A nifty tip for ring shopping from a UK bride

Guest post by Christie

The German and I bought our wedding rings last week and followed the most awesome tip from a friend. Forgive me if this is totally obvious but we had no idea that we could do it so I thought I would share…

We went to Hatton Gardens, which, for those of you who aren't from London, is just one whole long street of shiny jewellery shops, and found one that looked nice enough to go into (The German chose on the basis that it had an aquarium and a pretty girl in it). We sat down, chose rings (I had no idea there were so many different sorts of plain gold bands, crikey), got them to write down exactly what it was that we had just picked… and then wandered up to the other end of the road to a wholesaler called Cookson's where we picked exactly the same rings for less than half the price.

Photo courtesy of Cookson's website.

I felt a bit bad for the pretty — and extremely helpful — sales lady in the fancy shop; the wholesalers is a rather unmagical Argos sort of a set-up and you take home your rings unpolished and in a little plastic bag. But hey, it turns out we actually prefer the unpolished finish and instead of costing £665 they were in total £281.75 (£90+vat for mine; whatever the rest of that is for The German, fat fingers). Admittedly £140 each still really hurts but the blow was definitely cushioned by the totally astonishing saving. And of course we LOVE them.

Anyway, I assume it's possible to do this all over the country, not just down here, so thought I'd share.

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Comments on A nifty tip for ring shopping from a UK bride

  1. I got to pick out my engagement and wedding rings, and I purchased them on ebay, custom made. I got them for about 85% off what I would have paid at a jeweler. It definitely pays to shop around.

  2. I'm going the Overstock.com route, which is probably very similar only online instead of in-store. Getting the exact same thing made by the exact same people for half the money is definitely worth it.

  3. We got ours custom-made in Damascus steel from eBay, and paid a total of about $400 instead of $400 each for the same rings elsewhere.

  4. If you're just looking for plain bands in different widths and metals, hit the Rio Grande catalog (riogrande.com). It's a jewelry supply catalog that quite a few jewelers order from and mark up. You'll likely have to order the catalog–just register as a student or hobbyist to get your customer number and use it to place your order. I've been ordering from them since I was a metals student in high school and university and have always been happy with the products. You'll still need to hit a jeweler to size it if you're not their standard sizes, but it will be LOADS cheaper than anything retail. If you have a stone already or will be inheriting one in a setting you aren't fond of you can also order mounts for engagement rings and wedding sets that take stones as and take them to a jeweler to set and size for you. One of my friends bought his fiancee's yellow diamond at a gem show (intergem.com) from a diamond dealer for about $600 and had it set a few weeks later in a white gold setting and bought matching plain bands at the same time. His bride got exactly the ring she wanted and they saved a ton taking that route. The gem show circuit is also a great way to see a lot of different rings and stones at great prices if your city doesn't have a diamond district of it's own. It also happens to be a great place to shop for jewelry for your bridal party or yourself as they tend to carry all types of things at all price ranges.

  5. I got NotFroofy's ring from eBay UK–even though we live in the US. I wanted something that was 22 karat gold, to match the one she was giving me, and it is a lot easier to find those in the UK than here. As a bonus, because the ring was a used one, we avoided the environmental costs involved in making a new ring.

  6. For brides that live in Asia, you can have rings custom made for dirt cheap in Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, etc. A good idea if you don't plan on getting gemstones (at least in Thailand) 😉

    • I realise this post is getting old, but…I don't suppose you have some leads for Korea? I've been looking for rings but they seem to all have diamonds (or CZs) in them. Just wondering 🙂

  7. We did something similar for our bands — browsed at several jewelry shops and then found what we wanted online for about one-third the price. (I was a sucker for me e-ring, though, and we bought it immediately in the store.)

  8. 🙂 Don't you just love Haton Garden? This area is also full of independant designers in their little studios upstairs
    if you are looking for somthing more original you can also commission a jewellery designer who will endeavour to create something bespoke and more unique just for you
    Enjoy the treat !
    Catherine Marche

  9. when picking our rings in the UK we found http://www.weddingrings-direct.com/ really useful – they do a service where for a fee they will post you the rings you are interested in mocked up in silver for you to play with at home for a week or so. My partner plays guitar and is a computer programmer, and he doesn't usually wear jewellery, so it was really important that the ring we picked for him was super-comfy. We did feel a bit silly for not even checking out Hatton Garden, though – we do live in London, and its where my dad's engagement ring, so it would have been nice, but it was also great being able to do all our umm-ing and ah-ing without a sales assistant looking over our shoulders!

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