Will the next phase in the engagement ring market see more people importing jewellery from around the world to find the best price?
It's a possibility - because many of the best value diamond ring sellers we've stumbled across in our search for cheap engagement rings have been megastores based in the USA.
Of course, there are import duties and taxes to pay on diamond rings. Generally that means you'll pay VAT (currently 20%) plus a customs duty (although that's usually just a couple of percent - HMRC has more detail). According to The Duty Calculator, you'd pay about £150 tax on a $1000 engagement ring.
There are also varying policies from the jewellers. Overstock and Macys add the import duties in with your bill, whilst SuperJeweler usually leave you to pay it yourself.
But is the saving you're likely to achieve worth it once you've factored in a) the extra hassle and risks of dealing with a foreign postal service and b) those extra costs that come from importing?
Let's start by looking at the potential savings you can achieve by importing an engagement ring from the US.
In our search for the cheapest 1 carat diamond engagement ring, 4 of the top 10 were American stores.
Whilst well established UK jewellers were selling their cheapest 1 carat rings at around £2500 (Argos), £2700 (Goldsmiths) and £3800 (H Samuel), we found some US online jewellers were offering prices as cheap as £700 (Overstock), £1300 (SuperJeweler) and £1350 (B2C Jewels).
Of course, it's not that simple as no two diamonds are the same, but it does give an indication that bargain engagement rings can be found if you widen the net.
However, it's worth considering that once we take less well-known UK retailers into account, the US sellers suddenly don't look quite so remarkably cheap. We found Amazon Marketplace sellers offering new 1 carat rings for £800 and eBay based stores such as Diamond Jewelry United offering prices around £1100. Meanwhile, Diamond Heaven wasn't far behind some of the US sellers at £1750 and they carry the advantage of having actual stores in the diamond quarters of Birmingham and London.
So, the savings are considerable when you compare US megastores to UK high street retailers but less significant when you compare them to the cheapest engagement ring sellers in the UK (which tend to be those with the lowest overheads and only an online presence).
Those savings are also less significant if you are working to a smaller budget for your engagement ring. In our comparison of quarter carat diamond rings, SuperJeweler once again came in at a very good price (under £250), but Amazon was actually cheaper at around £220 and there were several UK base retailers that came very close including The Jewellery Channel (£270), Argos (£270) and F Hinds (£299).
You might endure the hassle of importing if it would save you £1000, but would you really bother to save £50? I know I wouldn't.
Exchange rates are also a factor to consider. When the pound is stronger, you'll get a better rate and the ring will work out cheaper. Remember that those prices are just based on the prices when we searched, and we've since seen a fair bit of fluctuation in the currency market following the EU referendum vote.
Finally, let's consider the hassle and convenience of importing engagement rings from the US.
There's a fair chance that you might need to return your engagement ring. I found that with UK online jewellers that is usually pretty simple. If you need a ring resizing you can get it back to them next day and get your new ring pretty pronto. In my case, it took a couple of attempts to get the right size and I was grateful that my fiance wasn't left waiting for days or weeks for international post.
For cheaper engagement rings (under £500), I don't think there is enough of a price difference to bother importing from the USA. Once you start considering bigger carat diamond rings (1 carat or 2 carat) then your saving will start to increase, but you then face the question of whether you want the worry of £1000 or £2000 of jewellery flying around the world. Of course it will be insured, but if it will worry you then I wouldn't consider it.
For me, it's too much hassle to import engagement rings at this stage - though I certainly think it's worth considering if the exchange rate improves significantly or if you have your heart set on a very large diamond and can't find a good deal in the UK.
If you're starting your search, check out our guide to 10 of the best places to buy cheap engagement rings online for under £1000, £500 or £100 and our price comparisons for 0.25 carat, 1 carat and 2 carat diamond rings.
Please note: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, but we include good deals regardless of whether they have the potential to earn money for the site or not.