So, you have reached the point of deciding which diamond engagement ring option you would like to buy and have received multiple quotations from online wholesalers, retailers and your trustworthy traditional jewelry shop. You have done all the background check to make sure they are trustworthy, provide genuine third party certification and the person you are dealing with is qualified and good to communicate with. Finally, let’s say for simplicity sake that, they are all providing you similar diamond specifications (in terms of color, clarity and cut) with similar metal setting & ring design. So, how do you check and know which of these options is the best one? The answer should be a simple one right? The cheapest one!
Unfortunately when purchasing a diamond engagement ring, it is not always the case that the cheapest option is the best deal out there because not all diamonds or ring quality are the same! Yes, there are brands out there like Tiffany, Cartier, Zales, etc., which provide consistent quality control that you can trust when compared with your typical non-branded stores, however, they do take mark-ups of over 300% for this trust and so you definitely will not get the best diamond engagement ring deal with these big brands.
So, how do I check if I am getting the best deal for my diamond engagement ring?
With the resources we have now in 2016, it is very easy for you to check if the diamond engagement ring you are getting is a good deal or not. I hope with my comprehensive step by step guide below, it will assist in answering your question and make you more comfortable with your purchase choice.
Step 1: Check & Verify the Center Diamond Quality
This is the most important step and I have written about this multiple times in my previous blog posts. You can check this here and here. Just to be clear the most important and most expensive component for a diamond engagement ring is the center diamond. You have to make sure when comparing the different quotations that, the diamonds are ‘certified’ with the same lab and have similar carat weight, dimensions, color, cut, clarity and florescence grades. If any of these are different this will change and affect the diamond price, so you have to compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges. This component usually consists of 80% to 95% of the ‘total ring cost.’ The other components though important, are not very critical in financial point of view.
Step 2: Check if the price you are getting the center diamond for is competitive
With the center diamond specification on hand, you can now check from various online platforms for free if the center diamond you are getting is ‘competitive’ and within the market range or is it way off. I found the most useful websites to check these prices are the largest ‘exclusive’ US online retailers like James Allen & Blue Nile. The prices published on these sites are so competitive that they are ‘almost equal’ to what the diamond wholesalers sell at the ‘retail’ jeweler level. There are other websites out there in the UK, Australia, etc. and they will all usually provide prices for specific diamond specification online. Just doing a quick search and checking on these websites you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars, due to your knowledge in knowing how much the diamond should cost.
Step 3: Check the quality of metal used in setting the ring
When getting the quotation from anyone you are dealing with, they usually provide you details of what metal they are going to use to set your ring in. You can verify this by checking quality stamp inside the finished ring which ensures the metal quality of the ring.
Each country has its own logo standard, however, as the end consumer if you do see this stamp it almost guarantees that the quality used is as what is stamped in the ring. This is true for most countries around the world and most manufacturers won’t want to get in trouble if they falsify this claim. However, there are some countries where the rules are not enforced 100% and therefore the stamp exaggerates the metal quality, for example a big consumer country like India. For manufacturers in India, this is where the majority of them make their margins because the end consumer or retailers are tough negotiators there and always ‘an expert’ in calculating ‘all the cost components.’ Usually for diamond engagement rings the standard metal used are:
- Gold ranging from 14 to 18K white, yellow or rose
- White Palladium ranging from 14K to 18K
- Platinum ranging from 900 to 950 (90% to 95% purity)
Personal opinion: I would not recommend getting diamond engagement ring set above 18K due to the metal being very malleable and not sturdy enough to hold the diamonds securely.
Step 4: Check the quality of the side diamond (if you have any)
This criterion is a lot trickier to verify and check and this is where many retailers, dealers or online sellers make their money from. As there is no standard third party certificate for the small diamonds, you will have to trust what the jeweler says regarding the diamond quality. This is where trusting the company or person you are dealing with really counts. The difference in price for a low quality small diamond let us say around 0.02 carat diamond (or 2 pointers) to high quality diamond can almost be 400% – For example, a low quality diamond (bad cut, low clarity and color) can cost around US$200 per carat while the higher quality diamond will be US$800 per carat. Usually for higher end jewelers, the standard small diamond quality used to set in their jewelry is G to H color, VS1-clarity with top cut grades, which is considered the middle range. Once these diamonds are set in the ring they will look very white & sparkly and clarity grade ‘perception’ goes up almost two grades, so the VS1 diamond now looks like VVS1 diamond.
So, how should you check the quality of these side diamonds? I usually recommend anyone buying jewelry to just take a look and see if the small diamonds ‘look attractive’ – i.e. Are they white, sparkly with no eye visible inclusions? If the answer is yes, you can almost safely say the quality is in the middle range or higher.
Another way to check the small diamond quality is by comparing how they look versus the center diamond, which should be certified by reliable third party certification. With this comparison you can check if the small diamonds look similar or more yellow or brown compared to the center diamond. Same looking usually means similar color, clarity and cut grade.
Finally, please note that for most ring designs the side diamonds are usually a very small component of the total ring cost. So, if your ring only has 0.10 carat of small diamonds the price difference between lowest quality and highest quality is only US$60! So, please don’t take this component so seriously for this case. Of course, if your ring design requires more side diamonds these differences will add up very quickly, so please use your judgments when checking this criteria.
Step 5: Check how much it will cost to make the ring setting using the metal quality and diamond quality you found from Step 2 & 3.
You must be wondering how the large US online retailers make their money if they are selling their center diamonds almost at diamond wholesale prices [Step 2]. One thing they have learned very quickly is the ‘same simple trick’ blade manufacturers or printing manufacturers (i.e. Gillette or HP) use when selling their products. As an end-consumer you will always get the shaving razor or printer cheap as that sucks you in and forces you to buy their more lucrative cash cow products like shaving blades or printer ink. The same way the US online retailers entice you in buying the center diamond and then over-charge you by setting the diamond with their finished jewelry collection because there is no point for you to get only the diamond without the finished ring mount. So, this is actually a very important step to check if the ‘total engagement ring cost’ is competitive – center diamond plus the ring setting costs.
To check how much a ring mounting should cost, you can actually check some examples in our other blog-post here which briefly discusses pricing. If you compare these prices with most online retailers you will see how much more they charge.
Step 6: Check the reputation of the company, store and the people you are dealing with.
This actually should be the first criteria in any diamond engagement ring purchase. Our business is based on trust and if you cannot trust who you are dealing with you will not be confident in what they are providing for your finished product. The good thing is nowadays you can check the reputations of many companies by doing simple searches through Google or Social media (i.e. Facebook). You will usually find some reviews from end-consumers about their purchase experiences. Personally, I will trust Facebook more than some random review websites as they have a ‘picture’ attached to the testimonial. This just makes it slightly difficult to ‘fake’ a review.
By following all the steps above and doing your due diligence, I am confident that you will get an amazing deal for your diamond engagement ring purchase.
Thai Native Gems Diamond Search & Custom Engagement Ring service:
If you are in the market looking for the best diamond and custom hand made engagement ring in Bangkok, Thailand contact us and let us know what your budget is and what you are looking for. From this initial information, we will swiftly find and email you 4 to 5 center diamond options to choose from that we feel fits your needs best. Unlike other traditional or online dealers, we are not looking to sell you anything, but will provide you a honest, frank and objective opinion of what we think is best in your budget. This service is free, and there is absolutely no commitment to buy any of our suggestions. The only thing you have to do is not respond to our email and you won’t hear from us again! So, you truly have nothing to lose!
How do we compile this diamond list? Our search process is provided below:
1) We first will contact our local diamond supply network and check if there are any stones that fits your requirement in Bangkok, Thailand. We have over 50 contacts in Bangkok and will check ALL to make sure we can provide you the best deal.
2) If not satisfied, we will then check online through our extensive global network sifting through over 900,000+ diamonds and will find you the best diamond. The only setback when choosing the diamond from this global list is, it can take one to two weeks to arrive to Bangkok.
What type engagement rings can you make and how are they made?
1) We usually set our engagement rings in 18k yellow or white gold or 950 platinum settings. Our rings are all hand-crafted and made by highly skilled Thai craftsmen.
Examples in some of the rings we made you can see on our YouTube channel and shown below:
YouTube Channel Play List
Contact us today to get all your wholesale gemstones, diamonds and jewelry needs. We can Source, Search and Supply anything you require.
What will you get if you contact us
- Get wholesale and highly competitive prices of gemstones & diamonds from anywhere through our extensive network of contacts around the world
- All stones sold by us is verified in house by our GIA Graduate Gemologist or certified
- We provide personalized service and NOT the same old “One Size Fits All” Approach
You can learn more by clicking here or image below