So, you are thinking about Popping the Big Question. You’ve got the world by the tail, your present is full of excitement and new beginnings and the future is bright and holds lots of promise. However, you want to make sure you keep it all headed in that direction. To keep the momentum going strong, you will need to be cool, calm and collected in the decisions you are about to make.
As you have probably guessed by now, I’m referring to diamond engagement rings and making the right decision concerning purchasing that perfect ring for your “fiancé to be”. Your decision could either haunt you or pay big dividends for many, many years. Trust me on this one.
Choose the Right Shape & Setting
There are many diamond shapes from which to choose: Round, Marquise, Emerald, Oval, Trilliant, Quadrillion, Pear, Radiant, Cushion, Heart, Princess cut etc. Round diamonds are the most traditional, but other shapes lend themselves to being more unique, less worn and can reflect an individuals’ uniqueness more than traditional shapes.
Do you think she would prefer a solitaire diamond, or a ring with multiple diamonds? A large diamond mounted by itself without other diamonds can be very elegant, especially if you choose a custom setting (ring) that isn’t featured in every jewelry catalog. Custom jewelers and designers focus on these types of settings.
If you feel she would prefer a large diamond with smaller diamonds surrounding it for even more brilliance, you can choose a custom setting or a standard ring which is made to accommodate all of the diamonds.
Budget – How much should you pay?
The prices for wedding engagement rings range from inexpensive to prohibitive. A common question when purchasing a diamond engagement ring is how much should you spend? The commonly accepted guideline for purchasing diamonds is two months’ salary. That number may work for some people and not for others, but it’s a good starting point. You can at least be reasonably assured that your fiancé will be very pleased if you stay at or above this guideline. She will also be the envy of her friends whose rings may not meet this standard. However, if you are shooting well below 2 months’ salary, be careful! You should know your fiancé very well if you attempt this, as you certainly don’t want her friends’ rings to overshadow hers. That will bring about the “haunt you” reference I made in the second paragraph of this article.
So, for this major investment, where do you shop? This day and age, you have multiple options.
Option 1: Online diamond retailers
There are many online diamond retailers from which to choose at your leisure. Many also include valuable tips and information on their websites. And because they don’t have to pay brick and mortar rent or mortgages, their overhead costs are lower and their prices typically reflect their lower costs.
The way it typically works is you purchase your diamond or diamond ring online and have it sent to you. If you like it that’s great and you most likely saved money and sales tax if you live in a different state from the company and if that company doesn’t have a physical location in your state. If you don’t like the diamond or ring, simply wrap it back up, insure it and send it back. You can then start all over again with another diamond and/or setting.
In terms of service, many online jewelry sites are excellent and they can provide the proper certification from independent laboratories if the diamond has been certified. If not, they can arrange it for you. They typically offer money back guarantees as well.
Option #2: Retail jeweler
By selecting a well-respected retail jeweler, you will have face to face access to a salesperson and can ask any number of questions. This can be good or not so good depending on if you are outgoing or reserved. Salespeople can be overbearing if you let them since they typically work on commission. You will have an opportunity to compare diamonds against each other, receive help from a knowledgeable salesperson and receive a valid certification of the diamond you purchase. A reputable diamond retailer will provide a money-back guarantee, so you can return any diamond for a full refund or exchange. And many will also allow you to upgrade your diamond at any time.
Option # 3: Wholesale Diamond Dealer
Wholesale diamond dealers can be found in every major city. They typically specialize in selling loose diamonds of ½ carat or more. They can also arrange for rings as well and often have many styles to choose from. They typically have lower personnel costs than major jewelry retailers and thus don’t have to have as high of markups as brick and mortar retailers. Some have been around for quite a while and some come and go. They are often located in office buildings that allow for electronic surveillance and remote locked doors you navigate to enter. They are similar to online diamond retailers in that they can save you money over retail jewelers. However, you will pay sales tax and again you may feel pressured to buy certain diamonds because you are face to face with the salesperson.
Option # 4: Estate jeweler
Antique and estate diamond jewelry hold great appeal to some women. There are retailers who specialize in estate jewelry; and independent jewelers who may carry a few estate pieces. Estate jewelry is previously owned jewelry and as such it may not appeal to everyone. However, if you enjoy old diamond shapes and cuts and aren’t as concerned about brilliance, this could be an option.
For virtually every budget, every personality and taste, there is a diamond that will surely please the one you love. Also, remember that a diamond engagement ring stands for your love and commitment, and is typically more important to a woman than the size or cost of the stone. With that being said, women are social creatures and like to talk and compare. You certainly want to make sure you cover all your bases since women can have very long memories.
Chris Murphy is a freelance writer who focuses on topics of interest to his readers. For more information on Diamonds or Diamond Jewelry, please visit [http://www.southafricanjewels.com]