Buying a diamond in / from England

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Jan 6, 2003

I'm based in London, England and looking for a few basic starting points for buying a diamond / engagement ring in / from London. I have no experience of this at all, so apologies if I come across as the complete amateur I am! If anyone can help with the following I'd be most grateful:-

1. After a bit of initial research I'm leaning towards buying a diamond separately and having it set into a ring after purchase. I presume most people in this forum would recommend that approach to buying a ring which is already made up?

2. I want to buy a solitaire stone. Apologies if I don't set these specs out in the correct format: I want a brilliant round "ideal" cut. Clarity at least SI1 or better (up to VVS1 if all else is equal and budget allows, but basically if defects can only be seen under 10x mag and not with naked eye I'll be happy). Colour (at least) G/H, higher (F) if all else is equal and budget allows. No clarity enhancement (unless people advise this is worth looking at - everything I've read says avoid it). Not sure on carat or size - I know she will love something smaller with more fire / brilliance than something larger with less - probably 5mm to 10mm diam. Any tips on carat / sizing gratefully received - on the basis of my other criteria should I just go for the heaviest / biggest stone I can get once the other specs are taken into account? Also, if anyone can suggest trade-offs on the above specs to maximise "fire" (eg. lower grade colour for higher clarity or whatever) I'll be happy to consider them.

3. I've read 6-prongs rather than 4-prongs are recommended for solitaires, on the basis if one of 4 prongs breaks you have 180 degrees of the stone exposed and a much greater chance of losing it. This sounds like good sense to me, provided the extra prongs don't detract from the stone. I plan to get the ring made up by a ring-maker who two friends have recommended (they both used him for their engagement rings) so will discuss this with him, but if anyone has any thoughts on 6 vs 4 prongs if it's not just a matter of taste, please let me know.

4. I'm based around the corner from Hatton Garden (the diamond and jewellery centre of London). Anyone had any good / bad experiences of buying from jewellers off the street here? Is anyone able to recommend a good Hatton Garden jeweller there who will be happy / patient enough to show me through some stones to give me a "feel" on refining my spec without expecting a purchase there and then? Obviously I'd like to compare a stone with the above sort of spec with others to decide whether I need to change spec up or down to get what I want. I know finding a good local jeweller can be difficult, so any advice would be most welcome.

5. In terms of purchase itself, I've read several sites which recommend purchasing stones from US web-based sellers, e.g. Blue Nile, Mondera, etc. I gather buying on-line from the US can be extremely cost-effective when compared to buying in London off the street. Have checked with Blue Nile and they don't ship to outside of the US "for insurance reasons". Is anyone aware of any big-name web-sellers who do ship to Europe? I've read some of the archive questions in this forum, some of which raise this issue but don't identify US companies who do ship to Europe. I don't know anyone in the US well enough to have the stone delivered to them and then they send it on to me.

6. I want a certificated stone. Is a GIA certificate the one to go for?

7. Re: the "ideal" cut. I have tables showing guideline proportions (depth / table / length:width ratio / girdle / facets etc) for a well-proportioned round cut diamond. I presume these are based on Tolkowsky's "perfect round cut" formula - is this still the accepted ideal proportions for maximum fire / brilliance? Should a GIA (or other) certificate give these proportions for the stone? If not,

8. I have about three months to play with to get exactly what I want before the day I'll need it. I know setting a budget is very important, but at this stage I'd like a *rough* idea of what the type of stone described in (2) *should* cost. A ballpark budget for me would be anything up to £5,000 (including the ring) = approx. US$8,000.

9. Any other major pointers to avoid me getting ripped off?

Thanks in advance. Sorry the above is so long, but as I say this is all new to me and it's a steep learning curve! If I've made any major gaffes / been unclear on any of the above please accept my apologies.

Thanks again for your time.

Claude (p.s. if anyone wants to email me directly it's [email protected])


Jun 27, 2002
Hello Claude,

You make several legitimate points,
but prior to a purchase you may need
to do your research first, which it seems
to some extent that you have already.

I would advise against purchasing clarity
enchanced diamonds, because you are not dealing
with pocket change and clarity enchanced diamonds
are for a niche market of those whom are willing
to comprimise the natural virtues of the diamond.

Dealing with the United states will still uphold
the greatest value and quality for a diamond purchased
anyware in the world, and will still be a competative
market for you, even when you establish the duties
and taxes involved for shipping to England.

You may further your protection by having your diamond
evaluated by proffesionals like the, Rock Doc, and others
on the appraisers list on pricescope. What these proffesionals will do is conduct a series of tests to
insure that you are getting exactly what you are paying for... And many companies will abide in having your diamond selections sent to them prior to making any fianancial commitment.

Another way the U.S. market differs from the rest of the
world is in terms of cut, No where else on this globe are diamonds cut to the level of beauty and perfection as they are with-in the United States.

If you have any further questions than feel free
to post them on this forum, and I am sure that many will try to help you make an educated decision with your purchase.

Buy Informed!

Kirk Konst
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