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Costco ring

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jstarfireb

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After hours and hours of unsuccessful searching for surprise diamond settings online, I found the perfect one...at Costco! We found out they have a great return policy (in case it turned out to be a bummer), so we made the purchase. The thing is, we like it more for the setting than the diamond. I do think the diamond is very pretty, and I'll post pics once I can get it in some better lighting, but I'm not sure if I should stick with this or just have the setting custom-made and pick a better-cut diamond. Now, I know Costco isn't too highly respected around here, so I'm not expecting to hear that it's a top-quality stone, but I'd like to know if we at least made a good buy.

Unfortunately, they don't give too much info about cut, and it's IGI-graded, but here we go...

1.08 ct
I/VVS1
Princess cut
Dimensions: 5.86 x 5.61 x 4.01
Depth: 71.5%
Table: 74%
Girdle: thin to medium
Culet: none
P/S: VG/VG
Fluorescence: faint

Surprise diamonds: 0.10 ctw, Princess, G-H, VVS2/VS1, P/S G/G
Setting: 950 Platinum with surprise diamonds and double prongs
Price: $4399 + tax (about $300)
Appraisal value: $13,030 (yeah, right...)

I'd like to get it GIA-graded if I decide to stick with it. Anyone know any good appraisers in the Pittsburgh, PA area?

Here a craptastic pic, just to show you what the setting looks like

And on my hand.

 

vespergirl

Ideal_Rock
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I can''t help you with the appraiser, but I love the ring - just beautiful!
 

starryeyed

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2,398
I''m actually a big fan of Costco. You can find some really nice stuff there. Congrats!!
 

denverappraiser

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GIA will not grade a mounted stone, and they do not have a lab in Pittsburgh. If you need GIA grading, have a local jeweler carefully take it out of the mounting and ship it to their office in NYC or Carlsbad CA. Instructions on how to do this are at www.gia.edu.


Here’s a list of appraisers in PA.
www.pricescope.com/appraisers_PA.aspx
Some other places to look for appraisers are:
NAJA www.najaappraisers.com
AGS www.americangemsociety.org
ASA www.appraisers.org
ISA www.isa-appraisers.org
Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

jstarfireb

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Thanks for the input so far.

Surfgirl, "surprise" diamonds are the little ones mounted into the front and back of the head. There''s probably another term for them that I don''t know, since I''m a newbie at all this. They''re hard to see in my pic, but here''s a thread I made a little while ago when I started my search. Some of the WF and GOG surprise diamond settings are linked in there. The thing is, there was something a little wrong with each one of them, but this setting I found at Costco was ideal for me. Low-profile to fit under exam gloves and not get banged around in the ER (since I''m probably going to be an ER doc), split prongs to protect the corners of the stone (hopefully avoiding the need for a cut-cornered stone), a nicely narrow band, and beautifully visible surprise diamonds.

As far as my diamond, I think the table is probably too much, the depth is OK, and I''m skeptical of the IGI grading, especially the color (I don''t want to go lower than I). I think I could probably get a much better-cut diamond (like this one) on WF for a slight increase in price, but I''m not sure if they could duplicate the setting and how much it would cost. Anyone have any experience with this?
 

neatfreak

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Date: 4/21/2007 12:13:17 PM
Author: jstarfireb
Thanks for the input so far.


Surfgirl, 'surprise' diamonds are the little ones mounted into the front and back of the head. There's probably another term for them that I don't know, since I'm a newbie at all this. They're hard to see in my pic, but here's a thread I made a little while ago when I started my search. Some of the WF and GOG surprise diamond settings are linked in there. The thing is, there was something a little wrong with each one of them, but this setting I found at Costco was ideal for me. Low-profile to fit under exam gloves and not get banged around in the ER (since I'm probably going to be an ER doc), split prongs to protect the corners of the stone (hopefully avoiding the need for a cut-cornered stone), a nicely narrow band, and beautifully visible surprise diamonds.


As far as my diamond, I think the table is probably too much, the depth is OK, and I'm skeptical of the IGI grading, especially the color (I don't want to go lower than I). I think I could probably get a much better-cut diamond (like this one) on WF for a slight increase in price, but I'm not sure if they could duplicate the setting and how much it would cost. Anyone have any experience with this?
Well, no DOUBT that the diamond would be better from WF. They are also known for making great settings, and I am sure that they could do it for you. Especially if you take very detailed pictures of the ring you have now. I can't speak for cost for the setting, but I imagine for a custom setting in plat. it would be between $1000-2000 depending on the design. But that's just a guess based on my experiences with other vendors when we were thinking of going custom.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
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OK, getting the hang of this scanning thing. Here''s a side view.

sideview-jb.jpg
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
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And a view from the top. I really like the split prong.

topview-jb.jpg
 

swingirl

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That ring is very pretty and I don''t think its terribly overpriced, however since you came to PS for opinions here goes.

You could certainly find a nicer stone--excellent to very good for polish and symmetry, GIA graded (sticter standards) and with an upgrade policy. Although an upgrade policy may not seem important now, in the future it is a really nice option to have.

You could find a beautiful stone for around $3300 +/-) And if it isn''t neccesary you don''t have to pay for a higher clarity or color than what you would be satisfied with. You won''t find too many VVS1s here because most would prefer a larger stone (or better cut, color, other features) over higher clarity.

Most folks on PS are driven to find the perfect stone for themselves and then have it set in their favorite setting (or have it custom made). Buying the stone already set is more limiting.

I wonder if anyone on PS has a setting like you one you are looking at. Check Show Me the Ring.
 

kcoursolle

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10,589
I really love that setting, it''s gorgeous. I''m afraid I can''t say much about the princess cut in it, I don''t know enough about them.
 

jstarfireb

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Date: 4/21/2007 2:33:57 PM
Author: Maisie
Maybe this might help you a bit:


http://www.gemappraisers.com/oldcutgraderules.asp


It shows you AGA rules for determining overall cut grade.
So from the info I have, this stone looks like a 2A, although I don''t have crown height. Not bad by my standards, but I''m still tempted to go for ideal or better. Those WF ACA princesses are looking really tempting! And from what I''m hearing, it sounds like WF can duplicate the setting. Considering that the proposal hasn''t actually come yet, there''s no harm in waiting for WF to make a ring for me!
 

havernell

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Joined
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Just something to consider- sometimes custom made rings don''t look 100% like the original. While its true that you could probably get a pretty close replica of this setting made by someone else, it may not be *exactly* the same. Afterall, it''s hard to get every angle exactly right when the ring-maker is just going off 2-D photos.

So, I guess I''d ask yourself which is more important to you- having this *exact* setting that you love, or going for a better diamond? If having this exact setting is most important, perhaps you should keep the diamond- it does look pretty in your photos and 2A is still a nice stone. But, if you feel you''d rather have more control over the diamond you choose and don''t mind if the setting is very close but not exactly identical to this setting you have, then by all means shop around.

If you search for "custom settings" in the Prisescope search feature you''ll find lots of stories of people who were very satisfied with their customs jobs as well as people who''s custom settings didn''t come out quite as they would have liked. Basically, with a stock setting you always know exactly what you are getting, while with a custom setting, you never know exactly what you are getting until its finished.

Good luck with the decision! And I''m with everyone else- that setting is really beautiful!
 

sarahthewarrior

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Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
223
I had looked at rings at Costco, too, but they''re really only useful if you want a diamond solitaire, which isn''t what I had in mind. Your ring looks great, and you''re right--they have a great return policy if you change your mind. I recall an old thread about Costco diamonds versus, say, Tiffany diamonds, and I think they''re pretty comparable. I say don''t even worry about the cut or quality of the stone--if you love it as is, what the cert says doesn''t really matter. Let us know what you decide, and congrats on the impending engagement!
 

Maisie

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Messages
12,578
Date: 4/21/2007 3:01:44 PM
Author: havernell
Just something to consider- sometimes custom made rings don't look 100% like the original. While its true that you could probably get a pretty close replica of this setting made by someone else, it may not be *exactly* the same. Afterall, it's hard to get every angle exactly right when the ring-maker is just going off 2-D photos.

So, I guess I'd ask yourself which is more important to you- having this *exact* setting that you love, or going for a better diamond? If having this exact setting is most important, perhaps you should keep the diamond- it does look pretty in your photos and 2A is still a nice stone. But, if you feel you'd rather have more control over the diamond you choose and don't mind if the setting is very close but not exactly identical to this setting you have, then by all means shop around.

If you search for 'custom settings' in the Prisescope search feature you'll find lots of stories of people who were very satisfied with their customs jobs as well as people who's custom settings didn't come out quite as they would have liked. Basically, with a stock setting you always know exactly what you are getting, while with a custom setting, you never know exactly what you are getting until its finished.

Good luck with the decision! And I'm with everyone else- that setting is really beautiful!
I personally don't think it will be a problem for WF to make this design. It appears to be very straightforward.
 

jstarfireb

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Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
The boyfriend here asking a few questions. Actually I found this forum a while back and showed it to my girlfriend.

Just a few questions about WhiteFlash:

1) What is the contact information to ask about custom settings?

Is it: [email protected]
Is their number toll-free?

Can they make a mold first and allow us to see it before we decide? Or do we have to buy and then decide?

2) What's the return policy? Their website says 10 days guaranteed 100% return, but I assume we lose 20% cost for the custom designed setting?

3) Should we have the diamond examined by another appraiser before we buy it? Or is Whiteflash reputable enough that I don't need to worry about "diamond switching?" I get the impression that it is but had to ask.

4) Are the Princess A Cut Above worth the extra cost over the Expert Selection diamonds or the regular princess?

5) Can someone with more knowledge explain to me why these diamonds are so similiarly priced even though the clarities are so different?

They are all about the same carat and I color, but the clarities are different.

a) A Cut Above Princess: VVS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231916.htm

b) A Cut Above princess: VS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231907.htm

c) Expert Selection princess: VS1

http://www.whiteflash.com/princess/Princess-cut-diamond-40108.htm


6) Should we shoot for a better color than I even at the cost of clarity? I'm told that clarity doesn't matter as much for multi-faceted cuts like princess?

7) Is there any way to "haggle" the price on these things. I'm assuming the price of diamonds are pretty much set? How about on the setting? Still a poor medical student so any amount saved would be great. If we get any savings, how much would it be?

8) If anyone has any recommendations for diamonds, please feel free to post them here!


My girlfriend is happy with the Costco ring but I'm convinced we can get a better one from Whiteflash for a little more money (ok maybe not so little).


Thanks so much for the help!
 

diamondseeker2006

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Premium
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Messages
55,630
I, personally, think it is worth getting the best possible diamond for an engagement ring. I can''t answer all your questions, but I''ll answer a few!

Date: 4/21/2007 5:51:30 PM
Author: jstarfireb
The boyfriend here asking a few questions. Actually I found this forum a while back and showed it to my girlfriend.

Just a few questions about WhiteFlash:

1) What is the contact information to ask about custom settings?

Is it: [email protected]
Is their number toll-free? Definitely call them instead of emailing. I believe the number is toll-free.

Can they make a mold first and allow us to see it before we decide? Or do we have to buy and then decide?

2) What''s the return policy? Their website says 10 days guaranteed 100% return, but I assume we lose 20% cost for the custom designed setting? Custom settings are not returnable.

3) Should we have the diamond examined by another appraiser before we buy it? Or is Whiteflash reputable enough that I don''t need to worry about ''diamond switching?'' I get the impression that it is but had to ask. They are reputable, the stones are AGS or GIA graded, so I do not feel another appraisal is necessary unless you are buying a stone above 2 or 3 carats (and that would be only to double check color, etc.). I did not get my diamonds from WF reappraised.

4) Are the Princess A Cut Above worth the extra cost over the Expert Selection diamonds or the regular princess? That depends on how much the buyer values having "the very best".

5) Can someone with more knowledge explain to me why these diamonds are so similiarly priced even though the clarities are so different? Diamond A is smaller than B, so that is why the cost of B is similar even though A is higher clarity. Diamond C is expert selection, which normally would run less than the ACA''s. So this would definitely make me buy one of the ACA''s since the price of C is higher!

They are all about the same carat and I color, but the clarities are different.

a) A Cut Above Princess: VVS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231916.htm

b) A Cut Above princess: VS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231907.htm

c) Expert Selection princess: VS1

http://www.whiteflash.com/princess/Princess-cut-diamond-40108.htm


6) Should we shoot for a better color than I even at the cost of clarity? I''m told that clarity doesn''t matter as much for multi-faceted cuts like princess? I personally like VS and agree that VVS is overkill. Of the 3 stones above, I''d go with B because it is a little larger and VS2 is fine. An H VS2 would be a nice choice as well.

7) Is there any way to ''haggle'' the price on these things. I''m assuming the price of diamonds are pretty much set? How about on the setting? Still a poor medical student so any amount saved would be great. If we get any savings, how much would it be? No, the prices on most internet stones are fixed because they are already priced with a slim mark-up. I have not heard of anyone haggling with WF at all. But you do get a wire/Pricescope discount if you ask. It is around 5% on ACA''s and less on ES stones.

8) If anyone has any recommendations for diamonds, please feel free to post them here!


My girlfriend is happy with the Costco ring but I''m convinced we can get a better one from Whiteflash for a little more money (ok maybe not so little).


Thanks so much for the help!
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks again...you guys are awesome!

This is really, really hard. If I had found out that the cut was either absolutely horrible or awesome, I''d know what to do. But being that it''s sorta in-between, I''m so torn! I love this setting so much that I''d hate to give it up, but I agree that it''s simple enough for WF to duplicate, given lots of pictures and accurate measurements. We emailed WF this weekend to ask about their custom ring making, and we''ll follow up with a call during normal business hours. If we go with WF, I think we have our eyes on the 1.016 I/VVS2, since it''s the least expensive, and the size difference between 1.016 and 1.09 isn''t visible to me.

What do you all think of the WF X-factors? I like the look and durability of a cut-corner stone. There are some nice H/VS2s in our price range:

1.017 H VS2
1.018 H VS2

Any opinions on the difference between these 2 stones? I like the picture of the 1.017 better, but I don''t know if they''ll look any different in person.
 

sarahthewarrior

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
223
I''m no expert and I didn''t run the numbers, but the girdle on both of those diamonds bothers me a bit. The 1.017 ct runs from extremely thin to very thick, and the 1.018 runs from thin to extremely thick. A less-than-thin girdle makes a diamond more susceptible to chipping, but this may just be due to the shape of these diamonds--I don''t know much about the X-factor. Hopefully some experts will chime in...
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
I considered the WF X-Factor diamonds when I was searching. I decided not to get one only because I wanted a round more.

I think the X-Factors are definitely value for money and the clipped corners will certainly help with the durability issue. Here is a thread posted a little while ago about them.

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/opinion-on-wf-x-factor.55989/

If you scroll down there are some lovely pictures of X-Factors.
 

jayrenay9

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Date: 4/22/2007 6:26:24 PM
Author: diamondseeker2006
I actually like X-factors more than princess.
I like the x-factors too!

Can you get a different diamond through Costco for that setting? Maybe they have one that is a better cut.
 

pyramid

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4,607
Date: 4/21/2007 8:33:13 PM
Author: diamondseeker2006
I, personally, think it is worth getting the best possible diamond for an engagement ring. I can''t answer all your questions, but I''ll answer a few!


Date: 4/21/2007 5:51:30 PM
Author: jstarfireb

5) Can someone with more knowledge explain to me why these diamonds are so similiarly priced even though the clarities are so different? Diamond A is smaller than B, so that is why the cost of B is similar even though A is higher clarity. Diamond C is expert selection, which normally would run less than the ACA''s. So this would definitely make me buy one of the ACA''s since the price of C is higher!

They are all about the same carat and I color, but the clarities are different.

a) A Cut Above Princess: VVS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231916.htm

b) A Cut Above princess: VS2
http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-231907.htm

c) Expert Selection princess: VS1

http://www.whiteflash.com/princess/Princess-cut-diamond-40108.htm
Diamond C is more square when looking at diameters
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Date: 4/22/2007 2:32:45 PM
Author: Maisie
I considered the WF X-Factor diamonds when I was searching. I decided not to get one only because I wanted a round more.


I think the X-Factors are definitely value for money and the clipped corners will certainly help with the durability issue. Here is a thread posted a little while ago about them.


https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/opinion-on-wf-x-factor.55989/


If you scroll down there are some lovely pictures of X-Factors.
Wow, those are very nice. And I see each one is a little different in terms of proportions.

Can anyone weigh in on the girdle issue (should an X-factor be any different than a regular princess)?
 

JulieN

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Date: 4/22/2007 6:59:23 PM
Author: jstarfireb

Date: 4/22/2007 2:32:45 PM
Author: Maisie
I considered the WF X-Factor diamonds when I was searching. I decided not to get one only because I wanted a round more.


I think the X-Factors are definitely value for money and the clipped corners will certainly help with the durability issue. Here is a thread posted a little while ago about them.


https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/opinion-on-wf-x-factor.55989/


If you scroll down there are some lovely pictures of X-Factors.
Wow, those are very nice. And I see each one is a little different in terms of proportions.

Can anyone weigh in on the girdle issue (should an X-factor be any different than a regular princess)?
If you take a regular princess (or imagine a 4-faced pyramid upside-down) and then simply slice off the corners, it will have a thicker girdle at the corners.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
Ah, that makes sense. So it looks like the 1.018 thin-extremely thick is the one to go with then. It's down to the 1.016 I VVS2 ACA, the 1.018 H VS2 X-factor, or keeping the original stone now. Decisions, decisions...
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
6,231
A little update: we''ve been in touch with Bob at WF, and we''re looking at $1750 for the custom setting and roughly $4200 for the 1.016 I VVS2 ACA princess, so this would be considerably more than we paid for the Costco ring. Still within the boyfriend''s budget, though.

I decided to go with the ACA rather than the X-factor because I like the perfectly square look of the head. I think fitting the head to the X-factor would take away from this nice geometric look.

And just for kicks, here are some more pics of the Costco ring...

setting-detail1.jpg
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
Ignore the horribly groomed fingers!


setting-detail2.jpg
 
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