An engagement ring is one of the most important things you’ll ever purchase. It’s not only a symbol of the love you’ve already shared together, it’s a promise of commitment and a wedding to come. With all that in mind, it’s not “unromantic” to be logical when it comes to your budget for traditional or simulated diamond jewelry, so don’t worry if it’s weighing on your mind a little. Much like buying a car or other large purchase, the right timing is everything: so when is the best time to buy engagement rings?
Engagement Ring Purchase Timing: Reviewing Your Personal Details
The calendar absolutely has an influence on the prices and availability of different types of engagement rings, but price should only be part of your decision-making process. In addition to feeling like you really do want to take the big leap (and let’s be honest, if you’re looking for advice, you’re probably sure), you’ll also need to make sure the logistics will fall into place.
Most experts recommend leaving anywhere from 2-3 months of “buffer room” between buying the ring and actually popping the question. This allows some space for potential issues cropping up – everything from your well-laid proposal location plans changing to travel snafus for trip-based proposals.
Additionally, if last-minute changes happen (her flight is delayed on the date you picked to propose, for example), having the ring available gives you the freedom to propose anytime you like. If you’re planning an elaborate proposal, such as presenting the ring inside a custom-made container, having it physically on hand will also help make sure proportions match.
I Think I’m Ready to Propose: What Do I Do Now?
If you’re ready to ask the big question and commit to a lifetime with the one you love, congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life, no matter what month of the year it happens to be. While the best time to buy an engagement ring varies for each person, you’re off to a good start with planning and research. Here are 3 quick questions you should be able to answer while shopping for the perfect ring:
What is my budget for an engagement ring? While it is a big purchase, it doesn’t need to break the bank. If you’re making your proposal a secret, you’ll also have to be cautious not to move large sums of money and rouse suspicion.
What is her ring size? This is one point that can’t be emphasized enough: don’t guess! Ring sizes don’t often come up in conversation, it’s true, but take the time to ask a friend or measure one of her existing rings on an afternoon she’s not likely to miss it.
What are my ideal “4 Cs”? If you’ve spent any time engagement ring shopping thus far, you’ve likely already seen the 4 Cs come up several times. In a nutshell, you should know the cut of stone you’d like, approximately how big it will be (carats), the overall clarity of the stone, and the color or lack of color it displays.
Do I want a mined diamond? While mined diamonds take up a lot of the spotlight on jewelry shelves, they’re not always the best choice for a bride-to-be. If she’s sensitive to “conflict diamonds,” for example, alternative stones offer the perfect compromise. These exquisitely-cut, conflict-free stones are also more affordable and versatile than their mined diamond counterparts.
Once you have the answers you need, it’s time to look at the calendar for a little engagement ring shopping guidance.
Engagement Ring Purchase Timing: January through March
At-a-glance grade: Moderately Desirable.
Surely you’ll find some great deals once the holidays have snapped up many of the available engagement rings, right? While it usually follows that there are post-holiday bargains to be had for expensive goods, one jewelry-intense holiday looms large: Valentine’s Day. Time and time again, polls show that February 14th remains the most popular holiday for popping the question (just above Christmas Eve), which means jewelry stores are flooded with grooms-to-be in the month(s) prior. In addition to engagement rings proper, many boyfriends and husbands also buy their partners diamond rings and jewelry as gifts during this time period. That means there is little to no incentive for jewelers to lower the cost of engagement rings or associated diamond jewelry in these months. On the other hand, online jewelers are able to cut costs because they don’t have to pay a middle man. That means you can get the lowest possible price, no matter the time of year.
Engagement Ring Purchase Timing: April through June
At-a-glance grade: Moderately Desirable.
Once the jewelry-intensive rush of Valentine’s Day has ended, prices on engagement rings tend to come down to less feverish levels in the spring. That said, the warmer months aren’t without their jewelry gift-giving occasions, nor are they bare of hopeful men getting down on one knee at tropical beaches. Mother’s Day isn’t a traditional occasion for gifting diamond solitaire rings, but a brisk holiday-related business in tangential jewelry can make stores reluctant to drive down prices very far. That said, the “big” cut stone engagement ring holidays are still very far down the road, and buying at the tail end of this time period will offer you plenty of buffer time if you want to make changes to the setting or there are any delays in the interim with your ring design.
Engagement Ring Purchase Timing: July through September
At-a-glance grade: Most Desirable.
If you’re looking for the best array of setting, stone, and similar customization options (as well as fair prices), this is the scheduling sweet spot. Back-to-school season doesn’t afford many occasions to buy and gift jewelry, and stores may be anxious to clear out older styles to make room for their upcoming holiday inventory. While nothing is a sure bet with high-ticket items like engagement rings, this time period will offer you the most opportunities if they’re out there to be had. Be aware, however, that the closer you get to September, the more you’ll risk prices creeping up in anticipation. That’s because Thanksgiving minus that previously-mentioned 2-3 month buffer puts an anxious buyer squarely in mid-September, and jewelry stores know it. So if you’re looking to buy one of the most popular engagement ring styles, this is good to take into consideration.
Engagement Ring Purchase Timing: October through December
At-a-glance-grace: Moderately Desirable.
This is it: the season where engagement ring purchases go through the roof. Everywhere you turn, you’ll start seeing flyers, commercials, and even radio spots encouraging men to visit various stores to get an engagement ring. In recent years, some larger “diamond warehouse” style stores have even resorted to giving away televisions or gaming consoles with purchases. Don’t be fooled, however: the “discounted” price of the ring has almost always been marked up to cover the cost of that giveaway – and then some. Unless you want to push your way to a counter with your elbows and your wallet, either secure your ring several months prior to this time period, shop online or wait it out until the spring.
So When is the Best Time to Buy Engagement Rings?
In a survey of over 100 diamond industry professionals asked this exact question, the vast majority answered the same way: there isn’t one. In essence, the price of high-quality center stones for engagement rings seldom wavers by a meaningful amount; discounts and sales are really only useful for moving the needle on settings and flanking stones. To put it another way, the best time to buy an engagement ring is when you’re ready to propose, both emotionally and financially. Once you’re sure of both of those facets, the rest of your proposal journey will fall fairly easily into place.
Even though an engagement is technically one partner asking another for their hand in marriage, a proposal also doesn’t necessarily have to be a surprise. If you and your partner enjoy daydreaming about your wedding and talking about your life together, it might be a good idea to try talking openly and honestly about ring preferences. While this approach isn’t necessarily a good fit for every couple, for some, it can take the anxiety over choosing a cut or setting out of the equation, or feeling like you need to choose one of the top engagement rings of all time, and instead, make the experience one to bond over.
Are Engagement Rings Always Very Expensive?
There are a number of old sayings and superstitions that link the cost of buying an engagement ring to arbitrary numbers, such as 3 months of the groom-to-be’s salary, or a carat weight that reflects the age of the bride-to-be. These “requirements” can do more harm than good, and cause a man to wait longer than he needs to before popping the question to the woman he loves.
Here’s the truth: the right engagement ring for your love story is the one that reflects the love you share, not a specific cost, style, or old-fashioned math problem. In fact, stepping outside of the “mined mindset” can have beautiful results when it comes to a gorgeous, affordable cut stone for your customized engagement ring. A diamond alternative offers the same noteworthy sparkle without the “sticker shock” of a mined diamond, and opens the door to exciting possibilities: think bigger stones, colorful gems, and intricate settings to display them all!
1 Raz, Gideon. “How to Wear Wedding & Engagement Ring Set.” Genesis Diamonds, March 16, 2015, https://www.genesisdiamonds.net/blog/education/how-to-wear-wedding-ring. Accessed October 25, 2019.
2 Scott, Richard. “Interlocking Wedding Sets And Bridal Rings.” Jewelry Secrets, February 6, 2019, https://www.jewelry-secrets.com/Blog/interlocking-wedding-sets-and-bridal-rings/. Accessed October 25, 2019.
3 Anatomy of an Engagement Ring.” Malak Jewelers, (no publish date), https://malakjewelers.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/anatomy-of-an-engagement-ring/. Accessed October 25, 2019.
*Diamond Nexus strives to provide valuable information, while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab grown stone that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a mined diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.