How to Buy an Engagement Ring Online

engagement ring and wedding band

Photo by Plum & Oak Photo

Online shopping is fun and a very tempting pastime—but shopping online for an engagement ring? That might be even better. This unconventional way to purchase an engagement ring has definitely become more mainstream in the past year—and jewelers only expect this trend to continue for years to come. Besides, buying an engagement ring online opens a whole new world of possibilities for an engaged couple.

“There are so many artisan jewelers that make amazing, one-of-a-kind traditional and alternative engagement rings that you would not have access to otherwise,” jeweler Kate Furman explains. “It is easy these days to work virtually with a jeweler to design or pick exactly the ring you want. Do not limit yourself when there is a jeweler with the perfect aesthetic for you somewhere out there.”

Meet the Expert

Kate Furman is a jeweler and designer at her namesake brand Kate Furman Jewelry. Her work is one-of-a-kind, limitedly produced by hand, and custom made for each client.

When deciding whether you should look for your ring online, consider the pros and cons. In the “pro” column, be sure to list the fun benefit of being able to shop from the comfort of your own home. You can even cuddle up with your fiancé for a night of shopping while listening to romantic music or watching wedding movies.

Furman points out that there are infinite options to collaborate with an artisan jeweler for the most unique ring when you shop online. That way, you can compare many styles before choosing the one for you. She also enthuses, “You are often able to connect with artisans directly instead of through salespeople. You end up with an even more personal experience than you would through a store. A video call is a great option without interruptions.”

Finding a Jeweler

One of the most common concerns that engaged couples have is choosing the right shop and a high-quality ring. Furman cautions: “It is important to read reviews and testimonials. You can find these on various social media networks, search engines, and on the shop’s site. Do these galleries/stores seem reputable? Start a dialogue with the jeweler. You can chat via email, social media, phone, and video call. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request additional info.”

The quality of the website can tell you a lot, according to Furman. If the shop cares about their jewelry and the customers’ experience with it, they will be working hard on your virtual experience, according to Furman. When you reach out to them, consider whether they provide personal and in-depth responses. Are they prompt? Did they address your exact concern? If you feel like they are hiding anything, you probably shouldn’t shop there.

If you need an additional level of reassurance, Furman says you should not hesitate to ask for a reference from a couple of the jeweler’s past clients. Being able to hear about the shopping experiences that other engaged couples had with a jeweler can help you get a better idea of what to expect from the shop.

Selecting the Diamond

Diamonds are sometimes chosen for their sparkle. Since that isn’t quite the same when looking at a photo of a diamond engagement ring online, selecting a diamond is slightly different on jewelry websites. A well-taken photo can still tell you most of what you need to know about the beauty of a ring. “Request videos and pictures of the diamond or ring from all angles so that you know what you are getting,” explains Furman. “You are the one who will be wearing it every day, so ignore the latest trends.”

What about buying a loose diamond online and then finding a setting online? Furman says that is not the best idea: “I believe that you should buy the diamond where you plan on getting it set, whether that is online or locally. The jeweler will go out of their way to make sure it is the quality and style that you like.”

Tips for Online Ring Shopping

Sizing

When you start shopping for rings online, Furman says you should know your ring size or have a good guess on the size. While most rings can be resized, who wants to wait to wear the ring once it arrives? It’s a lot more fun to wear it right away.

When you find rings you like, look at the sizing information on the shop’s website. “Most jewelers will use a universal sizing system, however, there can be some variation. Knowing that shop’s resizing policy is important just in case. Wider bands will fit snugger than thinner bands. Organically shaped bands may vary some as well,” explains Furman. “Online sizing charts are reliable to a degree. There can be some variation, but any good jeweler is going to work with you to make sure your ring fits perfectly.”

Furman offers these five tips for getting the sizing of your engagement ring right when shopping online:

  • Go to a local store to try on a similarly styled ring before ordering yours.
  • Use a local store to size your ring finger.
  • Use a different set of sizers for thin versus thick bands
  • Rings that have stones all the way around the band are harder to resize and may have to be remade to size.
  • Talk to the jeweler before ordering about their process if the ring needs to be resized.

Pricing and Budget

Price can really vary from store to store and jeweler to jeweler. Furman breaks it down, saying, “This can be because of the quality of materials, the brand, the technical skills needed to make the piece, or several other factors. Do some research when you narrow down your favorites on why the prices are what they are. Jewelers are happy to explain their pricing so they make sense to you.”

She also says that you don’t have to worry about any special formula on what you should spend. “Spend what you feel comfortable with. An engagement ring is meant to be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. If you splurge a bit without putting your finances at risk, that is ok! Everyone has a different style as well. Some couples will be perfectly happy spending less than a ‘two months’ salary’, as the old tradition goes. It is a very personal and individual decision for each couple.”

Price comparisons are also wise. When it comes to comparing ring prices, Furman thinks the best way to start is to narrow down to your favorite rings or designers, and then ask questions. “Get to know why pieces are priced as they are so that you are comparing ‘apples to apples’ and not ‘apples to oranges.’ Quality, craftsmanship, technical skill, and materials can all play a role in a price range.”

If you have a set or strict budget for your engagement ring, talk to the designer or jeweler directly, Furman says. “If they cannot work within your budget, they will let you know. You can also look at the other items they have priced in their shop to make sure your budget is possible before reaching out.”

Designing a Custom Engagement Ring Online

When custom designing a ring, Furman recommends working with the designer directly. “That can be in person or virtually. I believe you can have the same level of intimacy through video calls as you can in person. If the designer you love is online, go that route and vice versa if they are local. The most important thing is to have the ring that you love and that will live in your family for generations,” explains Furman.

When having a custom ring designed online, double-check measurements. “Jewelry is often measured in millimeters. If you cannot picture the size, find a device to measure it against your own hand. You do not want to be surprised that it is smaller or larger than you expected it to be when it arrives.”

“Often custom designs are nonrefundable and nonreturnable. This is because that designer would not have made this piece otherwise. When I work with clients, I involve them in every step of the process to be sure the result is exactly what they want,” Furman advises.

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