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Buying engagement ring for the UK on limited budget - what are the best options

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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@johnjo56 have you tried using the PS search function?

Could you post your max budget for diamond only in USD excl taxes - it makes it easier to search. Also what’s the lowest colour/clarity you are willing to consider? Eg if you would be willing to consider a K you’d be able to get a size bump... also an SI2 (with the caveat that it is eye clean of course).
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
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Apr 18, 2021
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51
OP, if you buy from the US factor in an additional 25% for VAT/duty. Blue Nile are an excellent choice although returns from the UK are not free ( costs around £40). I second the idea of proposing and then choosing the ring together.

I was chatting with a Blue Nile advisor earlier who told me its about £40 to return if a resize is needed. They add the duty on the total before you pay so no more is added. The orders go to Dublin in Ireland and then to the UK from there.

...Im torn between choosing the ring myself or choosing together.

Do most women prefer to choose their own? It seems like the easy option to me... ah let the missus do it I cant be bothered. Or is that not how most ladies think? Would they actually PREFER to choose themselves!!??
 

lovedogs

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I was chatting with a Blue Nile advisor earlier who told me its about £40 to return if a resize is needed. They add the duty on the total before you pay so no more is added. The orders go to Dublin in Ireland and then to the UK from there.

...Im torn between choosing the ring myself or choosing together.

Do most women prefer to choose their own? It seems like the easy option to me... ah let the missus do it I cant be bothered. Or is that not how most ladies think? Would they actually PREFER to choose themselves!!??

Oh sorry, I mean upgrade to a larger center diamond itself.

But yes, I personally would want to be involved in the process so I could have a say about style, where to buy, etc.
 

johnjo56

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Apr 18, 2021
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OP: do you think you would ever want to upgrade to a larger stone in the future? If yes, then I would recommend WF because of their $1 upgrade policy. But if you dont plan to upgrade then I would go with blue Nile because you'll get a larger stone for your $$ and we can help you find a very nice one

No I very much doubt we would upgrade in the future to be honest.
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
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No I very much doubt we would upgrade in the future to be honest.

Ok then in that case probably blue Nile is best. But up to you (and you know your gf best) about whether she wants input in the process (e.g. style, size, etc) or not
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
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@johnjo56 have you tried using the PS search function?

Could you post your max budget for diamond only in USD excl taxes - it makes it easier to search. Also what’s the lowest colour/clarity you are willing to consider? Eg if you would be willing to consider a K you’d be able to get a size bump... also an SI2 (with the caveat that it is eye clean of course).

I would say no more than 850 dollars ex vat/duty

How do these minimum requirements sound (im no expert)
Cut: Excellent
Carat: 0.45 or higher
Colour: I or better
Clarity: Im no expert on this but I do want it eye clean
Flourescence: No higher than medium?
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
51
Ok then in that case probably blue Nile is best. But up to you (and you know your gf best) about whether she wants input in the process (e.g. style, size, etc) or not

If holidays or most other things are to go by she prefers to just be handed her passport and off we go, I do all the sorting out!!
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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I would say no more than 850 dollars ex vat/duty

How do these minimum requirements sound (im no expert)
Cut: Excellent
Carat: 0.45 or higher
Colour: I or better
Clarity: Im no expert on this but I do want it eye clean
Flourescence: No higher than medium?

I think at that size you could probably go with J or K as well, especially if you plan to set it in a YG setting / 2 tone setting.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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@johnjo56 i don’t have a lot of time rn but I did spot 2 stones that seemed promising - both K colour though.

this one is K VS1 (will def be eye clean) with faint brown tint and med blue fluorescence - more of a 60/60 style - should face up whiter and brighter even in a WG setting and good HCA approx 5.2mm-



This is K SI1 at 5.4mm - should be fine in YG/2 tone setting -

Won’t let me send the HCA link but you can look that up on the PS search. Hope this helps
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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...Sorry I forgot to say it will be set in white gold not yellow gold.

Check out that first stone I posted. “Faint brown” tint tends to face up whiter to the eye than ordinary yellow tint. And at the ~0.5ct size you would be hard pressed to see tint anyway I think. I think that stone can work in a WG setting depending on how colour sensitive you are.
 

Natylad

Ideal_Rock
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But how would anyone looking at her ring know if it came from a mine or a lab?

The recipient of the ring will know, because she will be given the lab report. If she is not ok with a lab grown diamond and her family and friends don't appreciate those stones either (which is the norm in Europe), she will be disappointed and furthermore she will either have to lie about the specs of the diamond or feel awkward telling people about it. Not a happy situation to be in when you have just gotten engaged. I remember myself talking about my ring to all my friends and family and I even shared the GIA report of my diamond with my parents and siblings.
Why should she feel awkward about something that could be avoided? She should be proud of her ring and satisfied with it.
On this side of the world there are more important priorities when choosing a diamond for an ER than size. It is a cultural issue and since I am aware of it I thought that it would be best to remind the OP about it.
 

Natylad

Ideal_Rock
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If holidays or most other things are to go by she prefers to just be handed her passport and off we go, I do all the sorting out!!

If this is the case, I suspect that she would be happier if you proposed with a ring that you chose especially for her. Not to mention that there's nothing better than having a beautiful ring on your finger right after you got engaged!
 

Ceilimom

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 5, 2018
Messages
407
Check out that first stone I posted. “Faint brown” tint tends to face up whiter to the eye than ordinary yellow tint. And at the ~0.5ct size you would be hard pressed to see tint anyway I think. I think that stone can work in a WG setting depending on how colour sensitive you are.

It's a pretty stone.
 

Ceilimom

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 5, 2018
Messages
407
I was chatting with a Blue Nile advisor earlier who told me its about £40 to return if a resize is needed. They add the duty on the total before you pay so no more is added. The orders go to Dublin in Ireland and then to the UK from there.

...Im torn between choosing the ring myself or choosing together.

Do most women prefer to choose their own? It seems like the easy option to me... ah let the missus do it I cant be bothered. Or is that not how most ladies think? Would they actually PREFER to choose themselves!!??

Does your intended wear any rings? If yes, can you slip it on your pinky finger, see how it fits. Just an idea for sizing. From what I have read stores are open again and you might pop into a jewelry store and try a ring sizer there. Just a suggestion.
 

Fabfashion

Shiny_Rock
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Mar 23, 2021
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415
I think what you’re doing is very sweet and romantic. Can’t help on the diamond specs as I’m no expert in this area. Just wanted to say that I was fully involved in the whole selection process and spent months researching the design but that’s just my personality. You’ll know best whether your partner would rather be surprised with a ring or rather be involved in the selection. I usually don’t travel with my e-ring but have this small Bvlgari ring with only 0.25 ct. center stone. I get more compliments on this ring than any other rings I own. So I don’t think size matters as much as the sparkle and the ring design which enhances the overall look of the ring.
 

Ceilimom

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 5, 2018
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407
I want to stick with a solitaire or something similar that's not too flashy and has a nice diamond in the centre.

I am willing to pay a little more if it gets me a bigger and better quality diamond but £1000 - £1200 is my definitely max on this if anybody has seen any worthy of the price.

If you can stretch your budget to the $1000-$1200. price you will find a great diamond. If it's a bit less in cost, then that's a plus. Aim for the nicest, great sparkle diamond( great numbers very important= great sparkle).
 

Lookinagain

Brilliant_Rock
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Check out that first stone I posted. “Faint brown” tint tends to face up whiter to the eye than ordinary yellow tint. And at the ~0.5ct size you would be hard pressed to see tint anyway I think. I think that stone can work in a WG setting depending on how colour sensitive you are.

I agree, the round stone in this ring is an L color with faint brown, set in white gold. It looks pretty darn white and I can not really see much color from the side at all. It's .60 ct and I agree that in a small stone that is well cut, you can go to K with brown tint.

Screenshot 2021-04-19 150232.jpg
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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@johnjo56 i don’t have a lot of time rn but I did spot 2 stones that seemed promising - both K colour though.

this one is K VS1 (will def be eye clean) with faint brown tint and med blue fluorescence - more of a 60/60 style - should face up whiter and brighter even in a WG setting and good HCA approx 5.2mm-


I like this option for you @johnjo56 ::) And I agree with all @AllAboardTheBlingTrain's thoughts - in this size range a 60/60 K is a lovely option, even in white metal! And you wind up paying a negligible amount extra for the higher-than-strictly-necessary clarity - it's really much more a question of availability.

A couple more:

0.50 J SI1, £704.40 (less via wire transfer)
This stone is graded VG in cut because physical symmetry is only Good. However, optical symmetry (the patterning that you see when you look into the stone) is very nice. Physical symmetry is facet meet symmetry - it usually goes hand-in-hand with optical symmetry, but not always! The grade-making inclusion is a crystal, which is white - I'm confident this stone will be eyeclean in-person.

0.53 J SI1, £783.60 (less via wire transfer)
Another nice option. The crystal under the crown should be either fully prongable or extremely close to being under a prong - either way, you won't be seeing it in-person. HCA would return a scary score on this one, but this is a good example of tooling tossing babies out with the bathwater - the video shows a perfectly nice steeper and deeper stone. Pavilion mains obstruct as you tilt exactly as expected. It will be less bright under the table than other flavours of RB, but you'll see more coloured light return across various lighting environments than from those other flavours. And you'll want to be diligent about keeping it clean (choose a mount that permits easy access to the underside of the stone).

The 0.53 J SI1 is my personal favourite, and the 0.51 K VS1 is my next choice.
 
Last edited:

Fabfashion

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
415
As for the budget GBP1000-1200 is approximately US$1400-$1675. Prices in the UK already includes the sales tax (VAT) so the price listed is supposed to be the price to be paid not including shipping cost, if any. Also on the Blue Nile site, customers can change the shipping to country at the top right corner so those in US & Canada or other countries can change that selection, switch to ship to the UK and be able to see diamonds in local GBP currency if that helps. Sorry I’m no help in the diamond selection part.
 

CSpan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
1,024
Do you think she would go for a three stone instead of a solitaire? Or a halo? Then you’d better good finger coverage for a reasonable price.

I wish I could walk you round the Dubai gold and diamond park and show you what you could get here. Perhaps I could zoom you and show you videos next week when I’m there LOL!

I wish you could show me around :kiss2:
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
51
Thanks for all the stone suggestions... its so hard making a decision on a stone when you are unsure you are making the correct decision through lack of knowledge!

Yssie - Thanks for your suggestions I checked the 5.3 carat option out on the HCA advisor and the score came out at 3.4! I thought I was supposed to be aiming for under 2?
 

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johnjo56

Rough_Rock
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Apr 18, 2021
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@johnjo56 i don’t have a lot of time rn but I did spot 2 stones that seemed promising - both K colour though.

this one is K VS1 (will def be eye clean) with faint brown tint and med blue fluorescence - more of a 60/60 style - should face up whiter and brighter even in a WG setting and good HCA approx 5.2mm-


Thanks for the suggestions AllAbroad. I must admit I am a little worried about the K colouring, I really didn't want to go any lower than J but what do I know, its just a number but it frightens me slightly if it turns up and it just looks brown!
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
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Apr 18, 2021
Messages
51
Although I don't want a too small diamond if there is anything around the 4.5 mark that looks better than a 0.5 then I am willing do drop size a little, I just didn't want something below that carat as it physically looks tiny.

It is about all about the cut and sparkle i can see that so its trying to find the right compromise between size and elegance.
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
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Apr 18, 2021
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Oh sorry, I mean upgrade to a larger center diamond itself.

But yes, I personally would want to be involved in the process so I could have a say about style, where to buy, etc.

The only diamond shops my partner will know about is those from the high street and that would probably be where she would suggest going but I have had a look around them and they are just scandalously priced for you get.
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
51
If you can stretch your budget to the $1000-$1200. price you will find a great diamond. If it's a bit less in cost, then that's a plus. Aim for the nicest, great sparkle diamond( great numbers very important= great sparkle).

Thanks Cellimom... the hardest part is actually finding the nicest great sparkling diamond!! lol
 

johnjo56

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
51
Do you think she would go for a three stone instead of a solitaire? Or a halo? Then you’d better good finger coverage for a reasonable price.

I wish I could walk you round the Dubai gold and diamond park and show you what you could get here. Perhaps I could zoom you and show you videos next week when I’m there LOL!

I think she will be accepting of whatever I get, I just fancied a solitaire as its simple, elegant and should clash with any other rings she may get in the future.

Now that sounds like a flashy event. If I attended I would probably walk away with a diamond costing a small mortgage! lol
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
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Apr 22, 2020
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Thanks for the suggestions AllAbroad. I must admit I am a little worried about the K colouring, I really didn't want to go any lower than J but what do I know, its just a number but it frightens me slightly if it turns up and it just looks brown!

Colour is super personal and subjective FOR SURE. That being said, I feel like people expect stones in the J/K/L to face up like fancy intense colours because of the scaremongering messaging.

This is a good video to show you what K colour looks like -

Also, I might be wrong but I remember reading that GIA penalises brown a bit (the concentration of colour in a brown K would be similar to the concentration of colour in a yellow J) - this could just be marketing stuff though but I do remember hearing this.

This article can be helpful - https://beyond4cs.com/color/k-diamonds/
 

Alex T

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 24, 2012
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@johnjo56 This is an exciting time for you guys!

Heaps of fabulous advice on here, but I would just like to add that a trip to Hatton Garden or the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham couldn't do any harm. I have been to both & it's pretty mind blowing. Birmingham seemed to be where you got more bang for you buck to me, as Hatton Garden has a lot of artisan jewellers. But both will show you lots of plain settings etc.

If nothing else, you would be able to get a really good feel for the size & colour tints of various diamonds.
 
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