Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Advice requested - Engagement ring; budget = $5,000

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

abroberts

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
12
BACKGROUND INFO

I''ve already read through two books on diamonds:

(1) Renee Newman, Diamond Ring Buying Guide: How to Evaluate, Identify, and Select Diamonds & Diamond Jewelry
(2) Fred Cuellar, How to Buy a Diamond, 6th Edition: Insider Secrets for Getting Your Money''s Worth

But I still feel incredibly intimidated by the entire process. I''m entering a PhD program this coming fall, so I don''t feel as though I''ll be incredibly wealthy any time in the near future. In light of that, I don''t think it would be altogether responsible for me to spend much more than $5,000 (savings and inheritance) on the engagement ring.


EXPERIENCE WITH COSTCO

A family member recommended I purchase a ring from Costco (because of their policy of minimal markup, their return policy, and generally high high reputation for "ethical" business practices), but I don''t think that they have a ring that will fit my budget. I''ve contacted their Special Order Diamond Program ([email protected]), and gave them the following preferences/specifications:

DIAMOND

SHAPE round brilliant
CUT QUALITY GIA Class II
COLOR G - I
CARAT(S) 1.0 c
CLARITY VS2 - SI2
TREATMENT none
APPRAISAL GIA document

SETTING

TYPE solitaire
ROCK-TYPE round brilliant
PRONGS 6
METAL platinum 950


RESPONSE FROM COSTCO

Costco indicated that they do not deal in stones below VS2, and unfortunately, the three diamonds they suggested are at least $2,000 over my budget. The response they gave is as follows:


"I can only quote on what I have available. These are the closest items I
have matching the specifications of your request.

Round 1.17ct VS1 "I" in a platinum setting which sells for $7,399.99
(item #344283)
Round 1.02ct VS1 "H" in a platinum setting which sells for $6,999.99
(item #384720)
Round 1.08ct VS2 "G" in a platinum setting which sells for $7.799.99
(item #347982)"


QUESTION FOR PRICESCOPE FORUM USERS

My *question* is then: Do Costco''s prices seem competitive to you? And on what stone/setting details should I compromise in order to stay within the $5,000 budget? I could shop elsewhere and buy a stone that is SI1 grade, or I could get something less than a carat, although that one carat number does seem to have a certain ring to it.


ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Also, it should be noted that I''m from Connecticut, I go to school in Chicago right now (but only for a brief period thereafter), I will be in San Diego in a couple of weeks (and would like to have purchased a diamond by then), and will be spending the next 6 years in a doctoral program at Duke University (North Carolina). I move around a lot, so a lot of the perks of establishing a relationship with a jeweler might not be available to me.

I don''t have any fundamental problems with purchasing online. I simply am uncertain what vendors to use (some people on this forum have recommended, e.g., GoodOldGold, NiceIce, Whiteflash). I''m just concerned that my relative ignorance might lead me to overlook some quality detail and end up with a rock that might be the desired size but lacking in luster, for example.

Thank you for your time. Any help you can offer is most appreciated.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198

snowbird3599

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2009
Messages
16
hey man, you and me are on the same boat. Look at my thread Link Here. If you can see the stone in person, people on the board has suggested me to go with costco since the cut quality vary. Otherwise buy from a trusted online vendor like what I am searching for now. Good luck on your search
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
For example, the going rate for a 1.17 I VS1 GIA certed here on PS is the low $5ks. So is the setting $2k? Doubt it!

Anyway, spending more than you can afford is never a good deal! And I would prefer the option to go below VS1 clarity to get more for your money (I personally don''t care if the clarity is lower as long as it is eye-clean.)

BTW, all that stuff in Fred Cuellar''s book about "bonded jewelers" is made up. That''s not a term used in the business, although vendors like Good Old Gold and White Flash do offer lifetime upgrades. But if you go around asking jewelers if they''re "bonded," they''ll look at you like you''re crazy! I think it''s a marketing ploy on Cuellar''s part so that when readers can''t find bonded jewelers locally they just use him instead.

Stick around here and I''m sure you''ll be directed to some beautiful stones. Do you have a sense of what kind of setting you want? Once we know that, we can recommend the biggest bang for the rest of your buck.

Good luck!
 

abroberts

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
12
To everyone (especially Gypsy, JulieN, phoenixgirl):


Thank you all for your help. You have no idea how helpful this is. This is really a whole new world for me.

To recap, I''m looking for a quality, round brilliant with a platinum 6 prong solitaire band for under or around $5,000.


So far, these are the recommendations:

Below I have also listed some questions.



(1) http://www.highperformancediamonds.com/index.php?page=view-id-diamond-infinity&id=574

COST $ 4,676
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT Ideal (0)
COLOR G
WEIGHT 0.94 ct
CLARITY SI2
FLOURESCE. negligible
APPRAISAL AGS


(2) http://www.highperformancediamonds.com/index.php?page=view-id-diamond-infinity&id=570

COST $ 3,688
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT EX (1)
COLOR J
WEIGHT 0.91 Ct.
CLARITY VS2
FLOURESCE. negligible
APPRAISAL AGS


(3) http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1218699.asp?b=16&a=12&c=77&cid=131

COST $4,330
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT Hearts & Arrows Ideal
COLOR G
WEIGHT 0.92 c
CLARITY SI1
FLOURESCE. negligible
APPRAISAL AGS


(4) http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-SI2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1204041.asp?b=16&a=12&c=77&cid=131

COST $4,070
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT Hearts & Arrows Ideal
COLOR F
WEIGHT 0.90 c
CLARITY SI2
FLOURESCE. negligible
APPRAISAL AGS


(5) http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/D-SI2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1197187.asp?b=16&a=12&c=77&cid=131

COST $4,390
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT Hearts & Arrows Ideal
COLOR D
WEIGHT 0.90
CLARITY SI2
FLOURESCE. neglibile
APPRAISAL AGS


(6) http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1218699.asp

COST $4,330
SHAPE Round Brilliant
CUT Hearts & Arrows Ideal
COLOR G
WEIGHT 0.92
CLARITY SI1
FLOURESCE. negligible
APPRAISAL AGS



QUESTIONS

1. For those who made recommendations, what "method" was used for searching online sellers? Did you use the Pricescope "Multi-Vendor Diamond Price Comparison" search engine with values you had pre-selected, or did you visit individual retailers?

2. Where can I find information about acronyms used in the "Multi-Vendor Diamond Price Comparison" search engine? For example, under the "Gdl" heading, I see letters such as:

m-stk, vtn-vtk face, tn-m

In all of my reading, I have not come across these acronyms. Perhaps a more knowledgable Pricescoper could point me to a help page.

3. For those who made these stone recommendations, why have these vendors been recommended? Do you know the owners personally or professionally? Or for other reasons?

4. Can any Pricescoper make any recommendaitons on selecting a setting? I would like a traditional looking Platitum setting with 6 prongs. Everything else is up in the air. Clearly quality is important, but because I want the stone and the setting to be around $5,000, I can''t pay for very expensive designs. Any recommendations on selecting quality but not so high-end settings? (I would prefer to purchase this from the diamond seller, if possible.)

I''ve seen the following at James Allen (the only 6 prong settings I could find):

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/classic-solitaire-settings/ring/item_57-1959.asp
http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/classic-solitaire-settings/ring/item_57-1933.asp

But I do sort of prefer the simplicity of the following from Whiteflash:

http://www.whiteflash.com/Engagement-Rings/Styles/Solitaire/6-Prong-tiffany-style-Diamond-Solitaire_993.htm

But I don''t think that I have very sophisticated tastes in these matters.


5. I''ve seen several recommendations to call an online vendor and to ask: "Is the stone Eyeclean?" I understand that this means are inclusions visible without a 10x loupe. If I call, can I expect an honest response and is this common enough jargon "in the trade"? Will the seller know what I''m talking about?


6. To those who recommended the above stones, should I not be concerned that all of the sellers recommended have AGS and not GIA grading reports?


7. Does the Cut value imply or does it not imply good depth, table, crown angle, pavilion angle values, etc.? That is, do I need to pay attention to these values or can I just look at cut ratings?


8. All of the stones recommended above that came from James Allen were Hearts and Arrows ideal cuts. But if I went with Hearts & Arrows Ideal cut, would I not be paying for a brand name (e.g., Tiffany''s)? Thus, should I not prefer a non-branded diamond with good specs over this Heart & Diamonds brand?


9. How to get PriceScope Pricing on JamesAllen? Do I need to access the diamond through the Pricescope search engine? Or can I access these prices from the James Allen website itself?
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Ok. So I'm only gonna to answer one of your questions, but I'm sure someone else will chime in as well.

Why did I recommend the vendors I did?

1. Highperformance Diamonds-- Many reasons here are some of them:
a. I've seen Infinity's Diamonds in person and think they are just astonishing. And that's what I would buy if I wanted a round or princess.
b. They show the pics of the diamonds and the scans AND the certs right there. Very easy to shop them.
c. I know they have a record of being very particular about the their lower clarity stones being eyeclean when at all possible. So that means if someone is on a budget I can usually find an eyeclean lower clarity diamond (thus a lower price) on there the easiest.
d. I've purchased from Wink (the owner of that site) and trust his professional integrety.
e. He posts on here (as do other infinity dealers and personnel) and I have never known anyone to say about him that anything was other than what it was. If there is a problem, he fixes it, if a stone isn't eyeclean he admits it. At least in all I've read and seen.


2. James Allen.
a. They have lower prices than many of the other vendors on here.
b. Their CEO posts on here and they have a strong reputation for customer service.
c. You can get IDEAL SCOPE information upon request and ACTUAL In Inventory stone pics right on the website. Makes it very easy to shop.
d. They carry Heart and Arrows stones.
 

waxing lyrical

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
401
James Allen ring

There''s also a PS discount, so it will likely be right at $5000. I searched for ideal cut, Ex/ex and Ex/vg for polish/symmetry, I for color and VS2-SI1 for clarity. I went through the photos and entered the stone''s data in the HCA. The one I used for the price test scored a 1.6 on the HCA.

Costco is WAY over priced.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
I think most PS dealers have lovely basic solitares they stock. I would just pick your stone... then see what they have in your price range and if you want second opinions, ask if we like it.


Yes, HPD, JA, GOG, WF... will be honest about eye-clean. The trick is to look on their sites or ask them what they mean by eyeclean. Remember Clarity is judged face (crown) up so when you are asking is a stone is eyeclean, vendors are going to assume you mean just looking down at it from a certain distance (ask them what distance they are basing their judgement on). If you consider eye-clean something other than what their definition is... TELL THEM what YOU mean by eyeclean, then ask them to give you their opinion based on YOUR definiton of it. They will do this.


No AGS and GIA are both highly reputable. In fact some consider AGS the superior certification. Please do a search (you can use the search function yourself to find the answers to many of your questions, in fact) if you want more information about this.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,654
m-stk, vtn-vtk face, tn-m

These refer to the girdle thickness.

medium to slightly thick
very thin to very thick
thin to medium

Anything with "extremely" is bad like "extremely thin" or "extremely thick". The range shouldn't be too large. Very thin to very thick is pushing it in my opinion but the vendor would be be best able to explain why regarding that particular stone. If a girdle is too thick it makes the stone heavy in carat weight but doesn't have the spread (dimensions) to show for it. It will look smaller than it really is.

Girdle info
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Date: 3/11/2009 5:51:18 PM
Author: abroberts
4. Can any Pricescoper make any recommendaitons on selecting a setting? I would like a traditional looking Platitum setting with 6 prongs. Everything else is up in the air. Clearly quality is important, but because I want the stone and the setting to be around $5,000, I can''t pay for very expensive designs. Any recommendations on selecting quality but not so high-end settings? (I would prefer to purchase this from the diamond seller, if possible.)

I''ve seen the following at James Allen (the only 6 prong settings I could find):

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/classic-solitaire-settings/ring/item_57-1959.asp
http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/classic-solitaire-settings/ring/item_57-1933.asp

But I do sort of prefer the simplicity of the following from Whiteflash:

http://www.whiteflash.com/Engagement-Rings/Styles/Solitaire/6-Prong-tiffany-style-Diamond-Solitaire_993.htm

But I don''t think that I have very sophisticated tastes in these matters.


5. I''ve seen several recommendations to call an online vendor and to ask: ''Is the stone Eyeclean?'' I understand that this means are inclusions visible without a 10x loupe. If I call, can I expect an honest response and is this common enough jargon ''in the trade''? Will the seller know what I''m talking about?


6. To those who recommended the above stones, should I not be concerned that all of the sellers recommended have AGS and not GIA grading reports?


7. Does the Cut value imply or does it not imply good depth, table, crown angle, pavilion angle values, etc.? That is, do I need to pay attention to these values or can I just look at cut ratings?


8. All of the stones recommended above that came from James Allen were Hearts and Arrows ideal cuts. But if I went with Hearts & Arrows Ideal cut, would I not be paying for a brand name (e.g., Tiffany''s)? Thus, should I not prefer a non-branded diamond with good specs over this Heart & Diamonds brand?


9. How to get PriceScope Pricing on JamesAllen? Do I need to access the diamond through the Pricescope search engine? Or can I access these prices from the James Allen website itself?
I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some of the posters here in Rocky Talky but I figured I could throw in my $0.02 on some of your questions.

4. It seems that the WF Tiffany style 6 prong setting is very popular around here for people looking for that classic style without the Tiffany pricetag. I quite enjoy it myself. I don''t think you can go wrong with that selection.

5. When you call an online vendor to ask about if a stone is eyeclean I would describe in as much detail as you can what that means to you. Does it mean that you want to be able to look at your fiancee''s hand from 10-12 inches away and not see anything? To me that is eyeclean but others might have a different idea about it. Sometimes a stone will be given a lower clarity rating because of an inclusion near the girdle but otherwise it would receive a much her rating if you exclude that inclusion. If this is the case with a stone I would ask if the inclusion could easily be hidden with a prong.

7. When I look at the cut of a stone I do look at the rating (though I value a highly rate AGS certed stone than I do a highly rated GIA stone) and I also look at whatever information they give and put it into the HCA.

9. I have always seen the JA Pricescope discount when I go to the JA site from PS or when I have been logged onto PS and THEN opened the JA site in another tab.

When I have spoken to WF before I believe they have given a 5% (or somewhere around there) PS discount. I don''t believe you would see it on their website though.
 

DiamondFlame

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 7, 2009
Messages
680
>>>8. All of the stones recommended above that came from James Allen were Hearts and Arrows ideal cuts. But if I went with Hearts & Arrows Ideal cut, would I not be paying for a brand name (e.g., Tiffany''s)? Thus, should I not prefer a non-branded diamond with good specs over this Heart & Diamonds brand?<<<


iirc H&A describes the ''precised way'' the diamond is cut so it displays a pattern of ''hearts'' and ''arrows'' when viewed through an idealscope. It''s not really a brand like ''Tiffany'' or even diamond brands like ''Infinity'' or ''Leo''.
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top