As most of you know I recently got engaged, it’s been a fun and happy time in my life. Now we are moving on to all that fun stuff like wedding planning, showers, engagement party etc. I won’t say that everything leading up to the engagement was as much fun though. I literally agonized over purchasing the perfect (and preferrably affordable) engagement ring for my fiance! I think I did enough research over those preceding months that I could practically become a certified gemologist. Though I won’t bore you with all the details on the entirety of the 4 C’s, the different diamond cuts, etc., I will tell you how to get the best deal on an engagement ring! IMO at least.
We recently had many friends who have gotten engageed, and subsequently married. Most of them went the traditional route of purchasing an engagement ring in a brick and mortar store. Quite honestly I always envisioned doing this myself, after all, where else would you buy a ring? Being the prudent blogger that I am I did a ton of research on buying a ring, what to look for, and the best places to go for quality and honesty.
Early in my hunt for the perfect engagement ring I learned to rule out the well known jewelry chains such as Jareds, Kay’s, etc. Yes everyone has heard of them, but everyone has heard of Best Buy, and I stopped buying my electronic gadgets there years ago. They typically mark up their jewelry prices, especially diamonds, 50-75%. I understand they need to cover the cost of carrying inventory, and the overhead that comes with a staff and monthly rent. However, that is just not my responsibility, and I would much rather put my money towards more ring!
I decided that buying a ring was really a two step process. A diamond has very general characteristics that are easily measured and determined. They are universally the same, and provided that it comes with a proper grading report, you know exactly what you are purchasing. The actual ring itself has more to do with the type of metal and its design, and more importantly your fiances personal preference. So I decided to buy the two independantly. I’m a huge advocate of online shopping, and I felt a diamond was an easy purhase to make in that arena. Whereas the design and style of the actual ring was much too personal of a decision for me to purchase online. I wanted to see it firsthand and compare the width and lenth of the band, the colors of the metal, the style of the setting, etc. No matter how good your computer graphics card may be, there is no substitute for seeing something in real life.
I spent a couple months visiting multiple brick and mortar stores looking for the actual ring. I stuck to independently owned stores, with reputable online reviews, and even tried to seek out positive reviews from friends an family who had used local stores. Once I narrowed my selection down to a couple of different bands I gave my myself some time off searching. I then came back with a clear head a few weeks later and made my final decision. A little healthy bartering doesn’t hurt either, prices are never final, especially within independently owned stores. Next came the bulk of the purchase, the diamond. Once you know the 4 c’s, and other specifications of your diamond, purchasing one is quite an easy process. Buying a diamond online allows you to comparison shop from home with the satisfaction of knowing that you are getting the best possible deal. Blue Nile is probably the most well known diamond buying site out there. Though after a careful review of online sites I can say that I came across three with much lower prices, and positive features that far exceeded Blue Nile.
- James Allen – This site has a great 3-D viewing capability that allows you to view the diamond ring on your significant others virtual hand! They also provide a 10x magnifying view that will allow you to view the actual diamond you intend on purchasing. This is the same as the scope a jeweler would use to view a diamond for inclusions and imperfections. There are multiple online coupons that can further reduce the price as well.
- Union Diamond – This site is pretty bare bones, but they have excellent customer service, and no shortage of positive online reviews. Their prices are about as low as it gets. Really, what more can you ask for?
- Brilliance – This company doesn’t have as many online reviews as one would like, but they make up for it with a very reassuring customer service department. I can also personally speak for their quality and commitment to their business. A great feature they offer is a scanned copy of each specific diamonds GIA report, so you know exactly what you are buying ahead of time. They offer the absolute lowest prices on diamonds that I have been able to find. Hands down the best site availabe for finding the highest quality at the best possible value. Make sure to search out an online coupon code as they have many, and to make payment with a credit card for that added reassurance. Not to mention your credit card reward program will benefit as well.
Overall, the search for the perfect ring was a long and arduous process, but I am thoroughly satisfied with the whole thing.