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Why diamond engagement rings cost so much on the high street

4th February 2016

by Tara W.

It’s understandable now that times are tough that people are reconsidering their options when it comes to how they choose to declare their commitment. Love doesn’t really stop just because times get tough, and so if it’s your choice to get engaged, we naturally expect you to look around and consider your options. 

Walking into an expensive showroom is intimidating. We’re sure that you’ve dreaded the moment when your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is walking in the general direction of an expensive store and you slowly withdraw into denial and then eventually surrender. We get it; it’s a lot of money. 

While there will always be conventional stores that offer jewelry at a premium, the options for more efficient, resourceful shopping are becoming an increasingly viable alternative. 

why should i bother? 

Let’s start with the basics. Most men buy diamond engagement rings in the belief that women want them. While this is usually quite true, most men don’t actually question this further and are fine with that. (Don’t do that.) The reality is that it’s not even really the ring that’s the focal point; it’s the entire experience of the proposal and therefore, the memory of it which is the most powerful. The ring is really just a symbol. 

That doesn’t stop diamond engagement rings being a desirable thing, but many people want it for many different reasons, hence the price. You might be discouraged by such an expensive purchase, but bear in mind that the price is the way it is because of a complex interplay of many factors. 

Of course, what proves your dedication isn’t the ring but you. What we mean by that is the whole process of buying the ring in secret, finding the right design, finding the right size, making sure that the mood is set, budgeting for the ring, keeping the secret and so on and so forth, is actually incredibly stressful. 

What you’re investing in is the process and the journey of doing something for someone you love. Those sorts of memories are priceless, and that’s where the cost begins. 

symbol of wealth

A large part of the attraction of the diamond engagement ring has been because of its status symbol as a marker of wealth. Mostly worn by the rich and famous, and exacerbated by heavy marketing campaigns in the past decades from mainstream high street jewelers. Costs are further inflated due to keeping inventory, high operating costs and huge profit margins. 

Rather like buying fashion from the high street, you’ll find the price inclines very steeply the more you go with big names. Likewise, it’s the price of keeping the engagement rings in stock for so long that gets passed on as well. If you want to spend your money’s worth, this is probably not the way to do it. 

The tide is changing as more people are wearing diamond jewelry as it becomes more accessible and understandable for everyone. 

an image of one of our popular diamond engagement rings

symbol of beauty 

Of course you can’t necessarily ignore the fact that good quality diamonds look really, really good. If you’ve never seen them before it might be worth visiting jewelers to see what they look like. A great deal of our showroom time is dedicated (understandably) for staring time. What creates a good diamond is a complex mix of different factors, but in essence there’s no denying that they appeal to everyone in their striking appearance, if done properly. 

We’re used to price comparisons, but what about visual comparisons? There’s incredible differences between different types of diamonds, but without multiple reference points there’s no way to tell the difference; and the differences are often subtle. Most of the people we’ve talked just want something that shines beautifully - as that is the signature quality of a diamond. As a result the universal appeal of the diamond for its aesthetic qualities is translated into higher prices for more fancier stones that fit perfectly into iconic engagement ring designs. 

A Change of Habits

If you think carefully about it, perhaps a lot of your own shopping habits have changed too. There's been a lot of times where you've ordered clothes, electronics and food online. Generally our lifestyles are shifting towards moving everything online, because it's much easier to browse from the comfort of your own home, or perhaps while you're travelling.

Although it took some time for this shift in the landscape to affect jewelry, (as it's a high value purchase) we're seeing more and more people order online because of the fact that it is much, much more affordable. Indeed, a lot of existing high street brands have expanded into online territory due to the demand, but the trick is that they take the high street markup along with them.

eliminate the secrecy

If you’re going to spend that much money, you need to get into the gritty details. What’s the metal quality, what’s the carat, cut, color and clarity? In order to get a great deal at a jeweler you will have to think, talk and perhaps even act like a jeweler. There’s a great deal of detailed terminology that goes into crafting jewelry, particularly with such delicate materials and designs. As you’re probably an informed shopper, these things will probably sound familiar to you, and that is the perfect springboard to launch a detailed discussion with what you exactly want.]

If you’re buying something, challenge the jeweler for the exact specifications. You’ll need the metal type, carat, cut, color and clarity as your main measurements. Then do a detailed comparison between different jewelers for quotes and decide which option is best for you. 

a simple diamond solitaire engagement ring.

to sum up :

-  Diamonds are popular either for aesthetics, cultural value or price.

- High streets have higher operational costs, bumping product prices up.

- Most jewelers don’t offer customisation to a large extent in order to keep prices higher.

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