General Question

BONZO's avatar

Would you buy a diamond engagement ring online?

Asked by BONZO (387 points ) September 7th, 2009

I like shopping online compared to going to a store and having to deal with pushy salesmen, but in this case I want to buy a diamond ring, so I didnt know if that was something that you HAVE to see in person before you buy it.

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22 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

If, as you mention in your profile, you’re still “on drugs,” I would say it’s a bad idea. I would say it’s a bad idea if you’re not on drugs. You want a certified Gemologist and a certified stone (cut, color, clarity and carat weight).

Axemusica's avatar

No. I don’t know much about diamonds, but I do know you can’t check the quality of the gem online. I would consult a good friend that knows to go with you to a shop.

dpworkin's avatar

Diamonds are a commodity item, created by years of advertising by deBeers and their crime partners. They are not nearly as rare as you have been led to believe. deBeers controls the market, and holds back on inventory to create artificial scarcity. Also, there is now technology to created diamonds from carbon. They are technically indistinguishable from so-called “natural” diamonds, but are much cheaper. To buy a diamond is to buy into a structure of trickery and myth.

My suggestion is to look for a lovely piece of well-made Estate jewelry that contains pleasant gems. Old-fashioned rosecut diamonds in a beautiful Victorian or Georgian setting purchased at auction at a major house such as Sothebys, Christies or Phillips will never lose value, and may in fact appreciate.

While part of the value will be in the stones, most of the value will be in the skill of the jeweler who made the setting. No decent jeweler used crap stones, so you can be assured that the diamonds are reasonably good, they will be old, they will be beautifully set, and they will not be a part of the hustle.

You need not attend a “Fine Jewelry” sale and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Go to a pleasant Sothebys Arcade jewelry auction where the lots are priced at $10,000 and below, and ask the curating expert to help you choose. If you are polite and pleasant and explain that you are no an expert, but are seeking a beautiful gift at a certain price, they will be more than happy to help you select a few items to bid on. If you don’t get what you wanted the first time, wait for the next sale. This time the attending expert will remember you and will be even more pleased to help, and you will end up owning an heirloom that you can pass down in your family.

ragingloli's avatar

@pdworkin
i would totally settle for a cheap artificial diamond. or even a fake one, if it looks good enough.

dpworkin's avatar

@ragingloli You and I have a differing approach to the problem of aesthetics and value.

Facade's avatar

No, I would not. Going into a store and actually looking at the jewelry is a good experience. I liked it.

ragingloli's avatar

@pdworkin
the only real thing that determine value of a diamond are rarity, purity, and quality of the cut, the latter 2 you can only really see if you are a professional and the former I don’t give a damn about.
If I had the choice between a genuine Veyron at 1.3 million € and a car the looks like the real one, sounds like the real one, has the same driving characteristics, performance values and general attributes of the real one, but at only 100000 €, I would go for the cheaper one without hesitation.

gailcalled's avatar

I have a rose-cut diamond solitaire that was my maternal grandmother’s engagement ring. My grandfather had very little money at the time and the flaw in the diamond is evident. But I love it.

dpworkin's avatar

@ragingloli I understand. My previous comment goes unchanged.

@gailcalled A perfect example of what I mean! You have a priceless gem, unlike any other in the world. I hope your family continues to treasure it!

gailcalled's avatar

@pdworkin : I do treasure it. My mother gave me her diamond earrings; big honkers shaped like snow flakes. They sit in my safety deposit box; my daughter hates them and if I wore them, I would probably pretend they were costume jewelry.

EmpressPixie's avatar

No, I would not. There is no substitute for going in and talking to a jeweler (if you want something new). If new isn’t important to you, then—like @pdworkin said—you should get something older with character.

My fiance is in the process of acquiring an engagement ring for me. I spoke with his jeweler this weekend and am totally psyched about the ring. She explained the process of making it, showed us stones to choose from, explained which stones were better and why, and really walked us through the process.

A good jeweler in the creation of the piece—be it now, centuries ago, or anytime in between—is the key to a good piece of jewelry. I just don’t believe you can judge a jeweler over the internet.

Edited to add: I strongly dislike pushy salespeople as well. A good jeweler will not be one. When we were ring shopping this weekend, the woman we were working with showed us only items in our price range. She had ordered a selection of stones for us to choose from and only showed us stones that would make the overall ring in the range my fiance had previously specified. I strongly, strongly believe this is one of the marks of a good jeweler.

MissAusten's avatar

I can’t imagine shopping for an engagement ring online. Something like that, I’d want to hold it, see it up close, and make a lot of comparisons. Also, when you buy from a jewelry store you can go back any time if you have a problem with the ring. If the setting becomes loose, you want it professionally cleaned, or need other repairs, you’ll already have a relationship with that store. For my daughter’s 10th birthday we bought her a pair of opal earrings. Not nearly as expensive as a diamond ring, but we still went to a jewelry store.

When my husband asked me to marry him, he gave me a ring with a diamond that had belonged to his grandmother. She had a ring with three diamonds in it, and when he told his parents he was going to propose to me, his mother gave him one of those diamonds. He went to a jeweler and had it reset. It’s gorgeous, it has meaning, and I love it. I only wish I could still wear it (I developed an allergy to most metals a few years ago).

gailcalled's avatar

@MissAusten: Can you have the diamond reset in a pin or brooch? Then you could wear it on your clothes.

I wear my paternal grandfather’s modest diamond from his Masonic ring on a chain around my neck. Tomorrow I have to remove it due to trip to dermatologist’s. Then back it goes.

dpworkin's avatar

@EmpressPixie I liked your answer very much. Since I am an antiquarian by trade I seldom think of buying such items new, but if new it is to be, then your method is the perfect one: know the jeweler, and buy the ring as artwork, allowing the trusted artisan to ensure that only quality stones are used. A good jeweler would never skimp. GA!

MissAusten's avatar

@gailcalled I suppose I could have the diamond made into a pin or brooch, but I probably wouldn’t wear it every day. I can wear jewelry for short amounts of time, like if we’re going out to dinner or to some other special event. The allergy is caused by the nickel in the jewelry. I could probably have the stone reset in platinum, which has no nickel, or ask a jeweler for other alternatives.

When I was pregnant and my wedding and engagement rings got too tight, I wore them on a chain. Now it makes the back of my neck itchy and rashy if I do that. :(

gailcalled's avatar

@MissAusten: What about white gold? Less expensive than platinum and looks the same.

MissAusten's avatar

@gailcalled I don’t know—does white gold not have nickel? I’ll have to go to a jewelry store and find out what my options are. I’ve been putting it off until I can have the allergy confirmed by a doctor which I keep putting off. I’d hate to have my ring reset or my other jewelry replaced, and then find out that expense didn’t solve the problem.

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saritajaiswal's avatar

Yeah, I have bought my engagement ring online from http://www.expjewelery.com but, it was not diamond ring….:P)

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