Engagement Rings

It was late 2000 and I knew I wanted to marry my girlfriend. So I did what I always do, I researched. After some searching I bought a book called Just Say Yes! How Real-Life Romeos (and Juliets) Popped the Question" by Kathryn Mills, Debbie Appel, & Kristan Ginther. Reading all the different stories put me in the right mood to figure out a meaningful and beautiful way to propose.

Next came the ring. Here are my observations on buying an Engagement Ring:

  1. Diamonds are overpriced, the industry itself is just awful and sometime in the next decade or two the market for diamonds will likely collapse.
  2. Ignorance doubles your bill. I read Engagement & Wedding Rings" by Matlins and Bonanno. While no great book it has the data you need. This article also looked like a good summary.
  3. Would you buy a car without talking to your wife? A house? An engagement ring is something she will wear all of her life, how can you possibly think of buying it without her?
  4. First you buy the loose diamond, then you buy the ring. Check the books for details on how to ensure that you are buying what you think you are buying.
  5. Look at loose diamonds. Visit at least four stores. Have them show you different cuts, colors, clarities and sizes. Get them to let you use their loops and get at least a few chances to use binocular microscopes.
  6. She doesn't know what she likes until she has tried it on her finger.
  7. Visit Blue Nile, The Trade Shop, etc. Diamonds are a commodity; the Internet is very good at pricing and handling commodities so save a bundle and buy your diamond on-line. Also check Cost-Co, they have amazingly good diamond prices on diamonds ranging from the sub-$1000 range all the way up to the $50,000 range and higher.
  8. If you must buy in a shop then bring a print out of the prices for diamonds that match what you want and make sure they match the price. If the store personnel bad mouth buying a commodity item like a diamond on the Internet then you know you are either dealing with ignoramuses or crooks.
  9. Markup in the Jewelry business is 100% or more. When they say "I'll give you a great deal" you should hear "I'll rip you off for slightly less." In my experience Strip mall stores rip you off even more than the big guys.
  10. Walking into most reputable stores where you mention the Internet and generally demonstrate you know enough to tell if you are getting ripped off will cause all prices to drop by a minimum of 50% – 100%.
  11. We bought our ring at a high street super fancy store that matched the Internet diamond price and had the perfect custom-made ring for only a slightly outrageous price.

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