May 21, 2018
By Jody Hume
REAL WEDDINGS: BEHIND THE SCENES AT AN ENGAGEMENT RING VIEWINGSHOP ENGAGEMENT RINGS
Choosing an engagement ring is a big commitment. There are a lot of options out there, and even on our site alone there’s a dazzling array. But what if you want to see what could be ‘the one’ in person? Well, you can! We have Luxury Consignment Offices in seven cities where you can make an appointment to see the rings you love from the site in person. Plus, there will be a jewelry expert there to give you all the details. To give you an idea of what it’s like, we followed our own recently-engaged Senior Designer, Ekin Kalayci, as she tested out the rings she’s been obsessing over on the site (her husband-to-be was smart enough to know she would want to pick out her own ring and proposed with the plastic stunner pictured below). She met with San Francisco Valuation Manager Sarah Thomas who gave her all the details.
Ekin: Dylan proposed to me with a yellow plastic ring, with a great giant fake diamond. It’s probably the best fake ring ever actually. I really appreciated that he didn’t pick something that I’d have to wear forever. You can’t trust a dude for something like that, especially not someone like Dylan who literally only wears golf clothes.
So, now I get to pick my own ring! I started looking, but soon realized I didn’t know enough about diamonds and styles to make the decision myself. I don’t even know what half of the four Cs are.. I also realized I had never really dreamed of what I would want, and everyone has a different opinion. I was stuck. Am I a unique ring person, a classic, simple ring person, a delicate ring person… Who am I? I thought it would be fun, but it was just so overwhelming, especially thinking it has to be THE ONE & FOREVER! (Kind of like getting married)
So, I decided to schedule a private viewing appointment at the SF Luxury Consignment Office with one of our gemologists, Sarah. I requested a bunch of rings without being too picky since I literally had no idea what I wanted. They arrived in a couple days and I met up with Sara to learn about each ring from an expert point of view.
Sarah: At a viewing appointment we explain how items are priced and authenticated. It’s not a sales appointment: as experts we are neutral and only here to answer questions and inform you about the pieces you’re interested in. You can make purchases at the appointment if you like, but there is absolutely no pressure. We give you printed out valuation reports for the items so you have info to take home. Speaking of valuation reports, you can also bring in any items from your own jewelry box if you want to see what they’re worth (in fact, Ekin did that too and we followed along here).
Ekin: These were SO impressive! Giant and sparkly! My fave was definitely the Old European cut at the very bottom. It looked more elegant than the other two, and the value for the size was compelling.
Sarah: Of the four Cs, the number one to look for is always cut, because of the light return.
Ekin: I never knew I was a single diamond-ring person until I saw this in person. It was quite large for me, but somehow not in an over-the-top way. Maybe it was the Old European cut that softened it for me — Sarah explained that those usually look more hand-cut and organic. Maybe this ring felt more familiar because I’ve drooled over so much antique jewelry at the Grand Bazaar in Turkey. On top of all that, I fell in love with the delicate Harry Winston band, which was what I was initially leaning towards. They just went really well when stacked together.
Sarah: Old European Cut diamonds have fewer facets and a more subtle sparkle, since when they were made, jewelers didn’t have the variety of tools and computers that we have now. These are hand-tooled, and are the predecessor to the modern brilliant cut diamond. Old cut diamonds are your best value — you can get a big look and carat weight and they often are less expensive than modern brilliant cuts. In general, diamonds don’t photograph well, and in order to be transparent we don’t photoshop jewelry — a viewing appointment is a great opportunity to come in and see rings that often look much better in person.
Ekin: In the end, I’m stuck between these two. The Cartier is so classic and fits me perfectly (is this a sign??), but literally everyone in our office has one, so somehow it doesn’t feel like an engagement ring as long as I work here.
Sarah: Some of the most practical rings are single-stone solitaires; you can wear them while you do pretty much anything. That said, don’t ever wear your jewelry while cleaning – bleach and other chemicals can really harm precious metals. And, believe it or not, you’re not supposed to shower, sleep or exercise in your jewelry. When you buy a ring, also buy a dish that you keep it in every single time you take it off so you don’t lose it.
Sarah: If you’re thinkings about resale value (in case you want to upgrade!), something to know is that branded pieces, in general, have better resale value. Many people upgrade their ring, some as often as every 2-5 years. Big jewelry houses like Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier are still going to be relevant in the future, and desirability in the market adds to resale value.
Ekin: This is what I was originally most leaning towards, especially the H. Stern band. I like the color of gold on my skin and don’t wear silver jewelry. Out of these three, I liked the H.Stern best because it was really delicate, but the two rows still make it look substantial. The Tiffany & Co. rings were impressive, but a little too much for me.
Sarah: Anything over 100 years old is considered antique, while pieces under 100 but more than 20 years old are considered vintage. Sapphires are very popular right now, and they are the most durable stone after diamonds. They offer great value — if you can’t afford a 2-carat diamond, you might be able afford a 2-carat sapphire. Aside from diamonds, sapphires and rubies are most durable for daily wear (unlike emeralds which are much softer).
Ekin: I used to be very into vintage and antique jewelry, but I think I’ve changed in the past year. I needed to see these options to make sure that I was truly over this style. I was!