After reading all the great advice here on Pricescope, I proposed to my girlfriend in Kauai last week and she said yes!
My journey to the perfect ring for my girlfriend started at B&M stores here in Seattle. The B&M stores were a great way to narrow down the types of rings she liked, but I didn’t find them a great way to shop for diamonds due to lack of objective information beyond very basic 4Cs.
I’ve seen many questions here on PS about whether a man should surprise a woman with a marriage proposal. Although we had talked about the possibility of marriage and each of us had said we wanted to spend our lives together, I still wanted to surprise her with a proposal. However, I really had no idea about the type of ring she would like. We casually browsed through the ring collections at some local stores, which helped narrow down the focus. Learning more about all the different types and styles of rings, I eventually decided I wanted her to have something that would be perfect for her. All that said, I eventually told her that I wanted her to look at a few rings I thought were nice.
We liked many of these rings, but none were quite right. Luckily, we happened upon Mark Patterson. As soon as we saw his rings online, we knew we found the perfect ring. We just needed to see them in person.
Meanwhile, I had narrowed my choice of diamond vendors to and . Both provided great information online and I was satisfied based on information here that both would provide a great diamond at a fair price. In the end, I decided on both because they had the diamond I was looking for and because I liked the somewhat more personal service they can provide as a smaller store.
I would echo all of the very positive comments on PS about . Everyone there was extremely helpful over the phone. There was never any pressure to buy. Price information is transparent. There is a wealth of detailed information about each diamond for sale. I rarely have what I would consider a “perfect” buying experience with any business, but I give my “perfect” rating!
Meanwhile, we found a local B&M store that sells Mark Patterson rings. We were very excited to go to this store and try on the rings. The sales staff there was very helpful in showing us the rings and measuring her finger for size. At this point I was ready to buy the ring from the local store and the diamond from .
Enter the Internet Diamond Tax. When I told the saleswoman at our B&M about my intention to buy a diamond elsewhere, she nicely asked if she could tell me about some of their diamonds. I was open to this but told her I was fairly set on buying the diamond elsewhere. We discussed a few options and she told me she’d call me in a couple days with a price quote on the ring (Mark Patterson makes each ring to order for a specific diamond).
When the B&M salesperson called me back, she gave me a price on the ring, and also mentioned a $350 setting fee. Of course, the B&M store wasn’t setting the diamond, Mark Patterson was. Long story short, she told me this fee was “store policy”, or in my opinion, the “Internet Diamond Tax.” In addition to the $350 “setting fee,” I felt the salesperson was pushing me to buy a diamond from her. At this point I decided I would not work with this store.
So my challenge became buying a ring from Mark Patterson through a reseller (he doesn’t sell direct) when the store I would not work with was the ONLY store in Seattle to sell his rings.
Luckily, I found Deb at Borsheims in Omaha. One call to Deb and she knew exactly what ring I wanted, had a great relationship with Mark Patterson, and assured me she was happy to work with a diamond I purchased elsewhere.
Deb was true to her word. I was leaving for Kauai in about 3 weeks. I hadn’t even purchased the diamond yet. Deb assured me if I could get the diamond to her right away, she would have the ring to me in time for Kauai. So I bought the diamond from and had it sent to Borsheims. Borsheims appraised it, and sent it to Mark Patterson so he could create the ring.
I purchased insurance from Jeweler’s Mutual for the setting and the diamond, even though both weren’t together yet. JM was easy to work with and supported this scenario. I would definitely recommend working with them as well. Having the diamond and setting insured separately allowed me to feel better about allowing it to be shipped FedEx, which was critical for my timeline.
There were a few snags along the way that put pressure on the timeline, but Deb made it all happen in time. Without her WAY above the call of duty actions, the ring wouldn’t have been done in time. She kept me completely informed all along the way, even when the news wasn’t always good (delays…).
Deb at Borsheims really took a personal interest in our story. She was very encouraging along the way, and I could feel her excitement growing as the ring came together. When we hit a snag in the production process, I could also feel her disappointment and worry along with mine. Honestly, although Deb is halfway across the country from me, I trusted her completely and felt better working with her than I did with anyone locally. If anyone is looking for a B&M, try Deb M. at Borsheims. We’ll be buying the wedding ring(s) from her as well.
I got the ring on Wednesday in time for our Saturday departure. I carried it in a money belt all the way to Kauai and stored it in the hotel safe until I proposed.
I proposed to my beautiful girlfriend at a nearly deserted Waimea Canyon in Kauai on a beautiful sunny day overlooking the gorgeous canyon and the blue Pacific Ocean. She said yes and I had prepared another traveler to take a picture shortly after.
We are both so happy and can’t thank , Deb at Borsheims, and Mark Patterson enough. Thanks also to everyone here on Pricescope for providing the information I needed to make this all happen.