Although some may argue that such a deeply personal thing as an engagement ring is priceless, the harsh reality is that in most cases, your budget is the first thing you should decide on. Of course, meeting the love of your life while in college is amazing, but the high cost of tuition fees may limit your spending ability. If you’re wondering how to afford an engagement ring whilst in college, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’ll share tips on finding the perfect ring for a reasonable price. Read on to find the six best pieces of advice on affording an engagement ring in college – from financing options to tips on choosing the ring style.

1. The Style Matters

Diamonds are pricey - thus, if your budget is modest, you will likely have to compromise either the size or the quality of the stone. We advise prioritizing the stone cut and clarity that will ensure a great sparkle of the ring – however, if your second half prefers big diamonds, you can choose a style that will make it appear larger.

Firstly, keep in mind that different diamond cuts have varying coverage areas. In other words, two diamonds of the same weight won’t always be the same size. Although round-cut diamonds are generally the most shiny ones, this cut is also the deepest, so the stone may look smaller than, for example, an emerald-cut piece. As a rule of thumb, the flatter or more elongated is the cut, the larger the stone seems. For more detailed information on which diamond cut looks the largest, check our guide.

Secondly, pay attention to the stone setting. Delicate, four or six-prong mountings will make the stone appear bigger, while a bezel setting will cover the edges of the stone, making it seem smaller. A contrasting color of precious metal may do the same thing, thus, choose white gold or platinum instead of yellow gold.

Thirdly, instead of a solitaire ring, consider a halo-style or cluster diamond design. A number of small stones almost always will cost less than a single stone of the same weight. Furthermore, a halo makes the center stone appear larger and adds to the shine.

2. Consider Colored Gemstones

Colored gemstones are one of the main engagement ring trends of this year. Furthermore, they make the ring look more unique and can help to express the personality of your second half. Some aquamarine, emerald, and even fancy diamond rings are quite affordable but definitely not less beautiful than diamond options. Of course, you can combine colored gemstones with style tips listed above for a truly striking look – for example, choose a design with a large sapphire and a diamond halo. Remember that each gemstone has its own symbolism, so before choosing the type, you may want to research that. For example, sapphires symbolize trust, sincerity, and good luck, and are often a choice of royalty – thus, they’re just as great a fit for an engagement ring as a diamond.

3. Layaway Program

Gradually paying off the cost of a ring for a specified period instead of paying it in full instantly is a popular option even for those who have long ago graduated from college. Estate Diamond Jewelry offers a convenient layaway program – here’s how it works:

  1. Browse our website to find the ring of your dreams.
  2. Reserve the ring online or contact us by phone.
  3. Place a refundable deposit – 10% of the full ring price.
  4. Decide on the number of monthly payments – most buyers choose ten payments, but we’re ready to accommodate every customer.
  5. Once the ring is fully paid for, you will get it with insured shipping.

A layaway program has plenty of advantages, the main being that it isn’t a bank financing option. Therefore, you won’t get charged any interest, and won’t become liable in case something doesn’t go planned.

4. Don’t Fall for Lab-Grown Diamonds

A lot of websites will advise you to consider lab-grown diamonds, as they’re much cheaper. However, it isn’t that simple. Such diamonds have no resell value, thus, if one day you decide to upgrade the ring and sell the one with a lab-grown diamond, you won’t get a lot for it if you manage to sell it at all. On the other hand, the popularity of such stones makes real diamonds even more valuable. Therefore, we recommend you to think long-term and invest wisely. To find out more about lab-grown diamonds, read our guide.

5. Buy a Cheaper Ring Now and Upgrade Later

Upgrading an engagement ring is becoming more and more popular. A lot of people can’t afford the perfect ring when they’re young, but that’s not a valid reason not to propose to the love of your life. Thus, consider going for a modest style now and purchasing something more impressive once you’ve settled down. Furthermore, the fingers of many people change with years but not all ring styles can be easily resized. Be aware, though – for some, an engagement ring holds such a deep sentimental value that they won’t want to change it, even for a more beautiful one. On the other hand, you don’t have to change the whole ring – instead, you may modify only the center stone. If this option seems interesting to you, read more about it in our guide to upgrading an engagement ring.

6. Choose a Pave Band or a Stone-Free Ring

Finally, you don’t have to go for traditional styles with one or three larger gemstones at all. Instead, you may choose a pave-style ring or a band without any stones that cost significantly less. Such designs look very delicate and elegant, furthermore, they’re comfortable to wear. If you’re worried that a band may look boring, check out our catalog – it may convince you otherwise. There are styles to fit any taste – featuring diamonds, mix of colored gemstones, ornate engraving, openwork, and more. Last but not least, such rings are easier to pair with a wedding band.

Consider Every Option

Now that you know the best ways to fit an engagement ring in a college student budget, take some time to think through every option. Reflect on the preferences and personality of your second half, and consider what would be the most important aspect of a perfect ring for them. Of course, you can combine these tips – for example, put a diamond pave band on a layaway program, or choose an emerald ring now and upgrade it for a diamond after a couple of years. There are ample options for everyone.

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