A diamond engagement ring is a permanent representation of the love and commitment that exists between you and your partner, but that’s no reason to say that it can’t also change and grow alongside you. As the moment you went down on one knee moves further and further into the past, you may start to find that your financial situation tells a totally different story to the one it told all those years ago. What was totally out of reach once upon a time is, for the first time, totally feasible.
In other words, you may start to feel yourself glancing in jewelry store windows – side-eyeing bigger and more impressive diamonds.
This is a common occurrence around the world, and it’s no reason for you to relegate that original ring to the jewelry box for the rest of your lives. We develop a powerful emotional attachment to our engagement rings the moment we first lay eyes on them, and that’s not something anyone walks away from easily.
So, what’s the alternative? Diamond upgrades are something many jewelers across the United States now offer, and they’re a great alternative to starting over with a totally new ring. Here’s what you need to know.
A diamond upgrade is, as the name suggests, an option whereby you can revisit your original jeweler and ‘trade-in’ your diamond for a larger one.
The difference between a diamond upgrade and simply buying a new diamond for your ring is that you can off-set the cost of that more expensive diamond, by returning that original stone to the jeweler. It’s a little like a part exchange on a vehicle. You only pay the difference, rather than the full price.
Different jewelers approach the upgrade option differently, but it’s common practice for jewelers to honor the original price you paid for your diamond during this exchange. This is a great benefit for shoppers – particularly if only a few years have passed since they bought the original ring – since the resale value of a diamond tends to take a dip immediately after purchase.
While, long term, they’re a strong investment, attempting to sell a used diamond onto a new buyer yourself is rarely the best option.
Whether or not you’re open to the idea of upgrading your diamond is a wholly personal decision. For some, the desire to reflect a new stage in life – maybe celebrate a landmark moment or anniversary – will come on after a few years while, for others, it might take decades before they get that itch to trade-up their diamond. For a lot of people, the meaning attached to that original diamond will be too powerful for them to consider changing it.
Neither stance is bad or good – it’s simply down to you, and how you feel about embracing a new diamond.
There are plenty of reasons to consider a diamond upgrade, including:
The main disadvantage to getting a diamond upgrade is, of course, the fact that that original stone likely holds a lot of emotional significance for you and the wearer. Part of what makes diamond the obvious choice for a proposal is the long history behind it – that billion-year journey from the earth’s mantle to its surface – and to end that history in favor of a new diamond can feel a little heart-wrenching to some people.
Of course, the upshot is that, with a new diamond, you take on a new story, but you’ll want to seriously consider whether or not you’re happy to say goodbye to the stone that first represented your engagement.
Sure, in an ideal world, you’d keep that diamond somewhere special and upgrade to something newer, bigger, or better in quality. But, at the same time, the greatest benefit to diamond upgrades is that you don’t need to pay for the full cost of a new diamond – only the difference in price between the first and the second. In other words, it’s not always feasible for people to invest in a new diamond while keeping the old one in their possession.
Another disadvantage is that diamond upgrades are handled differently by different jewelers. Plenty of reputable bricks and mortar jewelers offer diamond upgrade policies but, at the same time, plenty of online vendors also offer the opportunity for their customers to trade-in. But, provided you pick a recommended jeweler to buy your ring from, this shouldn’t be an issue; if not, you’re opening yourself up to the same issues that first-time shoppers face.
That depends entirely on the price difference between your current diamond, and the diamond you are upgrading to.
In other words, investing into a diamond upgrade is a lot like investing into a diamond (although, ultimately, you will spend less money). That is to say you could spend a modest amount on a relatively minor upgrade, or thousands of dollars on a much larger, much more impressive diamond.
Not at all, but it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s down to whether or not you’re comfortable giving up the original stone in favor of something new.
It’s not exactly the most divisive topic in the world, but most people will be pretty confident which side of the fence they fall on. This can make matters slightly tricker, since a couple may not find themselves on the same page, and one may feel a lot more reluctant to upgrade the original diamond than the other.
Ultimately, however, there is nothing wrong with upgrading a diamond. It’s a great way to get a stone that, at the time, was out of reach financially, and to ensure that you are both filled with joy every time you catch sight of the ring.
Some people will be against the idea. Heirloom pieces can travel through generations of the same family for the sole reason that these diamonds can take on tremendous sentimental value – but, even if you upgrade your diamond, there’s no reason to suggest that new diamond won’t also be passed down through the generations in the future.
The process of picking a replacement for your original diamond should be exactly the same as the original process. First, you’ll want to establish a firm budget. Just because you’re upgrading, and only paying the difference between the two stones, does not mean that you can get away with ‘winging it’ and hoping for the best.
The only way to make a sound investment into this upgrade is to go into the process with a clear figure in mind. Focus solely on GIA graded diamonds, for the best value possible.
Next, you’ll want to look for exactly the same benchmarks of quality and value that you (hopefully) looked for the first time round. Eye cleanliness, no visible color, but low enough grades for clarity and color that you’re not overspending on what will go unnoticed by you, the wearer, and the ring’s admirers.
As always, a strong cut (Excellent or Very Good) is a total non-negotiable, so don’t be tempted by a diamond with a lower grade but a much, much more attractive price.
Diamond upgrades are an option that people will feel strongly about one way or the other. Sure, there will always be people who feel that giving up the original diamond – the stone that was initially used as a symbol of the couple’s love and commitment – is too special to give up, but the benefits to embracing a new chapter in the form of a new diamond are clear to see.
Whether you think you’ve outgrown an old diamond, or simply want to reaffirm that initial promise by upgrading to something even bigger and more impressive than before, picking out a jeweler that offers a strong diamond upgrade scheme means that you’ll always have that option in your back pocket. It can be a great surprise for someone who thinks their ring has simply gone into the jewelers for a tune-up and polish, or a beautiful experience to share in the years that follow your engagement.
As we mentioned, talk to your jeweler about their upgrade opportunities well in advance. Every store will approach this scheme a little differently, so do your research ahead of time to avoid any disappointments.