4. Bespoke or off the shelf?
What kind of ring design does she want? Or is it better that you propose with a loose diamond and go through the process of getting a jeweller to mount it into a ring together with her?
Would you like it to be bespoke and custom-made? Or can you find the ring of your choice ready-made? Unfortunately, I have not seen a jeweller who does not claim that their rings are “hand-made”, “bespoke”, “custom-made”. The truth is very few of them are truly manufacturing jewellers. The vast majority will get a cast or part of the ring as a cast and get a jeweller to complete the make. That is if they have not purchased it from a mass manufacturer in Hong Kong or Vietnam or some Asian country. Assuming the same size diamond and identical design, a cast ring will weigh less than a hand-made one.
If your ring is to be bespoke then you should carefully do research for manufacturing jewellers. And ask the salesperson where is their jewellery workshop? How many jewellers do they have on the bench? Will any part of the manufacturing process be outsourced?
5. Questions to ask the salesperson
By this stage, you (a) know what kind of an engagement ring your girlfriend wants; (b) have worked out your budget and (c) have done your research on which jewellers to go to. Here are some of the questions you might wish to ask the salesperson:
- What is the size, colour, clarity of the diamond in this ring?
- Does it have fluorescence? (for the uninitiated, it can be an intrinsic feature in some diamonds whereby in ultra violet light the diamond appears blue in colour. For example: in a disco. If it exists in slight levels it can actually enhance the look of the diamond, but in medium to stronger levels it will reduce the value of the diamond).
- Can you confirm that the diamond has been ethically sourced? (tip: research about the Kimberley Process)
- Is this diamond independently certified?
- Is this diamond fracture filled? (especially if the diamond appears to be too cheap when compared to others you may have seen of a similar size and quality as well – a big ‘no-no’ in spite of the attractive price. If it appears too good to be true, it often is!
- What are their after-sales services and warranties – especially if the diamond falls out of its setting without significant or heavy wear and tear (i.e. manufacturing issues with the ring)
- Can the ring be resized (not all of them can depending on the nature of the ring and the setting of the diamonds) and if yes, will they re-size it free of charge if it does not fit your girlfriend?
- What are the care instructions on how to clean and look after the ring?
- Will they give you a valuation for insurance purposes?
6. The price
By all means negotiate the best price. But be realistic. For example: don’t expect a retailer to give you a diamond ring at a price you could buy it online.
Enjoy the experience, daunting as it may seem, it actually is not and it will be a memory of a life time. I promise!
This article was written by Amit Laxman, Radiant Diamonds, Melbourne, Australia. They specialise in the manufacture of bespoke precious jewellery using natural fancy coloured diamonds and colourless (white) diamonds, www.radiant-diamonds.co.uk.
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