(Closed) Best lessons learned – ering shopping

posted 6 years ago in Rings
Post # 3
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014 - Lizard Island, Australia

This is a good idea i’ll join…

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get go?


To be patient! It’s exciting when an engagement is on the card and when we started looking at rings I was like hmm yea that’ll do. But I soon realised I’d be wearing it for the rest of my life so although it took longer I’m really glad I did my research, I got a real sparkler!

2) What surprised you the most?

That I actually don’t like diamonds on me as big as I thought. I had in my head that I wanted a 1.25 carabe even though I’d never seen one. I thought it was a nice number and would be just a little bigger than normal. In the end we ordered a 1.12 from Blue Nile and it was way too big for me, and I have size 7 fingers. We exchanged it for a 0.90 which I feel is big enough but comfortable to wear every day. So I guess I’m saying actually try rings first because you might be surprised at what actually suits you looks visually pleasing to you. 

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your buck?

I am probably a bit biased because we bought from Blue Nile and I can’t rate them highly enough. I think diamond prices around the world differ but in England I personally think online is best. My ring was a smidge over £5,000 and the same size diamond with the same specs I saw in a high street jewellers here was £7,800. So we saved a ton. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy online again and I do feel that most high street jewellers in the UK offer much lower quality for much higher prices. I do not mean to offend anyone who bought on the high street here, it’s not all bad bit if you know you’re 4c’s I think in England its indisputable that you really can get better online. That was my experience anyway. 

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned dollars?

The service most definitely. Price and stock is important but when I initially looked in some high street jewellers the customer service wasn’t always good. When that was the case I never went back. When I called Blue Nile they were amazing instantly and I must of called a hundred times! Even when I wanted to change to a smaller diamond they were great, I never once felt like I was annoying them and they bent over backwards to help. 


I recently had to send it back to get the prongs tightened (I kept dropping it on the bathroom floor!) even though it was my fault they didn’t bat an eyelid. I had to pay shipping but that was it. They fixed it for me super quick as I didn’t want to be without it too long and unexpectedly they polished it right back up to how it was when it was brand new. I was very pleased!

5) any other tips you want to share!

Just I guess to do your homework, definitely try some rings on and don’t be afraid to say if you have any complaints/questions etc. This is a big important expensive purchase and any retailer who seems irritated by that is not worth you’re money, whether you spend £100 or £10,000. You’ve still spent your hard earned money on something incredibly meaningful!


Post # 4
293 posts
Helper bee

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get go?

I wish I had let Pricescope help me with my diamond buys from the get go. I always feel intimidated joining a new forum, so though I found the site, I didn’t ask for any help. I bought my radiant and my pear without any help. I wish I had.

Also #1 rule: Don’t ever ever ever buy from a friend, family member, or friend of a friend. Thank GOD I didn’t end up doing this but I almost did, and I keep seeing people who end up in horribly awkward situations where they overtrusted someone, got fucked over, and now they’re caught in a position where they’d love to fix the situation but it’s “their friend” or “their uncle’s best friend from elementary school”.

2) What surprised you the most?

That cut optics makes such a huge difference. I had placed so much emphasis on color and clarity, as we are all taught to do. It turns out, as long as it’s eye clean, I’m fine with I1s. In fact, I prefer it! It’s such a deal saver if you can find a prongable inclusion I1 or one with twinning wisps that no one will ever see. And color… I thought I’d never be able to go under an F, and maybe a G if I was being “generously flexible”. Yeah, I have myself an M!! And no one will be able to guess it’s an M cus it looks like everyone else’s “H/I” diamonds that they buy from the mall with no certs.

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your buck?

Don’t rush. At all. Like something? Good. Bookmark it or write it down. Keep looking. Learn everything you can. Learn more. Look up others’ journeys. Ask for help on Pricescope’s RT. And for *the most* bang for your buck? Learn so much that you can tread the dangerous waters of eBay. I have bought so many great great deals on eBay. 

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned dollars?

They needed not only a lengthy return policy (I needed a minimum of 30 days), as well as an excellent upgrade policy (none of that double your money crap, I wanted to upgrade with even $1 more). What really sold me with using Good Old Gold was the fact that they have a BUY-BACK policy. Now I know that, if shit hits the fan and we end up on the streets or something for some awful reason, I can sell my diamond back to them at any moment and get 75% of what I paid. That’s more than you can get off of the 2ndary market like on eBay or Craigslist, where jewelry is usually sold at a minimum of a 30% loss.. so yeah. Plus.. their videos made it seem like I was physically there to see everything I was considering, even though I’m all the way in Southern CA and they’re in Long Island.

5) any other tips you want to share!

Ask for help from strangers that don’t benefit from helping you. Seriously. Asking for advice from the jewelers is biased. Of course they’ll say anything to make you buy from THEM, and make other jewelers seem like crap. Join Rocky Talky.

Post # 5
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Barn

1) What’s the number one thing you wish you’d known from the get go?

I wish we’d shopped around a bit and taken our time. It’s soooo easy to get caught up in the excitement and to be over run by zealous sales people. Do research. Know your stuff. Know what you’re looking for. Don’t get talked into anything. One of the biggest things for me was I felt like I didn’t belong in any store I went into, I think because of my age and because I look a lot younger than I am. I should’ve been more self confident and less afraid. 

2) What surprised you most? 

I’d say the prices, even for just the setting. It seemed so ridiculous that something so small would be so expensive. 

3) What would you suggest for getting the best bang for your buck?

I second what a PP said, definitely go custom. The jeweller I was talking to about getting a Gabriel & Co setting said he could order the one I wanted and it would cost $1,500, or he could make the same one for $800. It depended whether the brand name mattered to me or not. Are you kidding me?!?! Who in real life is going to ask, or care, what brand my engagement ring is?

Also, look into placeholder stones or any alternates to diamonds if you want to save some money. If you want to stick a CZ in your ering until you can save for a forever stone, do it. No one needs to know, no one will ask, no one will guess. 

4) What made the jeweller/ retailer worthy of your hard earned money?

This is one aspect I wish we’d searched a little more. We’ve had a bit of trouble with the jeweller apparently due to miscommunication between his staff, and it’s taken a long time to receive CAD images for every change I suggest (usually one week, maybe this is normal, but it feels like a long time). 

5) Other tips

If you find a style you particularly love and the brand name is expensive, check out other lines because there may be a replica out there that is similar but without the big price tag. 

Post # 6
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get go? Picking out and buying the ring is fundamentally a busniess transaction, it’s the propsal that’s the ronmantic part.  This is likely the first time that you get to have a heart-to-heart discussion about finances and what’s important.  It’s a lot of negotiation.

2) What surprised you the most? That my Fiance could be so romantic, I gave him a few rings that I was interested in so I figured that it wouldn’t be a big surprise. When he gave it to be he had picked a ring I wanted, but had still personalized it.

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your buck? Think outside the diamond.  My Fiance didn’t want a diamond on ethical grounds plus a diamond was really out of the budget.  Find other stones you’ll end up with a really unique ring (I can’t tell you the number of people that stop me to look at my ring).  Also if platinum is too expensive look at white gold, 14k white gold is incredibly hard but at a fraction of the cost.

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned dollars? We ultimatly went with gemvera an online jeweler.  It was easy and we got to create exactly the ring we wanted, every detail was what we wanted and it was an amazing value.

5) any other tips you want to share!  Don’t just pick out one ring that you love, it’s best to give your future Fiance a few options in different price ranges and let them pick. Other than that GET CREATIVE!

Post # 7
130 posts
Blushing bee

I really like this thread, and I would like to bump it up. I am e-ring shopping, and any advice I and my SO could get like this would be amazing! Thanks for the great tips so far!

Post # 8
8040 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get go?

That it’s ok to change my mind. I thought I was going crazy when I kept flip flopping from one ring I wanted to another. Patience paid off and I’m glad I didn’t jump into buying something I wasn’t sure about.

2) What surprised you the most?

Looking back, I was surprised how difficult it is to pick a fancy shaped diamond on specs alone, and I am glad that I went with a jeweler that posted high quality photos and videos on their website.

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your buck?

I really wanted a Tiffany ring until I realized that the size of center stone I wanted wasn’t going to happen within our not so modest budget. I let go of wanting a Tiffany ring, and happily have a different ring. You can find a beautiful, top quality diamond without paying brand-name prices. I still love Tiffany… but I didn’t want to sacrifice carat size THAT much.

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned dollars?

My ring is a yellow diamond and the jeweler I went to (Diamonds by Lauren) specialized in yellow diamonds. Their website has excellent photos, and David is great to work with. We felt confident buying from there despite them being in another country than us. The prices are also very reasonable, and the old mine brilliant cut isn’t something you can find just anywhere.

5) any other tips you want to share!

Be patient! I spent over a year looking, and went back and forth between wanting a round brilliant solitaire, the Tiffany Soleste… a Blue Nile yellow diamond… and finally a Diamonds by Lauren yellow diamond. I made sure that I really wanted a yellow diamond (didn’t change my mind for months), and when the perfect one popped up on the Diamonds by Lauren website, we went for it 🙂 Of course not all brides want to be this involved in the process.. so my advice for the less Type A brides would be to do your research and know what you’re getting. Shop around. Don’t let yourself be pressured into anything.

Post # 9
6354 posts
Bee Keeper

#1. “Eye clean” is not an official term and never will be. It is sales speil and does not mean “clean to the eye” nor “GIA graded this stone incorrectly.” It usually means cloudy (light play concern) or feathered (durability concern).

#2. How little many salespeople at jewelry stores know about diamonds. They are salespeople, their job is to get people to buy. They’re definitely not necessarily diamond experts.

#3. There are a lot of not-so-honest jewelers out there trying to get you to buy their lower quality stock, which of course there is much more of and is harder to sell. They will come up with all sorts of things from half-truths to bold-faced lies for why certification doesn’t matter, cut doesn’t matter, color doesn’t matter, clarity doesn’t matter, fluorescence doesn’t matter (or is even a good thing).

There are reasons why colorless-range, ideal cut, clear diamonds with no fluorescence cost so much, and it’s not just because they’re rare. There are aesthetic differences. Be very aware of the tradeoffs you’re making. Look at the diamonds you’re considering. Then look at some other ones. Then go look at them again under different lighting on a different day. Then one more time. Really get used to what you’re seeing. Get over the dazzle (both visual and psychological) before commiting to anything. Because it’s going to be winking back at you on the back of your hand for a loooooooong time, isn’t it? So don’t rush, really look and look and look and understand.

#4. Best quality for best price, that simple. This has to be done in person, a GIA cert can eliminate bad diamonds but it can’t tell you everything between a good and a great one.

#5. DON’T TRUST JEWELER’S LIGHTS! Those things could make spit sparkle, and you can’t see color or clarity properly at all with them. You WILL see it in real life though, so insist on seeing the diamonds in natural lighting. Partly cloudy outdoor light (say, from a window) is great for seeing the diamond’s true features. DO NOT let them rush you (if that diamond’s just about to be sold, well that’s too bad, but there will be another just as good or better), and DO NOT believe them when they say there’s no room for negotiation because their quote prices are already very low. They can be lower.


Post # 10
3609 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000



#1 oddly, nothing. I knew little about diamonds whe we started shopping and I felt that I learned what I needed to learn.

#2 surpised: how important a ring was to me

#3 get a center stone that’s a few points below the next up carat weight–much cheaper and looks the same. A .94 looks like 1 c but costs less proptioanlly, they jack up the price when over 1 c.


#4 jeweler I liked didn’t pressure me and let me look multiple times at loose stones with the loupe and compair. I felt I learn during the process.






Post # 11
1979 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get  go?

I wish I knew that this process takes TIME!!  Even if you find THE ring, chances are you won’t be walking out of the store 30 minutes later with the ring.  It took us 8 MONTHS to find the right ring.  We went to countless jewelry stores and worked with a designer.  The designer couldn’t do what I wanted, just couldn’t make it happen!  I eventually found a Verragio setting at a Jeweler who would work with Verragio to customize the setting so that it was exactly what I wanted!

2) What surprised you the most?

I was surprised that pictures that I loved in magazines didn’t work on my hand.  Rings are like dresses, I am now a FIRM believer that you have to try them on to find the ONE!  There was a Tacori ring that I loved and I thought for sure that was the ring I wanted… but when I tried it on, it was way too thick on my finger!!  I realized how important it was for me to actually have the ring on my finger and that I didn’t want Fiance to totally surprise me with a ring.


Just because something is more expensive doesn’t mean that it is better- Platinum.  I would get white gold over Platinum jewelry any day!!  White gold holds up better to abuse and doesn’t get scratched like Platinum.  PLatinum is more expensive because it is more rare that white gold, and not because it is better than white gold.

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your  buck?

  My setting was really important to me and I wanted it to be my forever setting.  Fiance is still in school, so our compromise was that I would get the setting I wanted with a CZ and we would switch it out with the diamond when we could afford it. 

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned  dollars?


At our jeweler, you can actually turn in your ring for a downgrade and get cash back, you can switch it out for a diamond that is the same price with different specs, or trade it in to upgrade the diamond.  He also didn’t pressure us like other places.  My ring also has complimentary cleanings and rhodium dips!

5) any other tips you want to share!

Some rings have designs all the way around the band and they are really pretty… BUT it is a pain in the butt if you need to have it sized!!  Make sure the bottom half of your ring is plain so that it is easy to resize due to weight gain (especially if you are planning on having kids!).

Don’t forget about the wedding band (if you are planning on getting one later).  There were tons of engagement rings I liked on their own, but some rings looked weird with the wedding band added.  I also learned that I like the Engagement Ring and wedding band to be completely flush- gaps drive me crazy!!  Also keep thr thickness in mind- I have smaller hands, so some E-rings with the wedding band went all the way to my first knuckle!!  I knew I needed a thinner band so that it wasn’t too thick once the wedding band is there also.

Post # 12
1410 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

1) I wish I’d known to consider a wedding band! I didn’t thank about it at all. I have no regrets, but if I had thought about that maybe I would have gotten a simpler setting and a more ornate band, because I might wear my wedding band alone sometimes, and even if I was interested in just wearing my e-ring on my right hand it doesn’t fit there.

2) The thing that surprised me the most was how picky I was. I didn’t really like anything at two different mall jewelery stores. I didn’t love anything at the jeweler we used either, but we picked out the diamond and they carried the line with the setting I fell in love with online, so we ordered it anyways!

3) My advice for getting the best bang for your buck is to know someone, hah. Fiance has a family friend who’s a buyer for our jeweler, and we got an incredible discount. Also smaller, higher quality diamonds are better investments, and GIA-certified are the safest bet.

4) We chose our jeweler because a family friend worked there and was getting us a discount, but the customer service has been wonderful. Maybe we’re being treated VIP, but they’ve paid to ship things back and forth across the country more than once. But I’ve also heard horror stories from people going to a friend.

5) My last advice is that if generally you’re pretty good at knowing what you like, be wary but not afraid to buy even if you haven’t had a chance to try it on in person, if the picture suggests you love everything about it. But DO try on rings in person! Not everyone looks good in rose gold, for example. And if you’re not totally sure about your ring size get a practice ring and see how you like it as your finger ‘s thickness fluctuates!

Post # 13
173 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Haha so by reading everyone else’s questions I feel like I purchased very very quickly, the first time I’d really gone seriously shopping with SO. It turns out though that I bought the identical ring that he had been scoping out for a few months. He said he looked online and at every jeweler in town so that’s probably why he was like ok you like? we get. He didn’t tell me this until after I said it was my favourite out of all the stores we visited, and I was kind of amazed at our similar taste! I’m certain if that had not been the case he would have asked to look more at similar styles to the one I like to find the perfect version of it. 

1) What is the #1 thing you wish you’d known from the get go?

Some salespeople really don’t know all that much so it’s important to do a lot of research and looking around before you start shopping. And especially to expect to go to a lot of different places to find someone who’s willing to take the time to find something exactly like you want and being really creative to make it happen, not just approximately what you described that they already have. This was an issue with most of the places we visited. 

2) What surprised you the most?

I told one lady that it was too big and she was like “oh you’re just not used to it!” umm… what? Lol we ran from that one, how condescending and pushy could you get? 

Also how much the cut of the diamond and quality of the setting made a huge difference, more so than diamond size, in how much sparkle per $ you get. I was also astounded at the tiny differences that made huge price differences. 

3) What is your advise to get the best bang for your buck?

My SO was on the ball and asked about every possible discount under the sun (military, the one in the display vs new order, does a diamond have a small defect we can’t actually see that makes it cheaper, does the ring come with a good warrantee and free maintenance, could we get a better deal per ring if we also buy a wedding band to create our own set, etc) Now, some jewelers were pretty stubborn or unwilling to look into it but the one girl we ended up buying my ring from was really accomodating. We wound up with 45% off the original price for a clearance display-case setting + military discount, and another almost half off for choosing a .3 something carat vs a .5 but in a whiter better cut diamond. 

4) What made a jeweller/retailer worthy of your hard earned dollars?

Superior, attentive and very knowledgeable but not overbearing customer service, who went beyond trying to match my description and showed me a range of options meeting my taste and criteria I hadn’t thought of.  AND ESPECIALLY an included lifetime 100% guarantee that if we brought it in to get the prongs checked every 6 months they would replate it free and replace the diamond entirely if it fell off and I lost it forever. That’s worth a lot! 

5) any other tips you want to share!

Try everything on 10 bazillion times, with wedding bands you like too (because you’ll be wearing it with a wedding band for longer than without!), and side by side, and come back to it later, and under different light, and ask about every possible combination of tiny changes they think they could do. Also remember you’re the one who will be looking at it up close all the time and what it looks like from afar, not just peering at it under a microscope 🙂 What my ring looked like with my dream wedding band was what sprung it from top 3 to #1 keeper. 

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