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Cost to set loose diamond reasonable/fair

Kirk2

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May 1, 2015
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I have some questions about setting a loose diamond, and I don't know much or really anything about this, so I was hoping someone knowledgeable might be able to help me out. I purchased a 1 carat pear diamond on blue nile, but blue nile doesn't have the setting my girlfriend wants on their website. The setting she likes is at Shaneco. Shaneco wanted $3,000 more for a comparable diamond (just going off the 4C's) and theirs didn't come with a gia report . Shaneco did clarify that a gia report doesn't really mean anything because it's just one person's opinion, and their appraisers are all gia certified, but at the end of the day their prices were much higher so I went with Blue nile for a diamond (after I purchased the blue nile diamond, shaneco said they'd try and me find a better deal, tbd). I would note that shaneco was nice to us, and they spent 3 hours educating us on diamonds, whereas at blue niles "custom order" line the person was a bit condescending and acted like he'd rather be doing something else than discussing a custom setting quote for me (haven't received their custom quote yet, also tbd).

I called 4 shanecos and received 3 different quotes for the cost to set my loose 1 carat diamond on their setting. The cost was all based on a dollar amount per point, plus the shape of the diamond, ranging from $3.00 to $4.50. I also emailed their online customer support and was told the prices average $3 a point for a pear diamond. The farther south the shaneco I called, the higher the price. I went to a $3.00/per point store, they have their own jeweler in house, who you can watch do his work, so maybe that's why they're cheaper.

1. Is $300 to set my diamond reasonable? It seems high, but Shaneco has a lifetime warranty if you use their jeweler, also they've been nice to us.

2. The setting my girlfriend likes only has three 3 prongs to hold a 1 carat diamond. Being OCD by nature, I thought that seemed low, so I asked for two additional prongs, so 5 prongs total, and they said it'll be an additional $75. Is that fair? The diamond is already insured through jewelers mutual, but i really don't want to lose it. The setting is white gold, 14K.

3. Last question, the "head" of the setting is a halo, and has a peg base. The setting is sort of a tapered cathedral type setting, and the only attachment of the head to the ring is the peg base. Is this secure? Blue nile (if i get a custom setting from them) they would bridge the gap, between the cathedral tips and the head, so that there'd be three areas of attachment to the ring. But my girlfriend doesn't like that look. She wants a floating look. Is the floating single point of contact (the peg base) is that secure?
 

McGinnis

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I hope someone has some insight. I'm curious about this too!
 

MarionC

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Most places I've used charge around $100 to set a stone & I got a lifetime warranty with Ritani.

I'm not fond of those "peg bases". To me the head looks awkward - disconnected from the ring- and as though it could break off, and the cathedral looks more flowing.
just my 2 cents.
 

danielxlin

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Aug 12, 2013
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My bench jeweler charges $50 to set a diamond. But I'm sure there are advantages to having Shane Co set the diamond (if they screw it up you can return the setting).

Still $300 seems excessive. The lifetime warranty is probably meaningless unless it means: when the prongs wear out in 5 years they will repair the prongs or replace the head for free. I doubt it means that.
 

denverappraiser

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You've got a couple of jobs here, not just a setting job.c
Par for the course around here (Denver) for the setting part is about $100/ct. - $200/ct. Other markets can be different. Individual craftsmen set their own prices just like in every other industry and they aren't all the same. The cheapest are rarely the best.

They're almost certainly replacing the head, not just adding a couple of prongs. The part is worth about $50 and the labor another $50 or so,

You describe the head as a halo. That means there are other stones set on it that will need to be reset as well. Expect anywhere from $10-$20 each.

All of that said, I would be very cautious in making the link that the most 'fair' is the cheapest. I think you're a little higher than the above and Shaneco isn't a discount sort of place but throwing an extra $100 at the person actually doing the work on a ring where you're spending thousands in exchange for confidence in the workman doesn't seem out of line. I generally recommend choosing your setter based on skills over price.

By the way, I'm pretty sure the 'lifetime' warranty doesn't apply for stones they didn't sell. Check the details if it's important to you.
 

danielxlin

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Actually, if I'm buying a setting, and bringing my own diamond, I would expect the setting fee to be zero. I don't know how these jewelry chains get away with charging for all these services when you're already putting a big chunk down for the setting.

ID Jewelry, for example, will charge you zero if you buy a setting from them. Are you sure Shane is the only store on the planet that offers this particular setting?
 

tyty333

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Jimmianne|1430565608|3871059 said:
Most places I've used charge around $100 to set a stone & I got a lifetime warranty with Ritani.

I'm not fond of those "peg bases". To me the head looks awkward - disconnected from the ring- and as though it could break off, and the cathedral looks more flowing.
just my 2 cents.

$300 is high but if you are getting the setting from them it may be worth it. $75 for extra prongs does not sound outrageous
to me (I assume they have to be done by hand).

Peg heads are safe. Many rings are done with peg heads. I'm not a fan of them either and I'll go out on a limb to say they are not
very popular here on PS. You'll never (I know, never say never), find them on expensive rings or custom rings. Peg heads are a way
of using one setting for many different shape stones. I'm also not a fan of floating cathedrals. Another look that does not look
custom and allows for jewelers to use the same setting for various size stones.

Can you post a link to the setting? Plus, what is the cost for the setting? It's not easy to find halos for pears.

Have you received the stone from BlueNile? Do you have pictures of it? Is it a nice stone? We almost never recommend Bluenile
for fancy cut stones like pears because of the lack of pictures. There is no telling whether you will get a nice stone or not by just
looking at the numbers on a fancy cut stone. We usually recommend James Allen because they have videos of their stones and
you can request an ASET image that will show you how well the stone is returning light which is important for a bright, sparkly
stone. Also, pears tend to have bow-ties (a dark area of leakage) going through the middle of the stone. You want to minimize
this for a nice pear. I'm going to provide you a link to a few decent pears so you know what one looks like...these are just a
few I picked from eye-balling them (they would take additional scrutiny to determine if worthy of buying).
Ignore color/size/clarity and just look at the faceting pattern.

http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/pear-shaped/?Color=I,H,G,F&Clarity=SI1,VS2,VS1&ViewsOptions=undefined&TabSelected=3&DiamondID=436452,231404,22552,366507,312446,13302,256068,374066

Not so nice pears...again...ignore color/clarity/size and just look at the faceting pattern.
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/pear-shaped/?Color=I,H,G,F,E,D&Clarity=SI1,VS2,VS1,VVS2,VVS1&ViewsOptions=undefined&TabSelected=3&DiamondID=505217,264099,436708,415627,227050,381470,297484,376995,465380,414725,386459,351856,490681



*BTW...Ignore Shane Co...they are talking AGS/GIA down because they don't sell those stones because they couldnt make as
much money on them. They can sell their stones for higher markup because they are graded by GIA/AGS standards so they can call an
"I" colored stone a "G" and mark the price up on it.

Hope this helps

Edit - The other thing I wonder about is that most halos are not peg-heads. Can you provide us a link to the proposed setting?
 

denverappraiser

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danielxlin|1430568722|3871078 said:
Actually, if I'm buying a setting, and bringing my own diamond, I would expect the setting fee to be zero. I don't know how these jewelry chains get away with charging for all these services when you're already putting a big chunk down for the setting.

ID Jewelry, for example, will charge you zero if you buy a setting from them. Are you sure Shane is the only store on the planet that offers this particular setting?
It's certainly not unusual for jewelers to include a certain amount of 'free' work in the sale of a mounting but it's hardly a requirement. It's just part of doing the math to decide to shop there. Sizing comes to mind. It's not hard, and it's not usually very expensive, but yes, the person doing the work is paid. Whether or not it's part of the bundle or an ala carte sort of system doesn't actually change anything important.

Beating Shaneco on price is usually not difficult, That's not why people shop there, BTW, depending on where you are, beating them on quality may not be that hard either. One of the downsides of this sort of giant store is that you really have no idea who is doing the work, You may get the best, but you may not,
 

danielxlin

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Aug 12, 2013
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If OP is savvy and adventurous enough to buy a diamond online I'm not sure why he's buying a setting at a chain store (a better quality chain store than Jared or Zales, but still a chain).

The total package of costs: 1) inflated basic cost of setting; 2) exorbitant cost of mounting fee (up to $450 for a one carat diamond!!!) is not reasonable or fair.

I believe Shane Co has that stupid mall chain policy that you have to bring in the diamond every 6 months to their store in order to keep the "lifetime warranty" in effect. It just becomes another chore for the customer and/or opportunity for an upsale.

Edit: White Flash charges a flat $100 to set an outside diamond, and they have a large, comprehensive collection of designer settings.
 

pfunk

Brilliant_Rock
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Dec 2, 2014
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I bought a stone online and my setting from a local family owned jeweler and they didn't charge me a dime to set the stone. Not to say that is the norm, but that is a contributor to why I chose the family owned jeweler. They didn't have one of those "bring in every 6 months for inspection" type warranties or any sort of extra fees. They just flat out wanted to take care of me and earn my business, and I in turn was MORE THAN HAPPY to spend my money there. I shopped at ShaneCo too and while they were polite and not real pushy, they just weren't on par with the family shop. They were going to charge me $3 per point ($600) to have my stone set by someone I had never met, and they still would not take responsibility if something were to happen during the setting process. I had insurance anyway so there is no big deal there, but why would I spend that kind of money for something that can be done in an hour and if something goes wrong they don't take resposibility for it anyhow? It just seems to me to be a LOT of money for what you are getting. If I was absolutely in love with a setting there, I might consider paying it but I would certainly negotiate on the setting fee.
 

WinkHPD

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danielxlin|1430568722|3871078 said:
Actually, if I'm buying a setting, and bringing my own diamond, I would expect the setting fee to be zero. I don't know how these jewelry chains get away with charging for all these services when you're already putting a big chunk down for the setting.

ID Jewelry, for example, will charge you zero if you buy a setting from them. Are you sure Shane is the only store on the planet that offers this particular setting?

Interesting point of view, the cost of setting should be zero.

Let's take a look.

Two ways to price this.

1. The cost of the mounting is X. The cost to set the stone is X + Y. Thus the total cost is XY.

2. The cost of the mounting is XY. The cost to set the stone is $0.00. Thus the total cost is XY.

Number 2 makes you feel better because you are paying NOTHING to set the stone. In reality, being charged XY is still being charged XY, but you feel better about number 2. That is just basic good marketing on the part of the jeweler who is "charging nothing" for setting the diamond that you bought elsewhere.

Personally, I agree that this is the better way to do it.

Wink
 

diamondseeker2006

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Please post a picture of the setting she likes. Perhaps we can find you a better one. I cannot visualize a setting with 3 or 5 prongs. You would never do a custom setting through BN. They are primarily a diamond vendor and I would only choose a standard stock setting through them. Not sure I'd use Shane, either. I hope you can post a picture for us.
 

Kirk2

Rough_Rock
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May 1, 2015
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Hi, thanks for all the responses! I'll try and answer all the questions. I attached some photos that I took while at the shaneco store, of the head and setting.

Pear halo head - Shaneco does not have a picture of the pear halo on their website, the person said it's not popular enough for their website (well, her actual words were, the pear halos aren't produced in sufficient quantities to be available on their website). The diamond in my photo belonged to shaneco. Shaneco said there won't be any gaps once set (as you see in the photo).

Setting. Here is a link to the setting: http://www.shaneco.com/detail/14k-white-gold-engagement-ring/41044799
It looks better in person (and see the photos I took) than it does on the website. That is one reason why I prefer not to buy a setting without being able to touch/see it in person. Things just look different in a photo than in person, for better or worse. I also included photos. It's hard to see, but the cathedrals look like two tree roots connecting, with a gap in the center.

Diamond: blue nile does not post pictures of their diamonds. Sample pictures only. But they do offer free returns, less return shipping costs (they said it'd be about $22 for return shipping to them. I also purchased a bausch & lomb loupe, so I can at least verify the gia inscription and look at the diamond for myself. The diamond doesn't arrive until next week.

blue nile: Here is the only in-stock pear halo at blue nile. The problem with customizing an order, is it takes 4-8 weeks, and on top of that it's nonreturnable. That means, you don't get to see what the end product will look like before purchasing. We had asked them for a quote to get something like this, but without the diamonds on the side. (See http://www.bluenile.com/build-your-own-ring/pear-shaped-halo-diamond-engagement-ring_41121 ). What she doesn't like about this setting, is they bridge the gap between the prongs, so you don't get the cathedral look.

Shaneco will perform the labor to set the diamond for free if you buy the diamond from them. If you bring a loose stone, that's when they charge the $300 setting fee. The $75 charge for 2 prongs would be charged regardless. But if you use your own jeweler, you don't get the shaneco warranty, it's voided as soon as a third party jeweler works on it. Their warranty won't cover loose stones purchased elsewhere, but I purchased jewelers mutual insurance for the diamond.

Shaneco has the 6 month service requirements to maintain the warranty (everything but loss of the diamond I purchased from blue nile). They give the warranty in writing, and post it on their store wall. If you "substantially exceed" 6 months (the person in the store said that would generally be more than 1 year), you can reactivate the warranty by bringing the jewelry in for an inspection (but you have to pay for any repair/maintenance cost to reactive the warranty). But, shaneco's warranty includes free for life resizing for gold/platinum, free repairs (including replacing lost sidestones or broken prongs), and all maintenance on the jewelry (including replating, and replacing gold that has worn down over time).

We were originally looking at platinum, but my gf doesn't like the patina look of aged platinum.

So basically, she is looking for a white gold cathedral type setting, preferably with a floating halo head (she might consider a setting with a bridged gap between cathedral prongs and head). Assuming the floating look, she doesn't want a cathedral with square tips, she wants rounded tips (she said the square may be at odds with the pear shape). She doesn't want diamonds on the sides of the ring, too much going on. She she has small fingers, ring size 4.5, so she wanted a setting more on the thin/petite side.

pear_8.jpg

setting_side_view.jpg

setting__front_view.jpg
 

diamondseeker2006

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I think it is a big mistake trying to piece together a halo with a solitaire. That just makes no sense at all when pear halo settings can be purchased. I am sorry to say that I overlooked in your first post that you were buying a pear without seeing photos which is extremely difficult.

I would strongly recommend cancelling the BN order and go with James Allen. You can see the actual stones on their site and you can get an ASET image on some of them. They have pear halo settings that are reasonable and they have 5 prongs.

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/halo/14k-white-gold-pave-halo-diamond-engagement-ring-pear-center-item-17461

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/halo/14k-white-gold-pave-halo-and-shank-diamond-engagement-ring-pear-center-item-17441
 

tyty333

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diamondseeker2006|1430597409|3871269 said:
I think it is a big mistake trying to piece together a halo with a solitaire. That just makes no sense at all when pear halo settings can be purchased. I am sorry to say that I overlooked in your first post that you were buying a pear without seeing photos which is extremely difficult.

I would strongly recommend cancelling the BN order and go with James Allen. You can see the actual stones on their site and you can get an ASET image on some of them. They have pear halo settings that are reasonable and they have 5 prongs.

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/halo/14k-white-gold-pave-halo-diamond-engagement-ring-pear-center-item-17461

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/halo/14k-white-gold-pave-halo-and-shank-diamond-engagement-ring-pear-center-item-17441
"
Ditto

With luck...you'll get a decent stone. It seems like you are going at this all backwards. Your SO is being particular about the setting
(understandable) but you've order a stone site unseen which I'm assuming cost thousands and probably way more than the setting?
Do you see what I'm saying?

Hopefully the stone will be decent...things to look for
-good light return...verify with an ASET image
-minimal bow-tie (or bow-tie that returns light)
-no shoulders on the pear
 

oldminer

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Ref: Wink's post. I have kind of re-worded it. It may make it a bit more understandable. (Sorry, Wink)

1. The cost of the mounting is X. The cost to set the stone is Y. Thus the total cost is X + Y plus a profit = retail.
OR
2. The cost of the mounting is figured X + Y. The cost to set is already included so they say it is "free. Thus the total cost is still X + Y plus a profit = retail.

Number 2 might succeed in making you feel better because you might just believe you are paying NOTHING to set the stone.
In reality, you are still charged X + Y plus a profit.

If you purchase a mounting from a jeweler who made zero on the diamond you bought elsewhere can't offer to set it for free. That jeweler must charge you a fairly large amount to set such diamonds because of liability for damage, loss and unforeseen problems of running a business that has overhead. The cheapest or the most costly or the one in the middle do not determine who does the best work or who you should trust. A high price does not ensure integrity or greater craftsmanship. It might, but it might not.

Keep in mind how much maintenance service on luxury cars is included when buying one new. Don't think for a minute that "Free" maintenance service and "Free" loaner car has not been fully paid for in the selling price of the car you just bought. That's partly why fewer less costly cars include such "perks". No free lunch, but how easily we are fooled by perception and smart marketing. The dealer does get you into a habit of having your service performed at the dealership. Eventually, you will begin to pay for the work and remain loyal.
 
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