The ugly truth about engagement rings
Engagement rings are usually known to be the ultimate symbol of love. And we think that it’s a really cute gesture; be it a grand proposal with fireworks in the background, or a simple intimate one at home. We here at Knotz are all for engagement rings. I mean, how else would you tell the whole world that you’re engaged right?
But here’s the thing, you’re getting ripped off big time. Love isn’t supposed to burn a hole in your savings account. Love is supposed to be free and unconditional. So why shouldn’t an engagement ring be like that too?
In this article, we break down some of the nastiest dirty little secrets about the jewelry industry. We’ll probably get a ton of hate, but we’re doing this for you!
Diamonds are hyped up by marketing
In 1947, De Beers started a marketing campaign with the slogan “a diamond is forever” and the popularity of diamonds skyrocketed. Because of its popularity, GIA came up with a series of standards called the 4 Cs which make it easy to compare and judge the prices of diamonds. Finding out the market price of a diamond is as easy as googling them. Want a 1 carat diamond with D-F colour, VVS1-VVS2, triple excellent cut? It’ll set you back at least SGD10,000 (maybe more, depending where you go).
Want to know a little secret? Most retailers here don’t make a very high margin on diamonds, due to price transparency of market rates. However, the cost of your ring setting will be more expensive to make up for the lack of margins with their diamonds. Not that it’s wrong, they need to cover a lot of their overhead costs as well.
Want to know another secret? You might think that diamonds are rare, but there are in fact many mines around the world that produce gem-quality diamonds. On the other hand, some precious coloured gemstones such as alexandrite, paraiba tourmalines, and padparadscha sapphires are mined in limited quantities in only a handful of places. The biggest difference between them and diamonds? They just haven’t had a big-budget, decades-long marketing campaign to drive up their prices!
Diamonds will break, crack, and fall apart
We’ve all heard that diamonds are H.A.M (Hard as a m*****f******). But did you know that diamonds will also crack and shatter if you hit it too hard? Yes, at certain angles and if your diamond has terrible inclusions, it will break. Regardless of the stone you have on your finger, you need to be careful and treat your gems with care. Don’t wave your arms around like a mad lady just because you think your diamond won’t break. Because it will.
Customised rings are not actually “customised”
Do you think Subway sandwiches are customised and premium? Or do you think it’s a normal sandwich making place where you get to choose a combination of bread, toppings and sauce?
Likewise for some retailers that claim to have customised services, it’s pretty much a “choose your diamond” and “choose your setting” type of formula. But here’s the thing, by doing that, you pay about 50%-100% more than something that’s on the shelf. Even worse, the settings are usually mass manufactured and the stone you choose may not fit the setting property.
So if you’re looking for a REAL customised ring, go bespoke. This way, you can ensure that the quality is worth your money. If a bespoke ring were a sandwich, it would be a handmade sourdough that’s baked just for you, with toppings that are meticulously sourced from the best purveyors in the world.
Asking for your budget is a trap (most of the time)
To be fair, our Knotz partnered jewelry team also asks for budget most of the time. But we only ask because we need to know what is doable and what is impossible. If you have a $3,000 budget and you’re asking for a double diamond halo with a pave, with a 2ct sapphire, we’ll tell you that it’s impossible. We will then advise you on what will work within your budget. Perhaps 2 side diamonds instead of a halo? Or maybe scale down on the size of your sapphire to a 1.5ct?
However, we have heard a lot of horror stories from our clients where they were quoted prices EXACTLY to their budget. Once, a client was looking for a pale blue sapphire with a total budget of $7,000. He spent 6 months going to private collectors, dealers, and retailers only to be quoted $6,000-$7,000 for sapphires. When he came to us, we found the perfect shade of light blue sapphire for only $2,800.
The same coloured stone can cost $200 to $50,000
Unlike diamonds, coloured stones do not have standardised pricing. Perhaps it’s because they’re not as popular as diamonds. But because of that, the prices of coloured stones are really murky and heavily depends on demand and supply.
For example, the prices of tanzanites have skyrocketed over the past couple of years because Tiffany and Co. gave them some spotlight in their collection. And because of that, demand for tanzanites went up. Sadly, Tanzania (the place where tanzanites are mined) is running out of tanzanites and the government of Tanzania has imposed several export regulations to limit the exporting of tanzanites. Obviously, because of that, prices of tanzanites now are pretty expensive. Not to mention that they are pretty rare now! In the past, tanzanites would only cost USD 100-200 per carat. Now, it can go as high as USD 700 for just one carat!
Other popular stones such as spinels and tourmalines have also garnered quite a following over the years. Spinels can sometimes be as cheap as USD 300 per carat but certain colours can cost up to USD 50,000!!! Same for tourmalines. Pink, green, and blue tourmalines are usually quite cheap. But ho ho ho, wait till you hear the price of a paraiba tourmaline! That little bugger will set you back at least USD 10,000 per carat!
Platinum is not any better than gold
Yes, platinum is harder than 18k gold, but it will still scratch over time. And it takes a very skillful master to weld a platinum ring together. Why? Because platinum has a very high melting point and it requires very high temperature to put the pieces together.
Another word of advice? Only use platinum with diamonds. Never with coloured stones. This is because diamonds are the only stones that can withstand such high temperatures! We’ve even heard that sometimes the diamonds turn black because it’s way too hot. We recommend sticking to the usual 18k gold for engagement rings.
Insider tips! 18k gold is the standard for making rings. Any higher (for example 22k and 24k gold) will be too soft and will cause your ring to deform very easily. As for 10k and 14k, it just means that you have less gold and more metal alloys in your ring.
We can go on and on and on and on about gems and jewelry. But this means that the article will be at least 10 pages long.
So if you’re interested to learn more (and perhaps make a ring for your SO), feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a non-obligatory chit chat. We’re all about education and will be more than happy to share with you more on our insights of this industry and what you should look out for.
Gem Crafters was founded to help make fine gemstones and jewellery more accessible. They only work with suppliers who provide gemstones of the highest quality, ethically sourced from legal mines, and exported through the proper channels. These are then passed to experienced craftsmen who hand-finish every piece of jewellery.
From 1 Aug – 31 Dec 2019, Knotz is collaborating with Gem Crafters for an exclusive promotion. The first 50 customers who use the promo code KNOTZRING18 will save $500 on their bespoke order! (minimum spend of $4,000 applies). Email us to take advantage of this offer now.