For most people, purchasing a big ticket item online without physically viewing the product can induce a lot of stress and fear. This is especially true if you are not accustomed to e-commerce and online shopping.
It’s no wonder that I often get asked questions like: Are online diamonds a scam? Is it really possible to buy a diamond ring without seeing it?
Well, I had been there, done that and never looked back since.
First things first, my name is Paul and I’m from the sunny island of Singapore. At the point of writing this (somewhere in late 2012), I’m just a simple 29 years old guy making plans to propose to my girlfriend whom I had been dating for 2 years.
Needless to say, a proposal ring is required but I am absolutely clueless on how or where to buy one. Being the kind of geeky guy who rarely goes shopping, buying an engagement ring proved to be a big challenge. Here’s the story about my search for the perfect diamond ring…
Ever since I first laid my eyes on diamonds, I became drawn by their beauty and the science behind it. Why do diamonds captivate people? Why are diamonds cut the way they are? Why do some diamonds look so bad in real life and lack life while some others can sparkle so radiantly? There were just so many questions I had and that prompted me to start researching for answers.
This interest spiked. I started building up my expertise and knowledge in the fascinating world of diamonds. Luckily for me, I also had friends in the jewelry trade who shared their stories and “secrets” with me. Later on, this grew into an expensive hobby as I started collecting gemstones and invested heavily in my own education.
In case you are wondering why you should listen to what I have to say or what my credentials are, I graduated with a professional diploma from GIA’s Diamond Graduate program. Interestingly, despite being surrounded by course mates who have years of experience in the jewelry trade, I managed to ace the grading class and won some bragging rights in the process. Needless to say, this came as a huge surprise to everybody including the GIA course instructor who had been teaching the course for years.
Unlike other Internet based jewelers or “educational” websites that regurgitate the same old content to market their own products, I don’t sell diamonds. The information on this website is written purely with the objective to help you understand diamonds and make educated purchases.
The GIA Hong Kong laboratory – Photo taken during the diploma course
When my girlfriend told me that she would like to have a heart shaped diamond in her proposal ring, I thought “Great!”. This helped me narrow down the ring choices and more importantly, I know I would be able to choose a ring she would love to wear regularly. This is important because I can’t imagine myself spending thousands of dollars on a ring only for it to be stowed away in a drawer.
Now that the shape of the diamond engagement ring had been determined, it is one less problem out of the way. Being a total layman at that point in time, I had no idea how much a diamond ring would cost and had simply set a budget of $7000-$8000 for the purchase. The plan was to shop around a little and hopefully, get the best deal for a ring that fits my budget.
And like most people who are shopping for a diamond ring for the first time, I started off by visiting local brick and mortar stores. Next, find out what happened during my search at the local stores…