Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Save Money on an Engagement Ring (and get higher quality at the same time!)
To add to my post about my engagement, I learned one interesting thing about engagement rings. It pays to go to a small specialist.
Like a lot of people, I tend to feel more comfortable shopping at big chain stores. That is why I tend to do my shopping at places like Best Buy, Target, and Amazon. They tend to have the widest selection and the best prices because they have huge stores and usually do not offer high level of customer service. I actually prefer this since it not only keeps prices low, but I do not like to be bothered by sales people when I am shopping.
However, with the ring, I went a different route. I should say, my fiancee went a different route. Someone like me would be tempted to go to one of the big engagement ring stores like Robin's Brothers, Jared's or Tiffany's. Especially the latter one because the name is so well known. I would shy away from a small mom-and-pop type setup because I would not feel as safe going to a place like this given how expensive this purchase is (it is now probably the most expensive thing we own). But my fiancee had a particular style in mind, so she decided to do some shopping.
She picked a style and decided to ask several of the local jewelers for quotes. To her surprise she found one that quoted her a very reasonable price just for the band. She also asked about the solitaire diamond and they gave her several options, each of which were actually cheaper than anything we could find elsewhere. This was very surprising to me because their prices were actually better than the online retailer Blue Nile. Blue Nile is known to have very good prices on its single diamonds and when we tried to find one of the same quality as the one our jeweler offered, it came out to be more money online.
This was a very good diamond, it scored very well in the 4 C's (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat). In fact, we found that many of the chain type stores could not match the grade of diamond that we were getting. While most people worry about the big C, Carat, we found that it was probably the least important factor. Her diamond is brilliant, it really sparkles in the light because it scores so high in all the other factors. So my strong recommendation out there to anyone looking to get a diamond ring, focus on the OTHER C's. It is much more important than you think.
My only other concern was how I could be sure I was getting what I paid for. That was easily taken care of by going to a third party jewelery appraiser which I had to do anyway to get the ring appraised to buy insurance on. Of course, the appraisal went fine and my fiancee could not be happier. So we found not only better service but better price and quality by going with the small guy. It may make me rethink what I thought I knew.