One day we will likely all be there, hopefully only once! Whether on our knee or looking down lovingly at the person who’s taken to one knee to propose, the act of proposing is one of the most exhilarating moments in our lives. I’ve had the pleasure of being there recently and there’s nothing quite like the love of your life solidifying the fact that they’d like to be with you "forever."
In the emotionally sweeping moment of proposing and the joy that follows it’s easy to forget just how stressful it can be to get all the detail right. Even now as I plan a small and modest wedding, my stress has been severely mitigated by websites and apps created for wedding planning. It seems like every step of the wedding planning process somehow comes down to an app, YouTube video or hours of skimming through Pinterest.
If most wedding planning can be reduced to having the right apps and websites in your corner, why can’t the engagement process? One glaringly obvious gap in online resources for wedding and engagement planning that many perfectionists likely already struggle with is picking a ring.
In my case I had no idea or preference for my ring, I didn’t even care if it was a diamond but for my fiance, who wanted the moment to be perfect, stressing about details like color, shape, size, and carat became a concern of his weeks before he decided to surprise me with a ring. In the end, he decided to go to a jewelry store because he felt he needed the advice of professionals when deciding how the ring should look and what it should cost.
Today’s startup, Rare Carat wonders if this could all be done another way. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered by IBM Watson, Rare Carat acts like the "Kayak for diamonds." Using their site, users can search for diamonds under specific criteria and buy smarter by finding the best price for them. Chatbots on the site ensure that you’re never without support.
Users can filter their search results by diamond, choosing the shape (there’s a helpful picture of each shape) and the price they prefer. They can even view an example of how it looks on the hand of the potential wearer. Users can further filter their choices by style (think of the way the diamond is centered or if there is more than one stone on the band etc.) or by the retailer. Customers who prefer to buy in the store can select how far they are willing to go to purchase their rings or they can just select from various stores on the online retailer’s list.
This method of searching ensures that customers don’t overpay for engagement rings, only purchase rings from tried and true local and online buyers who are transparent and fairly priced. Any ring from any store can be compared by geologists who aren’t associated with any retailer so the advice is unbiased.
If you’re feeling stuck or just have too many choices, the adorable Watson-enabled chatbot, Rocky can give you a hand… or rather a paw (Rocky is a smartly dressed cartoon bear). Rocky will look through variables that affect the price of the diamond, like the carat, cut and polish and use mathematical filtering techniques to help the user assess possible trade-offs with choosing one diamond over another.
This not only brings transparency to the diamond buying process but it gives the buyer(s) freedom to choose what they want and need from a much wider selection instead of having to rely on assistance from local stores. Since you aren’t being baited to buy something for someone’s commission, the suggestions you receive are genuine. Plus there’s not that awkward moment of looking at rings, knowing they’re too much and having to wiggle your way out of escaping the store (or maybe that’s just me?).
So far Rare Carat has powered 4,624,200 searches for 2,867,458 users and that’s pretty impressive! I plan to keep my engagement ring and forgo getting a wedding ring but my fiance and I agree that having an unbiased and educated friend in his pocket when he was out shopping for rings would have made a huge difference.
I personally love the service and the opportunity to receive tailored assistance matching the wants and price range of the buyer. The only feature I would add would be some kind of way to ensure the user that all diamonds purchased were collected ethically and don’t contribute to conflicts; that personally would be a deal breaker for me (not that I had the choice of purchasing my ring).
All in all the apps and websites that allow us to choose how we buy, pay for and understand the products in our lives are making all the difference, from ordering dresses online and trying them on virtually to finding the ring to put on the finger of your loved one.