Where Are the Best Places to Buy Engagement Rings Online?
We buy our clothes online, we book our vacations online, we can even buy our groceries online, but have you ever considered buying engagement rings online? As more and more people take to online shopping the digital engagement ring space is booming. And with awesome perks like limitless inventory, lower prices and the convenience of shopping from home, it’s no surprise that couples everywhere are turning to the World Wide Web to assist them in finding their dream forever adornment.
Is It Better to Buy an Engagement Ring Online or In Store?
- Wider Selection: With brick and mortar stores what you see is what you get. When you shop with online diamond retailers you can expect a wider selection of loose stones, diamond shapes and engagement ring settings to choose from. Shopping online also allows you to browse both ready-made rings and customizable designs when searching for your perfect engagement ring.
- Personalization: Do you want to create something uniquely your own? Some online retailers, such as Forever Artisans, specialize in custom designed rings and fine jewelry to help bring your one-of-a-kind vision to life.
- Better Prices: Local jewelry stores charge more for their products because they have much higher overhead costs than online retailers. According to brilliance.com, “savings of 20 to 30 percent are common when comparing in-store and online ring purchases. And the bigger the diamonds, the bigger the difference between prices.” Which begs the question, how much should you spend on an engagement ring?
- Ease of Purchase: Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love shopping online? You don’t have to leave your house, and you can forget about pushy salespeople trying to upsell you. The online experience is everything that people love about shopping for high-quality diamond jewelry minus the inconvenience of browsing in person.
Where Is the Best Place to Buy Engagement Rings Online?
When it comes to jewelry shopping online, the possibilities are endless. From custom designs to loose diamonds, no matter what you’re looking for the jewelry showrooms of the internet are sure to have something for you. But such a wide selection can be overwhelming to choose from, how do you know you’re looking in the right place? Have no fear, we’ve grouped several reputable companies according to their specialties to help make your decision a little easier.
- Custom Design: If you’re looking to add a twist to an already existing design or have an idea that’s completely your own, a custom-designed engagement ring or wedding band might be right up your alley. Three brands that specialize in custom made rings and fine jewelry are Forever Artisans, Brian Gavin and Verragio.
- Sustainability Focused: For the eco-conscious shopper, Vrai and Diamond Nexus both offer lab-created stones that are better for the world and your credit card statement. Growing in popularity among ethically-minded shoppers, choosing a lab grown stone means that you won’t contribute to the poor working conditions, human rights violations and child labor associated with the traditional diamond mining industry.
- Popular Online Retailers: If you want to shop with a tried and true online retailer three popular choices are James Allen, Blue Nile and Tiffany.
- Well-Known Chain Stores: Similarly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a well-known chain store that doesn’t also have an online showroom. Think Jared, Kay and Zales.However, some suggest that it’s better to avoid shopping from these retailers if you’re looking to save money online. According to an online source, “Chain jewelers have massive overhead to keep the large stores running, so they set much higher prices. For the same size and quality diamond, they can cost up to 50% more than online stores. If you’re most concerned with price, then an online retailer will be the best choice.”
- Loose Diamonds: For a truly customizable experience, you can handpick your center stone and opt for a loose diamond. Buying a loose diamond allows you to get the exact shape, size and quality stone that you want. Since the average consumer chooses a one carat diamond, you may want to do research on how much a one carat diamond costs. You can then set the stone in your engagement ring or jewelry design of choice. There are many online jewelers that sell loose diamonds online, including us here at 12FIFTEEN Diamonds.
- Designer Engagement Rings: If you’d prefer something more high fashion perhaps a designer ring is the right choice for you. What is a designer ring? Top designer ring retailer Whiteflash describes it like this, “unlike more mass produced manufactures, a designer will only produce a relatively limited number of designs. With their own unique style and impressive craftsmanship reflected in elements that are unique to that designer, you can easily tell one designer from another. And you’ll probably find that you’ll be drawn to a particular designer whose style matches your own personal taste.”
What Should I Look For in an Engagement Ring?
- Cut: A diamond’s cut impacts its durability and scintillation (sparkle). You can rank a stone’s cut based on its proportions, polish and symmetry of the diamond. It is not recommended to sacrifice cut quality when choosing your stone.
- Color: Diamonds are ranked on a color grade scale that ranges from D to K with K being on the lower end of the scale and D being at the higher end. Some diamond shapes are better at hiding visible yellow within a stone such as round brilliant cut diamonds which can make J and K color graded stones appear nearly colorless. However, other shapes like the princess cut, are not good at masking color imperfections and stones with a lower color grade will appear much more yellow in appearance to the naked eye.In addition, the metal that you choose can also impact your diamond’s overall color with white gold settings amplifying any hint of yellow in a diamond vs rose gold or yellow gold’s ability to hide unwanted hues.
- Clarity: Clarity refers to how clean your diamond appears to the naked eye. All diamonds include some form of external characteristics known as blemishes, but these flaws will only be revealed under 10x magnification on a diamond with good clarity.Diamond clarity is ranked based on a clarity scale founded by the GIA. The highest clarity grading is “Flawless” while the lowest rating is “Included”. Clarity is another area that allows for a little wiggle room when choosing your stone, you don’t necessarily need to purchase a stone with the highest rating, however, you don’t want to buy a diamond near the bottom of the scale as it could have inclusions that are noticeable to the average person.
A reliable online diamond retailer will give a definite clarity grade for a ring’s center stone, if this information is nowhere to be found you might not be making the best purchase.
- Carat: Carat refers to the weight of a diamond and how large it is in appearance. You can expect a price jump from 1 carat to 2 carats as clear, colorless diamonds are much harder to find the larger you go.
Consider the 4Cs of Diamond Quality
Remember, just because you’re getting a big diamond for a lower price that doesn’t mean you’re getting a good deal (or the best diamond). Diamonds are ranked according to the 4Cs of diamond quality – cut, color, clarity and carat. So while you might be able to find a stone with a larger carat weight priced suspiciously low online, it’s important to make sure that you aren’t sacrificing other essential qualities like color and clarity grade which will impact the overall beauty of your diamond.
How Do I Know I’m Getting the Best Deal?
- Certification: Before shopping with an online retailer check the site’s certifications. Two reputable sources are the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Both the AGS and the GIA use their own grading system to rate diamonds, AGS focuses on a stone’s cut and quality, while GIA ranks each gem based on the 4Cs of diamond quality – cut, clarity, color and carat. You can be confident that you’re browsing beautiful and quality diamonds as long as the site that you’re shopping with offers one of these certifications. Furthermore, both the GIA and the AGS offer diamond grading reports ensuring the quality and the value of your stone.
- Quality Product Images and Video: Many sites include detailed photos and 360-degree videos of their products. While this experience isn’t quite the same as being able to try your ring on in person, it does help to eliminate blind purchasing. As a rule of thumb, only trust retailers that include several high-resolution photos of the ring or diamond that you intend to purchase.
- Returns and Warranties:
It’s industry-standard that physical stores offer a 30-day return policy on rings and fine jewelry and you can expect the same return policy when shopping for an engagement ring online. In some cases, you can even expect free returns on your purchase.
Additional Online Shopping Tips
- Verify Retailers: We can’t stress this enough when it comes to making a purchase as big as a wedding ring shopping online can be risky if you aren’t careful. That’s why it’s important to buy diamonds from reliable retailers. However, if you have your heart set on an engagement ring or wedding band from a smaller-scale company don’t fret, they may be 100% legitimate, just be sure to do your due diligence first. That includes reading online reviews, reports from the Better Business Bureau and social media business page feedback.