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February 28, 2005

Ring Snoot

On Saturday evening, Lex and I took a rather out of the way detour from our meet-the-parents-for-dinner destination to look at rings. Neither of us really knows what we are doing in this arena, or any wedding arena for that matter, but we figured we would take a field trip and try to learn something. For someone who has worn the same plain silver ring on her right hand since she was twelve, I was really starting from sub-zero.

We arrived at our field trip destination, walked through security, and headed up to the second floor, whereupon I clutched Lex�s arm and whispered through my teeth We are so out of our element. Apparently, this was visible to the staff, as well.

We walked up to that counter, confused, a little lost, probably a little blinded by the mountains of sparkly karats spread throughout the room, and waited for assistance. Finally, a woman approached us, checking her watch, as it was near closing time.

Can I assist you with anything?, she asked, looking up from her nose. Um, yes. Help.

Impatiently, she walked toward us.

Obviously, you haven�t read our website.

Yes, we have seen your website, but we actually would like to see the rings in person.

Well, perhaps you need to study the website more closely. It is very complete.

Humbled, we asked to see one ring, which I fumbled with when trying to get it on my finger. We thanked her for her time, wandered around a bit, and headed out for dinner.

Out on the street, I turned to Lex and said You know, I don�t come to a place like this to be referred to their website.

We harrumphed and could not help but think that, had we puffed out our feathers a bit more and said that to her straight on, we would have received a lot more help.

Posted by callalillie at February 28, 2005 8:24 AM | City Life , Wedding


Check out the Clay Pot (http://www.clay-pot.com, I think). That's where Jess and I got our rings. They're personable, downright cheerful, giving you special attention throughout the entire process. And, yes, it's a process, one hell of a process. Well worth it for handcraft rings. It's in your nabe, too!

Posted by: jose at February 28, 2005 8:51 AM

Actually, that was our first stop a week or so ago, as I live right near there. We were just trying to get a feel for all of the different arenas...

Posted by: corie at February 28, 2005 8:57 AM

someone i know bought a ring through blue nile and said their customer support on the phone was pretty helpful.

Posted by: tien at February 28, 2005 9:14 AM

Holy crikes! Alex had the SAME experience. After speaking to a few diamond people in my family - who all suggested that he do his preliminary research at Tiffany's because they actually do sell the highest quality diamonds and are supposed to have the best counter expertice - he went there and was ignored, only to finally be told that "this is not the kind of thing you do 'research' on". Really? You don't? You just blindly buy a insanely expensive ring?! I was horrified, as was he.

This comment is getting quite long, so feel free to email us if you want more info on what he ended up doing; he learned a lot.

Posted by: deb at February 28, 2005 9:19 AM

you should shop in the diamond district. you can comparison shop pretty quickly, it is really amazing. best to go on a saturday when half the stores are closed for the sabbath...when they are all open it is really overwhelming. there are a few high-end stores on the street, but they are still affordable compared to the rest of new york. will and i bought are wedding bands at one such store.

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2005 9:30 AM

Will and I had no clue how to shop for wedding bands, so a friend recommended this place in the diamond district - http://www.antiqueengagementrings.com/ - and it was great. The guy is a little spacy, but if you are at all interested in antique rings, this guys has a lot of beautiful rings. Good luck!

Posted by: juli at February 28, 2005 11:03 AM

I haven't spent too much time on the second floor, but I've never had an experience like that on the first, fourth or fifth floors (or whatever they are now, they've been remodelling).

I've walked in there right before they closed they doors and even though they clearly wanted to go home they didn't treat me like that. On the other hand, I suspect the second floor is almost a different store.

Good luck

Posted by: whatisee at February 28, 2005 12:01 PM

i think it's also how you present yourself. we were pretty overwhelmed and timid. if one of us had been a bitch on wheels we'd probably gotten more service.

Posted by: corie at February 28, 2005 12:06 PM

That is outrageous bullshit! I am becoming more and more intolerant of poor customer service, and understand your agita.

I think Tiffany's is used to people coming in and doing ring research, getting specs, and then purchasing their diamond somewhere else: maybe that's the explanation, but it's no excuse. There is some famous "urban business legend" about an old, messily dressed guy who got poor service at Cartier and walked down the block to Harry Winston and bought a hundred thousand dollar necklace... ie, treat every customer like they are your best.

You can always go back in there and tell them you want to buy a ring but haven't done any research and need info -- also tell them that you had been once before and got poor service, but decided to give them a second chance before heading to Cartier.

I've heard the mark-up on Tiffany's diamonds is pretty steep (you can certainly get a nice rock somewhere else) but a Tiffany cut always has good appraisal value... and the settings are sublime and lovely. So, you can pay less for a beautiful diamond through a dealer. I think the diamond district is overwhelming -- you have to have an idea of what you want already. Definitely get specific referrals...

Posted by: amy-from-the-bus at February 28, 2005 3:42 PM

geez louise! why is this so complicated?? i told lex that he should have just given me a twisted pipecleaner as a starter ring. sheesh.

i really hope shopping for wedding bands is easier than this.

Posted by: corie at February 28, 2005 4:01 PM

It may be the masochist in me, but I don't mind these getting-married experiences. As long as you can keep your sense of humor and roll your eyes at some of the absurdities of the industry, it's not so bad.

Then again we have barely started the process. Gulp.

Posted by: Alexis at February 28, 2005 6:03 PM

Yes, sense of humor is very good.

Posted by: petrie at February 28, 2005 8:14 PM

Luckily, we are both very wealthy in that arena!

Posted by: corie at March 1, 2005 9:17 AM

sam and i went to chinatown and walked around the shops there. i didn't want sam to be spending tons of money on the ring, and i wanted something simple, so we just walked around til we saw one that wasn't huge and garrish. took a while, but not more than a couple hours.

and for wedding bands, we're checking out this place: greenkarat.com

Posted by: dahl at March 1, 2005 11:45 AM

My mom made me use her jeweler in Denver, but I brought a picture of the Tiffany ring setting I liked and they had a very close approximation there. I think the key is being somewhere where you trust the people and the place. The tension setting ring was bought in the Slope at the Treasure Chest, I believe.

Posted by: Liz at March 1, 2005 1:05 PM

Hey Corie--I haven't formally congratulated you yet!!! So happy to hear about your engagement. And of course, as someone who has just been through this, (although it will be a year in just a few short months! Yikes!) I am happy to help you with anything you need in planning your wedding.

Again, congratulations from both Aamir and I!

Love, Alex

p.s. married life is fun :)

Posted by: Alex at March 2, 2005 6:27 PM

Thanks, cuz! I aim for a wedding like yours. We'll be in touch. xoxo c

Posted by: corie at March 3, 2005 9:41 AM

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