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TSNARE

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
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18
Sorry, everyone. I tried to edit my "Help for newcomer" post but I couldn't get it to work. This is a more expanded version of my question with some of my concerns. I hope once again that some of you can take the time to help me a bit:

I'd like to get an engagement ring within the next four weeks, as I plan to propose soon. The problem is, I have a pretty tight budget b/c I'm in grad school. And, although I predict many may try to dissuade me, I think there's something so romantic and sweet about splurging on the name behind the ring. I'd love to get a Tiff. & Co. or Cartier engagement ring, but some tell me these big stores try to cheat people on price (i.e., overcharge). Is this true? Also, I wonder: Whether at an upscale place like the above-mentioned or at a local jeweler, should the buyer try to negotiate or "haggle" over price, or are diamond rings usually purchased at retail value?

I've been reading a book on diamonds to try to help me determine quality, but at some of the fancier places it seems as though everything is pretty good (and thus pricy, I bet... e.g., at least VS2 and I color at Tiff's).
Anybody have any advice? I have $3500 saved that I can put into this ring.

I know that it's very possible to find much better diamonds for much lower prices online. But I don't feel comfortable enough with my knowledge to do that, despite my research. Furthermore, as much as I know my gf will love me no matter where I get her ring, and although she may not say so to my face, I do know that she'll be a bit disappointed if she knew her ring came from an internet purchase. She's very traditional and likes the idea of going to a nice jeweler and buying a ring the old fashioned way. I do too.
I honestly don't mind being overcharged a bit or settling for a smaller stone than I could get on the net. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that at a place like Tiffany's, Bulgari, or Cartier, my $3500 would at best get a 0.2 carat diamond on a 14K gold ring. Any thoughts? If everyone thinks the dealers I mention are out of the question and out of my price range, then can anyone suggest other reputable and even fairly well-known jewelry stores?

Thanks so much to everyone. I so appreciate any help anyone can give. God bless. :))
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
$3500 is plenty of budget for the internet -- but won't get you anything at Tiffany & Co. Get an internet stone, then have a ring custom made or have the internet dealer set it. That is what I did. Buy the stone from one of the better online vendors, and if you are inexperienced when keep it simple and get an AGS or GIA ONLY. I really don't think you want to double the price to have it come from Tiffany, or maintain the price and get 1/2 the quality.

If .70 carat is ok with you, then maybe get one of these. The quality cannot be argued with, and you will not get ripped off from this dealer. Don't impress her with the box, impress her with the AGS000 certificate.

http://search.virtcert.com/cgi/u/1057/v.cgi?stock=795000&_s=1057&_p=abaz83&_c=&_fs=2&prestock=

http://search.virtcert.com/cgi/u/1057/v.cgi?stock=731037&_s=1057&_p=abaz83&_c=&_fs=2&prestock=
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
Trust in a branded retail store is what will get you ripped off, not the internet. Note I am not suggesting eBay -- that will get you ripped off. I am suggesting a well known quality store that happens to advertise on this forum.

Listen to me now and believe me later -- if you bought one of those two stones I listed above, and asked them to set it in a Platinum 2.5mm 6 prong Tiffany style setting, there is literally a 99% chance that it would be MUCH better than what you could buy in any store for a comparable price. Now I personally would not order a diamond and have them set it before it arrives because I want to check it out first when it is loose. But that is just me. You could do that, and have very strong odds of having it all work out much better than any local store.

Since it is a certified stone it will come with a fancy color-printed hologrammed fancy package that will convey the quality you sought out. As for the ring being a Tiffany-clone setting -- not sure what to say about that. Might bother her. Does not bother me because it is still solid Platinum. But I paid a local person $475 to custom make a wax model of my design and cast it in 18K with a Platinum 6 prong head and how can she not like a ring you designed?
 

slmulkey

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
133
I don't have alot of experience with jewelry stores. I did however visit a few just to get an idea of how differences in color, clarity, size etc. actually affect the look of a diamond. I would still recommend going with an online vendor, as you can get a bigger, better quality diamond for your buck. That being said, I'm sure there are reputable B&M stores that you could get a decent deal from. You might want to provide the city that you live in so that people on this forum could help you find one in your area.

But, regardless of where you buy the stone from, you should feel comfortable that you not getting ripped off by a jeweler. You should check out the tutorial on this site, it may be better than the information in the book that you read (esp. if it is Fred Cuellar's book). I am so glad that I found this site, otherwise I probably would have bought an overpriced, poorly cut diamond.

By the way, my budget is similar to your's, ~3000 for the stone and ~1000 for the setting (gold tension setting). I'm close to making a purchase (awaiting a sarin report) from whiteflash.com on a .8 ct. well cut G, VS2 diamond. You might want to check them out, or some of the other vendors listed on this site before commiting to a B&M store. I'm sure that your soon to be fiance will appreciate all time you spent picking out her engagement ring.

Best of luck to you! I hope that some of this info. is helpful.
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
I have discovered that the easiest way to get ripped off by a store is if you do not understand cut. They will at best pull out the "Rap" sheet and "show" you that you are getting a wholesale price. But what they do not say is that the Rap sheet is for a well-cut stone, and it is not really wholesale either. The stone they will sell you for at or below the Rap sheet price will not likely be well cut. Those two stones I posted ARE not only well but, but super-duper-duper well cut. I can tell by the specs and the HCA scores are 0.8.
 

student

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
167
I'm a grad student with a similar budget. I don't think Tiffany's is at all worth it for people with our budgets. The more research I've done about buying a diamond on the internet, the more comfortable I've felt. You do keep on learning things even after many hours of research. That you can get an independent appraisal by an expert before paying is what clinches it for me; otherwise, I would still be leery. You might be able to find a B&M store in your area with good service and prices. Surely you'll be able to find one with better value than Tiffany's, though finding prices close to internet prices is hard. Even if you buy your diamond online, there is always the option of having it set locally. I've found that pictures on the internet do not always convey just what a setting will look like. As for the possible stigma of a purchasing online: Tiffany, Neiman's, and Saks all have online stores. You can certainly get good quality products over the internet.
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
I see zero stigma of shopping online compared to 99% of jewelry stores. But I agree it is not as prestigious as a Tiffany branded setting in a box. So that is a valid choice -- although not one to be made with an under $10,000 budget because then things are too tight to squander the dollars on anything but real quality. So if it comes down to (a good shop on the) internet or a common store, then they are equal in terms of prestige. As far as worry and independent appraisers -- mine from www.niceice.com came with tweezers and a loupe and an AGS certificate. There is NO WAY I would ever pay someone to tell me that my diamond matches the certificate. You just match up the inclusions and weigh it and maybe measure it. Easy to tell.
 

sylvesterii

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 3, 2002
Messages
295
another thing to consider is there are very reputable B&M stores that sell to people online. Several of them contribute to this website. check them out first, you will be happy that you did. there ARE other names in the diamond business, branded diamonds, and branded settings are available, respectable, and for much of the world sound "foreign" and we all know that foreign means expensive!!!
 
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