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Wedding and Engagement Rings
I have always been hesitant to write a Cost-Effective Bride article on purchasing wedding and engagement rings. My hesitation comes from a couple of reasons. First, wedding and engagement rings are not inexpensive. No matter what type you get, you generally are going to spend anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars (per ring) to thousands of dollars. And second, I am not an authority on diamonds or jewelry.
Nonetheless, I have decided there is a bit of help I can give when it comes to this major decision in your life. First, do not EVER be fooled by that saying that you should spend 2 month's salary on an engagement ring. Anyone who tells you that is nuts, in my opinion. No matter what your salary is, you should never spend such a large percentage (16%!) on a single piece of jewelry. Save your money for IRAs, children, vacations, or whatever you are passionate about (unless it just so happens you are extremely passionate about diamonds and can afford to be!). Any way you look at it, two months of your salary is too much for a single engagement ring.
Instead, take some time to figure out what you can afford and decide before you go and look at rings. It can be overwhelming once you are in the jewelry store and it is easy to get carried away. Stick to your budget!
Second, educate yourself before your purchase. Read up on the 4 "C"s of diamonds, if you will purchase a ring with a diamond in it. But, also remember - there is no rule that states that an engagement or wedding ring must have a diamond in it. Other gemstones may be much less expensive for a comparable quality stone and just as beautiful ring.
Third, when purchasing a ring, be sure to purchase it from a jeweler you trust. Seek referrals or meet with several before deciding on which to purchase from. All jewelers can get the same or comparable diamonds, so don't let someone tell you that they have a really unique stone.
Fourth, be sure that the diamond you purchase comes with a grading certificate from an accredited gemological laboratory. According to the Wall Street Journal, the jewelers they talked to agreed that the Gemological Institute of America, GIA, is the most trustworthy.
Finally, consider purchasing your stones online. I have spoken to quite a few people who have had wonderful experiences purchasing loose diamonds online. You can then take the diamond (or gemstone) to a goldsmith to create a ring for you. Only purchase from sites who offer satisfaction guarantees as well as return policies, in the case that you do not like your stone once you receive it. Your stone should come with a GIA grading certificate, but you can also take it to a gemologist for further validation before setting the stone in a ring.
One additional piece of advice - purchase insurance for your rings if they have either monetary or extreme sentimental value. Obtaining a rider to your home or rental insurance is relatively easy and inexpensive. Simply contact your insurance agent.
Here are some online stores that sell diamonds and other gemstones:
* Please note: Brilliant Wedding Pages and Brilliance Web Design, Inc. will not be held responsible for any experiences you may have with the services or products of companies listed above, online or other.
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