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December 4, 2009

…what are you waiting for?

photo credit: boutwell studio

10 Rules for Saving Money

for THE ring

(article taken from the plunge, written by Jeff Wilser, and with advice by diamond ring guru Amy Curran, consultant at The Advisory Source)

It’s here. Marriage proposal season. Roughly 25% of the year’s wedding proposals will happen in the next two months.  The reasons are threefold: 1) too much holiday booze; 2) the warm glow of home and hearth gets guys thinking about family; and 3) for many guys, their girlfriends’ pop-the-question-or-I-dump-you ultimatums expire on December 31st.

Guys need engagement rings. Only problem: they’re broke. And since every publication is contractually obligated to run 17,258 articles about these “tough economic times,” we’ll dutifully do our part.  In these tough economic times, without the usual bonus checks, without the usual job security, guys need to buy engagement rings for less.

Here’s how to do it. The Plunge presents: 10 rules for buying a cheaper rock. (To clarify: it’s actually not about “cheap,” but about not overpaying for good quality, and making smart tradeoffs.)

1. Pretend you’re buying a car.

It starts with your mindset. If you’re like most guys, you don’t know squat about diamonds. If you’re like most guys, you don’t ever want to know squat about diamonds. You think it’s effeminate, like learning about window treatments, opera, or The Jonas Brothers. Only one problem with this mindset: it will cost you money. When you buy a car, you make choices, you make tradeoffs, you weigh the pros and cons. Should you splurge for the hard-top roof? 4 cylinders or 6? GPS system? You can’t just walk into a dealership and say, “I’d like a car. Give me the cheapest one.” And you wouldn’t buy one without a test drive. If you don’t know the tradeoffs, you won’t know where to cut back and save money. Start your diamond education.

And if you’re like me, you’ll assume that you will never, ever, ever be able to really tell the difference in cuts of diamonds. Yes and no. Yes, you will never truly become an expert, so it’s a good idea to enlist some real help (like the site RingTutor, say.) But no, it’s not true that you’re beyond hope. Think of it like seeing a Shakespeare play. In the first few scenes, the actors are talking way too fast and way too British and you’re sort of laughing along, not wanting to embarrass yourself in front of your date, but you have no frickin’ clue what these tunic-wearing-weirdos are saying. Then, the longer you listen, the more your ear adjusts. Diamonds work the same way. Inspect lots of rocks. You will soon get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like, which will let you purchase a diamond ring with confidence.

2. Go channel surfing.

There are two channels for buying your engagement ring: traditional brick-and-mortar stores and online stores. Use them both. Pit one against the other. Yep. It’s safe to buy a diamond online. But no, you should never buy a stone unseen. Instead, we recommend trolling the brick-and-mortar jewelry stores, looking at lots and lots of different diamonds, and then, when you figure out the exact configuration (i.e. car specs), you can order a near-identical version online. Or, you can find a cheaper quote online, and use that to negotiate a lower in-store rate. More on that here.

3. Sacrifice a smidgeon of size.

People like round numbers. We obsess over things like “The First 100 Days” of a presidential administration, 10,000 points at the Dow, batting .300, etc. In reality, of course, Day 99 isn’t that different from Day 100, and the Dow’s 9,999 is about the same as 10,000…your portfolio’s battered either way, right? And that brings us to a diamond’s size. People pay a premium for the “round number” of a Carat. But you can pocket some dough by purchasing slightly lower than the size-echelon; instead of a full carat (1.00), buy a .85-.95; instead of a full three-quarter carat, go for a .60-.73, etc. The only one who can really tell the difference is the jeweler.

4. …Do the same for Color.

Use the exact same philosophy with a diamond’s “Color.” By the way, for the true rookies, a diamond has “Four Cs”–Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. To save some money without sacrificing much look, push your color out one additional grade. Get an “I” not an “H.” You are unlikely to notice when the diamond is mounted, in its setting, and on the hand.  We know, we know, you’re asking what in holy hell we’re talking about. Diamonds have a color continuum which represents how much yellow color they show, with DEF “colorless” on the higher-end, then G, then H, etc. Careful, though. Each person sees colors differently, and it takes some time to train your eye. One more reason to look at plenty of diamonds. Don’t go lower than a J if you can possibly avoid it.

to read more, definitely go here.

Good luck.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 11:12 am

    So putting this on my facebook. YaY!

  2. December 7, 2009 12:18 am

    this was sooo beautiful! almost brought me to tears..

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