While most people would love to pop the question to their boyfriend or girlfriend with a large and extravagant engagement ring, it's not an option for many. What can you do, though, to make the diamond you can afford look like one that's larger and better? Here are a few do's and don'ts anyone can apply.
Do Use Narrow Bands
A narrow ring band (or shank) underneath a center gem makes that gem stand out better. Why? The primary reason is a common optical illusion when two items of different sizes are placed beside one another. The smaller item generally looks smaller than if it were on its own and the larger looks larger. Take advantage of this by combining a diamond or another gem with a narrower shank.
Don't Get too Trendy
Trends come and go. But while they're hot, prices for them rise dramatically with demand. This is especially true in the wedding industry. So before you set your mind on the latest diamond trend, like pear-shaped gems, consider opting for a long-lasting, classic style instead. As a bonus, you may find it better holds its value too.
Do Set the Gem High
Another way to use optical illusions is by setting the diamond centerpiece higher. The setting — the part of a ring that holds the gem firmly in place — can be low against the ring's shank or it can push it out higher. Higher placement makes the diamond look larger. One of the most popular settings is the aptly-named cathedral setting.
Don't Overlook Near-Colorless
Can't afford a flawless, colorless diamond? Don't despair. You can get plenty of bang for your buck by selecting from the grades of diamonds classed as near-colorless. These grades — G through J — project a crisp white face that comes very close to their colorless cousins.
Do Get a Large Surface Area
Surface area is the measurement of much overall surface the gem has. Some cuts, including the popular round cut, present less surface area just through their inherent nature. However, those which present more surface — including oval, pear, or marquise shapes — look larger to the untrained eye.
Don't Insist on a Number
While you should have a carat size in mind when you go ring shopping, don't be obsessed with hitting the target. Selecting a .9-carat diamond can save a lot of money versus insisting on a 1-carat gem. And few people can ever tell the difference.
Where to Start
Want help with any of these tips? Looking for more tricks to help you pick out the best diamond you can afford? Start by visiting a jewelry and engagement ring store in your area today.