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Shopping for an Engagement Ring on the Internet

You can safely and securely buy the engagement ring of your dreams online — if you follow this advice.

An engagement ring is a special purchase. It carries emotional weight. It’s also a complicated purchase — you need to know about styles, metals and diamonds.

Up until just a short time ago, buying an engagement ring online was a much more risky endeavor — and some consumers got burned. Fortunately, with the growth of online shopping as a whole, many established and trusted brick-and-mortar jewelers have enhanced their online services and there are reputable, trustworthy online-only jewelry retailers.

No matter how you’re shopping though, whether it’s in-store or online, you really need to find a jeweler you can trust and it will pay big dividends if you do some research beforehand. Luckily, you can find great resources right here. Here’s a great place to start: for the future grooms and for the brides-to-be.

About diamonds

For most, “engagement ring” means “diamond engagement ring.” The diamond will be the centerpiece, whether you choose a solitaire, a halo, a multi-stone ring or any other style. Brush up on the 4Cs.

When shopping online, certificates become more important. A certificate from a recognized diamond-grading laboratory will give you a second opinion on exactly what you’re buying. Especially when you’re talking about the size of the diamond — it’s difficult to really know the exact size when you’re depending on a screen.

You’ll also have the option of buying a loose diamond and ring (without the center diamond, it’s referred to as a semi-mount) separately or getting a finished ring with the diamond set into the setting of your choice. You can spend hours online with different tools that allow you to select a diamond and play designer by placing it in a variety of styles and metals.

If you’re shopping with a retailer who has a brick-and-mortar store near you, consider having the diamond shipped there. You’ll be able to look at the diamond or the finished ring and make changes — most retailers have policies outlining exactly what you can do and how much it might cost you. Read the fine print! Shipping to the store also improves the chances your diamond or engagement ring will get to its final destination safely.

But if you’re remote or really need the convenience of shipping direct to you, investigate your retailers’ shipping, security and return policies. More fine print to read, but this is important, right? Make sure you can return or exchange the diamond or engagement ring if it’s not what you thought it was.

When you get the diamond (or finished ring) take it to a jewelry appraiser. Look for those with certifications and a “G.G.” at the end of their names — that means they’ve graduated from the Gemological Institute of America, a rigorous training program for gemologists.

Metals and settings

Get to know the properties and pros and cons of the two most popular metal choices for engagement rings. Platinum is a bright white heavy metal and resists both scratches and dents better than gold. It’s not indestructible, though, and  it’s also more expensive than gold.

Gold comes in many colors but the three most popular hues for engagement rings are yellow, white and rose. You can find engagement rings in a single color or designs that use multiple colors. Understand the differences in karatage, too. Pure gold is 24K, too soft to use in jewelry, so it’s mixed with alloys. Gold of 18K is suitable for jewelry though it is the softest and most expensive gold choice. 14K gold is harder and less expensive than 18K, while 10K is harder and more durable at a lower price point.

If you choose a gold ring, make sure the prongs that will hold the diamond (or color stone) are platinum. Platinum prongs are more durable and stronger than gold and will be a more secure choice.

One more thing

If you’re buying a complete ring — diamond set in an engagement ring — you’ll need to know her size. You can just ask your intended, you may already know or you can use this handy tool.

Be prepared for the actual diamond to look better than it does online — they really do have to be seen to be believed. No matter how good the photograph or even video is, the way a diamond sparkles in person is amazing. Which is what you want for the person you’re going to marry.

Try it out for yourself — Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry have the Design-A-Ring tool that can help get you started in the right direction.

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