You know you have found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with – but you need to make it official! The first step is to choose the perfect engagement ring, but where do you start? Let the experts at local shop and wholesaler, Design Jeweler break it down for you. Here are seven things you must know before choosing an engagement ring.
1) Retail vs. Wholesale
Many wholesale jewelers in San Francisco now allow individual shoppers to enjoy the benefits of wholesale shopping for single purchases. One major benefit is access to high-quality diamonds without the huge retail mark-up.
Traditionally, the budget for an engagement ring has been three months salary, but the rules have changed and now it’s all about what you’re comfortable with. Consider your monthly obligations and future expenses, such as wedding costs, when deciding on your budget. Make a purchase within your means. Some jewelers offer the upgrade programs for down the road. You will see a huge selection of choices, so having a budget in mind will help you and your jeweler find the perfect ring.
The four factors that determine the quality of the diamond are the 4Cs: carat, color, clarity, and cut.
Carat - Weight – Bigger is Bigger – not necessarily better. This is the weight of the diamond measured in carats. Two diamonds of equal weight can have very unequal values, depending on their cut, color and clarity. Fine quality can be found in diamonds of all shapes and sizes.
Color – For traditional white diamonds, the best color is no color – also known as colorless. Alternative diamonds can be found in a variety of colors.
Clarity - A rarity. To determine a diamond’s clarity it is viewed under extreme magnification by a trained eye. Most diamonds contain very tiny natural birthmarks known as inclusions. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, the less likely it is to interfere with the passage of light through the diamond and the more beautiful the diamond will be.
Cut- Many people confuse cut with the shape of a diamond. Diamonds are cut into a number of shapes (round, cushion, princess, etc), but cut is all about proportion. A well cut diamond is better able to reflect light, creating more scintillation, more sparkle.
4) Remember Personal Style
Is your significant other classic or modern? Does she tend to wear delicate, chunky, simple or ornate pieces? Does she wear more silver or gold?
If you can, discuss different stone shapes, metal preferences and setting styles with your darling. Ask what your partner admires on others or enlist the help of one of her close friends. Refer to the 4 Cs and determine which are most important – carat weight and diamond color are most visible to the naked eye.
Don’t know the ring size? Slip a ring she or he owns on your finger, to get an approximate size.
5) Choosing the right jeweler
Ask for recommendations from friends and family. We recommend wholesalers, mom-and-pop shops and local jewelers that focus on service and quality. Be aware of the shortcomings of big retail chains, which often sacrifice quality for mass marketing. Do your research: How long has the company been in business? Do they have positive reviews and a good reputation? Do they have expert jewelers and gemologists on hand?
When you buy jewelry of $500 or more, you should insure it. You will need an appraisal (often offered from the jeweler where you purchase the ring) and the receipt for the purchase. It’s important to insure your investment in case of loss or damage – you can cover what your Homeowner’s Insurance may not cover, and, just in case, get true replacement value.
7. Think About the Future
Some jewelers offer upgrade programs. If an expensive ring is beyond your means right now, you can bring back the ring for a future anniversary or milestone and upgrade.
Once you purchase an engagement ring – you want to maintain it and take care of it. The best jewelers offer lifetime service on engagement rings, allowing them to come in for cleaning and polishing, size changes and more.
Design Jeweler is a local, family-owned jeweler that has been in business since 1975. The San Francisco shop offers high quality diamonds at wholesale prices, including one-of-a-kind pieces. They can custom design any piece for your future bride at no additional charge. Design Jeweler has a certified jeweler and gemologist on site. They offer appraisal services with your purchase, full credit toward future upgrades and LIFETIME services on their engagement rings!
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