Once you’ve decided that a lab created diamond is right for you, you may begin to wonder where you should start searching for the right diamond and setting. Who offers the best selection, warranty, and prices? Is it better to buy you lab-grown diamond online or from a local jeweler? In this article, I’ll answer those questions and many others. I’ll help you find the best place to buy a ring that you can save big money on—AND be proud of! After countless hours researching suppliers and investigating all that they offer, I’ve found my favorite supplier. I’ll share their info below too. Hopefully, that gives you a big jumpstart and saves you time.
Buying Lab Grown Locally is a Bad Idea—Here’s Why
Hard to believe, but 30 years ago, when you wanted to buy a plane ticket, you visited or called a travel agent. Today, travel agents, exist. If you want to book a flight, you but directly from Delta, United, Southwest or others through their website, or you use a tool like Kayak, Priceline, or Hotwire to book the flight, along with the hotel and car that you might also need when you get there.
Similarly, the way that we buy diamonds is also evolving in a big way! Where we used to visit the jeweler on Main Street or in the mall to purchase a diamond ring, today we can conveniently buy from retailers that are spread across the country (and potentially around the world). The internet has revolutionized the way that diamonds and other gems are typically sold and purchased. Buying online is better for buyers for all of the following reasons:
You have access to a MUCH larger selection of styles and materials.
Prices are lower, because online retailers don’t need to have an expensive storefront in the mall for example. They also save on the cost of retail salespeople. These savings can be passed through to you.
Satisfaction policies are more consumer friendly.
There’s greater opportunity for customization of your ring.
Many traditional jewelers haven’t embraced lab-grown diamonds yet. They often talk about them as if they’re an illegitimate, fraudulent, or at least undesirable product. They’re seen as a threat to what they’ve been selling their store for years, decades, or generations. Because of this, you’re far less likely to find lab-grown diamonds in a local jewelry store. Even if you do, you’re likely to find MUCH higher prices and a very limited selection.
Because misinformation is so rampant when it comes to lab grown diamonds, I’d like to take a moment to proactively address some of the claims that you may hear as you discuss lab grown diamonds with people that are unfamiliar or have a financial interest in seeing you stick with the earth mined version.
Laboratory diamonds are visibly indistinguishable from earth-grown diamonds (even for professionals)! Not only do they look the same, but they have the same key characteristics too. They’re just as hard, and therefore, just as scratch resistant. This means that man-made diamonds can be considered ‘forever’ stones…the same way that earth made diamonds are.
Lab grown diamonds are made of carbon, just like diamonds mined from the earth. They’re both are even equally capable of cutting glass. While there are many many areas where earth grown and lab grown diamonds are identical, there are a couple of areas where they’re admittedly quite different—like price. Lab made diamonds are typically 40% to 50% cheaper than traditional diamonds that are mined from the earth. Lab diamonds are also sure to be ‘conflict free,’ meaning that they aren’t ‘Blood Diamonds.’ The creation of Lab cultivated diamonds requires an extremely educated and skilled workforce. It can’t be done with child labor or slave labor the way that diamond mining is sometimes done in some parts of the world.
The quality of lab-created diamonds that exists today is REMARKABLE and fairly recent. It’s the culmination of many decades of dedicated effort and recent technological advances. Knowledge of the fact that man made diamonds are ACTUAL DIAMOND, and that they’re identical to mined diamonds, in terms of look and key characteristics, is starting to spread quickly—especially among Millenials (those born from 1981 to 1996).
An annual study has been conducted for a number of years to measure movement in the sentiment toward man made diamonds. In 2018, they saw a surprising shift in the percentage of respondents that indicated that they would be open to purchasing a lab-created diamond engagement ring. Only 30% of those surveyed were loyal to earth grown diamonds. The rest (the vast majority) indicated that they would be open to buying a lab-diamond—they essentially didn’t care where their diamond came from if it looked identical, was of equal quality, and was significantly cheaper. The rapid shift of sentiment toward lab diamonds the study observed, seems to be gaining momentum quickly, as people become aware of all that these diamonds can offer.
10 Compelling Reasons to Buy a Lab Diamond Online
Purchasing online is a much better option for buying lab cultured diamonds. There are several important reasons why. We’ll address many of those below.
To visit my overall pick for best lab diamond resource for total value (price, quality, and benefits), click here. I’ll explain many of the reasons why this particular company came out of top below. Some of these benefits will be common across many online retailers, while others are fairly unique to this particular supplier.
They Offer Greater Variety:
If man-made diamonds are only a small section of one display case, how likely are you to find the diamond or ring that fits your sense of style and budget perfectly? The same is true, to some extent, for online retailers that dabble in many different areas. They have a shallow selection of many different types of jewelry. Their inventory is ‘wide but not deep’.
When you find the right company to purchase from, you’ll have a large selection of lab-grown diamonds to select from. That means that whether you want something large or small, colorless, near colorless, or vibrant, round, cushion cut, or marque, you’ll be able to find it. In addition to a large selection and incredible designs, the supplier that I like best, also offers custom designs at no additional charge! That type of complementary service is hard to find—especially when shopping for lab diamonds.
They’re Less Expensive:
Think about it, online retailers often deal in MUCH larger volumes, which can lead to volume-based discounts. They also typically have much smaller relative costs for their physical location and employee overhead. All of these savings from volume-based efficiencies and other logistical streamlining can ultimately be passed on to the customer.
They Come with a Solid Return Policy:
When purchasing from local jewelers, you’re often stuck if you change your mind after buying. The same is true of some online retailers. The supplier that I like best, will allow you to return your ring if you don’t like the way the ring looks in person when you receive it—or even if you just change your mind several weeks later, and decide to go with a different style! In fact, you can return the ring for a full refund within 30 days. Try that with a local jeweler. Once to pay for the ring, it’s typically all YOURS, and you have no option to return it.
They’re ALL Lab Certified:
Certifications from well known, and respected, labs like IGI (International Gemological Institute), GSI (Gemological Science International), and GCAL (Gem Certification and Assurance Lab) are included for all lab-grown diamonds that this supplier offers. That provides confirmation, and peace of mind, regarding important aspects of value like color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. A GIA certificate can also be arranged, if desired, but GIA reports are far less detailed when it comes to the specific color qualities and clarity information for lab-created diamonds, which is why IGI, GSI, and GCAL are typically used instead. They’re labs with grading standards that are among the strictest in the industry. According to Rappaport (an industry authority), IGI’s grading standard, for example, is on par with GIA’s.
They Offer ‘Loaner’ Rings For Your Proposal:
I surprised my wife with her engagement/wedding ring—I picked it out without her. That’s a dangerous game to play. You probably don’t have the exact same tastes as your ‘significant other.’ Your ‘it’s pretty’ could be her ‘are you kidding?’ You don’t want her to be stuck with a ring that she doesn’t really love.
We only want GOOD surprises, right? In an effort to help you nail the surprise, while still allowing your partner to pick the setting style that THEY love, my favorite lab diamond supplier offers some special temporary proposal rings that you can use to pop the big question before you fully commit to a setting style. The diamond that you purchase will be set in the proposal ring. Once your spouse-to-be says ‘yes,’ you can send the proposal ring back in and choose the setting that you want for your actual engagement (or wedding) ring. They’ll then move the diamond over and set it for you in the new ring.
When the diamond that you purchase is $1,500 or more, the proposal ring is absolutely FREE! If your diamond is less than $1,500, you’ll need to pay $170 for the proposal ring initially—but then you’ll get a $100 credit to apply toward your ring when you return it and select the setting that you want your diamond moved over to.
They Inscribe For Added Security:
All diamonds purchased through this supplier are laser inscribed along the girdle of the diamond with your certificate number. The inscription is so small, that it’s only visible under strong magnification (it isn’t visible to the naked eye). The inscription is convenient, but it’s also an important security measure.
Imagine having a diamond that gets lost or stolen. If it isn’t laser inscribed, how would you be able to positively identify it? It would be incredibly difficult. Years ago, my wife’s diamond ring was stolen by a window contractor that was working in our home. A friend of mine once found a big diamond on the floor in an international airport. Again, in situations like these, an inscription provides a way to prove that a particular diamond is yours, or to claim a diamond that’s found.
They Offer a Lifetime Warranty:
How many times have you been offered a warranty at checkout when you buy something expensive? Many jewelers sell warranties and service plans too. There are huge margins in them! Warranties show that a particular manufacturer, or jeweler, stands behind their work. You may feel lucky to find a retailer that offers a 1-3 year warranty, but the supplier that I like best offers a LIFETIME warranty. That provides real peace of mind!
They Offer Lifetime Upgrades:
Honestly, this is one of the main things that I LOVE about my go-to lab diamond supplier! When you buy your ring (or diamond) through them, you have the right to upgrade your stone whenever you’d like (and as often as you’d like) for LIFE! All you need to do, is move up to a diamond that’s at least 50% more expensive than the one you purchased from them. They’ll give you credit for your original diamond’s full retail value—you just pay the difference!
Here’s what I really love about this program, when I was a broke college student shopping for a ring, a program like this would have made so much sense! I could have purchased a conservative, but beautiful, lab-grown diamond ring for my girlfriend at the time (something I could afford without taking on a great deal of debt) and then upgraded during our future years as a married couple when we would have more money available. I could have even made the upgrading process part of our anniversary tradition (where we upgrade the stone every 5 or 10 years for example! Now that we’ve been married for 20 years, my wife would be happily wearing a pretty sizable ring if we had a tradition like this.
They Offer Additional Savings:
Accepting credit card payments comes at a real cost for retailers. When you buy through the company that I recommend in this article and choose to pay by bank wire, check, or cash instead of credit card, you’ll save an extra 2% on your order! They save credit card processing fees, and simply pass those savings along to you in the form of an additional discount. Two percent may not seem like much, but every little bit counts when you have a wedding to pull off!
Right now, you can save an additional 10% when you use the code TAKE10 at checkout, which could bring your total savings as high as 12%!
The Can Help with Special Financing:
Because wedding-related expenses pile up a little too fast sometimes, financing is also offered for those that need it. The financing is offered in conjunction with Synchrony Bank. After applying, and getting approved, they’ll let you know the amount of financing that you qualify for. Typically 6, 12, and 18-month terms are available. Even longer terms are occasionally also extended when needed.
Value isn’t just about price or quality individually, it has to do with the merger of BOTH. To find a great value, you need a have excellent quality…that costs less than a comparable quality and feature set typically costs in other places. You find that with lab created diamonds. They are an excellent value when compared to earth grown diamonds. You also find that as you explore the supplier of lab-grown diamonds that I’ve referenced in this article. They’re an organization that I trust, and that has earned the trust of thousands of their past customers as well. The value that they recognize as throughout the purchase process, leads them to refer family and friends to the organization, and to sing their praises online. If you’d like to scroll through some of those reviews to learn about the experiences of their past buyers, click here.
Should you just buy one ring for your wedding, or do you need two—one to use as an engagement ring, and another to give as a wedding band?
Can an engagement ring be used as a wedding ring? presenting an engagement ring at the time of proposal and a wedding band during the marriage ceremony is fairly traditional. Once married, both rings are usually worn together on the ring finger of the left hand. Still, you could certainly vary these cultural traditions and take a more unique approach.
How can you know whether you should get one ring or two, to cover your engagement and marriage? We’ll try to help you determine which path to take throughout the remainder of this article. Keep reading!
The Difference Between an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Band
An engagement ring is used to symbolize a commitment to another person—specifically, the commitment to legally marry them. It continually reminds the person wearing it of their commitment, and also visually notifies other potential suitors that the engaged person is ‘off the market.’ The engagement ring is generally presented, and given, during the proposal, when one person asks the other to marry them. Engagement rings are traditionally worn by women, but not men, which is strange, I know.
These rings (which are sometimes now referred to as e-rings for short) are typically much larger, more ornate, and expensive than the wedding band that is added during the marriage ceremony. The e-ring will often have a large center stone, and may have other smaller stones acting as additional decoration around the center stone or around the outside perimeter of the ring.
A wedding band is typically smaller, more simple, and somewhat less expensive than the engagement ring. This is often a band that’s lined to some degree with diamonds or other gems. Those stones sometimes go all the way around the outside of the ring, but other times, only cover the top portion. The gems that line the ring are generally very small which is one reason why these rings typically cost less than the engagement ring. The wedding band is generally kept fairly simple and narrow, so it can butt up closely against the engagement ring and looking like the two rings coordinate if possible.
The wedding band isn’t given in advance of the wedding ceremony, like the engagement ring, but is instead given at the conclusion of the successful union as a symbol the marital vows.
The Engagement ring and separate Wedding Band help to distinguish phases of the relationship and celebrate significant milestones. The real reason for the tradition, however, comes down to marketers trying to sell more diamonds and precious metals for their clients. They have promoted and encouraged the notion that there’s a specific way that ring gifting should be done for engagement and marriage, that conveniently allows them to sell two rings instead of just one. Of course, they would encourage you to come back and buy additional rings for anniversaries too.
Is a Wedding Band Necessary?
The common tradition of giving an engagement ring and a coordinating wedding band isn’t bad, as long as you know that it isn’t really necessary—it’s optional.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, I knew NOTHING when I started shopping for rings for my girlfriend (now wife of 20 years) in 1998. I certainly didn’t know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. I knew you bought a diamond, and that was about it.
I was a student at the time, and I ended up borrowing money to buy the ring. That diamond engagement ring also acted as her wedding ring. It was a pretty ring, but not extravagant.
Over the past 20 years, no one has ever asked my Wife if she’s only engaged…or married. I guess they see a rock on the ring finger of her left hand and figure she’s married. This just hasn’t been an issue at all—not even once. There’s nothing wrong with buying a wedding set, some of them are really beautiful, but if it’s a financial burden, or you don’t like the look, you don’t have to go that route.
I would suggest that you have an open conversation with your partner to learn their preference. Some people love wearing multiple rings, others are more minimalistic, and would prefer just one.
The Cost of Adding a Wedding Band
If you’re buying a diamond Wedding Band, they’ll commonly range from approximately $1,000 to $3,000. Of course, that’s just an average—it is possible to find higher, and lower, cost bands.
If money is tight, like it was for me when I was getting married, an extra $1,000+ might be difficult to swing. If you like the idea of the Wedding Band, but need a more ‘frugal’ option, you could get Cubic Zirconia or some other diamond simulant for the second ring. Because the stones on a Wedding Band are typically very small, it would be hard to tell it doesn’t also contain diamonds. You would end up with the look you like and the price you need.
If you REALLY need to tighten your belt financially, you could explore bridal sets that give you both an engagement ring and a wedding band, which both have diamond simulants in them. Again, a diamond simulant is a stone that looks a lot like a diamond, but isn’t. These rings can be really beautiful, and can bring your total cost down to $100 – $1,000, depending on your choice of metal and stone types used. Sterling Silver will be on the less expensive side, with 14k or 18k gold (white, yellow, or rose) on the more expensive side.
Click the following link if you would like to visit the retailer that I would typically go to for very inexpensive bridal sets. These are typically Sterling Silver ring sets that run $200 or less.
If you want to spend a little more, to get gold instead of silver, try the mid-range bridal sets available through this online retailer. Use your mouse to hover over the ‘Bridal’ tab, and then select ‘Bridal Sets’ below. 10k to 14k gold will run about $800 for many of the available options.
How to Wear an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Band at the Same Time?
The most traditional way to wear a Wedding Band and an engagement ring together (at the same time), is to put them both on the Ring Finger of your left hand. Why your left? Because the long ago, the Romans believed that there was a unique vein (the vena amori) in the ring finger of your left hand that ran directly to your heart. The heart has long been associated with love and commitment. Wearing the ring that symbolizes your deep love and lasting commitment on the finger with this ‘love vein’ was symbolic. Even though modern anatomy doesn’t support the theory of a special vein that runs from that particular finger to your heart, it’s a symbolic sentiment and tradition that continues today throughout much of the world.
When both rings are worn together in this way, placement is traditionally important. You would put your wedding band on first (nearest to your heart), and your engagement ring on the same finger, so the two are side-by-side.
Some brides don’t like the look or feel of having two rings on the same hand, so they often do one of the following variations.
Wear one ring (typically the wedding band) on the ring finger of the left hand, and the other ring (the engagement ring for example) on the corresponding finger of the right hand.
Wear one ring on the wedding finger of your left hand, and the other ring on another finger of your left hand, or any other finger of your right. You certainly can wear both rings on different fingers of the same hand if you’d like.
Wear one of your two rings on a chain that you wear around your neck as a necklace.
While the three additional options outlined above aren’t very traditional, you can vary the norm if you want, or need, to accommodate your style preference or comfort.
Using a Wedding Band Instead of an Engagement Ring
Brides who don’t like the look, or feel, of wearing two rings at the same time, can keep things really simple by leaving their engagement ring in a jewelry box at home, and only wearing their wedding band. Because the wedding band is often more narrow and simple, it can often be the most comfortable option.
Moms sometimes choose to do this because a big solitaire can sometimes get in the way or scratch the baby if you aren’t careful. My wife started just wearing a wedding band when our children were young for that very reason.
How to Make Just One Ring Feel Special
Purchasing a separate e-ring and a wedding band isn’t the only way to mark or celebrate your transition from being engaged to getting married. Another potential idea, is to buy a nice engagement ring that’s topped with a quality Cubic Zirconia. Once you’re married, you could swap out the CZ or a diamond, a Moissanite, or a colored gemstone of their choice. Another simple and inexpensive option, that could be meaningful, is to ‘borrow’ the engagement ring in the days leading up to your ceremony to have the inner band engraved with a special message. When you give the ring back during the wedding ceremony, it isn’t the same old ring. It’s the same ring, we an added sentimental value (the special new message).
By doing it this way, you keep your upfront costs low, but still give your soon-to-be spouse something different and special to mark the occasion (a special new message, a new gem, or some other stone).
Where Do I Put My Engagement Ring During the Ceremony?
You typically move your engagement ring, temporarily, to your right hand, so that the ring finger of your left hand is vacant and ready to receive your wedding band during the ceremony. You can move your engagement ring back over to his normal position, behind the wedding band, after the ceremony.
Can Any Ring be Used as an Engagement Ring?
Absolutely! Whether it looks like a traditional engagement ring or not, you could use it. I’ve heard of people during hard times (like The Great Depression) using a piece of yarn tied around their finger. It isn’t very traditional, but it can carry the same symbolism that more traditional rings do.
Do Engagement Rings Have to Have Diamonds?
No, it’s really a matter of personal preference. An engagement ring doesn’t have to contain a gem of any kind. It could contain a simulant stone, or no stone at all if you’d prefer. Similarly, there are no real rules for the metals either. It could use a precious, semi-precious, industrial, or plated metal.
It’s the 7th most visited site in the US! You can buy almost any household item, fashion accessory, jewelry item, or home appliance there. But is Craigslist.org a safe and effective place to shop for diamonds?
Can I save money by buying a diamond off of Craigslist? You can save significant money by purchasing a used diamond engagement ring, or wedding ring, through sites like Craigslist. New diamonds typically lose at least 30% of their value when they’re purchased. When you buy used, you don’t incur the initial drop in value, but get to take advantage of it instead.
Yes, sites like Craigslist can be great places to buy rings at big savings, but they can also be dangerous places to do business if you aren’t careful. Throughout the rest of this article, I’ll show you how to stay safe as you shop for a gently used version of your dream ring.
Why People Sell Used Diamonds at Deep Discounts
Why would anyone sell a perfectly good diamond ring for WAY less than they originally paid a jeweler for it? It happens. Here are some of the most common reasons.
She/he said ‘No’
Pre-wedding break up
There’s pain at the center of many of those reasons that people have for dumping their diamonds. They need to get rid of the ring quickly, to either separate from the emotional pain that the ring triggers in them, or to recoup money that they desperately need.
It’s sad that people sometimes have to deal with these types of issues. We aren’t there to make their problems worse. As buyers, we can actually help them by purchasing their ring, allowing them to move on with their lives, and probably get more money out of their ring than they could in any other way. When they get a little more from you than they could elsewhere, and you save thousands of dollars on your ring, it’s a win-win situation.
How Much Are Used Diamonds Worth?
The moment that you purchase a new diamond ring, it’s value plummets. Why? It’s really the same reason that new cars have a big drop in value the moment you drive them off the lot. No one wants to pay new diamond prices for a used diamond (even a slightly used diamond). If a buyer isn’t saving a significant amount on the purchase of a used ring, they’d rather buy directly from the jeweler, where they feel more certainty about the quality of the item they’re purchasing.
To resell a used diamond, you’ll probably need to discount the gem (or ring) by a minimum of 30%, but it often takes a 50% to 70% discount to get it sold. To put that in perspective, a $5,000 diamond ring, would likely resell for between $1,500 to $2,500 as a used ring (even if you just bought it yesterday).
Sellers have several common options for moving their ring, but none of them are typically as favorable as selling private party through a site like Craigslist.
Sell the ring back to the Jeweler
Sell to a pawn shop
Sell through an auction (online or offline)
Sell to a local, private party, buyer
Selling back to the jeweler seems like an easy answer. Seems like they’d be willing to pay maybe $4,500 to buy the ring back, right? Wrong. The $5,000 price tag, in our example, is their retail price. They can buy diamonds at wholesale. Wholesale pricing is probably considerably lower than $4,500. Why would they pay more for your ring than they could buy if for through their suppliers? They wouldn’t. Another important consideration, is the fact that they get special payment terms from their suppliers. For example, if their supplier gives them 90 days ‘same as cash’ terms, they can try to sell their new inventory before having to pay for it. If they buy your ring, they have to come out of pocket with cash, to pay for the ring in advance. That’s a way less attractive proposition for them. The only way to entice them to pay cash up front for your ring is to give them a super deep discount. In reality, you’d probably need to sell to them for less than you could get by selling to a local private party buyer that’s preparing for their own upcoming wedding.
Pawn shops are typically terrible places to sell. You can get cash quickly, but it comes at a high cost. Pawn shops make money by reselling to their customers at discount prices. Because they need to resell at a discount, they need to buy at a deep discount to create sufficient margin. Pawn shops often seem to prey on the desperate. It’s a place to sell quickly for a low-ball amount when you can’t hold out for something more.
Auctions can be done locally or online. In both cases, buyers are looking for a deal. They certainly don’t want to buy at auction price that’s even remotely close to retail. In addition to the sizable discount that they’re looking for, there are selling fees that need to be factored in. Because of both of those factors, auctions typically aren’t a good way to maximize the amount of cash that you’re able to get by selling a used diamond ring. What auctions do offer, like pawn shops, is a fast sale.
Private party sales can be made through local classified ad sites like Craigslist, through word of mouth, or through little ads posted to physical bulletin boards in your town or city. Private party sales typically involve selling your ring to a buyer that’s preparing for their own upcoming wedding. Purchasing a used ring allows them to save a considerable amount, and it allows the seller to get money for their ring than any of the options mentioned above would be able to offer. In that sense, it’s an ideal outcome for all involved.
The Cost of Being Too Trusting
While there are opportunities to save significant money on a diamond engagement ring, anniversary ring, or wedding ring through sites like Craigslist, there are also real dangers. Scam artists from around the globe have found these platforms to be happy hunting grounds from ripping people off.
Remember, that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is (emphasis on ‘probably’). It’s alright to find a real bargain—even something that’s unbelievably inexpensive, as long as you recognize that you’re entering potentially dangerous waters and proceed with extreme caution. When sellers are eager to unload their item, you might be able to buy a quality ring at a ridiculously low price, but you can’t let greed or fear of missing out (FOMO) cause to you enthusiastically rush into the eager arms of a skilled scam artist.
Misrepresented Product: The biggest risk that most buyers face when purchasing diamonds from a private party source, is misrepresentation of the item. There are many diamond simulants that aren’t diamond at all, but look a lot like the gem (enough that they could easily fool many potential buyers). Some look-alikes are made of glass or Cubic Zirconia, for example, and could have an actual value of $30 or less, but they’re being sold as ‘diamonds’ for thousands of dollars.
To protect yourself, ask to see a diamond grading report. Go to the website of the company that issued the grading report to confirm that the report is real. You should be able to enter the report number to see a copy of the report information online. If the report is a fake (which isn’t very common for typical jewelry) the report number either wouldn’t be found, or the diamond description and information wouldn’t match the report you were given.
Switch Out:This is a less common scam to see with a Craigslist sale, but it’s still good to be aware of this because it could happen. After having a real diamond ring tested, or evaluated, they can switch the ring for one that looks nearly identical with an inexpensive simulant on it. You leave the transaction satisfied that you protected yourself and purchased a genuine item at a great price, but in reality, you may later discover that you ended up with something quite different than you bargained for.
To protect yourself, make sure that you control the ring after it’s tested or evaluated by a local professional (if you choose to have it double checked). Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can pay for the ring and be on your way. There’s no need to hand the ring back if you plan to purchase it.
Promises to Ship: One of the most common scams that scam artists try to pull on sites like Craigslist.com, involves telling you that the ring needs to be shipped for some reason. They’ll tell you that their sister has it in another part of the country, but they’ll overnight it to you, or that it’s currently being cleaned or graded. They suggest that you pay for the ring outright, or that you just pay some of the money until the ring arrives. They tell you that you can bring the rest by once the ring arrives and you’re fully satisfied. Whether you put down a couple of hundred dollars as a deposit, or you give them half upfront, you’re unlikely to ever see those people again. You likely won’t get anything in the mail. If you do, it won’t be what you were expecting.
To protect yourself from this scam, make a rule that you aren’t going to buy from any private party seller that says they need to ship the ring. If they bring that up, you should immediately turn around and walk away—no exceptions.
Robbery: Stories have hit the news networks of people getting robbed when they show up to buy an expensive ring. Bad guys can lure you in with a deal seems too good to be true. When they list a $20,000 diamond ring for $2,500, they know that you’re probably going to show up with $2,500 in cash. Shortly after you show up, they take your money, and you leave empty-handed (but hopefully not physically hurt).
There are actually several things that you could do to protect yourself from this type of crime.
Take multiple people with you to make the purchase. There’s safety (at least greater safety) in numbers.
Ask the seller to meet you in a very public place (preferably one with cameras). They may appreciate that protection too if they’re a legitimate seller.
Tell the seller that you won’t be bringing the money when you come to see the ring. If you like the ring, then you’ll go get the money. This gives you a chance to get a feel for the ring and the seller before carrying large amounts of cash.
As you can see, buying on Craigslist, and other similar sites could provide real savings, but the risks are also very real. It’s a ‘buyer beware’ type of environment, where you can’t be too trusting, regardless of how nice or honest a particular seller might seem.
Buying Through Auctions
Auctions come in two major varieties (online and offline). Both could potentially lead to some good buying opportunities, but the MAJOR disadvantage of buying there, is that you don’t have much opportunity to research a given ring that you’re going to be bidding on before committing to the ring. In many cases, you don’t get to try it on before buying it either.
You may like the way a ring looks in the pictures that you saw, but HATE the way it looks on your hand, for example. If you purchase through an online auction, in particular, you have a much higher likelihood of wasting your time and money.
Safer Sources of Used Diamond Rings
If you’re interested in buying a used engagement ring, or wedding ring, you may want to look into an online retailer that has a reputation to protect. They often verify the pre-owned rings that are available through their site. That’s the best way to ensure that you aren’t going to be WAY overpaying for some simulant that only LOOKS like diamond.
To check out one of my favorite sources for used rings, click HERE. In addition to earth grown diamonds, you can often find lab grown diamonds, Moissanite, Morganite, and other gemstones on the site too.
The supplier that I go to for used rings, also offers other used wedding jewelry, wedding dresses, veils, and other items that you could potentially save considerable money on.
Do You Negotiate Engagement Ring Price?
Attempting to negotiate price is a good idea if you can do it in a way that isn’t offensive. If you offer a lower price than the seller is willing to take, and they decline the offer, you’re no worse off than you would be if you never tried. Your efforts to negotiate will often save you money.
Is Diamond Jewelry a Good Investment?
Diamonds typically aren’t a good financial investment. They’re an investment in your relationship. They’re a deeply symbolic piece of personal property, that’s meaningful to your relationship. In reality, if you have to resell the diamond, especially in the near-term, you’re likely to take a loss on it.
Which Diamond Shape Has the Most Sparkle?
The Round Brilliant shape is ideal for maximizing the sparkle of your diamond because of the number of facets it has, along with their positions, angling, and symmetry. The Oval, Marquise, and pear-shaped stones have cuts that have lots of sparkle too, but generally not quite as much as the Round Brilliant.
It’s easy to feel a little lost when reading about, or discussing, lab-grown diamonds, because so many different terms are used to describe them. This article will help you get familiar with the most common terminology.
What is a Lab-Grown Diamond called? Lab-Grown Diamonds are commonly referred to by many different names, including:
Lab Made Diamonds
Above Ground Diamonds
Man Made Diamonds
Various combinations of all these names are also commonly used.
So many names are used for man-made diamonds, that things can get confusing fast. In the remainder of this post, we’ll discuss why so many are used, and why some have been heavy promoted, and lobbied for, by certain industry segments.
Why So Many Names Exist for Lab Grown Diamonds
When industries are young, it’s common for there to be many names floating around for certain type of process or technology. The lab created diamond industry is still quite young. While groups like General Electric have been working to manufacture quality diamonds for decades, it’s only in the very recent past, that the technology has evolved to the point that lab-cultured diamonds are now visually indistinguishable from mined diamonds. The similarities aren’t just based on appearance. Lab diamonds are now just as hard, and durable, as earth-grown diamonds.
Different name variations can become established and entrenched in geographic regions. For example, people in some parts of the US refer to a typical carbonated beverage as a ‘Soda,’ other regions would refer to the same drink as a ‘Pop,’ and still, others would call it a ‘Coke,’ regardless of the cola’s brand.
Communities of various types can also adopt common usage of the name that seems to suit them best. These can be professional communities (like geologists), or non-professionals (like wedding bloggers). The fact that each community can have different names that get entrenched and ingrained in their communication culture, helps perpetuate the use of a wide variety of names that are continually floating around, both online and offline, that all describe the same type of product.
Names Used for Traditional Diamonds
Traditionally, diamonds are just referred to as ‘diamonds’. Because lab grown diamonds are also ‘diamonds,’ there are now terms that are used when someone wants to make it clear that they’re specifically talking about traditional diamonds that were excavated from the earth. Here are a few examples.
Below Ground Diamonds
Earth Grown Diamonds
Of course, there are also combined variations of those names, like ‘Earth Mined Diamonds’ too. Mined diamonds that were produced with slave labor, that fund wars, or that use child labor are known best by the following terms:
Unfortunately, Conflict Diamonds continue to be smuggled out of banned nations, and in through non-banned nations to sidestep regulation. It’s a flawed process. Lab diamonds, on the other hand, are always conflict-free.
How Names Shape Sentiment
The mined diamond industry has a strong, and fairly universal, opinion about the name they would like lab diamonds to be known by. Of all the potential names listed above, they would prefer for people to use ‘Synthetic.’
When your average consumer hears the term ‘synthetic diamond’ they interpret the name as ‘FAKE’ diamond. Since lab-grown diamonds are so much cheaper than mined diamonds, the mined diamond industry needs to differentiate the two, and position lab-grown diamonds as cheap substitutes. The name ‘Synthetic’ helps with that aim.
Every heard the term Aquaponics? That’s a process that some people use to grow vegetables in water rather than soil. When I say ‘rather than soil,’ I mean it—no soil. It works. A tomato grown by this method, for example, is a REAL tomato, that’s that same as a field grown tomato in every regard (look, taste, nutrition, cell structure, etc). The tomato didn’t come through a traditional channel (growing in dirt), so should it be called a ‘synthetic tomato’? Of course not. It’s not a fake tomato—it’s a real tomato that was created in an unusual way. Could the label ‘synthetic diamond’ scare some buyers off that might misunderstand the label? Of course!
In a very similar way, man made diamonds aren’t really ‘synthetic.’ They’re real diamonds that came to use through a non-traditional channel—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the traditional channel is completely controlled, manipulated, and overpriced.
De Beers has made an absolute fortune manipulating the opinions of nations through the clever conditioning of marketers. Just as they carefully conditioned nations to abandon cultural norms, and adopt new traditions that revolved around diamond gifting as part of weddings and anniversaries, they have also tried to shape public opinion against lab created diamonds.
They fought and lobbied along with the rest of the industry for the term ‘synthetic’ to stick as the standard term, used across government and industry, for lab diamonds. Jewelers, news programs, diamond grading companies and many others across the industry seemed thrilled to adopt and use the terminology.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made headlines around the world in 2018, when they announced new guidelines regarding the use of the term ‘natural’ when used as a descriptor for diamonds, and ‘synthetic’ when used as a descriptor for lab-created diamonds.
The FTC is an agency of the United States government, that’s responsible for regulating the claims and tactics of advertisers. They essentially police the industry with the US.
After a great deal of debate, study, and consideration, they found that lab-grown diamonds aren’t clever lookalikes—they’re actual diamond, in every sense. Yes, they’re made differently, but they’re made of the same stuff, have the same look, and share the same key characteristics.
The term favored for lab-created diamonds by the mined diamond industry, ‘synthetic’ didn’t fit well. It implies that lab-grown diamonds might look the same, but it’s fake—just a cheap imitation. Again, the FTC found nothing ‘fake’ about lab-grown diamonds. Because of this, their 2018 release on the issue advised marketers away from using the term ‘synthetic’ to describe a competitor’s lab created diamonds.
On the other hand, they also made it absolutely clear, that man-made diamond manufacturers and retailers have to disclose the origins of their lab-made diamond through the term they use to describe it. They can’t refer to their lab created product simply as ‘Diamond.’ Instead, they need to call it something like ‘lab created diamond,’ ‘lab cultured diamond’.
If lab created diamonds are truly just like mined diamonds, then why the need to differentiate? Several reasons:
Earth-grown diamonds cost A LOT more, and people want to make sure they aren’t paying earth-grown prices for a lab-grown product…even if both items look identical and are equally durable and functional.
Some people specifically want and earth-grown diamond for a particular reason
The notion of the diamond forming deep in the earth over millions of years seems romantic or intriguing.
They’ve bought into the notion that earth-grown diamonds are more desirable and valuable.
Simple transparency. Consumers have the right to know the origins of the product they buy if that information is going to be valuable to them. They can then decide if the information is going to influence their decisions from there.
They also said that earth-grown diamond companies can’t refer to their product as ‘natural diamond.’ That could also confuse consumers and potentially lead them to look at various diamond options differently than they otherwise normally would.
How the Term ‘Synthetic’ is Still Being Used Since the New Guidelines
Marketers are generally careful to avoid using term ‘synthetic’ in diamond ads and other marketing efforts, but the guidelines don’t apply to countless other use cases. Radio hosts, newspaper columnists, and industry educators that aren’t directly marketing diamonds still can, and do, use the term ‘synthetic’ in (intentionally and unintentionally) misleading ways to describe lab created diamonds.
Because of this, many people still use the term publically. It’s probably also used thousands of times daily by jewelry professionals across the country (and around the world) during live conversations in their store. Those live conversations are obviously very difficult for consumer protection groups like the FTC to monitor.
How Much Do Lab Created Diamond Engagement Rings Cost?
The gem for a typical one-carat lab-created diamond engagement ring should cost roughly $2,400. In addition to the impact of the carat weight on the price. Pricing will also vary based on the color, cut, and clarity of the diamond. Those that are colorless, and those with vivid coloring, will cost the most.
What are the Advantages of Buying Loose Lab Created Diamonds?
It’s much easier to shop for your best price on truly comparable lab-created diamonds when you’re evaluating loose stones. If they aren’t loose, comparing stones becomes much more difficult, because the metal type, the weight, and the design of the ring itself can cause big price swings from ring-to-ring.
Can You Buy GIA Certified Lab Created Diamonds?
GIA does certify lab-grown diamonds, but they’ll only provide a range for color and clarity, rather than a specific grade. For this reason, few lab-created diamonds are sent to GIA for grading. Labs like IGI (among others) grade all varieties of diamonds with equal standards, so they’re typically preferred.
Engagement Rings and Promise Rings can look similar at times, but they can also look very different. Their intended meanings are certainly quite different.
What’s the difference between a Promise Ring and an Engagement Ring? Engagement Rings convey a specific commitment to get married. They insinuate that you’re actively planning a wedding. Promise Rings symbolize a special commitment, but have a much wider spectrum of potential meanings. They can really represent any specific meaning, or commitment, that you choose to convey.
There are countless ring options available. In the remainder of this post, we’ll explore some of those options, talk about how to properly wear the ring, cover important information on conveying the meaning behind the ring, and much more!
The Meaning Behind Promise Rings
Promise rings are symbolic. They’re physical items that are worn so we can frequently see them and be reminded of a special commitment. They can also be a public display of a commitment. To that extent, they’re similar to engagement rings. The key difference between the two types of rings though, is that engagement rings have only one general purpose—to communicate an intent to marry, while promise rings can have limitless applications and meanings.
Future brides, and some future grooms, where engagement rings for these specific reasons:
To visually communicate to others that the person is ‘off the market’
To remind the wearer of the commitment they’ve made to their future spouse.
To symbolize the love of the giver
Because it’s a cultural tradition
Most of the reasons for wearing an engagement ring revolve around a commitment to get married sometime in the not-to-distant future. Promise rings can symbolize a MUCH more diverse set of commitments.
Token of unconditional love between parent and child
This, of course, is a very partial list. The meaning behind a promise ring can be so diverse, that it would be impossible to capture all possibilities. We’ll discuss these various applications in a little more detail below.
Do Promise Rings Look Different Than Engagement Rings?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to engagement rings or promise rings, but there are some common practices for these ring choices that can act as a general guide. Engagement rings are generally more expensive and ornate than promise rings. They often feature diamonds as center stones, and those diamonds are considerably larger than the average diamond on a promise ring. Engagement rings don’t have to have diamonds on them. It’s very common for a wide variety of other gems, stones, or diamond simulants to be used.
Diamond Simulants are much less expensive ‘look-alike’ stones like Cubic Zirconia, White Topaz, White Sapphire, or Moissanite. Morganite is another popular option. Common metals for engagement rings, include yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. According to a recent state-by-state study of engagement ring costs, the average ‘e-ring’ now runs $6,351 nationally. In California, that average cost almost doubles, jumping all the way to $10,241!
In contrast to Engagement Rings, Promise rings are commonly kept much simpler and far less expensive. They can be made of the same expensive metals as e-rings, or they can be kept simple with inexpensive metals like Silver, Tungsten Cobalt, Titanium, or Stainless Steel. Sometimes a metal alloy that’s coated in another metal like Silver or Rhodium is also given. Coated rings can be a lot less durable, so they aren’t an ideal option.
For example, I gave my wife an inexpensive Rhodium coated ring to test for me last year. It featured a Cubic Zirconia that was set on top of a brass band which had been coated in Rhodium. When the ring was brand new, it was beautiful and had a surprisingly high-quality feel—given the cost. My wife was only able to wear the ring daily for about a month before it was completely shot. The Rhodium coating wore through on nearly all of the ring’s surfaces. The brownish brass was showing through and turning my wife’s finger green. The fact that it only lasted a month was a little shocking.
The more exterior coats this type of ring has been given, the longer it will last, but it’s difficult to know how well the coats were done (or how many were applied) before you buy the ring. Promise rings are meant to be a standing reminder of an important commitment. If you buy a ring made of a cheap base metal that’s then coated with a thin layer of another metal to represent a long-term commitment, you may find that you soon need to replace it. Something like Stainless steel shouldn’t cost much more, but will be FAR more durable.
Promise Rings can consist of just a simple metal band, or they can feature a variety of gems or other stones. The metal bands can be carved with meaningful messages, or fashioned into shapes or designs that carry extra significance. When diamonds are used for promise rings, they’re typically smaller than you might normally find in an engagement ring. There are many colorful stones like garnet, aquamarine, and tourmaline that are popular options for promise rings. Birthstones are another common choice.
What Finger Should Promise Rings Be Worn On?
Here again, there are no hard and fast rules for the way that Promise rings have to be worn. Very frequently, they’re worn on the ring finger of the left hand, but could certainly be worn on any other finger (of either hand) that’s more comfortable.
Continuing to Wear a Promise Ring, Even After Engagement.
When a promise ring is used a pre-engagement ring, it typically moves from the ring finger of the left hand to the same finger of the right when the proposal happens and an engagement ring is accepted. The engagement ring then goes on the newly vacated ring finger of the left hand. Of course, you can also wear the ring on any of your other nine fingers if you’d like.
Another simple option, is to hang the promise ring form a necklace or bracelet, so you can continue to wear it in a slightly different way following your engagement.
How Much Do Promise Rings Cost?
Since Promise rings can span such a wide range of specific purposes and material options, their cost also really varies. At the lower end, you’ll spend around $30 for simpler rings and less expensive materials. On the upper end, you might spend $1,500.
So what can you expect to get for your money at each end of the cost spectrum that was just mentioned?
For $30-$150, you can expect to get a nice looking ring that’s durable, and which suits most applications. You’ll have more options and better workmanship as you climb over the $100 mark, but there are plenty of great options at lower price points too. At the lower end of this price range, you’ll be able to select primarily from rings made of Stainless Steel, and rings that are Silver coated. As you climb in cost, you’ll begin to have more options available that are made entirely of Sterling Silver. Toward the upper end of this price spectrum, you’ll also be able to select from rings made of materials like Titanium and Tungsten Cobalt. Tungsten Cobalt is the hardest known metal and is incredibly scratch resistant.
If you choose to give a ring that features a stone, it’s likely to be a Cubic Zirconia in this price range, but it might also be possible to find something that you like with Amethyst, Tourmaline, Peridot, Citrine, or a similar stone.
For $150 to $800, you gain a lot of additional variety. In addition to the metals mentioned above, you now have the option of selecting something in yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold, if you’d like. In addition to all the stones listed above, you now have the ability to select Moissanite as center stone instead of CZ. Moissanite is a very durable and scratch-resistant stone that has a very similar appearance to diamond. Stones like Aquamarine, White Topaz Blue Topaz, and Morganite are also available in this price range.
For $800 to $1,500, you’ll likely be able to find a ring with a small diamond if you’d like. Of course, you can get more diamond for your dollar if you purchase a lab-created diamond. If you’d like to get a larger stone that has an appearance that’s very similar to diamond, you may want to consider Moissanite in this price range too. You could get a stunning Moissanite ring that easily falls within this kind of budget. You also have the ability to choose gems like Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald in this price range.
Again, these represent common price ranges for Promise Rings, but in reality, you could certainly spend more, and buy something even more elaborate, if you wanted to. While that’s possible, it probably isn’t necessary for this type of ring.
When, and How, do You Give Someone a Promise Ring?
As mentioned earlier, Promise Rings can have a wide variety of potential applications. In fact, Promise Rings are sometimes referred to as ‘pre-engagement rings’ or ‘purity rings.’ We quickly referenced some of the regular uses of Promise Rings above, but we want to also quickly provide a little additional context for each of those most common use cases.
Pre-engagement: Couples sometimes want to get married, but recognize that they’re too young, broke, or busy to get engaged at the moment. They aren’t ready to actively start planning their wedding, but they do want to commemorate their intent to marry at some point in the future.
Friendship: When promise rings are given to a best friend, it’s a pledge of love and support. It’s a declaration that you have each other’s backs, and that you share a special and enduring friendship.
Monogamy: This is a promise to be faithful and wait for someone. My wife and I went to the same university for a couple of years, which is where we met. I finished at the school before she did, and moved about 3 hours away to continue school at another institution. We weren’t ready to get engaged at the time, we weren’t talking marriage at all at that point. A promise ring that’s a token of commitment, exclusivity, or monogamy could have been meaningful in a situation like that. When military men and women get deployed, a promise ring might be an appropriate gift for the love they leave behind.
Chastity (Abstinence): Rings are sometimes used to symbolize a commitment to abstinence before marriage. When used in this way, they’re often referred to as Purity Rings. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Hailey Baldwin, and Justin Bieber have publicly mentioned personal commitments they’ve made to celibacy before marriage. They often wear rings or have some other symbol or visual reminder of the commitment that they keep with them. Parents can sometimes give their child as part of a commitment toward chastity too. The following clip, from the movie Courageous, is a good example.
Token of Unconditional Love Between Parent and Child: Parents sometimes give promise rings to a child to provide a constant reminder of their love. It’s reassurance they feel every time they look at their ring, that they’re loved for who they are, regardless of achievement or failure, and without condition.
Serious Goals: If someone has a big and meaningful goal, like making it into a prestigious university with a scholarship, the goal can be symbolized and remembered through a promise ring. Most often, the ring represents an inner commitment (a promise made to one’s self), but promise rings related to important goals can also be gifted by a friend or parent.
Religious commitments: Remember the ‘WWJD’ jewelry that was popular for a while. That acronym stands for ‘what would Jesus do.’ It’s a reminder to ourselves, and an outward declaration, that we want to try to follow Christ and become like him. It’s a promise ring. Rings like these can help us keep religious goals and commitments top of mind throughout each day.
In Reality, the meaning of the ring comes from the context given to it—not the ring itself.
When you pull a ring out of a pocket (and especially a ring box), most people are going to think a marriage proposal is about to happen. Many Promise Rings look a lot like an engagement ring (especially when they’re intended to be a pre-engagement commitment). That can lead to an emotional roller coaster when the conversation takes a different direction than the other party assumed when they saw what you pulled out of your pocket. Sometimes the person you’re giving the ring to might feel disappointed or deflated by the experience, other times they may feel relieved.
Because of this tendency for immediate assumptions and misunderstandings, it’s best to be somewhat strategic about how you present a promise ring. The process should begin with a conversation and end with the ring, rather than starting with the ring and ending in a conversation.
For example, if you were about to present a pre-engagement type Promise Ring to your girlfriend, you might introduce the ring by saying something like, “I love you, and look forward getting engaged and married within the next few years. We’ve both talked about how now isn’t the right time, but I think about it all the time, and I actually bought you a pre-engagement promise ring. It symbolizes that intention and can help us work toward that goal.”
If you have a conversation like that BEFORE pulling the ring out, the entire experience should be better, clearer, and more meaningful.
The Difference Between Promise Rings and Purity Rings
Promise Rings can be used as a token or reminder of any commitment, but Purity Rings, on the other hand, are Promise Rings that are used for the specific purpose of symbolizing a commitment to chastity before marriage … in other words, Purity Rings are a subset of Promise Rings.
Promise Rings Aren’t Just a Religious Thing
You don’t have to be a ‘religious’ person to use, or benefit from, a promise ring. There are ways that Promise Rings are sometimes used that certainly have religious overtones, but most potential applications, such as using a Promise Ring for pre-engagement commitment, have no religious ties whatsoever.
Promise Rings for Men
While Promise Rings tend to be more common among women, men can absolutely wear them to symbolize their significant commitments as well. Metals like Titanium and Tungsten Carbide are really popular choices for men. They’re durable metals that seem to have a manly quality to them. If you’re looking for something that’s less expensive, consider Stainless Steel.
Promise Rings for Couples
Pre-engagement Promises and other mutual commitments can be celebrated by couples with matching (or coordinating) promise rings. The fact that you’re BOTH wearing the ring for the same reason, can make the commitment feel even more special.
What’s the Difference Between a Promise Ring and an Eternity Ring?
Eternity Rings could be considered a subset of Promise Rings. They’re a particular style of ring design, that could be used as a Promise Ring if desired. Eternity Rings feature many small gems, that look identical, organized in a straight line that runs around the full outer circumference of the ring.
Can Promise Rings be used as Lifelong Commitment Rings Without Marriage?
It’s certainly possible for Promise rings to be used as a token of life-long commitment for those that decide not to go through with a formal marriage ceremony. In reality, rings used this way would function just like wedding rings. They’re a reminder of your love and commitment to each other.
Can You Wear a Promise Ring and Engagement Ring Together on the Same Hand?
You CAN wear an Engagement ring and a Promise Ring on the same hand. Most commonly they’re worn on different hands, but either approach is fine. There’s no firm rule for the finger that you have to wear the Promise Ring on either. Try different fingers until you find the style that’s most comfortable.