When you start making plans to purchase an engagement ring, I’m sure most people tend to think that preset designs (diamond is already mounted on ring setting) are the only options available. After all, if you started off your search in local stores, that’s probably what you would see and expect.
Well, that assumption is wrong.
To be honest, I’ve got to admit that the thought of customizing my own ring never came across my mind when I first started doing research for my own purchase.
Why would I want to go through the hassle when I could simply do my shopping in a cash and carry manner? Isn’t it better to buy a preset mounted diamond instead of a loose stone since it saves so much time and trouble?
It turns out that both situations come with their particular advantages and disadvantages. My task today is to isolate the two and help you identify situations where one of the two choices may prove to be a better one.
At the end of the day, it boils down to a difference between flexibility and convenience. A preset ring offers a cash-and-carry mode of purchase which is straightforward and faster. If you like what you see, you make a payment for it and that’s the end of the story. It’s a perfect option for people who need a ring in a hurry.
However, it does make it harder for you to properly assess a diamond’s quality. Why do I highlight this? Very often, diamonds are set in such a manner where flaws are conceal by the prongs or away from sight. Since most consumers don’t know what to look out for, it can be easy to get duped by an unethical seller.
While it might be a more tedious route to purchase a loose stone and to select a mounting for it separately, I personally believe that it is the wiser choice. The advantages over a preset diamond are many:
1) It allows you to focus on the stone’s quality for the best selection possible. You get to see and inspect the whole diamond before it gets mounted. This allows you to check for any potential problems and to verify any issues beforehand.
2) It is easier for you to make a purchase within your stipulated budget. Most jewelers carry limited preset rings and you might not always be able to find one that fits your budget or criteria. You are either forced to raise your budget or to make a compromise and settle for less.
3) You can either design the ring to your liking or allow her to choose the setting herself. From personal experience, choosing a ring design is one of the toughest dilemma I had and I think this is a common problem for most guys too. What better way to get around this issue than to let her pick a design she loves?
Ok. Here’s a question that I get asked a couple of times by Beyond4Cs’s readers. If the engagement ring is meant as a surprise, how do you ensure that the setting you chose is one that she likes? Proposing with a loose diamond doesn’t sound like a romantic idea and you probably want her to have a ring to slip onto her fingers when you get down on your knees.
Don’t worry, there are creative ways to make the proposal picture-perfect. You could get the diamond set in a simple temporary setting so that it is secured and looks presentable during your proposal. After having success with the proposal, you could shop for a new setting together with your loved one.
To recap, there are a total of 3 routes that you can take with loose diamonds.
1) Do you want to choose the final ring design (either on your own or together with her) so that you have the completed ring on your day of proposal?
2) Would you prefer to set it in a plain solitaire setting and get your fiancée to choose another one later on?
3) Would you opt to propose using a loose diamond? Some jewelers do provide a special presentation box for loose diamonds upon request. Others may be able to provide you with a free clasp-foe ring or something similar the one seen below.
At the end of the day, you should go along with whatever works for you.
I wanted to touch on this aspect quickly because there are people who are looking to invest their money into diamonds. First of all, you have to understand that diamonds have a different trading model and they still cannot be treated the way public shares are.
When you are considering diamonds as a form of investment, you probably do not want to buy a preset ring or a setting. This is because loose diamonds have more liquidity and are easier to be evaluated by buyers for their value.
There are exceptions though.
In some rare cases, the integrity of a jewelry piece which features a mounted diamond might be more valuable than selling the setting and the stone separately. For example, when a piece of mounted diamond jewelry possesses a rich history of being worn by someone famous, they could be a valuable collector’s item in its original state. Do not let rules suffocate your choices.