This series I will go through the best way to choose THE ring. After working with a multitude of customers, friends and friend of friends ; guys usually do not have a clue where to start. The following articles will hopefully shed lots of light on how to go about choosing an engagement ring and things to consider. Understandably there can be lots of doubt and confusion on where to start. More so the fear of making mistakes often makes this exciting and fun experience a headache for lots of guys. So let's start having a look at the journey one should consider, common concerns and FAQ with answers to them.

Engagement ring

Most men visit a Jewelry store once or twice in their lifetime. That means for most guys it's a strange and intimidating World of small things they know nothing of and it costs a lot money. So besides knowing nothing of the subject the only go-to most people have is the internet with loads of conflicting or misleading advice that leads to more doubt in the process. There comes a time you have to make the call on not only choosing an item but choose the correct item because we all know every girl has her dream ring in her mind!

 I often have to remind myself of the above fact where most people find themselves in - that High end Jewelry buying feel like a daunting undertaking and confusing as where to start. Unfortunately there is so much inaccurate and contradicting information floating around on the internet that it adds to the confusion and mistrust. So where to start? 

Nowadays the options are endless from ready made items to customized items. There has been a misconception that customized products are more expensive than in-stock items; that likely comes from other industries due to the heavy involvement of R&D however new trends in jewellery have made customizable items a reality and costing similar to stocked items and even cheaper. So never think that what you see in the window is the only choice, options now are only limited to imagination and most true jewelers provide customization.

All Girls have a dream design and some form of records and in these times I would strongly suggest the person to wear the ring gets involved albeit in a limited manner. A simple hint of a design will put the buyer in the right area to avoid disappointment later on!

The design, in my view, is the basis and the crucial part. This allows one to get creative around a base point that you know will make the wearer happy yet you can allow a creative and unique touch to it. Once a jeweller has a design one can move around with the pricing through the type of metal, gems and how to make it. A design can be made for example $1,000 or for $10,000 depending on the material. All designs and types have their unique advantages or disadvantages this is where a jeweller's input helps and where possible get a couple of opinions you will soon see where it overlaps.  

Don't get too caught up in the detail of an item early on. I usually tell people that I will give them 3 price points low, mid and higher quality for the same design and why it differs - this will give you a feel of what the costing would be and take away the uncomfortable feeling of trying to give a budget you have in mind. Simply say what you are looking for e.g. design , type of stone and size or anything that comes to mind, leave the rest to the designer to come with suggestions on what options you have. 

I personally like to make new original items for people but if you see the exact piece you want in the window or stone by all means go for it! Don't let people try to push you into buying something they have in store that you are not convinced about, there are enough options available in the World today to get what you want. If a jeweller or designer doesn't try to limit you to what they have in stock it's usually a good sign they have your best interests at heart.

I really believe that because a High end Jewellery piece is a very personal & symbolic item that flows to a big commitment in your life one needs to make the process personal. The fact that you work with a person to help you design something adds to the experience and make the vision you or both of you have to symbolize your life so much more special. Yes there is a place for only online buying but I have seen too many disappointments in after purchase regret to say this is a go to vs in store. Like I mentioned in my previous emails you need in depth knowledge on gems to know what is a good buy and what's not in the industry. Just have a look for example on sites selling lots of diamonds and notice how large price differences are for the same size, colour, clarity and shape if you scroll over the selection.There are many reasons for this and bottom line is the same diamond on paper can look way better or worse in real life than another of similar details.

Remember never buy the report to buy the diamond, in the end a report is only subjective opinion based in part on certain technical specifications that differs between laboratories. Buy what looks good to you and stands out! Always see it in real life first before committing completely, I have seen excellent cut stones vs good cut stones and the good cut just looked so much better for a customer. It is all in our personal perception and how we interpret the visual appearance. Everything in the process is personal and beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

So to bring it together for this part- First get the inputs of a design the wearer wants; the more specific the better and easier. Secondly get a few opinions from jewellers and/or work with someone in person that you enjoy and are comfortable with that have your best interest at heart. Where you are unsure get a couple of opinions and find the similarity to confirm a decision. Get 3 price tiers for a design if you don't know the costing, it helps with giving you a feel and from there you can decide what you want to upgrade or downgrade in material used.There are many ways to make a design and choose gems - use a knowledgeable person either in store or a jewellery consultant to hire as an expert for your project. If you want to buy online only I would strongly suggest using a jewellery consultant to verify your pre-purchase options online except if you have in depth knowledge yourself!  

It's supposed to be a personal and fun journey, the more you know the better it gets - work with a person that knows the sweetspots and pitfalls! Things like what type of carat metal, size, natural, enhanced or synthetic gems will all play a role in what is important to the wearer and what is symbolizes. Engagement or Anniversary jewellery are just as much the emotional and symbolic meaning as it is the price and physical aspects. Take them all into account and make sure both of you are on the same page.

In the end the beauty is in what you see not what is on paper or a mere picture- always verify and make sure you only have to commit fully to a piece after you physically see it.

Enjoy the exciting time and privilege to be part of such a process. As always you are more than welcome to email me if you have any questions or need clarity on something!






David van Niekerk