The day has finally come. After years of searching, you’ve found the perfect lifetime partner. You two are so close that you practically finish each other’s sentences, in fact you do finish each other’s sentences! You like sports, she likes sports, you like Friday nights on the town, she likes Friday nights on the town – on and on it goes. Now you just need to pop the question, and with the question you want to present her with a jaw dropping engagement ring.
The challenge of course is how much to spend on her engagement ring. If you spend too little, you’ll feel that you’ve somehow let her down and if you spend too much, you might be mortgaging your future. To help us answer this question, we enlisted the help of Jonathan Winter, purveyor of New York Diamond Discounters Directory, an online NYC jewelers-guide that has over 1500 jewelers listed.
Jonathan Winter: “As with almost everything in life, the answer is “it depends.” Ask one happy couple and they’ll tell you it’s one month’s salary, ask another and they’ll tell you it’s three months salary. ” Winter continues, “Striking the right balance is a matter of priorities. If you both carry a lot of debt, perhaps it makes sense to spend less, if you both have great careers, perhaps it makes sense to spend more, but the most important thing is to subtly uncover what she wants and match that with what you can afford, this is the art of engagement. . .”
Another factor is where you shop. Twenty years ago, buying a diamond online would have been considered high risk, today you can do it relatively safely from vendors such as Blue Nile, Brian Gavin or James Allen. All are top rated by the Better Business Bureau and all provide sizeable discounts, as much as 40% or more in most cases, versus brick and mortar jewelry stores. If you go this route you need to be smart: do your research, understand the four C’s of diamonds, know the reputational differences of the different diamond grading labs such as GIA and EGL, and above all else understand the online diamond store’s return policy, just in case.
If you’re still unsure then it may make sense to talk it through before you give her the ring. While it may ruin the surprise, it will help keep the most important commitment of your entire life pointed in the right direction.