Ten Secrets for Buying the Perfect Engagement Ring
When shopping for the perfect engagement ring, there is a lot more to consider than just finding a pretty ring that is in your price range. There are many questions you should ask before deciding on the most important piece of jewelry you will ever buy. Take your time, and find out everything you need to about the store, their policies, and the jewelry itself, before making this very important purchase.
First, you need to find out if the store from which you are buying the ring offers a guarantee on the ring. If so, what does their guarantee cover? Will it cover lost or broken stones? Will it cover bent or broken prongs? If they do offer a guarantee, find out if and when the guarantee expires. Some stores offer lifetime guarantees, but with others it’s only a year or two. Also, find out if there is a charge for the guarantee. Be aware, as well, that some stores require you to bring your ring in for regular inspections, in order to keep your guarantee valid.
Pictured at top: 1.43 Carat Blue Diamond Engagement Ring
Service After the Sale
Almost every person who purchases a new ring needs to get it sized. Ask your jeweler if there is a charge to have your ring sized. Many stores will include a free sizing on a newly purchased ring. Some, however will charge for that service. If there is a charge, it is often a percentage of the price of the ring. So, the more you spend on the ring, the more it will cost you to have it sized. Keep this in mind when pricing rings at stores with this policy.
In-House or Outside Repair Work
As noted above, you will almost certainly need an initial sizing when you purchase the ring. There is also a possibility that you will need future repair work. It is important to find out if your jeweler has an in-house goldsmith, or if they send repair work to an outside shop. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but it is nice to know ahead of time that if you ever need work done on your ring, you may be without it for a few weeks or longer while it is sent out for repair.
It is not common, but some jewelers offer a service in which a tiny identification number is laser engraved on what is known as the girdle of a diamond. This can typically only be done on stones of a certain size, and there is normally a charge to have this done. But, this is an excellent feature, especially if your ring will need to be sent out of the store for sizing or repair. Laser ID numbers offer great peace of mind for you to know you are getting back the same diamond that was sent out.
Let’s face it, most people cannot afford the diamond of their dreams when they are just starting out. However, when you are at a point in your life when you can afford a larger diamond, it is important to know whether your jeweler has an upgrade policy. Many jewelers will offer to buy back a ring that was originally purchased from them, on the condition that you trade it in for a ring of a higher value.
Often, jewelry salespeople will offer a free appraisal as a selling tool to try to increase the perceived value of a ring. Be aware, that having an appraisal on a ring in no way affects its value. The jeweler will simply go in the back room and type a detailed description of the ring along with a replacement value for insurance purposes. This doesn’t increase the value of the ring; you’ll pay significantly less than the appraisal value to buy it, just as an insurance company would spend significantly less to replace it.
Know Your Metals
You may know if your girlfriend or fiance prefers white gold or yellow gold, but it is important to know a little bit about the difference to avoid future heartache. All gold comes out of the ground yellow. When gold is manufactured for jewelry, it is combined with other metals to make alloys. White gold is combined with certain alloys to give it its white appearance. However, just adding these alloys does not give the gold a bright white look. So, white gold is finished with a rhodium plating. Over time this plating can wear off, necessitating reapplication. It is not a difficult process and many jewelers will re-plate a ring that was purchased from them at no charge. Just be aware that this is a normal occurrence with white gold so you, or your wife, won’t panic down the road when her white gold ring begins to look yellow.
Size vs. Quality
You know that there are different factors that go in to the price of a diamond. It has grades for color, clarity, cut, and of course, carat weight. It is unlikely, however, that you will find a diamond the size of your fist that has perfect color and clarity grades. You will likely have to sacrifice a little size or quality to find a ring in your price range. Your job is to find out if she would prefer a larger diamond of average quality or a smaller stone of great quality. Be aware that at weights of one carat and above, the price of a diamond will jump significantly.
Solitaire vs. Wedding Set
When shopping for an engagement ring you have two basic choices. You may choose a solitaire ring, which is a single stone, typically set on a narrow gold band. Or, you may choose a wedding set. A wedding set is composed of two rings that interlock. Keep in mind, if you choose a solitaire, you will likely be shopping again in the future for a wedding band to accompany it. Most jewelry stores carry bands or wraps, designed to fit with solitaires. However, these wraps and bands do not always fit the solitaire perfectly, while the wedding set fits together perfectly because the two rings were built to go together.
Shopping Online vs. Brick And Mortar
The trend in today’s retail world is definitely shifting towards online shopping. There is no doubt that great deals can be found by shopping online. Keep in mind that when shopping for a diamond online, it is very hard to tell what a diamond really looks like by viewing it through a computer monitor. You may compare diamond color and clarity grades, but there are several companies that grade diamonds so you don’t know for sure if you are comparing apples to apples. You are also much less likely to receive any service after the sale with an online diamond purchase.
Purchasing an engagement ring is an exciting, confusing, nervous, thrilling adventure. If you go into the process with the knowledge of what questions to ask and what to look for, you can eliminate much of the confusion and focus on enjoying the shopping experience.