questionswould you feel comfortable buying an engagement…

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For the record, the site we are currently interested in is Gemvara.

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watch you deal closely (any company), watch return policy, watch guarantees.
truely i'd say shop online all you want, but probably buy at a place you know (whether online or in person).

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I wouldn't necessarily trust that particular site, but only because I found no reviews on resellerratings.com. If it were to come from a site that I knew and was familiar with enough so that I could spend a few hundred(? I have no clue how much they cost) dollars, then yeah, I'd buy one online.

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@captainsuperdawg: Gemvara has good reviews on Google. Excellent customer service and average shipping. 97 reviews. I wouldn't even consider such a site if I didn't have some idea of their reviews.

Also a very nice 30 day resizing policy

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I agree with @moosezilla: make sure of your ratings before you buy. Also, you could do what I did and search online, then use that to negotiate with a local store. I shaved a bit off, and got a discount on the custom job for the ring itself.

And I'll have the chicken. Open bar, I hope? :)

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@okham: I think my dad will use the same policy he did for my Bar Mitzvah. "Less Bar, More Mitzvah"

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@abramokids: Then I don't see a big problem with it. As long as you guys can find something that she wants and is cheap enough, then I don't see any problem.

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I don't see why you wouldn't / couldn't get ripped off buying it from a physical location anymore than the internet. Based on the price differences I'd say you always get ripped off walking in instead of buying from the net.

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Many jewelry stores offer free cleaning for engagement rings bought at their stores; if you're looking at a diamond ring, cleaning it a few times a year can keep it sparkly, but also serves as an opportunity to check that the setting is still holding tight: you really don't want the diamond to fall out!

Oh, and I'll have the chicken. Thanks for inviting us! :)

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Many chain jewelry stores are geared toward rings that are all made on an assembly line. They have very limited selections of stones ie: nothing better than SI2 quality and are usually not able to be mixed and matched. If you get a certified diamond then it will actually be the quality that it's supposed to be.

My sister's husband got the loose diamond for her ring online. He got it from bluenile.com if you want to check them out. Then he picked out a setting at a chain jewelery an had them put the two together.

I, on the other hand, got my fiancé's ring at a chain store. Unlike my brother-in-law, I had not been working as an engineer for 2 years before buying a ring so I was not concerned with having a selection of SI2+ diamonds.

Personally, I had no desire to buy a ring from a non chain jewelry store, even though they have pretty wide selections. I went in to one when I was first shopping and I felt like I was in a used car dealer- not a good feeling. I would trust a website more.

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FYI: both of us got our rings from Helzberg Diamonds. They have an amazing warranty- free resizing for life, free cleaning every day if you felt like it, and a replacement stone if it ever fell out.

I'm sure there could be good private jewelers out there, I just got a bad first impression. There were no prices on anything and the guy said how much things were "worth" and told me that he'd take half that and wouldn't charge sales tax if I paid cash. It just really didn't seem like something I wanted to get involved in.

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I would make darn sure she is onboard with an online purchase for an engagement ring.

Not knowing your situation but knowing women a little......it's easy for her to say she's onboard to spare your feelings because she's in love. What you don't want happening is her saying down the road......I really wish we had tried rings on in a store first........

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I recently got engaged and purchased the ring online. Couldn't have been happier. Most of the local store, especially the chain stores (like the one that has the same name as the spokesman for a fast food chain, or the one that starts with the 11th letter of the alphabet) are not good value.

Here is something to think about. I ended up NOT buying a diamond, but rather clarity enhanced moissianite. Nobody can tell the difference, and we are both hugely happy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moissanite

and for a somewhat more crude opinion.

http://diamondssuck.com/

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Gemvara seems legit from what I can tell. A nice selection and the ability to customize your ring is great.

Brick and mortar stores on the other hand, have a HUGE markup for all of their jewelry. I say if you can find a deal online, and there's a return policy in place just in case the ring isn't everything you were promised, go for it.

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I bought a ring for my wife from Gemvara. Good customer service. A stone fell out of the ring a month later and they were fast with the repair. But, I wouldn't necessarily buy anything too expensive from them.

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I don't know anything about engagement rings. I just want to say "congratulations".

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I have heard good things about Blue Nile from friends - no personal interactions with them, but customer service is supposed to be tops. Echo, be sure to have the ability to have the ring appraised when you receive it, and if you are not satisfied, the ability to return it.

CAUTION on appraisals - go to a reputable jeweler and stay with the ring while it is being appraised. I know of too many people, myself included, who were ripped off by having stones switched on the bench, and the store operator was not necessarily aware of same.

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Blue nile is reputable. If you're hesitant to buy online find what you want on their website and match the specs at a local brick and mortar store. Expect to pay 10% more after vigorous haggling. Don't fall for the store's insurance, you're going to want to get your own insurance anyway. Make sure it's GIA certified (other certs are not as good). The jewelry store well give you an appraisal but it's meaningless. You'll need a third party.

I just went through this whole process last july. Congratulations!

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I bought my husband's ring online. No diamonds, but superior quality. Couldn't even come close to finding anything similar in stores. Paid about $2k for it. Got it appraised for resale at just over $2k. I'd say go for it if you are happy with the reviews. On the other hand, we bought my ring from a wholesale diamond store. Paid just over $4k for it and it appraised at resale at just under $8k. The setting was custom made... based on one of their premade rings with a few changes and since then I've never seen one even close to what mine looks like.

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My brother-in-law bought his engangement ring online. When they got it appraised for insurance, it actually turned out to be a much better grade of diamond than he had chosen/paid for. I think as long as you go to a reputable site, you're in the clear.

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13 years ago I bought my wife's diamond (but not the ring/setting online. I was very nervous about it, but I was not happy with what I was seeing in the stores. I ended up with a very nice diamond for a fraction of what it would have cost locally. The company had dozens of stellar reviews - they emailed me pictures of the diamond, the diamonds 'cert', etc, and they had an iron-clad return policy.

I then went to a popular local jeweler to pick out the setting and have it set. The woman there was ice-cold to me when she found out where I bought the stone. That is, until she took a look at it under the scope, and literally said "ooooh!" She was then much nicer, and at the end told me I had picked out a very nice stone. The jeweler charged an additional $100 to set the stone since it wasn't from them, but that also bought us the guarantee which included free cleanings/inspections.

Later on we had the ring appraised for insurance purposes - and it came to nearly 3x what I paid.

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@tsfisch: @cmaxelson: @keysmad: Where are you guys getting your diamonds??? I notice that all of you say you made a profit, but none of you have named a website!!! NO FAIR! SHARE! :P

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@abramokids: Mine was from tradeshop.com - note that this was over 13 years ago so I can't vouch for them today, but if they're as solid as they were back then, they're great.

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I'll reiterate - Blue Nile.

Congratulations and good luck!

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Hi there,
I am a jeweller designer from Australia. My advice would be to make sure that the diamond is certified. I only like to use GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified diamonds - the GIA is the strictest diamond certifier in the world, so what you buy is what you get. Some other certifiers are a little more relaxed with their gradings. For example - the diamond may actually be a H colour, and they up-grade it as a G. If buying from a store, you should also look for GIA certified diamonds as well. Some stores certify their own diamonds, which means again they may up-grade them.
GIA (and some other independent certifiers) laser inscribe the certificate number on the girdle of each diamond. You will need a jewellers loupe to find and see the inscription...it is very small! Though this is a good way of confirming that your diamond matches the certificate.
We ship abroad - if you have any questions email me and we will do our best to help.
Good luck and congratulations!

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I manage a diamond advice website. [Ad removed]

Buying diamonds online is perfectly safe and many vendors provide excellent service for extremely picky buyers. You'll want to make sure you buy a certified diamond, either AGSL (American Gemmological Society Laboratories) or GIA. There are subtle differences between the way these two labs evaluate cut grade. I have a page discussing the differences between these two.

As cut is the most important diamond characteristic, you'll most definitely want to invest in a well cut stone. You can get away with a lower color/clarity grade as long as you follow some simple guidelines.

As for Gemvara, they specialize in selling "pre-set" engagement rings. Most of the time this makes the buying process easier, BUT you don't have full disclosure of the true value of the diamond as you cannot view the certificate/grading report before you buy. It may not be "eye-clean", it may have an inferior cut, poor proportions, etc.