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Choosing her Diamond Engagement Ring


Welcome to the Ringmaster Podcast. In this episode, we will introduce you to our Design Chief and our Diamond Experts, as well as teach about how to properly come across when choosing the proper engagement ring for her, and how to go about it. 


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Podcast Transcript


Episode Transcript

Koorosh: Here we are in our podcast about engagement rings and buying jewelry in general but mostly in this podcast we're going to talk about diamond engagement rings and purchasing a diamond. Let me introduce myself. My name is Koorosh Daneshgar, I'm a chief designer of Wedding Bands Company. I’ve done engagement rings for more than 28 years now. I started when I was 17 years old. So, you can figure out how old I am! Here, I have Terry Hanley, terry, go ahead and give an introduction.

Terry: Well, I've been doing this. Talk about how old I am! I've been doing this for a long, long, long time.

Koorosh: Give us a time frame, like a little bit of a background. 

Terry: About 45 years. I fell into it fairly quickly at a very young age, early teens and I fell in love with the industry and I've been doing git ever since. I started at the Gemological institute in New York City. Came back to Chicago and I've been here in Chicago, operating primarily in the jewelry district for, again close to 40 years. So, my real love/interest/forte has always been gemstones, diamonds, and colored stones. I just absolutely love what I do and dealing with, as I say, "I deal with beautiful things and happy people." So, what more can I ask for in life?

Koorosh: Thank you. And here we have Mory Tafreshi. Mory please give us an introduction.

Mory: Hi, my name is Mory Tafreshi. I'm not going to tell you how old I am. But I’ve been in this industry on the wholesale side and the retail side for almost 13 years. And my background was software engineering and finance before I came to this industry about 13 years ago. So, I was doing that for almost 20 years of my life. And passion is to help people use my knowledge. As long as I've earned it and as much as I've earned it in the last 15 years in this industry. And to help people find what they love. I'm really passionate about it because I want to help out people who don't know anything about diamonds, engagement rings, gemstones. And as much as I know it, I will try to help them get the piece that they need for life.

Koorosh: Thank you, thank you so much all of you. Really, here, our goal in this podcast is to give some value to our listener, and we understand we will possibly expand this to making a purchase, and hopefully you will only do it one time in your life. For me, I always say "Marriage is too important for ordinary jewelry." This piece is a little different than other purchases you are going to make in your life because it's a symbol of commitment, it's based on something you're going to start the relationship and family with. And it has to be done right and we have to think of all the facts of this purchase as far as what is the best idea as far as the diamond, as far as the design, and what she cares about, what she loves, how she can wear it. So, through this podcast every day we're going to pick a part of it, and we're going to expand more and explain how this is. For the first podcast we're going to talk about what we should do before buying an engagement ring. So often I have people, who what they'll do is ask friends "where did you buy your engagement ring, how did you do it." and it is important who you ask. Like, who's your teacher, who do you ask to give you the right advice. That's important. Also, where do you get your information? Where do you read, and where do you grab that information?

Terry: Yes, I'm digesting that line of thinking. It is, yeah I think looking the room. Look around the room of your group of friends. There's always going to be those that have dove very, very deeply into that process. There are always going to be those that just went out and bought it on a whim and were done with it. But talk to them, see what your buddies have gone through, the process they've gone through, and how they do it. Probably in terms of what you do to get started on this. My strongest, strongest, strongest recommendation on this, is to watch her. Watch the way she reacts to her friend's rings. Note the styles that capture her eye, note the shapes of the diamond that captures her attention. Watch her and how she reacts. The element of surprise here is, in my opinion, and the romance is the most important aspect of it. So, try to play on that. Try to make this something incredibly special and incredibly exciting for her. But the best way for you to engage that, because once you get into the diamond process, that's mostly analytical stuff, and most guys I've experienced and worked with over the years really get into that. They love analyzing that stuff to death. But the picking of the mounting and picking of the design, the look of the piece can be agonizing, because most guys want to do it perfectly. So, watch how she responds. Get some insight as to what she likes and doesn't like, and so on.

Koorosh: Okay, Mory go ahead, I want to hear your opinion.

Mory: It's pretty much almost exactly the same that Terry said. But he's right. I'll always tell them exactly the way I listen to my clients because I say whatever is important for you, is important for me. It doesn't matter if it has nothing to do with the value. It could be a $5000 engagement ring; it could be a $50000 engagement ring. But whatever makes you and her happy, it makes me happy. If you're a lawyer and I come into your office, I'm putting my life in your hands because I know nothing about the law. But if you come to me for this matter, then I would expect you, and respect that if you do that, you put your information into my hand. So, it's my job to do the job for you. That's going to be regarding the size, color, clarity, value, design. Anything that you communicate with me correctly, I'm going to put the right design on her finger.

Koorosh: I want to just add that if you heard there was a train in the background...I want you guys to see that we're recording this, not in a studio or anything. We're recording in our store. This is how it is when you come into our store.

Terry: I would like to add, that we're in the heart of the jewelry district here in the heart of Chicago. Probably on the prime corner of the jewelry industry here in the Midwest. So, the real sounds you hear in the background, are the real sounds of the big city. So welcome to it.

Koorosh: One thing I'd like to add is talking about asking friends to see what your friends around you wear and what they do. I often hear from people saying, "She doesn't care about any of this and it won't matter to her." And I understand and respect that. As Mory said, it's not about how much money you spent, but how much you care, that's the most important part of this purchase before you start. I think for a girl who is going to trust her son or a partner who's going to trust the person who they're going to start their life with. It is important to see what you're going to do when you are in the pinnacle of your love. So, you're right here, very passionate and you would love to get something beautiful for her. What did you do and how did you do it? So, it is important you put a little bit more studying into it. Be cautious and see what you're planning to purchase before you present to her. One thing I also see, people lose direction. I remember that I had a teacher that was gave me this example. "If somebody was going to be in a race to help a cause. He wanted to be the best runner, but he was so focused on that, he forgot about the cause. When we're trying to reach our goal, our main focus is the main part of the goal. I think that purchasing an engagement ring, the goal is to make her happy and create a piece so that anytime she looks at it, she's going to remember you, she's going to remember commitment, she's going to remember that joyful love and the beginning of the relationship. So, I'm going to also tell you another story. I had a person who just came to me and asked "How do I start designing a ring? I don't want her to find out." And I told him to start taking pictures of her. What she wears, what she's using as jewelry, or other pieces that you think she has a connection with.

Terry: Her style. You need to find her style.

Koorosh: And he came back with 30 pictures, and they were so perfect. I had pictures of her handbag, some jewelry, custom jewelry, and even clothes and furniture. I remember she said, 'This is something that her grandma gave to her' and things like that. As a designer, I look at the whole scene and I see it all, and it inspires me to do something else. This is going to be one of the things you can do. So if you want to keep the whole thing a secret and create something unique, then it's a good idea to start gathering pieces that she likes, even if they aren't pieces of jewelry, and take it to a designer who can give you some options and ideas to create a piece that is going to be connected to what she likes. So, Terry, would you like to add a story about that?

Terry: You know, my favorite projects are when the guys come in with a definite, basic overall look of the piece. They want something antique, something unique, something unusual, something contemporary. Once they have that definite traction down, that tells me that they are focused on what this is going to look like and what the investment incurs sometimes and their energy and heart that they will be putting in the piece. It's fun to see the guys get excited about the design process. It's fun to see them be very interested in it, and engaged, no pun intended, but engaged in the process. That gives me fuller satisfaction, just knowing that this is that important to them.

Mory: What I would say is that seven of ten people, the guys have no clue what she wants. That's why I'll always tell them that you have to always rely on her, to listen to her, or if you've seen any pictures online or any of her friends. If you can send us those pictures, we can use them as a base comparison and then we can build. My concern as I always tell my clients is, I would rather know, not about the price, but if I know the size of the diamond they're looking for, because if we start doing all the research and then I find out that they want half a carat, vs a 3 karat, that makes a large difference in design. The most important thing I always tell them is to make the engagement ring really beautiful is the proportions. I can't put a 3-karat diamond on a really, really thin band. It doesn't look good. It doesn't matter if you spend $50,000. I can't put a half a karat or a one karat diamond on a really beautiful mounting and I can still make it look like a $50,000 ring. So, the size absolutely does matter, but relate it to the design of the ring. That's the important part.

Terry: One thing I think I'll add in terms of your lines of thought. I always suggest that you approach this after having already established a budget in your head as to where you may want to be, in terms of total number. Do you want to spend $5000 or do you want to spend $2500, or do you want to spend $25,000? Again, that just gives us the ability to work in reality in terms of what you can accomplish. It is just going to be ultimately respectful of you and your time involved.

Koorosh: Obviously, other parts of this subject is that we all know in the real world, the one that makes the decision is the woman, in the house. These days, people tend to live together before getting married. We can't just say "Oh, you want to get married? I'm going to get the beautiful ring; then honey you're going to marry me." It's a little bit more than that. I think if you guys want to make that purchase, then it's not just the engagement right. It's to get married. You'll end up asking "Would you marry me."

Terry: I do find it interesting as I would finalize or expediting a deal, that this cementing of that decision. This is you making that commitment to yourself that yes, I really am ready to do this. Oh my god I'm doing this!" That's a huge deal and I can see it on the looks of guy's faces sitting across from me. "Oh my god I really am taking this step!" And this is what's important to me right now.

Mory: I strongly believe that when you get to that point where you're sitting in front of me, then you've already analyzed and made your decision. I wouldn't say 100%, but 95%. You're there. That's why you walked into the jeweler's store. It's not like you're going to walk into a car dealership and say "Hey I want to buy a Mercedes or a BMW. I just want to test drive it. I'm not going to buy it today, but I'll come back next year." But when it comes to this kind of decision, I think it's very, very deep and you've made your choice, because you're already with your girl. You know that you're pretty much compatible. I wouldn’t say 100% but 80-90%. So, once you've made your decision you come in and talk to me about these details, then I believe that you're already there. It's my job is to accomplish and finish the job. I still need your help, but again, as Koorosh said, that pretty much we know that in life, your partner is going to make most of the decision, but it's compatibility. About how much trust you have in each other. It could be 70-30, it's not always 50-50 for sure. But it could be 80-20, but it's still a matter of compromise.

Koorosh: I think that one of the things is that's special is if you're living together, there has to be a conversation as far as finance, how you're going to do it, what you're going to do, and sometimes I see people feel that "we have to fix our home before we get married." We have to spend our money on things like redecorating or remodeling or moving to a bigger house first. So, I have a lot of projects, and Terry has many projects. And if they're buying the house at the same time, they're buying the ring, then there's a little bit of a situation. Remember, you're purchasing something very huge and your credit will be under a lot of pressure, and maybe you want to finance your ring a little bit. And then suddenly they both hit and at the same time to blindside you.

Terry: And that's important to keep in your head. Your priorities and what's going on in your life right now. Do you need to remodel your kitchen right now before you do this? Or, as my experience shows since I'm an old man, my experience in life says that there's always going to be a kitchen that needs to be repaired, always a bathroom that needs remodeling. But reality is, she's going to have a huge impact on that, and what your line up of priorities should be. Just follow your heart, follow your heart, follow your heart.

Koorosh: On the other hand, what you really want to do in this situation is half of it is you, and half is your other half. You have to bring it up and answer so many questions. Some of these questions we get, I'll address a couple of them. I design and do custom work and after I created it, she doesn't like it. Imagine spending so much money, you're going to create a beautiful ring. You're going to go through all those stages, and get the beautiful diamond engagement ring, what if she doesn't like it.

Terry: I always think one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is about your budget? What is doable here? What is her finger size and how do I deal with that? It's always a good question, how do I establish that

Mory: I've acquired this knowledge of the past 6 or 7 years and they ask me "Okay, now that we've finalized the whole thing, because I'm buying it now, how do I propose? I have never done this before. What are your thoughts on it? Where should I do it? When should I do it? How long after I've purchased after the ring should I do it?" These are the types of things that go through their minds.

Koorosh: Another thing that comes to mind is that so often, how much should I spend? What is a fair amount? Some people make, well most of the people we work with already have finished school, established a good job and they're ready to move on to the next step. So how much of their salary should they spend? So, it's something you're going to have to calculate. You guys live together, she knows how much you make, you know how much she makes, so the question comes down to "What's a fair amount?"

Terry: Other question that we can hear are: How am I going to go about this? What is my approach on this? Do I do tons of research on the internet? Do I just go to a hundred different stores and talk to a hundred different people? What is the process, the journey I'm going to take through the process itself? I think there's something you should be careful about is that you can get very wrapped up for extremely long periods of time, and you can get yourself lost. So, remember to keep your head in focus with the questions and the criteria you set yourself up with.

Koorosh: I want to add something. When I was 23, I was in the army and we had officer who gave us some advice that I remember. If you want to make a decision and you want to do something, you need to know a minimum of 40% and a maximum of 70%. Let's say 100% is you basically becoming a gemologist or you becoming a designer. That's never going to happen! You're trying to buy one ring, one time. You want to use that knowledge to possibly even help out your friends who are going to get married, but you don't want to become a designer! You don't want to become a gemologist! So, when you're getting your information, 40%-70% is what you need to listen, learn everything, and then pick the person you want to work with. And then you make the decision. Some people want to do this on their own or do it all online and then put it in their shopping cart, then just click and buy. So, we're going to talk about the pros and cons of this later.

And that's all for today! I appreciate you staying with us this long. We're going to have another episode, feel free to jump between each episode. Drop us an email at, and feel free to leave a comment or any questions so we can answer them. Thank you!

Terry: Have a great day!

Mory: Have a fantastic day!