Venus is split in two camps: First, there are those who won’t settle for anything less than a flawless, 1-carat diamond engagement ring. These chichi ladies usually like designer wedding gowns and 6-star hotel banquets too.
If your babe belongs to this camp, then sorry – no amount of MoneySmart advice can help you. Just start saving now.
However, if she’s the kind who just can’t justify wearing a rock with a 4-figure price tag, perhaps we can help.
Here are 5 tips to help you in your search for an affordable engagement ring.
5 Tips to shop for an engagement ring in Singapore (under $1,000)
1. Check out online jewellers & Etsy
Needless to say, designers like Cartier and Harry Winston are out of the question.
In fact, most of the diamond rings at local jewellery chains like Poh Heng and Soo Kee are probably also out of budget. If you don’t mind reeeeally small rocks or alternative gemstones (more on that below), you may have better luck finding something with a reasonable price tag.
If not, you should check out online jewellers for more affordable options. Sites like Blue Nile, Venus Tears and more have plenty of options under $1,000. Granted, you won’t be able to see/touch/smell the ring before you pay, but with such a tight budget, that’s expected.
When it comes to indie jewellers, I personally recommend Etsy. The designs seem more modern and contemporary, and the prices are great. Of course, if you’re still choosing a diamond, don’t expect the rock to be GIA-certified or anything.
2. Consider ORRO man-made diamonds
Truthfully, it’ll be hard to get a sizeable diamond with a $1,000 budget. So if your partner likes the way the stone looks but not its price, then synthetic diamonds may just be the perfect compromise.
Synthetic diamonds are also referred to as lab-grown or man-made diamonds. Don’t confuse them with imitation diamonds like cubic zirconia and moissanite – those just look like the real deal.
Unlike those, synthetic diamonds are cultivated under controlled conditions, so they’re literally physically, chemically and optically identical to “real” diamonds. Because of that, they’re actually superior to most naturally occurring diamonds.
So if you think about it objectively, there is no case against these shiny imposters. The only thing standing in most peoples’ way is the stigma against them being “fake”. Unsurprisingly, the ones crying foul are the OG diamond shysters like De Beers and Rio Tinto.
The GIA equivalent of synthetic diamonds is ORRO, which certifies diamond simulants and sells jewellery. You can get a 0.5ct diamond solitaire ring for as little as under $200, which is a real steal.
3. Consider gemstones as an alternative to diamonds
As mentioned, imitation diamonds like cubic zirconia and moissanite are feasible options for those who like clear, white stones. However, now that synthetic diamonds are so affordable, few people go for those.
If you don’t want to support history’s biggest, most successful marketing scam (i.e. diamond engagement rings), then perhaps you can consider getting an alternative gemstone.
Popular rocks like sapphires, rubies and emeralds are dramatically cheaper than diamonds and can cost 20% to 30% less! There are also jewellers like Gen.K Jewelry that craft modern jade pieces.
4. Go for several small stones instead of a solitaire
Sometimes, it’s not all about size. If you’re on a tight budget, you can make up for the brilliance of a huge whopper with many small diamonds. That’s because a large part of a diamond’s value is based on its size, so small rocks – even high quality ones – are cheap.
A popular design is to have a halo set around a modest centrepiece. You can also add stones to the band to make it even more outstanding.
5. Shop at pawn shops
This one is a hit-or-miss. If your prospective fiancée is super pantang, then forget about getting a ring from a pawn shop. I can understand lah, I mean, the ring’s no lucky charm if its previous owner had to pawn it, right?
Pawn shop engagement rings are for those who appreciate vintage jewellery with a little bit of history to give it character. These antique rings (especially those from before the 70s) are typically more unique – perhaps even one-of-a-kind – because there were fewer jewellery chains back then. There was no such thing as mass produced rings.
It’s hard to say how much pawn shop rings go for, but they’re more often than not sold below its market value.
Shopping for an affordable engagement ring? Comment and tell us how it’s going!