There's more to buying the right diamond ring than just fitting the largest, shiniest cut into the two month salary marker we've all heard about somewhere. Apparently, though, most men about to embark on this process know that preferences like color, clarity and setting matter. So how do you get your girlfriend into the jewelry store, while pretending to feign an appropriate amount of indifference. Not to worry, "They're sort of drawn to that area anyway," jokes 36 year old Linda Chester of Agent Diamond in Chappaqua, New York.
Over time, once you pick up on some of the clues, don'tgo looking for Ms. Chester and a display of diamonds in the real world. Mostly through the word of mouth, husbands to be window-shop her credentials at her web address. From what they know of their girlfriend's tastes, pictures and ideas are exchanged back and forth, leading up to a more specific list of what her vendors have. "If they see something they like, then we would meet and go from there," she says in describing herself as a "personal diamond shopper,"working out of the offices of her venders in New York City
Obviously, on paper or displayed in pixel form, the distinctions between one similar looking diamond and the next is not always clear to the novice so her personal touch and lifelong experience certainly serves. Her family had a storefront in the New York Area and she took naturally to learning what she could of the family business. "As I got older, I got more involved with it," she says, and built a strong rapport with numerous vendors and suppliers.
Branching out on her own began about eight years ago when two friends came to her looking for help buying engagement rings. She took them around to different vendors, helped them make the right choice and she says, "it evolved to where it is today."
She continues to take buyers through the entire process and still recommends they do their homework. Learn the basics of clarity, color, carat and cut, then follow behind your girlfriend when she wonders into the jewelry store. Maximizing the effect feels pretty nice and at the same time minimizingthe costs isn't so bad either.
For instance, if size and sparkle doesn't matter as much as color, a sapphire set at the center does the appropriate justice to your love and maybe buys an extra week in Hawaii for your honeymoon. "A different color stone engagement ring will bring down the price significantly versus the diamond in the center," she says.
The same idea can be applied to enlisting someone who occupies a small office instead of a large sidewalk space in Chappaqua or New York City. "I can save them money as far as not having the high expense and high overhead of a store front," she says.
Of course, all the numbers aside, she reminds that, "The ring is just the icing on the cake," and its true currency can only be measured by the feelings backing it up. For her sentimental bottom line, she loves her role in being out front for the determined man making his move.
"It's such a happy thing to be part of," she says, but she's also very cognizant of the serious side of the diamond business. Back in the 1990's, a large percentage of diamonds on the market were obtained through violence and human rights abuse. Today, after the profile has been raised on a global scale, she says that the World Diamond Council reports less than 1% of diamonds on the market qualify as conflict. Of course, she believes all should strive to purchase diamonds that can be legally accounted for.
Happier thoughts closer to home, a diamond embodying a man's love gives a gift in return that is just as worthy. "He gets the wife," she concludes with a smile.
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