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Better To Purchase Ring At Store Or Online?


Guest jazzcatdrp
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Guest jazzcatdrp

Hello all,

I stumbled across this forum while looking for some advice on purchasing an engagement ring. I am looking to buy a ring for my (hopefully) soon to be fiance, and as I am a broke college student, have been looking online a lot, as I've found them to be significantly cheaper. I've been checking out Blue Nile. Does anyone recommend anywhere else online to look for a ring? Also, a concern I have with purchasing online regards insurance. I've found a lot of chains offer options where if you have the ring serviced every six months with them, then if the rock should ever fall out, or the ring becomes damaged, they will fix/replace it free. Are there any options like that when purchasing online? Thanks for any advice you can give me!!

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We in the internet business could offer you the same stone for a lesser price, because we have a much less overhead cost. And we offer a 30 day return option, so there is no risk in purchasing a diamond over the internet.

 

Regarding insurance: we recommend our customers to take out there own insurance that way you are covered 100%.

Hope this helps.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Regardless of whether you buy from a Brick & Mortar Jeweler or from an Internet website, make sure that the company will provide you with a Lifetime Guarantee on the quality and craftsmanship of the setting.

 

Many companies do not manufacture in-house but outsource these ring orders and consequently have no quality control over the final product.

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Insurance is a good thing. I recommend it for most customers to cover the big risks, things like fire, theft, owner stupidity and the like (like leaving it at the sink in the bathroom at the football stadium). These things aren’t what are covered in the store warranty so let’s talk about the little things.

 

Breakage. This one is covered in the policy above so it doesn’t really belong here. I mention it only because the sales people like to discuss it. If your diamond every breaks we’ll pay for it under certain circumstances. Whoopie. Your general insurance policy will cover all of the same risks and have lots fewer restrictions on when and how you can file a claim so this one isn’t really much of an issue. So is the risk associated with the stone falling out of the setting. This would be a covered loss under most homeowners and jewelry specialty policies.

 

Checking, cleaning and inspecting. Pretty much every jeweler does this for free anyway. It’s not charity. If they find something wrong, it’s fairly likely they can sell you a repair service and, in any case, they can subject you to the sales people the whole time while you’re waiting for the cleaning. Wouldn’t a pair of earrings go great with that? There’s nothing wrong with this and it’s worth your trouble to have it done but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it warranty benefit.

 

Sizing. Most jewelers will include the initial sizing as part of the deal, whether they separately list it on the invoice or not so the real question is how much you will need to pay the next time you need to size it. Most people don’t do this often and, around here, it costs anywhere from $20 to about $75 depending on your ring design and whether you’re going up or down in size. It's unusual for people to do this more than once a decade.

 

Rhodium plating. This is very much the same issue as sizing. Around here it costs about $25. In some places it’s a little more, some a little less but it’s not a big money job any way you look at it.

 

Tightening and tipping. Retipping is a regular repair for engagement rings that are worn constantly. The little tips that hold your stone in take a fair amount of abuse and, over time, will wear out. This can be repaired at a typical cost of about $15-20 each so a ringful is about $100. Expect to do it about every 5-10 years.

 

Add all of this up and you’ll have the value of your maintenance contract. For most people who just pay their maintenance as it comes up, the budget is something like $20-50/year. I wouldn’t be inclined to buy a maintenance contract that lasts more than a few years because people are so mobile and there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t live in the same neighborhood 10 years from now. I would also steeply discount it if there are rules about showing up in person every 6 month or it’s void, requiring you to immediately have every recommended repair done in their shop, etc. The fine print of the contract is important.

 

Defects. Most, but not all, jewelry manufacturers have some sort of warranty against craftsmanship defects in the original product, as opposed to wear and tear caused by you. By all means, read the find print about this because they aren't all the same. There are a fair amount of laws about the fitness of merchandise that vary from state to state and you certainly want to go with someone who stands behind their products. Asks specifically and inspect the piece carefully right at the beginning. Get professional assistance with this inspection if you're talking about a whole lot of money.

 

So what does it cost? That depends on the store. Usually it’s quite a bit. Compare what similar things would cost you elsewhere and subtract that from what they are charging. The difference is the ‘value added’ that the store is supplying. In addition to the warranty this can include the status of shopping at a particular store, the friendly sales atmosphere, the speed of delivery and whatever else you count as important.

 

For very price conscious shoppers, usually it works best to buy from a price competitive dealer (many of whom have an online presence), get a professional and independent inspection to be sure that everything is as it should be at the beginning, buy an insurance policy from one of the major carriers and just pay for your maintenance as needed.

 

Neil

 

eta. Specialty jewelry insurance is available at www.jewelersmutual.com and www.gemguard.com. Most of the same companies that insure your home will also be thrilled to talk to you about insuring your jewelery. Premiums range from about 1% of the declared value per year to about 3% depending on the types of coverage you choose, the company you go with and the state and even city of your residence. Ask your friendly agent. That's what they're paid for.

Edited by denverappraiser
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