#1 SKIP THAT 2-MONTH SALARY NOTION
While the proposal ring is a significant piece of jewellery and one you'll be cherishing forever, there's no hard and fast rule on how much dough you should spend on it. The money saved on the ring could go towards furnishing your new home, or even going on a longer/further honeymoon trip - wouldn't shared moments and memories be more meaningful than splurging on a ring?
Plus, the real focus should be on the person you're getting married to, not how much the engagement ring actually costs.
#2 CLARITY ISN'T EVERYTHING
The clarity of a diamond refers to how clean or clear it is, and is graded from FL (flawless) to P2 and 3 (Imperfect). The price of a diamond goes up depending on how clean or clear it is, but there's no need to put so much emphasis on the clarity - as long as it's clean to the naked eye. Unless under the microscope, you won't be able to tell the difference between perfect and a near colourless "eye clean" but there can be a dramatic difference in prices - think from VS1 or VS2 (Very Slightly Included) clarity grades. Likewise for for the colour.
#3 WHAT MATTERS? THE CUT
If you want a sparkly rock, the cut is one of the most important factors. Not to be confused with the shape, the cut refers to the facet arrangement of a diamond. A well-cut diamond has facets perfectly positioned to reflect maximum light. A poorly cut stone can look dull regardless of colour or clarity.
#4 GET A BIGGER-LOOKING DIAMOND FOR LESS
If you're a non-conventional bride or not big on shine, consider the emerald cut. With lesser facets, it'll look considerably less sparkly than say, the brilliant cut. But its shape looks bigger than the round brilliant-cut diamond since round diamonds are cut deeper.
#5 BUY SHY OF THE CARAT MARKS
Purchasing a diamond that weighs just shy of the carat weight you desire might not be visually noticeable, but there will be a marked difference in its price.