For any couple, buying an engagement is one of the biggest investments of your lives, so it is worth spending the time to do your research to get the ring that you want. The stone, usually a diamond, is the feature piece of any engagement ring. Familiarise yourself with the 4 C’s; these are the carat, colour, clarity and cut of the gemstone. You will need to balance the qualities of these factors to get the diamond that is right for you at an affordable price.
If you are working with a small budget, you should consider the 5th C; cubic zirconia. A cubic zirconia stone is indistinguishable from a real diamond except by an expert, but is a fraction of the cost. You could always plan on replacing the c.z. stone with a real diamond later in life when finances improve. Make sure that you receive your certificate with your diamond, the two go together.
Shop around. There are plenty of options available. High street stores are a good place to start as you will get a good idea of what styles are available and a good indication of price. If you are looking for vintage, there are plenty of shops in and around the Powerscourt Centre that stock a good range of upcycled rings. In recent years, a number of boutique diamond retailers have popped up off the high street. Certainly, they are worth meeting as they can offer value. However, don’t feel pressured to buy just because they have invested time in you.
Internet retailers, are very competitive on price, but just remember that the price you see is not necessarily the price you pay. Bank charges, duties and taxes, if the ring is being shipped into Ireland, can really add to the cost. Also, be aware that the image of the ring you are viewing is not necessarily the image of the ring you are buying. If you choose to buy online, remember you can always get all your money back if you decide to return the ring.
Some couples choose to go to Antwerp or New York to purchase their ring. There are good deals to be got there, but just be aware that the guys you meet at the stores there are very good sales people who know that you are there for the weekend to buy and will price accordingly. Drive a hard bargain.
Don’t forget the most important factor for you to consider when purchasing your engagement ring is price. Decide on how much you are willing to spend and stick to your budget. Good Luck!