Buying Online vs. In-Person – The Engagement Ring Buying Guide

The Quick And Dirty - There are pros and cons to buying an engagement ring online or in-person at a store. Generally, buying online will afford you far more choices, lower prices, and more customization. 

It can be intimidating to shop for beautiful jewelry, particularly an engagement ring. Why is this the case? Because buying an engagement ring is a highly specialized, expensive, infrequent and time consuming process. The good thing is, you have more options today than ever before. As a contemporary shopper, you have access to the information that allows you to make an informed choice on your own time, and according to your preferences.

The internet is a great resource for reducing the information asymmetry that exists between a man looking to buy his first ever engagement ring and the world of companies that make these products. 

If you are looking for an engagement ring, you have probably already realized how there are numerous online and instore jewelry retail options available. Purchasing an engagement ring is truly a “once in a lifetime experience.” As a result, picking where and when to buy the ring is critical, not just for the engagement ring itself, but also for the entire buying experience.

Pros of Buying Online

Cheaper options

One of the main reasons why buying your engagement ring online is a fantastic choice is because internet retailers provide their rings at a lower price than in store jewelry retailers. The majority of the time, online retailers sell engagement rings for 20-40% less than physical stores. The key reason for this is that physical stores incur overhead costs that online retailers do not incur. Physical stores need to hire sales people and pay for increased insurance to protect the items they have on display.


While some people are wary of purchasing expensive engagement rings online, the reality is that it is generally safer to spend your money online. You should look at the retailer’s return policies, customer reviews, and whether or not they offer certifications for their rings to establish whether or not you should trust them. The American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) both certify the finest engagement jewelry, particularly diamond rings. These two provide the most reliable and rigorous grading standards.

Limitless choices

Another reason to purchase your engagement ring online is that, unlike physical jewelry retailers, the internet provides you with a limitless number of possibilities. You have endless possibilities on the internet, and there are different collections from which you can choose. In general, online retailers have a larger assortment of finely set diamond and gemstone engagement rings. There are considerably more conflict-free diamonds available online, all at extremely reasonable costs. Purchasing engagement rings on the internet is also a viable choice that provides a transparent and straightforward experience. You can choose from countless diamond engagement ring options and set filters based on the 4Cs, price, and shipping options.


Because you can buy a ring from the comforts of your own home, it’s a pretty straightforward decision. Many online retailers have sophisticated product images that are in 360° HD to give you a clear view of the image even when you zoom in and out. This saves you time and let’s you see the rings up close in a way that is harder in a store with fewer options and lighting that might make it harder to really tell what the diamond looks like.

Extensive Knowledge

The internet provides access to a wide range of educational resources, all of which are available to anyone who is searching for them and the content is free. For example, if  you want to buy a beautiful diamond engagement ring but aren’t sure what makes the ideal diamond ring, the internet will provide you with all the knowledge you need on the diamond settings, styles, prices,  designs, and the metals that the rings are made of. Essentially, you can receive all of the knowledge you require online without fear of being deceived.

Cons of Buying Online

The internet is a vast, largely unregulated marketplace where you will encounter both good and dishonest retailers. If you don’t buy from a legit brand, there is a chance you get a fake or counterfeit stone, which may result in a financial loss to you. We don’t partner with any of these brands on our site but the internet does have shady actors.

Then there’s the fact that if you do not know what you want, you’ll need to do work to get the ideal ring, which comes with the possibility of being taken advantage of. If you do not really know how to properly price engagement rings, you can easily be overcharged, and because diamond market prices are volatile and expensive, you can end up spending more than you should have. This is true for buying rings online as well but the internet opens the door to different types of manipulation.

Another disadvantage with making an online purchase is that you cannot see your ring in the flesh prior to purchasing it. You simply have to trust that the ring that will be delivered to you will match the images you saw on the company’s website.  

Pros of Buying Offline

Verifying the Ring

One of the most significant advantages of purchasing an engagement ring in-store and in person is the ability to inspect the jewelry’s exact condition and specs. All of the ring’s critical aspects, including color, clarity, polish, and cut, will be right in front of your eyes, allowing you to confirm all of the ring’s details in person instead of having to trust the information supplied on the website. You can also try on the ring to determine if it is a comfortable fit. This will matter less if buying the ring for your girlfriend but you can always bring along one of her sisters or friends.

Sales guidance

Another benefit of purchasing your engagement ring at a physical store is that the professionals will indeed guide you in the correct direction, providing their experienced advice to make sure that the ring you choose is the ideal fit for your taste. Salespeople have an understanding of what rings you might want and can guide you based on your questions.

After sales Services

A benefit of brick-and-mortar stores is that you can simply return your ring to the jeweler to have it repaired. When you purchase your engagement ring offline, you also get the best after-sale services, which include re-sizing, re-plating, polishing, and cleaning the ring. Many online jewelry companies will repair or service engagement rings too, but it could cost you more money, and it will also take longer to get your ring back. Some online retailers do not offer these services. 

Cons of Buying Offline

The most difficult aspect of buying diamonds from a physical store is that if you overlook a minor detail about the ring, you will wind up with an unflattering ring. Purchases made in-store are likewise more costly compared to those that are available online. This is because of the insurance and storage costs that physical stores incur, which are then reflected in the ring prices. 

Some companies with unwanted diamonds will go out of their way to make sure you leave with that piece, something the reputable online stores would not do. When it comes to buying in store, another disadvantage is that you can only view the rings that they have in stock at the moment. This limits your comparison options and ring choices. 

Credible Online Engagement Ring Sites You can visit

It is important to buy from a reputable retailer that has been in the business for a while. Some of the credible companies that you can purchase from include James Allen, Capucinne, Clean Origin, Netaya, Zales, Jared, Diamond Nexus and Kay Jewelers. These companies have websites with a large amount of available rings. If you live near one of their physical outlets, you can purchase online and pick up your ring without the need for a shipping agent. 

While the final decision to buy online or offline is ultimately yours, we hope that this information has answered some of your queries. The trend is shifting toward online buying, which is becoming increasingly mainstream because people want to reduce costs and speed up the buying process. Some people, though, may still prefer to shop at a physical store. If you are on a limited budget, however, you should consider shopping online because you’ll get a lot more value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to buy an engagement ring online or in store?

There are pros and cons of buying an engagement ring online or in a store. Buying a ring online gives you more options, lower prices, greater flexibility, and enhanced ring and diamond selections. However, it is harder to see, touch, and feel the ring online. Buying in a store enables you to closely inspect the ring or bring a friend to try it on. In general, men are increasingly buying rings online because of the added flexibility, convenience, and lower prices afforded by online sales.

Is it safe to buy diamond rings online?

Yes. The large and reputable online brands have excellent reputations, provide warranties and insurance, and are trusted by millions of men every year for jewelry and ring purchases. For example, James Allen, is a popular, well respected, and verified online site for buying safe and guaranteed diamonds.

Why is James Allen so cheap?

James Allen is able to provide affordable diamonds in part because of their scale (and procurement purchasing power) and because they have low over-head. They have very few physical stores which reduces their insurance, sales, and staffing costs and rely on the internet to scale and help ring buyers. Due to its economies of scale, ability to buy gemstones in large volumes, and corporate cost structure, it can pass on significant savings to users. That is why James Allen jewelry is cheap and the brand is a market leader.

Where is the cheapest place to buy diamonds?

There are three places to buy affordable diamonds: an online website that specializes in diamonds, an individual jeweler who has diamonds for sale, or a brick and mortar store that sells jewelry. In general, individual jewelers will be the most challenging to buy from as there is significant information asymmetry in the market: they have the product and the industry knowledge and you are simply a buyer in need. Be cautious if you rely on this approach. Another option is going to a jewelry store. There is nothing inherently wrong about this approach but it likely cost you more money. That is because the store needs to add the price of its rent, sales professionals, and insurance into the item that you are going to buy. Buying online is the cheapest, fastest, and most holistic way of buying affordable diamonds from reputable brands.

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