Not only are there many options for diamond and ring styles, but there are also several ways to buy engagement rings. Typically, you can purchase a preset ring, a diamond and compatible ring setting or a fully custom ring. Each style has their positives and negatives in terms of design, price and overall value. We’d like to explore all of them and provide our ultimately recommendations for each and the type of shopper it may work best for.
Preset rings are what you typically see in a traditional jewelry store. They have a readymade ring setting with a diamond already set in the center. If you purchased a preset ring, you’d be walking out with a ring on your finger (or in a box). There are several reasons why you may want to purchase preset, but it’s not for everyone.
Ways to buy engagement rings: Opt for preset rings:
Timing: making an engagement ring from scratch takes time and effort. Ultimately, it’s both an art and a science. Not only to jewelers have to get the artwork and fine detailing right, the heating, cooling, casting process takes time. Imagine if you found out you’re being stationed elsewhere or have to leave for active duty and you’d like to pop the big question in advance. Well, you may not have the time for any other shopping method. Therefore, this may be the way to manage your time effectively and see many options that are out of the box and ready to go.
Antique or vintage pieces: jewelry is a form of art. Vintage pieces, classic jewelry and even modern preset styles can be purchased preset. Often times, the value is in the name or brand the craftsmanship and quality and the style of setting is part of the design. By separating these factors and buying the individual components, you’d be removing the value and beauty of the engagement ring.
Quality: if the diamond is governed by a GIA grading certification report and you’re purchasing a high quality ring, then you have less to worry about. Typically, rings can help mask diamond inclusions and color in the diamond. When set, the diamond will look better and there are other distractions to divert the eyes away from noticeable or obvious factors that affect diamond sparkle. If the quality is certified and there, you can purchase preset without any problems.
Another way to buy a diamond engagement ring is building it with a diamond and then a ring setting (or vice versa). This has become the more popular way to shop over time because it provides more transparency and semi-customization in the process. It also gives you the flexibility to work with multiple jewelers and maximize on pricing potential.
Ways to buy engagement rings: Build the ring:
Transparency: the easiest way to ensure all the transparency and authenticity of the ring and diamond is buying it unset. This gives you time to inspect and challenge any questions or concerns. Additionally, diamonds always look better when set in a ring. When the diamond is loose, you have less distractions so you can try and examine for any inclusions or tint of color that will adversely affect the diamond’s sparkle.
Customization: while this option isn’t total customization, it certainly required substantially more effort. Ultimately, you have to separately research the diamond and the ring setting. You’re choosing all of the attributes that build the components of the ring. In essence, you’re custom creating the perfect ring for your personalized proposal. This also gives you increased flexibility to choose the setting styles, metal colors, sidestone sizes, etc.
Price: There is no better way to ensure you get the best price than buying the diamond separately and the ring setting separately (can be from the same jeweler). If the diamond and ring are compatible, odd are you’ll have several diamond options to choose from. Diamonds are priced based on rarity. If you’re in the market for a 10ct Emerald cut diamond with D color and FL clarity, odds are you will take it at whatever price it is offered at (if it even exists). However, while diamonds are considered rare, you’ll notice that you have plenty of options to choose from is you’re buying a Round diamond 1.00ct G VS2. Because every diamond has a different cost basis, it has a different price. This means you can buy 2 virtually identical diamonds at very different prices, allowing you to maximize value.
The final way to purchase a diamond engagement ring is to go totally custom. This method is more about the ring setting than the diamond itself. It is totally unique and gives you to really create something meaningful.
Ways to buy engagement rings: Customize the ring:
Personalization: Sky is the limit here! You can create almost anything with jewelry (subject to structural constraints). This makes the experience more unique and less price driven. You must be patient though and willing to take risks. Custom doesn’t always mean beautiful.
Differentiation: Rings have become essentially cookie cutter. While many see rings as a symbol of commitment and are okay with thousands having similar looking rings, some want total uniqueness. Custom rings give you this chance to do exactly that. You can come up with a creation that’s very different than anything anyone has seen and it always shows. It’s rare a custom ring doesn’t look custom.
Attention to detail: with custom jewelry, you can meticulously design every aspect from prongs to setting style to height of setting for the center stone. The freedom does come at a premium. Most jewelers require a minimum spend on the setting because of the amount of work associated with customization. With Clarity has no minimums on custom jewelry.
As you can see, there are several ways to buy engagement rings. Everyone’s process is fairly unique and personal. Choose the option that works best for your timing, your budget and ultimately your peace of mind. Custom jewelry isn’t for everyone; it requires a certain sense of imagination. Preset rings may get you less value for money. Ultimately the semi-custom options where you’re buying the diamond and a compatible ring setting is best for most. Remember, a diamond ring is a symbol of commitment above all else.