Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette and our wedding series.
Today, we discuss how to buy an engagement ring.
You just decided to propose.
Now, you just have to buy the ring but that's probably going to be one of the larger purchases
you'll make in your lifetime.
So let me touch on the brief history of the engagement ring, the controversies, and most
importantly, how you can buy one, and what to pay attention to.
The first recorded use of an engagement ring was in the 15th century when then Archduke
Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a then very rare diamond ring.
This sparked a craze in the circles of nobility and people wanted to have a precious stone
as their engagement ring.
It's important to know that engagement rings weren't just made up of diamonds but also
other precious stones.
In the late 19th century, diamonds were found in South Africa and a cartel was created that
is named DeBeers; they were very smart business men, had different marketing campaigns and
used their influence to tell people especially in the US that an enegagement can only be
serious if a diamond was used and later on, a diamond that cost at least two monthly wages.
It was so successful that thereafter, almost all men made a engagement proposal with a
The problem about diamonds is there are lots of controversies.
On the one hand, there is something called a "blood" diamond which means it comes from
an area where the proceeds are used to finance wars.
In general, mined diamonds are not environmentally friendly; there are lots of questions about
human rights, the ecology, and the whole impact it has on the region where the diamond is
You may have heard of the kimberley process which was established around 2000 that is
a certificate that says "This diamond is not a blood diamond.".
The problem is, these things can be faked and all it says is that this diamond does
not come from a region that uses the proceeds for warfare however, that does not consider
the human rights aspect or the ecology at all.
At the end of the day, even if you have a certificate, it's still impossible to trace
back the true origins of the diamond.
So keep that in mind.
Now on the flip side, there are lab created diamonds.
As you know, diamonds are made up of graphite, just like your pencil for example.
It's just a different structure that flaunts under high pressure.
Today, those can be created in the lab and the lab made diamonds are actually more pure
meaning, they don't have inclusions which separates them from naturally mined diamonds.
Using a ten times magnifying loop, you can tell whether something is artificial or not.
I think in recent times, they even tried to intentionally include inclusions in the artificial
diamond to make it more look like a real diamond.
Diamonds of any kind have a nice sparkle but they achieve a high price because they are
So with a manmade diamond, that aspect is gone and so oftentimes, jewellers that are
a little scrupulous will try to sell you a manmade diamond for a natural diamond.
Retailers claim that a manmade diamond is about 30-40% less expensive.
From what we've seen, it's an average of about 15-16% less expensive although in reality,
it's a lot cheaper to create a lab made diamond than a mined diamond.
Before you buy a lab made diamond or even a regular diamond, figure out what your significant
othwer really likes.
Do they care about sustainability and ecology?
Do they want the real deal versus the manmade thing or they just don't care?
It's really adviseable to figure that out beforehand in conversations that don't give
away too much.
The difficulty is that you might come across as being cheap if you buy a lab created diamond.
A diamond is certainly a symbol of materialism and ifyou get a stone that is too small, you
can be considered to be too cheap.
If it's too big, it canbe considered to be ostentatious and a show-off so getting it
right is not that easy.
My tip for you is, don't worry so much about what other people say, worry about what your
significant other would say and what you think is right.
It's only the two of you and this is one of the pieces of jewelry that she'll wear for
the rest of her life.
It's probably going to be the most worn jewelry so get something that is nice and beautiful.
It's not an investment, it's an expense.
You buy it once, you're not going to make it part of your retirement plan and you're
going to wear it everyday.
So keep that in mind.
You don't want to get the extra two diamonds on the ring if it does not look as pleasing
simply because it's on sale.
Get something you really like in terms of looks.
So how should you buy an engagement ring?
First of all, set your budget.
You may have heard of the 2 months salary rule but my personal advice is to forget completely
about that, it was a marketing scam almost by De Beers who just came up with it out of
thin air and then later, they even increased it to three months.
So, don't put pressure on it, because it's just marketing.
Personally, I bought my very first engagement ring on eBay.
It was a vintage piece for $310, at the time, I had a $450 monthly allowance.
The ring had a pear shaped, dark red garnet with a white gold setting.
I knew that my future wife loved dark red colors and so it was a perfect gift, it fit
within my budget, and because I went with a vintage ring, I got a lot more for my buck.
You may ask why is it my first engagement ring?
Unfortunately, the first ring was destroyed under a door accidentally and it was irrepairable
so I had to buy a second engagement ring.
This time around an emerald and a platinum setting and once again, I bought it at eBay.
This time at a much higher price but it's a very nice piece of jewelry and I could afford
more and as I said, it's something that my wife wears everyday in her life so I wanted
it to be really beautiful.
The average ring price in the US today is $4000, if you don't have that, don't finance
Find a way around it, save up for it, but it's not worth going into debt over it especially
if you have to pay that debt together later on.
Determine waht you want to buy.
Yes, the diamond is the most popular stone but my wife wanted a colored stone so, figure
that out beforehand.
You want to go with a new design, maybe a designer, maybe a no name, a custom piece,
or maybe a vintage estate piece.
There's no right or wrong but it all depends on what your fiance wants.
Step number three is to learn the basics about precious stones.
For diamonds, that means the 4c's which is cut, clarity, carat, and color.
Those four aspects determine the value of the stone and what you have to pay for it.
The bigger you get, the more disproportionally expensive it gets.
To get an in depth understanding about that, please check out our guide on the website
which walks you steb by step and what you have to pay attention to.
So today, the big question is, where you buy the ring.
Personally, I like to shop online and so do a lot of men and you can buy diamonds online.
Now, it's adviseable to buy from trusted sources where you can return the stone and you should
always bring your stone to an independent appraiser once you've received it.
That just makes sure that you did not get a fake stone and it protects you and your
The pros of buying online is that you're in a no pressure sale situation.
You can really see what you want to buy, you can compare and there is no pressure.
The cons are, you can't see the stone, you can't see the sparkle, you have to trust the
seller and while it may be less expensive to buy online, there's a lot that can be done
with photoshop and what you see in the picture may not be what you end up getting in the
Now, you may have to do a little more education upfront, if you buy online but I think it's
good to do that anyways because it's abig purchase and you don't want to be screwed.
if you buy a ring at the store, of course, you have the assistance of a sales person
but at the end of the day, they will make some form of commission.
And even if say "We don't make a commission."
like certain companies that I've heard online, once you talk to the sales reps, they get
a salary that's adjusted at their performance from the previous year which at the end of
the day, is a sales commission as well.
So no matter where you buy a diamond ring in person, there is some element of commission
which means they want to sell you something that is more expensive and maybe something
that's outside of your budget, so keep that in mind.
Of course, you can see everything in person but they may have a smaller stone selection
but you may be able to haggle a little bit so it comes down to your personal preference.
I suggest to build a relationship with a jeweller that you can trust, read some reviews, and
always, even when you buy from a local store, bring it to an independent appraiser and that's
not someone that was recommended to you by that store.
Do your own independent research.
You may be tempted to buy your jewelry at chains, personally, I think that's not the
best idea becaue more often than not, the staff is a retail staff and not a jewelry
expert and oftentimes, they have an issue with fraud or things that are subpar in quality
but at the end of the day, you have to know what to do and again, bring it o an independent
Also make sure if they sell you any warranties that the center stone is covered and read
the fine print, otherwise, you are sorry afterwards.
For such a big purchase, that would be a shame.
Of course, if you go with high-end retailers, you pay an extra price.
A ring from Cartier will cost a lot more.
Of course, the resell value is also higher but you're not in the market to have an investment
ring, something that will be worn so you have to decide if it's worth it to you to pay extra
for those names.
Aside from the box it comes in, no one will ever be able to tell unless they take the
ring off and look at the specific item.
Now, it can be that they have a very intricate design, they usually get veryhigh quality
stones but you also pay top dollar.
Final tips, do's and don't of buying an engagement ring.
Don't buy on the first stop.
Go around, shop around, compare prices and find the right ring for you.
Some sales people may want to lure you in to buying today by giving you a special deal
just now, stay clear of that.
ideally, don't buy a ring with a preset stone because the setting can hide a lot of flaws
of the stone so you want to buy the stone individually so you can inspecct it, see the
inclusions, take a look at the 4 c's and then have it set to a custom setting that fits
your fiance's hand and finger perfectly.
Even if you don't know much about jewelry or engagement rings, do act with a certain
It will give you more respect and chances are, they are not going to try to cheat you
or low ball you in terms of quality.
Don't settle on a price too early.
DO play hardball when it comes to bargaining.
The engagement ring business is basically the jewelry business today so they want to
sell you a ring and there is room for negotiation.
Do learn common ways of how stones can be treated such as coloring and heat treatment
in our guide on our website here so you are protected from that.
Don't fall for the "Oh, see how it sparkles in the sunlight!" trick because even stones
of ifnerior quality sparkle very nicely in the sunlight.
Don't just rely on the certificate that comes with it.
These things can be faked very easily which again means, go to an independent appraiser.
If you're not entirely sure what she wants, I suggest to have a return policy and propse
within the timeframe so you can always go back and get exactly the ring that she wants
because it's something that she will wear until the rest of her life.
Don't think you have to propose with the final ring.
You can always buy the stone, get a simple temporary setting that you can propose with
and then afterwards you can pick exactly the setting with her together that she likes,
that way, you ensure that the stone and the whole ring is within your budget but you also
get the look that she wants.
Last but not the least, don't think you have to buy something new.
Personally, I'm a big fan of vintage jewelry because not only do you get a better bang
for your buck, also the workmanship is sometimes much more intricate.
My personal tip for you would be look for a platinum setting because platinum is harder
to work with which means most jewelers only use high quality stones to work with.
Again, get the appraisal but if you find a platinum ring, chances are, they'll always
have quality stones.
If you enjoyed this video, please make sure to check out the other videos in our wedding
series where we cover things like dress codes, or what guests should wear at a wedding, as
well as wedding bands, and anything else you want to know as