While at the JCK Trade Show in Las Vegas, I stopped by the exhibitor booth for Ritani Engagement Rings. They’ve recently shook the foundation of the traditional high end designer bridal market, by selling Ritani engagement rings direct to consumers via the internet. At a time when the majority of bridal jewelry designers like Tacori, Verragio, and others, won’t even allow their designs to be offered online, Ritani has chosen to set themselves apart by taking the internet market by storm. Ritani has incorporated executive management from time proven internet ventures like Blue Nile and Amazon. I think that Ritani is poised to succeed in selling internet diamonds, where others might fail. This modern bypass setting in 18k white gold is one of the more popular designs of Ritani engagement rings. They also offer an extensive collection of halo settings, and the ability to custom design an engagement ring. A key advantage to buying from Ritani is the ability to view your diamond ring in-store before purchasing. This means that you can order a custom engagement ring from Ritani, set with the diamond of your dreams, and see it at a local jewelry store without being fully committed to buying it.
The decision to sell Ritani engagement rings online caused the ground to shake for a while, as authorized retailers throughout the country murmured about what effect Ritani’s internet presence would have upon their in-store bridal sales. The approach which Ritani is taking is designed to expand their market by increasing social awareness of Ritani engagement rings. They make it possible for internet buyers to order the product directly online and/or take delivery of their orders from a local jewelry store.
You can now custom design Ritani engagement rings online, select a diamond online, and have it shipped to select local jewelry stores. Where you can walk in and take a look at it, and either purchase it or walk away with no further obligation… Ritani doesn’t require any sort of deposit from you. They are that convinced that you’ll love their diamonds and engagement rings once you see them!
Ritani is most likely right. The odds are that you’ll love fall in love with Ritani engagement rings. Providing that you take the time to carefully select the diamond that you choose as a center stone. This statement is accurate whether you buy Ritani engagement rings online, or from your local jewelry store. As I’m about to demonstrate, Ritani engagement rings offer a broad selection of diamond qualities and levels of diamond-cut precision. I imagine that this is an effort to appeal to the broadest market share possible and increase market recognition of Ritani engagement rings.
Ritani engagement rings are quite popular with people who like designer jewelry. I’m a diamond buyer with 30+ years of experience selecting diamonds that exhibit the highest degrees of diamond cut quality and visual performance. We might be playing in the same sandbox, but we’re likely to see things from different perspectives. Ritani likes to build fantastic sandcastles that look like diamond engagement rings. And I’m inclined to carefully examine each and every grain of sand to determine which ones are going to best reflect the sun.
One of the concepts which you will find that I repeat over and over, throughout the articles which I’ve written, is that every diamond must be considered on an individual basis regardless of the brand name or label used to describe it. This premise is true regardless of whether we’re talking about:
Each vendor has its own selection criteria, advantages, and exceptions… My job is to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. So that you walk away with a diamond which is extremely well cut, and which exhibits exceptional light return and visual performance. I personally don’t care who you purchase from. I don’t care whether you purchase from one of the companies which I affiliate market for, or take the information which I provide on this web site and buy a diamond from a brick and mortar jewelry store. Or whether you purchase from an online vendor that I do not have an affiliate agreement with. I merely want you to buy the best diamond possible for your money.
It’s no secret that my opinion of what constitutes an “Ideal Cut Diamond” differs dramatically from the opinion of most diamond dealers in the industry. This is because I’m simply focused on helping my clients find the best that each company has to offer. I’m not interested in selling everything that is produced by each particular diamond cutter, or which is sitting in the inventory of each vendor. With this in mind, here is what I recommend in terms of proportions:
Total depth between 59 – 61.8%
Table diameter between 53 – 57.5% (possibly 58%)
Crown angle between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees
Pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees
Girdle between thin to medium, faceted (possibly slightly thick)
Culet: GIA “none” or AGS “pointed” (same thing)
I’m partial to the grading standards of the AGS Laboratory (AGS) because I really like the insight provided by their proprietary Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET). The results of this Light Performance evaluation tool provided on their Platinum Light Performance Diamond Quality Documents. However, I also consider diamonds that have been graded by the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory (GIA) if the overall cut rating is Excellent.
Either way, I like to see images of the diamond as seen through an ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and a Hearts & Arrows viewer whenever possible. These reflector scope images provide me with valuable insight into the degree of optical precision, and diamond cut quality beyond what is graded by the gemological laboratories. The basic purpose of a diamond grading report is merely to provide you with an assessment of the basic characteristics of a diamond. To ensure your success buying a diamond, we need to look past the basic characteristics of a diamond and get into the nitty-gritty details of diamond cut quality.
I hereby openly admit that I tend to take things to a level of evaluation which is light years beyond what the majority of the diamond industry is interested in taking into account. Probably because doing so would severely limit the number of diamonds which they sell each year… However my primary focus is not just to sell diamonds. It is to help you buy the most amazing diamond available within your price range and preferred range of characteristics. With the understanding, of course, that in doing so, the sales will follow. I believe in the premise of “help enough people get what they want and you will get what you want.”
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that a company like Ritani is ready for a diamond buyer like me. Nor the customers which I bring to the table… While they are an established designer of bridal jewelry, they’re kind of new to the arena of selling diamonds. The internet is an entirely different market than which is found in traditional brick and mortar retail jewelry stores… Quite simply, people who are shopping for diamonds on the internet tend to be much more detail-oriented than people who walk into jewelry stores and buy Ritani engagement rings without a lot of research.
My clients tend to research and over-analyze everything that they purchase. The odds are that you compare information from multiple sources, look for common threads of truth, investigate the possible reasons for any conflicting information, and end up producing Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations which are filled up with all kinds of diamond data, before reaching the conclusion to buy one particular diamond over another.
If anybody is going to prove that the Ritani business model of custom made engagement rings without a deposit, in the hopes that people will buy them when they see them “live” in a brick and mortar jewelry store, is unsustainable, it’s going to be my clients. This is not a challenge by the way. Please only order custom-designed engagement rings from Ritani in good faith. Apologies in advance to Ritani for the intense, detail-oriented nature of my clients. However I think that we can significantly improve the ratio of success by working together to select each diamond individually, prior to having it set in any of the more popular Ritani engagement rings.
With this in mind, I conducted a search for AGS Ideal-0 graded diamonds on Ritani using this limited search criteria <==== This Big Scary affiliate link====> will preset their search engine to the basic details of my selection criteria for AGS Ideal-0 cut diamonds. Simply adjust the sliders to adjust the search parameters. For the purpose of this example, I limited the range of carat weight between 0.90 – 1.50 carats, D to J color, SI-1 to Flawless clarity, Fluorescence levels between None to Very Strong. My search produced nine results and of those, two diamonds met my selection criteria in terms of the overall proportions. It should be noted that all of the diamonds contained on this list are technically ideal cut. However, I tend to focus on those within the center range of the spectrum to maximize light return. In doing so, I am essentially “cherry-picking” the very best diamonds from Ritani’s inventory and discarding the majority of diamonds that they offer. Every diamond company that I’ve ever worked with has had to get used to this approach of picking the very best and discarding the rest. No need for you to buy anything that I wouldn’t buy myself.[separator]
The two diamonds which caught my interest are this 1.214 carat, F-color, VVS-1 clarity, Ritani Reserve Ideal Cut Diamond. It has an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal-0 and negligible fluorescence. According to the AGS Laboratory, the diamond measures 6.85 – 6.89 x 4.21 millimeters. It has a total depth of 61.2% and a table diameter of 57.7% with a crown angle of 34.7 degrees that is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees. The diamond has a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.
The inclusions are indicated as being pinpoint size diamond crystals, and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals. This is perfect because the primary inclusions are merely tiny diamonds that were trapped within the larger diamond crystal as it formed. I can tell by the ASET image which is provided on the AGS Diamond Quality Document (DQD) that the diamond is making effective use of the light which is entering it, and returning the majority of it back up towards the viewer (that’s you). This is a diamond that I would buy for myself.
The other diamond which I found interesting is a 1.255 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Ritani Reserve Ideal Cut Diamond. This diamond also has an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal-0 and negligible fluorescence. According to the AGS Laboratory, the diamond measures 6.91 – 6.93 x 4.25 millimeters. The diamond has a total depth of 61.4% and a table diameter of 57.9% with a crown angle of 34.7 degrees that is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees. The diamond has a thin to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The primary inclusions are indicated as being crystals, clouds, and needle-shaped diamond crystals.
Now obviously there are more than two diamonds within the inventory of Ritani that are going to meet my selection criteria. I focused on a rather narrow range of characteristics for the purpose of demonstrating that Ritani has diamonds that meet my selection criteria. However, not all of their ideal cut diamonds meet my selection criteria. If I expand the parameters of my search to include diamonds that have been graded by the GIA Laboratory, the number of options increases dramatically. I’m happy to help you narrow down the field of possibilities and select the best diamond for your individual needs if you drop me a note. Likewise, I’m also happy to help you pick out just the right setting from the wide variety of Ritani engagement rings available online.
The Ritani business model of capturing the interest of people shopping for diamonds on the internet and then steering them towards an authorized retail brick and mortar jewelry store is brilliant. Because fewer than 10% of people who turn to the internet to learn about diamonds, will actually purchase a diamond online. However one of the reasons why a lot of people choose to purchase their diamond online is to take advantage of lower diamond prices and to save on sales tax.
With brick and mortar jewelry stores acting as “agents” of the company in practically every state, it seems to me that Ritani is going to have to charge sales tax on internet transactions. This applies even if you choose to have your purchase shipped directly to your front door unless of course, you happen to live in one of the five states where sales tax is not yet collected. I’m not sure that this is really a long term issue since I’m sure that sooner or later the Federal Government will figure out how to charge sales tax for everything bought or sold over the internet… Most states already require residents to declare substantial purchases, such as Ritani engagement rings, on their state income tax form for this purpose anyway. Now whether people actually do so, is a topic for an entirely different blog post.
The obvious upside of the approach which Ritani Bridal is taking with their new internet venture is the ability for customers to shop for diamonds and Ritani engagement rings online, and then have the items sent to a jewelry store in their area so that they can see it. Clearly one of the biggest challenges that people face when buying diamonds online is trying to determine whether the diamond or jewelry item will meet their expectations once it arrives. The marketing guru’s behind the fresh approach which Ritani Bridal presents combine the best that the internet and traditional brick and mortar jewelry stores have to offer.
As much as I like the platform and online experience which Ritani has created, the reality is that you’re not a diamond expert. The odds are that you also have no inclination to become an expert diamond buyer. But I have 30+ years of experience as a diamond buyer. I know exactly what to look for when selecting a diamond for maximum light return and visual performance, which is also known as the sparkle factor. So let’s work together to build the Ritani engagement ring of your dreams!
Whether you choose to order the completed ring online or pick it up from a local jewelry store who is an authorized Ritani dealer, your price for the ring is the same… And the cost of my services cost you nothing additional. My affiliate agreement with Ritani is written so that my fees for service are paid for by Ritani, not by you. Your cost on the diamond and Ritani engagement rings will be the exact same, regardless of whether you work with me or not… So why not have a diamond expert in your corner when you enter the ring? [pun intended] Drop me a note and give me some idea of what you’re looking for. I’ll be happy to help you sift through all of the options available and select the best diamond possible for whichever of the Ritani engagement rings you choose to call your own.