Online shopping can be daunting, especially if the item in question is something you want to ensure the authenticity of, like a Wii, a designer handbag, and yes. . . an engagement ring.
I know some of you are groaning about who or why someone would shop online for something so important, but the practice is rising in popularity as shops are becoming more trustworthy and offering better deals, not to mention the fact that the Internet promises something more rare than the cheesy jewelry store at your local mall.
Buying and browsing online for rings is great whether you're the proposer or the proposee — say you're waiting for a proposal but don't want to march in to your local jewelry stores — it's totally ok (and incognito) to check out rings and styles to find what you like. For the tips, read more
My personal favorite kinds of engagement rings are antiques, which can be hard to come by at brick-and-mortar stores, depending on where you live. A good friend of mine proposed last year with a gorgeous and one of a kind antique ring he'd found online, and then had it resized for his fiancee.
Or maybe there's a large, specific retailer (Tiffany's comes to mind, and goosebumps come to arms) that you want a ring from but can't make it to a location.
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Like any ring shopping, do your research first on the four C's: Cut, clarity, carats, and color. Blue Nile has a great, comprehensive guide for you to bone up on your ring knowledge.
- The website Pricescope reviews and compares diamond prices of Internet stores and physical stores — a great second stop after you've gotten your four C's class.
- Look for GIA certification for any diamond — it's a gemologist's grade of the quality of the diamond.
- Now, for a site rundown:
- Tiffany & Co.: It's Tiffany, so prices and standards are going to be higher, but like I said, if you can't get to an actual store, online is a great source, especially because you don't have to worry about the quality.
- Antique Rings: Swoon! I love the idea of an engagement ring with history, and it's also a socially conscious choice. Some sites are: the Antique Jewelry Mall, Art Deco Diamonds (my fave for the photography), and don't count out eBay — just be smart about the seller.
- Brilliant Earth: This awesome site specializes in conflict-free diamonds and if you don't necessarily want one of their rings, you can buy the loose conflict-free diamond and shop for a setting elsewhere. If you don't use Brilliant Earth, at least read the buying guide so you can learn to avoid "blood diamonds." Green Karat is another conscious online retailer — they use recycled gold.
- Blue Nile: A reputable seller that boasts personal proposal stories from buyers (awww) and uses PayPal!
- James Allen: Here, you can design your own ring (including a 3-D video of what you design) and use a virtual loupe (the thingie you use to inspect diamonds closely). Bonus: download diamond screen savers (for Windows only)!
- Diamond Ideals: features a no-questions-asked return policy and a lifetime upgrade policy.
- White Flash: offers free verification and free shipping.
And of course, do a lot of research on the piece and any retailer you might use prior to clicking "add to cart"! Oh, and, congratulations!