Engagement Ring Shopping?
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’re likely either expecting a rock sometime soon or have been doing some shopping looking for the perfect ring! Considering an engagement ring is typically a sizable expense in its own right, it’s important to knock it out of the park. As a wedding venue, our team at Madera Estates never gets tired of hearing countless amazing engagement stories. Every single one has its own unique twist and simply put, they never get old. Our team recently got together and outlined some of our favorite tips that go into the entire engagement ring shopping process. We tried to include a fair share of ones that may seem obvious, but also are critical, as well as others that we’ve noticed over the years.
Pick Your Shape
The first step you should take from the get-go is deciding on which shape you want for the diamond. The reason why this is so important to finalize early on is the fact that it simplifies all of the other decisions you’ll be making. Additionally, the shape you choose has a major impact on the total price tag. For example, classic round cuts are normally going to be the most expensive options. Likewise, if you go with more of an alternative shape (such as marquise, pear, heart or radiant), you’ll be looking at a reduced cost.
Going along with the price variances, different shapes also have different meanings. The round cut is known for being timeless and traditional, while the radiant cut symbolizes being fierce and daring. Before looking deeper into the options available, take some time to carefully analyze the shape/cut component and figure out which is perfect for your significant other. Remember, once you have the shape nailed down, it will make the rest of the process that much more seamless.
Know the 4C’s
When it comes to engagement ring shopping, you’ll want to make sure you’re educated on some of the finer details of diamond pricing. This will not only ensure you get a quality diamond, but also getting the most bang for your buck. A key concept throughout all of this is the 4C’s. Cut, color, clarity, and carat. As evidenced above, the cut should always be high on your list. The right cut can easily make a lower carat ring still look remarkable!
The next “C,” color, determines how colorless the diamond is. If you’re trying to save a few bucks, color is certainly an area that would make sense. Why so? The cut is going to be responsible for creating true sparkle, while most slight color differences aren’t easily detected in plain sight.
With clarity, you’re looking for a diamond that’s “eye-clean.” It’s typically best to ask a professional to ensure this, but most usually recommend something around an SI1 (slightly included 1), as being an area that provides the highest value per investment ratio.
Lastly, we have everyone’s favorite topic to discuss, the carat weight. With the term “carat,” you’re analyzing the actual weight of the diamond, not necessarily the size. The shape and cut are going to have a major impact on just how big the diamond appears.
Know the Style You’re Looking For
Now that you have an overall understanding of the in’s and out’s of why certain diamonds are priced higher than others, it’s time to take a careful look at your soon-to-be spouse’s style. When it comes to ring shopping, some couples prefer to do so together, while others take on more of a traditional approach and surprise their partner for the proposal. Nonetheless, it’s important to have a style in mind before heading off to the jeweler.
If you’re shopping together, there’s obviously not too much to be concerned with here. On the flip side, if you’re looking to surprise your partner, take some time to ask some of her family and friends. At the same time, take a look at the jewelry she currently wears. This will give you an idea if you should be searching for something more modern-looking or a traditional piece.
As briefly alluded to in the opening paragraph, the purchase of an engagement ring can be an expensive purchase. It’s likely going to be up there on the list of most expensive purchases you’ve made to this point. As a result, you want to make sure all of your ducks are in a row before completing the transaction. You’ll want to (1) buy a certified diamond and (2) make sure the certificate accurately matches the diamond. Your diamond should be certified by a third-party laboratory. This ensures your diamond will not only hold its value, but also is not priced based off inflated grades. Here are a few laboratories worth keeping in mind as being quality:
- GIA (Gemological Institute of America)
- AGS (American Gem Society)
- EGL USA Gemological Laboratory
There are many other laboratories that certify diamonds, including IGI and HRD, but the three above certainly encompass some of the most reputable processes. For those curious about the entire certification process, it is quite extensive. Trained professionals utilize specialized equipment to evaluate the diamond. They’ll analyze it based on the color, clarity, and size. One key caveat you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to the grading methods is that each of the labs listed above have their own unique methods for doing so. Some labs may be stricter when it comes to color, while others might be this way on the quality of clarity. In order to define a lab’s true reliability, experts say to analyze the consistency of their grades. And when it comes to consistency, it’s going to be tough to beat GIA and AGS.
Research and Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Just as is the case when you go to purchase a car, don’t be hesitant to employ some negotiation tactics to see if there’s any better deal you can get. Some seasons are slower than others for jewelers, so prices can be more flexible. Consider right now, which happens to be labeled “engagement season,” and compare that to the summer season, which is likely where things might slow down a bit.
Also, if you’re able to, some jewelers might even be open to offering discounts for paying in cash. This discount would likely be similar to the 3% fee associated with processing credit card transactions. All in all, it’s going to depend on where you’re purchasing from, but it never hurts to try and haggle the price down a little bit to fit within your budget!
Once You’re Engaged…
Having shopped around for the perfect rock and gone through the proposal stage, it’s time to start planning your big day! From picking a date to sharing the big news with friends and family, you’ll certainly have a few items on your to-do list over the next few months! One decision you’ll want to start thinking about shortly after the engagement will be “where will you get married?” In the Houston and Conroe area, there are certainly some beautiful venues to consider.
Based in Conroe, TX, our luxury wedding venue, Madera Estates, transports you from the “piney woods of Southeastern Texas to the breathtaking and luscious highlands of Central Mexico.” We take pride in providing a wide array of packages, ranging from venue rentals to all-inclusive options, focused on turning your dream wedding day into a reality. For those newly engaged, we encourage you to schedule a private champagne tour of our venue. We’ll walk you through pricing, take a look at the various spaces and work to make sure every single detail is just right! We hope this blog provided you with some helpful tips when it comes time for you to go shopping and wish you a great engagement season!