Want to save potentially $1,000's when buying a diamond ring?
Then you're in the right place!
And to be clear, this guide isn't just a few "tips" or "suggestions" where you might save a couple bucks if you're lucky.
It's 51 highly actionable strategies you probably won't find anywhere else on the internet so good you're going to want to print it out and put it on your desk the next time you're in the market to buy a diamond ring.
Our experts at LearningJewelry.com get asked ALL the time questions like "What are your top ways to get the best deal on diamonds?" and "How do you save money when buying an engagement ring?"
We know the pain. The guides that are out there are usually incomplete, don't give many specific examples, or are just outdated.
And to top it off, none of those guides are actually written by people who know diamonds. It's mostly just rehashed advice you've heard 1,000 times.
We at the LearningJewelry.com wanted to put our heads together and compile every conceivable way someone could get the best deal and save money when buying a diamond ring.
From picking the right settings, to tax work arounds, there simply isn't another resource like this amongst all of the online engagement ring reviews on the internet.
Ring Setting Selection
Your ring setting isn’t something you think about when saving money on buying a diamond ring, but there are actually a few different ways how choosing a specific ring setting could offset the price of your diamond ring.
1. Save By Choosing 10K Gold Ring Settings
Most engagement rings are set in 14K or 18K gold or platinum.
Pure gold is too soft to be used in jewelry, so it has to be mixed with other metals called alloy to make it durable enough for everyday wear.
You can easily find wedding sets for less than $1500, like a 10K rose gold engagement ring from Helzberg Diamonds.
Yellow gold won’t be as yellow and your risk of metal allergies increases a little since there's less gold. Other than that, your ring will actually be stronger and more resistant to dings or scratches.
2. Save By Choosing a Cluster Ring Setting
Cluster settings are where the center of an engagement ring is made up of a bunch of smaller diamonds instead of one solitaire stone.
They glitter more because of all the smaller facets on each diamond.
Cluster ring settings are so much cheaper than buying a solid center stone because you don’t need as high of diamond grades in smaller stones.
If you have a ton of small stones making up the middle, it’ll be even cheaper, like this 14K white gold cluster engagement ring from Helzberg Diamonds.
3. Save By Choosing a Quad Ring Setting
Quad ring settings are like clusters, but only have four small diamonds.
Most of the time, they are square to give the illusion of 1 princess cut diamond.
The diamonds are virtually seamless, making it a great option for those wanting something a little bigger without paying the cash for it.
Quad rings usually have higher total carat weight since you’re saving by buying smaller stones, like this 2 carat 14K white gold quad engagement ring and matching wedding band from Helzberg.
4. Save By Choosing a Halo Setting
A halo setting features a ring of smaller gemstones around your center stone. There are variants to the style, but they have the same idea.
They can make a smaller center stone appear larger from further away, like this classic halo setting from James Allen. You can buy a cheaper, smaller carat weight with lower clarity and color grades, saving you hundreds.
If you’ve got a preferred carat weight, the types of halo ring settings that can save you the most money are those with smaller stones in the halo. Rings with halo diamonds that are larger carat weights need better diamond grades, hence it costing more.
5. Save By Choosing a Halo Solitaire Setting
You can save even more by choosing a halo setting that looks like a solitaire with a plain metal band.
Less bling equals less money out of your pocket, depending on the carat weights of the diamonds in the halo.
I love this style because the contrast between the plain metal and sparkly halo is fantastic, and I also love the different ways you can dress a halo solitaire up without it being overwhelming.
If you’re like me and the solitaire look’s a bit boring for you, you might love this 14K rose gold halo flower setting from James Allen.
6. Save By Choosing A Hexagonal Ring Setting
Hexagonal rings are great if you’re wanting a ring outside the norm. Their uniqueness makes them hard to find, but you can save money if you find one. Hexagon shaped rings make your center diamond look bigger but it only works with a round or cushion cut diamond.
So, if you don’t want to pay the price of a higher carat weight with higher diamond grades, it’s a great option. A ½ carat diamond or a ¾ carat diamond could look like a 1 carat easily.
Additionally, if you choose a hexagonal ring setting that is just plain metal or has a couple side stones like this 18K yellow gold hexagon engagement ring from James Allen, you save more money by having less bling.
7. Save By Choosing A Multi-Stone Ring Setting
Going along with the running theme of “small diamonds are cheaper”, multi-stone diamond rings can save you money on a solid diamond.
Of course, this all depends on the carat weight and diamond grades of the other diamonds.
Your multi-stone rings are going to be the ones that have two or three diamonds in the center as opposed to one.
Usually, they’re smaller than the average center stone. Three half carat diamonds are going to be cheaper than a 1 ½ carat diamond because higher carat
Two stone engagement rings, like this 14K white gold ¾ tdw two stone engagement ring from Helzberg Diamonds, are a good option for those who want anon-traditional multi stone ring since three stones are pretty popular in general.
8. Save By Buying Illusion Settings
There’s no shortage of ways to save a few hundred bucks or more by selecting the right type of ring setting. Fortunately, you’ve got quite a few options.
A less talked about style is the illusion setting. Illusion settings are either done well, or done badly.
With this kind of setting, a ring of metal goes around the diamond. The metal is cut with ridges that reflect light alongside the diamond to make it blend in with the diamonds.
It’s usually done on round or princess cut diamonds. In most cases, it looks better in a round setting, but there are some cases that look great, like these illusion wedding sets from Helzberg Diamonds.
9. Save By Choosing a Six Prong Ring Setting
People often forget that metal actually has a significant effect on the price of engagement rings and wedding bands. Platinum is the most expensive of the precious metals, but it’s also the strongest. Sterling silver is cheaper than gold, but they require more upkeep.
The minimum width that most engagement rings come in is 2mm. The average width of an engagement ring is between 2-2.5mm. But these days, there are many options with wider bands. Engagement rings usually go between 2-6mm. Wider bands mean more gold, which shoots the price up.
Thinner bands are also better for making your center stone look larger than it is. You don’t want to have a smaller carat diamond sitting on a 6mm band because the metal will make it look even smaller than it actually is.
10. Save By Choosing a Thinner Band
People often forget that metal actually has a significant effect on the price of engagement rings and wedding bands.
Platinum is the most expensive of the precious metals, but it’s also the strongest. Sterling silver is cheaper than gold, but they require more upkeep.
The minimum width that most engagement rings come in is 2mm. The average width of an engagement ring is between 2-2.5mm. But these days, there are many options with wider bands. Engagement rings usually go between 2-6mm. Wider bands mean more gold, which shoots the price up.
Thinner bands are also better for making your center stone look larger than it is. You don’t want to have a smaller carat diamond sitting on a 6mm band because the metal will make it look even smaller than it actually is.
11. Save By Steering Clear from Brand Names
Like any other type of retailer, brand names charge a premium when it comes to products.
This is no different when it comes to diamond rings.
Brand name jewelry can be hundreds more expensive than a ring without a name.
Gemstone Pairing & Selection
This section is going to focus on the creative ways to save money when picking the actual gemstones used to build your ring.
12. Save By Choosing Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. They are both chemically and physically the same thing as a diamond that’s been unearthed out of the ground.
Lab diamonds are grown in conditions that simulate what it’s like underground and also produce them in a matter of weeks.
The value of lab diamonds is dismal compared to mined diamonds since they’re pretty easy to make. Lab diamonds can be over 40% cheaper than a mined diamond with the same diamond grades. You won’t find low clarity lab diamonds though, because they’re more eye-clean. They have 1 type of inclusion and they’re not easy to see. Mined diamonds have all different types of inclusions, ranging from subtle to in-your-face.
Only trained gemologists can really tell the difference between a lab diamond and a mined one, but can be thousands cheaper. Just don’t try to resell them because lab diamonds have zero value in resale and don’t usually qualify for trade in programs.
13. Save By Choosing A Moissanite Center Stone
This money saving tip involves swapping your center stone for a moissanite gemstone while still having small diamonds on the band. Moissanite is a lab created gemstone that is also known as a diamond imitation. However, it’s not a cheap one like cubic zirconia.
Moissanite is a gemstone in its own right and is the best diamond look-a-like on the market. It’s perfect for everyday wear because it’s the 2nd most scratch-resistant mineral on earth, right beneath a diamond. They are eye-clean and much cheaper than a diamond of similar quality. They are more expensive than any other diamond imitation, but you can get large carat sizes for much cheaper.
They say it gives a disco ball effect in the light so make sure you like this look before buying. A great way is to check out Youtube videos of moissanite in the light to confirm it’s not too sparkly for you (if there even is such a thing).
Moissanites have their own guidelines to follow, so make sure to check out our Learning Guide for moissanite before buying.
14. Save By Choosing A Colored Gemstone Center Stone w/ Side Diamonds
If you have a non-traditional taste, you might love the idea of swapping out your center for a colored gemstone while still keeping your other stones as diamonds.
The contrast between beautiful color and the white light of diamonds will bear a striking and gorgeous look, while saving you money.
Colored gemstones are graded differently than diamonds and don’t need high clarity or even an excellent cut. They’re more about the color and making sure it’s the same throughout. There aren’t specific dimensions you need to follow, but just choose the one that looks and is priced the best for you. Most of the time, colored gemstones are much cheaper than diamonds.
James Allen allows you to choose loose rubies, sapphires, or emeralds as an option for center stones. Keep in mind that less common shapes will probably have very few results. One of the most common gemstone center stones is blue sapphire, like this gorgeous blue sapphire engagement ring side with side stone diamonds.
15. Save By Choosing Colored Gemstones Instead Of Small Diamonds
Not only can you lower the cost of an engagement ring by switching the center for a colored stone, but you can do just the opposite.
You can keep your center stone diamond, but choose other gemstones as accent stones.
But what if you could find an eye-clean emerald or Asscher cut diamond and at least save on a lower clarity grade? Find a retailer that allows you to choose your own diamond grades and see the diamond through some sort of a viewer.
You don’t really get to compare loose diamonds at a local retailer, because most of them don’t even sell loose diamonds. We recommend you look online when buying step cut diamonds because the viewers are easier to see for everyone and you can do it at your leisure. No pressure, no holding up the line.
Our favorite online step cut diamond viewers are going to be James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brilliant Earth.
16. Save By Buying Brilliant Cut Diamonds
Almost all diamond shapes fall into 1 of 2 cutting styles: brilliant cut or step cut. Brilliant cut diamonds are diamond shapes that display light in short, choppy sparkles.
This style of cutting is what makes some diamond shapes look very glittery.
Brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shapes and require more finesse to cut. Round, princess, cushion, pear, marquise, radiant, trilliant, heart cuts, and ovals are brilliant cut shapes.
17. Save By Buying Step Cut Diamonds
Didn’t we just say buying brilliant cut diamonds is cheaper than step-cut diamonds?
No, we said that they CAN be. The reason why you can save by buying step cut diamonds is because they show color and clarity imperfections more than brilliant cut diamonds.
We know that this makes us have to choose higher color and clarity grades, which is more expensive.
There are only a few step-cut diamond shapes. These are your emerald, Asscher, and baguette diamonds. The Carre cut is also considered step cut, but it’s a much less common diamond shape to find.
In a step cut diamond, the facets are long and resemble mirrored steps within the diamond. When the light hits a step cut diamond, they have dramatic flashes rather than a bunch of choppy lights.
Both are beautiful options, but the reason why brilliant cut diamonds can be cheaper than step cut diamonds is because you don’t need as high clarity or color grades. With all that glitter, inclusions seem less obvious. But the same dark inclusion will be more obvious in a step cut diamond.
18. Save By Choosing A Diamond Shape With A Larger Table
If you want your center diamond to look big, but don’t want to pay the cost of a large, eye-clean diamond, you should consider choosing a diamond shape that has a larger table, or top of the diamond.
Round brilliants are the most popular and expensive shape, but they also have one of the smallest top views.
This 1.5 carat round solitaire engagement ring looks much smaller than this 1.5 carat oval diamond engagement ring, doesn’t it?
In fact, most shapes will look bigger than a round diamond of the same carat weight, with the exception of a marquise. However, marquise diamonds are pretty cheap, but they’re not as sought after as some of the other cheaper shapes.
Both cushion cuts, princess cuts, and heart shapes will look closer in size to a round, so I’d veer away if you want a dramatic size difference. For bigger looking diamond shapes, you should check out radiants, emerald cuts, Asschers, oval cut, and pear cut diamonds.
19. Save By Buying A Cushion Cut Diamond
Most people looking for engagement rings are looking for a round brilliant center stone.
It’s a beautiful diamond shape, the only one with exact symmetry and optimum brilliance. But they’re the most popular diamond shape, and the most expensive.
There are ways to save on a round diamond itself, but you can also save more money by buying a different diamond shape, like a cushion cut diamond.
Cushion cut diamonds are basically princess cut diamonds with rounded corners. It’s the perfect cross between a round and square shape. They are the third most popular diamond shape and they can be at least $500 dollars cheaper than a similar round diamond. They won’t have the super intense sparkle of a round brilliant, but cushion cuts are very sparkly because they’re a brilliant cut shape too.
If you’re worried about sacrificing sparkle, you should look for the “crushed ice” type of cushion diamond, like this 1 carat crushed ice cushion diamond. Not to mention that a 1 carat cushion cut diamond will look bigger than a 1 carat round diamond because it has more surface area for light to reflect through.
Hidden Diamond Details
Diamond quality is based on the 4Cs: Cut, Carat, Color, and Clarity. This system was put forth by the GIA and is how all diamonds are measured for quality and value. The following ways to save are based on both the 4Cs and other diamond specifics.
20. Save By Choosing Your Carat Points
Too often we hear carat weight measured in fractions or decimals. The most popular carat weights are ⅓ , ½, ¾ 1 carat, 1 ½ carat, and 2 carats.
If it’s a half, you might see it as .5 or 1.5. You’ll find that these carat weights are usually standard for engagement rings found in popular brick and mortar retailers like Kays and Jared.
Carats are actually measured in carat points. 100 points equal 1 carat. If you purchase from an online retailer like James Allen or Blue Nile, you can actually pick your carat weight in carat points. When it comes to carat points, there’s a 7 point rule. A .93 ct diamond is still classified as a 1 carat diamond. A 1.07 ct diamond is still a 1 carat too, thus the 7 point rule.
If you were to line a .93 ct diamond up next a 1 carat, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell which is which. Because diamonds are cut into shapes, that tiny .7 difference probably is in the pavilion of the diamond, which is the bottom part you can’t even see from top-view. Is it worth the extra few hundred dollars for something you can’t see? Probably not.
21. Save By Choosing A Diamond With Fluorescence
Fluorescence is a feature of diamonds that most people don’t think about or many don’t know what it is. Some diamonds are fluorescent and others aren’t. If your diamond is fluorescent, it will have a colored glow under a UV black light. The color can vary, but blue is the most common This lets you know that sometimes in the sun your engagement ring might have a slight blue hue.
Fluorescent diamonds are categorized as None, Faint, Medium, Strong, and Very Strong. Diamonds with no fluorescence are considered more valuable and are slightly more expensive. You'll find these grades in your diamond certification report.
Having a fluorescent diamond is simply a visual preference and doesn’t damage or compromise your engagement ring in any way. Many people don’t even notice their fluorescent diamonds and other people love color-changing look. It can save you a couple hundred by choosing a fluorescent diamond.
22. Save By Buying GIA or AGS Certified Diamonds
If you’re buying diamonds and want to make sure you’re not getting scammed spending more than the diamond’s worth, you NEED to buy certified diamonds. And we’re not talking just any diamond certifications.
That’s right-there’s a difference!
The top tier diamonds in the world are graded by the Gemological Institute of America or the American Gem Society.
GIA and AGS diamonds are the most respected and professional certification authorities, so diamonds with grading reports from these labs are the most valued and sought after.
This also means that they’re more expensive than non-certified diamonds or certified diamonds from other labs. The problem with certified diamonds is that not all lab grades are the same. So while you might be paying less for an IGI certified diamond than a GIA diamond, you might also be getting a crappier diamond.
It’s possible to purchase an IGI certified diamond, send it to the GIA to be graded by their standards, and have the diamond returned with different (usually worse) diamond grades.
This happens because diamond retailers will pressure certifying bodies to be more lenient when grading higher so they can sell their diamonds at a higher price point.
GIA or AGS diamonds are considered the most accurate and highest valued diamonds with the highest ethical standards, which is why a diamond with their grade tend to cost a bit more.
23. Save By Buying GIA Certified Diamonds Online Instead Of In-Store
Yes, GIA certified diamonds are more expensive than non-certified diamonds, but it’s necessary to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.
GIA and AGS certified diamonds have more value than other certified diamonds.
You can find GIA certified diamond engagement rings at brick and mortar retailers like Zales or Kay, but they’re much more expensive at those retailers than they would be at an online retailer.
The image shown above is a GIA certified 1.96 carat princess cut diamond with VS2 Clarity and I Color from James Allen goes for around $11,000. Add a simple solitaire setting and you’re looking at $12,000 roughly, after tax. Yet, a GIA certified solitaire ring with a diamond of the same grades from the mega famous retailer Zales is almost $27,000!
GIA certified diamonds are more expensive than non certified diamonds or diamonds from other grading, but they’re worth it to ensure your money is well spent. Always buy online GIA certified diamonds from a reputable retailer.
24. Buy A Lab Created Fancy Yellow Diamond Instead of A Natural White Diamond
In general, fancy colored diamonds are more expensive than white diamonds (non-colored diamonds). But lab created fancy color diamonds are more along the lines of affordable. Fancy yellow lab diamonds can cost less than a natural white diamond and you get a unique look with it.
Pictured here is a 1.01 carat emerald cut fancy yellow lab diamond can make a great center stone on a simple solitaire band. Fancy color lab diamonds are lab diamonds that have been treated to turn a different color.
A fancy yellow diamond will cost closer to a white diamond of the same grades because it’s intentionally yellow.
Finding a diamond that has the same shade of yellow throughout the stone is difficult, which is a big part of why it gets higher pricing.
25. Save By Using Bank Wire Payment
This money-saving tip only applies to online diamond retailers. Many online diamond retailers offer you a bank wire payment option to link your bank account and have your engagement ring funds drawn out directly from there as opposed to putting debit or credit card info.
You can actually save money by doing this. Many online diamond retailers will give you a 1-3% discount for paying this way. It seems small, but it can really add up when you’re buying a big purchase. For instance, maybe you want a high dollar engagement ring like this gorgeous 2 carat pear engagement ring from James Allen.
You might be sketched out putting your bank info on the web, especially if it’s your first time buying fine jewelry online. A lot of people wonder why it’s cheaper. Typically, this allows the retailer to bypass any credit card processing fees they have to pay on their end while processing cards. Many of these retailers give it back to their customers.
You should only ever use bank wire with reputable online retailers and lucky for you, we have a few that should do you well. The following approved online diamond retailers all give back to their customers for paying via bank wire.
Below is a table breaking out how much you can save if you pay by wire for a couple different online retailers.
26. Save By Choosing the Best Cut Grade
Out of all of the 4Cs, your diamond’s cut is the most important. Cut grades come in Poor, Good, Very Good, and Excellent/Ideal. You shouldn’t find "Poor" cut diamonds being sold anywhere, but you’ll see the others like "Good" and "Excellent" a lot.
Specifically, excellent and Ideal may be the most expensive cut grade, but it’s also the highest quality.
Round cut diamonds are the only shape that are officially recognized as excellent or ideal. You’ll find princess cut and cushion cut diamonds marked as excellent, but their dimensions just fall within the guidelines of the best ones for that shape.
For all fancy cut diamonds, we recommend getting these “excellent” cuts or Very Good cut. A Good cut is not good enough!
The way buying a top cut grade saves you money is because everything about your diamond revolves around cut. If your diamond isn’t cut well, it makes it more vulnerable to breakage or chipping. Diamonds may be super scratch resistant, but they can chip if hit hard enough. Anything short of Excellent or Very Good will be much easier to chip.
Replacing a chipped diamond can be expensive, especially if you’ve recently bought the diamond. It’s better just to pay the extra for the higher cut grade than pay to replace diamonds later.
27. Save By Surveying Polish & Symmetry
Most people don’t know about diamonds further than the 4Cs. But in your diamond’s description, you should see a bunch of other diamond specifics, right next to fluorescence.
For example, you’ll find that this 1) Excellent Cut 1 carat diamond from James Allen and this 2) Excellent Cut 1 carat diamond from James Allen have the same color, clarity, and they’re both eye-clean. They both come with GIA certification too, but they are almost $1000 price difference.
First, let’s check out the easy stuff.
Diamond #1 is .02 carats less than Diamond #2.
But that shouldn’t cause a big difference. Neither of these diamonds have fluorescence so we can’t count that out.
The big difference is that Diamond #1 has an Excellent Polish and Very Good symmetry.
Diamond #2 has both excellent polish and excellent symmetry.
You want excellent symmetry because it allows the best light performance possible for your diamond. If you don’t have excellent symmetry, you can have light leakage, which is basically when the diamond doesn’t reflect the brilliance it’s supposed to. This can also cause your diamond to have distorted light or shaded areas if the symmetry isn’t up to par.
If you’re going to buy an Excellent Cut diamond, make sure it’s excellent in all areas, otherwise you’re just wasting your own money on something less than what you deserve.
28. Save By Using An Online Diamond Viewer
If you’re really trying to save money and use these tips, your best bet to save the most money is to search the diamond inventory of an online retailer. Most online retailers have a whole library of loose diamonds that allow you to see them magnified through a viewer via 20x zoom HD photos, 360 degree controllable viewers, video loops, and one-on-one diamond consultations with experts.
There are different kinds of viewers that different retailers provide. Online viewers are extremely helpful in using many tips you’ve learned today, like finding the diamonds with the least noticeable inclusions. The best way it can save you hundreds of dollars is by finding eye-clean diamonds in a lower clarity grade.
For example, an I clarity diamond should have a decent amount of natural inclusions. But if you’re using an online diamond viewer, rotating diamonds, you can see exactly where the inclusions are. It helps you make sure you’re happy with your inclusion placements and helps you narrow your search for the best priced eye-clean diamond you can buy. That way, there are no surprises.
Your Old Ring & Friend Referrals
When it comes to saving money with diamond rings, a lot of retailers have programs where you can trade in your old ring for store credit, or trade up from a ring you may have previously bought from the shop.
29. Save By Modifying Your Old Ring
This money saving tip goes for those of you who are looking to get a new engagement ring or have maybe inherited a ring you’re not too fond of. Maybe you can’t necessarily afford the cost of a new engagement ring. Or maybe you want to keep the sentiment of the ring you’ve inherited but just wish you had a different ring setting.
There’s a couple of ways to achieve this, if your ring will allow it. Some ring styles can be modified by jewelers. Some of these options could be switching out diamonds for gemstones, adding a colored rhodium to a channel, or even putting the head of your ring onto a new band. These kinds of modifications can be done by a bench jeweler, so I’d recommend looking for a local bench jeweler to show you if it can be done.
Another great option that you can do is opt for putting your same diamond into another ring setting, like flush setting. You can have this done at a local jeweler or you can pick out a ring setting online and have it done.
30. Save By Trading In Your Old Ring
Another way to save partially on a new ring is to trade in your old ring entirely. Many retailers offer trade in programs, but not every policy is a good deal. You want to make sure you’re getting diamonds of a great quality, so you can make sure they’re eye clean of blemishes. Never trade in your diamond for something they don’t show you up close, whether it’s in person or online.
If you’ve bought your engagement ring at at online retailer, their own trade-in program is the best to go. If you’ve purchased your ring elsewhere, you should check out Abe Mor diamonds, a trusted diamond marketplace.
They’ve been known to give the best prices for diamonds you may want to resell. Blue Nile also has a diamond buyback program as well, so there’s another one to check out and see if it’s fitting for you.
31. Save By Referring A Friend
Like other retailers, customers get a chance to save more money on diamond rings and fine jewelry by referring a friend. Usually, this means you’ve had to purchase with that retailer before, but they don’t require a spending amount for you in order to refer a friend.
Your friend’s purchase usually has to be a certain amount and you must use the link or referral name when buying. So, if you know someone who is getting engaged as well, have them use your link.
For example, at James Allen, your friend can get $150 off their first purchase and you have the option of saving the same on a new purchase or a $50 Amazon gift card, which is kind of surprising. Most refer a friend programs have to be spent within the company, so this option is pretty cool.
Blue Nile has another decent "refer a friend' program. I don't like it as much as James Allen's, but you can save up to $100 by inviting your friends to purchase. You two will be able to save 20 on your order of $100+, $50 on your order of $500+ or $100 on your order of $1000 or more.
Granted, James Allen’s minimum purchase to qualify is $1000, so Blue Nile let’s you save a little for cheaper purchases. Both of these retailers would be excellent choices for referrals.
32. Save By Using Capital One Shopping
I'm not sure if you've ever heard of the tool "Honey" but this is a very similar service Capital One has been rolling out, which is super awesome, and actually works.
It's a free plugin you can add to your internet browser on the computer. You can go to the website and look for discounts for different retailers, but the plugin is what can really help save you diamonds.
Below is an example of what it looks like if you load the plugin on Blue Nile's website.
Capital One's Shopping plugin was formerly called "Wikibuy". It reaches beyond the process of grabbing a code via website or email and organizes it in a new way.
If I’m over here at Blue Nile’s website, I can get two different discount codes. One through the internet and one through email lists. But I can click on my plugin icon and it shows me 5 different coupon codes to be used.
This plugin helps you save money on diamonds by pulling different discount codes from all over the internet, not just what you see at the retailer’s website.
33. Save By Price Matching
Price matching is a great way to save money because it lets you buy from the retailer you want, for the price you want it at.
For example, maybe you love the cost of a 1.5 carat cushion cut diamond at Blue Nile, but aren’t too crazy about the manufacturer’s warranty.
James Allen has an awesome free lifetime warranty, but you just can’t seem to find a diamond that is eye-clean enough for that price at James Allen. James Allen does a price match guarantee.
Just copy the URL and send it to one of the online James Allen reps in their chat, and they should be able to get you setup.
If you find a competing diamond for less that meets a number of requirements to be considered comparable, they will find you a diamond for the same price or less.
For some, buying secondhand is the best option for the wallet. My biggest advice when buying secondhand is to do your best to keep yourself safe because it can be very risky.
34. Save By Using Facebook Marketplace
Facebook is a common tool for finding all sorts of purchases, big and small. You can ship, but most people choose to buy things in their local area. Safer that way too.
You’ll need a Facebook account to shop in the Marketplace, or at least know someone who does. You can send them messages asking about the item. If you decide to buy from someone on the marketplace, you should always buy engagement rings with paperwork.
My best advice is to only buy GIA or AGS certified rings (with the original certificate) from individuals, and ideally a purchase receipts so you can uphold any warranties.
35. Save By Using Mercari
Mercari is another online marketplace that’s a modern day version of ebay. Mercari sells used and new items. You can download the app on your smartphone or go to the site online.
You have to create a free account to purchase, but it’s free to look. Keep in mind that with any free marketplace, there are scammers. Make sure to read everything fully. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, there’s no super sales with diamonds unless they’re lab diamonds.
Mercari is slightly safer than Facebook Marketplace, because they do offer buyer protection. You have three days to inspect the item thoroughly and report any problems.
If you suspect fraud, they have a phone number for you to call and will look into it. They have a Money Back Guarantee within 3 days. Make sure all payments and messages stay within the app if you have any trouble.
36. Save By Pawn Shopping
It’s one of the oldest methods of buying secondhand. Pawn shops are notorious for selling high dollar jewelry and other goods for less than a retailer.
Most people who sell engagement rings through a pawn shop are usually in a pinch and will take whatever the paw broker wants, which is much less than what was paid for it.
The pawnbroker will then take that item and sell it for more. It’ll be enough to make a good profit, but more than what they paid for from the owner. It’s a greedy little business.
But for some, this is much cheaper and easier than trying to buy brand new. And if you’re an avid pawn shopper, you might know all the tricks and tips to scooping yourself out a good deal.
My biggest advice is to make sure that you are only buying certified diamonds by the GIA or AGS, because this is the best way to ensure you’re getting high quality diamonds.
Creative Payment Plans
Retailers are getting used to the idea that not everyone of us can drop thousands of dollars at once. Instead, you now have the option to save by paying installments of your purchase. There’s a few different ways you can do this.
37. Save By Layaway
Most layaway programs are done when you can physically go to the retailer. Big retailers like Kay, Jared, and Zales offer layaway programs that allow you to put 20% down or $100 to put an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry aside. It’s taken off the shelves and put in your name. You come in monthly and pay a minimum amount until you paid off. No real terms, just pay something.
These are good for those who have planned out their engagement far enough that they have time to pay for it over the course of months rather than weeks. By spacing out your payments, you save a bit of money by paying over a course of time with no interest.
38. Save By Using No-Interest Credit Card Plans
The most common "payment plan" retailers tend to offer is actually through a credit card offer.
Generally, a retailer will partner up with a bank to issue you credit card with special APRs and "deferred interest" so you can put your entire purchase on a credit card and pay it off before the interest comes due.
Every single major diamond ring retailer will have some sort of credit card offering.
These can be great but also can bite you in the butt if you don't read the fine print. That said, you need to watch out for the length of the "deferred interest" period and the APR of the card.
For example, James Allen offers a decent 6 month paid plan with deferred-interest or a 24 month plan with 9.90% interest (no interest deferral).
What this means is that if you buy a diamond ring for $5,000 and opt for the 6 month interest deferral, you should plan to pay it off 100% in 6 months or you'll be charged interest.
Blue Nile offers no interest plans in 6, 12, or 18 month installments, depending on the price and style of ring. The 18 month plan is available only to those who purchase Blue Nile’s best line of diamonds, the Astor Collection.
39. Save By Using Affirm
Another payment plan option that has been gaining in popularity with retailers are short term loans.
Affirm is a popular short term payment company that is used by many big names in merchandise.
Affirm allows you to make a big purchase and split it into three payments within three months, no interest.
You also have the option to choose a 6 month payment plan or the 12 month payment plan for 10% - 30% interest. Generally, most people pay off within three months so they don't get charged the interest.
You can only spend what Affirm pre-qualifies you for. It's similar to a credit card, but not a revolving line. You are approved only for what you are buying, so you can’t run it up.
40. Save By Using SplitIt
Splitit is another short term payment company. They pride themselves in being a company that does no credit checks or applications whatsoever. Most short term payments will do some sort of application but not Splitit.
And also unlike other payment plan options, they don’t charge for late fees. Ever. 0% interest all the time. They claim to have the highest customer satisfaction rating.
Below is a screenshot of Splitit on James Allen's website.
Splitit draws its payments directly from your credit or debit card. Note that some merchants only allow you to use a credit card. The only interest that’s charged to you is your credit card’s interest, and that’s if you don’t pay it off quicker.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Like anything else in life, there are red flags to keep an eye out for when buying diamonds. Red flags that could indicate you're paying too much for a low quality diamond, or the retailer is doing something shady, which might cause you frustration and headache. Below are our top red flags to keep an eye out for when buying diamond rings online.
41. Save By Buying Safely Reading Descriptions
You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but a lot of people just look at the title of an item. If you go to a trusted online diamond retailer, this is a pretty accurate description of the item. But it’s not that way on all platforms.
Sellers on platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay are notorious for being misleading in their titles because that’s how the sellers are able to get more visibility for what they are selling.
For instance, you could type “diamond engagement ring” into the search bar at Etsy.com and come up with a ton of items that aren’t actual diamonds.
Look out for words like “simulated diamond”, “CZ diamond”, “moissanite diamond”, etc.
These are all gemstones that look like diamonds, but aren’t actually diamonds.
Make sure to read the fine description. Sometimes they even say diamond in the title, then tell you it’s a cz in the small description.
42. Save by Buying from A Reputable Jeweler
To avoid throwing your money into an unknown diamond retailer claiming to have the cheapest prices or holding some secret to getting a high graded diamond by the GIA for half anyone else is selling it for, don’t fall for it.
There’s other ways they get you too. False/photoshopped GIA grading reports, faceting glass to look like a diamond, fake stores altogether, and stuffing reviews. It can be exhausting, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
That’s why we recommend buying from a reputable retailer.
43. Save By Avoiding Super Sales
I’ve mentioned it throughout this guide, but diamonds tend not to be a super sale type of item. Yes, you can save money here and there, but it takes effort.
You’ll find that retailers do big sales during holidays. but it might actually be best to avoid these gift giving seasons when buying an engagement ring. It’s not to say that prices are inflated, but the good deals on the best quality diamonds are gone pretty quick.
So if you're going to try to snag a diamond ring during a popular holiday sale (like Black Friday or Valentines Day), you need to act fast. Most of these shops have "pre sales", which are actually just sales 1-2 weeks before the holiday.
Some retailers like have their diamond prices up front and always at their best price so it’s not necessary to wait for a sale.
44. Save By Choosing A Retailer With A Good Return Policy (Read The Fine Print!)
It goes without saying, you should ALWAYS read through the return and exchange policy before you purchase fine jewelry from any retailer.
It’s not enough to just read through the policy itself either. Don’t be fooled by just the number of days. Many return policies have exceptions. For example, Blue Nile has a 30 day return policy, but doesn’t accept returns on special order rings. Whiteflash offers a 30 day return policy, but diamonds from their virtual selection only have a 10 day return policy.
Make sure to read the return process itself. Some require you to pay shipping, others you have to call, and some places take up to 30 days to return your money after the items received.
Save yourself the headache, stress, and wasted money and make you buy from a retailer with a great return policy.
45. Save By Steering Clear of Marketing Gimmicks
The diamond industry is known for bringing gimmicks to their inventory, whether it’s enticing you with a big name slapped on a collection, "super ideal" cut diamonds, or special effect diamonds.
All super ideal cut diamonds do is add more facets to an ideal cut diamond. It doesn’t change its durability or likelihood of chipping. And officially, the Excellent Cut is the best of the GIA and the AGS 0 Ideal are the best cut grades. In 2005, both labs created a version that goes beyond their top quality types. The GIA has the Triple Excellent and the AGS has the AGS 000 Ideal.
But even on traditional grading reports, these aren’t considered the best. They may have the best light performance because of precision cutting techniques, but the difference from an ideal cut isn’t worth a thousand dollar difference.
Another gimmick to stay away from are “special diamonds”. Popular retailers like Kay and Jared are notorious for putting out gimmicky brands, like Leo’s First Light Diamonds.
Leo’s First light diamonds advertise this special rainbow of light performance you won’t get anywhere else. Also wrong. The rainbow effect comes from what’s called a nano prism. Basically, it’s a rainbow polish. By coating the diamond in a polish, it allows it to display strong color reflections like oranges and blues. They also charge you thousands more than you’d pay for a diamond of the same grades without the polish.
So, save yourself thousands by not falling for gimmicky diamonds, because they’re just not worth it.
Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks
The last section here is meant to be a collection of tips that we couldn't fit into any other section in this guide. Enjoy!
46. Save By Choosing A Free Lifetime Warranty
Another huge misconception in the jewelry world is that if an engagement ring is high quality, it shouldn’t ever have to be fixed. Diamonds shouldn’t fall out, prongs shouldn’t wear down, and it should stay shiny, right?
Not so much.
Most engagement rings are made of natural metals and minerals. They are delicate by nature. Gold is soft, so it’s going to wear down. The hustle and bustle of you tapping your ring all over different surfaces day after day is going to wear down the materials.
And if you have white gold, it will eventually fade. Gold is covered in rhodium plating, which is what gives white gold its silver color. The dirt and natural oils in your skin will cause it to break down, making your white gold jewelry appear yellowish. Rhodium fades quicker in rings than most other jewelry due to how often they’re worn.
Generally, you should need to get your ring re-plated once a year. The average price for re-plating is around $60 up to $125. If you buy from a retailer that offers a free lifetime warranty with routine maintenance, it usually covers rhodium plating.
You could save up to $1250 on rhodium plating your ring for the next 10 years by choosing a free lifetime warranty.
Keep in mind that manufacturer warranties usually don’t cover rhodium plating.
47. Save By Reading Reddit Reviews
Reviews are a great way to get some insight to find out if what you’re looking at is really worth buying for. The problem is, many companies pad their review profiles with fake profiles that basically say the same keyword phrases with the stores changed.
Places like TrustPilot, Amazon Reviews, and others are commonly tainted with generic reviews. Amazon only shows you top reviews, but if you switch to recent reviews on a product you had trouble with, you’ll notice the last five people did too. This is because these reviews are padded to make you think the product is better at first glance. But you should always read everything thoroughly before making a purchase.
Thankfully, we have consumer driven review communities, like Reddit. If you're not familiar, Reddit is an online community that is divided into “subreddits” based on different topics. Sometimes the topic is more broad, like Parenting. But you also have subreddits for New Parents, Twin Parents, etc. There’s a space for everyone at Reddit, including engagement rings.
People love to post and ask all over the r/EngagementRings subreddit. You can find opinions and buying experiences from customers with virtually any diamond retailer.
The reason we include this as a tip, because you can find genuine unfiltered conversation around brands. Even in our own reviews, we'll look at Reddit to see what people are saying and their personal experiences.
48. Save By Keeping Up With Maintenance
You’ll notice that for some warranties, you’re required to bring your ring in for inspection. Helzberg Diamonds does this as well as other big retailers like Jared or Kay. While it might seem tedious and annoying, it’s a good idea to get your ring checked every six months in general.
Kay and Jared will inspect any engagement ring from anywhere. They should look at it under the microscope, tap the edges of the stones to make sure there’s none loose, and see if any of the prongs are rough. Rough prongs indicate they’ve been pulled up from your diamond’s girdle, which holds it secure.
If you notice your ring catching on fabrics, it’s time to get them re-tipped. The more they snag, the more you pull up from the diamond, threatening for it to become loose.
49. Save By Insuring Your Ring
A great way to save even more money after you’ve bought your money saving engagement ring is to insure it. Insuring your ring is different than having the retailer’s warranty.
There’s all sorts of insurance companies that will insure your ring. Each of them have different things they cover and some also cover repairs. Many policies piggyback off of other types of insurance like homeowners or renters.
Your engagement ring and other jewelry is important and valuable in more ways than one. You need a policy that is meant for jewelry and jewelry alone. If you go this route, we recommend Jewelers Mutual Insurance.
They are one of the few jewelry insurers that cover disappearance or mysterious loss. You just left your ring somewhere and can’t find it? It’s covered. They also have multiple policies, including a zero deductible. My own engagement ring costs me a $2 difference between a zero deductible and $100 dollar deductible at $56 per year.
Jewelry insurance helps you just in case the worst were to happen. Yes, you have to pay for it every year, and if you never need it, that money just goes to the company. But if it does, you can know you’re saving the cost of a whole new ring, and just dealing with the sentimental loss. It’s worth it.
50. Save On Sales Tax
Because diamonds cost so much money, you'll find that the sales tax charged by your state can start to add up.
For example, in Virginia, sales tax is 5.3%, so a $10,000 purchase will be $10,530 with tax.
A way around this is by buying the jewelry in a state that does not charge sales tax. Right now, there are 5 states that do not levy sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
Fun fact, Alaska doesn't have a state income tax OR sales tax!
If you live in a state that charges sales tax, you could physically drive to one of these other states and pay no sales tax on your purchase.
You could also plug in an address during the checkout flow to a state that doesn't charge tax. If you have a family member or someone way of collecting the package (i.e., virtual mailbox)
With Sales Tax
No Sales Tax
The one caveat with this strategy is that if you do this, and buy your diamond ring in a state that doesn't charge sales tax, then bring it to the state you live in, which does charges sales tax, you technically need to report it at the end of the year when filing your taxes.
Full disclaimer, I am not advocating for you to evade your taxes. Pay your taxes (even though they stink)!
51. Save By Mix & Matching Money Saving Tips
And here we are, the final money saving tip. This is the big one.
An example diamond where I put together a bunch of the tips to maximize the value of the
For example, a 14K .47 carat Asscher cut diamond in a halo solitaire setting would be a great money saving option because it uses 5 great tips you learned here today:
- Using carat points instead of whole carat weights saves you money
- Asscher cut diamonds are step cut, so they tend to be cheaper
- Asscher diamonds project bigger
- Halo settings make your diamond appear larger than it is
- Halo solitaire settings eliminate the cost of additional diamond on the band
But if that’s not your style, never fear. They’re are so many different combinations for you to use when buying your engagement ring, there’s no way you can’t save!
Conclusion & Final Thoughts!
So there you have it.
Every single way that you could conceivably save money when it comes to buying diamond rings.
My intent was to create the most comprehensive list of diamond saving tips on the internet. A resource so good, you'd consider printing it out and having it next to you as you search for your diamond.
If you have an additional tip drop a comment and let me know so I can add it to this list!