Engagement rings are expected when you are looking to get married, but diamond rings are expensive. The average engagement ring costs $5,871, and most couples assume that there is little they can do to reduce the cost of their engagement.

The reality is that you can save a significant amount of money on engagement rings when you know how to shop around. Regardless of your budget, learning to save money on a high-quality engagement ring can enable you to afford a better ring and to spend more on your wedding festivities.

Comparison Shopping

One of the main reasons why couples tend to spend high amounts of money on engagement rings is because they often buy impulsively. Many couples will buy a ring right away when they find a gem that meets their requirements. Although every gem is unique, the reality is that skilled jewelers can cut diamonds with a level of precision that enables them to make almost identical copies of any design. Additionally, jewelers tend to focus on only a limited range of designs that are in high demand, so you will find another ring that is almost identical to the one you like if you continue to shop around.

Looking through the offerings of a broad range of jewelers is important because prices tend to vary widely. On average, about half the price that you pay for an engagement ring is profit for the jeweler. As with all high-margin products, many stores and websites are willing to offer heavy discounts on diamond rings in an attempt to make more money by attracting a higher volume of customers. Savvy couples, therefore, know to compare dozens of vendors before making a purchase because deep discounts are widely available.

Avoid Jewelry Stores

Jewelry stores are the worst place to buy a diamond ring when you are on a budget. In former times, jewelry stores were the only option for couples looking to buy a ring. Today, however, there are hundreds of websites available where you can buy engagement rings with minimal markup.

There are several reasons why retail jewelry stores charge more than online websites:

  • Jewelry stores have to rent storefronts in expensive areas, such as malls and high-end shopping centers.
  • E-commerce websites do not have to hire expensive staff members to greet customers and help shoppers browse through available inventory.
  • Security costs are high for retail stores, but theft is not a problem in controlled warehouse facilities where e-commerce websites keep their inventory.

Jewelry stores also have to keep extensive inventory available at all times so that they can accommodate the diverse needs of their customers. Jewelry stores that have millions of dollars-worth of gems in stock have to pay interest on the loans they take out to afford their inventory — which are then passed on to their customers. E-commerce websites, on the other hand, can source their inventory from partners around the world without having to pay the cost of retailing their products.

The bottom line is that jewelry stores will charge you several times more for an engagement ring without offering any additional value in return.

Consider Alternative Jewels

When buying an engagement ring, most of the price you pay goes to cover the cost of the diamond. If you shop around, you will notice that even high-end gold bands are usually not more than a couple hundred dollars. Couples who are willing to go without a natural diamond can save a significant amount of money on their ring. There are several alternative options that you can choose from:

  • Moissanite: Moissanite gems look like high-end diamonds, but a 1-karat moissanite gem will cost you only $269 or less.
  • Manufactured diamonds: Technologies are available that enable factories to produce diamonds artificially. A manufactured diamond is about 90 percent cheaper than a diamond that is mined out of the ground.
  • Alternative gemstones: Some couples who want to be unique choose to use rubies, sapphires, and other gemstones in place of an ordinary diamond. Alternative gemstones look beautiful, and they are available for a fraction of the cost.

Shop for Used Diamond Rings

Diamonds are the hardest gems known to man, so they do not wear out with age. Since retail margins are very high in the jewelry industry, people looking to sell a used diamond ring can expect to get only a fraction of what they originally paid. Jewelers would rather buy directly from a reliable supplier instead of negotiating with an individual for a single ring. Additionally, jewelers have to factor in the cost of authentication and the risk of lawsuits when dealing with used gems.

If you are willing to do your due diligence, you can buy used diamond rings for rock-bottom prices online. There are a broad range of digital marketplaces available where you can purchase used diamonds. Some websites that specialize in selling used diamond rings offer free authentication services so that you do not have to worry about the possibility of getting scammed. You can also look at local classified websites, such as Craigslist, to find cheap rings from desperate sellers in your local area.

When you are looking to buy a used ring, make sure that you visit a trustworthy jeweler to confirm that your gemstone is authentic before giving your money to the seller.

Saving Big on High-Quality Engagement Rings

In many situations, you can combine multiple strategies for saving money to get the ring of your dreams without breaking your budget. For example, if you are willing to settle for moissanite gem, you could multiply your savings by looking around for an extraordinary sale. The key to saving money on your engagement ring is to conduct thorough research before moving forward with a purchase. Although buying the first ring that you like may seem easy, the reality is that you will pay a heavy price for convenience when you end up with less value than you deserve. Find all the information you can online and compare several vendors to get the best deal on your new engagement ring.