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Once upon a time, a groom thought nothing of spending two to three months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring for his bride. But times have changed. These days, many couples hold their own ideas about traditional wedding rituals, to the point that women now pay for their own engagement rings or at least split the cost with their men.

In addition, many brides—younger ones in particular—are choosing to spend less on wedding items such as dresses and diamond rings. For instance, a survey from jewelry insurer Protects Your Bubble found that British couples spent 19% less on engagement rings than they did five to 10 years ago. At the same time, the percentage of couples in the UK who spent less than £500 (or $646.12 in US dollars) rose by 18%, thereby indicating that thriftiness was a central concern.

There are a variety of reasons for this worldwide trend among millennial toward austerity. Some prioritize other high ticket items like having a more expensive honeymoon or a nicer home. Others prefer establishing a financially comfortable married life without onerous wedding-related debts. Still other couples are looking to lead different lifestyles from their parents, which means doing away with traditional status symbols like expensive diamond engagement rings.

More and more people are choosing carefully when it comes to the Four C’s of diamond color grading: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. They realize that they can’t afford diamond engagement rings that have perfect marks in all four categories, so they’re willing to compromise when they can. Fortunately, there are sites such as Rare Carat that enables shoppers to compare diamond prices based on the Four C’s criteria. Sites such as Rare Carat, which bills itself as “the Kayak of diamonds,” help make the process of diamond shopping less confusing and arguably more exciting for first-time diamond shoppers.

How to Select Diamond Color

Here are a few tips on how to select the diamond color that will give you the most bang for your buck:

  • Of the Four C’s, color is the category in which you can compromise on cost and still get a great value. Diamond color grading is separated into five distinct categories: Colorless, Near-Colorless, Faint Color, Very Light Color, and Light Color. Diamonds in the Colorless tend to be rarer and therefore the most expensive. But diamonds in the Near-Colorless to Faint Color range don’t look “cheap” by any means, nor do they look appreciably different to the untrained eye.
  • The ring setting you choose to set your diamond in can make a huge difference in terms of appearance. A diamond set against white gold will look “yellow” by comparison, no matter its actual color, whereas a yellow gold setting can help mitigate any yellow hues in the diamond. An attractive diamond cut such as round or emerald can also offset any color imperfections, particularly when complemented by the appropriate ring setting.
  • Be sure to grade your diamond’s color in the right light. A diamond color shade card, which is essentially a folded white piece of paper or cardboard, can help you and your jeweler properly evaluate it. As mentioned earlier, diamond color is hard to distinguish beyond the Near-Colorless stage, but you can use the shade card as a tool to determine your tolerance for yellowish hues to your ring.

Looking for more tips to guide you in your diamond engagement ring search? Then be sure to call or visit Shannon Fine Jewelry today!