Big budget bees, how did you decide on your ring?

posted 3 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
2117 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I don’t know what a “big budget” means for you, but FI spent a lot (again, in my opinion) on my ring. He went to a brick and mortar store (a local jeweler). His mom, who is really into jewelry, recommended the store as she knows and trusts the store and its employees. That was the only place he went, actually, and I’d definitely recommend going somewhere in person with great customer service and a great selection – especially if you have a bigger budget.

My FI was 24 when he bought the ring and he said the sales people were awesome (and not at all judgy about his age), especially for someone who knew next to nothing about diamonds and rings. I think once your FI lets them know what the budget is, they’ll hold off on any judgment about his age – they’ll do whatever they can to make him feel comfortable and to make the sale.

Post # 4
1255 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009 - Mountain Meadow/Mansion

I’m not sure what you consider big budget, but we looked in person first at both loose stones and settings that we liked (including designer jewlers). Once we had a feel for what we liked, DH did a lot of reseach and ended up buying my stone loose on James Allen (He had done research on consumer ratings, value, etc. before deciding on JA over other online retailers, but there are many good ones!). From there, he had the stone set in a plain, platinum setting and then he and I picked out my current Tacori setting together. It was purchased at a local jewler so I do have a “go to” place for cleanings, inspections, to send my ring in every year per warranty for maintenece, etc.

Post # 5
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

My DH spent a lot of money on my ring–He wanted the guidance of someone who had TONS of experience with diamonds and rings. He went to Jared’s, and had an extremely positive experience!

Post # 6
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My DH and I went to a jewelry store together, tried on a few rings and got my finger measured. We did this once we had the conversation on when we’d like to get married. He took his budget and did his own research on specs and vendors to buy the diamond from. I fell in love with the Cartier 1895, but a 2 carat ring (F in color, VVS1) was $95K+ and our budget was third of that. So he got me a bigger diamond (E color, VS1) and custom setting that he designed. 

Post # 8
1625 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@LuxeLady:  That is definitely a large budget! I think if I were you I’d start online, browsing settings probably from designer brands. Once you see one you like, I’d price out the setting and see what that leaves you with, then browse sites like JA to see what you can get with that leftover budget (a pretty big and good size quality diamond, for sure!)

If you like the soleste, I think stopping by a T&Co to try it on is a great idea! it’s up to you to decide if you want to spend a little more on the name or if you want to have the same or similar setting custom made elsewhere. I think with your budget you can really do whatever you want! It’s a good problem to have!

I’d avoid the regular B&M like Zales and Kay Jewelers, but I think thats good advice for most brides, no matter the budget!

Post # 9
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@LuxeLady:  Our budget was in the high range, and we began by going to look at rings in person to get a feel for the looks we liked and to get educated on diamonds and metals. We went to small shops in the diamond district, mid-sized family owned/non-chain stores, and high end chain stores like Tiffany and Harry Winston to do this.

After I had learned a bit more about diamonds and the 4 C’s (and compared stones with varying grades in each) I knew what I valued and where I thought I could compromise. From there, by taking into account my preferences and our budget, I came up with minimum thresholds for each of the 4 C’s. Bluenile and pricescope are great tools for doing this because because you can search loose diamonds and see how the costs change as you manipulate each “C.” For me, my minimums were: Cut: Excellent/Ideal Color: H Clarity: SI1 (Eye Clean) and Carat: ~3. I also really wanted hearts and arrows but was willing to sacrifice if we couldnt make it happen. Also I should add, I am speaking about round brilliant diamonds here. Different cuts are graded differently.

We lucked out and an old friend reached out saying his mother still had an old wholesaler’s license from back when they were in the diamond business, so we sent her my parameters and budget and she found us an amazing certified diamond, and it was even a hearts and arrows cut! We had the setting custom made to copy a setting I loved by a family owned high end jeweler.

Now, if we hadn’t lucked out with the diamond connection, we would have bought a stone from one of the small, “wholesaler” businesses in the diamond district of LA as they had certified stones and I was educated enough to know they were offering decent deals. OR, I would have bought online from a retailer such as Brian Gavin, etc. OR, maybe I would have put out feelers on the boards at Pricescope to have someone help me find a deal. This is because brick and mortar retailers HORRIBLY markup diamonds like nothing I have ever seen.

It’s one thing if you really want the Tiffany or HW or Cartier name, but if it’s just the look you are going for, your money will go MUCH further having a similar setting made custom and buying a diamond online or at a place that buys diamonds wholesale, can show you certs, and will negotiate with you.

I would never consider a large scale chain retailer such as Zales, Jared, etc as they seem to have the worst markups and poorest “deals” in terms of bang for your buck. If you do want to try that route, definitely insist on seeing full certifications from a respectable lab such as GIA and require an independent appraisal before buying if they can’t show you that. I have been shocked at the poor quality of their melee stones etc given the costs of their settings and the like.

Good luck and have fun!

Post # 10
810 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Definitely start online to get a sense for the price of diamonds at different sizes, cuts, clarities, etc. This makes it so you are nt walking blindly into a jewelry store.

However, I would definitely go to a jewelry store as well so you can try on different sizes of rings. With a larger budget I feel like it is easy to get a bigger stone without a gauge for how large a particular setting will look on your finger/ how high it will sit, etc. You want to make sure that you get a ring that is practical and wearable on YOUR finger.

And be aware that you are going to pay a premium at Tiffany’s for an engagement ring. You will possibly have more choices elsewhere with the same budget, so I would say shop around a bit too. (The soleste is stunning though 🙂 I like your taste haha)




Post # 11
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

FI went to an independent jeweler (brick and mortar) that his mother recommended. I wasn’t involved in the process but as with all large purchases, it pays to take recommendations and stay away from cheap chains. 

Post # 12
4638 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@LuxeLady:  We started by looking at designer rings because of the helpfulness of the staff and their expertise. We first started looking about a year or so ago, and were 26/27 and didn’t encounter any issues with rudeness. Although everyones experience is different, we found Cartier the most helpful.

If you want designer because its designer go for it.. but your dollar goes a lot further elsewhere and don’t go to a mall/ chain jeweler (Zales, Peoples, etc.).

It took us at least 6 months to pick my ring.. Do your research and you won’t be taken for a ride!



Post # 13
5697 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Best bet is to go into some brick and mortar’s and start trying on settings. That will give you an idea of what you actually like. Then you can start even looking online at blue nile, and whatever other places you feel like if you want. 

Make sure you do your research, of course a B&M is going to be a pretty big mark up from a place like However, bluenile isn’t going to have the warranty and cleaning availability that a B&M would. Also a lot of stores won’t warranty your setting if you’ve set someone else’s diamond in it. 

Don’t run straight to Tiffany’s just because you have a humongous budget. The most important thing is the spec’s of your diamond. You can spend 30k at Tiffany’s and get a beautiful ring, but it’s likely you could spen that much money elsewhere and get something with even better specs just beacuse it’s not the brand name of Tiffany’s.

One more thing… just because you HAVE 30k, doesn’t mean you should spend it. Try on different sized diamonds. You might think “oh we have 30k let’s by a 25k diamond that’s 3c” and actually hate a diamond that large on your finger. Start by finding out at all what you like on yourself.

Post # 14
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

If you want to be able to take your ring in to get cleaned and checked regularly, free of charge, then the obvious place to start is at a local brick and mortar jeweler. I’d just start looking at styles. Honestly, you can get most styles in mose price ranges, it’s just a matter of size and quality. So just try things out and see what you like. Once you get a feel for the style you like, then you can determine if the local store you went to has something in the range of what you want and, if they don’t, you can shop around at other local jewelers. Also, if you may move in the future, you may want to go with a national chain.

Post # 15
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

@LuxeLady:  If you don’t go with a luxury brand (Tiffany, Cartier, etc), definitely shop at a locally owned jewelry store.

I have heard SO many horror stories about the “chain” jewelry stores. If you’re going to be spending that much money, I wouldn’t trust it to the chain stores. 

Post # 16
1249 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I started my search by figuring out which “C’s” were the most important to me. Then I did research and pricing online (James Allen, Pricescope, etc).

We went into a brick and mortar shop where I told them EXACTLY what I was looking for. The clerk showed me copies of diamond certificates since they didn’t have the shape I wanted in the store. 

When I narrowed my search down to three possible diamonds, I then told the clerk how much I was willing to pay for the diamond. I talked her down $6000 (which happens to be right in line with online prices).

I never actually told her my budget and recommend you don’t either; it cuts off your ability to bargain. But they do get a sense of how much you can spend if you go in asking for a 3 carat.

Good luck!

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