It's no secret that online shopping has made just about everything easier. (Thousands of rehearsal dinner dresses at the click of a button? Thank you!) Although buying clothes online can be as simple and easy as the one-two click of a mouse or tap of a finger, buying an engagement ring is, of course, a bit trickier. Whether you've been not-so-subtly pinning ring styles for months or this is your first foray into ring shopping, these same rules apply. So don't worry; we rounded up our top tips to make sure buying a ring online is as easy as ordering Thai food on seamless....well, almost.
Look for markers of quality.
When you go ring shopping in a store it's a lot easier to pick up on the ring's quality. You can hold it, compare it to others, see the shine in person, and have an expert jeweler at your disposal to answer the tricky questions. To make sure you're getting a good ring on the Web, read reviews to see what buyers think of the quality and durability of the rings and to confirm the site's return policy. If you're not going with a name you already trust, check the retailer's reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
Know the customer-service options.
Some online companies, like Ritani, offer free previews for every ring, even custom designs, at brick-and-mortar jewelers in your area. (Just select the type of diamond and band you'd like, then have it shipped to a jeweler in your area, where you can try it on before deciding to purchase it.) And most e-tailers have no-commission salespeople (read: they won't try to sell you a ring you're not in love with) available to walk you through your choices before you buy.
Make sure the diamond is certified.
This is a crucial step you don't want to skip. Trust us, on such an emotional purchase you don't want to wonder if the bling you bought is real or not. Never buy a stone unless it comes with a third-party accreditation from the Gemological Institute of America or the International Gemological Institute to validate its four C's.
Check that it's conflict free.
You've heard about "blood diamonds," rough stones that are sold illegally to fund civil wars, leading to massive human-rights abuses. Increased regulation has reduced the number on the market. However, ask your jeweler for a certificate that promises the stone is ethically sourced. Giving an ethical certification for a diamond has become pretty standard so your jeweler should have no problem with that. If they do, it might be a red flag you're jeweler isn't totally legit.
Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES December 2015/January 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!