Buying the Engagement Ring Part 2: The Big Purchase

So I had an idea of what my girlfriend likes and a price range of what I thought was reasonable to spend on the engagement ring. Now I had to figure out what I was looking for and what I willing pay for it.

Unfortuntely for me, my girlfiend's favorite rings were designer brands sold in high end jewelry stores. No matter what size diamond I purchased, the style of ring she wanted with a designer name, wasn't going to reasonably fit it to what I thought I would spend.

However, my girlfriend liked the design of the ring, not the designer name. This led me early on to focus on finding a setting that matched what she was looking for in terms of it design, material, and quality, but without the name brand that doubled the price of the ring.

I searched unsuccessfully online for a jeweler that had the setting design she was looking for. BlueNile didn't have anything similar, nor was I able to locate any established online store that did. However, in the end, I was able to find a near identical design in NYC's Diamond District at about 1/2 the price of the designer setting.

The diamond itself was a very different matter. I am a complete layman when it comes to gemstones, and felt misled many times by various jewelers who pushed me towards diamonds they had in their inventory rather than what I thought I was looking for. I had decided what was most important to me was a diamond with a perfect cut which unfortuntely commands the largest price point of any of the 4Cs. I finally opted to purchase a BlueNile Signature Ideal diamond that had the characteristics I was looking for in the diamond.

In the end I was very happy with my purchase. I was able to get more diamond for my money by purchasing the diamond on BlueNile and more importantly I felt comfortable purchasing it at BlueNile unlike some of the sleasly lower-end jewelers who tried to sell me poorly cut diamonds. The total cost was within 110% of the range I wanted to spend and I was very happy with my Blue Nile experience.

Thank goodness I will never have to go through this again!!

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Comments (13)

DATE: 9:45 AM
When I was searching for a diamond for my fiance a great resource was PriceScope. They have forums where there is a wealth of information, and you can post specs of a diamond you are going to purchase and the folks there will tell you if its a good deal or not. I ended up getting mine from Whiteflash which came highly recommended from there and had a great experience.

DATE: 10:31 AM
Just the fact that you have put so much thought into it, your girl is going to love it.

DATE: 10:52 AM
I find your ring shopping experience funny because a lot of it is similar to mine. While my girlfriend and I aren't engaged yet and won't be for at least a year, she likes looking at rings.One day while shopping with her parents visiting from China, we went to the mall and "had" to stop at Cartier, my gf's favorite jewelry store. She went straight to the rings and was suddenly transfixed on a very nice ring (I have to admit). She asked to try it on and honestly it looked great. It had better looked great, it was $14000+, ~1.25 carat, ideal round cut, F or G clarity on a platinum ring... My girlfriend looked at me and said "It's less than three months salary, that's about right!" (I nearly fainted because it was maybe $100 less than my 3 month gross salary). She then had some conversation with her parents in Chinese which I don't understand and later found out that they thought it was too expensive and that they would buy it for her for me (yeah I wish).Anyhow the cheap side of me started looking up diamonds and rings at bluenile and I showed her that an equivalent ring was abou $10,000 at Bluenile vs Cartier. I also showed her that the old rule for rings wasn't three months salary but TWO months (verified by a google search).Anyway, after some time had gone by, she realized from hearing from friends that $3000-$6000 was the norm and that her $10,000 ring was higher than normal (this is after she accepted the 2 month rule over her 3 month assumption). She nows expects something in the $4000-$5000 range for a ring in the future. Although I know I could get a nice ring that she would be happy with at $5000 or so, I know I will most likely spend around $10,000 on it. I consider it an investment in my personal life.Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for the insight in your ring shopping. Gives me some comfort to know I'm not the only one who thought a lot about the financial impact of it all.Oh, the other difference I have is that my girlfriend knows exactly what type of diamond, cut, size, and ring she wants.

DATE: 2:44 PM
How much do you get for each click to Bluenile?

DATE: 3:26 PM
I don't get anything for clicks, but supposedly I get a small commision if you purchase something. Its just like any other product/business I refer too - I only link to what I use and would recommend to people.

DATE: 11:44 PM
2m, congrats!!!! I hope she loves it, I am sure she will!!

DATE: 11:53 AM
Thanks. I was asking because I was thinking of setting up a diamond-buying website. I too bought from bluenile. They are good.

DATE: 3:07 PM
Why not not tell her how much the ring cost you? Do you really need to attach the pricetag with your gift? My guess is that 99% of the people will not be able to distinguish 4Cs and quality of the cut of a $1000 dimond and a 10,000 dimond.

DATE: 12:09 AM
I did tell her how much it cost - she wanted to know. I agree people won't be able to distinguish the difference in the cut or other Cs - its all mental.

DATE: 3:50 AM
The Good Side of Diamonds, Before a Movie Shows the Bad new Web site about diamonds is intended to tell retailers and buyers positive things about the diamond industry. But the site’s real target may be potential moviegoers and fans of Leonardo DiCaprio.The site,, will officially open on Wednesday, according to the World Diamond Council, a trade organization. The site comes on the heels of an announcement in June that the industry would mount a public relations campaign in response to “The Blood Diamond,” starring Mr. DiCaprio, to be released in December by Warner Brothers. “Blood diamonds” and “conflict diamonds” are the names given to the gems that finance civil wars in certain African countries. The movie is set in Sierra Leone in the late 1990’s, according to Warner.

DATE: 3:00 PM
Congratulations! I hope she loves it.I was pretty adamant that I did not want a diamond and was delighted when my then-boyfriend presented me with a birthstone ring during his proposal. He had the ring custom-designed based on another one that I loved. The fact that the metal is more valuable than the gem amuses me. His thoughtfulness was more valuable than going into debt. (That said, we did still have the whole church-dinner-dancing shebang.)

DATE: 12:04 PM
After reading about your engagement it brought me to my My own ring search which was a very similar one to Chuck's here. I ended up buying through and had a tremendous experience. My independant appraiser couldn't believe the deal I got and said that even with all his connections over the last 30 years he couldn't get a similar deal himself.

I got my engagement ring at BlueNile. They were really great. My wife really loved it.

I personally can easily tell the quality of a diamond. Many are lifeless and yellowish. A well cut diamond of good color and clarity really reflects much more light in a more pleasant way. It is worth the money to shoot for perfect cut, good color and good clarity. In that order.

Also, I find that the ring shape strongly affects how a diamond is perceived. Simple, uncluttered setting will make the diamond stand out and highlight its beauty. A busy design will detract from the stone.

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