HOUSTON, Texas — Finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with is hard enough; asking her to marry you should be the easy part. But with a stalled economy making headlines every day, is it possible to find the perfect diamond ring if you’re on a budget? With online jeweler Whiteflash, the answer is yes. If you’re thinking about asking your girlfriend to marry you with a diamond ring, you’re in good company. IDEX Online Research estimates that 84 percent of all brides-to-be received a diamond engagement ring in 2006, up from 83 percent in the previous year. This number keeps rising for good reason: What would a proposal be without a dazzling diamond to make her eyes light up?

Regardless of what the economy looks like, grooms are sticking to the traditional advice about spending two to three months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring. The average cost of rings has risen as salaries have increased: from $2,909 in 1995 to $4,146 in 2005, according to Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). The reason? Unlike other investments, the economy doesn’t take a toll on the value of a diamond. Stocks may rise and fall, but a diamond is forever.

No matter what the economy looks like, when guys find the woman of their dreams, they want to give her a diamond engagement ring. More grooms are discovering that the secret to finding a great ring on a budget is to shop on the Internet, where prices are transparent. Forrester Research reports that online jewelry sales reached $2 billion in 2003 and are expected to rise to $8 billion this year. That’s because with premier online jewelry sites like, men can custom design a ring especially for their girlfriends-splurging on the characteristics that are important to them and saving money on the areas that aren’t. It’s a much better deal than simply choosing from a few high-priced options at a brick-and-mortar store.

A study by The Wedding Report suggests that style and cost are the driving factors behind ring selection. And when you shop online, you get a much better selection of inventory in your price range, whether that’s $1,000 or $10,000. And at, everything you see on the web site is in stock and ready to be shipped directly to your doorstep – for free.

So when you’re ready to pop the question, remember that you really can purchase a ring that will take her breath away on any budget. Shop smart-shop online!

[tags]Whiteflash diamonds, online jewelry store[/tags]