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Buying a diamond engagement ring can be a risky business! For most of us an engagement ring is the third most expensive purchase we are likely to make, after our home and car. However I can guarantee you know much more about buying a house, or a car than you do about buying a diamond ring! This lack of knowledge opens up the opportunity for dishonest people to take advantage of you.
This generally takes the form of selling you a poor quality diamond ring for a higly inflated price.
How can you avoid the pitfalls?
There are some basic precautions you can take, which will significantly reduce the risk. Some of these include:
Get Educated - Research the subject of buying diamonds, in exactly the same way you would if you were buying a car. There is no substituted for this, and if you are willing to make the effort you can have more knowledge of the subject in 2 hours, than 95% of your fellow consumers.
Buy from a reputable source - Whether you decide to make your purchase online or at a Jewelry store, make sure you have some background on the store. Visit the store and ask the salesman questions to gauge his level of knowledge. I would suggest you avoid the Jewelry districts, simply because the competition is so fierce that it breeds questionable practices and half truths amongst the occupants.
Never buy a diamond without a certificate - Without a certificate you could quite easily buy a piece of glass set into an engagement ring setting and be non the wiser, but up to $5000 poorer. However a certificate alone does not guarantee a better deal, you need to be proficient in understanding exactly what it is telling you, and how each factor that is covered affects the price and quality of the ring.
Understand the 4 C's of diamonds - Most people know something about the 4 C's of diamond buying including, Cut, Clarity, Carat and Color. However very few people know how to each of the 4 factors interact to determine the price and quality of a diamond.
If you follow this advice you significantly reduce your chance of being fleeced by a dishonest salesman. Treat your purchase as a significant financial purchase. Set your budget up-front and do not go too much above or below the price you've set yourself. Try not to get to emotionally involved in the purchase and the outcome should be favorable.