing online is that you aren’t seeing the rings in person. Each natural diamond will vary in color and imperfections, so be aware of industry standards. Also, do your homework about the return policy, warranty, and payment options that a site offers.
A car salesperson would probably faint if you told them you wanted to buy three cars at once, but don’t expect the same reaction from your jeweler. There may be added benefits to purchasing three-piece wedding ring sets, as buying pieces for both partners at once can help obtain a discount. Some bands are explicitly sold as an engagement and wedding ring set, which is often more economical.
“Cash is king” reigns true. Many stores offer a discount for using banknotes, and you will avoid interest and fees by doing so. Although, if you need to finance your wedding ring, be aware of your options. Don’t just pop out a high-interest credit card and hope for the best.
Jewelry shops often offer to finance, but another option is to get a new credit card with a low introductory rate or zero-APR. Although neither of these will make your engagement ring more affordable, it will reduce your total cost.
If you met the perfect person while going through grad school, opt for a modest or simple wedding ring now, and then upgrade later. Chances are that you’ll be able to splurge once you are making money, instead of while you’re racking up student loans.
Plan to get a placeholder ring to wear on a different finger eventually. It could also be passed down to future generations as a keepsake after it’s replaced. Another option is to sell the original ring, if it’s not sentimental, to help you afford another piece down the road.
No matter your stage in life, affordable wedding rings are within reach. Getting more for your money not only feels good, but it can make the time between love and marriage a bit easier on your pocketbook.