Undoubtedly, the best place to buy an engagement ring is from a reputable jeweler working from an established, local, brick-and-mortar business. Below, we will look at why that is – and, more importantly, how to make the very most of your experience.
While times have altered some of the finer details of ‘getting engaged’, the most important element remains the same: that picture-perfect moment, when the ring is finally placed on her finger and life seems to pause for a brief moment.
We could wax lyrical about how the romance of the occasion is what matters most – and, undoubtedly, it does – but even the best love stories can seem a little incomplete without the perfect ring, brought out at the perfect moment, sparkling like a guiding star at the center of it all.
But, while the proposal itself has changed only slightly over the past hundred years, the ways we set out looking for the ring have been flipped upside down. From food to yachts, we can buy almost anything from the internet – but, while online shopping has done a lot to simplify our lives, it’s also muddied the waters for those of us looking to track down the perfect ring. Below, we go through a few questions anyone looking to buy an engagement ring should consider before
In short, the internet. While our computers are great resources for researching, browsing – even finding – some truly knock-out rings, the internet has a fatal flaw: you don’t get the chance to see or hold the ring in person before committing thousands of dollars.
Think back to the last time you held an engagement ring. It would be pretty understandable if you answered that question with ‘never’ – or if the closest you’d come to actually holding a diamond ring was when a friend or coworker flashed hers around for everyone to see.
So, while we’re all familiar with the concept and look of an engagement ring, it’s pretty rare for any of us not working in a jewelers to really understand what it’s like to experience one in person – let alone for any of us to be familiar enough to make a strong choice based off a picture alone.
Whatever your budget is, chances are it’s more than just spare change to you. For that reason alone, it’s important you stop yourself from falling into the ‘Quick Buy’ trap. We’re all used to being able to get practically everything we need from the big online retailers, but some things really should be left to the real world.
Otherwise, when that package arrives, it could be among the 30% of online purchases that need to be sent back to the retailer. Online, there are many more opportunities to be left disappointed, back at square one, and confused about what you’re really looking for.
A diamond ring is a major investment – probably one of the biggest you’ll ever made – both in terms of money, and significance. It’s only natural that the first thing on any buyer’s mind is making sure that that investment goes into the place. In other words, a real diamond, rather than one of the many imitations put on the market to fool unsuspecting shoppers.
There are a number of things that set real diamonds apart from their fake counterparts, from its brilliance to its clarity. The trouble is, many of these qualities are subtle and barely visible to the naked eye, meaning that the only sure fire way for you to avoid fakes is to buy from a reputable jeweler, selling GIA certification diamonds.
Some synthetic diamonds are incredibly convincing to non-experts but will be missing all of the qualities we love most about diamonds – the sparkle, strength, history, and individuality of each gemstone created deep underground. It is still impossible for artificial diamonds to replicate real diamonds. And, although the differences may go unnoticed by some of us, imitations cannot replace the real thing.
Despite all this, there’s no denying some people will be perfectly happy with moissanite.
However, if you are in the market for a real diamond, then you’d better be sure it is real. From moissanite to cubic zirconia, there is a massive gap in the market value of imitations. If you wind up falling for one of the many traps laid for non-expert diamond buyers, then you could pay diamond prices for a gemstone which has, and will hold, very little true value.
It’s like dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, only to find out that all you’ve really bought is the blueprints.
This happens a lot – and a lot more now that internet shopping is so common. These days, the only way to feel sure about your purchase is to work with a reputable jeweler selling diamonds that have been officially GIA Certified.
GIA Certification means that a diamond has received an officially recognized full diamond report, detailing its grades for cut, clarity, color, and carat (weight) against an internationally recognized system. It also means that it has been graded by a third-party, ensuring no bias from the jeweler or seller.
The GIA, or the Gemological Institute of America, first created the ‘four Cs’ and, correspondingly, the rigorous methods for assessing and grading diamond according to those categories.
A GIA diamond report will be studied carefully by an expert jeweler or collector. For you, however, certification offers vital reassurance that its qualities are truly as advertised, and that, even if certain features are invisible to you, they are still there and contributing to its value.
Unfortunately, given the reassurance these reports offer to buyers, some shady businesses will create convincing fakes. However, just as an imitation diamond is incapable of offering a like-for-like match, a fake report is never foolproof.
This is one area where the internet proves invaluable to the hunt for the right engagement ring. Each official GIA report receives a unique reference number which cannot be forged, and our own GIA Diamond hub, which features more than 2 million diamonds certified by the GIA, enables you to search via this unique reference.
While it’s impossible to put a price on your love, it is absolutely essential that you work out a definitive budget for the ring – and, to that end, that you focus your search on jewelers that cater to that budget. There’s no use shopping too high (or too low, for that matter), or beginning your search without knowing quite how far your budget can take you.
What you can comfortably afford to invest. While a clear-cut budget is more important than the number itself, we’d often recommend a budget of around $5,000 dollars to cover the diamond, the ring, and any custom details.
Obviously, it’s possible to find affordable engagement rings, just as it’s possible to go way beyond that budget and into the realm of five (or even six) figures.
It can be useful to use the 2 months’ salary analogy as a guide, and consider spending around the same amount on an engagement ring as the income of 2 months of salary. For example, if you make $1000/month, you can spend around $2,000 on an engagement ring.
Prices for diamonds bought and sold online can be lower, but this saving comes at a tremendous risk. If you choose to buy the diamond online, you may not be sent the same gemstone featured in the listing – it may get lost in the mail and never arrive – or it may not even be diamond at all.
Even the most experienced jeweler will be incapable of fully appraising a diamond via digital images alone. So much of a diamond’s impact is appreciable only in person, and some pretty major features – features that can drastically impact a diamond’s market value – remain undetectable until they are in hand.
You don’t need to be an expert in order to benefit from seeing a diamond in person before buying. Hold one, and you will realize how important it is; hold more than one, and you will begin to see quite how different each diamond really is – even if they look pretty similar from a distance.
So, yes, you might save a couple hundred dollars online, but there is a lot more to a successful investment than that.
The internet is far better for the preliminary stages of your search: exploring engagement rings before going to see them in real life, learning what you like and don’t like, how far your budget can take you. In fact, more than 80% of shoppers have recently used online search functions prior to shopping in-person – an excellent tactic, particularly when it comes to purchases as major as this one.
Unless you have a near-unlimited budget, buying the perfect engagement ring means learning which aspects to invest the most money into. Meeting your bride-to-be’s unique expectations is a job best done using your understanding of her tastes, and the jeweler’s understanding of engagement rings.
Does the perfect engagement ring need to cost tens of thousands of dollars? No, not necessarily – it all depends on your budget, and where you focus your priorities.
The cost of an engagement ring is determined based on a long list of factors. The cut, color, clarity, and carat weight of the diamond (and any smaller, accent gemstones) will have a major impact on the price, along with the precious metals used in the setting – if chosen, then the karat gold used – and the hours of craftsmanship needed to create or alter it.
Online search features will offer plenty of filters intended to ‘whittle down’ your choices until you are left with a number of rings suitable for your budget, and these can be incredibly useful for ascertaining how far your budget will get you – and which features may require you to aim slightly lower. Our own diamond search engine is designed to do just that, and to connect you with local stores that have those diamonds available for purchase.
What should be avoided, however, is search engines designed to take you right through to an online purchase. Use them for research, idea gathering, and grounding yourself in this ‘new world’, and you have a great resource to prepare yourself for a successful trip to a brick-and-mortar establishment.
Finally, you can negotiate. This is not a tactic that will work everywhere (and definitely not in the big ‘chain’ stores – whether online, or in person) but many independent, local businesses remain open to a little repartee when prompted.
We all want the best money can buy and, when you shop the right way, it’s entirely possible. You do, however, always need to exercise caution, and be wary of the downsides to taking the paths laid by some of the most prominent giants of the jewelry world…
In our opinion, no. Chain stores offer a certain standard for quality, which is highly valuable to those of us who do not understand the ins and outs of fine jewelry and are worried about potentially investing in a fake. However, these chain stores are known to frequently mark up the prices on their diamonds – in addition to offering a relatively limited variety of settings and styles.
When it comes to precious jewelry, quality is about a lot more than a ring’s ability to withstand many years’ worth of ownership – and, of course, to be passed down through generations of happy couples.
Quality is derived from expert craftsmanship and the ability to add a unique touch to a piece. It is also found in an experience jeweler’s ability to see beyond a diamond ring’s most obvious features, and to recognize the unique features found within every diamond.
Chain stores are capable of operating on such a large scale – national, or even international – because of the fact that they follow standardized practices capable of meeting the same standard with every ring produced. These engagement rings will be created on mass, and without those all-important and highly personal finishing touches made by a skilled craftsman.
This, coupled with the fact that chain stores tend to charge above the market rate for their diamonds – and in some instances, as with designer clothing, elevate their price simply for the prestige their name carries, regardless of the time that has gone into creating the piece – means that, to us, the chain store is not worth the convenience.
A lot of work has been done to draw attention to the shortfalls of the diamond trade, but that doesn’t mean that buyers can get by on the assumption that their chosen seller practices ethical sourcing. Smaller, local businesses tend to offer the greatest transparency around their supply chains and represent a great destination for anyone concerned about the darker side of the diamond trade.
For an incredibly long list of compelling (and obvious) reasons, investing in an ethically sourced diamond is by far the best choice. As a result, jewelers who only choose to use diamonds that are eco-friendly and conflict-free will ensure that this is one of the first things they impress upon customers.
Many countries have agreed to follow strict standards for the conditions under which diamonds are mined, with organizations like Kimberley Process creating rigid certification schemes designed to offer jewelers and their customers
If the source you are using remains pretty tight-lipped around their diamond’s origins or features no real, concrete details for their sourcing, then it is best to move on without a second thought. These diamonds may originate from countries not yet practicing strict standards and should be avoided.
Yes, and for so many reasons. From the quality to the story behind it, a custom ring is special to the couple who share it.
Considering that each individual engagement ring tells the couple’s love story, an engagement ring really should be custom made. Every bride has her own personality, likes, and dislikes, and if the groom wants to buy her an engagement ring that truly fits her, this should be taken into consideration.
Mass-production engagement rings offer no amount of special or unique qualities, let alone take into account the likes of the bride who will be wearing the ring. Therefore, a custom engagement ring is always the best choice.
We all know that the old stereotype of men-hating shopping and wanting to get it over and done with as fast as possible is, well, more than a little outdated – but that’s not to say any of us are immune to the convenience and privacy of online shopping. While it may work for many purchases, however, a real-life jeweler has so much to offer – a vital experience not offered via online stores.
Use the internet as a resource – an invaluable tool for research – but avoid treating it like a replacement for what needn’t (and can’t) be replaced.
The best indication of an experienced and trusted jeweler is an established and well-regarded brick-and-mortar business. It is much easier to keep a website going than it is a physical premises, which means that a strong reputation among the local community is worth more than its weight in gold.
But how do you find a well-regarded business? This is another instance where the internet can prove to be your best friend. Our online database of highly reputable jewelry stores, organized according to state and city, offers one of the simplest routes to finding a trusted jeweler.
Once there, simply talking to a jeweler – engaging in a face-to-face conversation about your search – is one of the easiest ways to see if that rapport and understanding are there.
It is also the best possible way to advance your search. Consider the last online engagement ring retailer you visited, and how vast its online catalogue seemed. Pages upon pages of inventory, ‘Similar Products’ which are so similar you can hardly tell the difference, and an advanced search function only capable of bringing you so close to finding the one.
It’s true: the sheer choice available to engagement ring buyers is overwhelming.
This is where you need to be able to place your trust into a jeweler. They will have years’, if not decades’, worth of experience in finding the one for overwhelmed shoppers, but they can only help if you reach out to them first.
An in person conversation about you, your bride-to-be, your budget, and the specific design features you are looking for is precisely where you need to begin, in order to build that invaluable trust in your chosen jeweler – and, to that end, to find the perfect ring.
While every bride-to-be will have their own unique taste and expectations, all successful ring hunts begin with a few key questions: how can you maximize your budget? How can the ring cater to her lifestyle? What styles suit hers?
In all likelihood, you know your bride-to-be like the back of your own hand. You’ve mastered her favorite meal, can load up her favorite movie at the drop of a hat, and know exactly who will (and won’t) be invited to her bachelorette party.
What you probably don’t have is an encyclopedic knowledge of the world of diamond engagement rings. You know her tastes (and have probably picked up on a few hints about cut and color), but only by combining your knowledge and understanding with the jeweler’s can you ensure all options are ruled out before you settle on the one.
On your visit to the jeweler, make sure you touch upon the following:
From this, the jeweler will be able to present you with hand-picked options that stand a far better chance of appealing to you and your bride-to-be, rather than page after page of near-identical photographs.
A respected and established local business, represented by a brick-and-mortar establishment manned by experienced jewelers ready to guide you through this daunting part of the journey to engagement.
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, keeping one foot on the ground is essential. It is normal, and recommended, for you to feel at least a little carried away by the excitement and significance of making this purchase. Very few investments compare, either in terms of symbolism or cost, and it’s your right as a groom-to-be to feel led by your heart, rather than your head.
But, before any credit cards are swiped or cash handed over, it is vital that the jeweler is able to fulfill their role – that of channeling your ambitions into something that is budget appropriate, and suitable for your bride-to-be.
Local jewelry stores sell the highest quality diamond rings. When you visit your local jewelry store and search for a diamond engagement ring, you know what quality you are getting. They can provide certificates, such as GIA grading reports, explain the various aspects of the diamond, such as color, cut, clarity and carat, and give you a first-hand look on the diamond itself – something you won’t receive from online diamond sites.
Namely, that buying online is a pretty straightforward transaction, while buying in-store is an entire experience – one that creates the perfect opportunity to find and create a ring beyond what you could have imagined on your own.
For this reason alone, even with all the online engagement ring-buying sites that exist today, your local jewelry store still is the best place to buy an engagement ring. They offer their personal service and in-person details that you won’t see or experience online, and more times than often, the ring doesn’t look the same as it did online when you receive it. It’s an expensive and once-in-a-lifetime purchase of thousands of dollars. It’s not worth the risk!
Take advantage of our network of trusted jewelers to find a brick-and-mortar establishment in your area, whether you’re going with one of their existing designs or hoping to use their expertise to create a custom ring.
What makes willyou.net so unique, is that it takes the advantages of buying an engagement ring in-store, and combines them with the benefits of beginning your search online, for the complete engagement ring buying experience. It provides you the versatility of browsing thousands of engagement rings and diamonds, online, while at the same time, giving the security and peace-of-mind you receive from working with your local jewelry store.
It brings the best of both worlds together, allowing you to spend as much time as you need to find the perfect engagement ring and locate the best place to buy an engagement ring before committing.
All the local jewelry stores working with willyou.net have been checked and verified by us before we add them to our database. We have personally worked with each jewelry store, which is why they were chosen to join our hand-selected group of jewelry stores. They are stable, reliable, and trustworthy jewelers, who all provide warranties for each engagement ring they sell.
Because we work hand-in-hand with the local jewelry stores, we have chosen only the best! You can rest assured the local jewelry store you select to work with is the best place to buy an engagement ring and is at the very top of the jewelry industry.
It’s important to remember that when buying a diamond engagement ring, the best deal isn’t just about the money. An engagement ring is a complete package, wrapped up in the quality, security, storytelling, price, warranty, and professional guidance. It’s a forever purchase and should be treated as such.
If you want the very best deal when purchasing a diamond engagement ring, all these qualities should be taken into consideration before diving into a “cheap” diamond site. You want your engagement ring to last a lifetime!
It all depends on the type of diamond and setting, to the amount of custom work that is required. A simple engagement ring setting can take as little as 30 minutes, where a custom-made setting can take a couple of weeks. The best way to know for sure is to ask your jeweler exactly how long it will take to set the diamond into your engagement ring.
Creating a custom engagement ring at your local jewelry store can take anywhere from a few days to 2-3 weeks, depending on the complexity of the ring. Therefore, you want to make sure you plan at least a month in advance, to take in all considerations and the engagement ring creation process.
It’s always better to be on the safe side, and have the engagement ring in advance, compared to the engagement ring not being ready on time.
The most expensive center diamond cut for engagement rings is the Round diamond cut. Next in price is the Oval, Marquise, and Emerald. Brilliant cut diamonds like the Round and Oval display more brilliance than step-cut diamonds, such as an Emerald or Asscher, and this drives the price up.
Round and Oval engagement rings have remained the most popular styles of engagement ring for the past couple of years, but you can read a lot more about this in our guide to the Best Engagement Rings.