Why Buying An Engagement Ring Online Isn't The Best Idea
I may not be the only jeweler who doesn’t sell engagement rings, but I’m definitely the only jeweler who sells engagement diamonds but refuses to sell the ring too. Instead, I give my engagement rings away. Check out Gentoo Proposals for how that process works. I’ve talked about Gentoo Proposals in blogs previous, but never really went into detail about why I don’t sell the engagement rings as well.
People were quick to tell me the sales I’d be missing out on. If someone wants to buy a diamond to propose, the engagement ring would be a no brainer to sell too, right? Well, for one, I don’t want to encourage ring shopping pre-proposal. And the investment is so steep that deciding on the style of engagement ring is rarely made alone and should be made with the person wearing the ring. Proposals should be a surprise, but nobody wants to to propose without the perfect ring. The truth is, I don’t think any ecommerce retailer should sell engagement rings. There are many reasons why I think this way, but the most important comes down to service and supporting local economy. I am not someone’s local jeweler with goldsmiths and all the necessary tools to repair rings so I’m not going to act like it.
It may not seem this way, but buying an engagement ring online is a fairly new concept. At least at the rate we are seeing them being purchased online the last couple of years. To the normal consumer this means nothing, but for a local jewelry storeowner it’s peculiar seeing as after the ring is purchased, E-Tailers are pretty much off the hook. You get what you pay for and what a lot of people don’t think about when purchasing an engagement ring is what it’s going to take to maintain it. We get caught up in the moment doing research about diamonds, shapes, and measurements... it’s important to look very deep into the websites we’re purchasing from to look at the warranty and services they provide after the diamond is yours.
Back in the day, rings weren’t produced like they are today. Mass production and machine setting (the machine sets the diamond instead of a human) has enabled the jewelry industry to produce the most intricate designs conceivable, and that’s the good news. In order to create these pieces, they use extremely small diamonds held in place by thin prongs (pieces of metal holding the diamond secure). There are rings with hundreds of diamonds no bigger than a grain of sand each. Those very small diamonds tend to fall out, and that’s the bad news.
The thin prongs tend to thin out and cause more diamonds to fall out. The head of the ring (the metal holding your center diamond in place) wears down, making your center diamond susceptible to falling out as well. It’s nothing to freak out about, but it is reality. Any jeweler can fix these problems lickity split and the really good ones, they do it for free for their customers. It’s a fact that eventually any engagement ring will need some type of repair, and there’s nobody on a website making sure visitors are checking out the warranty page before realizing it’s going to be a pain in the ass to send any jewelry back for repairs, and will probably cost a pretty penny, too.
Not only that, but the only way the E-Tailer will cover the cost most of the time is if it is a “manufacturer defect”. Essentially, it doesn’t show up as you order it. So if you put that ring on and it fits and all the diamonds are there, then it’s not their fault if a stone is lost, if you need any re-tips (rebuilding the worn down metal that holds the diamonds) or sizing (if it’s outside the timeframe they allow it to be sized). What ends up happening is the customer doesn’t send it back to the E-Tailer they purchased from after they find all of this out, but rather find a local jeweler to do the repairs. That’s why salespeople at local jewelers brag about the free warranties they offer.
What usually happens is the E-Tailer has a huge selection of diamonds that are at a low price point compared to local jewelers. They save so much on the diamond that people oftentimes forget to think about the quality of the ring they’re getting. If they did, they would find out really fast that most local jewelers sell the exact same rings, at the exact same price, or close to it. The designer ring you’re purchasing online most likely is sitting in a jewelry case in a store in decently close proximity to you at the very same price.
That’s why I don’t sell engagement rings. I sell diamonds for way less than any other E-Tailer or local jeweler because I only sell diamonds that are grown. I then refer my customers to a few local jewelers in their area that would be a happy to sell them an engagement ring to set their diamond in. That way, customers get the benefits close to home. I’ll tell you right now that my referrals always have a great warranty, and most importantly they are involved in the communities they serve. I also don’t make any money from doing this. I want to sell people beautiful diamonds and fashion jewelry, but more than that I want my customers to be able to experience face to face what a local jeweler can offer.
I wouldn’t expect my customers to be comfortable sending an investment through the mail to a goldsmith they don’t know, for a price they didn’t anticipate, so I chose to go a different direction. Like I said before, buying an engagement ring online is a fairly new thing and most rings need extra care three to five years after the purchase. E-Tailers haven’t even scratched the surface with amount of repair work that will need to be done in the coming years to keep up with design trends. And they just don’t have the bandwidth to make it happen, at least not like a local jeweler.
For exclusive updates, subscribe to 143's email list.