I was reading an article on here about affordable rings, and thought I'd give you guys a heads' up on some unpleasant business I discovered regarding diamond engagement rings, FYI.
Be careful when purchasing your engagement ring ladies! The depreciation on diamonds is stunning! I just went through a divorce, and was in need of some cash. I have a beautiful antique wedding set with over 1 carat of beautiful, high-quality diamonds. I've had major jewelers in awe of this set, as the wedding band fits in with the engagement band like a puzzle piece. It is a vintage art deco style from an estate sale that my ex-husband paid just under $4,000 for.
When I went to a jeweler to see how much I could get for it, I was expecting at least $1,500, but hoping for around $2,000. However, I was told that the market is flooded with diamonds, and that I could only get gold-weight prices for it. So my ring that he scrimped and saved for would only fetch me $145.00! It seems like such a waste to have spent that much money on something that was not going to be worth much in the end.
Of course, your ring has sentimental value attached to it, but in these economic times sometimes being able to pay rent is more important than having bling. I would hate to think that anyone purchasing a ring is looking at this as a potential financial investment as well as an emotional one.
For my part, I'm looking at jewelry for my personal use that is either another gemstone (sapphire or ruby), a white topaz, or crystal. I will never pay any sizeable amount of money for diamonds again. The look of white topaz or Swarovski crystals is virtually indestinguishable from diamonds to the casual observer, and they are a fraction of the cost. Just an FYI!
Didn't you know that diamonds aren't actually worth anything? The only reason they have value is because all diamonds are owned/controlled by just a few people. That way they can control supply and raise the price and market it to emotionally gullible people. "A diamond is forever."
The same thing is true for anything you buy retail. There is an immediate depreciation when you take it out of the store, and there is a big gap between retail and wholesale.
Drive a brand new car off the lot? It depreciates $1000 the minute the tires hit the public street.
Buy a new dress at the department store? Turn around and sell it in a consignment shop and you'll get a small fraction of what you paid.
The trick is to think, carefully, about what means something to you, then shop around and get it for the best price you can. Then, hold on to it for a good long time and enjoy.
Another way to think of it is in terms of cost/time unit.
We paid $800 for our ring set. (My w-ring, my e-ring and his w-ring.) We've been married 34 years. That works out to $23/year so far. For $23/year I have enjoyed looking at and wearing my 1/2 caret diamond, which was the best we could afford at the time.
Well, right--that's why they call it "retail." This is big news to you??? Any commodity is only "worth" something because we attach value to it. Try eating your diamond ring (or sapphire or ruby, which really is no different) when you're stuck on your desert island. Your green paper is only "worth" something because we've all (as a society) decided to attach value to it---really, it's just green paper. Diamonds are considered to be rare because the mining companies only allow a certain number of them on the market at a time. In reality, they would be worth very little if all of the diamonds that exist actually flooded onto the market at one time.
And don't think that you're protecting yourself by buying another gemstone. If you're buying retail, you're still paying a tremendous markup over the price tha the jeweler pays--and the jeweleris paying a trmendous markup to the dealer,miner, etc. Each step along the way is marked up.
Whatever you do when buying jewelry, avoid paying retail. When you go to Tiffany, you pay for the name and the reputation. It's easy to buy the same stone for half the price if you do your homework and know where to buy.