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Alarming jewelry store visit!

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abcdefg

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I'm new to buying diamonds (I've never had any before), so for the past couple of weeks, I've been obsessively researching them so I can choose my e-ring. After choosing what I thought was a good stone & setting (which I haven't bought yet, but was planning to tomorrow), I thought it would be a good idea to visit a local jewelry store, just to get a real life feel for the actual size/colour/clarity of the diamond I had been planning to get.

I went to three different run of the mill mall jewelry stores, not intending to buy anything or find good deals (hah!), but just to see the things I listed above.

First of all, I was shocked by how SMALL the diamonds were. They looked incredibly puny compared to my conception of what various diamond sizes look like, via online charts and pictures I've seen. I found that the diamonds were especially shallow compared to what I had expected. I mean, I guess they looked nice, but I can't imagine people paying THOUSANDS of dollars for them? The smallest size that looked remotely significant to me were the 1ct stones, and well... I can't afford to spend $5k+ on this ring. Is it possible that poor cut (or anything else) could be responsible for that, or are diamonds just honestly that small? They seemed so small they couldn't even properly be called "stones" - more like chips.
The stone on the 0.75ct ring I was shown (I asked to see one since that's the size I'd been looking at online) probably didn't even take up 1/4 of my finger width, and I wear a size 7, which isn't small but not enormous either. Is this normal and my expectations are just skewed?

Secondly, I asked to see a J colour diamond (which is the colour of stone I had been planning to get - with ideal cut and strong blue fluorescence, I thought it would be fine). They didn't have any - the lowest they had was H. So I looked at it, and it definitely seemed visibly yellow to me, and remember, I'm not intimately familiar with diamonds. I asked if it was a bad cut, and the salesperson said that no, it was an ideal cut.
Do you think there was something wrong with that stone, or am I just really sensitive to colour?

The last thing I asked was to see a 2mm band - I know how big 2mm is on a ruler, but I wanted to see that size on an actual ring. I was surprised by how small that was too? I guess I was expecting it to seem slight, but still fairly substantial... I felt like it was so small I'd crush it just by normal wear... I don't know, I was pretty disheartened.

Am I freaking out over nothing, and my online purchase will be better than this experience? Or are diamonds just not for me?
 

neatfreak

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Well first of all I assume these stores were crappy. Thus the colors and cuts of these stones are likely to be a lot crappier than if you buy an AGS ideal stone, so I wouldn't discount the lower colors just yet. Also, these stores tend to have yellow lighting making everything look yellow. That said though, your expectations of size were likely skewed. Diamonds are pretty small.
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:37:07 PM
Author: neatfreak
Well first of all I assume these stores were crappy. Thus the colors and cuts of these stones are likely to be a lot crappier than if you buy an AGS ideal stone, so I wouldn''t discount the lower colors just yet. Also, these stores tend to have yellow lighting making everything look yellow. That said though, your expectations of size were likely skewed. Diamonds are pretty small.
I guess I''m just shocked because I wasn''t expecting them to be THAT small. I don''t care how much a rock sparkles if it''s like half the size of a pencil eraser? I can''t really justify spending thousands of dollars on that... I guess I just don''t get it. Maybe I''ll just go with a plain band for a ring.
 

Maisie

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Have you considered maybe getting a coloured gemstone for your center stone and have some small diamonds as sidestones? That way you will get a bigger look for less money
 

E B

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:40:19 PM
Author: abcdefg

I guess I''m just shocked because I wasn''t expecting them to be THAT small. I don''t care how much a rock sparkles if it''s like half the size of a pencil eraser? I can''t really justify spending thousands of dollars on that... I guess I just don''t get it. Maybe I''ll just go with a plain band for a ring.
What about a colorless diamond band? Something more substantial than 2mm, gives good finger coverage, and is somewhere in the D-F color range so you''re not likely to see any warmth?
 

oneandahalfrock

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I agree with NeatFreak- often times (pre-PS) we hear ''one carat'' and thought to ourselves, "What a rock!" but the reality is 1 carat is only going to be about 6.5 mm.
Also, you need to consider who the mall stones are (or aren''t for that matter) certified by. Most people report a difference even between EGL and GIA certified diamonds, so don''t even get me started on these no name, no reputation labs the maul stores send their stones to! lol
If you''re on a super limited budget but are looking for something larger, you may consider a color stone- while I''m NOT saying colored stone are cheap either, sometime you can find a good value and a larger stone with a smaller budget.
I''d also poke around with the PS vendors- there are several who give discounts to members.
Best of luck on your search- don''t let one experience get you down!!!
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:42:34 PM
Author: EBree
Date: 2/21/2009 12:40:19 PM

Author: abcdefg


I guess I''m just shocked because I wasn''t expecting them to be THAT small. I don''t care how much a rock sparkles if it''s like half the size of a pencil eraser? I can''t really justify spending thousands of dollars on that... I guess I just don''t get it. Maybe I''ll just go with a plain band for a ring.

What about a colorless diamond band? Something more substantial than 2mm, gives good finger coverage, and is somewhere in the D-F color range so you''re not likely to see any warmth?
Well that seems to be my only alternative if I''m really that underwhelmed by larger, single stones. And it''s fine I guess, just underwhelming when considering my expectations of what an ''engagement ring'' is supposed to be like. I mean I know that what I like is what ultimately matters, but it still feels disappointing. I think of a diamond band as being a wedding band, not an e-ring.
 

E B

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:46:17 PM
Author: abcdefg

Well that seems to be my only alternative if I'm really that underwhelmed by larger, single stones. And it's fine I guess, just underwhelming when considering my expectations of what an 'engagement ring' is supposed to be like. I mean I know that what I like is what ultimately matters, but it still feels disappointing. I think of a diamond band as being a wedding band, not an e-ring.
Ah, but I don't mean just any diamond band, I mean something super blingy, like a five-stone. KCoursolle's is a perfect example, and you can pair it with a plain wedding band or a a thinner diamond band:

5-Stone U-Shaped Band from WF
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:42:06 PM
Author: Maisie
Have you considered maybe getting a coloured gemstone for your center stone and have some small diamonds as sidestones? That way you will get a bigger look for less money
Well, I did see some rings like that when I was out today, and they at least seemed more satisfying, even if unusual. Like a coloured gemstone with a diamond halo, etc. However I didn''t happen to look at the prices, so I''m not sure if they were even any cheaper.

Also, I''m not sure how other gemstones would hold up over time. Obviously diamonds are very durable but I''m not sure about other stones. I guess I could look it up.
 

oneandahalfrock

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:46:17 PM
Author: abcdefg
Date: 2/21/2009 12:42:34 PM

Author: EBree

Date: 2/21/2009 12:40:19 PM


Author: abcdefg



I guess I''m just shocked because I wasn''t expecting them to be THAT small. I don''t care how much a rock sparkles if it''s like half the size of a pencil eraser? I can''t really justify spending thousands of dollars on that... I guess I just don''t get it. Maybe I''ll just go with a plain band for a ring.


What about a colorless diamond band? Something more substantial than 2mm, gives good finger coverage, and is somewhere in the D-F color range so you''re not likely to see any warmth?

Well that seems to be my only alternative if I''m really that underwhelmed by larger, single stones. And it''s fine I guess, just underwhelming when considering my expectations of what an ''engagement ring'' is supposed to be like. I mean I know that what I like is what ultimately matters, but it still feels disappointing. I think of a diamond band as being a wedding band, not an e-ring.
Well, here''s perspective for you- in my avatar, my engagement ring is on top of a bottle of Givenchy Very Irresistible- lol, that''s 1.5 carats against the top of a perfume bottle! And a carat, weight wise, is only a 1/5 of a gram- a Skittle is one gram... reality stinks sometimes ;-)
Don''t let it get you down though! Maybe you should focus more on the setting than the center stone for now- find a ring you can fall in love with :D
 

E B

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Beverly K makes a pretty reasonably priced halo you could put a sapphire in. I believe sapphires are hard enough for every day wear, and they come in a lot of different colors:

Beverly K Halo $1150 in 18K WG
 

Siamese Kitty

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Are you set on the idea of a round? Marquises, pears, and ovals tend to look bigger than rounds or princesses of the same carat weight.
 

oneandahalfrock

Shiny_Rock
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You know what else might cheer you up- a good look through the ''Under 1 carat'' thread in Show Me the Ring :D
There are so many beautiful rings there!!!
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 12:57:03 PM
Author: Siamese Kitty
Are you set on the idea of a round? Marquises, pears, and ovals tend to look bigger than rounds or princesses of the same carat weight.
No, I''m not that attached to rounds, it just seemed like the best choice for what I was going for before.

I saw a pear at the store that seemed pretty good, so I asked how big it was, and it was 1ct.
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 1:01:48 PM
Author: oneandahalfrock
You know what else might cheer you up- a good look through the ''Under 1 carat'' thread in Show Me the Ring :D

There are so many beautiful rings there!!!
I actually did see that thread, which was part of what was leading me to expect that under 1ct would look fine! Somehow, all of the rings I saw there managed to appear larger than what I saw in person today. That''s why I''m confused about whether those were bad diamonds somehow (I mean beyond the general bad quality I was expecting from mall stores), or if I''m just blind.
 

Maisie

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1/2ct and 3/4ct diamonds are not tiny by any means. I started off with a 1/2 carat round from whiteflash and it was a decent size. I showed you the picture in your other thread I think. I wish I could see the stones you saw today. Something doesn't sound right with that store.

If you give us your budget maybe we can help you look for something great in your price range?
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 1:07:36 PM
Author: Maisie
If you give us your budget maybe we can help you look for something great in your price range?
Around $2500, less if possible. The combination I had set up before was about $2300.
 

glitterata

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The setting can make a big difference. That''s one reason so many people here choose halos around their diamonds.

But if you think diamonds are too much money for something so tiny, maybe you shouldn''t get one. There''s no law saying you need a diamond to get engaged. All you need is a person you love.
 

Rhea

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I''ve never had a high budget, but have size 7 fingers and really want finger coverage. My engagement ring is an almost 1/2 carat centre stone with tapered baguettes. It proves great finger coverage and I think it look better on me than a solitaire. Another ring I own, an antique filigree ring, had a 1/3 centre stone and a couple of other stones and is wide, about 13 mm. I do want a larger stone, but the finger coverage is what makes the difference for me in both of my rings.

Diamonds are small. I think the 1/2 carat is about 5 mm in width. The 1/3 carat is about 4.3 mm in width. In photos, when we all zoom in, they look huge. Have you looked at the under 1 carat thread? It''ll give you some realistic ideas of how the stone size will look on your hand.

You may also want to consider using another stone. Some coloured stones are much more expensive than diamonds, others are much less expensive. If you''re willing to put aside your ideas of a diamond engagement ring you may find a stone that you like that is less expensive than a .70 diamond and in a bigger size.
 

paeony

Shiny_Rock
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yeah, its kind of dangerous looking online at pics of diamonds... makes everything in reality look miniaturized
Another word of warning: in the under 1 ct thread, it seems like most of the posters have really tiny fingers! (making the diamonds seem larger!)
Try shrinking some of the pictures down to actual size to get a better idea.

Also, remember that there are certain types of settings that can accentuate the size of the stones (halos, some bezels, etc.)
Another trick-- get a cheap ring with a tiny stone. Wear that for a while until you kind of get used to it.. then switch it out to a .75-1ct stone.. it will seem a lot bigger!

Good Luck!
 

blastdoor

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you are right.. diamonds are small... really small...

when i take pics of the e-ring i bought for my fiancee, i need to use macro + optical zoom on my digicam before i can capture any significant details..

colleague of mine once had her stone dropped off her ring while typing on her computer and was only able to find it on the carpet floor by touch and not sight...

you are also right that diamonds might not be for everyone... i have at least 2 friends who settled for plain wedding bands with no engagement rings.. and a few others who bought diamond rings for their wives or gfs not because they like it, but rather because that''s what they''re expected to do..

diamonds are strange little things.. they are among the hardest substance found in this world and yet they represent the most gentle of human emotions - love... some people live for diamonds.. and others die for it.. some people''s eyes just pop out everytime they see these little beauties while others are just as happy with czs...

i spent 4 month''s salary on the e-ring i bought for my fiancee... what i received was a 2.4mm wide 18k White Gold band with a diameter of just under half an inch and a piece of 6.2mm diameter transparent-looking stone right in the middle held down by 6 tiny prongs... i don''t think i''ll ever spend half that kind of money for something to wear on myself, but everytime i see her smile, i know its money well spent for me...

but that''s just me... so yes... it may not be for everyone.. as the saying goes.. "one man''s treasure is another man''s junk".. you really need to ask yourself how you feel about it all...

if you are inclined towards the "yes i want it" camp then i''m pretty sure it will be money well spent for you without regrets (like in my case)...

but if you end up on the "i think i have better better use for my cash" side, then you better don''t else that few thousand dollars will just be expensive school fees you pay to learn that lesson...

either way is not wrong, but only you can decide which way you want to go...

hope this is of some reference value...
 

abcdefg

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Date: 2/21/2009 1:16:54 PM
Author: Addy
I''ve never had a high budget, but have size 7 fingers and really want finger coverage. My engagement ring is an almost 1/2 carat centre stone with tapered baguettes. It proves great finger coverage and I think it look better on me than a solitaire. Another ring I own, an antique filigree ring, had a 1/3 centre stone and a couple of other stones and is wide, about 13 mm. I do want a larger stone, but the finger coverage is what makes the difference for me in both of my rings.


Diamonds are small. I think the 1/2 carat is about 5 mm in width. The 1/3 carat is about 4.3 mm in width. In photos, when we all zoom in, they look huge. Have you looked at the under 1 carat thread? It''ll give you some realistic ideas of how the stone size will look on your hand.


You may also want to consider using another stone. Some coloured stones are much more expensive than diamonds, others are much less expensive. If you''re willing to put aside your ideas of a diamond engagement ring you may find a stone that you like that is less expensive than a .70 diamond and in a bigger size.
I don''t normally like baguettes (to me, they don''t really look like diamonds - they don''t seem shiny, they look like glass panels or something), but earlier today I saw someone''s ring posted on here, with a pear as a centre stone and baguettes as side stones. I actually liked it a lot. I have no idea if that would be any cheaper (and it sounds like a custom thing... which might be too expensive), but it''s something to think about. It would at least give me that horizontal coverage, which I agree is mainly what I seem to be hung up on.
 

Rhea

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I missed the part where you said that you''d look at the under 1 carat thread. Something a jeweller told me, when shoping for the diamond, drop your hand to your side and walk by a mirror (this independant jewellery store had a full-length mirror, but unfortunately not good cut diamonds). This is how others see your ring. Staring at it straight on looks smaller to me, but doing this really seems to work.

You haven''t mentioned yet, but what area do you live in? What size stone does your peer group wear?
 

glitterata

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Here''s another trick that might help. Buy yourself a cheap little silver ring with a tiny CZ or other stone in it. Make it a really thin ring (at most 2 mm) with a really small stone, at most 4 mm ( .25 ct). Wear it all day every day for a week. Then go look at diamond rings again. You''ll be amazed how much bigger they look.
 

Rhea

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Date: 2/21/2009 1:20:57 PM
Author: abcdefg
Date: 2/21/2009 1:16:54 PM

Author: Addy

I''ve never had a high budget, but have size 7 fingers and really want finger coverage. My engagement ring is an almost 1/2 carat centre stone with tapered baguettes. It proves great finger coverage and I think it look better on me than a solitaire. Another ring I own, an antique filigree ring, had a 1/3 centre stone and a couple of other stones and is wide, about 13 mm. I do want a larger stone, but the finger coverage is what makes the difference for me in both of my rings.



Diamonds are small. I think the 1/2 carat is about 5 mm in width. The 1/3 carat is about 4.3 mm in width. In photos, when we all zoom in, they look huge. Have you looked at the under 1 carat thread? It''ll give you some realistic ideas of how the stone size will look on your hand.



You may also want to consider using another stone. Some coloured stones are much more expensive than diamonds, others are much less expensive. If you''re willing to put aside your ideas of a diamond engagement ring you may find a stone that you like that is less expensive than a .70 diamond and in a bigger size.

I don''t normally like baguettes (to me, they don''t really look like diamonds - they don''t seem shiny, they look like glass panels or something), but earlier today I saw someone''s ring posted on here, with a pear as a centre stone and baguettes as side stones. I actually liked it a lot. I have no idea if that would be any cheaper (and it sounds like a custom thing... which might be too expensive), but it''s something to think about. It would at least give me that horizontal coverage, which I agree is mainly what I seem to be hung up on.
It doesn''t have to be baguettes, my point was, with your budget, ideas about an engagement ring, and finger size, you may want to stop looking at solitaires. It wouldn''t necessarily be a custom piece. There are a ton of stock settings out there. It''s just choosing what you want. With your budget it may come down to a .70 in an expensive plain setting, or a .50 in a fancier setting.
 
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