The average couple now spends over $5,000 on an engagement ring (Source: The Knot 2013 Wedding Survey). Couples looking to purchase the same rings for less often look to online retailers who are priced 20-40% below local stores. While directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages are useful for finding restaurants, shopping online for a diamond or engagement ring requires a higher level of research and caution. Here are some top tips on how to safely purchase these high-value items online:
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1) 3rd Party Accreditation
One of the best ways to determine the validity of an online jewelry business is the presence of a 3rd party accreditation. Industry watchdogs like the Better Business Bureau are careful about which businesses they allow to display their logos, and have thoroughly vetted each accredited business. It is a good idea to call the BBB or another 3rd party to ensure that the business is actually verified and not just displaying the logo without permission. If a website has been in business for less than 12 months, be very cautious. You can check on how long a website has existed by entering the web address into http://whois.net/
2) Speak to a Live Person
All reputable online retailers should clearly provide a phone number and address on their websites. Try calling this number to speak with someone at the company. We suggest asking where they are based and how long they have been in business. If you are unable to speak with a live person, or they fail to return your call, it’s worth moving on to the next retailer.
3) Certified Diamonds
Whether you visit a local jeweler or you shop online, it is very important to purchase a certified diamond. There are many certification labs, and not all diamond certificates are created equally. GIA diamond reports are considered the most accurate. Before purchasing a diamond with a non GIA report, make sure you understand the variances between GIA and the other diamond labs, such as EGL USA, IGI, AGS and EGL International. Also be aware that a non certified diamond with an appraisal stating GIA standards will not be the same as a GIA certified diamond.
4) Pay with a Credit Card
Visa, MasterCard and American Express offer protections for buyers who are defrauded or who receive an item that is not as advertised. Purchasing an engagement ring with one of these cards ensures that you are covered should something go wrong.
5) Return Policy
What if you don’t love the ring once it arrives? Many online retailers will offer a no-questions-asked return policy so that you can return the ring and choose something else. If you are buying from a retailer that doesn’t offer this policy, we recommend going to a local jeweler to see a similar ring or diamond beforehand to ensure that you’ll be happy.
Purchasing engagement rings online is a great way to save time and money. If you feel uncomfortable with an online retailer for any reason, move on and purchase from someone else. There are many trusted online retailers who can help you find the perfect ring. For further advice on buying engagement rings online and details about the variances between diamond grading labs, check out www.haveyouseenthering.com.
(Here’s a big “Thank You” to Have You Seen The Ring? for providing us with this wonderfully informative post!)
Images from Bigstock Photo
SimplyBridal is a Los Angeles based bridal boutique specializing in high-quality, handcrafted wedding gowns at accessible price points. We are the preferred destination for a brides’ wedding needs when it comes to gowns, bridesmaid dresses, alterations and everything in between. Our sole mission is to inspire brides with beautiful handcrafted creations. Come visit us at our showrooms: SimplyBridal