Inexpensive Engagement Rings

Do inexpensive engagement rings exist or do they all cost an arm and a leg? The first thing most guys want to know is how much they should spend on the eye candy. Here are some interesting factoids:

- According to a study in 2002 by the Conde Nast Bridal Group, publisher of Bride's and Modern Bride, the average cost of an engagement ring is $3,576.

- There is the popularized jewelry industry mantra which dictates spending "two months salary" (no one is sure if this is before or after taxes)

You should spend what you feel comfortable with. Society sends us many confusing messages about love and marriage. They emphasize the timeless and unconditional nature of love whilst simultanteously encouraging us to show the extent of our love by purchasing the biggest diamond we can afford. Just something for you to keep in mind.

The reality is that for some, two months salary is $500 while others pull in $10,000 a month or more. You do not want to blow so much money that you don't have anything leftover for other important expenses such as a down-payment on a house (or groceries for the next week). Whether you purchase an inexpensive engagement ring or one that is more pricey, it is best to have a pre-set ring budget. This way, you may be less tempted to spend more than you can really afford. One thing to consider is that you can always upgrade the ring down the road by adding extra stones, purchasing an additional band, etc.... this has become a very popular thing to do (much to my husband's dismay...and my delight).

Others who have limited funding but still want to purchase regardless may look into loans for engagement rings. My husbance purchased my ring at Blue Nile one of the best online jewelry stores out there, which has received a lot of positive press. Their website storefront is highly interactive and you can mix and match different stones and settings to create your own ring.

Another great place to buy rings is at Mondera which has won "Best of the Web" award by Forbes. A few weeks ago, one of my good friends got engaged. Her man purchased a ring from Mondera and both of them are ecstatic. She loves the ring and he thought the price and the customer service were excellent. And let me tell you, customer service is important when your plunking down those Gs.

Here are some factors that will impact the cost:

• Carats- the heavier the stone, the more moolah

• Color- the less of it, the more expensive.

• Clarity- the more of it, the more expensive. Small inclusions and flaws will bring down the price.

• Cut- Emerald and princess cuts cost less because they follow the shape of the stone. Heart-shaped, oval, and pear cost more.

• Retail Store, Online stores, or Online Auctions- Online stores can often price their rings at around 30% less than retail stores because they don't have to pay as much overhead.....thus, the savings are typically handed over to the customer. When purchasing online, be sure to review whether proper certification and appraisal information is provided. Make note of the terms of the return policy, should you need to return or exchange the ring. Online auctions such as on ebay can also offer signficant savings although precautions must be taken to avoid being taken advantage of.

•Ring Setting- Yellow gold, white gold, silver and titanium metals are less expensive than platinum

• Authentic diamond vs. cubic zirconia engagement rings or moissanite engagement rings I think you know which of these cost the least

Interestingly enough, two rings that appear fairly similar to the naked eye, can have vastly different prices depending on the quality of the diamond.-- Consider this as you are pulling out your credit card.

The author has a beautiful ascher cut engagement ring and has been married for just under a year. She designed the website to help out those in search of the perfect engagement ring.