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Getting engaged? Haven't found exactly the right ring? Many couples today are focusing on personalization, seeking out custom-made rings rather than prefabricated. You might think this option is out of your budget, but it just takes some smart shopping to avoid costly pitfalls and get that one-of-a-kind engagement ring.
At a mall store or national chain, you generally interact with a salesperson, never meeting with whomever is making your ring. In this case, you're putting your faith in the middleman to convey your wishes accurately, as well as in the anonymous jeweler to do quality work. Furthermore, it's likely the salesperson is paid on commission and therefore has incentive to sell at the highest price. That's a lot of faith in strangers for such an important decision.
Valley Jewelers owner Craig Brady comments "I am completely redoing a ring right now for a new customer who had her ring made by a national jeweler. It's a mess. When she complained to them, she got nowhere. Now, this couple is eating the cost of the first ring and we're starting over. Even the diamonds were sub par."
At an independent jewelry store like Valley Jewelers, you can work directly with the designer who will be creating your ring. In this case, you can also check out his/her portfolio of work so you know the level of craftsmanship you'll be getting. Don't let the small storefront fool you. Independent jewelers with diamond-buying group affiliations offer the best of combination of personal service, quality workmanship and huge diamond inventory availability. It's another example of how buying local is best.