Image: Phasut Waraphisit / 123RF Stock Photo

Forget convention
When doing your research, you may come across several sites that purport the rule that the engagement ring has to cost your partner three months of his salary. Scratch that. Your husband-to-be should pick something that he’s comfortable with paying for, instead of landing himself into possible debt.

Opt for “under-size” gems
Under-size diamonds or gems are the ones that weigh slightly less than the 0.5 or 1 carat mark. According to Johanna Tzur of online jeweller James Allen and British author Alastair Smith, that little difference can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

That option allows you to “save substantial sums of money on a diamond that looks essentially the same as a cutoff weight diamond to the naked eye. Online retailers are a great source of these “under-size” diamonds as they have tremendous supply,” says Johanna.

A diamond of almost the same size at a cheaper price? Clever!

Know your priorities
It really depends on what you prefer – a shiny, clear diamond that weighs less, or one that weighs more, but ranks lower on the 4Cs. According to the experts from local jeweller JannPaul, when a diamond appears less brilliant, it can appear ‘smaller than it actually is’.

However, if you’re bent on getting a bigger bling, opt for one that’s less clear (i.e. an F or G-grade diamond or below), as it won’t be obviously visible to the naked eye anyway.

Consider other precious stones
If you’re not a huge fan of diamonds, consider other alternatives that look just as striking, instead. See our picks here.

Try other metals
Platinum may be a common metal for engagement rings for its durability and hardiness, but others like yellow, white, as well as rose golds cost slightly less, and work just as well, too.

Choose slender prongs
It’s all about perspective and relativity. Slender prongs, or a thinner shank or halo, will allow the gem to look bigger than if it was surrounded by thicker ones.

For more tips on picking your engagement ring,