Building your own ring for a sweetie

Aloha bitches!

In response to the questions from Joe and Chad in my last post, here are some answers:

The two places I frequent are and  You can get many items there aren’t that expensive, and you always have the option of returning it for a refund.  That can take a week or two, I have found, so don’t buy something on spec with your rent money.  Although Thaigem’s interface has been changed to an impulse shopping cart, Multicolour’s is still pretty good.   You can also "build a ring" at but I find their prices to be almost as much as retail.  You may not get much of a savings out of it, but you will get a lot of flexibility.

Take this ruby for example.  $154 isn’t a lot for a stone, and if you get it and don’t like it, you can send it back.  You are making a bit of a crapshoot on the quality and color because there’s nothing like seeing it in person.  However if you get a stone you like, you’ll be cutting out several middlemen (and layers of cost) in the process.  You may have to try a couple of times before you get the hang of it.

Once you’ve got your stone, take it to a jewelry store and ask them if you can go through the catalog and pick out a setting for a necklace or ring.  I use Tony at Boone and Sons on Connecticut and L street.  He can certainly find you nicer stones, but he probably can’t find you cheaper.  A good jeweler won’t feel threatened by the fact that you’re getting your stones online.  He (or she) will know that they can make money on the setting and the labor, and be satisfied with that.   Also, as Tony has learned, a jeweler that’s willing to work with you will get all your future business.

As far as Chad’s comment about overcoming objections to the massive marketing machine that DeBeers has put into place, that’s a hard hump to get over.  There are many kinds of stones more rare than diamonds, but indeed, marketing has made diamonds seem rare.  If you want to try and change someone mind about their engagement ring, I suggest you start them out early on lesser momentous pieces of non-diamond jewelry such as birthday gifts, etc.   Sarah’s engagement ring was a diamond, and recently I replaced it with a large ruby ring that she likes infinitely more.

Over time, if your intended target realizes the amount of work you put into the jewelry, it should work out.  However if what other people think is so important even after the significant effort you expend, perhaps you ought to consider the long-term implications of that tendency on the relationship.  Will that opinion affect the car, house, and lifestyle you live?

If you want to you can easily spend as much on a ruby or sapphire-based engagement ring as a diamond one.  That might comfort your girlfriend, but you may not be happy that it does.

Good luck!


  1. Ellen Brasington on January 2, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    Ok, school’s not in session and santa has come and gone, so I am going to reply to this post!

    SJ – You are so right about time and effort into picking out a gift for the woman you love 🙂

    To Chad and Joe – Ironically, I don’t think most women deep down want a diamond, but rather a supportive, caring partner who will go the extra mile for them 🙂 I almost think it is a male ego thing that DeBeers is thriving on with diamonds. Kind of like the “size doesn’t matter” in another topic 🙂 It is what you do with it that counts, and as for a diamond, it really is about how thoughtful and giving you really are, not just on one particular day or only with your money. It really is not about money, but it will do if that is all you will/can give. A poem written by you or a handpicked (designed–even better!) ring would be SO much better….

    I asked my husband to marry me, thank god! He *insisted* he buy me a ring, a diamond no less. I gave in at first when he somehow convinced me “it shows to the world something about him, not me”…What is that about?… We went shopping, and I could not believe what the sales people were telling us. They scoffed at me, trying to convince me that I am “worth” something that took millions of years to create in the ground (as opposed to something manmade that doesn’t have inclusions or yellowing…i.e. cubic zirconia), to trying to convince me that it is an “investment” (excuse me, our union is based on love, not what is best financially for me), to being booted out of 2 jewelry stores (ok, I really could care less if the only way to tell the difference is only with a microcrope, and if I might do dishes or put lotion on while wearing jewelry, sue me!) I heard from across the way to unsuspecting loner males many times “well, if you are nervous about how she will answer, or if you really love her more than anything, go with the bigger one…” I was so disgusted!!!

    Please don’t fall prey to these ploys trying to get to your male insecurities! And, if she is ademant about a diamond, then please try to find out exactly what her real reasons are and try to tackle it from that perspective.

    Here is an analogy:
    If someone showed you 2 apples at a grocery store and one cost 5000$ and the other 25$, and the 25$ one looked better, tasted better, etc. What stupid person would choose the 5000$ one? And, if the oranges have a much better outer texture, are juicier and sweeter, and have a much better palpable texture inside, why would a person prefer an apple over an orange? I am sure some might, but most people would choose an orange if not pressured by the thousands of grocery store clerks all their lives 🙂

    Good luck!