My daughter and her boyfriend are looking at engagement rings where
they= live in NYC. I told them to wait and look when they come back
to Iowa for holidays because they’ll pay less here. I’m wondering if
I gave them bad advice. Just for the setting alone, a sleek modern
design engagement ring in white gold, the price without the diamond
was quoted at $2,000. This was not a heavy piece either, nor one made
by a designer name that advertises, they described the store as a
nice small average jewelry store. Do prices vary greatly by location?
I know gold is sky high right now, so maybe that price is reasonable.
If these were your kids how would you advise them?
Of course prices vary by area. It’s far more expensive to have a
shop in New York City than it is elsewhere. However if they are
living and working in NYC then their salaries should be equivalently
higher. My older son started work as an artist’s assistant in NYC at
double what he could have earned here in Boston. However, IMHO, price
should not be the driving force here. They should get something that
makes them happy. Jewelry is all about making someone happy. If they
have seen a design they like and it’s going to make her happy to wear
it for the next 50 years then my feeling is they should just pony up
the dough and enjoy it. The price of gold is having a larger and
larger impact as well so everyone at the moment should be expecting
to pay more for their jewelry (just like they are all paying more for
Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140 www.spirerjewelers.com
To me, that price seems very much too high for a white gold (are
they sure it wasn’t platinum? - even then it seems pretty high) ring
with NO STONE, unless it was a handmade or well-known boutique
designer. Even with the price of gold as high as it is, that just
If it were a one-of-a-kind, or hand-crafted design (or one created
by the store’s in-house designer), then geography would play a role
in price, as the high cost of living/working in NYC has to be
accounted for in pricing. But if it’s a mass-produced piece that the
store was simply selling, geography plays less of a role. In fact, in
cases like that, you might be able to find a BETTER deal in NYC
because of the competitive pressures of having so many jewelers in a
My thought would be that they should look around (including online)
now that they know a style they like. They can even browse websites
like Stuller (stuller.com - no prices visible) and Hoover and Strong
(hooverandstrong.com - bulk pricing only shown) to see if there are
similar designs that catch their eye. If you have a Stuller account
(I’m assuming you’re in the jewelry business), you could then
purchase the setting (or even the completed ring) on their behalf
(if you don’t, let me know and I can help you with the transaction
and pricing). I believe Hoover only handles the mountings, not
settings, but you could order the mounting and have it set locally.
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry
Isn’t buying a ring about the design? If they are NewYawkers aren’t
they going to have a different design aesthetic then might be found
in Iowa or Washington for that matter.
I would never buy from a big jewelry retailer. Find some independent
designer/jeweler and have him/her make them some special, one of a
kind, just for them. Then they get the design they want at a price
that is fair.
Please contact me off forum and I will give you some of my favorite
jewelers. (Disclaimer: I do not make wedding/engagement rings so am
not trying to sell you my work.)
First, be careful and aware when looking for ‘Independent’ stores. A
lot of stores are moving from malls to downtown sites to appeal more
to those looking for independent stores.
Another thing…around here (Green Bay, WI) the independent stores
are more art-related when it comes to stand-alone stores. There also
appears to be a quality issue when looking at lower-priced jewelry.
That could be around here…or it could be my mistaken perception, as
well. Because of independent shops, the bigger jewelers have more
sales and specials in order to compete.
I guess it really depends on a lot of variables, and location is one
huge algebraic ‘x’.
It sounded like they were leaning toward doing some shopping around?
Shopping with knowledge is the best bet. And I don’t mean to offend
here, but do they have a good working knowledge of what to look for
and what to base their choices on? (Four Ks and all that?)