HomeMoneyMy Experience Buying My Now-Wife An Engagement Ring

My Experience Buying My Now-Wife An Engagement Ring

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!



  1. That’s great. Thanks for sharing. It’s always fun to look back at that experience. I know it’s been roughly six and a half years but that time has flown by :)

  2. I bought the stone separately from an out of state source with a local diamond merchant offering his desk and scope to look at it. The price was about 15% below the lowest I could negotiate with the jeweler I wanted to have do the ring, and since the seller was out of state there was no sales tax. Net win several hundred bucks.

    • @W at Off-Road Finance, awesome, I actually bought mine out of state, too, but DC/MD/VA have silly rules regarding taxes and you’ve got to pay if you live in any of those and buy from any of the others.

  3. Nice work!! I too didn’t really know anything about rings when I went ring shopping… so I took along a co-worker to her jeweler to help me look! It was great because I had a personal connection so that I would get the information straight and not get ripped off at all…

  4. Nice job! There’s always room for negotiation when dealing with several thousands of dollars.

  5. Great experience. Looks like the ring is really for her. As they say, everything will just come perfectly in place when it’s meant to be.

  6. Oh dear god…
    I remember the struggle I had with buying an engagement ring for my girlfriend.
    Unfortunately, we don’t receive such discounts in the UK.

    Congratulations on the swell deal!

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