Savvy shopping for a stunner

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Who says an engagement ring should cost two months’ salary?

Savvy shoppers can save big on their stunner. I’m Janet Stauble with the Personal Finance Minute.

It may not be as romantic as window-shopping, but buying diamonds online can save you cash. Online retailers have more competition and less overhead, so their prices are lower. Just make sure a gemologist has evaluated your stone.

A 1-carat diamond is a popular benchmark, but buying a point-nine carat diamond can save you 30 percent. And few people will know the difference. So stay just under the half-carat mark.

Be practical about clarity and color. You don’t need the highest clarity to get a diamond that looks great. If you can’t tell the difference in diamonds with your naked eye, then don’t pay a premium for a higher grade.

Some brides will skip the diamond altogether. Gemstones made a big comeback when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with Princess Diana’s sapphire ring. Still want a white stone? Consider white sapphire.

And avoiding conventional shapes can reduce costs. Square-shaped diamonds cost less than traditional round cuts.

Want to learn more? Log onto I’m Janet Stauble.