Engagement season is officially here. Those of you yet to purchase that sparkler need to listen up. First off: that whole thing on spending three-month's salary on an engagement ring is no longer an unspoken rule. Just like all other big purchases in your life, stick to a budget that works for you. With so many options and custom designs you can absolutely find (or create) a ring that will dazzle. Queue Nicole Wegman, certified engagement ring expert at Ring Concierge in New York City, to answer the most important cost-driven questions that come with choosing an engagement ring.
Credit: Kevin Cremens

What shapes of diamonds are most expensive?

Almost all shapes are priced equally by carat weight with the exception of Round Brilliants, which will cost you about 25 percent more than any other shape of the same carat weight as they are in the highest demand. What's more, the cutting and polishing in the manufacturing process causes the stone to loose significantly more of the "rough" diamond.

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What types of settings are most expensive?

If you're trying to save money on the setting, the least expensive style is usually a solitaire with a simple metal band. You can also save by opting for a setting in 14K gold or 18K gold rather than in platinum, which is the most expensive metal. Settings with a lot of micro pavé diamonds will cost more. More so than the cost of the diamonds, micro pavé price includes the labor costs since it's an advanced skill that's very time consuming.

See Our Glossary of Engagement Ring Settings

Does designing a custom ring always cost more?

Not true! When you design a ring from scratch, you can select the best valued diamond available and then create a setting made specifically for that diamond to best enhance its overall beauty. Additionally, you are much more likely to negotiate a better price when working directly with diamond dealers.

Which shapes give you the most bang for your buck?

Oval and pear-shaped stones are very elongated and trick the eye into appearing larger than other shapes of the same carat weight. Cushions and ovals are also cut more shallow, approximately at a 50 percent depth (as opposed to the more common 60 percent depth of other stone shapes), since the stone will appear significantly larger. When a stone is cut shallow, the carat weight is spread out so that the top view of the stone has bigger length and width dimensions than a deeper stone. Keep in mind, this trick doesn't work for all shaped diamonds so it's important to view the stone in person to ensure it will sparkle like you want.

Get Our Guide to Engagement Ring Cuts


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