Engagement Ring Help

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Watty
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Watty » Wed May 20, 2020 12:26 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?
FYI, they make inexpensive diamond testers but you need a separate tester for moissanite since it will fool cheap diamond testers. Read the instructions since you need to use them right. The pawn shop likely has one and it would take some effort to jimmy it to give false results.

https://www.amazon.com/Professional-Dua ... op?ie=UTF8

Distinguishing between the subtle differences of high grade diamonds is very difficult but with a little research on the internet and an inexpensive eye loop it not hard to learn enough to tell the difference between; "really bad", "mediocre but good enough for me", and "Nice but hard to tell how nice".

https://www.amazon.com/Aiernuo-Jeweler- ... fts&sr=1-1

I would caution that at least when I have checked out pawnshops for other things most of their prices were pretty bad. The problem is that they also make money by selling overpriced stuff on credit to people with bad credit. There is no reasons for them to sell things cheaper than you can get on eBay because they also often sell things on eBay themselves. I would not buy a diamond ring on eBay because there are so many scams and eBay has really gone downhill(IMHO).

mega317
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by mega317 » Wed May 20, 2020 12:45 pm

Ok but you have to feed the cows, and they smell, and where do you put them? I don't know how many cows were expected and how fast you'd eat them but the cost to keep them is in the range of 5-10 cow-years/carat.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

blues008
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by blues008 » Wed May 20, 2020 12:50 pm

You'll get a lot more information from the Pricescope forums, the Bogleheads of Diamonds: https://www.pricescope.com/

You don't need to spend a lot to get a great quality diamond. Within your budget you should focus on finding value within certain characteristics like color and clarity, but spend to get a better cut. Comparison shop at seller vendors including Costco, Whiteflash, Blue Nile, James Allen, and your local jeweler. Take the best bids to each shop and see what they'll do to help you.

Pencilskirt
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Pencilskirt » Wed May 20, 2020 1:12 pm

Hmm. This choice depends on so many factors. The biggest one is how much you and she value a diamond ring. It sounds like it is pretty important to you.

12 years ago when my husband was buying mine, we decided to go just under 1 carat because extra price is added for each .5 carat point. He bought a ring exactly at 3 months worth of salary. That’s fine but an available stone that was $200-300 more would have leveled up the ring IMO. It would have been nice to have. I left the final purchase up to him.

It meant a lot to him to buy me that ring and I still love it and I really appreciate that he wanted me to have it. He still likes to see me wear it. I do a lot of work with my hands and it’s been knocked hard many times but it has held up really well. I wear it without worrying about damaging it because that is what insurance is for.

Many people say it is silly and there are many persuasive arguments that it is. However, symbolically, it remains for many of us a significant token that you are willing to sacrifice some of your wants just to bring her joy.

At the same time it should not be so ostentatious that it shows impulsivity or poor money management.

If you have ethical misgivings or would like to give her something splashier on your budget, sapphires and other stones have tradition as engagement rings too. The size of her hand should be considered too. A ring looks best in proportion with the wearer.

You can’t really go wrong with Costco or Blue Nile. If you feel confident then a pawn shop could be the way to go.

Best Wishes!

Caduceus
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Caduceus » Wed May 20, 2020 1:57 pm

Congratulations! I recently got engaged too, so we went through the same process, although since we are both men, not everything we did might apply to your girlfriend. I think you should ask her what she wants, and get her to choose the ring herself, unless part of what she wants is that the ring be chosen by you (so that it feels more special to her.)

My boyfriend knew I would be quite particular about the ring, and as it so happened, another of our close friends was getting married. He asked the friend who was getting married to take me out shopping for rings (on the pretext of needing advice), and in the meantime, also find out which particular ring I personally liked. And that's how he found the perfect ring. I didn't even remember the actual ring when he proposed months later, but wondered how he could have chosen something that I would have chosen myself.

Maybe you could do something like that - if she has a close girlfriend who's soon to be married and is going ring-shopping.

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cashboy
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by cashboy » Wed May 20, 2020 2:07 pm

in some ways, getting/receiving an engagement ring is one of those cultural 'norms' that one simply goes along with.

it probably has the most 'emotional value' when first given. From that perspective, it does have 'value'.

it is worth noting that there can be 'peer pressure' from the recipients friends - will they feel the ring is nice when the recipient shows it to them.

my approach was that if i was going to do it i would do it 'right' (according to my own standards of what right means in this case).

i went for the following (years ago):

purchased at:
local store
(i knew people who worked there long term and i got a good deal).

size:
less than 1 carat
(since 1 carat can look quite large - to me)

shape:
marquise cut
(it looks better than round - to me)

color:
D
(though E or F would be fine - to me, the D really pops when placed next to another diamond - which some ring recipients will do)

clarity:
VVS 1
(though VVS2 or VS1 would be fine - to me, the VVS 1 really pops)


ring itself:
i picked it based upon what i knew her tastes were.
this can be a tough one to get 'right' and still keep it a surprise.



Fiance loved it.

one can go with a lower grade diamond in color or clarity (lets say 'average') and still get a nice ring (and i mean that in a nice way), but when i was looking the difference in price was not so large between average and what i bought - so i went for the better diamond and am glad i did. when i look at the ring it reminds me of the time period that i gave it to my Fiance - and that has 'value' to me.

bottom line: do what feels right for you without spending more than you can really afford.

best of luck to you and your fiance!

:sharebeer
Last edited by cashboy on Wed May 20, 2020 2:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Onlineid3089
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Onlineid3089 » Wed May 20, 2020 2:17 pm

atikovi wrote:
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.
There's some truth to this. We got married right at a year ago. I got her a nice but modest lab grown diamond ring from Brilliant Earth, only $5000 or so total for stone, ring, and wedding band so definitely nothing big. She's very happy with it, but found that she worries about wearing it while at work in a hospital lab with gloves going on/off all the time. She got herself a pack of silicon rings that she's mostly been wearing for a few months now, and picked out a $300 cz ring for our anniversary :beer

7eight9
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by 7eight9 » Wed May 20, 2020 2:20 pm

Buy the highest color you can afford at the lowest clarity you can accept.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

centrifuge41
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by centrifuge41 » Wed May 20, 2020 2:28 pm

millenialsaver wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 pm
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?
Sure, it makes sense to go to a local jeweler to see things in person and to see if you are sensitive to color, how good you are with picking out clarity, etc. It won't take you long to know if the stones are priced fairly or if there is a markup - you can tell easily by checking Blue Nile, which has competitive prices on diamonds.

James Allen comes with a small markup for the picture. If you want to play around there, I recommend you load up a given diamond, then walk backwards until you are far away from the monitor that the diamond on-screen is about the thickness of a pencil. This is another way for you to gauge clarity/eye-cleanliness. If you find a particular desirable stone on James Allen that also happens to be sold on Blue Nile, you can come out ahead (e.g. same GIA certificate # being sold on both sites). This lets you confirm eye cleanliness (too risky sight unseen if you directly choose an SI1/SI2), and you could potentially manually pick out an almost-hearts-on-fire.

khangaroo
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by khangaroo » Wed May 20, 2020 2:42 pm

One thing I'm really glad I did was actually talking to my fiancee about her ring. My first initial thought was to surprise her because I "knew" what she liked... man was I completely wrong.

1. She has no care about what it cost. I was going to go with the 3 month salary rule of thumb and thank god i didn't do that... spent that money on a down payment instead.
2. I thought she wanted a raised ring but she wanted it flat so it doesn't catch on things.
3. I thought she wanted a diamond but she actually wanted a gem stone.
4. I thought she wanted diamonds on the band but she wanted it as simple as possible.

I read a good piece of advice that said the ring shouldn't be a surprise but the proposal should be - that made sense to me so that's what I did.

We looked at rings through Pinterest and she pinned 5 or so that she loved and told me to pick any of those. They were all similar prices because she wanted an emerald and the total ring cost ended up being $882 and she still wears it all the time. I purchased it online and it was exactly as shown in the photos.

This approach took so much stress and uneasiness off my shoulder of not knowing if she would like the ring or not and all I had to focus on was when, where, and how to give it to her...

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Tamarind
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Tamarind » Wed May 20, 2020 2:43 pm

Most folks won't care nearly as much about a ring in 20 years as all the advertising would have you think. But a few people really do care about something specific. The important thing is to know which group your potential fiancee falls into. Talk to your potential fiancee, or at least her friends/relatives to find out what she likes. Then do that.

Case in point, my wife would have been perplexed if I'd presented her with a diamond of any size. She did not want an engagement ring at all. We shopped together for custom made wedding bands -$3000 for a very unique pair. No precious stones. At the time that was about 2 weeks gross income and felt like a huge splurge, but we both still like the rings.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by LilyFleur » Wed May 20, 2020 4:21 pm

jpelder wrote:
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.
Moissanite is closest to the hardness of a diamond than the other stones. Because it is so much less expensive than diamonds, it's easy to end up with a stone that is bigger than you actually want. It's also very brilliant. But not much resale value.

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Matahari
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Matahari » Wed May 20, 2020 5:14 pm

blues008 wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:50 pm
You'll get a lot more information from the Pricescope forums, the Bogleheads of Diamonds: https://www.pricescope.com/

You don't need to spend a lot to get a great quality diamond. Within your budget you should focus on finding value within certain characteristics like color and clarity, but spend to get a better cut. Comparison shop at seller vendors including Costco, Whiteflash, Blue Nile, James Allen, and your local jeweler. Take the best bids to each shop and see what they'll do to help you.
+ 1.
I was about to recommend pricescope.com and saw this post.
I was an active member many years ago and agree that you should start there to educate yourself further on the importance of Cut, along with the other "C's."

If you want your prospective fiancee to love her engagement ring, you ought to involve her in its choice and design. Most women have strong preferences regarding this meaningful item. You could purchase the diamond first and present it to her in a "placeholder" setting if you want to surprise her, or you could shop together for the style of ring she wants and then you can make the proposal itself a surprise after the ring is ready.

Under no circumstances should you go to a "maul" (Pricescope term) jewelry store to start your shopping but I imagine that's why you are here. Buying a diamond online is generally considered to be preferable given the specs and large selection you have access to across the different online diamond vendors, a couple of which Pricescope members recommended with regularity -- Whiteflash and James Allen -- have been mentioned here.

Good luck on your shopping and congratulations on your impending engagement.

stoptothink
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by stoptothink » Wed May 20, 2020 5:35 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
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.
Well, my wife pretty much never wears her wedding ring (thank heavens I asked her first before blowing a bunch of money) and that is not at all uncommon in our circle. At least from what I have seen, this (diamonds, very expensive engagement rings) is a cultural norm that is changing.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by unclescrooge » Wed May 20, 2020 6:26 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.
+1

I bought diamond on blue nile, sight unseen. I emailed them to make sure it was "eye clean". I got a brilliant cut, exactly 1 carat. If i recall correctly, it was E color, VS1 or VVS2. Incredible to look at, and much cheaper than local stores (in 2011).

I got it set at a ring I bought locally at Robbins Bros. since they offer free lifetime ring cleaning.

Also, I told my fiance if she loses it, the next one will be moissanite. I recommend checking those out first.

gmc4h232
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by gmc4h232 » Wed May 20, 2020 7:44 pm

sport wrote:
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.
Thats the whole point of going to the pawn shop so you arent spending thousands to check a box.

Sagefemme
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by Sagefemme » Wed May 20, 2020 11:45 pm

I second the idea of spending some time on Pricescope.com. You will learn a lot and I bet you will buy the diamond online when all is said and done. Find out what your girl really wants (hack her Pintrest account or solicit info from her besties). I have two fairly valuable/sizeable diamond rings. One came from Old World Diamonds (only sells old cuts) and the other from High Performance Diamonds. In both cases received the best customer service I have ever experienced in any industry, from Wink Jones at HPD and Adam (whose last name I can't remember) at Old World Diamonds. In both cases they sent stones to me in the mail (actually FedEx) so I could live with them for a week or so and see which one was most beautiful in MY environment and my lighting (home, work, Lowes......).

Sadly as of the last year arthritis in my fingers has made it nearly impossible for me to wear either one. I may get them sized, but darn, rings are not super flattering on aged fingers. Oh well.

I have also shopped and purchased jewelry from Whiteflash, they too have excellent reputation and customer service. Consider whether an upgrade in the future, when you are richer, is allowed from whomever you buy from. High Performance Diamonds will give full purchase price toward a new, more valuable stone, last I checked.

Best of luck and congratulations in advance!

oakfan52
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by oakfan52 » Thu May 21, 2020 2:06 am

Another fan of Blue Nile here. Researched. Shopped around. Bought online. Great experience.

pomomojo
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Re: Engagement Ring Help

Post by pomomojo » Fri May 22, 2020 3:55 pm

I recently married in 2018. I think it's important that you involve your fiancee and solicit a general idea about her aesthetic preferences. Round diamonds are the most expensive on a per carat basis, and also the most popular. Pricescope is a great place for education, though stay away from the photo threads. They are an arms race in excess (e.g. do you like my new Harry Winston 2.2ct E-ring?). I used Whiteflash and Bluenile as a reference for pricing, but ended up purchasing through a family member who works in the wholesale diamond industry.

I spent more than the average Boglehead, but was totally comfortable with my decision

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