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The Wove Story
I don’t usually include this in reviews, but before we dig into the bones of this review, it’s worth taking a moment to talk about the back story of Wove, because I imagine it’s pretty unique for a jewelry company. It’s a really interesting story that has informed their current approach and provides one of Wove’s strongest differentiators.
The two founders of Wove are both ex-Rangers in the US Army, one of whom had grown up with parents who ran a jewelry store.
Returning home from deployment is a hugely emotional moment, it’s not uncommon for soldiers to a meet their partner after their tour, drop to a knee and propose.
To make this magical moment happen though, they needed to have an engagement ring. And, as you might imagine, finding a beautiful diamond ring in Afghanistan while you’re in the middle of a combat tour is pretty tricky!
Wove founder Andrew Wolgemuth started arranging video calls with jewelers from his family company to design rings for other soldiers.
The jewelers would make a convincing duplicate of the design out of with brass and glass to mail over, so that when the soliders landed, they would have a sparkly ring in-hand for the proposal. The real ring would then be picked up later.
After leaving the Army, Andrew joined forces with another ex-Ranger to establish Wove, and the ‘try before you buy’ part of the ring buying process is now firmly baked into the Wove experience and it’s something that definitely sets them apart.
It’s the first thing you see on the Wove website and it’s something they encourage every ring buyer to do, whether buying an off-the-shelf ring or someting completely custom.
A pretty cool background story, and a great way to ‘battle test’ a new approach to buying an engagement ring.
TLDR: What makes Wove different
In a world of new jewelry start-ups, Wove have got some key differentiators going for them:
- Free try at home service, so you can make sure the ring will actually work for you
- Focus on co-creation, rather than just guys buying for their partners, reducing stress
- Excellent prices for diamonds – leaving more budget for a special proposal or for your wedding
Now that we’ve learned a bit about Wove’s history and how it has shaped the company it is today, we’ll dig into its offerings, both in terms of rings and then the service and experience around the purchase.
Wove Ring Selection
One of the ways Wove positions itself is to try and change the way that rings are bought – moving away from the idea of a guy buying a ring in secret and ‘popping the question’ and more towards a partnership, where both sides of the relationship are involved in the decision.
This is definitely a less risky approach to buying a ring – and less stressful! – and one that is definitely increasingly popular.
To maximise the choice available, there are two ways to buy a ring
- Pre-designed rings
- Custom design, created in collaboration with a ring designer
While it is a relatively new company, Wove has a decent number of designs to choose from – more than 20 for round diamonds and around 10-12 for each of the other ‘fancy’ diamond shapes.
While this might not be as many as some other established online ring retailers, these off-the-shelf designs cover ‘the classics’ – designs that will never go out of fashion because they are simple and stylish.
For many ring buyers, these rings are what they are looking for – they are the perfect way to show off your diamond while still being well-priced.
If you can’t find an off-the-shelf design that works, you can work with a designer to create a completely a custom design, just for you.
A caveat here is that the price of the custom rings is higher than a standard ring.
When you’re going through the sign-up process, you’re asked a few questions to help the designer understand what you’re looking for. One of these is for budget, with options starting at $8k:
This is significantly higher than the average engagement ring price in the US, which currently sits at around $5,600.
So, while the price for the custom process is higher, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is poor value. As we’ll see in the value for money section below, Wove’s prices for diamonds is lower than even the online retailers that position themselves as the least expensive on the internet.
But what you get is the opportunity to work one-on-one with a designer. One way people choose to do this is to create a replica of a famous ring, or a ring inspired by a celebrity’s ring. e.g. Wove recently made a Toi et Moi ring inspired by Megan Fox’s ring:
Other ways you can work with their designs are by sending through inspiration pictures that you’ve collected, or if you have no idea what you are looking for, Wove’s designers can guide you through the process, creating a vision board and working with you to find a design that is personal to you.
A huge part of buying an engagement ring is selecting the center stone, and Wove’s design team will present you three option to help guide your choice:
- Value Diamond – the best value available when considering your diamond preferences and budget.
- The ‘Wove Choice’ Diamond – their best possible match for all your preferences that fits within your budget.
- And finally the Dream Diamond – one that may push the budget, but which could make your ring even more special.
Ultimately whether you choose to go custom or off-the-shelf is a personal decision based on your taste, and of course your budget. Wove’s custom designs start at $8,000 which is fair for the amount of work and care that they put into every custom ring, but which is higher than the average cost of a ring in most US states.
Wove diamond quality
Engagement rings are all about the diamond, and being able to choose a diamond that will sparkle brilliantly will make the difference between a truly stunning engagement ring and one that looks dull and unimpressive.
In this section of our Wove review, we’ll examine the quality of diamonds they offer, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
Offering GIA-graded diamonds for natural stones or IGI certs for lab-grown diamonds is table stakes in order for me to view a ring retailer as reputable.
The good news is that Wove does offer diamonds graded by GIA or IGI, so you can be confident that the diamond accompanied by these certificates is truly of the quality it claims to be.
However, for some diamond shapes, Wove also offer stones that have been graded by EGL – The European Gemological Lab. This is still a legitimate grading authority, but which has been shown in some tests to be slightly more generous in its gradings than GIA. There isn’t a huge amount in it, but if I was buying for myself, I would choose GIA over EGL.
One thing that Wove don’t do is provide as much control around some of the more minor quality factors as other online jewellers when searching for a diamond.
While the 4Cs are the key factors when determining the quality of a stone, other minor factors like symmetry, polish and fluorescence can also make a difference to the appearance of the diamond and its price. These are listed on the ‘additional grading information’ of a GIA report.
For fancy shaped stones, the length-to-width ratio can also be important, as it make a significant difference to what the diamond actually looks like.
As an example, the two emerald cut diamonds below have similar specs and similar prices. They’re both 1 carat, VS2 and there’s a $20 difference in price:
However, when I click through to the certificates to see the the measurements
- Left: 7.02mm x 4.64mm
- Right: 6.18mm x 4.71mm
The left hand diamond actually ‘faces up’ more than 12% larger than the right hand one, despite weighing, and costing, pretty much exactly the same.
What this means is that you may need to do a little more searching through options than with some other retailers. However, as we’ll see in the ‘value for money’ section, any additional time you may spend here is definitely worth it.
Overall, Wove do offer high quality diamonds, but they do also make you work a little harder to find them if you are looking for something specific compared to other online retailers.
The flip side of this is that their excellent customer service can guide you through this process if you know what you are looking for.
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Something that separates many online jewelry start-ups from established competitors is their focus on the customer – aiming to guide ring buyers through the process, reducing stress, rather than overwhelming them with too much information and too many options.
Wove are a great embodiment of this approach. Whether you are going for a custom-design or something off-the-shelf, buying from Wove will feel much less like a jump into unknown compared to pretty much any other jeweler.
Free at-home try on service for all rings
One of Wove’s biggest differentiators is their at-home try-on service. Any ‘off the shelf’ pre-designed ring can be requested as a try-on, and it will be shipped to you immediately.
All try-on rings are finger size 7, set with a 1.5 carat imitation diamond, and should arrive in 3-5 business days.
The ring arrives with a ring sizer, so not only can you check the style, you can also verify your actual ring size:
As mentioned earlier, buying an engagement ring can be a process fraught with uncertainty, and Wove’s try-on service goes a long, long way to alleviating this.
Wove originated as a custom jeweler and bespoke rings is still a major focus for them.
Wove’s custom service begins with consultation with one of their experienced designers. All of Wove’s designers are super passionate about jewelry – check out the Instagram of Wove designer Chaeyo Lee to see her level of dedication to creating meaningful engagement rings.
In the consultation you will talk through your requirements and any initial styling and lifestyle influences.
Your design will then be drawn by hand, to ensure that the designer understands what you are looking for:
Tweaks and changes are obviously much easier to incorporate at this stage!
Once the overall design is agreed, your ring is then recreated in CAD and a 3D printed model is produced:
This 3D-printed model is used to check that the center stone fits correctly, that the ring is sized correctly and will then be used to will as the cast for the temporary ring.
A replica ring is then created, sized to your size and with glass used instead of precious gems:
If you have any changes or tweaks to make, you can work with your Wove designer to make these adjustments before creating your final ring
Once everything is looking good, the final ring is cast in the metal of your choice, the stones set, the ring polished:
This final process usually takes 2-3 weeks after final design approval is given.
As well as the design team all being based in the US, Wove’s goldsmiths are also on home soil, based out of their workshop in Lancaster, PA. This means that not only is the bespoke production much faster than most completely custom ring builders, you are also keeping skilled craftsman in the US employed.
Try on, but no returns
The flipside of the ability to try rings on at home is that Wove don’t currently offer returns for their rings.
Most online jewelers offer a 30 day returns policy, with the clock starting from the date you receive the ring.
Wove’s approach is that if you have tried the ring on at home, and possibly kept the trial ring to use as a proposal ring, then by the time you purchase the final ring, there should be no need to return it.
5 star Google Reviews
While I can review Wove from a third party point of view, compare them to compeitors and test the service, I haven’t actually gone as far as buying a ring from Wove. However, reviews from customers show that those who have are thrilled with the experience.
At the time of writing, Wove has 44 five star reviews on Google Reviews:
Buying an engagement ring is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally, and I know that many people hold providers in the wedding industry to a much higher standard than they would other industries. This can mean that jewelers are subject to negative reviews if things are even slightly different to the ring buyers’ expectations.
The fact that Wove currently has 100% 5 star reviews is a huge testament to their customer focus and ensuring that every one of their clients is pleased beyond reasonable doubt with their ring. No small feat!
Wove value for money
Buying a diamond ring is a big commitment – both financially and emotionally. So it’s important that you ensure sure that you are getting good value for money and aren’t spending more than you need to.
After all, if you’re buying an engagement ring, it’s likely that you will have a wedding to pay for soon.
The easiest way to judge value for money is to compare an identical product to that sold at another retailer, and with the same diamond often being available through several retailers, it’s very easy to do this.
I like oval cut diamonds, so searched a common spec that I help people find – 1 carat, G color and VS1 clarity.
Wove had a large selection of stones to choose from, and I like this one.
Wove are asking for $4,025 for this diamond.
Wove allow us us to click through to the GIA Website, where we can see that the report number is 7456473300:
This is useful because we can search for this exact diamond on some other retailers’ sites, including Rare Carat. You can see this diamond on their site here.
Rare Carat claims to offer the lowest prices for on diamonds.
However, their price for this very stone?
This is over $500 more for the exact same diamond!
Of course, this is just an example, and the you are looking for may be different to this.
However, it’s worth noting that with the money you would save by buying from Wove instead of other online jewelers, you could:
- Increase the carat weight of the diamond
- Increase the quality of the diamond
- Spend it on a really special proposal
- Put it towards your wedding cost
Or possibly all of this!
The prices at Wove may be different on the day you look – maybe higher, maybe lower – it’s worth clicking through to see today’s prices for exactly what you’re looking for.
Wove Jewelers review
Store Name: Wove Jewelers
Store Description: Wove is a US-based jeweler, specialising in diamonds and engagement rings.
Price range: $2,000 - $20,000
Value For Money
Do we recommend Wove Jewelers?
Wove is a newcomer to the diamond ring market, and they’ve taken a fresh approach.
Not only do they offer beautiful settings and a great experience for customers, they also offer excellent value for money too.
Using the Wove website can be a little tricker than some of their more established online competitors, who have smoothed out any rough edges over multiple years. However, a little extra time to find your perfect diamond is a small price to pay for what appears to be the best value currently out there.
Their custom process with US-based designers and jewelers is a great blend of new technology and old-world craftsmanship and I love the story behind the brand – that two Rangers wanted to help soldiers make their proposal perfect when they returned from their tour of duty.
Lastly, the try-on-at home service is a great innovation, and the ability to keep the try-on ring to use on holiday, etc, is another example of how Wove is focused on delivering a better experience for their customers than more established competitors.
Overall, I am happy to recommend Wove as an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a wonderful ring buying experience paired with excellent value.
- Innovative try-at-home takes a lot of the uncertainty out of buying a ring
- Passionate team of custom ring designers
- Made in the USA custom rings
- Excellent prices
- Some diamonds are graded by EGL, rather than GIA
- Diamond search could allow more filtering
- Can’t return custom rings