Way back when (and we mean way, way back), a ring was a simple token of love, fashioned from reeds or leather, even hemp or bone. An unbroken circle, with no beginning and no end, they remain our most beloved symbol of devotion – but times have definitely changed. These days, we favor glittering rings showcasing one of many precious metals and gems in every color of the rainbow.
Sorting through all those options can be overwhelming, to say the least. Good thing we’ve got a friend in the biz.
As one of Dallas’ premier custom jewelers, Eric Olschwanger specializes in guiding his clients through the process of creating the perfect ring. A GIA-Certified Diamond Gemologist and all-around expert in everything bling, we’ve convinced him to share his top ring tips with us. No matter the occasion or how much you’re spending, his advice is pure gold.
Five Rules: Choosing the Perfect Ring
1. “Know your budget.”
Olschwanger’s first rule may be the most important. “You should be comfortable with whatever amount of money you choose to spend, and a good jeweler should maximize your purchase to your budget.” He caps it with a caution, “If they insist you spend more, odds are they don’t have your best interest at heart.”
2. “Do your homework.”
“You can’t underestimate how much knowledge is needed in making the best choice for you,” our expert explains. Gathering information on cut, color, certification and more is key, and the education section of the Olschwanger Designs Web site is a great place to start.
3. “Shop around.”
Be sure and compare “apples to apples” once you set your sights on a goal. While a look-a-like may be cheaper at the jeweler across the street, you could actually be getting something completely different. Olschwanger’s a stickler for this rule, and said that looks can often be deceiving.
4. “Accept nothing less.”
When it comes to custom designs, our expert is not a fan of compromise. “You should get exactly what you want,” he said. “From sketches to Auto CAD virtual imaging, a good jeweler will take you step by step through the design process, break down all costs and explain pluses and minuses of alloys used.”
5. “Get it in writing.”
Finally, Olschwanger emphasizes the importance of paperwork. “[Your ring] should come with a certified appraisal that can be filed for insurance purposes. This protects you in case of theft, loss or damage. If a precious gem is involved, it should also come with the original certificate from a respected gem grading laboratory, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).”