But according to Ajay Anand, founder of Rare Carat, an e-commerce platform for buying diamonds and diamond rings, learning how to buy an engagement ring online could save you a lot of money.
“Think about it: Jewelers have to pay rent, they have to pay salespeople, and they have to keep the store open,” he said. “That’s all overhead, and an online company needs to do none of that.”
But shopping online for an engagement ring does come with pitfalls, so here’s what to look out for to avoid getting ripped off.
How to buy an engagement ring online and feel good about it
If you plan to spend anything close to the average amount on an engagement ring for your future spouse, it’s essential to be diligent about the stone’s quality. Here are four tips to consider.
1. Look for certified diamonds
If you’re looking for a diamond engagement ring, Anand recommends getting one with a certified stone.
“Specifically, look for diamond certified by the Gemological Institute of America; the GIA is the gold standard in the industry,” he said. “You’ll receive a certificate and a grading report showing how clear it is and how light it is and how well it’s cut.” These factors essentially determine the price of the gem.
According to Anand, most diamonds that are sold are certified by the GIA, so it could be a red flag if you see one that isn’t. Other trustworthy gem labs that certify diamonds include the European Gemological Laboratory USA and the American Gem Society.
2. Look for certain seller features
Legitimate online ring sellers make it easy to trust that you won’t get ripped off in the transaction. So, as you’re shopping around, look for features that put your mind at ease.
One such feature is a 30-day money-back guarantee. That gives you an opportunity to take the gem to an appraiser to make sure the information on the certificate is correct.
“A third-party appraisal is so, so important because you’ll just never have the level of knowledge that these people do,” said Anand. “They usually don’t charge more than $100 to $150, but considering the amount of money you’re spending [on the ring], it’s well worth it.”
Another feature to look for is overnight shipping with free insurance. What’s more, some online sellers will price match other sellers.
If there’s anything in the seller’s terms that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere. Shop around and compare features and prices from many online sellers.
3. Read customer reviews
Another way to vet an online ring seller is to read about other people’s experiences with it. “When somebody has hundreds of good reviews, you can click through and see that those are real people,” said Anand. “That’s hard to fake.”
As you read customer reviews on Yelp, the Better Business Bureau’s website, and retailers’ websites, think about aspects of the experience that are important to you. For instance, if you want the ring resized or cleaned in the future, buying from a seller that makes those processes difficult likely won’t appeal to you.
Also look for situations where the seller went above and beyond customers’ expectations. A company that goes the extra mile for its customers is worth working with.
4. Remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is
It’s natural to be on the hunt for deals and promotions when you’re making a large purchase. But don’t expect to get a steal like you would if you were buying a car from a desperate salesperson.
“There are really no deals to be had in diamonds; these things are priced pretty much like commodities,” said Anand. “It’s a very efficient market, so if somebody is selling one at a steep discount, there almost certainly is a catch.”
This situation is even more dangerous because you likely don’t know exactly what the flaws are. And if there’s no 30-day guarantee, you’re stuck.
Buying an engagement ring online can be a good idea
If you want to learn how to buy an engagement ring online without getting ripped off, it’s important that you remain diligent and watch out for red flags. Plenty of online sellers offer legitimate diamonds and other gems at prices that are lower than what you’d pay a jeweler.
As you look, focus on what matters most to you and avoid sellers with bad reviews or offers that sound too good to be true. And most importantly, find a seller that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so an appraiser can verify the stone’s quality and value.
If you follow these tips, you’ll get the benefit of saving money on your engagement ring without fear of getting scammed.
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