For this particular blog I'm going to focus on London as that's where I'm located.
It's a very broad question as to the "where" because at the end of the day, we all have different tastes. There are plenty of places in London to buy an engagement ring from, however, I'd like to marry this up with also being able to get the right value for money when purchasing that dream engagement ring.
In my eyes there are three mainstream types of shops that you can expect to buy an engagement ring from.
The first is on the High Street. These are the multiples with volume pieces at discounted prices. Such as Ernest Jones, Goldsmiths and Leslie Davis. That's to say that a lot of the jewellery which is in their shop window is manufactured abroad and lower end quality diamonds are used in their goods.
The second are the independent shops in towns, villages and city centres, which specialise in certain styles of jewellery. For example some shops might specialise in luxury watches and some might specialise in engagement rings. The jewellery centre of London is Hatton Garden. These shops are what I class as mid range. Most of them specialise in engagement rings and most of them have the same in their shop window as the shop next door. It's very easy to get confused when surrounded by all these beautiful diamonds.
And the final type of jewellery shops are the ones you will find in London's Bond Street. These are the big brands which sell high-end diamond jewellery to very wealthy people. In Bond Street you'll find brands such as Tiffany, Cartier, De Beers and many more.
So now that we know where you can buy an engagement ring from and what type of engagement ring you can expect to find in these different places, let's focus on where is the best place to buy an engagement ring in London.
Of course, if money is no object then the best place would be one of the luxury stores on Bond Street and even in Knightsbridge. The one thing to consider though is that the mark up they put on jewellery is far greater than an independent jeweller or of a High Street jeweller. But, this coupled with the fact that these jewellers have some of the largest and most beautiful diamonds in the world, you would expect to pay a small fortune for them. If, on the other hand, money is a factor and the budget is very tight, then the best place for you might be to pop along to the High Street jeweller and pay a visit to one of the multiples. They do have a large selection but above all they also have the ability for you to purchase your ring on finance.
Now naturally my favourite place for you to buy an engagement ring in London, would be Hatton Garden. Not just because I work here, but also because I do believe you will get the best value for money. In most cases you will be spoken to by a jeweller rather than a shop assistant. When parting with a substantial amount of money, you want to know that the person who is serving you has a background in diamonds and fine jewellery. I find it very frustrating that some of the young sales assistance don't even know the basics of a diamonds 4 c's. Yes, it can be very daunting if you've never been to Hatton Garden before. And yes, it seems like every shop has the same as the shop next door. But, you should be able to haggle and compare from one shop to the next. But going to Hatton Garden doesn't just mean that you are limited to the retail shops on the road. Historically Hatton Garden has been the centre of the jewellery industry for over 350 years. There are lots of workshops that are happy to deal direct with the public. And I, am one of them.
Now I realise I haven't mentioned that you can also buy an engagement ring online. However I don't consider that as one of the best places to buy an engagement ring. First of all you're not limited to a location when you purchase online. For example there is no reason why you can't buy from Hong Kong if you live in London. Or why you can't buy from New York if you're living in Paris. One of the main reasons not to purchase such a special memento online is because diamonds aren't like anything else. In order to be able to purchase a diamond, and I'm referring to all colours, clarities and sizes, you need to physically see the diamond with your own eyes. Especially for such an important purchase like your fiance's engagement ring!
Let me leave you with a couple of tips to help when picking your perfect engagement ring and deciding where to get it from.
- Go to an independent jeweller or someone who has a workshop so that you can get exactly what you want. Just because a shop only has a certain range of sizes and styles doesn't mean that's all that is available to you.
- Make sure that person is a member of the London Diamond Bourse. This way you know that your diamond has been ethically sourced.
- Ask around for recommendations it's always a good idea to go to someone who's been recommended to you. Then follow this up with looking at their online reviews.
- And finally, do your research. If you're not sure about anything then ask questions. Have a look at my blogs or better yet get yourself a copy of my book.
So there you have it. Don't loose sight of the end goal. The end goal here is to make every effort to make sure you pick the perfect engagement ring for your fiancé. Just remember that you never actually own a diamond, you merely look after it for the next generation!