Engagement Ring Shopping: Make Your Budget Work for You

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At Lauren B Jewelry, we have seen a wide range of engagement ring budgets over the past 40 years. We have worked with couples who have unlimited budgets and couples with a frugal stipend. We thrive when given the opportunity to help clients find a diamond engagement ring that not only fulfills their wildest engagement ring dreams but fits seamlessly within their budget. We gathered our top, insider tips on how to maximize your diamond engagement ring budget to create the perfect engagement ring and wedding band stack for you and your partner. When Considering Diamond Clarity… Diamond clarity refers to the natural blemishes found in a diamond. These blemishes, known as “inclusions,” include a range of natural imperfections including bruises, chips, clouds, feathers, needles, and more. Diamond clarity is graded on a scale from “Flawless” to “Included” with varying clarity grades in between. A “Flawless” or FL diamond has no inclusions or blemishes while “Included” diamonds or I1, I2, or I3 have many natural inclusions, which affects the visual appearance of the diamond.When considering diamond clarity, there are various diamond cuts and shapes that hide inclusions very well allowing you to stretch the clarity grade to maximize your engagement ring budget. An SI or I1 diamond, in some instances, contains inclusions that present well or are completely undetectable to the naked eye. A GIA clarity report may be marked up with green and red ink but, when presented the diamond in person, may show little to no imperfections with an eye-clean appearance. Some inclusions like feathers, pinpoints, and needles are colorless and blend in well with the diamond. Other inclusions, like crystals, can appear black and may noticeably affect the stone at eye level. You can have two diamonds with the exact same carat weight, shape, color, cut, and clarity grade yet the diamonds are priced differently by a significant amount. Two SI1 diamonds can look vastly different with one diamond containing virtually invisible inclusions on the side of the table while the other diamond contains white or cloudy inclusions that affect its appearance. Shopping for the “best deal” when choosing a diamond engagement ring may result in a less than ideal diamond choice if diamond clarity is a major concern. There are many diamonds with an SI1, SI2, or even an I1 clarity grade with inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye, and we carry many of these eye-clean diamonds in our inventory after careful inspection by our experts. By stretching the clarity grade when shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you can save a pretty penny depending on carat size. On a 1.5ct diamond, you could save $2,000 or more while the savings for a 2ct diamond could be upwards of $5,000. 1.00 Carat Round Diamond Knife-Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring, SI1 Clarity4.51 carat Oval Diamond Engagement RingA Note on Diamond ClarityThere are two particular instances in which you should avoid selecting a diamond with a lower clarity grade: when choosing an emerald-cut center stone diamond and when the lower clarity impacts the overall appearance of the diamond. Emerald diamond and Asscher Cut diamond shapes are formed with a step cutting technique that creates a series of long, rectangular cuts away from the face of the diamond creating the appearance of steps or a “hall of mirrors.” Diamond shapes created with step-cutting techniques require a higher level of clarity since inclusions are easier to see face up. We recommend shopping VS2 or higher on the GIA clarity scale to avoid visible inclusions. 4.02 carat Emerald Cut Diamond Super Slim Engagement Ring, VVS2 ClarityWhen Considering Diamond Color…Diamond color is graded on a scale from D to Z.  “D” diamonds are colorless while “Z” diamonds have a warm, yellow tint. Fancy yellow diamonds are graded on a separate scale and have a deeper, yellow hue. Color is a diamond feature that is largely dependent on personal preference. Some of our clients prefer a colorless diamond while other clients desire a near-colorless or faintly yellow diamond color that pairs nicely with a yellow gold setting and band metal. Different diamond shapes and cuts reveal diamond color in varying degrees. Diamond color is harder to detect in the round, emerald, cushion, and Asscher cut shapes while oval, pear, and radiant diamonds reveal color more visibly. When shopping for a round, emerald, cushion, or Asscher diamond engagement ring, many of our clients are drawn to an I-J nearly colorless, slightly tinted diamond since these shapes look great face up and reveal very small amounts of color. 2.60ct Cushion Diamond Hidden Halo™ Ring, J ColorOn the other hand, many clients are not willing to sacrifice color with the oval, pear, or radiant diamond shapes since these diamonds reveal more color face up. 1.70 ct Oval Diamond Yellow Gold Solitaire Engagement Ring, F-G ColorAgain, diamond color preference is personal, and you may find yourself drawn to a pear diamond with a warm I-J color grade that looks stunning with yellow gold or rose-gold setting plus a band. You can maximize your engagement ring budget by inspecting diamonds within the color range to identify your personal preference on the GIA scale. You might be surprised by your preference and find that budget savings are simply an additional perk!When Considering Diamond Carat Weight and Cut…Carat weight and cut are closely connected when it comes to shopping for a diamond engagement ring. In fact, there are ways you can reduce the carat weight of your diamond without losing face-up value. Diamond cut influences the face-up appearance of the diamond. Let us explain. Carat weight is the overall weight of the stone rather than the size of the stone. You can have two diamonds with the same carat size but different cuts appear to be exactly the same size. Sometimes, a diamond is cut with the weight concentrated at the bottom of the diamond, which cuts the size of the diamond face making the stone appear smaller. We discuss this cut issue in detail in the following YouTube video.  We firmly believe you should never cut corners with diamond cut. The result could be a less sparkly diamond with a smaller surface value. No, thank you! To maximize your engagement ring budget, you can search for brilliantly cut diamonds with a larger faceup dimension. If you like how a 2-carat diamond sits on your finger, you can search for a 1.7 or 1.8-carat diamond that is cut extremely well so that it has the same dimensions (or larger dimensions) as the 2-carat diamonds available on the market.1.81-carat Radiant Cut Diamond Super Slim Band RingWhen Considering Your Budget & Diamond Fluorescence…Though not included in the 4 c’s of diamond grading (carat weight, cut, color, and clarity), fluorescence is a term thrown around quite often when shopping for a diamond engagement ring. Fluorescence is a color phenomenon that occurs when some diamonds are exposed to UV light; if a diamond has fluorescence, it will emit a different hue when exposed to UV light. Despite what some industry professionals would say, at Lauren B, we do not shy away from fluorescence. In fact, fluorescent diamonds are rarer than non-fluorescent diamonds according to the GIA with 10% exhibiting fluorescence that impacts the color of the diamond. These color phenomena can actually make your diamond appear whiter face-up, which is more visually appealing. In less than 0.2% of diamonds submitted to the GIA, fluorescence can make the diamond appear cloudy or oily. Shopping for a diamond engagement ring with fluorescence could save you upwards of $2,000, depending on the diamond selection. Our showroom only features a handful of diamonds with a faint to strong blue fluorescence. We avoid diamonds with a green or yellow fluorescence to maintain a clean, pristine-looking diamond. We also avoid any diamonds that appear cloudy or oily as a result of fluorescence. 2.01 ct Round Diamond Yellow Gold Bezel Wrap Engagement RingShop Lauren B Diamond Engagement RingsFor over 40 years, Lauren B has worked alongside couples with a wide variety of engagement rings and wedding band budgets. Maybe you and your partner want to allocate more funds towards a home down payment or an indulgent honeymoon, or, maybe you have a surplus of funds to spend on a flashy ring stack. Whatever your engagement ring and wedding band budget, Lauren B has the perfect option for your personality and preferences. If you have a specific engagement ring vision, or you would like a certain design element incorporated into one of the engagement ring styles offered on our website, our design consultants will work with you to make your vision come to life. 4.30 Carat Round Diamond Six-Prong Engagement Ring3-carat Cushion Cut Diamond Two-Tone Solitaire2.50 ct Pear Shape Diamond Yellow Gold Solitaire Ring2.50 ct Oval Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring1.72 carat Emerald Cut Diamond Super Slim Band Engagement Ring
SOURCE: https://www.laurenbjewelry.com/blog/engagement-ring-shopping-make-your-budget-work-for-you/

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