September 7, 2011

7 Ways to Stretch Your Engagement Ring Budget

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:08 pm by rosediamonds

In Case you’ve been living under a rock, the US is in the midst of a recession.  Depending on what media outlet you tune into, you probably have different ideas about the economic downturn’s severity.  I reason that anytime is a good time to explore ways to “make economies.”  That sounds much better than cheapening it to “saving money”, right?

 

According to a recent article published by National Jeweler ( http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/fashion/jewelry-fashion-reports/article_detail?id=27143 ), grooms are spending less on engagement rings than last year, with the average coming in under $5200–which is nothing to scoff at.  One of the most common pleas from the newly engaged is that they want their ring to be “different.”  Easier than it sounds.  Here’s a few ideas of how to accomplish both while keeping your budget on track.

 

Idea 1:  Get nostalgic.  Use Uncle Fred’s old wedding band.  Re-Set Grandma Thompson’s old engagement ring center stone in a “now setting.”  Go old school with a vintage setting from an estate/pawnshop/craigslist/ebay.  (Be careful as this one might entail more repair work than you realized)

 

Idea 2: Color Substitute.  If it’s good enough for Kate Middleton/Princess Di/Jessica Simpson etc…Colored stones are generally much less expensive than a diamond of the same size.  Notable exceptions to this rule are FINE quality sapphires, rubies, alexandrite, & tanzanites.  A pop of color definitely makes a ring unique.  Black diamonds (and recently black spinel/sapphires) are much less expensive than their colorless counterparts.

 

Idea3: Mix metals.  Hugely popular in Europe, metal mixing allows you to “repurpose” the yellow gold you’ve been avoiding.  While white gold and platinum remain king here in the states for bridal, try pairing tiny bands of yellow or rose gold with a white gold solitaire or a fabulous yellow gold ring guard/wrap, etc.

 

Idea 4: Plate it on top.  A good jeweler can electroplate the top half of your ring white, yellow, black, or rose.  Plating can wear off with exposure to chemicals (even household ones) and wear and tear.  The good news?  It’s easy and fairly inexpensive to touch up.  Avoid coating the bottom part of your ring.  After exposure to your natural perspiration, it will wear off more quickly there.

 

Idea 5: Resurface.  Add a hammered, satin, florentine, brushed, etc. finish to a plain old band to make it unique.

 

Idea 6: Put a ring on it.  Make small center stones look bigger by adding an illusion plate or a halo/booster ring of diamonds.  They now come in every diamond shape and can update an older setting or pump up a small center.

 

Idea 7: Don’t forget your trade in.  Now is a good time to browse through your sock drawer for the anklet your eighth grade boyfriend gave you, the remaining diamond stud earring you got for your 16th, and old birthstone rings.  The high price of gold has turned this discarded fodder into a hot commodity that can be used to offset the perfect (sigh) ring.  It’s also important to purge past relationship reminders BEFORE the wedding.

 

Note: Couples often forget that wedding rings tend to grow with the relationship.  I often recommend that a couple choose a versatile (ie. changeable) style that is easily upgraded at future anniversaries.  You may have noticed I did not mention the wildly popular trend of alternative metals.  This is a personal choice (I’m not unaware of the trend), but I look disfavorably on rings that cannot be sized.

 

Also mentioned in this article was an increase in the “mangagement ring.”  More on that next time:)

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