January 4, 1999
Here's one to tell your bridal customers about. The Knot, a complete wedding planning center, recently expanded to include the Engagement Channel, a section of the site dedicated to proposing and shopping for diamond engagement rings.
The site enlists the help of Fred Cuellar, known in media circles as "the Diamond Guy." Formerly a popular guest in America Online forums, Cuellar promises to personally answer all users' questions submitted to him in the "Ask the Diamond Guy" forum. The channel includes dozens of articles explaining the four C's in depth, as well as how to determine cost, certification, understanding the jewelry trade, choosing the correct diamond to match a customer's "type" and saving money when buying diamonds. Among the articles are tips on proposals and engagement.
When discussing this site with customers, however, be aware The Knot plans to launch a Diamond Search Tool & Store program, similar to the site's search engines for bridal gowns and wedding photographers. Searching according to each of the "five C's" (including "cost"), customers are invited to "match their funds with the perfect diamond." Cuellar, president of Diamond Cutters International, then will offer to sell customers the diamonds directly.
There's also a dedicated message board where registered members can share their ring shopping and proposal experiences. Besides the Engagement Channel, The Knot features wedding ideas and advice, honeymoon suggestions and reviews, an etiquette forum and a chat room with scheduled chat sessions. There's also a wedding planning checklist, an on-line gift registry and a place where couples can build personal wedding Web pages.
- by Jack Heeger