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Diamond Studs - $50k Budget

SeanJ

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
18
I’m looking for a pair of diamond studs for my wife for Christmas. Based on the size of her ears, I think 4 ctw (2 ct per ear) would be ideal. I am hoping for an F color (I could be talked into G, but would prefer colorless) and something that is truly eye clean (triple X and faint/no fluorescence). There are a lot of jewelry shops here in Chicago, but it is hard to trust salespeople who have an inherent conflict of interest. I don’t mind spending up to $50k, but would love to be closer to $40k.

I am a complete fish out of water in this search and would greatly appreciate any possible advice from this group.

Thank you!
 

JoeQueen

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
9
Have you tried looking at James Allen? They are a great company to work with. They have a lifetime upgrade and warranty on their diamonds. Plus, you can completely customize the earrings based on your budget and the specs you have in mind. If you don’t like the item they also have a great return policy.
 

jp201845

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
405
I’m looking for a pair of diamond studs for my wife for Christmas. Based on the size of her ears, I think 4 ctw (2 ct per ear) would be ideal. I am hoping for an F color (I could be talked into G, but would prefer colorless) and something that is truly eye clean (triple X and faint/no fluorescence). There are a lot of jewelry shops here in Chicago, but it is hard to trust salespeople who have an inherent conflict of interest. I don’t mind spending up to $50k, but would love to be closer to $40k.

I am a complete fish out of water in this search and would greatly appreciate any possible advice from this group.

Thank you!

Welcome to Pricescope,

Just want to start off by saying you have a very healthy budget to work with and your wife will be thrilled with your generous gift for Christmas. When people talk about diamond studs on this forum from my observations, typically the viewer will be looking from a further distance compared to an engagement ring. For this reason you can drop down in color to G and clarity would be eye clean at VS2 in most cases. This will allow you to maximize carat size. Why pay extra for something your eyes can not see a difference right?

Here at Pricescope we highly recommend Whiteflash a Superideal vendor Which is based out of Texas and you can purchase online. What is a Superideal vendor? In short a vendor who specializes in the best cut diamonds which will give you the best sparkle and light show...the creame of the crop. We have a saying here at Pricescope cut is King !
Also Whiteflash has one of the best upgrade policies in the business , simply spend $ 1 more and you will get full value for your diamonds if you ever want to upgrade in the future...this policy is for the life of your diamond.

I have sourced out for you 2 loose diamonds that you can then set with Whiteflash's numerous settings depending on your taste.

Also would like to add the 2 diamonds i have found for you are both slightly under 2 carats each. When you reach that magic number of 2 ct the price bump is significant so staying slightly under 2 cuts you get more bang for your buck.

Here is the links of the 2 diamonds I found for you with similar specs.



Im sure other people will chime in and give some more advice and opinions.

Good Luck !
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
970
I would start by making a list of your priorities before looking for vendors. It’s true that for studs you can go lower in colour and clarity than with a ring, but it still needs to be mins clean for you (ie, you have to be okay with it). My personal sweet spot is HI VS2/SI1, but if you’re colour sensitive I think G VS2 is probably better. If you really, really want the colourless F, go for that!

Next, I would decide whether these are one and done studs, or if you’d like the ability to size up in the future by trading these ones in. This is honestly one of the most important Qs for me. Generous upgrade policies usually translate to expensive upfront purchases - worth it if you are going to upgrade and not if you won’t.

The other important Q is about how finicky are you when it comes to cut. Do you want something that is top 0.01% of cut in ways that aren’t even perceptible to the naked eye, or something that’s top 1%, or top 5%, or anything “good enough” / better than average will do? Again for me personally, the “super ideals” are kind of wasted on studs but there are TONS of people on here who would disagree with me and none of us are wrong. Even the super ideal vendors (like WF) have lines that are less “perfect” than their top of the line ACAs but still incredibly beautiful to the eye. Also that’s assuming the look of a super ideal (fiery, small table etc) is what you like. If you prefer a different flavour (like a more brilliant, shallower stone) you probably will need to look away from super ideals but then you need to see the stones in person to know what you like.

I would probably check out a bunch of vendors while you’re thinking about it, there’s James Allen or Blue Nile which are your typical online vendor, White Flash or HPD which are your top of the line super ideals, ID Jewelry which is great at maximising budget. See all their pricing ranges and upgrade/return policies. Post stones you’re interested in here and get opinions. Enjoy!
 

SeanJ

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
18
I really appreciate all of the feedback. I know some of the decision making and prioritization is subjective, so there really is no "right" answer. After some initial conversations, I started my search looking for only GIA-certified diamonds that have triple-X characteristics (cut, polish, symmetry). It seems the opinion on this forum is that an AGS certification is just as strict and I don't need to worry about worse color or inclusions just because a stone is AGS-certified instead of GIA-certified. Is that true?

Have you found that you can typically trust online vendors when they say a diamond is eye clean? I would be perfectly happy with an SI1 or SI2 if it were eye clean, but I want to avoid shipping diamonds back and forth because their "eye clean" claims are not accurate.

Finally, I don't think I have ever seen a super ideal diamond in person. Is the appearance of the diamond noticeably better to justify the 20-30% price premium over a GIA Triple-X?
 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,876
I have heard that GIA XXX is given to 70%+ of diamonds so it doesn’t mean all that much (others may disagree). If cut is important I would look for AGS000. As for super ideal diamonds Whiteflash offers their ACA which is the best of the best, and also offers ES and PS which is AGS000 but not quite ACA and is priced as such. I have Whiteflash ES earrings and they sparkle like crazy.
The advice you have been given to consider vendor return policies and if they might be upgraded at some point is really good advice.
 

SeanJ

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
18
I think it is highly unlikely that I would ever upgrade the diamonds. I expect these will remain as diamond studs for life and there won't be a need to go larger for her ears. With that in mind, is going to Whiteflash or BGD considered a bad idea because I am paying for their generous return, buy-back, and upgrade policies?

What I am really interested in is working with someone who is trustworthy. I am willing to pay for what I am getting, but I worry that I am not educated enough to buy off a site like BlueNile or JA and feel confident I am getting a diamond that is both truly eye clean and that has the right amount of sparkle/fire for the price I paid. The local retailers tell me that these shops basically list the leftover diamonds that the retail shops don't buy because they have decent certificates but the inclusions are in bad places or they have other flaws that are not immediately apparent from the certificate. I'm honestly surprised there are not diamond buying consultants who work independently to help buy a diamond with no inherent conflict of interest (e.g., they don't sell diamonds themselves). Paying a flat fee to have an expert help through the entire process would be extremely helpful.
 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,876
Given your timeframe I would recommend HPD, WF and BG. They will provide you with great customer service and images of the diamonds making it much less likely to get something you are unhappy with and having to return it and miss your holiday deadline.
 

diamondsR4eVR

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
902
Given your timeframe I would recommend HPD, WF and BG. They will provide you with great customer service and images of the diamonds making it much less likely to get something you are unhappy with and having to return it and miss your holiday deadline.

ITA. Given your healthy budget I would select and narrow to the 3 vendors mentioned above. You will not be disappointed. The problem will be is picking one. So call them and see which vendor feels, right.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
11,575
Give any three of the above vendors you will the the most spectacular earrings of anyone she knows!
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
970
If you don't plan to upgrade the diamonds you might want to think about giving ID Jewelry a call - full disclosure, I have never worked with them but I see them recommended on here often and they have a reputation for maxing out budgets and getting you an amazing deal. Otherwise if you just want a safe bet I would say a WF (or other superideal vendor) is a no-brainer even though its more expensive. Finally, its not true that JA and BN only carry garbage diamonds, they have access to a huge inventory and I would wager that they carry many more beautiful diamonds than your average retail outlet (though you'll have to put effort into sorting them through). I'd give both IDJ and WF a call given your tight timeline.
 

RunningwithScissors

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
1,382
I personally would never considering spending $50K on modern round brilliant cut diamonds that are NOT super ideals from one of the four true super ideal vendors -- Whiteflash, CBI/HPD, Victor Canera and BG

I spend a good chunk of change on my diamonds, but I do it deliberately and cautiously and I insist on the highest quality CUT available for MRBs.
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
10,341
I personally would never considering spending $50K on modern round brilliant cut diamonds that are NOT super ideals from one of the four true super ideal vendors -- Whiteflash, CBI/HPD, Victor Canera and BG

I could not agree more. If I am spending that kind of money on modern round brilliant diamonds, I would only go for the vendors mentioned above. I want to see the buyback/upgrade/return policies online ON THEIR WEBSITE. I have bought diamonds from Whiteflash, HPD/CBI, and BGD. Service has been excellent from all. Victor Canera has made me settings, and again excellent service from companies that pride themselves on integrity.

I would call and talk to any one vendor that you want to start with. For your purposes, I think looking at what they have available in stock is important. And if you are specific about the specs of the stones you want, and they don't have it, talk to them about custom cutting. That can be an option for all of these vendors. Don't count that out. With your budget, I would not compromise.

Lastly, with regard to eye clean, talk to them and be honest. "Hey, I'm super anal, and super nearsighted. If I hold a diamond close enough, I can see some inclusions. I also don't even like to see the inclusion if the diamond is upside down. I don't care that it is not set upside down." You can say that. Don't let anyone tell you something does not matter and try to sell you on a stone that you are not honestly 100% comfortable with.

Good luck.
 

Patty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Messages
4,124
The local retailers tell me that these shops basically list the leftover diamonds that the retail shops don't buy because they have decent certificates but the inclusions are in bad places or they have other flaws that are not immediately apparent from the certificate. I'm honestly surprised there are not diamond buying consultants who work independently to help buy a diamond with no inherent conflict of interest (e.g., they don't sell diamonds themselves). Paying a flat fee to have an expert help through the entire process would be extremely helpful.

This statement from the local retailers is not true. Online vendors don’t sell “leftover” stones that the retailers don’t want. Whiteflash and Brian Gavin and HPD sell superideal cut stones. They have excellent reputations and you pay more because they vet their stones and you can be comfortable knowing that you are getting the best cut stones out there. They are very trustworthy and you can believe them if they say a stone is eye clean...based on their definition of eye-clean. Most base that description based on a top view from a certain number of inches. If you have doubts, you can ask for more pictures and if they stone is eye clean from the side as well as the top. The upgrade policies contribute to the premium, but that is not the only reason to buy from a superideal vendor.
 

SeanJ

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
18
I really appreciate all of the great information. I think I am finally starting to feel more comfortable with the process and how I should approach it. I am going to talk to HPD, BG, and WF and see what feels right.

Another subjective question for the group - is getting a G color a bad decision at this price point or would I not even be able to tell for studs? It looks like HPD has two 2.07 ct diamonds that might work well, but they are H color. I originally thought I should focus on color as the most important attribute after cut, but will the human eye even notice that these are H color on the ear?
 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,876
Everyone’s eyes are different and their color sensitivity is different. I would not hesitate to get G or H for earrings. Once you narrow it down you can ask for pics of the diamonds in question next to a diamond a color grade up and see if you notice the difference and if it bothers you. Do you know if your wife is color sensitive? Some people don’t upgrade in size but do upgrade in color or clarity. If you think you may get an H now but want to work your way to an F in the future understand the vendor’s upgrade policy in regards to that.
 

bright&shiny

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
386
I think it is highly unlikely that I would ever upgrade the diamonds. I expect these will remain as diamond studs for life and there won't be a need to go larger for her ears. With that in mind, is going to Whiteflash or BGD considered a bad idea because I am paying for their generous return, buy-back, and upgrade policies?

What I am really interested in is working with someone who is trustworthy. I am willing to pay for what I am getting, but I worry that I am not educated enough to buy off a site like BlueNile or JA and feel confident I am getting a diamond that is both truly eye clean and that has the right amount of sparkle/fire for the price I paid. The local retailers tell me that these shops basically list the leftover diamonds that the retail shops don't buy because they have decent certificates but the inclusions are in bad places or they have other flaws that are not immediately apparent from the certificate. I'm honestly surprised there are not diamond buying consultants who work independently to help buy a diamond with no inherent conflict of interest (e.g., they don't sell diamonds themselves). Paying a flat fee to have an expert help through the entire process would be extremely helpful.

I personally have not experienced the scenario the sales people have given you of online having ‘leftovers’ as opposed the bm retailer diamond stock. In fact, my experience is the opposite, but there are others here who can speak with more authority than I.

There are several diamond concierges who participate on PS and they could help you through this process. @denverappraiser is one that comes to mind.

Happy hunting!
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
10,341
I really appreciate all of the great information. I think I am finally starting to feel more comfortable with the process and how I should approach it. I am going to talk to HPD, BG, and WF and see what feels right.

Another subjective question for the group - is getting a G color a bad decision at this price point or would I not even be able to tell for studs? It looks like HPD has two 2.07 ct diamonds that might work well, but they are H color. I originally thought I should focus on color as the most important attribute after cut, but will the human eye even notice that these are H color on the ear?

It would be best if you could find out how color sensitive your wife is. Without that info, a super ideal cut 2 ct H will be very bright and I would be "fine" (the hardship :lol-2:) if my DH got me a pair for my ears. So no, no one looking at 2 carats of super ideal on an earlobe will say, "eewww, dingy!".

And if your wife takes one look at them and says, "Ugh!! How ugly and dark!" send it back and have them send you the Gs. Return shipping is super easy. The super ideal vendor send you the shipping label, and thus they insure it.
 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,876
I would ask HPD eye clean at what distance as there is no industry standard. With a ring, people will hold up their hand and look at a diamond from <6” away so that can be a concern. With earrings, no one gets in your face to get an up close look at the diamonds. If they are eye clean at 12” you should be good. Perhaps ask if they can take a less magnified pic for you to give you a better idea of what to expect IRL. I know we are talking about tenths of millimeters here, but I think I would notice the larger size of the HPD diamonds compared to the WF ones. The WF ones are a clarity and color grade better, which is reflected in the price. It comes down to what trade offs are most important to you and your wife. Both are going to be incredibly sparkly and bright.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
11,575
It would kill me to buy diamonds at that price with those inclusions. I would 100% prefer the smaller WF clean ones.
 

daisygrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
641
Would either of the dark table inclusions on these stones concern you if HPD says they are eye clean? Any concerns with the minor dimension differences?


How would you compare these diamonds to the WF ones listed above?

Another good thing about HPD is that they cut-to-order the stones. They can cut you the stones of your choosing (color, size, and clarity). It might be a lengthy project but you will get what you want. I would give them a call and inquire. They seem to be getting more inventory now so, perhaps, something is on a way from Antwerp as well.
 

SeanJ

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
18
It would kill me to buy diamonds at that price with those inclusions. I would 100% prefer the smaller WF clean ones.
I originally shared that opinion, but I am softening on it. Is there a reason to care if these are truly eye clean? Nobody is going to ever look at these with 10x magnification in real life. If the prices were identical, I would probably lean towards the cleaner diamonds, but the HPD stones are actually quite a bit cheaper.

From a cut quality perspective, is there any difference between HPD and the WF "A Cut Above" stones?
 

Hiway2000

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
6
I echo others - if you want super cut diamonds, it's the way to go. I purchased from GOG about 15 years ago and can tell you that every store visited for cleaning, adjusting prong, etc were blown away by her stone. Unfortunately, the stone was damaged and I'm looking for a replacement right now. It appears as GOG isn't dealing as much in super cut diamonds. I'm looking at BG and WF.

As far as the stone's color - keep in mind that these are on her ears - not fingers.

All of the documentation is there and there are very knowledgeable folks here that are so kind to provide their evaluations and thoughts. Jump in and see how you feel. If you still aren't comfortable you can go in another direction.

Good luck with your search!
 

Polabowla

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
1,459
I personally don't think earrings need to be super ideal cuts ; like you say who will notice?
Jmo with that budget I would go to Graff or H W.
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
10,341
I originally shared that opinion, but I am softening on it. Is there a reason to care if these are truly eye clean? Nobody is going to ever look at these with 10x magnification in real life. If the prices were identical, I would probably lean towards the cleaner diamonds, but the HPD stones are actually quite a bit cheaper.

From a cut quality perspective, is there any difference between HPD and the WF "A Cut Above" stones?

Different people can prefer a different brand, for various reasons. I don't want to instigate a debate on it on your thread. Some people prefer WF, some HPD, and some it just depends purely on the actual stone. I think I fall into the third category. Both brands are super ideal, maximize light return, minimize leakage. I think you will be very pleased with either. If want to check it out yourself, order one from each vendor, and compare. Personally, if I was in your shoes and had the money, that's what I would do. But that's because I am anal and picky and always ask myself "what if". You do what's right for you.
 

caf

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
1,303
“Finally, I don't think I have ever seen a super ideal diamond in person. Is the appearance of the diamond noticeably better to justify the 20-30% price premium over a GIA Triple-X?”

Yes, in my opinion! I have 5 CBIs in a 5 stone ring. I didn’t think there was going to be such a difference. But there is to me. They are incredibly beautiful. Super bright, clear, sparkly! You have to see some super ideals and compare them to Triple-X. Just sayin’.
 
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