It’s common for people to feel nervous about making an engagement ring purchase online, but rest assured that more and more people are doing it every day and are very happy with the ring they receive. Shopping online, of course, has many advantages, including much better prices, being able to browse/shop any time of day and from anywhere, and not feeling pressured by a salesperson working on commission. To help ensure a great online buying experience, here are five tips for making this important life purchase.
1. Look locally first.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you have reputable jewelry stores in your area, spend a little time looking at engagement rings locally. Being able to see rings in person and understanding what different carat weights look like (i.e. size of accent diamonds and a center diamond) is important. Keep in mind that engagement ring photos online are greatly enlarged to show detail and look somewhat different in person at actual size. If you’re going to be the one wearing the engagement ring, certainly try on different styles to see what looks best on your finger. Once you have a good idea of what you like, then go online to purchase the ring from a reputable online jeweler at a much better price. (You can save literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars by making the purchase online — I’m not kidding.) Many styles are very common and can be found on most jewelry websites. If the style is unique, then a very similar (95% similar) ring can be custom manufactured from a photo. This is a service deBebians offers via our design department, which has created thousands of custom engagement rings for customers via communication over the phone and e-mail.
2. Get expert advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get expert advice from a real professional, like a GIA graduate gemologist. These people work with jewelry and diamonds all day long and know what they’re talking about. Especially if you’re buying a diamond, you’ll want to get an expert’s opinion. There are so many factors that go into a perfect diamond it could make anyone’s head spin. My advice is to find a diamond expert who will give an unbiased opinion and a reasonable price, and then put your trust in them. All they need to know is your budget and what shape of diamond you want. Leave the complicated stuff up to them. Just remember that when it comes to diamonds, you get what you pay for. You can’t cheat the system.
3. Get your finger sized.
Okay, now I know that one of the appealing factors of shopping online is being able to stay home and not dealing with traffic, parking, and crowds at the mall or store. But this one is really important. You cannot guess your finger size. You cannot use a piece of paper or a ruler or a piece of string to get an accurate measurement. You just can’t. I like to compare it to buying a pair of jeans. The best way to determine your finger size is to go to a reputable jeweler and get sized professionally. An even better method is to try on a ring similar to the one you intend on purchasing. Keep in mind that ring sizes vary depending on the width of the ring, the “fit” of the ring (i.e. comfort fit or standard fit), and also the human body’s responses to temperature, salty foods, etc. So if you’re not 100% sure on the finger size, make sure you can exchange it. Guys, if you don’t know your lady’s ring size, check out our tips over here in our FAQ (see “How do I find out the correct ring size?” under Ring Sizes).
4. Check for processing and shipping timetables.
When shopping online, there are two primary factors that go into the length of time from when you order the ring until you actually receive it. Some jewelers may have the ring sitting in their inventory and can ship it quickly. Others make the ring especially for you after the order’s been placed. The time between ordering the ring and the day it ships out is called either the processing time or manufacturing time. Sometimes customers think that once they press the “order” button, the ring is immediately shipped out, regardless of the time or day. This typically is not the case. Business hours and labor need to be taken into consideration. Ordering an engagement ring online is not like ordering a T-shirt or book online. So you’ll want to find out what the processing time is for the engagement ring you plan to buy. The next part of the equation is shipping time. Because of their high value, engagement rings are typically shipped fairly quickly, usually second day or overnight. So processing time or manufacturing time plus transit time equals how long it will be before you’ll receive the ring. But, we do know that some people like to wait until the very last minute. It’s not too unusual to have to rush an order. If you need it right away, it’s best to call and find out how quickly you can get the ring.
5. Understand shipping security measures.
Engagement rings typically are high ticket items and therefore extra security is in place to ensure you are protected as a consumer. The first thing is credit card security. When an engagement ring order is placed, we want to make sure that the order was really placed by the cardholder. One precaution in place is the requirement to ship to the billing address or other authorized address on file with your credit card company. This adds another layer of protection to ensure that the ring is delivered to an address you have formally authorized through your credit card company. The next step is requiring a signature upon delivery. Every package is insured to protect you against loss, so it cannot be left at a doorstep or with a neighbor. If this is inconvenient, another option available to customers is shipping the package to a FedEx staffed location where it can be held until you pick it up. When you pick it up, just show a photo ID that matches the name on the package.
I hope these five tips help you better understand some of the ins and outs of buying an engagement ring online. It can be a great experience while also saving you a lot of money! Our goal here at deBebians is to make your shopping experience as stress free as possible, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.