Clark Howard

The Best Time and Place to Buy an Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring can be an overwhelming and expensive process. Before you rush to the nearest jewelry store, it’s important that you take the time to compare prices and know what you’re able to spend.
If you aren’t sure how much to spend on an engagement ring, matching the national $6,000 average or following the “X months of income” rule is not the best way to figure it out. Instead, make your budget ahead of time based on what you can reasonably afford and stick to it. 
Once your price range has been established, it’s time to start shopping for the best deal. We took the time to compare a few of the most credible, inexpensive places to shop for engagement rings and then talked to the professionals to figure out the best time to buy.

You'll find marketed sales on diamond rings during big holidays throughout the year (including Black Friday) in addition to random pop-up promotions. For the lowest markups, stick to credible online jewelers and warehouses like Costco. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the best times and places to buy an engagement ring in more detail, which can help you save thousands in the process. 

When to Buy an Engagement Ring

Purchasing an engagement ring is an investment, and the final decision to buy shouldn’t be rushed out of convenience. 
Of course, the best time to buy an engagement ring is after you’ve taken the time to set a budget, compare prices, and consider similar styles.
Many jewelers agree that there is no specific best time of year to look for deals on diamonds, though you may find occasional pop-up deals around major holidays like Valentine’s Day and Black Friday.

"The most competitive time for diamond purchases is going to be Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend," says Lesley Harris, VP of sales at Brian Gavin Diamonds. She also adds that the online store she works for, like many others, runs sporadic special offers year-round. 

Other than the holidays, it’s best to buy a diamond when you recognize a great deal. Watching prices over time and signing up for emails from jewelers is the best way to be notified of sales, discounts and promotions. 
Be sure to give yourself at least a few months to watch the prices on similar engagement rings and diamonds at a selection of stores. 

Where to Buy an Engagement Ring

It might be your first instinct to visit the nearest jewelry store at a local mall when you start shopping for an engagement ring, but avoiding big retailers like Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared could save you thousands of dollars on a diamond.
Credible online jewelers offer great prices without in-store expenses. Clark also says that pawnshops are a great place to shop for diamonds that can be reset. As far as shopping at major retailers, one store stands out above the rest:


“I have a big bias that diamonds should be purchased at Costco,” says money expert Clark Howard. “The markup on diamonds is 14%, which is probably the lowest in the United States.” 

In addition to some of the best prices and a great selection, Costco also offers an incredible return policy on jewelry that includes a full refund at any time with the diamond's original paperwork. 

Right now, you can find diamonds in a setting for as low as $949.99, which is a great price point compared to the nearly $6,000 national average. 

Brian Gavin Diamonds

Online jewelers are another great option for finding deals on engagement rings. 

Brian Gavin Diamonds is an online jewelry store that has an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since 2009. Available live customer service that puts you in contact with an expert is another great indicator of a reliable jeweler.

Diamonds here begin at just over $300, which means you can build your own ring at a significant discount. You’ll also receive free 2-day shipping for orders between $100 and $5,000 and a 15-day return policy. 

James Allen

James Allen is another reputable online jeweler with a great selection. You’ll need to apply for an account to view select pricing and potentially get a quote from a jeweler before purchasing.

You can check out recent purchases from other customers for inspiration, and you'll notice that nearly all of the rings were purchased for prices below the national average. 

In addition to great prices and occasional promotions, James Allen offers 24/7 customer support, free shipping, free 30-day returns and a lifetime warranty on most engagement rings. 

White Flash

White Flash is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau and maintains an A+ rating. On the website, you'll find a diamond education center, live chat and phone number for customer support. 

Bands begin at $235 and diamonds start around $569, which means you can shop significantly lower than the national average. All in-stock diamonds also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Before you decide to shop online, take the time to check the Better Business Bureau and read customer reviews. Also, don't hesitate to contact customer support to talk to an expert before you make your purchase.

Final Thoughts

Chain jewelry stores may be great for finding out your future fiancé’s expectations, taste and ring size, but when it comes to making your final purchase, check the prices on similar styles at Costco or online. 

Before you decide to shop online, take the time to check the Better Business Bureau and read customer reviews. Also, don't hesitate to contact customer support to talk to an expert before you make your purchase.

Like every part of this process, buying an engagement ring should be carefully thought out in order to get the best experience. Take the time to watch prices for a while or consider waiting for holiday markdowns or Black Friday deals. 
Beyond the holidays, you’ll find pop-up promotions and great prices year-round on diamonds at Costco and online at Brian Gavin Diamonds, James Allen and White Flash. 
Be sure to set your budget, price compare similar styles and research the jeweler before you make your final purchase. 

More Ways to Save:

  • Consider buying a pre-owned engagement ring. I Do Now I Don't is a website where people can buy and sell engagement rings for great prices, and it's definitely worth checking out!
  • Consider getting a lab-created diamond. Brilliant Earth offers a beautiful selection of lab-created diamonds, which are identical to natural diamonds. They're typically better quality and less expensive.
  • Familiarize yourself with the store's return policy. No one wants to think about this option, but you could ultimately end up saving yourself big in the long-run if things don't work out during the proposal or engagement.
  • Make sure you know what you're buying before you pay for it. Ensure that the diamonds you're buying are certified and the business you're ordering from is legitimate. FAQ pages, reviews, customer support and the Better Business Bureau are great resources.

More Information About Saving Big on Diamonds and Engagement Rings:

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