The moment has come and you are ready to pop the question. You've thought of the most unique and crazy idea to propose, made sure the answer will be "Yes" and all you have left is to buy your future fiancé a stunning engagement ring that will knock her off her feet.
Whether you and your girlfriend are going to be choosing the ring together or you will be making the choice yourself, there is a lot to consider. I will try to provide some useful information in this article and introduce you to the option of buying your engagement ring online.
Begin your research at the store
The first step would be to come up with a general budget, basically, an idea of the amount of money you are willing to spend. Engagement rings start from $500 and can cost as high as $50,000 and even more so without a ball park figure you would be pretty much lost.
The next step would probably be to make a trip to the nearest shopping center which surely has at least one jewelry store to pay a visit.
It is advised to only browse the rings at the store that are within your budget, otherwise, there are simply too many to choose from. At this point you may need a little bit more knowledge to understand what determines the price of a ring and be able to compare between them.
How the price is determined
An engagement ring consists of 2 parts: The ring, which is referred to as the setting and the diamond.
The ring is priced according to the type of metal (14K or 18K gold, Platinum or others) and the additional diamonds on it, often referred to as the accents or side stones. Some rings have stones I would call intermediate, these are 3 stone diamond rings and 5 stone diamond rings which have 2 or 4 diamonds that are not as large as the main diamond and not as small as side stones.
Most settings can be mounted with many diamond options and this is where it gets more complicated.
A diamond is priced by 4 characteristics often called the 4 C's (Carat / Color / Clarity and Cut). The first 3 will have the main effect on the price of a diamond.
What are the 4 C's?
Carat - The weight of a diamond , most engagement rings are set with diamonds between 0.30ct to 3ct.
Color - The color of a diamond determines how white it is, whiter diamond are more expensive. Color is measure by a letter in the alphabet where D is the whitest and Z is the most yellow. Most engagement rings range between D-H.
Clarity - The clarity of a diamond reflects the number of imperfections that can be seen on the diamond and whether they can be seen with the naked eye or x10 magnification. The location of the imperfections on the diamond also makes a difference in price. The clarity scale is: FL (Flawless), VVS (Very Very Slight Inclusions), VS (Very Slight Inclusions), SI (Slight Inclusions), I (Included). Most diamonds range between VS to I.
Cut - Cut consists of both the shape of the diamond (Round, Princess, Heart, Cushion, etc...) and how good the diamond is cut according to known standards. The closer the diamond is cut to the standards, the more brilliant it will be and therefore the most expensive.
The seller at the store most probably showed you a few rings within your budget and explained to you the characteristics of that specific ring and diamond.
A diamond ring is a serious purchase, you will most probably want to take this decision home, write some notes and sit quietly in front of the computer doing some research.
A good start would be to search Google / Bing for1 carat diamond ringor1/2 carat diamond ring
This is where the online diamond jewelry world will reveal. Suddenly, you will notice the same diamond characteristics at a much lower price in various online stores in the USA and worldwide.
The online market for diamond engagement rings
Here is why in the online market, the same diamond jewelry can be found at better prices:
1) Jewelry stores do not sell volume as diamond jewelry is not your average daily purchase. A store in a shopping center may only sell one or two pieces of jewelry a day and they have to mark their products high to maintain a high-end luxurious store.
2) Jewelry stores buy their jewelry from wholesalers whereas online vendors are in many cases the wholesalers themselves.
3) Online you can find some unique options such as clarity enhanced diamond or color enhanced diamonds. These are real diamonds that undergo special processes that enhance their characteristics and thus improve their quality while keeping their lower price.
4) Finally, there are only so many jewelry stores around you but there are hundreds online and strong competition always reduces the pricing.
Tips for buying an engagement ring online safely
Ok, at this point you must be considering to make this purchase online but how would you do it safely and choose the right ring? Here are a few pointers that if followed will make your purchase smooth and secure:
- Make sure the store you are buying from offers a warranty and a return policy for your diamond and ring, many reputable stores do that and having a 14 or 30 days return policy protects you entirely even if you chose incorrectly.
- An online store should have real people behind it, make sure you consult with a jeweler at this store, make sure they are available by email/chat or phone to assist you with your purchase or any problems you may have.
- Buy a certified diamond to make sure you are getting the exact diamond you purchased with the characteristics listed on the website.
- Don't stop at the first store you see, browse some more, look around, do your research, after a few hours, you will know exactly what to look for and feel which store is more reliable and appealing for your purchase.
Buying an engagement ring seems like a complex task but with a firm budget and consultation from an experienced jeweler, you will see that finding the perfect ring is not all that complicated as you initially thought. Buying the ring online can save you anywhere between 15-40% and this is extremely significant considering theaverage engagement ring priceis $5,000.
Congratulations and Good Luck.