Post # 1
My SO and I have decided to get a green sapphire Ering. They are not common in stores, but I found an affrodable one online that I really like. However, SO is not comfortable spending that amount of money on something he can’t see first and he’s paranoid about things getting lost in the mail. He suggested that we look into getting one custom designed. So here’s my question, would we be better off going to a mid to large sized chain store or would it be better to go to a smaller family owned store? If you could add your reasoning below I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.
Post # 3
IMO, a small, family owned store is more likely to be concerned with your satisfaction and needs versus a big chain. A big chain just sees dollar signs.
Post # 4
In my experience chain stores don’t always have the best range and quality stones but a smaller store would source all their stones themselves so would be able to work with you to get the right sapphire specs for you.
Hm or you could do your research and buy the stone online, with a returns policy to cover you if you hate it, then get it set at a jewellers.
I’m sure if you go on pricescope the ladies there will recommend a good online sapphire dealer and give you tonnes of advice about choosing a stone.
Post # 5
typically a family owned store would be better but i would go to both to see what they can do for you before making any final decisions.
Post # 6
Chain stores tend to avoid custom work as a rule, they are more geared toward sales and repair. Your best bet is a sole proprietor artisan.
Post # 7
The small jewelery store Darling Husband got my ring at also sold us our wedding rings… and then gave us a 20% discount on anything else we might buy there. They really like to keep repeat customers! The service has always been very friendly and personal. I think a lot of chain stores pressure you to buy whatever’s in the display case whereas smaller stores are more willing to work with you or custom order (maybe even custom make). There’s been a fair number of complaints with chain stores on the bee (Jared’s was the subject of a recent post).
Post # 8
Thanks everyone for your replies. I think next weekend we’re going to go visit a local place who specilizes in custom design. http://www.knoxjewelers.biz/index.htm They have really gorgeous stuff, I just hope that it is something we can afford.
Post # 9
I think it’s entirely possible that the family owned store will work with you and order in stones for you to see. They won’t have a large stock of emeralds.
Natural emeralds are full of inclusions and that is their signature, and I love them for that. But I would want to see them IRL because they are pricey.
In the past few weeks I’ve been focusing on my e-ring to get an enhancer, and just today visited 2 mall chain stores. I foundly remember shopping for my solitaire stone at every jewelry store in my univeristy town, 25 years ago. I settled on working with one downtown family owned store. They were patient with me and taught me a few things. And after that, every stone I saw at the mall stores were inferior. Well, another probalem was that you couldn’t look at loose stones in mall stores back then.
Today myu visit to Helzbergs was perfectly fine and I may well buy a ring enhancer there, but that’s only because I know with absolute certainty my center solitaire is a really nice piece. I imaginet aht I’ll get mediocre piece as an enhancer and I am fine with that
On a related note: I am looking and Morganites but they arne’t very expensive and I will probably order a ring online, expecting it to come with natural inclusions that lend it character. I would NOT order a higher end stone online.
Post # 10
I looked into custom made rings at Zales (Peoples in Canada) and one huge advantage is that they were ready to offer me a Lifetime Protection Plan that could only be honoured at their particular store. That plan covers any resizing, lost stones, free soldering, etc. for a lifetime. That’s a huge saving!!!
Another advantage with a larger chain, as much as I see the appeal in the charm and care of a small store, is that they might stay in business your whole life. A family-owned store might close when the main jeweller retires.
My sister-in-law had a ring made at a small jeweller’s she knew and recommended against it afterwards. It was costly and took a really long time. A large chain might be more affordable because they buy in bulk and they honour pretty good deadlines from my experience.
That’s my input 😉 Good luck!