Last Updated on 12/02/2020 by Wit Sudjaiampun
Last Updated on 05/10/2020 by Wit Sudjaiampun
Buying engagement rings from department stores, online stores or private jewelers
If you are planning to buy an engagement ring you might feel hesitation as this question pops up in your mind – “Where should I buy an engagement ring?”
If you have asked your friends “Where should I buy an engagement ring?” You might have heard this answer – “International brands! Because their shops are in the city centered department stores. Not only are they decorated luxuriously, but their engagement rings are also shown on ornamented displays and their service staff is always wearing elegant suits, welcoming and servicing you as if you are a first-class passenger.”
That is the correct answer.
I must admit, stores like that provide quality products and services.
But what about the price?
I can say that it should not surprise you that you will have to pay a lot more.
Because I have been in the diamond business for a long time, I have learned that the brand’s sterling reputation is one of the major factors that enable them to set the price at a height so high, it could induce a heart attack.
From what I have seen, some stores set their engagement rings 300% – 1000% over the true costs.
If you have had the chance to buy an engagement ring from these stores, I must congratulate you. You are a minority whose status and wealth level are (very) high.
But if you are like me and most others, whose budget has a limit, buying an engagement ring from a well-known brand would be a needless waste, right?
Because of that, you might be asking yourself “Then, where should I buy an engagement ring? That is at an appropriate price and quality”.
I Will Give You 3 Options to Choose From:
- Shops & Department Stores
- Online Diamond Stores (Facebook & Instagram)
- Private Jeweler
We will analyze the pros and cons of each type together.
Shops & Department Stores
Engagement Ring Price Range: THB 10,000 – THB 1,000,000
When you stroll around the department store on a holiday, you might have noticed the small counter shops that are set as a wall surrounding itself. They usually are set at different points of a department store. Inside the cubicle, there will be 1-2 staff members waiting to greet customers who walk by. The customers will stand and choose their engagement ring from outside the self-imposed wall.
Some stores have their own room. Their exquisite jewelry is put on display at their entrance. When we walk by, each time, we can not help but take a peek. Because of their deliberate lighting set up, their diamonds are spectacular and eye-catching under their lights.
As for the name of the stores and brands. I must excuse myself for not mentioning them as it might be understood as an attack. We are in the same business, after all, so it is better to be respectful of each other.
Jewelry Stores In Department Stores Appear Trustworthy
But most importantly, the reason why many have chosen to buy their engagement rings from these stores is that they appear to be trustworthy because of their brands and locations. Their stores have many branches, they have established their shops, and their staff members are well-dressed, professional-looking, and always ready to serve.
Their stores will commonly have many engagement rings on display. Their selections are vast, you can try out their rings and know in an instant how well the engagement ring on your finger will suit your style.
Buying diamonds from these counter shops will indeed have a sense of reliability because of their reputation and shop location. But if you have a specific type of engagement ring in mind from pictures on the internet, you might be disappointed. The shop might not have the engagement ring design you desire.
So you will have to compromise and choose the model closest to what you had in mind and then secretly feel guilty about the money you have spent on a ring you did not want.
The Price Might Be Much Higher Than The Quality
Though some shops will have engagement ring crafting services, if you order your engagement ring with these shops – you might have to pay over your budget.
That is because these stores might have a high “Operating Cost”. It could come from their spectacular spot in the department store, their decorative expenses, their staff members’ wages, their brands, their licenses, and et cetera.
But there is one thing that most do not think of, that is the “Opportunity Cost” derived from their jewelry’s “Inventory Cost”.
Let us think about it for a minute, if a counter jewelry store sells their engagement rings for an average of THB 30,000 and there are about 100 products on display. That means the store will have an opportunity cost of around THB 3,000,000 per branch.
This cost is commonly added to the retail price to make it worth its risks.
And so, you should consider these factors when buying an engagement ring from shops in Department Stores. Always ask yourself “Am I paying too much for this?”
Conclusion: Pros-Cons of Department Store Jewelry Shops
There are many variations of engagement rings
Their brands are trustworthy because of their many branches and dedicated shop locations.
You might not get the engagement ring you wanted.
Their staff might not be well-versed in jewelry.
The price may not reflect the true quality because of the high costs of their shop.
Some diamond gems may be low quality because once they are put in their casing, it is difficult to see their flaws,
Online Jewelry Stores (Facebook & Instagram)
Engagement Ring Price Range: THB 10,000 – THB 1,000,000
In the age of e-commerce, it is normal for common stores to try and add a channel to sell their products online to give the consumers what they want.
If we were to talk about the diamond accessories businesses, some shops use online channels to sell their diamonds as well. Channels such as website, Facebook, Instagram, and Line.
But…are you willing to spend tens of thousands to buy an engagement ring without any receipt or insurance?
And so a question emerges:
Can They Be Trusted?
If we do not count the department jewelry stores which have their own online channels, there are many new jewelry stores in the online world which have never had a physical store before.
Some shops claim that their prices are the lowest.
Some shops have their owner guarantee their quality and trustworthiness.
And I accept and respect the marketing skills of these stores.
As for the retail price, some shops sell their engagement rings for as low as THB 3,000. Some shops have a live auction, starting from two or three digits number – causing a huge ruckus whilst boosting their social media likes and shares.
But how are the online jewelry stores able to set their prices so low?
I will explain the major factors from what I have analyzed.
2 Main Reasons Why Most Online Stores Can Set Their Price Low:
1. There are no physical store costs (No Retail Space)
This is the reason most shops tell us when asked why their prices are so low. They say it is because they do not have to rent space nor do they have to hire staff.
But do not forget that some online jewelry stores also have retail space in department stores. If we were to talk only about online stores with no retail space, their trustworthiness is not comparable to a shop with physical space.
2. The use of lower grade diamonds (Lower Cost)
The beauty of a diamond is measured by the standard 4Cs that you might be familiar with. When considering the clearness and flaws of a diamond (Clarity), the diamonds which are sold at this price will usually have a clarity level of SI – I
These diamonds will usually have a lot of flaws and most of the flaws are visible (this is why they are referred to as “lower grade” in the diamond industry).
Or in some cases, the diamonds will have poor cuts – they will be disproportionate which means that they will have nearly no sparkle or brilliance. These diamonds are categorized into the lower grade diamonds which causes their prices to significantly drop compared to another diamond with the same size but of a higher grade, for example, a 3EX diamond or a “Triple Excellent Cut”.
Learn more: 4C’s of Diamonds
True, The Price Is Low But Is The Quality Good?
If we were to talk about reselling in the future, lower grade diamonds in most cases will not have space in the market. When selling them, their prices will be greatly reduced.
This is why buying lower grade diamonds is inappropriate if we were to think about long-term investments.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Online Jewelry Stores:
Engagement rings may be cheaper than physical retail stores.
They are more convenient because they can be delivered to your home.
They lack trustworthiness because they do not have a physical store.
You cannot physically examine the engagement rings, you can only look at its pictures.
Cheap diamonds are usually lower grades because of their many flaws.
Some shops do not have an expert craftsman to work on the diamond casing.
Engagement Ring Price Range: THB 20,000 – THB 350,000,000
Directly ordering an engagement ring from a private jeweler might sound like an unusual and new idea – are there such stores?
In reality, the business of private jewelers has begun for a long while. This idea is highly received and is popular in the west (USA) because it can accommodate the variety of tastes a new age consumer might have.
And so, a new service is born. Custom making accessories which can bring the who the customers are. The price is lower than the general department store diamond shops because the consumers can set their budget.
Private Jeweler Must Be Deeply Knowledgeable
Private jewelers in Asia are still low in number because not only must they have expertise in selecting their diamond gems, they must have masterful in-house craftsmen as well.
This is because setting a diamond into a ring is a meticulous procedure that cannot be outsourced.
This is why Above Diamond has risen to be among the first Private Jewelers in Thailand which fully offers custom-ordered diamond accessories services with our unique work process.
Generally, the consumers will receive these services from a Private Jeweler:
- Value For Money
Because the foundation of most private jewelers is from diamond wholesale shops or an extensive connection in the industry. This is why they have such expertise in their high-grade diamond selections whether it be 0.01 carat or even 100 carats.
Most importantly, you can be assured that the quality of the diamond you will receive is on the same level as the brands which are popular in foreign countries. You will also receive certifications from renowned institutes such as GIA and HRD. Not to mention that you will be able to set an appropriate budget as well.
- Next Level Customer Service (Lifetime Service)
In addition to your high-grade diamond, you will also receive the service of the owner who is vastly experienced, with expert level of knowledge in diamond accessories, the owner will be able to advise and provide an in-depth answer to your questions. The owners will also be able to tell which ring settings are currently popular so that you will be able to wear the engagement ring which fits you best.
- Design Your Own Engagement Ring (Custom-Made)
The unique selling of private jewelers is that you have complete freedom in designing your engagement ring to your heart’s desire. For example, if you found an engagement ring you like from a foreign brand and you want to custom make it in a similar shape but with a reasonable price – private jewelers might be a better option because not only will you save a lot, you can also order to make a ring which fits your finger perfectly. You can also laser engrave your name onto your engagement ring.
From what I have noticed, over 70% of the customers who use my services will have a style they adore in mind, and they would like to custom order an engagement ring in that style. They usually save the ring pictures on their phones and message me privately.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of a Private Jeweler
Custom order your engagement ring to your heart’s desire.
Quality appropriate to budget with lower costs.
The owner has the expertise and can give out advice.
Highly trustworthy because of their time spent in the business and physical store.
Fewer branches, not focused on quantity.
Less completed product selection in store.
It takes 1-3 weeks to make an engagement ring.
Conclusion: Trustworthiness Is of Utmost Importance.
For many, buying a diamond ring may be a “once in a lifetime” investment to show their love and sincerity to their significant other. Or it could be to celebrate a successful milestone in their career.
That is why if you are considering buying an engagement ring, other than quality and price – what you should receive in addition to the engagement ring is sincere advice and lifetime service. Because, “a Diamond is Forever.”
Where Should I Buy an Engagement Ring?
If you are trying to find a private jeweler which can be trusted, so that you can order an engagement ring for a special occasion where you can also set your budget, design your own engagement ring and name engraving services – you can discuss and meet me in private at Above Diamond.
I promise I will personally give you a full and excellent service as the original “Private Jeweler” of Thailand.
Read more: Our 2020 buying guide to 1 carat diamonds
Visit Above Diamond
Why not arrange a trip to meet our designers? We’re ready to share our extensive knowledge and offer you a special experience trying on a wide range of pieces.