I hate to say it, but guys can be idiots when it comes to buying diamond engagement rings. I really hate to say this because I’m a guy and I was certainly an idiot way back when I bought my first ring. If only I knew then what I know now. Most guys approach buying a diamond like this:
They decide they want to get engaged (usually because their significant other has threatened them to get off the pot, so to speak).
They remember they saw a commercial on TV for some big box store at the mall and remember some statistic that stated they should expect to spend 2 or 3 months income on a ring (let’s call it $10,000).
They walk into the mall store and ask the clerk, “Show me what you have for $10,000.”
The commission-driven clerk falls over themselves to show them their stock.
The guy thinks, “Wow, that’s sparkly.” and lays down his $10,000 (or more if he’s lured into their readily available financing).
He’s thrilled. Now he can get engaged. But he has no idea what kind of value he’s received for his hard earned money. And, in most cases it may never matter.
In my many years as a precious metals dealer, I’ve seen many engagement rings come in to be sold to us. It truly breaks my heart to see what some of those big box stores will charge for jewelry. Suffice it to say that many of the rings we’ve seen are worth only a small fraction of their selling price. And don’t forget that, as a rule of thumb, you should never buy your jewelry where you buy your socks!
I’m not suggesting you become a diamond expert. It’s not necessary. I don’t know how a car engine works, but I still buy cars. But I know what’s appealing to me. And, I have a pretty good idea of the type of value I should receive for my money.
Times have changed. National statistics are showing $5,000 to be the average engagement ring spend and around a carat to be the typical center stone. Obviously, within that framework, there’s a myriad of choices for mountings and stone shapes. But, most importantly, you’ve got to at least know the basics of diamond buying and have a good idea of what it is you want to buy. Don’t just satisfy the need… satisfy your (and her) desire.
With diamonds, you can get a big stone for comparably little money if you sacrifice color or clarity. But dress it up in the right mounting and you may not notice the difference. In my own inventory, I have a 2 carat round diamond that sells for less than a 1 carat round diamond! It depends what is important to you.
Unless you’re financially loaded, don’t get hung up on buzz words like colorless or flawless. You’ll end up paying a lot more than you need to for a difference that may not be needed or even noticeable.
You’re going to pay more (not a ton more) for a certified diamond than a non-certified one. But, if you trust the diamond person you’re working with, a non-certified stone will do just fine. The certifying of the diamond takes away the subjective nature of the diamond. If the certificate (from a reputable bureau) says it’s a VS1/J diamond, no one can say it isn’t. If you want that piece of mind it’s worth the extra.
Best practice… don’t just plunk your money down. If you’re clueless (and many of us guys are) at least find a store like Gold Trader for example, with employees (like us!) who will guide you openly and honestly through the process. If they’re just showing you items in a case and not getting to know you and what you want, you’re in the wrong store!
Gold Trader & The Diamond Shop is located at 1360 Allen St, Springfield, MA 01118. Visit us online at http://www.thegoldtraderstore.com.