Jewellery Learning

How do I get the best deal on an engagement ring?

How do I get the best deal on an engagement ring? If you’re looking to buy a diamond engagement ring at the best possible price, you must ensure that your diamond’s journey from the mine to the retail store is as short as possible. We explain how to figure this out in 5 easy steps: 

1. First, understand why diamonds are expensive

Why are diamonds expensive? A part of the answer is because they’re rare, beautiful and highly durable. However, a diamond’s price is also determined by the number of stops it makes along the way from the diamond mine onto your finger.

Save on your engagement ring

2. Next, understand how diamond production works

These 6 stages below happen before a diamond reaches a jewellery retail store. Each one adds a bit of cost to your diamond:

  1. PROSPECTING: A diamond prospector will spend decades and lots of money travelling and analysing terrains before finding a mining site.
  2. MINING: A mining company employs hundreds of thousands of hours of manpower, machinery and fuel on extraction and sifting for diamonds.
  3. SORTING: From the mine, a diamond is sent to a sorting centre. It’s inspected and placed in one of more than 12,000 categories.
  4. CUTTING: Next, your diamond is taken to a lapidary and cut into its final shape and polished to a fine sparkle.
  5. SIGHTHOLDERS: Your diamond finally travels to a special diamond wholesaler, called a Sightholder who also provide a vital checkpoint for the Kimberley Process to ensure your diamond is ethical.

Each of these above steps is necessary. Without them, we’d have no diamonds. The bad news is that you, the consumer, cannot change the costs involved during these stages. The good news is that during the next stage, retail, you can save a lot of money on your diamond ring.

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Aerial view of the Koffiefontein diamond mine in South Africa

3. Understand how jewellery retail works

Between 2013 and 2018, UK jewellery wholesalers showed an average annual turnover of £1.5 billion. Jewellery retailers, on the other hand, turned over an average of £6 billion per year. The difference is almost six-fold.

The overheads of running a high street jewellery store – premium shop premises, staff, display furniture, security – count for some of this difference. What these statistics don’t explain, however, is why two diamond rings that are apparently alike can cost £2,000 in one jewellery store and £12,000 in another?

To fully understand this, you next need to understand the additional processes diamonds undergo during the wholesale-to-retail phase.

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4. Use these five hacks to save lots of money on added retail costs

There are several things that happen to a diamond after wholesale, and before you wear it on your hand. Each time your diamond exchanges hands, more cost is added to your jewellery:

❌ ADDED COST 1: Outsourced manufacture
Good jewellery craftsmanship is worth paying for if you want your ring to last, but many jewellery shops outsource manufacture. This raises their markup and adds transport, both of which you’ll ultimately pay for.

✔️ HOW TO SAVE: Find a retailer that crafts their own jewellery

Independent stores that make their own jewellery will have cut out the middleman and can offer you with better prices.

❌ ADDED COST 3: Glossy advertising
Large jewellery retailers spend millions on branding. A considerable chunk of the money you pay for your ring is actually covering the retailer’s marketing budget.

✔️HOW TO SAVE: Buy from an independent jeweller

Avoid large, well-known brands that do lots of advertising.

❌COST 4: High street premises
Running a jewellery store isn’t cheap. The costs will be added on to your jewellery. The more luxurious the store, the more staff it employs and the better their location, the more you’ll pay for your diamond ring.

✔️ HOW TO SAVE: Shop online

Online jewellers don’t have storefront overheads.

❌COST 5: The jewellery retailer has no buying power

If a jewellery store or manufacturer wants to buy large numbers of diamonds at a reduced price – and pass this saving to their customers – they must have what’s known in the diamond industry as “buying power”. This isn’t just about having capital. It means having strong relationships within the diamond industry, especially with wholesalers. Not every jeweller has buying power. Therefore, many shops order their jewellery from other brands. When this happens, there’s an added markup on your diamond.

✔️ HOW TO SAVE: Find an independent jeweller with buying power

Good indicators are: (1) they’re not part of a big chain (2) they don’t stock other brand names (3) they have a vast range of products, and (4) they offer high diamond grades from premium quality to the highest commercial grades, usually ranging from H/Si to E/Vs.

Save on your engagement ring

A cluster ring created with small diamonds to give it a 1-carat solitaire look can cost four times less than its single-diamond counterpart – click to view

5. In conclusion, this is how you save the most money on an engagement ring

You may want to splash out two month’s salary on your ring, or you might prefer to spend under £500. Your budget is entirely up to you and how much you spend is not the crux of the matter. The real question is, how much value are you getting? Therefore, your best bet is to shop at an independent online jeweller that craft their own wide range of jewellery and don’t stock other brands. In other words – the shorter your diamond’s journey from the mine onto your finger, the more you’ll get for your budget!

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