How to buy an engagement ring
I do… then what?
I do … then what? The question that has been hanging in the air – the big commitment – has finally been asked and everyone wants to know when the big day is and to see the ring.
So how do you go about buying an engagement ring? Perhaps this is the first time you have walked into a jewellery shop; maybe you feel you think you would be more comfortable buying on-line; is it cheaper to get something second hand… Where do you start?
So our advice is – don’t rush into it. Take your time. Look around and see what styles you like and try some on to see how they look and feel. This is a ring you or your partner will wear for the rest of your life together so it deserves an investment of time. In Hatton Garden, you will find over 60 shops; some can offer you engagement rings from stock, others will make something specially for you, and antique jewellery specialists can advise and guide you on pieces that have been made in another century.
Ask the jeweller about the rings they are showing you. They will be happy to describe the 4C’s – the criteria by which we appraise the quality and value of a diamond; to learn about the 4C’s, check our Buyers Guide at the top of this page. Many have their own workshops, giving you the option of choosing the centre stone and being able to alter the size without the ring ever leaving the premises.
Are antiques cheaper than new rings? They are not necessarily cheaper … and if they have been worn the shank may have become thin and brittle so it may need a lot of work before you can wear it with confidence. Don’t assume that even a platinum ring can weather the test of heavy use and time unscathed. It is always interesting to know where a second hand or antique ring has come from, how old it is and how it would have been made. But a well-made and loved diamond ring that is pre-owned can represent great value.
Many of these rings will carry certificates from GIA, HRD or IGI. These are issued by independent laboratories who check the colour, cut, clarity and carat weight of the stone and issue a numbered certificate that will always remain with the stone. A certificate is independent evidence that the gemstones are exactly as described, but it is not necessary for a piece of jewellery to have one. In the UK, it is the responsibility of the retailer to ensure that the ring you are interested in purchasing is exactly what it appears to be and the penalties for getting it wrong is very high indeed. All our jewellers have to comply with the Consumer Protection Act 1987, an Act of Parliament established to protect the customer from purchasing something that has been miss-described, over-valued or damaged through faulty manufacture. However, this Act only applies to the UK and not to goods sold over the internet from foreign suppliers or retailers, so you will have no protection if you choose to make your purchase abroad.
Choose a jeweller with whom you feel comfortable and make sure they understand your life style as well as your budget and the look you like best. Let them advise you. They all have a lot of experience and there are many advantages in being able to walk into a shop and handle the ring, to see what it looks like when it is worn. An engagement ring is usually – but not always – worn with a wedding ring, so if your plan is to buy a separate wedding ring, it is worth discussing your plans with your jeweller so that he can advise on a shape that will fit snuggly with your engagement ring.
Good luck and enjoy.