With the options available these days, it can be difficult to decide where to do your shopping. And when it’s something as important and momentous as your engagement ring, it becomes even more difficult! The retailer you choose will make all the difference in your ring shopping experience.
Which brings us to the question:
Should you go to a physical store or should you buy it online?
Clearly both options have pros and cons, but buying online has more advantages than buying at a brick-and-mortar store. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when deciding whether to buy your ring online or in store.
Is it cheaper to buy online or at a physical store?
There is a misconception that online stores cannot compete with the price and quality of diamond engagement rings of local jewelry stores. This is not true. Online stores do not have the same overheads as their physical counterparts and often do not stock inventory, meaning that they can afford to sell their products for a lower price.
In fact, you could be paying about 20% to 50% less when buying online and you can get the same quality diamonds that you could find at a luxury jewelry store. For this, you need to do your research and know what to look for to avoid going over your budget and ensure you check all the specifications about the stone you are buying to ensure that it is the quality you are after.
Verdict: Buying jewelry online can be considerably cheaper than buying at a physical store.
Tip: Browse in store to get an idea of what you want, in terms of the 4Cs, settings, size, and design. Then use that knowledge to buy your ring online and save.
What options do I have on an online jewelry store?
First of all, you will have a wider geographical radius. You will have access to stores around the world and be able to compare a wide variety of rings before buying. From the coziness of your living room, you can explore different sites rather than just the few stores in your local area, giving you more options.
Imagine yourself in a room with access to literally thousands of engagement rings, and the ability to mix and match gemstones, metals, design, style, cut and color in search of the perfect ring!
You could also play around with the 4Cs, for example lowering the quality of clarity and color but increasing the quality of the cut for the perfect price. You can even custom make your ring, which where you buy the stone and the setting separately and have them put together in the design of your choosing.
What’s even better is there are no sales people to pressurize you into buying. If you are like most of us, you probably don’t like it when a salesperson follows you around trying to be overly helpful. You may feel obligated to make a purchase and may not like taking up too much of their time. When you shop online, you can take all the time you want and many jewelry websites offer live chat for customer services.
Verdict: You can access better deals, wider range, and less pressure when shopping online.
What if the ring does not fit?
Online jewelry retailers offer a range of different options to ensure that you end up with the correct ring size.
For instance, many reputed online jewelry stores offer free downloadable ring size guides. Some retailers, such as James Allen and Blue Nile offer a ring size measuring kit which is posted to you free of charge if you request it. And if these options aren’t enough, they usually offer free resizing services up to the first year.
Bear in mind, however, that retailers generally don’t resize certain rings such as eternity and tension design settings, as they would need to be completely re-crafted.
How do I know the stone is genuine?
Diamonds should come with certificate of authenticity. Reputable retailers will have had their inventory inspected and certified, so that you know what you are buying is genuine. The GIA and AGS are the two most respected institutes. Make sure you ask about the certificate when shopping.
What if I want to try the ring on before buying it?
In the past, it was impossible to try the ring on prior to shopping. However, today, there are some innovative ways around this.
Some retailers allow you to try on a replica of the ring prior to purchase, and once you’re satisfied, you can then purchase the ring. If you want to try out how a round diamond ring looks on your finger before you commit to buying one, check out With Clarity’s Home Preview Service which is completely free.
Another option is to purchase the ring, after carefully considering your size and the design that suits you. If, however, you realize on inspecting it physically that you don’t like that particular ring, you can return the ring. For this, choose a reputable retailer who will allow refunds or exchanges.
Note that it’s not possible to return some designs and customized rings.
What if I don’t like the ring after receiving it?
Let’s say you’ve received your ring and you aren’t a hundred percent satisfied with your choice. Most online retailers offer 30 day hassle-free return policies for change of mind with no minimum purchase amount.
This means that whether you’ve paid $100 or $10,000 you are still entitled to the same service. Some retailers, such as James Allen, want 100% customer satisfaction and even pay for the return shipping, if within the US.
Will the ring look like it does on the pictures?
Unlike in the past where static images were the only option, many of the top retailers now offer 360 degree viewing technology.
This means that you get to view your ring and gemstone in full rotation often with the magnification of up to 20 times.
This is important because it means you get to see any inclusions or flaws in your gemstone which may not be visible to the naked eye. You can be assured you that what you see is what you get.
As of now, James Allen continues to be the best in terms of their diamond imagery – many shoppers claim that it’s better than seeing the ring in person, with the magnification options as well as the 360 degree rotation.
What if my ring is lost while being shipped?
Again, most of the retailers offer free insured shipment. Many retailers fully insure the item while it is in transit and ensure that they receive a signature for the delivered package.
What if I need some help to choose my ring?
Most of the retailers provide a 24/7 live chat with experts in the field. These customer service personnel take the time to patiently answer all your questions in depth, even the seemingly stupid questions. What’s more, they aren’t pushy and don’t try to pressurize you into buying.
So if, after an hour of discussion, you decide that you don’t want to go ahead with a purchase, all it takes is a ‘thank you’ and a click to close the chat.
Which are the best stores to buy a ring online?
Unlike in the past, today there are many options for online ring shopping. We recommend the following retailers:
Why: Superior diamond imaging, competitive prices, high quality, wide range
An online giant in the diamond space, James Allen a stunning collection of high-quality diamonds. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and makes shopping online similar, if not better, to shopping in store.
Why: Competitive prices, wide range, great quality
Known for dominating the online diamond industry since the late 1990s, Blue Nile offers one of the largest online diamond inventories. Search diamonds here at competitive prices, solid after-sales policies, and good customer service.
Why: Superior cut quality, exclusive range, stunning designs
Whiteflash has earned an international reputation for the elite quality of their precision cut diamonds, and for their impeccable collection of designer engagement rings. Check their stunning range of diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Why: Impeccable quality, superior cut, small but exclusive inventory
Brian Gavin is a renowned expert in diamond cut – and it shows in their superior diamond quality. For the very best in diamonds, search their inventory of designer diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Why: Try before you buy, build your own ring, great quality
If you want to try out how a round diamond ring looks on your finger before you commit to buying one, check out With Clarity’s Home Preview Service which is completely free. Find out more here.
So as we have seen, there are numerous benefits to shopping for your engagement ring online. There are exceptional online retailers who will make your shopping experience fun and easy and provide you with all the information you require. Here, you can find our comprehensive reviews on James Allen, Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth, three main online engagement retailers.