Buying an engagement can be tougher than falling in love.

Style is key. These days we’re seeing delicate rings paired with round or oval stones for a cool, vintage look.

Getting your money’s worth is paramount, and that can be tricky.

“All diamonds are beautiful, even lower-quality diamonds,” said Josh Hyman, graduate gemologist and owner of Philadelphia Jewelry Appraisers, located on Jewelers Row. “That’s why you not only have to consider the four c’s: carat, clarity, cut, and color; you have to take the time to really know what they mean. And you have to find a jeweler you trust.”

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So, if you’re shopping for a ring, here’s how to do it better:

  • Ask friends for recommendations: Following up on suggestions from friends you know is important, Hyman said. But don’t just take their word. Research more widely, including reading online reviews.

  • Search beyond the web. The internet is great for initial research. But you want to seal the deal in person, Hyman said. “Making eye contact with your salesperson or expert is important,” Hyman said. “And nothing replaces seeing the stones in person.”

  • Call ahead. Tell your jeweler exactly what you are looking for. Be honest about how much you want to spend and what kind of stone you want. Do you want a big stone? Do you want a rare stone? Do you want both? If you are clear about your needs up-front, your salesperson will be better able to help you.

Now that you are prepared, here are some jewelry stores in and around Philadelphia worth checking out.

Barbara Ellick Jewelry

Go for: An on-trend ring

Barbara Ellick’s focus was on bold statement pieces when she opened her eponymous Narberth store 39 years ago. Her daughter, Debbie Wallace, capitalized on the fine jewelry trend. Now, Ellick’s granddaughter, Lexi Wallace-Gottsegen, is turning the business toward millennials and Gen Zs eager to tie the knot. “We are bringing the Barbara Ellick name to a younger generation of customers who seem to have fallen back in love with the classic diamond,” said Wallace-Gottsegen who works with each customer to design the ideal ring. “Each piece is an original,” she said.

📍 705 Montgomery Avenue, Narberth, 📞 610-664-7910, 🌐 barbaraellick.com, 📷 @barbaraellickjewlery, 🕑 Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Egan Jewelry

Go for: Something a little different

Sure, couples can buy a traditional diamond engagement ring at Egan Jewelry, but that’s not owner, Kate Egan’s focus. Her specialty is fashioning the unexpected stone: aquamarine, yellow diamonds, moonstones, and emeralds into a to-die-for engagement ring. “My client wants a ring that’s as interesting as they are,” Egan said. She works with local artisans to craft unique pieces after she helps customers chose their stones. Egan Jewelry is located in The Rittenhouse hotel across from the Egan Rittenhouse, the hotel’s gift shop.

📍 210 West Rittenhouse Square, 📞 215-433-1632, 🌐 eganday.com, 📷 @eganday, 🕑 Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ilyan Jewelry

Go for: A high-end bespoke ring

Amy Fink, cofounder of Haverford-based Ilyan Jewelry, spent 25 years selling diamonds at Norman Landsberg Jewelers in New York City’s Diamond District. Now, along with partner, Kimberly Kimmel, Fink is back in her hometown of Haverford making dreamy rings for couples. For Fink, the initial chitchat is key to a good working relationship. “Before anyone comes to my office, I have a conversation with them so I know exactly what they are looking for,” said Fink, who makes many of her initial contacts in Instagram. “Once we have the diamonds, I send them to a New York jeweler to do the mounting,” Fink said. “I only work in gold and platinum.”

📍 510 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford, 📞 917-214-2864, ✉️ ilyanjewelry@icloud.com, 📷 @ilyanjewelry, 🕑 by appointment only

Marks Jewelers

Go for: A wide variety

Marks Jewelers is 15,000 square feet of retail razzle dazzle. But owner Jim Brusilovskyadded intimacy to his mega showroom space with restaurant booths. “Our Diamond Diner Booths moves the customer away from standing out in the middle of a showroom like they have to do at every other jewelry store,” Brusilovsky said. Currently, the Diamond Diner is comprised of eight booths. Brusilovsky opened Marks Jewelers in 1995. The Montgomeryville-based family-owned store offers both eco-friendly, lab grown varieties, selections from the popular Forevermark brand, and hundreds of others.

📍 975 Bethlehem Pike, Montgomeryville, 📞 215-362-7132, 🌐 marks-jewelers.com, 📷 @marksjewelerspa, 🕑 Tue. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Wed.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Rosnov Jewelers

Go for: Help if you don’t know where to start

Scott Rosnov gets so into the ring-buying process at Rosnov Jewelers, he’s even planned engagements. “Everyone has grand ideas about how they want their ring to look, but they don’t really know how to get there,” Rosnov said. “It’s my job to help them factor in all the details like cut, quality, and most importantly cost. That’s the only way we can get the perfect ring for them.” Rosnov is the fifth generation of jewelers to run Rosnov Jewelers. Everything is made in-house, so turnaround is fast.

Address: 320 York Road, Jenkintown, 📞 215-885-4218, 🌐 rosnov.com, 📷 @rosnovjewelers, 🕑 Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Safian & Rudolph Jewelers

Go for: Old-school Jewelers Row

Safian & Rudolph has been a Jewelers Row anchor since 1952. These days, the 1,000-square-foot showroom is helmed by third-generation jeweler Rich Goldberg. In 2020, Goldberg invited shoppers to peruse his store’s glass cases virtually and reach out to him via his new service, Ask Safian. Shoppers can text questions directly to 267-284-0440. Goldberg, or another sales associate, will respond with timely answers. “There is a certain experience you can only get in a brick-and-mortar store,” Goldberg said. “But, at the same, time people crave the ease of online retailing. We are merging the two and adding my family’s personal retail touch.”

📍 701 Sansom St., 📞 215-627-1834, 🌐 safianrudolph.com, 📷 @safianrudolph, 🕑 Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Steven Singer

Go for: Flexibility (and a backup plan)

Steven Singer takes pride in making engagement ring shopping at his eponymously named jewelry store easy-peasy. Shoppers can visit the 1,200-square-foot showroom both in person and virtually. And every salesperson is well-versed in what Singer calls his Diamonds 101 class. There are thousands of rings to chose from. And if your ring doesn’t go over well with your sweetie, or, God forbid, they say, no, Singer promises he will remake the ring, exchange it, or refund the money in full. “It’s how we guarantee love,” Singer says.

📍 739 Walnut St., 📞 215-627-3242, 🌐 ihatestevensinger.com, 📷 @stevensingerjewelers, 🕑 daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., call first for an appointment.

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