Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
5/2/14 11:04 a.m.

I hope to the Good Lord that SWMBO doesn't read the GRM forums.

If I was looking to buy a piece of jewelry, let's say a ring that usually has a diamond on it and is worn on the left ring finger, what would be a good way to go about getting a good deal and not getting screwed? I'm familiar with haggling for cars, not jewelry.

bravenrace
bravenrace UltimaDork
5/2/14 11:11 a.m.

My best friend is a Jewelry sales rep. All I can say is I would avoid at all cost buying from a Jewelry store, although that's hard to do when you need to buy jewelry. The mark-ups are beyond unbelievable. Sorry, that probably doesn't help much...

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
5/2/14 11:17 a.m.

Everyone says "Don't buy from a large jewelry chain." I get that. Problem is, Kay Jewelers and the like are all over the place. It's also nice to have a warranty/replacement plan that is national in scope.

There are only like 3 smaller "mom and pop" jewelry stores around here. I'm going to those first.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/2/14 11:26 a.m.

It helps to have a friend in the business. Here in Daytona, Big Al runs Evans and Sons, our local jeweler. Big Al is also a big car guy.

I had a jewel right near my house who did us right, too, but sadly he retired. His wife drove a Miata. He drove a big Healey while in school.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
5/2/14 11:47 a.m.
Sky_Render wrote: Everyone says "Don't buy from a large jewelry chain." I get that. Problem is, Kay Jewelers and the like are *all over the place*. It's also nice to have a warranty/replacement plan that is national in scope. There are only like 3 smaller "mom and pop" jewelry stores around here. I'm going to those first.

I think my wife's ring came from Kay's.

That is because the mom and pop place everyone recommended, had diamonds fall out on 3 occasions. They finally bought the ring back from us and we went to Kay's. 4 years of her hand banging around in a sink, in water, doing clients hair and it's been fine.

cdowd
cdowd Reader
5/2/14 12:08 p.m.

I have heard good things about the online company blue nile (NA)for the prices on certified diamonds. kind of hard to spend that much money and not actually see it, but it might be worth checking out.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
5/2/14 12:13 p.m.

It's a rip-off.

But you can't avoid it. I got my wife's diamond from Blue Nile. Still not going to give you the warm fuzzies, but they are reputable, and you are likely to get a better deal than you would at a prick and mortar store.

bluej
bluej GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/2/14 12:16 p.m.

http://www.diamonds.pro/ (truthaboutdiamonds.com)

I purchased a stone from jamesallen.com and was very happy with the service. I definitely felt like I was able to maximize what I got in the stone for the $ spent. When the relationship went south a year and a half later (still pre-wedding), I was able to sell the stone to a broker/dealer for right around 80% of what I paid.

my personal experience, ymmv. it was helpful to do the reading and research, look at the stones online at james-allen and then go to the franchise jewelry stores to look at their rings, see what the grades and whatnot were for the various stones they had, then make decisions.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
5/2/14 1:05 p.m.

Either find out where Jewelers row is, and go there, or go to Blue Nile.

Get yourself educated on them--Clarity, Color, Cut, Size, etc. Figure out what you're ok with, then see if the jeweler can match the Blue Nile price.

I figured out that I didn't really care about the color--I couldn't tell a difference in the worst of the "near colorless" and the "colorless" unless I was looking at them both under a light out of a ring. Since that only happens in a jewelry store, and I'm only in a jewelry store once ever 3 years or so, it doesn't matter.

Similarly, the flaws--a small white flaw that I can see only under a 40x lupe, doesn't matter. A small black flaw? I can see that with my naked eye even if it is the same size. That was out. I ended up with one that was mathematically perfect as far as the cut goes. Everything that can be rated excellent was excellent.

I went to Gale Diamonds in Chicago. I was at the very bottom of what he does, but if everybody in every industry gave you that kind of service and dedication, the world would be a much different place. Make an appointment, show up to his shop (which is actually a condo), get buzzed in, he pulls out a bunch of diamonds from a safe, and away you go.

I compared with Blue Nile after I made the purchase. I basically paid $400 less than Blue Nile (and a whole lot less than any retail shops) for the following: +The education he gave me +The ability to see the diamond before I got it +The knowledge that the jeweler who was setting the diamond was the best of the best of the best (which is something that I was scared about w/ BlueNile), and +Lifetime free resizing and cleaning. Hopefully there is a provision for our lifetime vs. his

Doing it again, and knowing what I know now, I might do it online. But probably not. Thankfully it is a one time ordeal.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
5/2/14 1:08 p.m.

Oh, also, those warranties and stuff? Ask yourself if it is really worth it. It is a diamond. What is going to hurt it? The ring itself is usually pretty cheap too, if it needs to be replaced. Resizing is not expensive, and cleaning is free at 2 different shops around me that I didn't even buy the ring from.

Don't make that be your decision maker.

Call up your insurance agent and get it insured separately. And make sure that you get a GIA certified rock as well.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/2/14 1:21 p.m.

Yeah, I went completely opposite here.. I first found a ring that I liked, and I thought she'd like. Then I found a diamond to fit it. You see, if you have a ring that's going to embed the diamond into it in any way, shape or form, you can go quite a bit down on the CCCS scale, and not tell at all. But my wife isn't the type to really want a big stone sticking out of the top of a boring ring.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
5/2/14 1:35 p.m.

Don't spend 2 months salary on it. Or even 1 month.

I think we spent less than one 2 week paycheck.

slefain
slefain UltraDork
5/2/14 1:40 p.m.

Color and flaws don't mean jack in the long run. Go for size and cut.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
5/2/14 1:46 p.m.

Holy crap, mtn, you put a lot of effort into that. But see my earlier post; there are no "Jeweler's Rows" around me, and I'm not traveling to NYC or Chicago.

slefain wrote: Color and flaws don't mean jack in the long run. Go for size and cut.

That's what I'm thinking. How often are people going to be holding the ring up to the light and looking at it super-close? The vast majority of the time, people are just going to be seeing it on the hand from afar.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltraDork
5/2/14 2:00 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Don't spend 2 months salary on it. Or even 1 month. I think we spent less than one 2 week paycheck.

Same here. That whole "tradition" was completely made up by the DeBeers marketing department.

Atlanta has a couple of pretty reputable independent jewelers. I got my wife's engagement ring at one called Solomon Brothers - they had both better prices and selection than your typical mall jeweler or chain. Mrs. Mad Scientist specifically wanted a very unusual cut, and we then went for the biggest one we could fit in the budget.

Enyar
Enyar Dork
5/2/14 2:41 p.m.

GRM actually came in real handy for me....bought the diamond off a forum member!

I had the ring custom made at a local shop that was recommended by a coworker. Cost 2x what I could have paid for something out of a catalog but this was my chance to make something unique and special. For the actual rock I was browsing craigslist, ebay, forums etc for something GIA certified in my specs (.8+ carat, SI2+, J+). There is plenty out there, the trick is finding someone who is trustworthy and isn't asking retail prices. Saved major money here and got a diamond much nicer than I could normally afford.

The whole engagement ring thing is really nothing but a huge money grab/scam and this was my way of finding the right mix of wholly nice ring without breaking the bank. I ended up paying around 1 pre-tax paycheck total (1/2 a month).

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Dork
5/2/14 2:45 p.m.

I actually made an appointment with a local jewelry shop, because I wanted something different: a 3-stone setting where the two stones on either side are emeralds instead of diamonds. Similar to this, but without the side channel stones and smaller gems:

https://www.anzorjewelrycorp.com/Scripts/prodview.asp?SKU=R1091

I REALLY hope SWMBO isn't reading this.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
5/2/14 3:20 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: Holy crap, mtn, you put a lot of effort into that. But see my earlier post; there are no "Jeweler's Rows" around me, and I'm not traveling to NYC or Chicago.
slefain wrote: Color and flaws don't mean jack in the long run. Go for size and cut.
That's what I'm thinking. How often are people going to be holding the ring up to the light and looking at it super-close? The vast majority of the time, people are just going to be seeing it on the hand from afar.

On the first point, where do you live?

On the second point, I thought that for awhile. But the fact is, she and I are really the only ones looking at it anyways. And we'll see the flaws, and it would bother me. Of course, you can spin that to "well I don't really care, lets just get CZ and be done with it", but that is a decision to make on your own.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
5/2/14 3:28 p.m.

The "Mall type" jewelry store markup is 200%. So, whatever their price, 1/3rd is wholesale. Pay cash at a wholesaler and get the same piece for 1/3rd the price or get 3x as much for the same money.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/2/14 5:49 p.m.

I've dealt with both the chains (JBR, which is Kay with a different sign out front) and a small local store that's been in business for a century. The latter was a far, far better experience in both the quality of the end result and the support. One of the rings we got from JBR is a total lemon, spending more time in shipping back and forth to the off-site repair shop than it spends in our house - never mind the time being worn. Of course, they'll give us a trade-in credit, but by the time you've added up all the caveats and disclaimers it's more expensive than just buying the deal-o-the-week.

Meanwhile, the family store has a jeweler on site and loose stones. They've been doing this their whole lives instead of going to a quicky seminar, so we got better advice and information as well as a feeling that we were actually buying a future heirloom instead of a shiny thing. So I know where I'll be going in the future.

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