Planning a wedding is no easy task as there is a lot to consider and decide. The perfect mangalsutra is a very important piece of a wedding ceremony. The importance extends beyond the wedding as the piece holds emotional value long after the wedding is over.
Think of the mangalsutra like an engagement ring, you have to love it and the jewel should enhance your personality.
In this article, Jinal Sampat, a designer at Sampat Jewellers, will share the most useful questions you need to ask your jeweler when buying a perfect mangalsutra.
The questions are divided into three categories – design, quality and pricing. They are the most essential aspects you need to consider while looking for a perfect mangalsutra.
Generally a mangalsutra is bought groom’s family. But these days, it’s not uncommon for the groom or his family to include the bride in the mangalsutra selection process. It can be very helpful if the bride gets to decide her mangalsutra as she will be the one wearing it.
Let’s admit if it’s not a great design you’ll not wear it after the wedding day.
So brides and grooms make sure you ask the questions below so that you get the most beautiful mangalsutra that suits your personality.
- Do you make custom mangalsutra or do I have to pick from your collection?
Many possibilities open up for you in terms of design, so even if there is a minor tweak you need for your mangalsutra it may be possible by just asking.
- For custom design, what is your design process, timeline and design fee?
You’ll understand the process for getting a custom mangalsutra and learn if you have sufficient time and desire for something very personal to you.
- Will my custom mangalsutra be more expensive than an ready-made piece?
Some designer and jewelers charge more if they have to make a custom piece as they have to go through many unique steps that need more time. This ultimately impacts the final price.
But if the jeweler is makes custom mangalsutras all the time there may not be a price difference.
- What style of mangalsutra is appropriate for my culture?
It is very important to understand your cultural requirements. The jeweler can educate you on the available mangalsutra options that meet those requirements.
Mangalsutra designs in different Indian cultures is an interesting read on this topic.
- What are the different types of chains available?
This answer to this question will give you an idea on chains available (for example, with blacks and without black beads). So if you have to pick a different chain you have that option as well.
- What are the common chain length options and what do you recommend?
Typically brides go with 16” chain length, but it depends on the individual. You can have a chain length of 18”, 22” 24” or even 36”.
- Does the chain need to have beads for it to be a mangalsutra?
Although mangalsutra is known for its black beads, some brides don’t prefer a black beaded chain as it doesn’t match with their everyday outfits. Instead they prefer a simple, plain chain.
- Do we need a pendant?
No, pendant is not mandatory but it is the element that makes the mangalsutra design unique. You can totally just buy a chain and add a pendant of your choice.
- What pendants styles do you recommend?
This question allows you to get the jeweler views and will also prompt him/her to show you some of the best pieces in their store.
- What are the different metals we can consider?
This will give you an idea of the precious metal options available. Keep in mind dual tone option (white and yellow gold combination) is more versatile and unique.
- Do you support a social cause or mission?
Many of us want to support social causes through our purchases. Initiatives such as Diamonds Do Good™ by the Diamond Empowerment Fund develop and empower people in diamond communities worldwide.
Diamonds are mined from the earth with great effort, the rough diamonds are then cut and polished and painstakingly set into fine jewelry. This is a lot of hard and laborious work.
So next time you are ready to purchase mangalsutra, ask your jeweler if they support any social cause. It will make you feel good knowing that some of the profits from your purchase will improve the lives of those in need.
- What is recommended gold carat weight?
The best quality chains are made of 22K (Karat) gold. Softer gold sits properly on your neck. You don’t want your gold chain to be very rigid and look shabby.
Pendants can be made up of 18K or 14K gold if they have diamonds and gemstones in it. You can also have a plain 22K gold pendant.
- Tell me more about your diamond quality, namely the 4C’s – Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color
The jewelers response will give you an idea of quality of diamonds they carry.
This isn’t rocket science, so don’t be afraid of the 4C’s.
Look at diamond in a holistic sense. I would recommend natural diamonds with Color: G-H, Clarity: VS and Cut: Excellent with 56-57 facets.
- What does the hook of the chain look like?
This is an important question as this is what differentiates between a good mangalsutra and a great mangalsutra.
A hook is something you will touch and feel every time you put on your mangalsutra. So make sure it’s sturdy and well-made.
- Do I get extra hooks, so that I can adjust the chain length if needed?
In future you may want a slightly smaller and longer chain length based on your outfit. So don’t want to miss on this feature!
- Do the black beads come in different qualities?
There are many types of black beads. The beads vary by size, weight, and the way they are made.
- Do you have a warranty with the mangalsutra? What if the diamonds come out or it breaks?
If it’s not a well-made mangalsutra, chances are the diamonds may come out or a prong is broken. Also the chain may break if not made carefully or mishandled. So make sure you ask about the warranty on piece you buy.
- Do you provide diamond certification?
This may be a very important question for you. But I would like to elaborate further on this one.
Generally speaking, diamond certifications are worth having for diamonds greater than 0.5 carat. Otherwise it might not be worth your money.
Because a mangalsutra made up of several smaller diamond that are 0.5 carat each. So if there are 10 diamonds, you’re looking to spend $1000+ on just certification. For this reason it doesn’t make sense to have each and every diamond certified.
Typically jeweler will give a detailed invoice that has the specifics of every diamond and gold. That should be a good assurance of the quality of stones.
- I have a certain budget in mind for mangalsutra. Can I get something within my budget without compromising on the “look and feel”?
Your jeweler should be able to make recommendations that fit your budget needs. There is no need to feel uncomfortable when asking this question or go beyond your allocated budget for your diamond jewelry.
For example, a colorless diamond such as D,E or F colors can cost twice as must as G or H colored diamonds. To the naked eye, there is virtually no difference. So if you are looking for best value, opt for G or H colored diamonds.
- In what price range do your mangalsutra fall in?
Typically a well-made mangalsutra will be start from $1500. But it’s important to know what price point to expect and if it fits within your budget.
- Do you guys offer installment payment options?
If you are planning to spread out your wedding expenses, this may be an important question to know beforehand.
- Do we get a cash or check discount?
Most jewelers realize that fine jewelry can be expensive and when you add sales tax, the cost adds up quickly. If you pay by credit card, the jeweler has to pay fees to the credit card company.
To help offset sales tax and credit card fees, jewelers may offer 1% – 2% cash or check discount and pass the savings onto you.
- What is your return policy?
Jewelers don’t want you to wear the diamond jewelry for a special occasion and then simply return it.
However a good jeweler understands that people want to try out the jewelry and get a feel for it before committing to purchase.
Knowing the return policy in advance of your purchase is important because you don’t want to buy something that you are not going to enjoy for the rest of your life. Also in many states such as California, return policies are required per state law.
Buying fine jewelry requires you work with a trusted jeweler. Your goal should be to start working with someone you trust or are able to trust.
Now you’re equipped with 23 amazing questions to ask when buying your perfect mangalsutra. Ask clarifying questions if the jewelers response doesn’t make sense to you.
I hope you found these questions helpful as your prepare to talk your jeweler or in the process of buying a mangalsutra online.
Leave a comment below and let us know which is your favorite question and why.
The Photo Gallery
Floral headpiece: @floramorstudios
Bridal Robes: @pajamasutra
Models: @mpatel0724 & @classtige