The first step toward finding the perfect diamond engagement ring is choosing a jeweler. Different jewelers offer different services, price ranges, and styles that a couple must consider. Just as the ring is a lifetime investment, the jeweler that goes with it should be one that will last for years.
Which Ring From Which Jeweler
The first consideration when choosing a jeweler is deciding what type of ring you're interested in acquiring. Small jewelry stores may have a fine selection of classic, traditional rings, but for more exotic choices, such as pave setting engagement rings or Asscher cut engagement rings, you may need to find a more individualized jeweler with a larger, more carefully selected range of rings. Furthermore, if you are interested in purchasing loose stones to set into a customized ring, most small jewelers will not be able to accommodate your needs.
The best option is to visit several types of jewelers, from single-store operations to national chains, and investigate the different rings they each offer. Once you have decided on a basic style, you can narrow your choice of jeweler further through other considerations.
Mall Stores vs. Independent Jewelers
Many people warn against purchasing an engagement ring from a mall jewelry store, but the truth is that both mall stores and independent jewelers offer different conveniences for their customers. While an independent jeweler may have a more exotic collection, many mall stores are affiliated with large chains and can purchase their stones at a lower general price, potentially lowering the final price for the consumer. Independent jewelers may be able to provide more detailed information about the stone's origin, which is a particular concern when you wish to avoid conflict diamonds, but mall jewelers can often provide faster routine maintenance. Independent jewelers, on the other hand, are typically more experienced and can give more informed views of the different gems they have available.
Your future plans should also factor in to your choice of jeweler. If you are sentimental about the store and wish to purchase further pieces from them for anniversaries and other special occasions, a mall store may be a better choice. That way, if you relocate you have a better chance of being near the same chain store. While an independent jeweler may one day go out of business, a chain is unlikely to disappear completely. This can be a concern if you purchase a warranty on your engagement ring that is contingent on regular inspections - if the store closes, your warranty is lost, but if it is a chain, you can simply move it to another branch.
Consider Services When Choosing a Jeweler
Before choosing a jeweler, you should investigate what services they will provide for the life of the ring. Can they easily provide routine cleanings and general maintenance? What about more extensive repairs? What if you decide years later to reset the diamonds into a different ring? While nearly all jewelers will be able to accommodate these types of requests, they may simply be sending your jewelry out to a different location rather than completing the services on site. Talk to the jeweler about what services are provided for the life of the ring and whether or not the work is performed on the premises or sent out.
Services typically offered by jewelers includes:
- Annual polishing and plating
- Annual inspection
- Appraisal services for a minimal fee
- One free resize within a specified amount of time
- Discounted repairs
Furthermore, the jeweler should be open and honest when discussing your purchase. They should be able to provide documentation about the ring's quality, and be willing to provide you a loupe to inspect the minute details of the ring if you so desire.
Warranty: Important Part of Choosing a Jeweler
The services available for the life of the ring will be spelled out in the warranty a jeweler offers. While this may not seem important when your ring is brand new, it should be a prime concern when dealing with such an expensive investment. Most jewelers offer a basic plan included in the price of the ring. For example, if you bring the ring in for periodic inspections (usually annually or every six months), you may qualify for discounts on repairs or free basic services. Before accepting such a policy, however, you should investigate plans that cover larger repairs, including damage to or the loss of the stone itself.
Finally, before selecting a jeweler, you should investigate their credibility with the Better Business Bureau and any local organizations. Ask to see their certification from various gemological organizations, and inquire if they are willing to provide client references. These simple steps insure that you are choosing a reputable, reliable jeweler who will be able to upkeep the quality of your investment for many years to come.
Choosing a fine jeweler is the first step toward choosing a quality engagement ring. From location to services to selection to credentials, the jeweler you choose should be investigated as thoroughly as the four C's of the stone you plan to wear. This guarantees you not only purchase a quality ring, but that you will have lasting service to maintain that quality for many anniversaries.