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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON AN ENGAGEMENT RING
Getting engaged, we have all seen it depicted in countless films, plays, and books. It’s the most exciting and romantic time of your life. Or is it? It can be a lot of stress and worry, especially if you are looking to propose on a budget. For many men, setting out to choose the perfect ring for their other half is fraught with anxiety. One of the earliest recorded receivers of a diamond engagement ring was Mary of Burgundy who received one in 1477 from Archduke Maximilian of Austria. No doubt Archduke Maximilian had pretty deep pockets, and his expression of love cemented a trend which slowly filtered its way through society. Today, proposals are synonymous with the giving of a diamond ring although increasingly other stones are being picked such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies. According to a 2019 survey, grooms-to-be in the UK spend on average £2,419 on a ring, which suggests a lot of people are still buying diamond rings. So how do you pick the perfect ring for your other half and not break the bank? There are a lot of variables to consider when choosing, including the shape of the stone, the cut quality and shape, colour, clarity of the diamond, and of course the carat. And that’s before you start thinking about the type of metal for the setting and ensuring you pick the right size! In this blog, we will explore three simple ways to save money and make sure your fiancée-to-be receives the ring of her dreams.
Perhaps the most obvious choice for those looking to present their beloved with a beautiful diamond is a lab-grown diamond ring. These diamonds offer multiple benefits, not only are they 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds, they are also an ethical choice. Those who have watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Blood Diamond, or watched one of the many documentaries exposing the terrible conditions in diamond mines and the exploitation of people, resources and land the process often involves may be hesitant to choose a diamond from a traditional, established retailer. Although created in a laboratory, and sometimes called synthetic diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are chemically, optically and physically identical to mined diamonds. Once produced, each lab-grown diamond is appraised and certified as a mined diamond would be, so you will not sacrifice quality. This means, of course, they have the same beautiful sparkle as a mined diamond, but with a smaller price tag, making them the perfect choice for bargain hunters and the ethically conscious alike.
Vintage, antique or secondhand ring
There has been a huge boom in the vintage and second-hand market over the last decade. A beautiful, and unique, antique ring is increasingly desirable. Before exploring this option, you should be confident that is what your bride-to-be will appreciate. Make sure you consider your bride’s style; consider the type of jewellery and clothes she usually wears and speak with friends and family to discuss what she might like if you are not sure. There are two main options available. The first is to explore local antique fairs and markets in person. You will need to know your partner’s ring size and it will help to have an idea of what you are looking for beforehand. The prestigious Hatton Gardens area in London, although famous for diamond and gold trading, contains a number of secondhand retailers. Most market towns across the UK have antique shops and there are periodic fairs and auctions which might be worth checking out. Have a look online to see where your nearest cluster of shops, or local auction house, is located. Being able to see rings in person, and discuss with an experienced jeweller, will help you narrow down the perfect ring and give you peace of mind. Of course, this process can take time! Increasingly, a significant amount of shopping is done online, in part because of more affordable prices and the same is true of engagement rings. It is possible to get a bargain online, marketplace retailers like Etsy and eBay have huge ranges of secondhand and antique rings, but watch out for poor or inaccurate classifications and consider buying with some payment protection (such as via PayPal).
A ring bought from abroad!
Seasoned travellers will be aware that it is often possible to buy products cheaper while you are on holiday. Prices of gold and diamonds are fluctuating all the time, as are the exchange rates and taxes which determines the amount you will pay at any particular location – but in general there are certain places where it is almost guaranteed to pay significantly less on a like-for-like piece of jewellery than you would in the UK. With that in mind, we would recommend combining a trip with the purchase of the perfect engagement ring! Dubai is the obvious option, it is a very popular holiday destination for Brits and is an ideal place to buy an engagement ring because you can buy diamonds and other gems tax free. Other locations to consider are Antwerp in Belgium or Istanbul in Turkey. Of course, you need to make sure you have done your research before you head out to the shops in a foreign land. Set your budget, understand the exchange rate and look online to check the prices, read reviews and pick an area known for reputable retailers and where jewellers will be likely to adhere to responsible trading practices.