When shopping for an engagement ring, you will quickly find that there are many varieties of jewelers to choose from–and some may be better than others. With this in mind, it is important to find a jeweler that meets your needs in terms of quality, price, variety and service. Here are a few types of jewelers to get you started:

Chain & Department Store Jewelers

Chain or department store jewelers are often found in most shopping malls around the United States. A few examples include Zales, JC Penney, Jared, Kay Jewelers and The Shane Co. These types of stores are known for their dependable customer service and often carry identical stock in their other locations throughout the country. This can be an advantage to couples who may be moving around during their marriage but wish to remain with the same store. With greater buying power, these retailers are able to purchase jewelry in larger quantities and spread them out to their national stores, enabling them to keep prices low and have sales on a regular basis.

Online Jewelers

Jewelers who keep their businesses online have the capacity to sell to a broad range of customers, who can shop efficiently and comfortably in their own home. With little overhead and virtually all the same rings as bricks and mortar stores, the savings are often substantial. If couples plan on buying an engagement ring online, they should try on rings at local jewelry stores to get a feel for the preferred carat size and style–and then find the exact same one online. Some excellent online jewelry stores include James AllenBlue Nile, QVC and Amazon.

Independent Boutiques

Although more difficult to come by, independent boutiques and artisans provide a broad range of distinctive specialty engagement rings, along with time-honored classics. Despite often being more costly, the customized designs and individualized care may be an excellent trade-off. For couples who desire a high level of ongoing, individualized customer service, these types of merchants are a wonderful option.

Luxury Jewelers

Luxury jewelers offer exquisite and generally very pricey engagement rings. Much of their inventory consists of expensive pieces of jewelry set with higher than average carat weights or rare or colorful diamonds. Because of the exclusive nature of these designer jewelers, they generally have their stores in the most fashionable cities such as Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. An engagement ring from one of the luxury jewelers such as Cartier, Harry Winston, Tacori or Tiffany & Co. is often the envy of many women.

How to Find the Best Jewelers

Before going with a specific jeweler and making a purchase, a couple needs to look at the variety of engagement rings to see if they have the desired price range, style and shape of diamonds. It’s also important research the retailer and customer reviews, as well as getting the return policy, warranty and guarantee in writing to cover any problems should they arise. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

Store Design: Are you able to thoroughly examine each ring in appropriate lighting? Is the store or website well laid out and customer-friendly? Are the pictures and descriptions on the website clear?

Ring Choices: What kinds of metal are available? Do they offer diamond alternatives or gemstones?

Customization: If needed, can the ring be engraved or re-sized? What other special design options are there?

Certification: Are the diamonds certified? Can the jeweler tell you where they come from to ensure they are not blood or conflict diamonds?

Because buying an engagement ring is one of the biggest purchases in a couple’s life, it is essential to find the right jeweler and the right ring. With a little research, a couple can feel good about their purchase and move forward onto marriage with a brilliant beginning.

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