Yes, this is a real job that people have…
As anyone who’s done it will tell you, buying an engagement ring isn’t a walk in the park. There’s a lot of pressure to find the ‘dream ring’, endless budgeting and re-budgeting, and a thousand tiny decisions to make. And that’s before you even walk into your first jewellery store. It can be pretty overwhelming for first time brides and grooms who know next to nothing about buying fine jewellery.
Enter the engagement ring consultant! This is, we have to admit, a pretty amazing sounding job. These consultants take out all the hard work for the happy couple, discussing the kind of ring they want and the budget they have to spend, and then going ring shopping! With their insider knowledge of jewellers and jewellery, they make sure every couple gets the best value ring that most closely matches (or exceeds) that dream ring picture they have in their head. Basically, they cut out hours of research and store visiting.
Best of all, they offer completely unbiased advice and a wide selection of rings – which isn’t always the case with some jewellers, who can be more interested in upselling you to a bigger stone or fancier design. And if you need to, they can get the job done in a matter of weeks.
Little Bird is one such company based in San Francisco. They offer a free initial phone consultation, and then a ‘fly by’ ring review service (to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for) or a ‘wingman’ service, which involves extensive interviews, design consultations and then ring finding missions.
So how does someone become an engagement ring consultant? Firstly, you’ll need to know your stuff. Pretty much every consultant is registered with the GIA or equivalent expert gemological labs around the world. Most also have hands-on experience in the jewellery trade either as jewellers themselves, or in the retail or wholesale sides of the industry. You’ll also need to have a long list of industry contacts at hand who can get you the best prices on the best gems. In short, years of experience and necessary credentials will get you there.
Engagement ring consultants earn money through commission usually, either through the jewellers they source rings from or through a fee charged to the client. Prices fluctuate depending on the consultant’s packages, experience and location, but it’s not exactly a bargain price (although with enough research you can find some seriously good value). Keep in mind that the ring you get will be at least a little cheaper than if you’d done it all alone, so often the cost can balance out.
If you’re feeling bewildered by the minefield that is engagement ring shopping, this might not be a bad way to go!