What to look for when buying an engagement ring

Customers question: "The man around the corner said he has a 1.00ct diamond engagement ring that was £5000 but he could discount it to £1500 for me can you match his price?" 

My answer: "Do you think the original price was really £5000?"

Customers answer: "Probably not"

My Question: "Did the diamond have a GIA laboratory certificate?"

Customer answer: "No"

Unfortunately in my shop (RING jewellers, Brighton) conversations like this are becoming more & more common. Dishonest sales staff in less reputable jewellery shops are praying on customers who have an eye for a bargain. Wanting to pay the right price for jewellery (or anything else for that matter) should be commended. The problem is with diamond rings though, is that it's very tricky to tell the quality of what you are buying at a glance.

Here are a few tips of what to ask for when buying a diamond engagement ring:

  1. Does the diamond have a laboratory certificate & if so which laboratory graded the stone? This is important because as customers are learning about certificated diamonds the fraudsters are using certificates that are either created by the shop, or by a laboratory that is pretty much unheard of! The best advice is to ask for a GIA or Anchorcert certificated diamond. You can find out more about diamond grading here.
  2. Does the diamond have fluorescence? If the diamond does have a reputable certificate it will indicate if the stone has fluorescence. Fluorescence is a bad thing in a diamond & it makes it look 'milky' & as though it needs a clean. It obviously doesn't as this is just part of the stones natural characteristics. Most shops will tell you about carat, cut, colour & clarity but they will often miss out the importance of fluorescence.  
  3. Does the ring have a full British hallmark? This is good to ask because many low quality imported good only have a purity mark like "750" or "18ct". This is not a full British hallmark. Also, don't fall for the "It's not hallmarked because it's an antique". It is true that some older items of jewellery may not be hallmarked but this is often an excuse to misrepresent the selling of a modern, reproduction diamond ring. 
  4. Is this engagement ring rhodium plated? If the ring is white gold bear in mind that most jewellers plate their white gold with a metal called 'rhodium' because it is naturally a yellowy colour. This means that you will have a maintenance issue of repeatedly paying to get your white gold re-plated. This is very costly because it works out to around £30-£50 per plating every few months, forever! At RING jewellers though, we do not. We use different alloys to give the white gold a naturally white colour without the need to plate it. You can find out more about the different metals by taking a look at our guide here.
  5. Why is this engagement ring so heavily discounted? As the old saying goes... If something seems too good to be true it probably is! This is very apt when it comes to buying a diamond ring. Many people do not realise that diamonds are a traded commodity. There is an international trade list that tells jewellers the current market value of diamonds in every carat, cut, colour & clarity. This means that if a shop offers a huge discount it is like them selling a £50 note for £5 - they simply would not do it! "So what's gong on?" I hear you ask. Well it's simple. The shop is lying about the grade of the diamond. Even a slightly 'generous' grading can make a £1000 diamond appear to be £5000 which is then discounted to £1500 which now you know the trick is not such a good deal after all!

If you have any questions about diamond engagement rings, or any other jewellery, feel free to fill out one of our contact forms or give us a call on 01273 773544.

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