So, you’ve begun your quest for the perfect engagement ring. You’ve found a gorgeous statement piece, but the price is slightly over your budget.
Negotiating with your jeweler for a better price is an easy solution to this problem. But is this standard practice? Will the jeweler be offended? And how do you even go about it?
I’ve been selling jewelry (especially rare and vintage) for decades, and in this article, I’ll reveal all the insider secrets on negotiating for a better price on your jewelry.
Is it Rude to Negotiate on an Engagement Ring?
I’m happy to tell you that the answer is no.
It is indeed completely appropriate to negotiate the price of any piece of jewelry. Jewelers know this and will expect it.
That being said, it’s important to note that the commercial jewelry chain stores (and brand name jewelry stores) will almost always immediately shoot down your negotiating attempts. They have fixed (and heavy inflated) prices and they have no intention of going down even a little.
Smaller boutiques and online websites, on the other hand, will almost always be completely open to a little haggling.
Our company, Estate Diamond Jewelry, for example, has been in business for over 40 years and has one of the largest collections of vintage rings in the world, and yet we still work with each of our customers to find a price that works for them. Negotiations are a part of our day-to-day.
The critical key for customers to learn is how to negotiate and what not to say or do.
Top Insider Secrets on Negotiating Your Engagement Ring Price
Here are my top hacks on how to help you negotiate like a pro when buying an engagement ring.
1. Find a Promo Code
This is the easiest and most effective technique for scoring yourself a better price.
Jewelry stores (especially online jewelry stores) run discounts and promotions all the time. These promotions will usually range from 5% to 10%.
Search their website, social media platforms, and email lists for their latest promo code. Even if the code has already expired, you can usually ask if they’re willing to extend it for you.
Chances are — if you ask nicely — the jewelry store will agree to apply the discount.
Expert Tip: Use a website like retailmenot.com to find promo codes for your desired engagement ring store.
2. Determine a Good Price to Start Off Negotiations
Let’s say you can’t find any promo codes or the promo codes are for a 5% discount or less? In that case, you may want to try negotiating the price.
Once you settled on a ring, take a look at the price and determine how much you can reasonably counteroffer.
The biggest mistake when negotiating for an engagement ring is by starting off on the wrong amount.
If a diamond ring is listed online for $1,800 — for example — and you call them up and counter-offer to buy it for $500, not only will they reject your offer straight out, but they’ll also be reluctant to continue the conversation. Most jewelers will simply dismiss you as not serious — rightfully so — and you will miss your chance at getting a good discount.
The trick is to pick a starting number that is somewhere around 20% off the retail value. Using the above example, I would recommend offering $1,440 for a $1,800 ring.
By the time you and the jeweler finish counter-offering, you can hope to land yourself a sweet 8% — 10% discount.
3. Never Ever Get Confrontational When Bargaining
One of the biggest mistakes that customers make when negotiating is thinking that “being tough” will get them a better deal.
As someone who has been in this business for decades, I can assure you that confrontational bargainers never get the best prices. In fact, they consistently get a much worse deal than the easy-going customers.
Let me explain.
For most jewelers, their margin of profit on each ring (once you factor in all their overhead costs as well) won’t be too dramatic.
They will always be ready to push themselves to make a sale, but they won’t be willing to lose too much money in order to make it happen.
If you threaten to walk away unless you get your desired deal, the jeweler will quickly lose interest. And if you’re rude, angry, or aggressive about it, he may even nudge you towards the door with a little help from the security guard.
In short, the moment that the negotiations get even slightly hostile or threatening in any way, the jeweler will emotionally shut down. He’ll either give a tiny discount and call it a day, or he’ll hold onto the ring and wait for a better customer.
If you want to learn how to bargain effectively without being hostile, skip to number 9.
4. Don’t Fall for the First “Discount”
Say you enter a store and narrow down your choices to two rings. You love them both, and you ask about the price. The seller tells you that the price is generally this, but they can sell you the ring at a lower price. You think you’ve just got a discount, but the truth is, you have no idea if the price they offered is actually the lowest they can go.
So, don’t say yes immediately to this “lowered” price, keep gently negotiating and see if you can get an even better deal. So long as you are respectful and courteous, the jewelry store will want to make you happy.
If a gentle nudging doesn’t get you a better price, you’ve probably hit their lowest price.
5. Never Volunteer to Disclose Your Budget
If you’re going to visit a jewelry store in person, don’t give away the exact price that you’re willing to pay the moment you walk in. Give the jeweler an overall ballpark figure and ask to see a few options within that general price bracket.
Sometimes, the jeweler may eventually ask you directly for your exact budget, and if they do you have no choice but to be upfront.
Even if the jeweler discovers your exact budget, and then you end up falling in love with a ring that is much more affordable, you can still ask for a better price. If you put in your request kindly, the jeweler will likely still give you a discount.
On this note, keep in mind that giving a misleading or incorrect budget amount (will waste everyone’s time, and) always backfires as soon as the jeweler realizes that they’ve been misled.
7. Work with Your Partner
If you’re buying a ring together, which many couples do today, make sure you’re on the same page.
Agree on a budget, decide whether you’re willing to stretch the budget, and in which circumstances, and agree on the purpose of your visit — is it to make a final decision, or is it the first trip of many?
Once you find a ring you’re set on, it’s a good idea for one of you to keep the excitement contained and not give away what you’re really thinking to the seller. If they think that you’re both absolutely sold on a particular ring at the current price, it’s unlikely they’re going to offer their best discount.
In short, one of you should play “good cop” (see below) and the other “bad cop”. Of course, the “bad cop” can’t actually be nasty or rude, or else the entire deal will fall apart.
If you haven’t calculated your budget yet, try our engagement ring calculator. It will give you a mathematical figure for how much you may want to spend.
Of course, it should be noted that no one should ever put themselves under financial strain in order to pay for their engagement ring. That’s never a good idea and usually creates further problems.
8. Give Yourself an Educational Edge
Another great way to impress the jeweler and leverage yourself towards an easier negotiation is to study everything that there is to know about diamonds and engagement rings, especially within the niche that you’re searching.
If you’re interested — for example — in vintage rings, I would recommend spending a lot of time on a vintage jewelry blog (like this one) and becoming an expert on the topic.
The jeweler will usually be impressed by your knowledge and will be far keener to negotiate favorably with you.
Of course, don’t leverage your knowledge to try to “lecture” or “educate” the jeweler. That will not work out well when trying to coax a discount out of him.
9. Praise (and Never Criticize) the Ring
Conventional bargaining wisdom would tell you that the more you criticize the ring, the better discount you’ll get.
Trust me. This is 100% wrong.
Jewelers are proud and vain. If you insult a ring that they made, curated, or collected they are likely to get defensive really quickly. If someone dissed one of the rare vintage rings from my collection, I would try my best to be polite, but I would probably be a bit insulted.
But that’s not all bad news, because on the flip side, if the jeweler sees that the customer has fallen in love with one of their rings, they will bend over backward to help the customer walk away with their “dream ring”.
Jewelers (and jewelry collectors) are artists. They’d usually rather sell to a customer who appreciates their art than to a customer who couldn’t care less.
Not always. But usually.
Be polite and upfront with your jeweler, and they will generally extend themselves to make you happy when you ask if you can get a better price.
It’s really that simple.