An engagement ring is one of the most personal pieces of jewellery you’ll ever own, and likely one of the most expensive too. And although it’s common to spend an entire month’s salary on one — the average price of an engagement ring in the UK is £1,483 — this doesn’t guarantee that a ring will look expensive.
No matter the carat or cut, there are certain details that make a ring look cheap. For instance, a bright and obnoxiously large gemstone in your engagement ring costs a lot, but it won’t necessarily be the best looking. Here we explore four of the things that can make your engagement ring appear cheap, and what to look out for when shopping.
Low colour grade
A low coloured diamond on your engagement ring looks unappealing to the eye, as any yellow tint will immediately stand out. If your engagement ring style has a central stone with other smaller ones surrounding it, like a cluster, halo or three-stone design, all of the diamonds should be of the same colour grade. A yellow tint on a white diamond is particularly undesirable.
The key is to pay close attention to the grading scale when choosing a diamond — those ranging from K to M tend to have a yellow tint, meaning you won’t get the bright gem you’ve always dreamed of. Typically, a white diamond is considered especially valuable, so a yellow tint will decrease its overall worth. Even if it means having to size down, choosing a white diamond will make your engagement ring look more expensive compared to a stone with a yellow tint.
While you may be more concerned with the gemstone or the band itself, there are smaller details about your engagement ring that you should take into careful consideration, such as the prongs which keep the stone in place. If they are too large or unbalanced on either side of the gemstone — often the result of poor craftsmanship — it can distract from the natural beauty of the diamond. Arguably worse still, they make a ring look like a poor attempt at an art and crafts project, and also cause the stone to loosen over time, making it more likely that it falls out.
Diamonds set too high
While you might want your diamond to sit high up on your finger to show off to your family and friends, emphasising it too greatly in this way will cheapen the way your ring looks. The wrong setting will lessen the beauty of its appearance, which can be determined by how much space there is under the pointy part of the diamond, known as the cutlet.
When a jeweller uses a mass-produced setting made to fit a variety of diamond sizes, instead of designing each ring individually, this tends to happen. It’s a sign of poor quality and care from the jeweller. It may also easily become loose or get caught on clothing. You’ll know if your diamond is set too high by checking how much space is below it — while some prefer a high setting, any sized gap can be off-putting to wearers and look cheap. If this is the case, consider having your ring reset to lower the stone.
Poor quality resizing
Many jewellers offer a resizing service, so when you get your engagement ring adjusted by a professional, don’t skimp on the resizing fee. A ring that’s the wrong size could fall off your finger if it’s too big or feel uncomfortable if too small. However, where you choose to get it resized is crucial. If you happen to choose a low-quality jeweller, you may find that you get the level of craftsmanship you pay for — for instance, you might spot a solder line or mismatched seam once you see it in the cold light of day. This won’t look pretty and can make your ring look cheap, even if it does look fine from the top-down.