This article talks about the quality one should you expect when purchasing an engagement ring from a jeweler, the main issues to look for, how quality impacts on the price, the truth about jewelry guarantees, and what service and support to expect from your jeweler.
|Whether your buying an engagement ring at a brick retail store or from an online e-tailer, it's quite normal to be concerned about the quality of the workmanship. For most people, they want to make sure the diamonds won't fall out and that they have some guarantee that if something does happen, they can return the ring to the jeweler to get it fixed at a minimal cost.|
What are quality issues to look out for when looking at an engagement ring?
First things first, its important to check for loose stones and the security of the setting. Stones can become loose even in the store when the jeweler or other customers handle the ring. A simple check of tapping on the ring with your finger holding the ring close to the ear, can reveal if the stones are rattling in the setting. To be sure, ask the jeweler to check each stone with a microscope in the store or have it sent for checking. The most important thing to check is that the center diamond is totally secure, and that can be done, by lightly tapping on it with a closed pen, tweezers, or anything with a sharp point. Make sure the prongs or bezel are securely holding the stone.
|Another issue to look out for is setting symmetry. The stone should be sitting straight in the mount or according to the intended design. Look from all directions.|
Check to make sure that the joints of the ring are soldered together and that the head is secured properly to the shank. Make sure there are no cracks in the metal.
Make sure the ring is finished correctly; that it has a high shine without scuffs or marks, that there is no rhodium splash I.e that Rhodium plating has not spilt over the yellow or rose gold. Check to see if there is no rhodium burn, that the metal doesn’t look gray or have black splotches.
If purchasing a gold ring, ask the jeweler if the metal is made with nickel free gold. In Europe this should be a standard, however in the US it is not necessarily true. There are many people that develop a rash and have an allergic reaction to wearing gold with nickel as part of the alloy.
Excellence v Expedience
Many engagement ring on offer today are often produced in large factories in China, India or Thailand. The quality is not necessarily compromised, however the jewelry is designed to be manufactured in large quantities and quotas need to be filled. Even if the diamonds are secure and the ring is polished, there are issues to look out for regarding styling and the thickness of metal structure. There are also issues of how far the manufacturer is willing to go in polishing the cast metal underneath the ring, within the 'nooks and crannies'. How does the diamond look in its setting? Is the ring created for the diamond or the diamond selected for the ring? To achieve mass-production, manufacturers will often make a box standard setting as seen below and then find a diamond to fit the ring. For simple designs with a four prong basket setting for example, this may work, however there may be a compromise on the styling of the ring to allow for differences in the shape of the size and shape of the diamonds being used.
The true beauty of an excellent engagement ring lies within how much attention has been paid to the details. Is the ring flimsy? and most importantly, what quality are the diamonds. That's where jewelry manufacturers like to save money. Do the diamonds have luster? How is the color? and what are their clarity? Is there a certificate or quality guarantee? If there is no independently issued certificate, then the quality of the diamond is open to interpretation, and you need to consider who is the manufacturer.
The truth about jewelry quality guarantees.
An engagement ring is not an iphone. It is subject to personal ware and tear. The majority of jewelers provide a limited period of often 30 days, to return the ring. Beyond that, rarely is a guarantee provided. An engagement ring, just like an iphone, is continuously manhandled and subject to being rubbed, scuffed, knocked, dropped, dipped in liquids and every other imaginable damaging condition under the sun. However there is stark difference in the monetary value between an engagement ring and iphone. A guarantee may be provided, but there are usually conditions, that the ring has not been 'misused' beyond normal wear and that it is returned on a 6 monthly basis to check the integrity of the setting and state of the metal structure and finish. If a jeweler checks the ring and sees it has been mistreated or damaged outside the bounds of normal wear, then you may be liable to pay for any diamonds that need replacing, or damage that needs repairing.
Look after your jewelry
The fact is that jewelry needs to be looked after. Engagement rings are gentle creatures and need to be treated with care. If I had my way there should be a law against mistreaters of engagement rings and they should be prosecuted. LOL. Don't wear a ring while your washing your hands or showering, put it away in a jewelry box when your not wearing it. Be gentle when wearing it and take it to your jewelry at least once a year to make sure all is ok.
After sales service
A reputable jeweler, should provide the checking service free of charge, and will also polish and re-plate the ring where necessary. Usually a ring can be resized once free of charge after its been purchased, a second time may incur a charge. A jeweler with any sense will be there for you and want you to return as a life long customer.