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Buying an Engagement Ring? Here's What You Need to Know

Getting engaged is an exciting time. While finding the perfect ring may be daunting, here are five things to do before you buy an engagement ring.

Proposing to your partner is one of the most important decisions of your life. While the focus will be on celebrating you and your partner's moment, you might be thinking about what engagement ring you will use to pop the question. To make sure you choose the best ring to suit you and your partner's needs, you should consider the type of ring your partner wants, your budget, and what jeweler you will use. To help you narrow down your search to the perfect ring, we break down everything you need to know about buying an engagement ring.

Figure Out What Type of Ring Your Partner Wants

One of the most important things to consider when buying an engagement ring is what your partner wants. Because there are so many rings out there, the best way to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of ring your partner wants. In some cases, this is a conversation that you'll have with your partner or you can talk about it with their friends and family. The major things to consider are your partner's lifestyle, gem preference, and whether they want a traditional ring. For instance, if they lead an active lifestyle, you may opt for a more durable gem and band (like a diamond ring set on a platinum band). Or, if their favorite color is blue, then you might consider getting a sapphire or blue diamond ring. For non-traditional rings, you can opt for their birth stone for a personalised touch (as long as the birth stone is a durable option for heavy use).

Set a Budget With the Average Cost of Rings in Mind

After you know what type of ring your partner might like, you should figure out your budget. While some have suggested setting aside 2-3 months worth of salary, this is not necessarily the best route to pursue. Instead, you should always prioritise your finances before choosing a ring, to prevent long-term financial strain. To do so, you may want to look at the average cost of an engagement ring in Singapore and find out what type of ring best fits your budget.

Average Cost of Engagement Rings by Carat

Average Cost of Engagement Rings by Carat

Alternative gems like rubies, sapphires and emeralds are cheaper, with rubies costing the least on average and sapphires costing the most. All gems, however, will be more expensive as the weight, or carat, increases. For example, a diamond ring will cost an additional 11%-48% per increment of 0.1 carat. This is important to keep in mind as different rings will have different averages based on their carat.

See How the 4 C's Could Affect the Price

Besides the carat, the gem's clarity, cut and colour will also affect the price of the engagement ring. In terms of clarity, a gem could either have flaws, which are visible under a microscope, or be flawless. Within the different gradients, the largest price jump will be from when the gem has flaws that are detectable (VVS1, VVS2) to flaws that are not visible (IF).

Diamond Clarity Grades

Diamond Clarity Grades

The cut of the ring will also affect its price. For instance, emerald-cut gems reflect less light than a round brilliant cut, so the latter is typically 12%-42% more expensive on average. More specifically for diamonds, the color ranges from D, which is colorless and more expensive, to Z, which has yellow/brown hues. Most high-quality Singaporean jewellers will sell you diamonds that range from D-K, but it's advisable to inquire about the colour gradient prior to buying your ring.

If You're Designing the Ring, Pick a Metal for the Band

You'll also need to think about which metal band you want the ring placed on, whether it is custom-built or pre-designed. Does your partner usually wear silver or gold jewelry? What do his or her friends say they prefer? This is important not just for the ring's aesthetic but also for the overall cost. Platinum is the most expensive metal, followed by gold and then silver. These price differences occur because some metals (like silver) are more malleable and require more frequent maintenance than others.

Additionally, you can get your ring engraved for as low as S$15. This could add a great personal touch to any engagement ring you choose.

Pick a Trusted Jeweler

There are many vendors for engagement rings in Singapore. To choose the best one for you, you should read reviews and visit the jewelers, if possible. Whether you choose a larger retailer or small boutique, check that the jeweler can provide a diamond (or other gem) grading report to prove the ring's authenticity. Many trusted jewellers also offer their customers a 30-60 day return policy and a warranty on the ring.

The Thought Will Always Count

At the end of the day, your proposal will reflect the love you share for your partner. While you may be worried about getting the perfect ring, you should be able to return it if it's not your partner's dream engagement ring. That being said, if you consider their preferences, the cost of different materials, and a wide range of shops in Singapore, you should hopefully find the best ring available for you and your partner's engagement.

After you find the perfect ring, you might want to check whether you have any rewards tied to your credit card. If not, finding one with great rewards programme like "cashback" could ease some of the financial burden of paying in full for a ring.

Anya Wasserman

Anya is a Research Analyst for ValueChampion who focuses on loans and investments in Singapore. Previously, she assisted global consultancies, hedge funds and private equities with primary research at a high-growth fin-tech based in London. A graduate of the University of Oxford and King's College London, Anya is currently interested in applying quantitative research to help consumers make better financial decisions.

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