Well, I’m commenting because we just bought my “small” diamond engagement ring last night! 😀 It’s a 0.42 ct platinum solitaire. Delighted! Can’t wait for it to arrive… No photos yet, sorry!
Just to chime in on the discussion… Here are some of the reasons why we chose a smaller diamond.
I wear around a US 5. My fingers are of the short, child-like variety (as opposed to the long, slender type). I don’t wear a lot of jewellery. In fact, my engagement ring will be the first ring I’ve ever owned. We’re both really excited to be engaged and, like you, could have spent more if we had really wanted to. However, our priorities lie elsewhere and I’m uncomfortable at the thought of wearing something too ostentatious and expensive. I’m not very flashy! We want to buy a house soon and every little helps towards a deposit! We spent an amount that we can afford; it’s enough for me to have a great quality ring but not so much that I feel really worried about wearing it out in public.
Not many of my friends are engaged or married yet but, of those that are, none has a very large engagement ring. It’s not the norm in my social circle to have a large diamond so we did not feel obliged to buy one. Had we lived in a place where the norm is 0.75 ct and above, we might have felt differently but, culturally, smaller diamonds are more common here – at least amongst my own generation (women in their mid-20s). I don’t think there’s a culture of men saving up for ages to propose with a 1 ct ring; it’s not really expected. Of course, some men do but they will typically be the wealthier ones. That said, even couples with a significant disposable income seem to prioritise their spending elsewhere.
When we went to look in the bricks and mortar jewellery shops, there were very few diamonds larger than 0.5 ct. I think this is partly down to cost. For example, a 0.15 ct ring costs £1699 here; that’s $2588 (US) and that’s quite a lot of money for something that little. You’re looking at around £2500 ($3809) for 0.5 ct from the high street (http://www.ernestjones.co.uk/webstore/d/8491143/platinum+1%2f2+carat+diamond+solitaire/). A Tolkowsky platinum I I1 1/2 carat diamond ring is £3450/$5257. I think you could get something a lot bigger and better quality than that online… I think this is part of the reason why diamonds are smaller here. The price reflects the fact we’ve got to pay value added tax @ 20% on them!
At the end of the day, we spent an amount we’re comfortable on. We went online and bought a six prong 0.42 ct platinum solitaire for £800 less than if we’d gone to the high street. I’ll bet we got better quality too.
Not everyone is as, well, Internet savvy as me so they’re unlikely to realise that they can get a bigger diamond with a £2,000 budget if they shop online. You can get a GIA triple ex 0.7 ct ring for that amount if you go to Blue Nile but if you go into a jewellers in any town or city in the UK, you’re likely to think the most you can afford to get is around 0.33-0.4 ct.
We spent just under £1200 (US $1800; AUS $1900). We wouldn’t have wanted to spend any more.