Shopping for an Engagement Ring? Here's What to Know When You Walk into a Jeweler

Engagement ring shopping is one of those super exciting and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There are so many questions that come along with such a significant purchase so it’s important to educate and prepare yourself as best you can. To help, our founder Stacy sat down with our sponsor Jared The Galleria of Jewelry – where they turn feelings into jewelry – to figure out exactly what an in-store shopping experience looks like. From a list of things you need to know before you walk in to the questions you absolutely need to ask before you walk out, Stacy has the entire scoop.

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WHAT should I LOOK FOR IN A JEWELER?

When you walk into a jeweler, you want to feel immediately welcomed, respected, and understood – if you feel anything else, turn around and walk away. A professional jeweler will always spend a significant amount of time getting to know you – asking open-ended questions to truly understand your needs and desires – before even showing you a single piece (aka before trying to sell you something).

When I was at Jared, I loved hearing their team members call every customer a “guest” – they continued to stress that their jobs weren’t just to find the right piece of jewelry for the groom-to-be, but to establish a great relationship with him too.

In addition to the above “feelingsy” signs, it’s important to look for a jeweler that offers service and repair capabilities. While long-term care likely isn’t top of mind when you’re selecting her dream ring, it’s essential you consider the lifelong integrity and beauty of it – having a trusted jeweler will offer tremendous peace of mind for years to come.

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(Side note that I learned from my visit: you can bring your ring into ANY Jared location so if you move cities in your life, you’ll likely still have a jeweler on your side. Something interesting to consider, I thought!)

WHAT SHOULD I ALREADY KNOW BEFORE WALKING INTO THE STORE?

You’ll want to have a basic understanding of the four C’s (cut, clarity, color and carat) and how your future fiancé values them. For instance, some brides-to-be will focus more on the carat weight or size, while others will be more concerned with their dream shape (round, princess, pear, emerald, and so on).

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Next, you’ll also want to know your budget (which I’ll address shortly) and it would be good to do some price comparisons. You can do the latter fairly easily online!

Finally, you’re not expected to be an expert when you walk in – a good jeweler will be great at educating you. As a point of reference, the specialists at Jared said they see men who know exactly what they’re looking and others that simply have no clue. In the end, everyone walks out fully confident in their purchase!

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WHAT QUESTIONS WILL I BE ASKED WHEN I’M THERE?

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions you’ll hear from your jeweler:

#1 – Tell us about you and her! Jewelers love hearing your unique stories and a lot of times, clues arise as you tell your story that helps your jeweler guide your ring-buying experience!

#2 – What’s her style? Do you have any photos or can you pull up her Pinterest board? Has she dropped any hints or clues before? If you’re not certain, a jeweler oftentimes knows the exact right questions to ask to narrow down the perfect style, so don’t worry too much. If you have a minute (which it seems like you might right now!), you might want to browse rings and styles before you go in, and Jared has a huge online ring gallery that could help with that.

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#3 – What’s your budget? This is not something to shy away from – quite the opposite actually! Setting a budget helps the jeweler help you decide between the different factors that go into a ring purchase. For example, is she most interested in a larger center stone or is she hoping for a beautiful detailed setting? Does she have a preference in terms of color or clarity? Are you leaning toward a more expensive diamond shape when a different one could give you more bang for your buck? Being honest with your expectations will help the jeweler find the ideal ring that fits within your budget.

#4 – When are you planning on proposing? This one’s usually just for fun, but it also helps understand your timeline.

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I BE ASKING THE JEWELER?

#1 – You should always ask about their return or exchange policy. If she doesn’t love it or she wants to make even the tiniest tweak, you want to be sure you’re invited to come back to make it right. At Jared, for example, you can return or exchange up to 30 days after purchasing.

#2 – Next, get to know their warranties and extended service plans. If you do opt for a warranty or extended service plan, be sure you understand all of the details (i.e. What does the warranty cover and extended service plan include? How often must the ring be inspected and what documentation do you need?) so that you can take full advantage of the programs.

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#3 – If you’re considering going custom, you’ll want to ask how long the custom design process takes and how much it costs. “Custom” can mean anything from picking a quality from one ring and combining with another, to sketching something entirely from scratch.

#4 – Finally, you should be asking for diamond certifications. Certifications are from third-party, independent grading houses. GIA, AGS, or IGI are the most reputable labs, meaning they grade against very strict guidelines. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting and paying for (especially in the cases of upgrade), so be sure to receive this information in the buying process. Jared offers each guest a “certificate of valuation” which lists every aspect of the diamond + what you paid for it. This is also great because you can submit that right to your jewelry insurance.

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Something above and beyond that Jared also recently launched was Chosen by JaredTM. It’s a high-quality loose diamond program that shows the journey of each Chosen diamond. By Jared’s own craftsmen, each rough stone is polished and prettied, and the process is captured in a series of 4 photographs that are inserted into a keepsake book which accompanies the stone. The book can be personalized to link a couple’s own journey to that of their diamond, making their ring uniquely their own. Finally, there is beautiful packaging that holds the ring and book, with additional space available to store treasured mementos of the couples’ time together (like… photos from the proposal!). It’s a concept I’m truly in love with.

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Parting words

One final thing to think about when you’re engagement ring shopping is your entire experience and the future experiences you’ll have surrounding your wedding jewelry. Often times, grooms-to-be are only concerned about the cost of the ring without considering additional values – like an on-going relationship with a full-service jeweler, convenience, guarantees and so on.

As you might have realized as you read, the ring-buying process is highly personal. You will learn a lot and be able to share this experience with your fiancé when the time comes, so cherish every moment and know you’re taking a beautiful step towards your future!

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This post was brought to you by our partner Jared The Galleria of Jewelry.

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