This is not the first time I’ve published a blog post providing advice on how to stick to a small budget when purchasing either an engagement ring or your wedding bands. In a post from March 2012 I advised of ways to reduce costs on your rings by, looking out for sales in your local jewellers, exchanging your ClubCard points for Gold Smiths vouchers and suggested looking for second hand jewellery. All ways to still get quality pieces for less.
Since 2012 though the availability of second hand jewellery has dropped, due to the price paid out for unwanted gold jewellery going up, people often choose to sell their unwanted gold to gold buyers that melt it down, rather than pawning it in a jewellers to be sold second hand. Many jewellery shops that used to have second hand windows within their store don’t anymore. Meaning this option is now scarcely available to couples on a budget.
In May 2015 I shared with you some information I’d discovered in wedding chat forums, about how much of a saving can be made if you cut out the middle man by travelling to The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham to purchase your wedding rings.
Now this post brings to you some advice a jeweller in Dublin shared with me…
Barry Kerwin is the owner of Loyes Diamonds in Dublin. He is passionate about his industry and helping couples find the perfect piece of jewellery. “Loyes Diamonds are engagement ring specialists and deal directly with some of the world’s most respected diamond suppliers from across the globe and have access to literally hundreds of thousands of diamonds world wide.”
This puts Barry is a pretty good position to provide advice on how you can get stunning engagement and wedding rings at an affordable price. You can find a whole section of engagement rings for under €2500 (£2,100) on his website.
Barry’s first bit of advice to help you cut the cost of your rings is to choose a ring that has a reduced fineness of the precious metal, so to go for 9ct gold instead of 18ct for example. Often you’ll get advised to stick with the same carat for your wedding ring as you have for your engagement ring; however this doesn’t always have to be the case. Ideally, if you are going to wear two bands on the same finger, they should be the same, as they will rub together and cause wear on each other. If both rings are the same carat the wear will be even, “however, it is not the end of the world if the metals are different – any erosion will happen gradually, over many years, so will be barely noticeable.” [Quote from weddingrings-direct.com]
Therefore, if like me, your partner has bought you an 18ct engagement ring but your budget for the wedding band won’t stretch to 18ct, it isn’t the end of the world to have a 9ct wedding band. My engagement ring is 18ct yellow gold and my wedding band is 9ct yellow gold. Yes, the 9ct band may cause more wear on the 18ct engagement ring than my engagement ring causes to my wedding band, but I don’t think I’m going to notice the wear too much over the time I’m wearing the rings.
Recycling the stone from an old piece of jewellery can be a fabulous way to create a new engagement ring for less. Imagine you have been passed down your grandmothers engagement ring, and are wanting to propose to your loved one but want the ring you propose with to be theirs not your grandmothers, you can take the ring to a jewellery makers and they can take the stone and design you a new ring especially for your loved one. Then you’re only paying for the precious metal used and the skill and time of the jewellery maker. This option isn’t for everyone, as it depends on if you have a good quality stone in a piece of jewellery already; but if you do it can be a wonderfully sentimental option.
Why not bring your choice of engagement ring into the 21st century and step away from Diamonds?
White Sapphire and white Topaz are often considered fabulous alternatives to Diamonds, however there are obviously going to be differences between them and therefore pros and cons of each. So you must research the properties and characteristics of each stone before making your choice. If you’d like to look into the possibility of choosing a white Sapphire or white Topaz engagement ring, I have provided some links at the bottom of this blog post to help you start your research.
Another piece of advice from Barry is to reduce the colour and clarity of the Diamond in your ring to cut the cost. The quality of a Diamond is measured by ‘the 4 C’s – Cut, Colour, Clarity & Carat. Without delving too deeply into the definition and sliding scale of each C, Barry says “The most important feature of a diamond is its cut.” So when choosing a Diamond when your budget is tight, it is best to choose a diamond with as good a cut as possible, even if this means the diamond is slightly lower on the scale for colour and clarity, “keeping the diamond sparkly but reducing the price.”
Last but by no means least, “Instead of having one big centre-stone you could choose an illusion setting. This is where a cluster of smaller stones are set so close to each other it gives the impression of one large stone. As the price of diamonds increases exponentially with the size and weight of stones therefore smaller stones are much less expensive than the larger stones.”
To see some general budget saving wedding planning tips from Barry click here.