Getting Engaged - Am I a tight ass?

Hi all - looking to hear some experiences from some older folks who have made the jump into holy matrimony. 

Let's talk rings. I don't want to spend more than $10-12k on a ring & my current GF is low maintenance...BUT not so low maintenance that a half assed ring will do. 

Anyone have any good experiences with lab grown diamonds? It feels like the whole lab grown market is weighted toward e-commerce. Not sure I want to drop 12 clams online on a ring I have not seen in person. 

Any tips on this front? I would want to aim fro ~2cts, round diamond, nothing too wild or out there. 



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Comments (142)

Oct 18, 2021 - 5:29pm

My sister did this. She designed and made the ring herself. She also has worked with metals before though and has a product design degree from Stanford. The ring is very cool / unique.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Oct 18, 2021 - 6:15pm

Pizz much money do you make? if you're making like $40k, I would say liek $1-2K max. If $300k, do like $10k 

$300K @ 2-3 months gross is $50K - $75K for the ring 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Oct 18, 2021 - 8:48pm

$300k net of tax is $150k, and net of expenses (let's say $8k a month * 12 ~=$100k) you net $50k of savings. So spending $50k on a ring is spending your entire year's savings after working 80 hours a week for 52 weeks. Yeah that's just the ring, not to mention the rest of the wedding, any housing considerations, etc.

Not worth it, bro.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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  • VP in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2021 - 3:17pm

That rule is absurd and was made up by a bunch of marketing folks and evangelized by entitled women who could only ever imagine making more than $80k a year

Best friend pulls high six figures and his wife (who also makes mid six figures) was happy with a $2k ring. FrugAL, perhaps, but at least not retarded

Oct 18, 2021 - 3:02pm

you can get a "fake" diamond ring for around $400 that nobody but a gemologist will be able to tell the difference.

if your girl is not a materialistic princess, she would see the intelligence in this decision...otherwise...she is trash.

Diamond rings are not investments...they only go DOWN in value.  If your girl would accept a 10-20k portfolio of stocks + diversified crypto....then you have a winner.

Oct 19, 2021 - 10:38am

if a girl says that she wants an expensive ring "just because that will make her happy" then this is a girl who lacks maturity...and values effervescent "prestige" above emotional maturity and loyalty.  This will make a horrible life partner....when the chips are down, she won't stand by your side....she will drop you and look for someone better.

If you are a trader making big bucks and your girl "loves you" try telling her that doing the same things you did to make it lost it all and are now in debt 5mm to the exchange and you'll have to get a regular job, and your lifestyle will have to be downsized.   See how she responds.   The girl who wanted an expensive ring and would gawk at the prospect of an inexpensive lab mad ring (that looked identical) will hate you and start looking to trade you for someone who can fund her lifestyle.  Hard Pass.

Oct 18, 2021 - 7:50pm

Partially agree, but it depends on what you do with the savings. If you take this advice and then go by yourself a Rolex, you're not frugal, you're just cheap 

Oct 19, 2021 - 7:02am

Exactly. OP here isn't buying a 2ct red diamond so it's likely to tank in value more than Lehman stock from September 2008.

Plus just being an engagement ring makes it depriviate even more than say diamonds that are not set in a ring.

It's OPs decision but I am of the belief that if you wanna buy a diamond make sure you buy one that makes you look like Doris Duke (even if you're a guy) or just don't. There's no in between.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 18, 2021 - 3:15pm

If you're going the lab grown route, you can get something pretty much top of the line and amazing for like just 1k. Obviously you could go even bigger for a bit more but that's just going to bring too much attention and questions from people.

Btw, don't let anyone shame you for this. Even if you make good money, why throw it in the fucking toilet, literally? There will probably be some guys who will shame you or call you cheap because they want to justify their own shitty decisions internally. It is literally unnoticeable in difference to the human eye unless you use a tester or have an actual jeweler inspect the piece. As for your girl, well it's your call. If it's a good relationship she should understand the basic economics of this scam industry. But very unlikely she would ever find out unless she is suspicious and goes to a jeweler. 

Oct 18, 2021 - 5:30pm


Don't be a cheap ass.  Get a real stone.

Agreed - real stone and insurance.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Oct 18, 2021 - 3:36pm

Well you know your GF/fiancé the best as far as what she will like, etc. I have many friends who went the lab route (and online) and were totally fine with it. But they didn't care much about it being a "pure diamond" and neither did their significant others. 

I personally spent ~$500 on just a simple ring without a stone, but that's all my wife wanted. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 18, 2021 - 3:41pm

How do you find a woman who doesn't care? Seems impossible in today's America

Oct 18, 2021 - 5:32pm

How do you find a woman who doesn't care? Seems impossible in today's America

She "says" she doesn't care. The majority of women who say they don't care still would like a nice rock on their finger. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 1 in ER
Oct 18, 2021 - 3:48pm


Fuck the diamond industry and paying 5 figures for a rock. Stupid as hell, and I wouldn't marry a girl who insisted on a reallll diamond anyway. 

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:02pm

Moissanite (man made diamond) is a natural stone of silicone carbide that can be created in a lab that looks exactly like a very expensive diamond..same sparkle, shine etc...and can be made very cheaply.  Moissanite has a toughness rating of 7.6 PSI while CZ is only 2.4 PSI. This means that moissanite is over 3 times resistant to breaking or chipping than CZ.  The platinum of the ring will cost more than the stone.  Take the extra $10,000 you saved and buy a portfolio of crypto (Etherium, Polkadot, Cardano, ChainLink, SushiSwap, Pancake, etc..)...and when that portfolio goes 5x you can buy her a Tesla.

  • Associate 1 in ER
Oct 18, 2021 - 4:24pm


Moissanite (man made diamond) is a natural stone of silicone carbide that can be created in a lab that looks exactly like a very expensive diamond..same sparkle, shine etc...and can be made very cheaply.  Moissanite has a toughness rating of 7.6 PSI while CZ is only 2.4 PSI. This means that moissanite is over 3 times resistant to breaking or chipping than CZ.  The platinum of the ring will cost more than the stone.  Take the extra $10,000 you saved and buy a portfolio of crypto (Etherium, Polkadot, Cardano, ChainLink, SushiSwap, Pancake, etc..)...and when that portfolio goes 5x you can buy her a Tesla.

Moissanite isn't a man made diamond;

its not a diamond at all and shouldn't be marketed as such 

Oct 18, 2021 - 6:46pm

Sorry to break it to you but there's mo such a thing as "man made diamond" if you don't believe me buy one of those stones and try to resell it and you'll see what happens.... 😂😂😂😂😂

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2021 - 7:17am

Absolutely based. Do you plan to participate in the Polkadot parachain auctions? I'm gonna invest my DOT stack in them.

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:16pm

Congrats by the way!

You may want to involve your GF in the conversation. You don't have to talk about how much you're spending necessarily, but maybe get an idea of her expectations, what cut she might like, etc., and also a broader conversation around money (you should be talking about this anyway) and your views on not necessarily "being cheap," but your focus on building a life together, you've done all this research on lab-grown, love the idea, etc. etc.

Another consideration is at some point in the near future, your fiancee will likely ask for the specs on the ring - if you go lab grown and she's not okay with that, that will be a problem (and if you feel like you have to lie, that will likely lead to bigger problems down the line). Just make sure all convos around this are an attempt to emotionally connect rather than treat it like a transaction

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:17pm

I got engaged at your age, making the same amount as what you are. The ring I bought came out to around $12.3k and I think turned out amazing. Buy it off JamesAllen or one of the online sites and you can make a great ring in your price range. I got an SI1 clarity 2.08 D carat for $9,570. 18k white gold ring for $2,380. Tax was $976 and they had a coupon for $600 off. 

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:21pm

If you want to see it PM me and I can send you a picture so you get a better idea. I had no clue what I was doing at this time last year searching and then after a week or two of research the stress ceased and I felt like I knew what I wanted (and what she wanted). Been engaged since NYE 2020 and the wedding is set for February 2022. 

Oct 18, 2021 - 10:49pm

Just reiterating this - you can also buy the loose diamonds and work with a local jeweler to design/make you a ring if you have something specific in mind.

Not married but doing some research for future purposes lol

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:30pm

I ended up getting a 50k ring after lots of debate and arguing. I imagined only spending 5k, so the whole process was quite shocking. But I did a ton of research along the way.

My advice would be to meet with a few jewelers and learn a little about all the options and just educate yourself. Of course it's all marketing and bull crap, akin to high end wines and art, but still good to understand.

I would focus on size and cut, and skimp on clarity and color. People can't see that nonsense with the naked eye, so why pay for it? Most successful friends I know spent around 15 or 20. A few spent 30. I never tell anyone in real life what I spent cause I'm embarrassed but at the end of the day happy wife = happy life.

Oct 18, 2021 - 8:03pm

I don't remember all the other stats now, but I won't forget it was 4 carat. My wife is just a better person than me, wealthier family, better looking. She even makes just as much as I do, a true partner in life, even financially

So when she told I thought she was joking for a few weeks. Then when I realized she was serious, I tried telling her how I would rather spend that amount of money on something else in the future, but she told me how important it was to her. So I just sucked it up and pulled the trigger.

I think when you find a special girl, not just nice or good enough or someone you have to settle for, you gotta do and buy things that are important to them.

As I mentioned, she earns like I do, so it wasn't like some broke waitress was asking for this type of ring. And I knew she would buy me it if I really wanted it, so at the end of the day I figured it's just money. I blew so much cash as a kid in the casinos, at least this time I got something with my money.

Oct 18, 2021 - 5:08pm

I'm sorry, WHATT??? Couple of things that are glaring in your message but I'll focus on one - for 50k you better care A LOT about clarity and color. Because (1) that's a lot of money to spend for anything that isn't pretty-good-to-high-end clarity & color and (2) you CAN tell the difference with the naked eye. Put together a VS1 and an I1 diamond together and tell me there isn't a difference - and BTW only 1 of those should be anywhere near 50K and you really should be at VVS for that price. 

If you truly believe what you wrote then I'm guessing that you went with some sort of custom setting/design and then had to skimp on the stone (hard to spend 50K otherwise). Absolutely no one that spends 50k on a diamond would say that color & clarity is not where it's at. I'm sorry my man, but you definitely took an L on that purchase. 

Oct 18, 2021 - 4:51pm

I went the lab-grown route and was very happy with the results - as was the fiancé.  I used B2C Jewelers (online because I live in BFE) and they had a diamond bro call me up and help me out.  I did quite a bit of homework and was still very appreciative of the service.  They ended up selling me a nicer stone than I had found for a lower price.  

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Oct 18, 2021 - 5:21pm

First off congrats on finding someone to marry. That is becoming less and less common and you should consider both of yourselves to be lucky. 

I think what you're looking at is a very personal decision and one that you should make for yourself and be 100% comfortable. And when I say "yourself", I mean you as a man, apart from what your fiancee thinks. Its good to get her input, but it's your household now, this is a big decision. 

Personally I think that I would prefer any real diamond over anything lab-grown or Moissanite. Yes, I understand that the market is artificially manipulated and all that, but a diamond is still a very special stone and a lot of work goes into making it show up on our bodies. So that's my first choice, I'll take the smallest real diamond I can afford over the largest lab-grown you can find, any day of the week. 

As for the budget, spend what lets you sleep at night and not a penny more. Make no mistake about it, the jewelry industry are experts at squeezing more money out of you - the engagement ring market is ALWAYS the biggest segment of jewelry sales, anyone in the business will 100% tell you that. Buy what lets you sleep at night and buy something that you put work and effort into choosing. If you do that, that will come through when you present it to your fiancee and it will help her appreciate it that much more, no matter how big or small it is. Good luck!

  • VP in IB - CB
Oct 19, 2021 - 3:05pm

A lab diamond IS a real diamond. A mined diamond and lab grown diamond are both real diamonds.

Oct 18, 2021 - 5:58pm

A little unfortunate but what is appropriate kind of depends on your circle and what is "socially acceptable" and of course what your GF will like and be happy with.

First of all ask if she's OK with a lab grown because if she is, you should definitely go down that route no one can tell the difference and more ethical anyway.

If you are 24 years old a couple years into banking you could probably stick to $10K and it seems reasonable. If you are 27 or 30 maybe up it to $15-20K+ or more, and she might have a view knowing how much you make.

I think lab grown is a discount of 30-50% off those amounts.

Oct 18, 2021 - 6:24pm

Lab grown aren't more ethical, actually diamonds are the commdities with the most controlled cycle on earth, with the most strict institutions to enhance these policies. Lab grown have no intrinsic value or whatsoever once they are sold at a store instead of a real diamond coming from the nature. Also there are plenty technologies that are every day more accessible to distinguish them from real diamonds. Regards

Oct 18, 2021 - 6:19pm

First of all congrats on your commitment and best wishes for your new family life, with this said lab grown stones are pure trash without any sort of inherent value or whatsoever.

A jewel destined to stay on the family should be a real diamond from the nature with a story of rising from the depths of earth not a product of a factory from some guys deceiving the consumers and telling lies about being "sustainable" or about every single real diamond coming from African warlords by slavelabor when in fact diamonds are the most controlled commodity on earth. Lab grown stones are a broad daylight scam

  • VP in IB - CB
Oct 18, 2021 - 6:25pm

Just get a lab diamond. You literally cannot tell the difference. Lab diamonds even pass with diamonds testers because they are in fact real diamonds.

Oct 18, 2021 - 6:33pm

Whoever told you so lied to you, just ask on the diamond bourses catching those fake stones trying to be passed as real on a regular basis. Even treatments to enhance the color can be detected...😂😂😂😂😂

Oct 18, 2021 - 6:38pm

If going the real diamond route, focus on the following:

Cut - Excellent 

Clarity - Go as low as SI

Color - Go as low as H

Then buy the biggest stone in your budget. Size does matter. Avoid Tiffany's, etc. for insane markups. 

source: family jewelry biz

Oct 20, 2021 - 11:29am

What about princess cut diamonds? Understand they don't have official excellent cut classification. Read some stuff online and maybe in another old thread about which properties would make "excellent" table depth girdle etc but would be good to get your view.  Thanks.  

Oct 20, 2021 - 11:29am

Yea this was geared toward round diamonds which you probably know are more traditional and expensive than a princess cut. GIA doesn't provide a cut rating for princess cuts but AGS does. Their top rating is 0 or "Ideal". If you go with a GIA diamond then you can get into table and depth ranges that are considered "Ideal" but they vary. Ultimately it comes back to budget and actually seeing it in person if you want to go outside the top cut categories. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 18, 2021 - 6:54pm

Lmao this thread was good until all the guys that got finessed came in and now trying to justify their worthless purchases. Nah so you mean to tell me i give up any semblance of a life grinding 80+ hours a week to spend a good chunk of that on a scam ass rock. Lmfaooooo y'all keep getting finessed and wonder why you still working at 40. Keep the hoe and tha rock ima be retired in 10 years still in good physical shape early 30s to go do fun shit

Oct 18, 2021 - 8:31pm

I got engaged in January 2021 and started the process off with a similar mindset that diamonds are a waste of money and have an artificially constrained supply. I ended up spending the $12K or so on the exact diamond (and ring) she wanted. My now fiancée too would have been fine with something less expensive. Here was my thinking:

  1. You're starting your marriage off by saying that despite you making $200K all-in, you cannot spend $12K on your fiancée. Terrible messaging. From her perspective, if you cannot spend $12K on a ring, you're never going to be willing to spend on your children's education or anything else that you do not receive something in return for.
    1. Ya, I know it's completely one-sided, but tough shit- that's life. If you cannot stomach $12K for her ring while making $200K, wait until you start budgeting for the wedding. Her dress, her makeup, her hair, and the makeup for all of her bridesmaids will make you vomit. You'll probably spend $200 on your tux rental, $50 on your haircut, and she'll spend close to $5,000 on her outfit + makeup + everything else.
  2. The ring is supposed to be something that reminds her of you every time she looks at it. Do you really want her first thought to be about how cheap you were? $12K on a $200K salary is nothing.
  3. You're digging yourself a really bad hole. Say you want a $25K Rolex in a decade or an $80K Benz down the line. Good luck running that by your wife who you refused to spend $12K on....while you were earning less than you are now.
  4. The trick to getting the most ring for the least amount of money is or something similar. Spend all of your money on cut (GIA "triple excellent")- it's what makes it sparkle. Convince her to get white gold or platinum rings- this let's you save some money on diamond color (an I color diamond looks great in white gold or platinum). Ignore the rappers, you cannot tell the difference between SI2 and a nicer diamond with a naked eye. Get SI2. Carat is up to her, but two looks amazing. You can get all of this for $11K-$12K. Befriend someone in Oregon, Delaware, Montana, or another state with no sales tax and thank me for just saving you $1K.
Oct 19, 2021 - 4:57pm

Anonymous Monkey

  1. The ring is supposed to be something that reminds her of you every time she looks at it. Do you really want her first thought to be about how cheap you were? $12K on a $200K salary is nothing. young and so romantically naïve. 

ikr... this guy obviously hasn't been broken before

Oct 19, 2021 - 10:23am

lol at being the breadwinner and having to justify a 20k watch expense by telling your wife you got her a 12k piece of jewelry. Great tit for tat healthy financial dynamic 

  • Economist in Risk Mnmgt
Oct 18, 2021 - 8:35pm

Clarity enhanced stones. Pompeii3 has good stuff if you buy the SI, VS, or VVS grade. Got a 1.5 carrot for $3k and had it checked out by my local gemologist. It's real diamond, but not crazy expensive.

Lab grown was nearly the same price as imported diamonds in my experience.

Don't buy fake. I can tell a moisonite or CZ from a real diamond in most cases.

Oct 18, 2021 - 11:50pm

It'd be interesting to get some female perspectives on this topic, if any are reading...

I'm a woman, and in the interest of shared discussion/fun, I'll chime in. But I know my way of thinking is not going to be reflective of how the majority would feel...

I'm not really all that into jewelry, but I love watches. So if I ever got engaged, maybe I'd ask for a nice, classy watch instead. I tend to like men's watches vs. women's (they generally have better, cleaner designs vs. some women's where there's less emphasis on design or movement, and more just a jeweled bezel or dial - a bit much). That could make the selection challenging, but I think I would just go with something that has good women's models like JLC Reverso, or a clean A Lange & Sohne, or something interesting I might not buy myself like an FP Journe. And then the difference can go to a simple, but elegant wedding ring. That's the dream…

Anyway… OP, if it's not a surprise engagement (like she's completely expecting this), you could just have an upfront conversation with her on what she's thinking. Alternatively, does she have some close friends you can consult?

Oct 19, 2021 - 10:12am

Already lots of good comments, but I'd also look into gemstones if that's what your soon to be fiancée likes. I know my wife doesn't care much for diamonds, so I got her a sapphire ring for about $2k and she loves it

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
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  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Oct 19, 2021 - 10:14am

Stupid question but don't you have to buy TWO rings? An engagement and the wedding band? So when people say "I spent 10K on a ring" do they mean for both?

Oct 20, 2021 - 11:27am

No they're usually talking about the engagement ring. Wedding band can be cheap like $500 or can be way higher if there are a bunch of diamonds in it. But usually just referring to the engagement ring.

Oct 19, 2021 - 11:37am

The whole 3 months salary bullshit was made up by De Beer's like 100 years ago as an ad campaign so that they could charge more for rings. Be open with your woman about expectations and honestly if she's as low maintenance as you say, then anything more than 20-25k is probably excessive. 

Oct 19, 2021 - 12:04pm

No gaudy engagement ring (Couple hundred bucks)

No gaudy wedding (<$15k)

No honeymoon.

Down payment (and more) on our first house...priceless

Five kids and 23 years decision we ever made.



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Oct 19, 2021 - 9:16pm

D.O.U.G. = Doesn't Own Unaffordable Gems

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Oct 20, 2021 - 11:29am

Doesn't own useless gems, is probably better



Oct 19, 2021 - 12:40pm

I don't care how rich you are; buying a mined stone over a lab one is just spending a lot of money for the sake of saying you spent so much money. Their value is completely derived from one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history and an artificially limited supply. 

Gotta factor in the practicality aspect of it too: your wife is probably going to be conscious of a super expensive ring on her finger, and either save it for special occasions or be constantly scared of losing it somehow. 

  • VP in IB - CB
Oct 19, 2021 - 2:01pm

Anyone that says diamonds actually hold their value should go buy one and try to sell it back a year later.

Oct 19, 2021 - 3:34pm

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Really appreciate the varied feedback. 

I think the biggest take away I can't get away from is that no resale value exists for either a lab or mined diamond. It's not like I am buying a fungible commodity & if you are at the point of selling an engagement ring, you probably have bigger fish to fry. At the same time, I do feel like it seems like you are trying to get out of making a real financial commitment, even if the premise is a bit silly.

Thanks again & this was great food for thought.

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