I’m going to just say it – Jewelry can be outrageously expensive. I remember shopping around for my wife’s engagement ring for quite a long time. I had a massive internal conflict where I wanted to get her something really nice that she would love and cherish, but at the same time I didn’t have a lot of money so I didn’t want to buy something that was over the top.
Being somewhat of a novice when it came to buying jewelry I ended up doing a lot of asking around at jewelers to see what the various things to lookout for were. What I learned was that there are a huge range of different types of diamond rings that you can buy for your sweetheart. There are different grades, different colors different levels of clarity, different sizes and most of all, vastly different prices.
In the end I decided to just go for one that I thought looked nice and that my wife would enjoy. I tried not to look at price, although the difference was between about $500 up to $30,000 – so it was difficult not to notice. I actually can’t remember the exact price that I paid for my wife’s engagement ring (it retailed between $3,000 and $5,000 I think), but I do know that I negotiated the price with every jeweler I spoke to, and that I managed to wipe almost a thousand dollars off the retail price.
At the time I was really happy with my decision, and even today I know I made a good choice as my wife loves her ring. Although now that I am a little older (and hopefully wiser) I can’t help but wonder if I could have done things differently and saved a small fortune.
I watched a movie quite a long time ago now called blood diamond. It was a Leonardo DiCaprio movie which I didn’t have high expectations for, but even to this day I can recall quite a bit from the movie because afterwards I researched some of the key points and discovered that the movie is quite factual. I won’t ruin it for everyone that hasn’t seen it that wants to, but the upshot is that many of the Diamonds that people have in their jewelry come from war ravaged places where the vulnerable are exploited to find and extract diamonds.
This made me rethink the engagement ring purchase I had made for my wife. I have no idea where that diamond came from or any of its history. The only thing I do know that it is way over priced for what it is and that someone is making some serious profit along the way.
Getting to the Point – Diamond Vs Cubic Zirconia
This leads me to my really long winded point when it comes to buying diamond jewelry.
Most regular people haven’t got a clue what a diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire or any type of gemstone is actually worth. We are lead along by what the jeweler tells us. That same jeweler is making thousands of dollars profit on each and every diamond – hardly a trustworthy source.
I would be willing to bet that the average person couldn’t tell the difference between a high quality cubic zirconia ring and a real diamond ring.
As an example – compare both of these:
(sorry about the terrible photo, I took it from my phone)
They both look nice to me. One cost a few thousand dollars, the other cost less than $100.
So why is it that everyone spends thousands and thousands of dollars on really expensive jewelry that looks almost exactly the same as a cheaper imitation? I know some people will say that a cubic zirconia gemstone won’t last as long as the real deal – and I agree. But most of these cubic zirconia stones will last a few decades – longer if cared for properly, and they only cost between $20 and $200. If it breaks, you could buy plenty more and still be way ahead financially!
It’s the same for Emerald, Ruby & Sapphire etc. The real gemstones can cost thousands of dollars, while the imitation stone can often look just as good (better in many cases) and costs only a fraction of the price.