Friday, May 13, 2011

Buying an Engagement Ring online

With more people growing confident about buying things online, you might be thinking about purchasing an engagement ring through an online store. Below are his tips on how to buy an engagement ring safely online:

How do I know I’m on a trusted site?

Unfortunately nearly anybody can set up a site and pull lists of diamonds from various sources. When they sell a stone they contact the manufacturer and have them send it directly to their customer. This is called “drop shipping,” and the website never actually sees the product being sold. What the consumer needs to find is an online retailer who has direct access to the merchandise listed and can actually see and describe the stones to the consumer.

Beyond that, the consumer should be able to communicate directly with a knowledgeable gemologist and receive pictures of the actual stones being considered. Comparison pictures of the diamonds side-by-side are especially useful when considering fancy shaped diamonds (i.e. not round).

What about returns or sizing or other procedures that are usually done through a jewelry store?

Returns and sizing are easily handled by e-tailers. The only caveat, if the consumer is not in the vicinity of the store, is that it has to be done by mail. That said, for the sake of expediency, many of our customers choose to get their rings sized by their local jeweler.

What about exchanges/returns?

A generous money-back guarantee is essential. Stay away from any site that offers store credit or two weeks or less for their returns as this does not give the consumer enough time to properly appraise their purchase. A 30-day money back guarantee is the gold standard. Another pitfall could be the appraisal process. Stay away from any site that tells you specifically who to use for your appraisal. Invariably it will be a colleague of theirs and the appraisal will not be worth the paper it is written on. Ideally the consumer needs to find an independent appraiser, one that is not connected in any way to the buying or selling of jewelry and will not be biased in their assessment.

What are some basic tips you can offer those who are thinking about buying an engagement ring online?

Get informed! Information is widely available through websites and extremely hard to get through a local store. Spend some time learning the terminology and you will soon know more than most mall jewelry store salespeople. Be a little weary of consumer forums. They tend to over analyze the numbers rather than look at the actual stone. Visit consumer advocacy sites and others for some unbiased, in-depth, type-A-personality-friendly information.

What’s the best thing about buying an engagement ring online?

The buying experience online is relaxed. You can shop from home at any time. It is easy to compare prices between different websites as well as get information about specific stones without feeling obligated. All in all, buying an engagement ring online is the perfect way to use all the technology available to your best advantage.

Wherever you decide to purchase the engagement ring, remember not to get too bogged down with finding the best deal (as is usually the case when shopping online). Take advantage of the many choices you have and focus on picking the ring that you know is best for her.

Engagement Rings at Arthur's Jewelers