How Long Should the Engagement Ring Buying Process Take? May 7, 2017 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog
It lasts as long as it lasts. The end.
Ah, if only it were so simple. The process does, of course, last as long as it lasts, but there’s a bit more to it than that, and how you define the process before you even start the actual search will determine exactly when it finishes. In reality, like so many aspects of jewelry buying and wearing, there’s no right or wrong answer.
Some people agonize for weeks or months over the right ring to buy, and others stumble across the right one for them in the first store they walk into, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan. Nor does it mean there may not be snags along the way.
Assuming the venture is a joint one, and not for a surprise proposal, then there are a number of things to consider before you even start to think about taking out your credit card.
Stage 1 – Education
Before you even get to thinking about the design or style of the ring, you should really know what it is you’re looking at as you browse the bewildering array of engagement rings you’ll see. If you’ve had even a passing interest in engagement rings or diamonds before now, you might already have heard about the Four Cs of diamond quality. These are Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. The carat is easy enough to understand, this simply represents the weight of the diamond(s), but the others take a little more work to appreciate fully. The Four Cs originate with the GIA, who set the standards for these things and can help to understand what separates a high-quality diamond from a lesser one.
Take the time to get a grasp on what each C really means, it can be the difference between getting a great ring, and getting a stunning one, and will help you to understand what the dealer is telling you.
The other part of this first stage is to know what your partner wants in a ring. Nothing too specific is needed, just the basic style and cut shape of the finished diamond, plus whether it’s a platinum or gold band they’re after. None of this is about making a decision, it’s just about narrowing what can become a vast and wide-open hunt if you let it.
TIME REQUIRED: 2-3 days
Stage 2 – Browse and Search
Browsing is one of the most fun parts of any buying experience, and engagement rings are no exception. This is where the first stage comes in because, by now, you already have some idea of what you want and the information you need to make sure you get it.
Browse in store, browse online, it doesn’t really matter, but just bear in mind that nothing beats being able to see any piece of fine jewelry in the flesh, and this is especially true for engagement rings. Set some time aside and plan visits to jewelry stores to see as many rings as is practical. Be aware that some higher-end stores may require an appointment to be made before they will allow you access to the building.
Make notes of rings you like and stores that you had a good experience in. It’s important that you trust the store to give you the right information which, again, is where your initial research will come in very useful. Most reputable dealers will be able to provide certificates showing the grading of a diamond. If they are reluctant to do so, then it’s a potential red flag about both the dealer and the stone.
Narrow your results down to 5 or 6 rings, and walk away. Unless you have a compelling reason to buy there and then, don’t. Emotions can be a dangerous and very expensive thing, so it’s always best to let any emotions subside a little to avoid the risk of buying on impulse and being forever a little disappointed. Don’t worry, you’ll be back to look at all the rings you like, shortly.
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TIME REQUIRED: 1-2 weeks
Stage 3 – Funnel Your Options
Now we’re into the ordering phase of buying your engagement ring. Revisit all the stores you have in your shortlist, and then narrow the search some more. It may be that you only need to narrow it down to one final visit, or it may need more. The point is not to rush anything. After buying a house, jewelry is one of the most expensive material purchases you will ever make, so it pays to be diligent in making your final choice.
Once you’ve made your decision, and assuming your choice is a finished piece, it may just be a simple act of the jeweler resizing the band to fit and giving the ring a final clean. This can be done by most stores in a few days, and your engagement ring will be ready to collect before you know it.
If your search has been more about finding a diamond to set into an existing band, or having a full ring custom made, the process will take a little longer, of course. To have a ring made may take between to 4-6 weeks if the ring is handcrafted by an expert, but putting a diamond into an existing band/mount can still be done in a few days.
TIME REQUIRED: 1 week
Assuming you don’t hit any snags along the way, you can have your engagement ring researched, chosen and in your possession in less than a month. A custom made ring will add possibly another month to this, but it still makes it all a reasonably short process.
The fact is that your marriage is intended to last forever, so a few weeks before you start down the path to the altar should be considered time well spent.