Do you need a branded diamond ring to make her say “Yes”?
When it comes to consumer products, luxury and designer brands are often seen as a sign of prestige, style and quality assurance. Despite their astronomical prices, there has been a growing demand for high-end designer and it’s the same when it comes to the jewelry industry.
In this article, we take a look at the top brands in the world of diamond rings and address some questions that readers frequently ask. Is it really worth it to buy a brand name diamond ring?
Are there any differences between branded and non-branded diamonds? Does a branded diamond ring really matter when it comes to quality? Let’s dive in…
Fundamentally, diamonds are a natural resource and are widely regarded as a commodity (like oil & gold). Apart from qualitative selection and skilled polishing, there really isn’t anything else that differentiates a polished diamond.
Yet, some of the more successful brands in the industry had been able to charge a big price premium on their products because of their marketing. At the time of writing, these are the top 5 most popular engagement ring brands:
Even if you haven’t bought a piece of jewelry before, I’m pretty sure you’ve have heard of a couple of the big brand names above. The common denominator that makes these brands successful is that they are able to establish a level of credibility in terms of quality, image and authenticity.
In my opinion, branding is not important when buying a diamond ring. What matters most is the craftsmanship quality and sparkle of the diamond. Remember what I said about diamonds being a commodity earlier?
Well, most of the big luxury brands aren’t selling “special” diamonds that justify their prices. In fact, Cartier is just one example of a branded store that sells diamonds graded by GIA. And mind you, these are the same type of diamonds you can get at any reliable jewelry store.
Let me show you a Cartier diamond engagement ring that I helped a friend of mine to purchase. I’ve also written a complete review of the Cartier experience in a post here.
Cartier Solitaire 1895 ring with center diamond: 0.46 carats, G color, VVS1 clarity and triple excellent cut.
The accompanying GIA report for the purchase.
Unless your recipient has explicitly mentioned the need of a specific brand name, I see no reason why there is a need to pay 2-3 times more besides getting bragging rights or having a compulsive need to show off.
Yep. I’m pretty sure you will sound really intelligent and cool when you tell everyone about the $20,000 you overpaid on a ring that would only cost $8,000 elsewhere. Really, everyone will be talking about how smart you are.
Ok. I will admit I’m being sarcastic here but don’t get me wrong.
Getting an engagement ring from a luxury brand like Tiffany & Co. or Cartier does have some advantages. You can save a lot of time and the hassle of doing research. Even if you made your purchase blindly, you will still end up with a somewhat decent ring.
However, a big misconception that people have is that the expensive prices paid for a luxury brand equate to better quality. Understand that even when you are paying a 2 or 3 times price premium at these places, don’t expect to get the best of the best when it comes to high performance diamonds.
The fact is, luxury brands are not the places where you can consistently find super ideal cut diamonds. Instead, you are paying the extra thousands of dollars for the store’s prime location, elegant interior design and other unnecessary business overheads.
This stunning 6 solitaire prong ring costs much lesser than what you have to pay at Tiffany.
In an effort to move away from traditional diamond shapes like the round cut and princess cut, some jewelers have come up with unconventional cutting styles to stand out from the rest.
Most of these cutting styles are patented and make use of more facets than the traditional 57 facet round cut. Needless to say, almost every marketer will claim that their branded diamond cut offers more brilliance and scintillation than other diamonds.
Speaking as someone from the industry with technical knowledge and a consumer at the same time, I can tell you that most of these claims are just marketing bullshit. Having more facets or having a nice sounding name has no bearing on the diamond’s light performance.
With that in mind, here is a short list of branded diamonds you may come across in the market…
88 Cut – Shaped in an octagon, the 88 facets diamond is an innovative special line created by Finesse Diamonds. Being of Chinese ancestry, I can tell you that the number 8 represents luck and wealth in our culture. If Finesse Diamonds start marketing their stones in Hong Kong and Asia aggressively, they might just hit the jack pot.
Eighternity – This cutting design consists of 81 precisely placed facets to capture and reflect light. The company behind this special cut is K.R. Gems & Diamonds International.
Leo Diamond – This is perhaps one of the most over hyped diamond cut which I have a personal distaste for. The Leo Diamond boasts that its patented 66 facets cutting style results in better dispersion, brilliance and sparkle. I disagree. Having seen many of these stones in person, I can tell you these diamonds have inconsistent cut standards and very poor quality control.
Star 129 – As the name suggests, Star 129 diamonds are cut with 129 facets. Now, let me put the record straight that more facets do not equate to a better looking stone. They may claim to be the most spectacular diamond on Earth, but what really matters is your opinion on it and not theirs.
Royal Asscher – The official website and original creators of the Asscher cut. Royal Asschers are great looking stones that rightfully deserve their name and association with royalty. Unlike the bulk of Asscher cut diamonds which are cut to dismal standards, Royal Asschers are true pieces of art and precision craftsmanship.
I know there are probably a lot more branded diamonds with fanciful names and unique cutting styles that weren’t mentioned here. If you have any to suggest and add to the list above, feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment below.
Here at Beyond4Cs.com, I’m a huge advocate of educating yourself when shopping for an engagement ring. Not only will you get better value for your money, you will also be able to make better decisions about what’s important and get a higher quality ring.
Check out these videos of diamond engagement rings that I created. Not only do they have better cut diamonds, you can get them for less than half the price of a branded ring.
Not only do they cost less, but the diamonds also have better light performance than those found in branded stores. The payoff is high and the satisfaction you get from finding the perfect ring will be immeasurable.