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advice, need diamond engagement ring for Chinese gf, US$10k budget

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tigerbei

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Don''t even know where to start. Want to buy an engagement diamond ring for my gf. Budget is US$8-11k

She''s petite, Chinese, creatively stylish (always looks nice but puts her own outfits/styles together). I''m white American. We''re both down to earth, strongly dislike material culture and super brand items like LV. Of course I want a ring that she can be proud of and feel good about, but not showy.

Like anyone else, want to make sure I get value for money without going thru an ordeal. I like the look of the Tiffany brand 1ct princess setting, but I don''t know jack (yet).

We live in China. My sense is there are no values to be had here. Everything is more expensive. Will probably take a trip to the US in Summer and could make purchase there.

Will appreciate anything you have to say. There are lots of good threads, but it''s hard to go thru them all to glean out a good starting point for myself.
 

Lorelei

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Welcome!

Don''t worry, the old time PSers have helped many through this and we will be of help to you too! I take it you will be looking for a Princess diamond? Is it around the 1 carat mark you want or a bit larger?
 

tigerbei

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Thanks Lorelei! I really think 1ct is large enough, again esp because she''s petite (but then, should there be such a correlation? I really am a newbie), and because we prefer not to be too flashy (especially living abroad and the attention of being a mixed couple already brings). And 1ct also seems right because I''d prefer to spend the money on the other 3Cs, but I''m still in the exploratory and learning stage.
 

Lorelei

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Date: 4/21/2009 4:56:57 AM
Author: tigerbei
Thanks Lorelei! I really think 1ct is large enough, again esp because she's petite (but then, should there be such a correlation? I really am a newbie), and because we prefer not to be too flashy (especially living abroad and the attention of being a mixed couple already brings). And 1ct also seems right because I'd prefer to spend the money on the other 3Cs, but I'm still in the exploratory and learning stage.
I understand! I think around the carat mark would be just right personally, it will look great on your fiancee but not too flashy. You have a nice budget so if you aren't sure of what your preferences are with colour and clarity, then read up on the advanced tutorial and look at the sub headings on the left which cover each category as a good introduction.

http://diamonds.pricescope.com/

Whatever you do, find the best cut Princess you can and the rest should fall into place within your personal preference and budget. The vendors below sell top cut Princess so check them out!

www.highperformancediamonds.com

www.goodoldgold.com

www.exceldiamonds.com

www.whiteflash.com

It is always best to shop with a trusted vendor who has in house diamonds and all the info provided, as with Princess it is really buying blind if you try to do so just with depth and table etc.
 

vespergirl

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You should be able to get a very high quality princess solitiare within your budget. Good luck!
 

LadyBlue

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That is a big budget for a 1 ct princess cut, so I''m sure you are going to be able to buy any stone you want. If at the end you want to save some money, I will get a F VS1, will be as beautiful as a D VVS1.
 

DiamondFlame

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It''s great to know you put due considerations on her values and tastes. The last thing you''d want is to blow a huge amount of money which may contradict the non materialist ideals you both share. Any idea how she might feel about you spending $8K-11K on a ring? I know some down-to-earth girls who would be furious with her guy for spending that much $ on a ring...
 

Dancing Fire

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Date: 4/21/2009 4:56:57 AM
Author: tigerbei
Thanks Lorelei! I really think 1ct is large enough, again esp because she''s petite (but then, should there be such a correlation? I really am a newbie), and because we prefer not to be too flashy (especially living abroad and the attention of being a mixed couple already brings). And 1ct also seems right because I''d prefer to spend the money on the other 3Cs, but I''m still in the exploratory and learning stage.
this size would be a honker in China...i heard the avg E-ring in China was like .25ct.
 

Stephan

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Be careful, Asian people often love very high clarity.
 

DiamondFlame

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Date: 4/21/2009 3:39:46 PM
Author: QueenMum
Be careful, Asian people often love very high clarity.
LOL, I second that opinion. I''m not saying your GF feels that way but many Asians go for the bragging rights so they tend to pick high clarity and high colors irrespective if they can tell the difference.
 

CharmyPoo

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Wow .. lots of generalizations here. I am sure many people regardless of their ethnicity may want bragging rights for high color and clarity. I, myself, like bragging rights for getting amazing deals.

Unless you are from Shanghai, a 1 ct princess would definetly be flashy. $10K budget is plenty even for a flashy ring!
 

honey22

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Date: 4/21/2009 11:49:20 PM
Author: CharmyPoo
Wow .. lots of generalizations here. I am sure many people regardless of their ethnicity may want bragging rights for high color and clarity. I, myself, like bragging rights for getting amazing deals.

Unless you are from Shanghai, a 1 ct princess would definetly be flashy. $10K budget is plenty even for a flashy ring!
It''s well known that Asian cultures have a particular preference for diamonds of high colour and clarity. I have seen it here before where cut and size have been sacrificed for colourless VVS stones, not only to please their GFs but also her family. An ideal cut F SI1 eyeclean, would be seen as inferior to a good cut, D IF stone, it''s just a cultural thing.
 

Phoenix

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Date: 4/22/2009 12:23:04 AM
Author: honey22



Date: 4/21/2009 11:49:20 PM
Author: CharmyPoo
Wow .. lots of generalizations here. I am sure many people regardless of their ethnicity may want bragging rights for high color and clarity. I, myself, like bragging rights for getting amazing deals.

Unless you are from Shanghai, a 1 ct princess would definetly be flashy. $10K budget is plenty even for a flashy ring!
It's well known that Asian cultures have a particular preference for diamonds of high colour and clarity. I have seen it here before where cut and size have been sacrificed for colourless VVS stones, not only to please their GFs but also her family. An ideal cut F SI1 eyeclean, would be seen as inferior to a good cut, D IF stone, it's just a cultural thing.
The Asians' preference for higher colour and clarity is true (but like most generalisations, it's not true in every instance, just a general perception and a preference for *many* Asians).

Not sure about the cut thing though, particularly in relation to China (but am about to find out soon, since I'm moving up there in a few weeks). I do know that people living in HK and SG (both places I've lived in) love the most sparkly cuts too. They may not be well-versed on the ins and outs of cuts, but they do know a better cut when they see it. I've never met a single person IRL (well, except for close friends) asking me what colour and clarity are my diamonds but they always comment on how sparkling/ firey my e-ring and earrings are.
 

Gypsy

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Date: 4/21/2009 3:39:46 PM
Author: QueenMum
Be careful, Asian people often love very high clarity.
And high color. That budget will go fast. While yes, it is a generalization but unless we know what her exact preferences knowing cultural norms and values can help someone make an informed decision.

I would try for something in the E VVS2 to F VS1 range.

Princesses face up considerably smaller than rounds, so that will help keep it classy instead of showy.

Also have you considered a square cushion or emerald cut? There are some lovely ones to consider if you want a square shape.
 

Gypsy

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http://www.goodoldgold.com/diamond/5290/ Jubilee ust under a carat but at 5.6 mm square it faces up the same size as a princess. E VVS2

http://www.goodoldgold.com/diamond/4859/ Square radiant E VS1

http://www.goodoldgold.com/diamond/5352/ Cushion E VVS2

http://www.highperformancediamonds.com/index.php?page=view-id-diamond-infinity&id=464 G VVS2 Princess

http://www.highperformancediamonds.com/index.php?page=view-id-diamond-infinity&id=140 Just under a carat Princess E VVS2.

Any of the above in a setting similar to this would be amazing.
http://www.dimendscaasi.com/build/step1.asp?prodID=1-2

If I were to pick from the list I just posted. I'd pick the Jubiliee E VVS2 in a the setting above. Would be stunning.
 

Phoenix

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Sorry for the thread jack, Tigerbei, do you know of any insurer in China (Shanghai in particular) who may insure jewellery?

My husband and I are going to be re-located to SH in a couple of weeks'' time and AXA initially said they''d insure my jewellery but now say they won''t.
 

tigerbei

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Thanks everyone for the comments. You''ve given me a lot of things to think about -- it does seem that not many women here wear diamond rings, and definitely not very big ones.

Dancing Fire -- I visited a Tiffany retailer here (it''s in my office building), and have to admit that the 1cts really looked large, probably because I''m just not used to seeing big stones. The 0.5cts looked quite nice. I''ll have to think more about the size. That''ll be easier relative to the other things I need to know about.
DiamondFlame - I probably wouldn''t tell her what I spend, and chances are reasonable that she won''t ask.

Phoenix - thanks for the links and no, sorry, don''t know anything about insurers. If you can''t figure it out online, let me know and I could ask among my Chinese friends.

Queenmum, DiamondFlame -- I think I probably like "high clarity" too. I figured the consensus view would be that clear and sparkly are preferred?

Notwithstanding my comments about size and clarity, I won''t be intereted in anything showy.
 

cara

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Tiger- read a bit of the tutorials under the knowledge tab above about the four c''s - sparkliness is mostly determined by the cut (ie the angles and pattern of the surfaces of the stone) while clarity is regarding inclusions in the stone. It is graded at 10x magnification, so under normal viewing conditions most people will not *see* anything amiss in a stone that is VS or higher. Some SIs can also be hard to see any inclusions in, if the inclusions are well places or white and if the stone is well cut an SI will be very sparkly.

In the vast majority of cases, one would not be able to tell the difference between a VS1 and an IF under normal viewing - so to pay more for an IF stone is to pay for something that can''t be seen. However, some people prefer the IF stone to the VS. Sometimes it is a cultural preference (IF is better than VS, IF is purer, etc.) or just a mind-clean thing where they don''t want to have to worry if maybe they can see the tiny little VS inclusion. But it certainly costs money to get this peace of mind. Also keep in mind that IF doesn''t mean no inclusions at all - just no inclusions visible at 10x... Food for thought! Good luck!
 

ling0882434

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i''d be careful wearing big jewelry in shanghai. my cousin always tell me the robbery stories done public under the daylight. was not like that ten yrs ago when i left... i''d be insuring both my ring and my finger :razz:
 

ling0882434

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if u live in shanghai, they have a diamond wholesale district there in pudong, very much like nyc diamond district. last time the price they quote me is not much different from US and they r very knowledgable too
 

allthebest2

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I am Chinese too, as I know, in China, esp in Shanghai, 0.50CT is very popular, some girls wear smaller ones, most girls over there are not used to wearing rings daily, I think it''s about the culture difference, we don''t wear wedding rings to tell people we are married, a lot of single girls wear rings on the ring fingers too. 1CT with nice quality will be a decent one, but not showy also. I have couple friends are wearing 1~2 Ct rings, mine is 1.25Ct. But In china , round cut is the most polular(I like princess though), so maybe you will need to make sure what does your gf like?

As Ling0882434 said, there is a diamond wholesale district in Pudong, they are pretty professional , and most important thing is, they are patient and nice to help you out. I have been reading about these on a chinese web too(like pricescope), they have everything about wedding there, if you need, i can find the link for you when i get home from work. (i am at work
)
 

diamondseeker2006

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Yes, absolutely make sure she wants a princess cut. A round is safer for a surprise. I''d probably do D-E color and VVS for clarity considering your budget is enough to do so and the cultural preference for high quality stones. If you are concerned about 1 ct. being too large, then I''d maybe take one step down to the .85 or so range.
 

AmberGretchen

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Ditto diamondseeker - princess cuts are a very particular look and preference. I thought I liked them when I first started looking for my e-ring, but discovered I actually don''t care for them in person, especially not on me.

Also, FYI, the diamond can be extremely clear and sparkly without being super high color or clarity, but if, as others have said, there is a cultural preference for high color and clarity, then you are probably best sticking with that.
 

Phoenix

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Date: 4/22/2009 2:09:38 PM
Author: tigerbei

Phoenix - thanks for the links and no, sorry, don''t know anything about insurers. If you can''t figure it out online, let me know and I could ask among my Chinese friends.

Again, apologies for the thread jack, but am realy concerned now.

Could you pls ask your friends for me? I''ve done some websearch and asked around but can''t seem to find a single insurer who''d be willing to insure jewellery. Would you mind terribly? Thank you so much.


 

Phoenix

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Date: 4/22/2009 3:10:47 PM
Author: ling0882434
i''d be careful wearing big jewelry in shanghai. my cousin always tell me the robbery stories done public under the daylight. was not like that ten yrs ago when i left... i''d be insuring both my ring and my finger :razz:
Really?!! OMG!! Are certain areas more unsafe than others? We''d be living near to the former French concession and I can''t imagine wallking around much by myself (I don''t even speak Chinese). I''d only be going to Jing An (by taxi, if I go clothes shopping). Otherwise, I''d be with my husband. So far, we''ve only ever gone to the shops for groceries, hung around Jing An, Xian Tian Di, Pudong (the Bund) and the fomer French concession. Again, not planning to do much walking around.

Any words of advice? Losing personal possessions (ie. jewellery, money) is one thing, but personal safety is of paramount importance to us.
 

phildominator

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Date: 4/22/2009 11:27:47 PM
Author: Phoenix
Date: 4/22/2009 3:10:47 PM

Author: ling0882434

i''d be careful wearing big jewelry in shanghai. my cousin always tell me the robbery stories done public under the daylight. was not like that ten yrs ago when i left... i''d be insuring both my ring and my finger :razz:

Really?!! OMG!! Are certain areas more unsafe than others? We''d be living near to the former French concession and I can''t imagine wallking around much by myself (I don''t even speak Chinese). I''d only be going to Jing An (by taxi, if I go clothes shopping). Otherwise, I''d be with my husband. So far, we''ve only ever gone to the shops for groceries, hung around Jing An, Xian Tian Di, Pudong (the Bund) and the fomer French concession. Again, not planning to do much walking around.


Any words of advice? Losing personal possessions (ie. jewellery, money) is one thing, but personal safety is of paramount importance to us.

I lived in Shanghai for two years...03-05. Shanghai is a very safe for a mega-city. As long as you frequent the areas frequented by ex-pats, you''ll be fine.

No need to worry about guns, being stabbed or beat up. Of course, practice some common street sense - ladies don''t run alone at nighttime in empty, dark alleys.

Of course, petty theft and con people are a concern. Shake your hand and slip off your jewelry, lift a wallet/cash sticking out of your pocket, slice the bottom of your backpack...

You should be more concerned with getting hit by bicycles, taxis while crossing the road (driving style is much more ''wild''), drinking refilled/used water bottles, getting cut in line (if there is a line and not a mob), getting pushed around in crowds, etc...


Have fun! It''s a great place!
 

phildominator

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Getting back on the original topic, the number "eight" is symbolic of fortune for the Chinese.

In this case, getting a round brilliant with "eight" hearts & arrows may take special meaning.

Is she more "Chinese-born-in-America-back-in-China-working" or "born/raised in China"?
 
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