Internet Debates Whether a $25 Engagement Ring Is Okay

It all started with an ad, that’s been credited to Kay Jewelers, advertising a $24.99 diamond ring.

Even though the ring in question was billed as a diamond rather than an engagement ring, the ad still sparked a feverish debate—particularly on Facebook—about whether a woman should accept an engagement ring that costs $25. The story made local news stations; this post from Hawaii News Now attracted hundreds of comments.

In true Internet fashion, the opinions on both sides were equally vociferous.

Most of the comments were along these lines:

But some stuck up for the idea of spending money on an engagement ring:

One story, on Stress Free Bride, even argued both sides.

My take is that, as we are all painfully aware, consumers now have the ability to buy whatever they want. We are no longer in a world where consumers can only go to two jewelers in town, and they both only sell diamond engagement rings. Today shoppers have unlimited choice. And they are taking advantage of it, even for tradition-bound occasions like engagements.

Millennials in particular are a cash-strapped demographic, and not all of them have the money—or inclination—to pay for an expensive ring. That’s something the industry will have to come to terms with and figure out how to respond to.

Still, to me, this debate shows the need for the industry to demonstrate the value of its products. The link between a diamond and love is clear and well-established. But while consumers don’t think twice about buying $300 sneakers, or $1,000 handbags, they regularly balk at spending a few thousand dollars on engagement rings.

And yet, it takes a lot of painstaking craft to make a ring (of the non-$25 variety). It also takes a lot of effort and money to get diamonds out of the ground. Plus, consumers are buying a product that is intended to hold its value and truly last forever.

Read any of the comments to any of these posts—it’s clear, many consumers don’t know all that. Perhaps that’s something the industry can think about how to rectify in the year ahead.

Still, in the end, perhaps the best response to the whole debate is this one:

(Image from Facebook)

JCK News Director

11 responses to “Internet Debates Whether a $25 Engagement Ring Is Okay”

  1. Ethically, any jeweler must disclose in full what kind of metal, what quality of diamond in full 4C-grading scale: clarity, color, cut, and carat weight.
    Taking a cheap base metal ring, put some diamond chips not full cut with 56 facets like other round brilliant cut standard, labeling it as “diamond ring” is a shame! They will ask consumers for purchasing “extended warranty” to make the money to pay employees while the ring will be in the shop more than on the finger of a receiver! It is made to fall stones out!
    They are loosing too much money this year, from swapping diamonds to sexual harashment; they keep going to unethical solutions hoping it floats
    Good luck!

    • It not unethical, It is a diamond accent ring set in sterling silver, they are actually 15 single cut stones in the ring it just slight less than the 1/20th the are required to note on the merchandise and they are getting what they intended for the ring, it is actually a loss leader so people will come into the store and buy more, Tiffany can make something of the same metal but have 500% mark up from that $24.99 price. Yet the process to create is the same. Grocery stores have been doing that for decades with advertised items while others are not on sale. Rings that are 15,000 or more have stones fall out, that is why we inspect every six months and contrary to believe some customers have had these guest appreciation rings for over 10 years without incident, it is all about wear and proper care of jewelry.

  2. There is a E-ring for everyone on this planet no matter what your budget is. Though if anyone thinks a $24.99 ring can be worn everyday for life, they will learn soon “You get what you pay for”. My father always said “The sweetness of a good price is long forgotten with the bitterness of poor quality”!

    • Oh you can definitely buy a $25 ring that will actually last you a lifetime with average wear. Plenty of craftsman make puzzle rings or Claddagh rings out of silver or base metals that are lovely and well made for around that price range. I have a flower ring on Shapeways that I can print out and have polished to put in your hand for $25 and it’s definitely sturdy enough to stand the test of time. But Kay can’t even handle a basic repair without turning a ring into garbage so I doubt this ring is any different.

  3. A jewelry store selling an engagement ring for 25 bucks is just plain stupid. There are only so many engagements per capita so Kays is just making their financial situation worse. It’s not Thanksgiving dinner with the turkeys being a loss leader while grocery stores make up the loss with all the trimmings. It’s an engagement ring. Treat it as such and show value and actually give value the customer is better off. Whoever came up with the brilliant idea of selling engagement rings as a loss leader needs to go back to the grocery industry.

  4. If this is acceptable to a person receiving it, he/she should be prepared for a lifetime of living on the cheap (regardless if the giver is poor or just overly frugal, this is how the giver sees things). EVERYONE knows an engagement ring is one of the most significant purchases one can make in one’s life. If one can’t afford an acceptable ring, skip the engagement ring and just buy a nice plain, slim wedding band (in sterling if need be). That is what I would want. Expecting anyone to be thrilled with a 24.99 piece of crap that Kay uses as an advertising stunt is just not acceptable. Skip the engagement ring, go to city hall and get married.

  5. I feel such move by Kay jewellers is good for the the independents. I really want more and more people to see this add and buy this $24.99 ring with their lifetime warranty package which may cost $5.00 or $7.50 max.. so its free sizing and life time free replacement of diamond and free rhodium.

    To me, the message Kay jewellers has put out is Kay Jewellers are now a dollar jewellery store and need Target jewellery, Walmart jewellery and costume jewellery store customers.

    I hope the Kay management run more such adds with $ $24.99 diamond products, maybe even $4.99 dollar silver hoop earrings.

    Maybe next time the add is ” he will go to Kay instead of Jared’s, How will a one cheap date money last forever”

    • I have read few of your opinion on here. I never thought about it this way but your are right and have a unique mindset. I agree the independents in our industry should come together stop show rooming & this will help slow down online shopping. Customers come in to view and get information about fine jewelry products & timepiece’s from the stores before buying it online as they are unsure about their purchase online. Like you, I feel the manufacturers & designers that sell to us retailers and also sell much cheaper to online websites or directly to consumers should mention it clearly to us, which I doubt they will, so we independent retailers can make a decision to keep and promote the product based on such crystal clear information.

      I will like to request JCK to have such article or a discussion or debate about show rooming with interesting people like you on the panel in the next JCK show.

  6. My problems with the ring are more along the lines of the fact that (as some of the posts in the article indicate) an engagement ring is supposed to be for life. At some point it’s going to break past the point of any warranty that Kay offers and then it’ll be gone. I completely agree with the idea of spending within your means but a simple band in whatever metal fits your budget can usually stand the test of time.

    You can get inexpensive and still get good craftsmanship. Unless someone here ACTUALLY wants to make the argument that these cheaply priced Kay products are well made enough for daily wear on someone’s finger? I’m sure most of us have had their stuff cross our paths for repairs, it’s not pretty. People get something that, to them, LOOKS expensive but isn’t crafted well and they expect it to last at least as well as a $500 ring. This one simply won’t unless you string it up on a chain and wear it only around your neck.

    There are so rings out there that are $25 but well crafted and will actually last you a lifetime with good care. They probably aren’t gold and diamonds but they’re beautiful and have meaning all the same. This one’s just trying to let people feel like they cheated the system but it’ll only lead to disappointment for them.

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