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Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelmed

lifebeckons

Rough_Rock
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Oct 1, 2016
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10
Dear friendly folks of Pricescope,

Fairly recent lurker and a first time poster, so please be gentle :angel:

I never knew shopping for an engagement ring can be so daunting. Well I shouldn't have expected any easier, being a guy with very little aesthetic sense, but here I am. I lover her to death, we have been together over four years, and I want to spend the rest of my days with her. And so began this quest to get her a ring she will love. We are both in our 40s (so not exactly spring chickens) and have talked about what she likes and doesn't like. We even went to a few jewelry stores together so we can both see rings together and get an idea about her style. But I still want some element of surprise so she doesn't know what exactly she is getting. So here goes:

She likes round diamonds, and I would like to get one a hair below a carat (0.8 or 0.9). In terms of settings, she does not want a plain solitaire, she likes "a little something going on, but not too much". She has long, slender fingers, and her ring size is 5 3/4 (attaching a pic below). We have ruled out halos, but she loves infinity settings, something a bit vintage, something "twirly". Also note that she has earthy, eclectic taste in jewelry, but when it comes to an engagement ring she wants something a bit more traditional. We looked on JamesAllen and here are a few settings that sparkled her eye, and I coyly bookmarked them.


I checked BlueNile and JamesAllen so far, but based on some readings here decided to go with JamesAllen.

So two main questions now:
  • Am I taking the right approach of choosing a setting first? Based on her likes, what would you knowledgeable folks pick?
  • How do I go about picking the rock as that seems super daunting? Based on my readings here, I applied the following filters for the rock: Round cut (ideal or super hearts), Color (H,G or F), Clarity (VS2 or VS1), Carat (0.8 to 0.95). And this gave me 767 results in the price range from $3,100 to $7,600.
  • My budget for the ring is about $5,000. Could go as high as $6,000, but that's about the limit. She would rather have me save for a comfortable retirement than spend too much on a ring, so she would be happy with even just a band, but I want it to be more special that that.

Please help!!

LB

vsk_10022016.jpg
 

tyty333

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lifebeckons

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Thanks Tyty: My total budget is around $5K (I can go as high as $6K, but that would be the upper limit). I noticed that the 2 settings you liked are both 14k gold. I was leaning towards 18k gold as I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that 18k will be more durable and long lasting than 14k. I also considered platinum for the same reason, but don't want to overspend on the setting forcing me to under spend on the rock.

Thanks flyingpig for the bc2cjewels recommendation! Does it mean I just buy the loose diamond from them and have it set someplace else? I would rather buy everything from one place and keep it less complicated, that's why I liked JamesAllen. Again perhaps I need more education :(
 

flyingpig

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

lifebeckons|1475424887|4082926 said:
Thanks Tyty: My total budget is around $5K (I can go as high as $6K, but that would be the upper limit). I noticed that the 2 settings you liked are both 14k gold. I was leaning towards 18k gold as I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that 18k will be more durable and long lasting than 14k. I also considered platinum for the same reason, but don't want to overspend on the setting forcing me to under spend on the rock.

Thanks flyingpig for the bc2cjewels recommendation! Does it mean I just buy the loose diamond from them and have it set someplace else? I would rather buy everything from one place and keep it less complicated, that's why I liked JamesAllen. Again perhaps I need more education :(
I, and many, also recommend one-stop shopping. Contact B2C if they have similar settings. I am sure they do. Or I hope other PS members find you a good stock setting from B2C's website.
 

girlguineapig

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Mar 23, 2014
Messages
141
Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

You might be able to pick a b2cjewels setting but yes, you could have them ship the diamond to JA to be set. You can decide whether it's worth it depending on the other stones you find. I love that B2CJewels diamond.

Here are some nice ones from JA, so you can compare. I suggest putting a hold on your favorite while you think about the B2CJewels one.
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.82-carat-h-color-vs1-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-2018079
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.81-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-1917088
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.82-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2106422
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.91-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1843984

Also consider Victor Canera and in particular, WhiteFlash. WhiteFlash has LOTS of settings and better policies than JA.
https://www.pricescope.com/diamonds/search?vendor=1&inhouse=-1&shape=1&minprice=1&maxprice=5500&mincarat=0.8&maxcarat=21.7&mindepth=60&maxdepth=62&mintable=53&maxtable=57&mincut=1&maxcut=1&mincolor=1&maxcolor=5&minclarity=2&maxclarity=7&minsymmetry=1&maxsymmetry=8&minpolish=1&maxpolish=8&minflourescence=1&maxflourescence=6&checkbox_panel1=%2C02%2C03&checkbox_panel2=&sort=carat-desc&page=3&pageview=24&adv=true
https://www.victorcanera.com/diamonds/ags104087777003-0.844-h-vs1-ideal-hearts-arrows-round#cmp=prds
https://www.victorcanera.com/diamonds/ags104087777002-0.848-g-vs1-ideal-hearts-arrows-round#cmp=prds
 

Niel

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

You're requirements are not difficult to accomplish at most vendors. I would not buy a stone from one place and a setting from another.
I would also splurge for platinum.
 

Niel

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

flyingpig|1475425785|4082932 said:
lifebeckons|1475424887|4082926 said:
Thanks Tyty: My total budget is around $5K (I can go as high as $6K, but that would be the upper limit). I noticed that the 2 settings you liked are both 14k gold. I was leaning towards 18k gold as I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that 18k will be more durable and long lasting than 14k. I also considered platinum for the same reason, but don't want to overspend on the setting forcing me to under spend on the rock.


Thanks flyingpig for the bc2cjewels recommendation! Does it mean I just buy the loose diamond from them and have it set someplace else? I would rather buy everything from one place and keep it less complicated, that's why I liked JamesAllen. Again perhaps I need more education :(
I, and many, also recommend one-stop shopping. Contact B2C if they have similar settings. I am sure they do. Or I hope other PS members find you a good stock setting from B2C's website.
I've seen enough problrms with b2c and a bait and switch type situation where I wouldn't buy from them. I also know nothing about their settings.
 

lifebeckons

Rough_Rock
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Oct 1, 2016
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Thank you all for your replies!!

Diamond:
Girlguineapig: Thanks for suggesting the diamonds from JA. I liked these two from your list. Can someone help me select the better one out of these two?

Setting::
I am liking the below 3:

Again here are a few things that my girlfriend loves:
  • A little vintage,
  • Loves the infinity pattern
  • Loves it to be a bit unique but not over-the-top unique (she loves unique jewelry but in an ER she does not want to venture too far from the norm).
  • She also wants a ring where the center diamond is set a bit higher than the rest of the band. She doesn't like rings where the diamond is flush or close to the rest of the ring. She wants it to stand out a bit more.
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

I think the settings that'd look the most balanced (not overwhelming) with a .8-.9 would be one of the first two, but since she loves infinity settings, probably the second one (https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/18k-white-gold-pave-rope-engagement-ring-item-52760)

Of the two you like the most that girlguineapig posted, I'd go with the .82 H, VS1 (looks really beautiful!) and put the extra $500 toward the setting.

Just my two cents! :)) Good for you for finding out and going for what she really loves.
 

Gypsy

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40,198
Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

I think Sholdt would be a good fit for her, setting wise. Take a look through Brian Gavin's website for Sholdt settings. I have seen them and tried them on in person and they are TRULY exquisite. Especially for the price point. The quality is impeccable.
 

Niel

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

In my opinion you'll get the twisty infinity look OR you'll get a vintage look. I don't think that Chris cross look is vintage. It's very now. Of course one or the other is OK.
 

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

One thing you could do of you wanted to get the infinity look and a vintage look on is to split the two.

Get a vintage inspired ring and get an infinity wedding band. Ones like this Beverley k one have a vintage feel but still that twist look you're after. That way, she can get both the looks she likes.

9bed48addda657d8408154a831bd233b.jpg

rose-gold-diamond-infinity-band-4rr6625dd.jpg
 

rocks

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

I've seen the second ring on your list live, and if you are going for something alittle different, it's lovely. The twist gives it some interest.
 

lifebeckons

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Messages
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Thank you Gypsy and Niel! I am going to check out the Sholdt rings Gypsy!

So here's where I am landing on. I just ended a long chat session with JamesAllen in my attempts to narrow down on the settings.
Niel, you are correct. Things that catch her eye are vintage, infinity and twist.

Diamond --> https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...rat-h-color-vs1-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-2018079

Setting:
1. I like this one in particular because this will not overwhelm the stone (I am getting a 0.82-carat stone and want it to stand out). According to the JA rep, "It has the whimsy with the twists, it has the added sparkle and it is very accentuating to the diamond". Rocks, is this the one you have seen live? --> https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/platinum-pave-rope-engagement-ring-item-52850

2. This one is a bit more "regular" but nice as well. https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/platinum-perfect-pave-engagement-ring-item-55406

Am I getting closer?

Regards,
LB
 

lifebeckons

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Messages
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Niel|1475446925|4083005 said:
Thanks Niel, but no that's not really her style. For starters, she doesn't like yellow gold. But even if I were to get this in white gold, this is too "knotty". Based on things she has shown interest in, this doesn't fit the bill. But thanks for the recommendation!
 

kb1gra

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Messages
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

I have the setting that tyty recommended above and I actually think it might be perfect for someone who likes classic with a little bit of interest. The reverse taper is really elegant.

This stone is a .9, just a little tiny bit larger than what you're thinking, and I wear a 5.5 so very similar to the size you'd be buying.

image_3100.jpg
 

DelsFan

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

lifebeckons|1475422454|4082916 said:
Dear friendly folks of Pricescope...



So two main questions now:
  • Am I taking the right approach of choosing a setting first? Based on her likes, what would you knowledgeable folks pick?
  • How do I go about picking the rock as that seems super daunting? Based on my readings here, I applied the following filters for the rock: Round cut (ideal or super hearts), Color (H,G or F), Clarity (VS2 or VS1), Carat (0.8 to 0.95). And this gave me 767 results in the price range from $3,100 to $7,600.
  • My budget for the ring is about $5,000. Could go as high as $6,000, but that's about the limit. She would rather have me save for a comfortable retirement than spend too much on a ring, so she would be happy with even just a band, but I want it to be more special that that.

Please help!!

Yes, choosing the setting first is exactly the way to proceed. It is the most difficult and the diamond makes little difference until you know what kind of setting you desire.

Once you have chosen a setting your problems are over! Well, except for the $$ one. But if you have settled upon a high quality round for your center stone, at any point in time there are hundreds of these available to you in the quality and "4-C" range you are looking for.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PURCHASING A ROCK?:
1) You've probably read the most important "C" is cut. This is correct, so limit your initial searches to a vendor's signature line of diamonds (some are more super-ideal than others, but you will at least be in the ballpark as you start your search).
Examples are:
A Cut Above, Expert Selection, or Premium Select from Whiteflash
Brain Gavin Signature or Brian Gavin Blue
I know Good Old Gold (NYC) has a "signature" line of super-ideal-cut diamonds as well as Wink Jones at High Performance Diamonds (Idaho).

While there will be a little variation of what each of the above (reputable) on-line jewelers considers a super-ideal cut,
a) almost any super-ideal-cut diamond these jewelers sell will be better than any diamond you can find in almost any local jewelry store (unless you live in Houston or NYC or Boise, then knock yourself out and visit one of these guys' showroom).
b) If you want a really top-line diamond, IMO most local jewelers don't have a clue or cannot source that good a diamond - or both.

2)Your budget is flexible enough, so set aside finances temporarily and decide what setting you really like, then look for pricing on a super-ideal-cut 0.8 to 0.9 carat round diamond, VS2 or SI1, G or H color. Those criteria will produce a spectacular ring, one that will get noticed. One you will never look at and think, "Should I have spent extra on "x"?"
Now, can you afford this ring? If so, you are 99% done, if not, then you have to put on your thinking cap.

I agree with another poster, spend the $600 extra on platinum and don't look back.

Small but important aside:
If you are buying a ring with accent diamonds in/on the band, I will say I've talked to Whiteflash and Good Old Gold (NYC) lately and each said this about the quality of small melee type diamonds:
These small (2 and 3 point) diamonds are available to most of the jewelers who advertise here (jewelers who care) in a "super-ideal-cut diamond.
You can actually see the arrows in these diamonds like you can in your 0.8 carat (high quality) center stone (with a device which allows one to "see" into diamonds that small).
There is a small but discernable difference between the decent F-G VS2 melee diamonds found in the settings from reputable designer ring makers and what Whiteflash would call A Cut Above melee diamonds. (And with rings purchased from lower end jewelers or made by lower end ring makers, the difference would be even greater.)
Most designer ring makers will send your jeweler one of their rings without any accent diamonds upon request, so don't think you can't get superior accent diamonds in a designer ring.
IN MY OPINION: spending the extra pennies (OK, maybe $200) and having your jeweler go to the trouble of using superior accent diamonds is worth the time and trouble.


As you are searching for the setting you like, Whiteflash (amongst others) has a fabulous selection and a superior web-site. You can narrow your choices but also, when you see a setting you like and click on it there are four to ten different views of the ring along with a photo which rotates, showing the ring on an actual hand (although it technically could be a rubber hand). ADDITIONALLY, for their more popular designs, slightly below the ring's description there are between two and fifteen additional photos of actual rings they have made for people, listing (this is MOST helpful) the size of the center stone in that ring. If (like my nephew, whom I am currently helping) you are looking for a ring to show off a center stone slightly less than a carat in size, looking at photos of settings with 1.5 and 2.0 carat center stones doesn't always help you in your situation. Seeing how some rings look good with 0.8 carat diamonds and others don't really show off a "smaller" diamond very well is really beneficial.

IF/when you find the setting you like and know the criteria of your center stone, talk to the people at Whiteflash, Brian Gavin, Good Old Gold, Brilliantly Engaged, or I-D Jewelry (to name a few) and get pricing. Additionally, it is sometimes less expensive, and almost always easier, if you know what you want, to have them make it for you instead of trying to find a pre-made ring exactly like you want. I would not hesitate, once you've settled on what you want and are sure they know what that is, to use email and the telephone (and a bank wire) to purchase your "superior" engagement ring.

Other PS posters back me up here if you agree:
I would suggest a person who even only mostly knows what they want will get a nicer ring with a better cut of diamond* by having one of the above jewelers make your ring and mail it to you (well, Fed-Ex and you sign for it!) . The first time I saw the ring in my avatar was at the Fed-Ex office, long (20 days) after I had paid for it. Worked out great. (I am reminded reading one of my former posts, reading how my wife's boss reacted the first time she saw it: "Wow, that is spectacular, let me get my glasses!... Do you just sit and stare at it all the time?"

*You are not working with a local jeweler, but if you were, my experience is they are pitiful for people who want an absolutely superior cut in their diamond. They will tell you anything, but mostly they cannot even get this quality of diamond, they've never heard of an ASET image; their sales pitch: nearly, all you need to do is buy any diamond with a certificate and it will be fine...
 

Niel

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

lifebeckons|1475447234|4083006 said:
Niel|1475446925|4083005 said:
Thanks Niel, but no that's not really her style. For starters, she doesn't like yellow gold. But even if I were to get this in white gold, this is too "knotty". Based on things she has shown interest in, this doesn't fit the bill. But thanks for the recommendation!
Lol yes you can make most settings in any color, so I wasn't suggesting the color.
 

lifebeckons

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Messages
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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Thank you Delsfan for your detailed reply. It was very informative.

Gypsy said:
I think Sholdt would be a good fit for her, setting wise. Take a look through Brian Gavin's website for Sholdt settings. I have seen them and tried them on in person and they are TRULY exquisite. Especially for the price point. The quality is impeccable.
Gypsy, we went on the Brian Gavin site together, and she wasn't too excited. Part of the problem is the website itself. It doesn't showcase the settings very well. She didn't like the whole reflection concept where they show each ring with its reflection, and its hard to see the detail.


It is a big and confusing decision indeed. After thinking this a lot, this is the setting I am leaning towards. Any red flags with this, given that the stone will be a 0.8-carat one. https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/platinum-pave-rope-engagement-ring-item-52850
 

motownmama

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

That setting seems to fit the bill based on your description. I think it would look elegant with her long fingers!
 

Gypsy

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

It looks like you made a great choice. That's the only thing that matters.
 

E B

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tyty333

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lifebeckons

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Thank you to all of you who helped me a lot, but I am now having second thoughts about this setting that I picked. I am good with the diamond, but now I am worried if this is the right setting. And I keep finding myself going back to JamesAllen (or Brian Gavin) looking at other settings. So, so, so confused :wall:

I want to get her something that she would absolutely love, but I don't know now. I picked this setting even though some folks on here weren't too thrilled about it. I am so indecisive :(

Here's the setting again --> https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/platinum-pave-rope-engagement-ring-item-52850

Sorry for being such a kid about this :(
 

lifebeckons

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Re: Buying engagement ring (less than a carat) but overwhelm

Hi folks!

My indecision and dilemma continues :(.

Gypsy, took your advice and went back to the Brian Gavin Sholdt collection and spent quite a bit on there today. The settings there do look exquisite.

So I am back with 3 more settings and want to see what you good folks think about these for a 0.8-carat round rock:

1. http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/flora-sholdt-platinum-5347p
2. http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/pave-and-side-stones/rina-sholdt-platinum-6678p
3. https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/pave/platinum-pave-crossover-engagement-ring-item-8903

Regards,
LB
 
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