You show the average person two rings, one of which was worth £100,000 and one that was worth £100 and the majority of them would be unable to tell which was which. Despite this, millions of men buy engagement rings for their beloveds, spending sums which for most of them are very substantial, and with very little knowledge indeed of what it is that they are buying! It is not only to be expected that a few people get ripped off completely, and the wonder is that so many do in fact get a reasonably good deal when it would be so easy for an unscrupulous salesperson to con them!
As an example; let us take a look at the most popular form of engagement ring, the diamond ring. A diamond can vary wildly in price, depending upon the four Cs; colour, cut, carat and clarity. Where colour is concerned the most valuable diamond is one which is completely clear with no sign of colouring whatsoever. It is possible however for an unscrupulous salesperson to display a yellowish stone with a white background behind it, thus obscuring the colour of it. The cut is the final shape of the stone, after the craftsmen has cut into it all the faces and facets that allow it to sparkle so much and this is a real skill which some diamond cutters have in abundance, and others have very little of! The carat is the weight of the stone, and the clarity is a measure of how many imperfections there are within the stone and their sizes; imperfections can be tiny cracks, specks of grit or air bubbles. Imperfections can be minimised, even if not completely removed, by treating the stone with a powerful laser beam and in the right hands gems with obvious imperfections to the naked eye could be made to appear almost flawless; it would however be obvious to an expert that the diamond had been treated and so the value of it would be far less than that of a perfect stone.
Then we come to cubic zirconias and artificial diamonds! The vast majority of people in Britain could not tell the difference between a real stone and one of these. A cubic zirconia for instance of a certain size and cut could be worth perhaps £100, possibly much less, whereas a perfect diamond of the same size could be worth many tens of thousands of pounds!
So where does that leave the buyer? There are two ways in which you can be fairly certain that you will get a good bargain. Firstly, either learn everything that you can about diamonds or take along with you someone who has a good working knowledge of them; or buy only from sources that you know of and can trust, and who have a reputation to maintain.
If you wish to save some money, why not consider a second hand stone; many jewellers will sell these and after polishing they can be pretty well indistinguishable from a new item and you could have it set into a new ring. Alternatively, have a word with your true love and with her knowledge and agreement, and only with this, buy a ring with a cubic zirconia stone with a view to changing it in the future when your finances allow it. This way she will have a beautiful sparkling ring to flash around to all your friends, and no one need ever know that it was not a genuine diamond! Do make certain however that she is aware of the situation; if she thought that you had bought her a genuine diamond ring and she subsequently discovered that it was a fake your romance could come to a sudden and abrupt ending!