The capacity of the internet has made it possible to buy just about anything online. Cyber shopping is an emerging trend in the jewelry industry. And the numerous advantages far outweigh the cons critics have, which makes it suitable for a variety of businesses. More clients now prefer ordering products online and having them delivered to their address of choice.
However, the process of buying online can be murky, especially for significant and personal purchases like an engagement ring. So, there’re a few prerequisites. For instance, you need an excellent understanding of the qualities of diamonds, sapphire, and other gemstones. Look at the setting and band options available before choosing the engagement ring to buy. Check out several vendors, compare their package deals, and see if you can align that to your budget. The following is a checklist that you’ll need to have when buying an engagement ring online:
Have Solid Information to Make a Confident Purchase Decision
Start by asking yourself what kind of stone you want on the engagement ring. Jewelers can attest there’re plenty of gemstones in the market. You can work with diamonds, sapphires, or rubies. Most of these are readily available and come in different types. Most people mark their engagement by getting a diamond engagement ring. Diamonds don’t come cheap. But you can work your way around that so-called big-ticket purchase. For example, you can go for a custom design to have more control over the amount you spend on the end product. You can also choose to buy a synthetic budget diamond. You’ll still end up with a stone that’s equally as appealing as the natural variant.
Maybe your father and grandfather got a diamond engagement ring for your mom and grandma, respectively. Now, you feel compelled to take after them. Nothing’s wrong with having a sense of tradition. That’s how memories stay alive. Make your family and future wife proud. Do your research and be sure you’re buying a diamond that suits your significant other. Have you ever heard of the 4Cs (carat weight, clarity, color, and cut) of a diamond? No? Well, that should be your starting point. It’s how you know you’re getting the right diamond. The amount of money you spend on the ring also has everything to do with these 4Cs.
Of course, a bigger stone weighs and costs more. You might want to get a small stone whose cut is excellent, near-colorless grade, and eye-clean. That should give you the most value for your money, especially if the price tag is your primary concern. Learn how to read a diamond certificate —which must always accompany the stone. It’s the fastest way to verify the diamond’s authenticity and the integrity of the vendor. Most of the information on the certificate revolves around the 4Cs. Consult a reputable third-party (think GIA) to validate the accuracy of the diamond report for good measure.
Stone or Setting: Which Should Come First?
You already have some background information on diamonds. You’re in the initial stages of picking out the ideal engagement ring. Between the stone and the band, which should come first? Should buying the stone precede designing the setting? Or should it be the other way around? The truth is that both approaches are feasible. It’s just a matter of choice and preference. You can design a setting and have a stone cut to fit that exact setting. You can also buy a ready-to-wear ring as long as you know the fine details of your fiancée’s ring size. Or you may decide to buy a stone separately and find a local jeweler to custom design the setting. That’s probably the best move if you’re on a tight budget.
Note that one decision is likely to affect the outcome of the other. If you decide to buy the stone first, the specifics of the diamond determine the kind of band you’ll use. For instance, you could settle on a particular diamond cut. Say, round, pear, emerald, or princess (square). The cut alone gives a hint as to what ring style complements the diamond. You may also be looking to mix it up by buying a center stone and accent stones. It may cost you a few more bucks, but the elegance it brings out is worthwhile. If that’s the case, you’ll have narrowed down your ring style options to only multi-stone rings. Like a halo or pave setting to match the style.
The color of the stone is yet another thing to consider. You can’t just buy a fancy pink diamond and slap it on a red band. That would be color clashing at its best. Instead, work with a skilled jeweler who understands stone colors. They’re in a position to recommend the ultimate combination of stone and setting. All it takes is their experience designing and selling engagement rings. It would be a great idea to bring one of your girlfriend’s close family members or best friends to help with the selection. They probably know a thing or two about her taste that you could be overlooking.
Don’t limit yourself when it comes to the setting. Proceed with caution, though, because there are some quacks out there. Remember, you’re buying online, and the vendor could look sincere on paper only to disappoint you. Whether you’ve decided to buy a finished product, or take the custom approach, explore all available offerings. Gold and silver bands have been the go-to settings for a while now. However, customer demands are driving innovation. Among the novice setting designs in the market, today are titanium, palladium, white and rose gold. Flexible jewelers and vendors also offer alloy settings of the above metals for uniqueness and that differentiation factor.
Choose a Vendor
Online stores are the in thing in business and the force behind e-commerce. They are relatively easy to set up. That’s why they’re defining product and service delivery and entrepreneurship as a whole. Jewelry dealers have since joined this promising bandwagon. Even most of the significant traditional jewelry chains have a vibrant online presence in addition to their physical stores. You have a wider variety of online vendors to buy from than you do offline dealers. That’s a good thing because offline deals are about 30 to 40 percent cheaper than the prices you get at brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. Be wary of big chain online stores because chances are their online prices are just as high as their in-store offers. You could shave off up to 50 percent when you buy a loose stone and get a cheaper alternative for your setting. Independent jewelers and small-scale dealers are ideally placed to produce an affordable mounting on a made-to-order basis.
Again, your inclination could be towards a diamond engagement ring but know that there are alternatives. A couple of experts will tell you that diamonds are overrated: not as rare as the diamond industry wants you to believe. That’s debatable, and there could be some truth in it depending on your viewpoint. The rarity of diamonds is a perception. That’s what carefully crafted marketing campaigns do to you. You need to read between the lines. Natural white diamonds deposits aren’t running out any time soon: there’re enough mines to feed the global demand. A recent online article did a myth-busting review on the real cause of ‘diamond rarity.’ The conclusion was that market forces are the number one reason for the systemic fluctuations in the availability of diamonds. While colored diamonds are scarce at times, the same findings hold. But with the advent of customization and ease of access to synthetic diamonds, the variety of options is more extensive than you thought. In connection to that, find a vendor who stocks rare gems and other diamond alternatives like sapphire and spinel for your ring.
You can dig deeper and locate online vendors that source for and sell antique, vintage, and estate engagement rings. Such rings come from yard sales and auctions. Current holders or vendors are looking to sell them, and that’s where your opportunity to get a bargain deal arises. Antique rings can date as far back as the renaissance era. The value lies in their age and ancient craftsmanship, and they can save you a pretty penny. Most of the people getting engaged or married usually go for fancy modern stuff. It means less demand for antique pieces, which makes them easier to find.
Find trustworthy online dealers. Both GIA and AGS have a list of accredited dealers on their respective websites. You can also contact their client support desk for recommendations and get a credible jeweler right out the gate. Use customer service metrics to gauge a particular vendor. Do they have a money-back guarantee clause? And is it adequate in case the shipment is coming from out-of-state or overseas? What is the return policy? Are their restocking fees favorable? Can they resize the ring or change the setting altogether without breaking your wallet?Do they have a flexible payment system? Is the purchase insured? Your answer to all these questions should be a strong yes. Go ahead and give that online vendor a call and place your order.
Several vendors offer to finance the purchase. Just make sure you’re in a position to take on debt. The payment plan should also fit squarely into your budget. For a credit purchase, don’t stretch your credit card too far. Instead, save up and make a cash purchase. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales like Christmas, Valentine's, and Black Friday for the best package deals. That’s if you happen to be buying an engagement ring around that time. But if time isn’t on your side, source the stone or ring from a wholesale vendor. Wholesale prices tramp retail offers. The economies of scale also enable the shipment to get to you quicker.
Safety of the Engagement Ring After Purchase
The purchase insurance is made possible by the business courtesy of reputable online vendors. But it’s only useful while the stone or engagement ring is in transit. Upon delivery, you assume the ownership and responsibility of ensuring the ring’s safety. The good news is that they're just as many jewelry insurance coverage providers as there’re online retailers. You may be wondering: “Is jewelry insurance complicated?”It’s very straightforward. You start by seeking the services of a professional appraiser to establish the value of the ring.
The value of the ring at the point of purchase may have changed by the time it gets to you. The appraiser uses the jewelry documentation (diamond certificate in the case of a diamond engagement ring). They include their review and sum up the data into an evaluation conclusion. Valuation is continuous, albeit done periodically. That’s because jewelry is affected by market forces (supply and demand). It’s crucial to have the ring appraised every 2-3 years. The same adjustment is made to the policy plan to reflect the premiums you pay. Work with the right insurance firm to ensure that the recourse measures put in place are sufficient. For example, if the policy covers loss due to theft, who’s the official replacer of the ring? The original vendor who sold it to you? And if not, does the entity stated cut it going by your standards?
Research engagement rings based on the stone you want on yours. Different diamonds have a lot of features that characterize them. The queries you make should be thorough. That includes how to authenticate the stone, its several variations, and their respective prices. Feel free to get the assistance of an expert to help you out with the search exercise. They’ll charge you a fee by the hour. It’s a small expense to incur compared to the cost of being defrauded when you go at it alone. Ask the right questions to make sure you capture every crucial detail because this is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. Compare the cost implications of buying an engagement ring and buying the stone and setting separately. Which is cheaper for you? Make the appropriate judgment call. That’s it. Easy-peasy. Purchasing an engagement ring’s a vital decision, but don’t obsess over it.
Get the package delivered to you and surprise her. Be sure to have the ring appraised and insured as the final step of acquiring an engagement ring. Go ahead and share this guide so that others can benefit too.