Finding affordable diamond engagement rings is no easy feat. Here is a top ten list on ways to seek out inexpensive engagement rings.

Affordable diamond engagement rings tip number 10: Compromise on one of the C's. Not all of the C's have to be of the highest quality. For instance, get a slightly lower grade cut, clarity or color.... it most likely won't be visible to the naked eye and you'll save some cash.

Affordable diamond engagement rings tip number 9: Are you stuck on getting a diamond? Gemstones such as sapphires and rubies are generally cheaper than diamonds and can look very striking, making for excellent inexpensive engagment rings.

Inexpensive engagement rings tip number 8: Run far far away from the retail stores...... there are no deals to be found here. Unless your cousin Jimmy works at a jewelry store and can hook you up with a deep discount, online stores will almost always offer a better deal. However, make sure you buy from a reputable online merchant. Check the Better Business Burea to see if there are any outstanding complaints against the merchant. Make sure you buy a GIA or AGS certified diamond.

Affordable diamond engagement rings tip number 7: I can't tell the difference between the look of a white gold and platinum band. The only difference I see is in the price tag.... white gold costs half as much as platinum.

#6: Go antiquing. Antique diamonds are usually one of kind because they were cut by hand. These rings are not only unique looking but they often come at a bargain basement price.

#5: I'm going to say the p word.....pawwwwwnnnnnnn.... Pawnshops are also a great source for inexpensive diamonds and engagement rings. Pawn store jewelry can often be considerably cheaper than the items from the luxury jewelry store at the mall. When people pawn their goods, it is because they are desperately in need of cash or they no longer have any emotional attachment to the item.....that's where you come in and find the bargains. See if you can negotiate with the pawn dealer and get an outside appraisal for your protection.

#4 Could you believe that three diamonds could be less expensive than one diamond? Three stone diamond rings are popular inexpensive engagement rings for this reason. They look great and often cost less. Large diamonds are more rare and therefore cost more. Hence get three smaller diamonds that are less expensive but look just as substantial when lined up on a ring.

#3 Inexpensive Engagement Rings Tip: Someone else's loss could be your gain. This is the harsh reality of life. Engagements get broken.....marriages end in divorce. When this happens, people are looking to quickly get rid of the item that once represeneted love and happiness. There are quite a few bargains to be found with ebay used engagement rings .......but take precautions..... you don't want to be the victim of any sort of fraud.

#2 Buying a bridal set (the engagement ring and wedding ring together) may save you some cash versus buying the rings separately. Plus, when you buy a bridal set, the rings will fit together perfectly, which is not always the case when you purchase the rings separately.

#1 Affordable Diamond Engagement Rings Tip: Buy minimalist engagement rings Many diamond stores offer programs where you can upgrade your ring at a later date. On your first anniversary together, perhaps you can upgrade to a bigger diamond or a more elaborate, ornate band.

For affordable diamonds, check out Blue Nile: Certified Diamonds & Fine Jewelry where my husband bought my beautiful engagement ring

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