So my search began a few months ago - I looked thru Brick & Mortar shops here (btw I''m in Metro Orlando,FL), then I came to see what I could find online. At first I found the standard big name stores like Blue Nile, Odimo, Mondera etc... and while they all had pretty good deals compared to the B&M stores, I wanted to see what else was out there. I ran into several really good resources inculding this forum and DT and that led me to a few smaller online retailers.
I sent out emails and waited (I had told myself 24hrs max wait time for any one vendor). Some responded quickly and some didn''t at all. Jonathan (Rhino) at Good Old Gold got back to me fairly quickly and was just down right friendly and detailed in his responses and so I choose to look at his inventory further. This is NOT an ad for Good Old Gold though... I looked at several other vendors but there were a few stones that I kept coming back to at GOG... and Jonathan''s attitude was plus.
Ok... a little about what I was looking for. I wanted cut 1st, color 2nd, clarity 3rd and then that leaves carat weight 4th. I know she didn''t like stones that were too big or overpowering and so I decided to start with GIA Excellent cut stones, a G-H range for white color and VS1-VS2 for an eye clean stone and then around the .9 - 1.24 carat range. The whole cut thing for me was just a personal preference based on what I had read here and so I went with a H&A stone. Eightstars were a mild consideration till I saw the price difference
So back to GOG... I narrowed everything down to 2 main stones... a 1.09 G VS2, unbranded H&A and a 1.08 G VS2 unbranded H&A.
I chose the 1.09 (HCA 0.7) and had it shipped to to be inspected by Bill (RocDoc) at Consumer Gem Labs in Boca Raton, FL. Jonathan shipped the stone overnight and the very next day I got a call from Bill confirming receipt of the stone and then he told me his initial observations. Bill said the stone looked fine except for one thing... stress and strain. Now even after browsing this forums for quite a while I really didn''t have a good idea of just how important (or not) strain was in a diamond. Bill took time out to explain it to me and then offered to email some pictures of the stone under the filter so that I could see what he was talking about. The photos came and I got back on the horn with Bill who explained to me that those ugly red/brown rust looking streaks were actually the worse kind of strain and if it was blue/green it would be a little more acceptable (at least in his eyes)... now he didn''t pressure me or try to coerce me into believing this (his)strain theory. He said the stone was clean face up and beautiful to look at - however I queried him about the likelihood of a problem and if one did occur how would insurance companies deal with it since it seemed to be a pre-exisiting condition? Bill said that was his point exactly... given the facts I now had a decision to make.
I called GOG and spoke to Jonathan and told him Bill''s initial findings and my concerns. While very pleasant I could tell that Jonathan did not necessarily agree with Bill... however at this point, I didn''t have a good comfort level with this stone anymore and so I asked him if he would ship the 1.08 to Bill for inspection and he said "sure thing, not a problem."
The next day Bill got the new stone and immediately called me to tell me that he thought it was much better than the 1.09. Even a tad bit better visually. So I was now relieved and excited. Bill then invited me to drive down to his lab to see the stone in person... I was intrigued so I drove ( about 3.5 hrs one way) down on a Sat. to Boca R. to see what the stone really looked like. Bill also said he would show m the 2 stones side by side so I could compare for myself.
I arrived at Bill''s and to make this already long story short, I saw the stones and WOW
Bil then proceeded to run through his thorough inspection of the 1.08... Brilliancescope, Sarin, 10X, 20X 40X etc magnification... he had some many devices and tools that he usd to analyze his diamonds... some gadgets I promised not to talk about
Bill shipped the stones back to GOG and Christen confirmed that was going ahead with the 1.08. I had already ordered and paid for the D.vatche X-Prong in platinum and so it was just a matter of GOG sending the stone to be set. In about a week I got an email from Christen saying it was done and she then emailed me a photo and shipped it to me overnight. I had to fly out of town the next day for about 10 days and I was really appreciative of her efforts to get the ring to me before my departure.
The ring came (in GOG''s special white lighted box) and I am most pleased and impressed with both the stone and the Vatche X-Prong. I hope my lady will be also. I plan to give her this weekend in San Fransciso (she knows she flying but she doesn''t know where she''s going yet.... but she''s always wanted to go to SF - unfortunately the forecast tomorrow is rain).
Ok. Bottom line. I have had a very good experience with GOG (both Jonathan and Christen) and Consumer Gem Labs (Bill). I publicly thank you all. Also thanks to all you experts on this forum... I have learned a great deal from you by just browsing.
Anyway... I know you all want the specs. so here goes
Crown angle 34.2
Pav angle 40.8
Girdle 1.6% medium
Polish: GIA ~ Excellent
Symmetry: GIA ~ Excellent
Proportions: MegaScope ~ AGS Ideal "0"
Symmetry ~ Hearts & Arrows
Light Return ~ Excellent
White Light Return ~ High
Colored Light Return ~ Very High
Scintillation ~ Very High
Vatche X-Prong in platinum size 6.5