Updated September 27, 2022 7:27 AM PT

Best Time to Buy Engagement Ring

Read more about Tiffany vs Costco

Proposing on Christmas or V-Day may be romantic. But are they also the best time to buy an engagement ring? Here's when you should shop.

Once you've decided to pop the question, the next major step is to buy the ring.

But like many shoppers, you're probably unsure when to hit the store. The last thing you want is to ruin your proposal with a delayed ring. Or to miss a big sale that (maybe) could have saved you some serious cash.

Take a moment to plan when you should buy the ring. By waiting for the right time, you could minimize the sticker shock that comes with such a large purchase.

Now let's find the right time.

When is the Best Time to Buy an Engagement Ring?

There's no single best time to buy an engagement ring. It will depend on many factors, like your ring design and proposal date. But in general, it's safest to make the purchase 1-2 months before your proposal.

This will leave you enough leeway in case of delays, like in shipping or production.

Still, you might get perks when you shop at certain times of the year. During specific holidays or seasons, retailers usually give perks, like cheaper settings. But they rarely discount the diamond itself, so don't expect massive savings.

But as long as you have enough time, shopping during these seasons may get you great deals:

Diamonds never deteriorate or go out of style. So there's no incentive for retailers to slash their prices. If a store is giving massive discounts on a diamond, you might be getting a poor quality stone.

September and October: Best for Holiday Proposals

September and October are off-season for the jewelry industry, so they're one of the best times to buy your ring. You can expect promos since retailers are eager for customers. You're also competing with fewer shoppers who might beat you to the ring you like.

And for holiday proposals, this is also the best time to get your ring. Holding out your purchase might get you stuck in the holiday shopping frenzy.

But if you're planning to wait until Black Friday or the holidays, make sure you read the next parts.

December remains the most popular time for proposals. In 2021, over 20% of couples got engaged during this month.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: For the Lowest Deals

In the U.S., the Thanksgiving holidays mean massive customer rush. That's why most stores, including diamond retailers, get competitive for buyers. You can find Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as they take advantage of the shopping craze.

But Thanksgiving shopping has major drawbacks you should consider. Due to the volume of orders, retailers need more time to make and ship your ring. So if you're planning a holiday proposal, you may want to buy the ring earlier.

You also don't have the luxury of time when you shop during Thanksgiving. Products fly off the shelves fast. You can't think about your purchase too long, unless you want another shopper to snag the ring you want.

Holiday Season: For the Holiday Sales

The holidays are another golden time for sales. Diamond stores want the holiday crowd to do business with them. So they're also competitive with their promos.

But like other big sales seasons, holiday shopping can also be stressful. Expect the same problems, like limited inventory and delayed lead times. Plus, you're competing with buyers who want to give jewelry as holiday gifts.

After the Holidays: For Valentine's Day Proposals

If you're planning a love month engagement, you can find great perks when you shop right after the holidays. Some retailers run clearance sales in the first weeks of January to make room for new inventory. You also beat the crowds who will go jewelry shopping on the love month.

And if you don't need the ring ASAP, you can even buy your ring on February. Jewelry is a popular gift among couples, so many stores run Valentine's Day promos. Just remember the 1-2 month rule when ring buying.

Spring and Summer: For Off-Season Perks

Because peak proposal season is over, spring and summer are also quiet times for the jewelry biz. By avoiding the crowds, you get more selection and less pressure when checking rings out. Some stores also offer perks to encourage sales in these slower months.

Now know when to hit the stores? Before you head out, learn about the times you should avoid when buying your ring.

What's the Worst Time to Buy an Engagement Ring?

The worst time to buy an engagement ring is when you're rushed. Without enough time to research and compare, you end up with a rash purchase you might regret. This can happen when you started shopping late or you're pressured by a sale.

That's why you want enough lead time when shopping for your ring. And while the holidays and sales seasons are good for perks, be sure to factor the shopping rush in.

In the same way, you want to avoid shopping too early that you miss the store's return period. The 1-2 month timeframe should be just right.

How to Save Money Any Time of the Year

You don't have to wait for sales to shave dollars off your purchase. Whatever time you choose to shop, these tips can help you save on your engagement ring:

Buy from online retailers
Online retailers offer the best pricing since they have less overhead. Check our list of reputable online stores if you need leads.

Consider natural diamond alternatives
More and more couples are ditching natural diamonds. Their alternatives look just like the real thing for a way cheaper price. Plus, they're often eco-friendly choices.

If you want a real diamond that costs thousands less, lab-grown diamonds might be for you. They are just as beautiful and durable as natural diamonds, but they cost up to 70% less. For diamond simulants, moissanites are a good choice since they're durable.

Stay away from full carat weights
You can save thousands when you buy diamonds just above or below full carat weights. Many buyers prefer "round numbers," like 1, 1.5, or 2 carats. So retailers add markups for demand.

Compare these two diamonds of the same specs. There's only around 1 mm of difference between these 1.0 carat and 0.99 carat stones. But you save $1,000 when you choose the second diamond.

Compromise on some diamond specs
You don't have to aim for the highest color and clarity to get a gorgeous diamond. As long as you pick Ideal cut, the stone will look so sparkly it hides most flaws. For the best value, a VS2, H color, Ideal cut diamond will look eye-clean for a cheaper price.

Avoid designer brands
Designer jewelry stores charge a premium for the brand name. Their rings are often high quality. But you can find cheaper yet equally stunning choices at other stores. You can then use your savings to get better diamond specs or settings.

Shop vintage or estate
If you want the lowest prices, antique stores and estate sales are the way. But before you seal the deal, ask for an independent appraisal to confirm the quality. If the seller is hesitant or denies your request, move on.

Negotiate the price
This might seem surprising, but you can haggle over the price of your diamond engagement ring. This is often impossible with chain stores. But smaller boutiques and online stores allow negotiations, especially during off-season.

What is the etiquette for buying an engagement ring?
In traditional engagement rules, the groom is expected to buy and pay for the ring. But now, more couples are splitting the bill and collaborating in the buying process.

Factors Affecting How Long It Takes to Make Your Ring

Different rings need different amounts of time to make (hence our 1-2 month advice). Some need just weeks, but others can take months before they reach your hands. Here are some factors affecting your ring's production timescale:

Ring design
Custom designs might be more personal, but they naturally take longer to make. Many retailers can ship your order in a couple of weeks if you just pick from their pre-made rings. But for rings built from scratch, expect at least a month of lead time.

Choice of center stone
Because they can take a while to source, picking a rare stone may add weeks to your timescale. This is usually the case with big or fancy-colored diamonds.

When you shop
Buying during the holidays or mega sale seasons? The jeweler might need more time to make your ring since they're busy with the huge influx of orders.

How Much Should You Spend on Your Ring

Any rule that recommends a specific amount or x months of salary is a marketing ploy. Instead, find a balance between your financial situation and your partner's expectations. Your engagement ring budget should be based on your own needs and not on outdated rules.

If you need help setting a cap, this engagement ring budget guide can give you an idea how much you should spend.

Tips Before You Buy an Engagement Ring

Ready to run to the jeweler's? Be sure to read these tips first to avoid overspending and getting ripped-off:

  • Set your budget first
    Never start shopping for your ring without setting a budget first. Be realistic about your finances so you don't start your engaged life in debt. Keep in mind that you don't need to spend more than what you can to get a gorgeous ring.

    Plus, a budget makes you pay more attention to ring quality since you're trying to maximize your money. And because you're narrowing down your choices by price, you cut down on the shopping time.

  • Do your research first
    Proper diamond knowledge is your shield against rip-offs. You don't want a jeweler overselling a ring because you're clueless about diamonds. Before stepping into a store, research about the 4C's first (clarity, color, cut, and carat) so you know what's a good deal.

  • Think twice about sales
    Don't rush into a purchase just to follow sales. Remember that jewelry sales usually mean just a few dollars of savings on the setting or shipping. The savings aren't too big to risk a purchase as important as your engagement ring.

    Plus, you should actually think twice if a retailer is heavily discounting a diamond. They don't have much reason to discount them since diamonds don't deteriorate or go out of style. If they do, they're probably offering a poor quality stone to you.

  • Always ask for the certificate
    This document will guarantee the 4C's and quality of the diamond. Be sure to get a professional appraisal since internal certifications can be skewed. We recommend getting a GIA- or AGS-certified diamond since they're the strictest diamond labs.

    Do couples pick out engagement rings together?
    In the past, engagement ring shopping might be 100% the guy's task. But today, more and more couples have been picking the ring together. In 2018, 9 out of 10 brides took part in selecting their engagement ring.

    Where to Buy a Diamond Ring for the Best Value

    You can get the best value diamond rings when you shop from online retailers. Because of less overhead, reputable stores sell high-quality rings for way cheaper prices. They also offer return policies in case the ring doesn't meet your expectations.

    Want to shop in-person instead? See this list of the best online and in-person jewelry stores if you're looking for great value.

    Bottom Line

    Shopping during sales and off-seasons can get you great perks. But the most important thing is to make sure you have enough time to make an informed purchase.

    While a bit of savings sounds enticing, it can bring more harm than good if you end up regretting your purchase.

    Remember that your engagement ring is too big a purchase to buy carelessly. You're wearing this for a lifetime, so might as well take the time to plan it properly.

    Goodluck!

Allison Martin is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a diamond jeweler comparison and reviews website. Write to Allison Martin at allison@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Read Next:

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How Much to Spend on Engagement Ring

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Buying an engagement ring is a big decision and not just because of the cost. Whether you're looking for value, a huge selection, or sheer luxury, here's a list of the best places to shop for a diamond.
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