Engagement Ring Help

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Topic Author
millenialsaver
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 9:59 am

Engagement Ring Help

Post by millenialsaver » Tue May 19, 2020 5:13 pm

Hi all,

Pretty new here, so please point me to a thread if this has already been discussed in depth somewhere else (apologies in advance if that is the case).

I'm currently beginning to look into an engagement ring (and diamond) for my gf, and, obviously, there's quite a lot of information out there on what to focus on, etc. So I wanted to see people's thoughts on the following details/topics.

1) Buy online or in person?
2) I'm quite frugal, but willing to spend a good chunk here. Should I go over 'budget' a bit to consider the long-term ownership aspect of this purchase? Meaning to ensure she feels good about the ring even in 20 years. By 'budget' I more so mean what I'd like to spend rather than what I can afford.
3) Other things to focus on / things you wish you would have known when you went through this process?

Thanks a ton.

millenialsaver

mega317
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by mega317 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:23 pm

When I was shopping I lived near a jewelry district and enjoyed going into a few of the shops and just chatting. I felt like that gave me a decent idea of what I could get for my money. I have no idea if I got a "good deal" but it seemed close and I felt good about it and was supporting a local business. Given the risks today though, I would probably stay on the couch.

I wouldn't spend more than you think is reasonable. 2 months income seems, fair I guess? I spent 3 months, but I was a year away from tripling my salary. I wouldn't think about 20 years down the line. Better to go less expensive today and upgrade later IMO. We have been married almost 7 years now, the cost of the ring comes out to less than 2 weeks combined income, and she is happy with it afaik.

One option is to choose the diamond and put it in a basic setting, then let her pick something nicer that she actually likes. If she says yes.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

wstrdg
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by wstrdg » Tue May 19, 2020 5:30 pm

Our kids all got engaged within a 3 month span. One couple bought a certified lab-grown diamond and had it mounted by a local jeweler. One bought a moissanite ring in a setting that they designed. One couple used great-great-grandma's ring, not of great value, but of great sentiment -- they will need to have a new shank installed because it's pretty thin from years of wear.

They all made the right choice. We never bought an engagement ring. We made the best choice, IMO :D

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Quirkz
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Quirkz » Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm

I'll admit after 13 years of marriage, the rings have been pretty insignificant to us, and the tradition around them seems more like a very unnecessary and expensive ... well, I don't know that I'll quite say "scam" but something just short of that.

I got all geared up to buy one way back when, but then her parents had one in the family from my wife's grandmother, so we used that. I did a bit of picky research for my own band. I tried to wear it for a year and came to accept I simply can't stand having something constricting on my hands, so transferred it to a necklace for a while and tend to forget to wear it most of the time. My wife wore hers for a few years, but she felt like she was beating it up too much during day-to-day life, so she bought a cheap silver backup for a while, and only wore the real one on special occasions. Then she got more active, and tossed the silver one for a $40 soft silicone ring that she wears most of the time. I tried the silicone ring too, and it was better than metal, but still drove me crazy.

I realize we may be exceptions, but it's definitely worth double-checking with your intentions and lifestyle before buying something expensive.

Beyond that, I'd recommend getting feedback from your fiancee in advance to make sure she likes it. And personally, being frugal, I'd recommend starting modest and consider upgrading the settings later, rather than blowing the budget now.

centrifuge41
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by centrifuge41 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm

Diamonds are an almost-commodity for a given grade, meaning aside from paying for specially branded diamonds (such as hearts on fire), the cost by grade/certifier should be similar across most channels. You'll be reading about the 4 C's:
  • Color (go gauge for yourself how this looks - everyone is different in deciding if it's worth spending money here to get to a more colorless ranking than ~I)
  • Clarity (VS1, VVS1/2, and IF are a "waste of money" because you will find "eye clean" diamonds (and not eye clean diamonds) across VS2, SI1, and SI2. I1 and above are not going to be eye clean and will be low quality; this is generally what stores like Zales and Helzbergs sell the most of)
  • Carat (size: whole sizes like 1.0 carat have a price jump vs. 0.99 carat)
  • Cut (if you believe Brightscope and if you can tell once you do some looking, cut will matter more than anything. Not just the Ex grades (top 20% of diamonds by cut), but more like the top 1 or 2%. You can guarantee it by paying extra on sites like White Flash/buying a Hearts on Fire, or you can go pick them out yourself either in person or on a site like James Allen, where the picture-availability markup is small
As for settings, that's highly taste driven. It depends on if you want your fianceé to decide vs. surprising her with something more basic. If she/you can decide on a particular setting, that could determine which online/retail stores sell that model/brand. Most stores have ~2x/year 20% off settings sales. The stones themselves don't go on sale.

If you want to optimize, buying a diamond can be harder than buying a use car. You could end up spending a long time checking out stones, and reading on sites like diamonds.pro or brightscope.

runner3081
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by runner3081 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm

I spent about 2k on one many years ago.

10 years into our marriage, both her and my ring sits in a drawer. Neither of us are jewelry fans.

yohac
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by yohac » Tue May 19, 2020 5:35 pm

Consider bluenile.com. I bought my wife's diamond there. Very reputable.

delamer
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by delamer » Tue May 19, 2020 5:41 pm

Family member had a good experience purchasing a diamond and setting through Blue Nile. Within a fairly generous time frame, you can return the ring for full credit if your fiancee wants something else.

It has an upgrade policy (as do many other jewelers) that you can trade-in your diamond for full credit of original purchase price for a better (more expensive) stone. And you get a slight discount if you pay by wire transfer rather than credit card.

There is a lot of educational information on the website too.

Good luck.

tashnewbie
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by tashnewbie » Tue May 19, 2020 5:42 pm

Have you asked her what she wants/likes? I’d start there if you haven’t.

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TxAg
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by TxAg » Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm

9 years later and my wife says she'd rather have just a band and a pile of cash instead of a big, shiny diamond.

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sergeant
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by sergeant » Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm

My fiancée wanted a moissanite ring. She thinks diamonds are a scam and bad for the environment. It was way cheaper than a diamond. We have been happily married for 30 years. I would steer clear of anyone that demanded an expensive trinket.
AA- 20+ Years of Expenses Fixed Income/The remainder in Equities.

sailaway
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by sailaway » Tue May 19, 2020 5:44 pm

The single most important thing to focus on is the wearer's attitude. Are symbols like this important to her? Is she a trend chaser? Does she usually insist on name brands/ luxury in other areas? Does she comment on other people's engagement ring?

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CAsage
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by CAsage » Tue May 19, 2020 5:45 pm

There are many prior threads on engagement rings and how to buy diamonds. This one has a very interesting post on the industry. Also, interesting posts on how to sell a ring - keep in mind, there is really no resale market without massive price cuts. May not affect whether you want one!

viewtopic.php?t=314459
Last edited by CAsage on Tue May 19, 2020 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Topic Author
millenialsaver
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by millenialsaver » Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 pm

centrifuge41 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm
Diamonds are an almost-commodity for a given grade, meaning aside from paying for specially branded diamonds (such as hearts on fire), the cost by grade/certifier should be similar across most channels. You'll be reading about the 4 C's:
  • Color (go gauge for yourself how this looks - everyone is different in deciding if it's worth spending money here to get to a more colorless ranking than ~I)
  • Clarity (VS1, VVS1/2, and IF are a "waste of money" because you will find "eye clean" diamonds (and not eye clean diamonds) across VS2, SI1, and SI2. I1 and above are not going to be eye clean and will be low quality; this is generally what stores like Zales and Helzbergs sell the most of)
  • Carat (size: whole sizes like 1.0 carat have a price jump vs. 0.99 carat)
  • Cut (if you believe Brightscope and if you can tell once you do some looking, cut will matter more than anything. Not just the Ex grades (top 20% of diamonds by cut), but more like the top 1 or 2%. You can guarantee it by paying extra on sites like White Flash/buying a Hearts on Fire, or you can go pick them out yourself either in person or on a site like James Allen, where the picture-availability markup is small
As for settings, that's highly taste driven. It depends on if you want your fianceé to decide vs. surprising her with something more basic. If she/you can decide on a particular setting, that could determine which online/retail stores sell that model/brand. Most stores have ~2x/year 20% off settings sales. The stones themselves don't go on sale.

If you want to optimize, buying a diamond can be harder than buying a use car. You could end up spending a long time checking out stones, and reading on sites like diamonds.pro or brightscope.
Thanks, centrifuge. Seems like you know your stuff! Yeah, based on the minimal reading I've done thus far, everyone recommends 'splurging' on Cut, with the 3 other Cs taking somewhat of a backseat. Also seems like the value can be had in focusing on 'eye clean' since being able to see some blemish under 10x magnification really doesn't matter.

I plan on going to a local jeweler soon (my family has used this person before) to at least get an idea about what to look for and how things look to the naked eye. So you don't think there would be much of a difference in diamond between a local jeweler and, say, an online retailer like Blue Nile?

delamer
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by delamer » Tue May 19, 2020 5:54 pm

millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 pm
centrifuge41 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm
Diamonds are an almost-commodity for a given grade, meaning aside from paying for specially branded diamonds (such as hearts on fire), the cost by grade/certifier should be similar across most channels. You'll be reading about the 4 C's:
  • Color (go gauge for yourself how this looks - everyone is different in deciding if it's worth spending money here to get to a more colorless ranking than ~I)
  • Clarity (VS1, VVS1/2, and IF are a "waste of money" because you will find "eye clean" diamonds (and not eye clean diamonds) across VS2, SI1, and SI2. I1 and above are not going to be eye clean and will be low quality; this is generally what stores like Zales and Helzbergs sell the most of)
  • Carat (size: whole sizes like 1.0 carat have a price jump vs. 0.99 carat)
  • Cut (if you believe Brightscope and if you can tell once you do some looking, cut will matter more than anything. Not just the Ex grades (top 20% of diamonds by cut), but more like the top 1 or 2%. You can guarantee it by paying extra on sites like White Flash/buying a Hearts on Fire, or you can go pick them out yourself either in person or on a site like James Allen, where the picture-availability markup is small
As for settings, that's highly taste driven. It depends on if you want your fianceé to decide vs. surprising her with something more basic. If she/you can decide on a particular setting, that could determine which online/retail stores sell that model/brand. Most stores have ~2x/year 20% off settings sales. The stones themselves don't go on sale.

If you want to optimize, buying a diamond can be harder than buying a use car. You could end up spending a long time checking out stones, and reading on sites like diamonds.pro or brightscope.
Thanks, centrifuge. Seems like you know your stuff! Yeah, based on the minimal reading I've done thus far, everyone recommends 'splurging' on Cut, with the 3 other Cs taking somewhat of a backseat. Also seems like the value can be had in focusing on 'eye clean' since being able to see some blemish under 10x magnification really doesn't matter.

I plan on going to a local jeweler soon (my family has used this person before) to at least get an idea about what to look for and how things look to the naked eye. So you don't think there would be much of a difference in diamond between a local jeweler and, say, an online retailer like Blue Nile?
What do you mean by “much of a difference?” Price, quality, selection, etc.?

sport
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by sport » Tue May 19, 2020 5:56 pm

Costco sells diamonds. Costco will not cheat you.

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Nate79
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Nate79 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:56 pm

I like the guidance of no more than 1 months after tax salary if you are in a good spot financially (debt free, putting >15% in retirement accounts, etc). If those are not true I would spend less.

Topic Author
millenialsaver
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by millenialsaver » Tue May 19, 2020 5:58 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:54 pm
millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 pm
centrifuge41 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm
Diamonds are an almost-commodity for a given grade, meaning aside from paying for specially branded diamonds (such as hearts on fire), the cost by grade/certifier should be similar across most channels. You'll be reading about the 4 C's:
  • Color (go gauge for yourself how this looks - everyone is different in deciding if it's worth spending money here to get to a more colorless ranking than ~I)
  • Clarity (VS1, VVS1/2, and IF are a "waste of money" because you will find "eye clean" diamonds (and not eye clean diamonds) across VS2, SI1, and SI2. I1 and above are not going to be eye clean and will be low quality; this is generally what stores like Zales and Helzbergs sell the most of)
  • Carat (size: whole sizes like 1.0 carat have a price jump vs. 0.99 carat)
  • Cut (if you believe Brightscope and if you can tell once you do some looking, cut will matter more than anything. Not just the Ex grades (top 20% of diamonds by cut), but more like the top 1 or 2%. You can guarantee it by paying extra on sites like White Flash/buying a Hearts on Fire, or you can go pick them out yourself either in person or on a site like James Allen, where the picture-availability markup is small
As for settings, that's highly taste driven. It depends on if you want your fianceé to decide vs. surprising her with something more basic. If she/you can decide on a particular setting, that could determine which online/retail stores sell that model/brand. Most stores have ~2x/year 20% off settings sales. The stones themselves don't go on sale.

If you want to optimize, buying a diamond can be harder than buying a use car. You could end up spending a long time checking out stones, and reading on sites like diamonds.pro or brightscope.
Thanks, centrifuge. Seems like you know your stuff! Yeah, based on the minimal reading I've done thus far, everyone recommends 'splurging' on Cut, with the 3 other Cs taking somewhat of a backseat. Also seems like the value can be had in focusing on 'eye clean' since being able to see some blemish under 10x magnification really doesn't matter.

I plan on going to a local jeweler soon (my family has used this person before) to at least get an idea about what to look for and how things look to the naked eye. So you don't think there would be much of a difference in diamond between a local jeweler and, say, an online retailer like Blue Nile?
What do you mean by “much of a difference?” Price, quality, selection, etc.?
Meant mainly price, but with the assumption that all else was equal.

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TxAg
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by TxAg » Tue May 19, 2020 5:59 pm

sergeant wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm
My fiancée wanted a moissanite ring. She thinks diamonds are a scam and bad for the environment. It was way cheaper than a diamond. We have been happily married for 30 years. I would steer clear of anyone that demanded an expensive trinket.
Amen to that!

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Flobes
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Flobes » Tue May 19, 2020 6:12 pm

millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:13 pm
Pretty new here, so please point me to a thread if this has already been discussed in depth somewhere else.

I'm currently beginning to look into an engagement ring (and diamond) for my gf...
Welcome to the Forum. And congratulations on readying for the next big step of your life.

Yes, this has been discussed many times. Use the Google search box on the top right of BH pages to find prior conversations.

To get you started, here's a dozen threads with 1000+ comments:

Engagement Ring (Affordable)

Ring Shopping

Toughest Purchase of my Life. Engagement Ring time

Where to buy engagement ring?

Buying a diamond ring

large purchase (engagement ring)

Buying a wedding ring 2015

Help with 4C's for engagement ring

Engagement Ring - Diamond Help

Am I being cheap? (wedding/engagement ring)

Anyone know anything about diamond rings?

Diamond ring setting: 4 or 6 prong?

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StormShadow
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by StormShadow » Tue May 19, 2020 6:14 pm

Engagement rings will depreciate by at least 50-75% immediately after you walk out the door. The majority of the value of the ring will be (should be) in the diamond you purchase and this will be the only part of the ring to hold its value (besides the weight of the precious metal you use).

I was fortunate enough to have a diamond gifted to me from my mother and I had the stone set in a nice platinum band in a cathedral setting at a Bailey Banks and Biddle. DW was happy with the result. She helped in picking out the design. I highly recommend your significant other be involved in the selection of the setting/stone.

So basically.. consider getting the stone separately and have it set it someplace else.

delamer
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by delamer » Tue May 19, 2020 6:15 pm

millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:58 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:54 pm
millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 pm
centrifuge41 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 pm
Diamonds are an almost-commodity for a given grade, meaning aside from paying for specially branded diamonds (such as hearts on fire), the cost by grade/certifier should be similar across most channels. You'll be reading about the 4 C's:
  • Color (go gauge for yourself how this looks - everyone is different in deciding if it's worth spending money here to get to a more colorless ranking than ~I)
  • Clarity (VS1, VVS1/2, and IF are a "waste of money" because you will find "eye clean" diamonds (and not eye clean diamonds) across VS2, SI1, and SI2. I1 and above are not going to be eye clean and will be low quality; this is generally what stores like Zales and Helzbergs sell the most of)
  • Carat (size: whole sizes like 1.0 carat have a price jump vs. 0.99 carat)
  • Cut (if you believe Brightscope and if you can tell once you do some looking, cut will matter more than anything. Not just the Ex grades (top 20% of diamonds by cut), but more like the top 1 or 2%. You can guarantee it by paying extra on sites like White Flash/buying a Hearts on Fire, or you can go pick them out yourself either in person or on a site like James Allen, where the picture-availability markup is small
As for settings, that's highly taste driven. It depends on if you want your fianceé to decide vs. surprising her with something more basic. If she/you can decide on a particular setting, that could determine which online/retail stores sell that model/brand. Most stores have ~2x/year 20% off settings sales. The stones themselves don't go on sale.

If you want to optimize, buying a diamond can be harder than buying a use car. You could end up spending a long time checking out stones, and reading on sites like diamonds.pro or brightscope.
Thanks, centrifuge. Seems like you know your stuff! Yeah, based on the minimal reading I've done thus far, everyone recommends 'splurging' on Cut, with the 3 other Cs taking somewhat of a backseat. Also seems like the value can be had in focusing on 'eye clean' since being able to see some blemish under 10x magnification really doesn't matter.

I plan on going to a local jeweler soon (my family has used this person before) to at least get an idea about what to look for and how things look to the naked eye. So you don't think there would be much of a difference in diamond between a local jeweler and, say, an online retailer like Blue Nile?
What do you mean by “much of a difference?” Price, quality, selection, etc.?
Meant mainly price, but with the assumption that all else was equal.
As a rule, the same stone is going to be cheaper at an online jeweler than at a store. But you can always check out a local offering and see what you’d pay for the same stone online. Or conversely, go to both with a dollar figure in mind and see what you can get for that amount in both places.

And the selection will be much bigger online. I think Blue Nile has a couple hundred thousand stones.

(I’m sending you a private message.)

gmc4h232
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by gmc4h232 » Tue May 19, 2020 6:16 pm

Go to some pawn shops and look at their selection and bring cash and negotiate. Seriously - they have nice stuff. the ring will have the same sentiment regardless of what you spend on it. she is obligated to love whatever you get her. If she doesn't, reconsider your engagement.

Doctor Rhythm
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Doctor Rhythm » Tue May 19, 2020 6:20 pm

1) Buy online or in person?
2) I'm quite frugal, but willing to spend a good chunk here. Should I go over 'budget' a bit to consider the long-term ownership aspect of this purchase? Meaning to ensure she feels good about the ring even in 20 years. By 'budget' I more so mean what I'd like to spend rather than what I can afford.
3) Other things to focus on / things you wish you would have known when you went through this process?
1. Consider shopping for the ring together if that's culturally acceptable
2. This is almost entirely a personal (and culturally determined) decision. How much of your self-esteem is tied into the price of the ring? How much of hers? Does your culture expect a certain outlay? Will you or she suffer a diminished opinion in your social group if you don't spend enough? Do either of you care? For the spousal unit and I, the ring was pretty meaningless and maybe 1-2 weeks salary was spent on it. It currently lives in a soap dish. That being said, assuming you stay together, you probably won't regret spending more rather than less.
3. As someone else said, although there are 4 C's, carats and cut are the only ones that really matter. Short of a glaring problem, you can't easily discern differences in color or clarity without removing the stone and using a loupe.

Carguy85
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Carguy85 » Tue May 19, 2020 6:32 pm

Well, how much do you love her? :D

TxAg wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:59 pm
sergeant wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm
My fiancée wanted a moissanite ring. She thinks diamonds are a scam and bad for the environment. It was way cheaper than a diamond. We have been happily married for 30 years. I would steer clear of anyone that demanded an expensive trinket.
Amen to that!
No doubt!!! My vote towards spending your money on something other than big diamonds and big weddings

Much to the jeweler’s disgust we went with a CZ $20 stone...4 years later when the ring got lost in plumbing (we think)it wasn’t as huge of a deal. Happily been together 16 years

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Misenplace
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Misenplace » Tue May 19, 2020 6:33 pm

This topic is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (how we spend our money).

sport
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by sport » Tue May 19, 2020 6:35 pm

gmc4h232 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:16 pm
Go to some pawn shops and look at their selection and bring cash and negotiate. Seriously - they have nice stuff. the ring will have the same sentiment regardless of what you spend on it. she is obligated to love whatever you get her. If she doesn't, reconsider your engagement.
How would you know you bought a diamond and not some other sparkly material? I know I could not tell the difference.

atikovi
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by atikovi » Tue May 19, 2020 6:45 pm

millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:13 pm
I'm currently beginning to look into an engagement ring (and diamond) for my gf, and, obviously, there's quite a lot of information out there on what to focus on, etc.
Just buy a 2 carat quality CZ and keep your mouth shut. Chances are, 6 months after the wedding she wont even be wearing it regularly.

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mmmodem
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by mmmodem » Tue May 19, 2020 7:10 pm

1) I looked online and in store but ultimately bought online because I wanted to buy from ethically sourced diamonds.
2) I bought the best cut I could afford. I did not splurge. I did feel bad for DW every once in awhile a friend shows off their ring and it is always substantially larger than what I bought.
3) But I don't regret it. We both stopped wearing our bands and ring less than two years after the wedding. We both work in industries that require removal of all jewelry and wearing gloves. Both she and I got tired of taking the ring on and off at work and worrying about forgetting. Rings are now left at home. The ring I bought her is low cost enough to not have to worry about buying insurance. If we lose it, then we lose it. I don't think we'd get more than a few hundred dollars if we sold it anyway even though I paid thousands for it. Be sure you understand the used market of engagement rings.

bob60014
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by bob60014 » Tue May 19, 2020 7:23 pm

It a total waste of money. You dont need a ring to seal the deal!

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Watty
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Watty » Tue May 19, 2020 7:31 pm

One thing to be aware of is that synthetic diamonds(lab grown) have gotten really good and they are getting better and less expensive every year. These are chemically identical to natural diamonds and often they have to be examined in a laboratory to determine if they are synthetic or natural. These are not fake diamonds like cubic zirconia or moissanite, they are real diamonds that just happen to be man made.

I don't have a crystal ball but this does not bode well for the future value of any diamond you might buy today. If nothing else any diamond you buy now may not be worth a lot in 20 years just because man made diamonds will become more common.
millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:13 pm
3) Other things to focus on / things you wish you would have known when you went through this process?


Paying extra for a high grade colorless diamond may be a waste if it will be mounted in a yellow gold ring. It will pick up color from the gold reflections. Colorless diamonds should be put into white gold or platinum.

A good case can be made that you do not need a high grade diamond for a ring because it will almost always be dirty if it has not been recently cleaned.

A diamond that weighs just below a round number may cost a lot less. For example a .99 carat diamond may cost a lot less that a 1.0 carat diamond.

The difference between a high grade diamond and a somewhat lower grade diamond may be very hard to see with your naked eye.
millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:13 pm
2) I'm quite frugal, but willing to spend a good chunk here.
.....
Meaning to ensure she feels good about the ring even in 20 years.
An important thing is to talk with her about what she wants and how she sees herself wearing the ring. She might prefer that the money be used on something like the honeymoon or car.

My wife and I are both fairly frugal and we got her ring at a upscale auction for around $2,000 in today's dollars which was basically a fair wholesale price. The diamond was a decent size, about 0.75 carat, but not a real high grade diamond but we knew that and were OK with that.

The problem was that when my wife was out somewhere shopping she would sometimes get well meaning compliments from strangers about it being a nice ring. That made her feel uncomfortable since she felt like that might make her a target for being robbed and she was not even in dodgy areas or anything like that.

To feel more comfortable she would sometimes rotate the ring so that the diamond was not visible or leave the ring at home. She would also take off the diamond ring when she was doing something like gardening which makes sense but there were several times when we had to do a frantic search looking for it. I am sure that people also noticed that she was not wearing her wedding ring and wondered if there were problems. The engagement ring was soldered to the matching wedding band so just leaving that on was not an option.

We talked about it and we ended up buying her a plain gold wedding band that matched mine that she uses as an everyday ring. The diamond ring went into the safe and she will only occasionally wear it to a special occasion and will sometimes go years between when she wears it.

You would want to talk it over with her but getting her a third simple "everyday" wedding band would be worth considering.

This is only half serious but if you are thinking of spending $20K ring then you might want to go to the bank and get $20K in cash and have her walk around $20K in cash for a few days to help her decide if she will be comfortable being out and about with a ring that costs that much.

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Nicolas
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Nicolas » Tue May 19, 2020 8:03 pm

CAsage wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:45 pm
There are many prior threads on engagement rings and how to buy diamonds. This one has a very interesting post on the industry. Also, interesting posts on how to sell a ring - keep in mind, there is really no resale market without massive price cuts. May not affect whether you want one!

viewtopic.php?t=314459
This is the relevant piece about the diamond industry. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... nd/304575/

Basically women have been mass-brainwashed by De Beers to need a diamond for their self esteem. My wife didn’t get one, partly because we were too poor then, and 48 years later we’re still married.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue May 19, 2020 8:29 pm

In some traditional societies the bridegroom had to show up with an appropriate number of cows. He needed enough cows to show that he was committed, and that he was a good provider.

So OP should start off by determining how many cows are needed in the culture he is marrying into. And also how the cows are judged. Is it just number? Or do they need to have glossy coats? When he knows this he will know whether there is anything to be gained by getting a good deal on a real diamond, or whether the number of dollars spent is what matters, or whether a big zircona jewel will suffice.

Thing is, the traditional cultures really had it right. Because you can get milk from a cow, or you can eat it, or you can trade it for sheep. A ring is just a consumption item. The amount of value that you can recover if resold is a small fraction of the cost. So a ring is really kind of...an ornamental cow.

GT99
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by GT99 » Tue May 19, 2020 8:44 pm

Ah, yes - the greatest marketing scam in the history of mankind. I'm happily married for 7+ years, but still pissed about the diamond (and I spent less than 1 month salary).
As others have said, the only way to get deals on the stones are to go pre-owned or fake/man-made. Not sure how far the man-made stones have come in the almost 8 years since I bought - I had researched them then and options were limited and they weren't that much less expensive. I've hoped that would change, but haven't looked into it because I haven't and won't buy another diamond (unless it's for a drill-bit :D ).

Settings vary greatly, but I don't recommend going cheap - the diamond is more likely to come lose in a cheap setting.

catlady
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by catlady » Tue May 19, 2020 9:03 pm

Echoing a few of the comments above, specifically recommending bluenile.com and taking her to look at rings at least once.

Before we looked at rings I thought I wanted 3 stones or at least 1.5-2 carats. After trying them on I quickly realized I wanted a solitaire and anything larger than 1 carat was too big for my hand and felt impractical. It’s been over 10 years and I still love my ring.

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lthenderson
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 19, 2020 9:22 pm

I went the local jeweler route mostly because they would resize it or mount it differently free of charge if my then girlfriend didn't like it. Even back then, I spent a tiny fraction of what some people "recommend" you spend and she still said yes. These days it sees daylight maybe once a year and other than that, we both wear bands. Just passed 16 years.

BeneIRA
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by BeneIRA » Tue May 19, 2020 9:43 pm

Big fan of James Allen. Got the engagement ring and band there. Prices were much better than brick and mortar. Unless you have to, I would avoid brick and mortar jewelry stores, who will rob you worse than a pickpocket on a crowded subway.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by LilyFleur » Wed May 20, 2020 3:22 am

sergeant wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm
My fiancée wanted a moissanite ring. She thinks diamonds are a scam and bad for the environment. It was way cheaper than a diamond. We have been happily married for 30 years. I would steer clear of anyone that demanded an expensive trinket.
Moissanite is gorgeous, and then you have money left over for a nice trip!

mancich
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by mancich » Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 am

sport wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:56 pm
Costco sells diamonds. Costco will not cheat you.
+1. Can't go wrong with Costco.
I also like Blue Nile. Not the cheapest but I've had good luck in the past buying jewelry from them.

fallingeggs
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by fallingeggs » Wed May 20, 2020 8:51 am

I got mine from WhiteFlash, which does most of their business online. I did happen to stop by their place in Houston when I was there visiting friends. Like BlueNile, they are very reputable online and won't screw you. They treat the diamond like the commodity it is. Bands are "art."

I was happy to go with what felt like an expensive ring at the time (close to two most gross pay or three months take-home, as a rough guess) because I know my wife would appreciate the sparkle every day. It wasn't a stretch to make the payment as my savings was probably 15 times the cost, but it was certainly the largest purchase I've done at the time (just surpassed by our house). But ladies are all different and some just won't place much value in it.

Buy the diamond with the highest cut. This determines the sparkle-ness and will make a small diamond look big. If you're going with a gold band, the diamond can be fairly yellow without noticing. And clarity can also be fairly low without seeing anything with the naked eye. That leaves size to move up and down to hit your budget. And remember that you can always upsize the diamond at some later point. WhiteFlash has a trade up policy that is pretty neat.

alfaspider
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by alfaspider » Wed May 20, 2020 9:09 am

As others mentioned, it's really up to what your spouse to be wants. Ultimately, the purpose of the enterprise is to make them (and their friends/family) happy. If they'd be satisfied with nothing less than a 2 carat high-grade diamond from Tiffany, I'd say it's an utter waste of money, but what I say doesn't matter if you will have an unhappy partner. Frankly, I agree that diamonds as a prerequisite for a wedding are an outrageous scam, but I suppose part of the reason for the cultural institution is you are supposed to be devoted enough to be willing to flush money down the tube for something so outrageous as a show of devotion... or something.

If it's a surprise (or semi-surprise) engagement, I'd just use a cheap dummy ring for popping the question, and then shop for the ring together. The shopping mall type places are pretty much universally overpriced, but your spouse would need to be happy with online or Costco. We did the NYC diamond district thing, which felt a bit scammy, but at the end of the day I spent less on something she liked than if we had just walked into Jared's at the mall. It was also a more unique sort of experience. Whether the bauble was "worth" what I paid is pretty irrelevant at this point.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed May 20, 2020 9:16 am

Nate79 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:56 pm
I like the guidance of no more than 1 months after tax salary if you are in a good spot financially (debt free, putting >15% in retirement accounts, etc). If those are not true I would spend less.
My wife would have divorced me if I spent that much. I solved the issue by not getting an engagement ring at all. Two matching wedding bands; one for each of us is what we wanted and got. Tbh, I knew she wouldn’t want an engagement ring.

“Guidance“ would not be the word I’d choose.

ETA: for the record, I’m not a cheapskate or frugal, I’m a romantic, I love my wife more after a quarter century together than ever, etc. Still, I just don’t get the heuristic related to how much to spend. Hey barber, do I need a haircut?
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

jpelder
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by jpelder » Wed May 20, 2020 9:24 am

I'd go with a local place if you want the traditional route, just make sure that they'll clean and size for free or for a reasonable price.

Be aware of the hardness of diamond alternatives if your future fiancee/wife is going to wear her ring every day. Diamonds are hard and can't be scratched by basically anything. Sapphires are up there in hardness, but they're a little easier than diamond to scratch or chip. I'm not sure about the hardness of moissanite or cubic zirconia, but since they're less expensive, it would be easier to replace a damaged stone.

The diamond industry, as other have said, is a big price-fixed racket. The ring will immediately lose most of its monetary value when you leave the store. The more important thing is that it not stretch the budget, especially if it's just going to sit in a drawer. I paid $300 for my wife's engagement ring (a halo setting that incorporated a sapphire from a family heirloom ring). She mostly wears the plain gold band that matches mine, and just gets out the "real" ring for special occasions.

nesta
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by nesta » Wed May 20, 2020 9:37 am

When I got engaged there was a book I had just read on how terrible the diamond industry was, so I wanted something different. My husband bought me a lovely sapphire, which was significantly cheaper than a diamond of comparable size. If I was getting engaged now, I would be ok with a lab created diamond as long as it was fairly inexpensive. Turns out I'm not a jewelry person either, so wear an Enso ring. We are both fairly frugal, so I would have been pretty upset if he had paid a lot for something that I don't think is necessary.

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Toons
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Toons » Wed May 20, 2020 9:39 am

Pay cash
Amazon
:mrgreen:
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barnaclebob
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by barnaclebob » Wed May 20, 2020 9:47 am

The people who respond to these threads must be the vegans of jewelry. You would think hardly any women wear wedding rings based on the replies. I spent about $3k on my wife's engagement ring at age 21, nearly my entire summer internship take home pay. She loves it, I love it. She wears it every day and its holding up well.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Sandtrap » Wed May 20, 2020 9:58 am

TxAg wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:43 pm
9 years later and my wife says she'd rather have just a band and a pile of cash instead of a big, shiny diamond.
Over 35 years later, DW says the same thing for any occasion, including anniversaries. Cash. Greenbacks. Dinero! :moneybag
Happy Spouse

j :D
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gmc4h232
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by gmc4h232 » Wed May 20, 2020 11:30 am

sport wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:35 pm
gmc4h232 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:16 pm
Go to some pawn shops and look at their selection and bring cash and negotiate. Seriously - they have nice stuff. the ring will have the same sentiment regardless of what you spend on it. she is obligated to love whatever you get her. If she doesn't, reconsider your engagement.
How would you know you bought a diamond and not some other sparkly material? I know I could not tell the difference.
What difference does it make? If you cant tell the difference and she cant tell the difference, does it really matter? It's not like it will get resold, and all you are doing is checking a box by buying one in the first place right?

invest4
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by invest4 » Wed May 20, 2020 11:30 am

It really boils down to expectations from the future Mrs. I believe age can also be a significant factor. Similar to what some of the others have shared, what may have been important in the beginning may change through the years. My wife lost one of the satellite diamonds on her ring and had temporarily set it aside so she could get a replacement and make sure the others were secure. In the meantime, she purchased a couple of very inexpensive rings ($20-$40) that she liked to wear on a temporary basis. Suffice it to say, the original ring remains put away and she continues to purchase some new ones when the others lose their luster and enjoys trying new styles, etc.

My recommendation is to have a sense for what would make your wife happy and I bet you can do so without spending a fortune.

sport
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by sport » Wed May 20, 2020 12:02 pm

gmc4h232 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:30 am
sport wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:35 pm
gmc4h232 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:16 pm
Go to some pawn shops and look at their selection and bring cash and negotiate. Seriously - they have nice stuff. the ring will have the same sentiment regardless of what you spend on it. she is obligated to love whatever you get her. If she doesn't, reconsider your engagement.
How would you know you bought a diamond and not some other sparkly material? I know I could not tell the difference.
What difference does it make? If you cant tell the difference and she cant tell the difference, does it really matter? It's not like it will get resold, and all you are doing is checking a box by buying one in the first place right?
I would not want to spend 100's or 1000's on a $2 piece of glass. She probably would eventually notice the difference when she compared it to her girlfriend's real diamond. Then you would look like a dishonest cheapskate. Probably not the best way to start a marriage.

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