It has traditionally been the norm that a man offering to marry a woman offers her a ring, preferably a diamond ring if he can afford it. Diamonds being what they are, become extremely expensive to acquire. A reasonable quality 1/2 carat diamond ring could cost as much as $500. This puts it out of the reach of a lot of people.
If you want to buy a diamond now and pay later, there are two aspects to this. One is to bring down the price of the diamond. By bringing the price down, I mean getting value for money, the most bang for your buck, not buying the cheapest diamond available. The second aspect is choosing an attractive payment plan so that you can pay as little as $20 a month and walk away with a $500 diamond ring.
TIP: If you're in a hurry, we recommend Super Jeweler, which offers jewelry on easy 24 month payment terms. (Disclosure: We may get a small commission if you buy from them after clicking on their link here. Your purchase price remains the same.)
Let's start with figuring out how you can bring down the price of the diamond ring. Now, diamonds are available in a very wide range of quality, whether in terms of clarity, cut or carat. All these three 'C's affect the fourth 'C', cost. It's invariably a trade-off. If you buy a larger diamond, you pay more. If you settle for a smaller diamond, the cost comes down. Similarly the cost goes up with clarity. Some cuts are more expensive than others.
There are various degrees of clarity. When we say 'clarity' we're referring to how clean the diamond is. How many blemishes it has or if it is entirely blemish free (frightfully expensive!). For determining the clarity, one can look at the diamond with the naked eye or use a magnifier or a couple. The loupe is a small magnifying glass that jewelers use. This magnifies the diamond to make it ten times larger. Any blemish that is not visible under a 10X loop is not considered a blemish, as per federal law.
These are the clarity grades of diamonds, as determined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA):
- Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification
- Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
That's ranging from best to worst. Flawless diamonds have absolutely no blemishes even when closely examined under a loupe. This means they are extremely expensive.
Then comes the color. There is a range of color from D grade going all the way to Z grade. D/E/F grade diamonds are absolutely colorless. G/H/I/J grade diamonds are nearly colorless. K/L/M grade diamonds have faint color. N/O/P/Q/R grade diamonds have very light color while S to Z grade have light color. A flawless round diamond of 1 carat and absolutely colorless could cost upwards of $10,000. If you change the cut to emerald, rather than round and opt for a VS1 clarity, even with the same color grade, you could get a 1 carat diamond for less than $4000, that's less than half the earlier diamond.
There are various reasons the price drops. Round diamonds are rarer and so cost more. The emerald shape is closer to the natural shape of a rough diamond. This makes it more affordable. While a flawless diamond is, in technical terms, superior to a VS1 diamond, almost no one is going to examine your diamond ring under a loupe, outside of a jewelers shop. A VS1 diamond's blemishes are not visible to the naked eye. So a lay person will never know the difference!
There's one more way to save money on diamonds. That's with the carats. Diamonds become more expensive as they hit the round figures of 1 carat, 1.5 carat etc. Buying a diamond that is just short of a round figure saves money. A Vs1 diamond, emerald cut of 0.90 carats and F color could cost $2800 while a 1 carat diamond with exactly the same specs other wise could cost $4000!! You're saving $1200, which is 30% off from the price of a 1 carat and getting a diamond which is 10% smaller. Again, no one will know the difference! Now that you have brought the price down, let's figure out how to buy a diamond ring on easy monthly payments. Some jewelers will let you pay over a 1 year period or a 2 year period. Some will even waive interest. Super Jeweler is one such jeweler. They have a wide collection available and often run a clearance sale with diamond solitaire rings. Just check the '0% financing option' after adding a ring to your cart and you will be able to pay 10% now and the rest over a 24 month period with zero interest.