Wen it became apparent (to me) that I was going to ask Lauren to marry me, I set out on my search for her engagement ring. The only problem is that I had no idea how to actually shop for an engagement ring. Despite working for a jeweler for a summer as an intern (doing work on their website), I knew fairly little about jewelry.
So I started doing some research online. I didn’t want to buy a crazy expensive ring without seeing it, so I investigated some local jewelers to see what they had to offer. I visited 3 local jewelers to see what they had to offer and whether they could be a good fit.
I knew the ring I was looking for (from talking to Lauren, though she had no idea I’d be proposing so soon or that I was actually getting serious about buying her a ring), but I wasn’t willing to pay the designer prices. My alternative was getting her a designer ring with a tiny stone, something I wasn’t excited about and refused to do.
After a phone call with a jeweler in Virginia (I was living in DC at the time), I decided to take a visit. I liked his prices, I liked what he had to say about being able to create a ring, so I just needed to find a stone from his collection that fit what I was looking for.
I took the metro an hour out of my way one day after work, sat down in his office and we talked about both the ring I was looking to be made and the stones (it was a 3-stone ring) that would accompany it. I looked through a bunch of stones that were close to the size I was looking for (and within my budget), and finally decided on one that I thought would work.
But when I left, I had second thoughts. Not about the marriage, but about the ring. I thought that I settled on the stone, so I called up and told him I wasn’t in a rush and would come back in two weeks to see if he got any other stones that were slightly bigger that fit my criteria. He said he’d look out for what I needed.
Two weeks later, I headed back to the jeweler to see what he had. Two stones were a little out of my budget (but If I wasn’t going to spend money on this, what was I saving it for?), but otherwise they were exactly what I was looking for. I examined them, compared them, looked at them in the sunlight, and decided that I couldn’t see much of a difference in their size just from looking, so I felt like I was going to lean toward the one that was just slightly smaller. I took one last look and realized that even though they had the same grading for color, one looked clearer than the other. Of course it was the more expensive one, so I got down to negotiation, which was my favorite part.
I don’t remember the exact prices anymore, but here’s how it went down. I promised myself that no matter what, I was going to negotiate, even if it was a fair price to begin with. It’s not that often that I get to negotiate over a sale of several thousands of dollars. I knew that I was already being given a cash discount, so I went straight for the gold.
I asked if there was any way he could cut the price down by $500.
He looked at his numbers, told me that if price was an issue, I could always go with the other diamond. He offered a $200 discount. I tried my silent negotiating technique, maybe it worked and maybe it didn’t, but I came back with a $400 discount, and then he asked to split the difference and settle at $300 off. Sounds good to me!
I walked out of there very proud of both the ring I was getting and the negotiating I had to do to get it. The price I paid didn’t matter any more because I was getting exactly what I wanted!