Buyers can often find the same rings available at local or online retailers for a fraction of their original cost.
ST. LOUIS (PRWEB) October 19, 2017
With the weather cooling and the days growing shorter, engagement season is quickly approaching. In fact, Wedding Wire estimates that approximately 33% of all engagements each year occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As nearly minted engaged couples begin their search for the perfect ring, most have more questions than answers. Never fear, industry insider Philip Johnson of Have You Seen the Ring is here to share his advice on shopping for an engagement ring like a pro.
Think outside the box (of a traditional jewelry store)
Far more options exist for engagement ring shopping than ever before. Traditional local jewelers have expanded their selections to carry rings from national and international designer, while bigger-box chains are broadening their footprints to reach more customers. As a result of high overheads, many of these brick and mortar jewelers operate with significant price mark-ups, typically 50 to 100 percent above cost.
For this reason, Johnson suggests shopping locally at first to get an idea of stone sizes and ring styles and then heading online for a better deal. Reputable online retailers have access to a larger range of center stones and engagement ring styles than local jewelers can stock, typically with price mark-ups closer to 20 percent. Additionally, online retailers offer unique stone materials, shapes, and ring metals not available locally.
Johnson recommends that buyers check-out both conventional online retailers and alternative peer-to-peer marketplaces, including pre-owned ring specialty sites. “Buyer can often find the same rings available at local or online retailers for a fraction of their original cost,” Johnson explains. Sites like Have You Seen the Ring provide gemologist verification, where a certified gemologist inspects the items before they ship to the buyer to confirm the diamond or gemstone specifications and condition.
Spend your money where it counts
According to The Knot, the average cost of an engagement ring has increased to $6,163, including a one carat center stone. On Johnson’s website, buyers are able to stretch their budgets further; on average his buyers purchase a ring with a 1.28 carat center stone, while spending just $5,878.
Oftentimes, engagement ring shoppers start by trying to find the perfect setting and then selecting a center stone with the balance of their budget. Many of the big-brand settings boast high four-figure price tags, leaving little funds remaining for the center stone. As Johnson explains, “like new cars, engagement rings lose a percentage of their value as soon as you drive them off the [jewelry store] lot. The setting often depreciates faster than the center stone, typically because it has a larger mark-up originally.”
Johnson suggests that buyers can still find the perfect ring by shopping for loose diamonds before they decide on a setting. For buyers focusing on diamonds, Johnson recommends choosing stones that present a good compromise of characteristics: namely those that are well-cut, white-looking and eye-clean. He explains that higher-priced stones that “achieve only the best ratings in cut, color and clarity are difficult to discern from more affordable, mid-range stones when set in a ring.” Once a buyer has narrowed down their stone options, Johnson recommends they explore ring settings.
Diamond certifications: not everyone shines equally
There are a dizzying number of diamond certification labs worldwide. Most grading labs provide reports according to GIA’s alpha-numerical scale, but the leniency of gradings can vary dramatically. Should this mean that buyers only look at GIA certified stones? Not necessarily, according to Johnson. “While I would suggest that a typical buyer purchase a GIA certified stone, some stones from other labs will have a good combination of the 4Cs and may present good value for money, depending on the objectives of the buyer. Buyers need to beware of diamond prices that are too good to be true, and should insist on seeing an original version of a diamond’s certificate prior to making a purchase.” As for uncertified stones, Johnson cautions that there is often a reason jewelers have chosen not to have a stone certified, and buyers should steer clear of these diamonds.
About Have You Seen the Ring:
Established in 2010, St. Louis-based Have You Seen the Ring is one of the largest U.S. peer to peer marketplaces for pre-owned engagement rings and loose diamonds. The company connects independent buyers with independent sellers of pre-owned engagement rings in a safe, trusted environment. For more information, please visit http://www.haveyouseenthering.com/