Where should I go to buy a diamond engagement ring [New Jersey]?
November 12, 2017 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm unsure about where to buy a diamond engagement ring.

I'm leaning toward order online from Costco but I'm not sure that's the best choice. Are the mall jewelers worth shopping? I'm located in NJ and my budget is under $5000.

There are two major requirements:
1. Sadly, the stone has to be diamond.
2. Sadly, lab grown diamonds are no go.

Please give me your recommendation on how to shop for an engagement ring. Thanks hivemind!
posted by Carius to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about used? Lots of gorgeous used jewelry in higher end resale places for far less money.
posted by leslies at 10:03 AM on November 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

Do you know anything else about the recipient's preferences? Diamond engagement rings for under five grand will vary pretty wildly in style. Leigh Jay Nacht (sorry linking won't work on my iPad) has a lot of beautiful vintage and reproduction rings that would work, or even Etsy. My ring came from Catbird in Brooklyn, but their style won't appeal to everyone. Mostly you need to figure out what she wants. It wouldn't be that hard to find a pretty ring with that budget, I'm not sure why you assume you need to do Costco.
posted by cakelite at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2017

etsy is also a good option but this very much depends on the tastes of the wearer. If they like very traditional settings costco should be fine. I would NOT go to Jared.

There's also blue Nile.
posted by emkelley at 11:02 AM on November 12, 2017

Congratulations. It's an exciting time for you.

You ask a difficult question. Each kind of store I think of, other than Costco, seems to be a kind of store that would have high margins. Plus the markup is so great they all feel like a ripoff. I would stay away from any chain the advertises heavily; someone is gonna pay for those ads and it doesn't have to be you. Look for a store that doesnt seem to be spending a ton on rent and decoration. They probably have to compete on price.

I remember looking in jewelry store windows at the Short Hills Mall. That would have been in 1971. I eventually bought the ring in Providence, RI.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:28 AM on November 12, 2017

Similar budget and requirements -- we ended up getting my engagement ring from a jeweler on eBay (my wedding band is from a jeweler on etsy). A major con is not being able to try it on and see how it looks on the hand, but the prices were a lot better than any brick and mortar store we checked out. However, I would still recommend going into a store and trying on the rings for style, at least, as the ring I ended up falling in love with is rather different from what I thought I wanted.
posted by sm1tten at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2017

Mine came from Lang Antiques in San Francisco but I picked it and we bought it online. The process was painless--they helped me choose between a couple options and talked to me about how much it could be resized (I had that done locally). Returns (supposedly) would have been simple, but I kept it.

It was more my style than anything in the local stores and a good price and within your budget.
posted by crush at 11:45 AM on November 12, 2017

I can't say enough good things about The Shane Co. Excellent and knowledgable employees. No pressure to buy, or over-buy. Wide selection of styles and they don't just push whatever is trending at the moment. Free Lifetime Service, cleaning, adjustments. You can't beat that! And they have delicious chocolate chip cookies to nibble on while you're looking around.
If you have one nearby, I'd go there. Hands down. Good luck!
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 2:17 PM on November 12, 2017

Fwiw I got my amazing engagement ring from the local mall. It was an independent place (ie not People's), but yeah, sometimes you can go local.

First off find out what kind of stone cut & setting she wants. That is key. Once you know that, just shop around for price and gem quality. Read online about the 4C's and comparison shop.

That being said, if you're not into the legwork, costco is a good option too! I've seen some nice stuff there.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:03 PM on November 12, 2017

Depending on where in NJ, have you considered going to Delaware where it would be tax free?
posted by WeekendJen at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2017

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