I'm sure most of you know that I recently got married to my beautiful, way out of my league wife. She's awesome, marriage is awesome, and I can honestly say that I've never been happier!
(Stay with me, she reads this).
As a millennial, one of the biggest purchases you will make in your 20's (fingers crossed), is the ring. Wait, sorry…THE ring. It's an intimidating purchase, and you better do your homework if you want to do it right. The problem is, diamonds are really freaking expensive. When I first started shopping, I was in solid denial that a stupid rock could cost more than it would take to buy 10,000 cats.
Fortunately, I got some really good advice from a friend before I decided to purchase the ring, and it ended up saving me thousands. I don't really know why I haven't thought to share this with my readers, but I guess now is a better time than never!
Before I go on and tell you the best kept secret in engagement ring buying, I need to hit you with a few disclaimers first.
1. Don't finance a ring.
It's not worth it. Take your time and save up the money so you can pay cash. This is a pretty hot take, but if your significant other doesn't want to wait for you to buy it responsibly…there needs to be some re-evaluation on your end.
2. Try to avoid the mall stores. I'll explain shortly.
3. Do your research on the 4 C's and all of that stuff but don't take it too seriously, especially the clarity!
I thought I HAD to get a VVS1 diamond. I felt like I would be a failure if I got my wife anything less. The honest truth is…she won't be able to tell, and you can't either. I got an SI1 with some kind of hairline flaw, and I couldn't even find the thing under magnification. You'd be better off to get better color and a larger carat size (in my opinion).
4. Get them what they want….within reason.
They will be protecting this thing like Gollum for the next 30 years, so don't be afraid to ask what style and diamond cut they like well in advance. If they love you, they will still freak out and cry and stuff when you propose.
OK, now to the good stuff. How did I get a killer diamond ring for half as much as a mall store?
I went to a wholesale and estate jewelry store. Their business model is basically to buy diamonds for a really low price, and then sell them with a way lower markup than a regular jewelry store. Just in case you were wondering, the mall stores mark their prices up 150-300%, but wholesale jewelers can get away with a 10-15% markup. That's the kind of math that I like!
The process was really cool (and weird because I wasn't sure what to expect). I went in for an appointment, and when I sat down in the store, they busted out a huge box of diamonds and started laying them out in front of me. They let me look at as many diamonds as I wanted with all of their fancy jeweler tools, and they didn't try to push me to spend more than I wanted to. They even pointed out where the flaws were and tried to teach me how to find them with a loupe…but I failed pretty miserably at it.
The only thing that sucked was when I went to pay, my debit card was denied because I had a really low daily purchase limit. After a few embarrassing minutes, I was able to get my card to go through. I decided to have them custom design my ring as well, and my wife said yes (of course). She loves the ring, and I paid about half what the same ring would cost me in a mall store or online.
If you are one of my readers in Texas, go check out Jonathan's Fine Jewelers. They aren't officially associated with M$M, but they did a great job on my wife's engagement ring and they are an awesome company. Most importantly, they could save you a bunch of money. If you aren't in Texas, find your local wholesale jeweler and give them a shot.
If you have other awesome tips for buying a ring, post them down in the comments.
My wife's ring:
Live differently, your bank accounts will thank me later. -M$M
No, I didn't get any compensation for writing this post. No discount in exchange either. I want to keep people from wasting their cash at mall stores!