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cost of melee in a custom setting

alamana

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
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195
Hello! I'm off to Quest Jewelers on Tuesday to discuss a custom setting for my new 1.5 carat pear. My budget is what I'm guessing is probably pretty low for a custom setting -- I've only got $1300 or less to spend, and less would be better (when my boyfriend gave me a budget I poured most of it into the center diamond).

I had thought I might want a halo, but now I'm thinking maybe that isn't going to be affordable. Halos are expensive, and I'm guessing it is because of the cost of the added diamonds? But ... I have a cluster pendant that I rarely wear that might have enough little diamonds for a halo. If not, it could certainly provide some sidestones. Would this really save me much money or is melee relatively inexpensive anyway? Perhaps a large part of the cost of rings with lots of diamonds has to do with the work of setting them as opposed to the cost of the diamonds themselves? Also, maybe this is a dumb question, but is it rude to bring my own melee and expect a jeweler to use it?

Advice? Thanks!
 

Asscherhalo_lover

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 16, 2007
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5,099
Many jewelers will not allow for customers to supply melee, in most cases it's the labor of the setting that really bumps up the price as opposed to the raw materials. For your budget would consider a simple temp setting and then save for what you really want? you could get a nice temp for around $500 and start saving for the dream setting later on.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 21, 2010
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Also, if you're open to a relatively simple halo style, like with a plain metal shank and just a halo around the center stone, price-wise something like that may come in fairly close to your budget... I do think Quest is known for reasonable pricing and quality work, so give them a chance to price out a halo design that might both please you and be within your budget (here's hoping!).
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 19, 2003
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alamana|1444592751|3937259 said:
Halos are expensive, and I'm guessing it is because of the cost of the added diamonds?

Yes, that's true. The melee are not inexpensive and you are generally using a lot of them. The labor to set them costs nearly as much as the melee themselves, so the fewer the stones the lower the cost all around.


But ... I have a cluster pendant that I rarely wear that might have enough little diamonds for a halo. If not, it could certainly provide some sidestones. Would this really save me much money or is melee relatively inexpensive anyway?

It probably save you some money. It depends on the sizes of the stones you supply. Often when people supply small stones the sizes are not very close and the depths vary by quite a bit, making the setting of those stones more difficult. I would suggest taking your pendant to your jeweler and ask. Asking never hurts and it can help to reduce costs by quite a bit if the stones can be used.

Perhaps a large part of the cost of rings with lots of diamonds has to do with the work of setting them as opposed to the cost of the diamonds themselves? Also, maybe this is a dumb question, but is it rude to bring my own melee and expect a jeweler to use it?

Yes, setting about doubles the cost of the melee. Rude? NO, it is never rude to ask questions when you are the one paying to have something done. In fact, smart jewelers make a point of trying to get people to use their old jewelry, as it develops repeat customers which is the core of most jewelers business. Just don't be surprised if they try talking you into using the old piece to make more than one new piece or reducing your cost further by using the scrap value of the old metal. Actually you should consider taking any old stuff you have laying around since most jewelers love to do trading for precious metal scrap.
 

kb1gra

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
937
Just as a suggestion, I really don't know whether you are married to using Quest, but you could get a James Allen halo well within your budget even if you include the fees to set an outside stone. Their settings are not stock and they do custom make the halo to fit your stone. I've been happy with their work and their warranty. A plain shank halo from them in 14k as a temporary setting can be had for $600.
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 19, 2003
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I forgot to add that if you're very price sensitive you should probably look at commercially made halo settings, since the metalwork for a truly custom piece would eat up the bulk of your budget. There are a lot of places to get commercial settings and your jeweler can show you things that might work for you. While you're waiting, you might check out this catalog, (it's wholesale only, but has a good selection of pictures), to see what's available. http://www.adwar.com/products/list?subcat=Halo&shape=Pear

With these sorts of settings the cost of the setting itself would be somewhere between $150 and $200 per dwt, (pennyweight), so a 3dwt setting would cost $450 to $600 and so forth. Melee is pretty variable in cost, but many jewelers will pull melee from scrap that people have traded in and, if you ask, they might have something suitable for your needs at a lower cost. Ask, ask, ask!
 

alamana

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
195
Thanks so much, everyone. This is so incredibly helpful.

Michael_E|1444597503|3937278 said:
Actually you should consider taking any old stuff you have laying around since most jewelers love to do trading for precious metal scrap.

This never would have occurred to me, and I do have a bit of gold laying around. I'll take it with me and ask.
 

pinkjewel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
2,279
Also, you may want to take a look at Julia B on Etsy. She makes some very nice, reasonably priced halo settings.
 

alamana

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
195
Went to Quest today and ended up falling in love with a setting in the case and purchased it. For some reason I can't find a picture of it online, but according to my receipt it is Coast Diamond model number LC20027. I'll post pics when I get the ring, which will be mid-November (they could have done it more quickly than that, but I'll be traveling for several weeks).
 
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