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E-ring help for a newbie

nitrocore

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
3
Hi All,

I’m looking for some help. I was referred here by bogleheads.org (investment forum) as the place to come to for advice when looking for engagement rings. I’m looking to buy a ring in about 3 months or so and want some input on where I should be looking to get a good deal for a good quality stone. In terms of budget, I want to spend around $5k for the stone and the setting. The one small caveat is that I know she wants to design the setting with me, so that it’s special to us and so I’m only interested in the stone right now. For the setting, I know she wants something that’s somewhat simple, but unique with respect to its design/shape. Definitely not one of those studded bands full of bling. So hopefully it won’t cost more than $1k (maybe I’m way off, does anyone have any experience with this?).

Either way, since I do want the proposal to be a surprise, I need some sort of setting (preferably cheap since I know we won’t keep it) for the stone so that I’m not just handing her a loose stone. Is this common? How much do you think this would cost?

I’d prefer to buy online since I think that is easiest for me and will hopefully result in a good deal. Other than Blue Nile are there other reputable websites I should be checking? As far as what I’m looking for, I think I’m most interested in something that is cut well rather than the biggest size I can get for my money. I’d rather it be smaller but sparkle more than bigger/duller. What are the tradeoffs in terms of the 4C’s for this budget? What would all of you recommend? I’m pretty sure round is what I want, but I’ll try to figure out if the gf would prefer something else. In reality, I think she’ll be happy with whatever I pick, so I’ll probably go with round because I think they look the best.

Let me know if there’s any other information I can provide and I’ll do my best. Thanks in advance for any help!
 

eyecandy4mybaby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
11
Hello, and welcome to PS, I am a fairly newbie myself when it comes to diamonds, but maybe I can help you out, =) I was in the same place you're in, I was a little apprehensive at first about whether to buy online vs in the store's, but after discovering this website and looking at what other people have been saying about their experiences I decided to take the plunge as well, and I also wanted to spend about the same amount as you on the ring, in the $5000-$6000 range, so I ended up buying a just over 1ct ring 1.022 J SI1 from his blue line series to be exact from BGD designs, which is Brian Gavin Designs if you are not familiar with them check them out, their prices seem to be very competitive and their customer service was great in my own experiences with them, I also have heard good things about WF ( WhiteFlash), ERD ( Engagement Rings Direct), GOG ( GoodOldGold), JamesAllen, I'm sure their are others but these are the ones that I know of off the top of my head that people seem to be happy with. But BGD was a great find for me, here's a link to their website also, as well as Whiteflash, James Allen, and ERD...

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/

http://www.whiteflash.com/

http://www.engagementringsdirect.com/

http://www.jamesallen.com/



Anyway's good luck on your search.... =)
 

suchende

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
1,001
A fully custom setting from a respected jeweler could get pretty pricey. I think $1k is probably too low. With that in mind, I'd want to be certain that having a custom setting is worth the sacrifice in diamond size to her.

That said, here's a secondary market diamond (given, you don't have all the data on cut angles, or even a GIA cert) from a reputable seller that's already in a setting to present to her, and that is within your current target budget for a stone and temporary setting:
http://www.pearlmansjewelers.com/jewelry-specials/previously-owned-jewelry/rings/207PO1/0/
 

OCgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
509
Welcome!

This is a breakdown of the C's in my opinion:
Cut - Ideal only. GIA Ex/Ex/Ex or AGS000.
Color - You need to physically examine some ideal cut diamonds yourself to determine whether you are color sensitive. Generally speaking if you are color sensitive, you should not go below an H. If you appreciate some warmth in your diamond, I - J can be good picks too. You should also decide if fluorescence is okay. The presense of blue fluorescence in near colorless diamonds can help them appear whiter. There's also a price advantage there like Brian Gavin's "blue" line mentioned above.
Clarity - "Eye clean" SI1 is the best deal in my opinion. If you are extremely paranoid about seeing inclusions, VS2 is good for a stone ~1 carat or smaller.
Carat - This is totally up to you and your budget 8-)
 

nitrocore

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
3
@ eyecandy4mybaby – Thanks for your input and all the websites! What exactly is the blue line series? Does this just mean they have blue fluorescence?

@ suchende – Thanks for letting me know that 1k is too low. What do you think is an appropriate range for custom setting that doesn’t include other stones? Are you talking 1.5k? Or more like 3k? More? This could change things.

@ OCgirl – I appreciate your input. I think I definitely agree that Ideal cut is necessary. I’m somewhat confused about color. How noticeable is the range from D-J? Unfortunately, I’m bad with colors (colorblind) so I’m not sure what to do here. I may have to rely on general consensus from others here.
 

OCgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
509
nitrocore|1308269990|2947877 said:
@ OCgirl – I appreciate your input. I think I definitely agree that Ideal cut is necessary. I’m somewhat confused about color. How noticeable is the range from D-J? Unfortunately, I’m bad with colors (colorblind) so I’m not sure what to do here. I may have to rely on general consensus from others here.

Here is a tutorial video filmed by GOG's Jonathan. I watched this video at least 5 times to remind myself WHAT COLOR IS. I saw this video referenced many times on this blog. It will be worth it. Let me know what you think. http://vimeo.com/3288695?pg=embed&sec=
The video compares ideal cut D to O(?) color diamonds side by side. It is very very interesting (at least to me haha)!

I am very color sensitive so initially I was going for an F color diamond because even though I want a "white" diamond I wasn't crazy about the ICY white of a D. I eventually purchased a G color with blue fluor. It looks absolutely gorgeous to my eyes. The ideal cut definitely helps because if a diamond is cut too steep, it can appear yellower than its actual color. An ideal cut near colorless (G - J color) stone should face up fairly white to most people. You just have to decide if you want the most colorless of the near colorless (G) or you are willing to go lower.
 

eyecandy4mybaby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
11
nitrocore|1308269990|2947877 said:
@ eyecandy4mybaby – Thanks for your input and all the websites! What exactly is the blue line series? Does this just mean they have blue fluorescence?

@ suchende – Thanks for letting me know that 1k is too low. What do you think is an appropriate range for custom setting that doesn’t include other stones? Are you talking 1.5k? Or more like 3k? More? This could change things.

@ OCgirl – I appreciate your input. I think I definitely agree that Ideal cut is necessary. I’m somewhat confused about color. How noticeable is the range from D-J? Unfortunately, I’m bad with colors (colorblind) so I’m not sure what to do here. I may have to rely on general consensus from others here.

Hi nitrocore, yes brian gavin's blue line series diamonds do have the presence of blue flourescence, and just as someone stated it can have a positive effect on helping the diamond face up whiter, which would allow you to go lower in color and still appear whiter but yes there will be a presence of blue flourescence which you would have to decide if you or your soon to be wife can live with or not, However BGD does have a 15 day return policy as well as a trade in/upgrade option for the blue line series, which is 95% trade in value towards a H & A signature diamond, if you decide to upgrade later to another blue line series diamond they will apply 100% trade in value, and if you or your soon to be wife decide that you're not loving the blue flourescence anymore then you can trade or upgrade to one of Brian's H&A signature diamonds which are a little more pricey than the blue line, just without the presence of the blue flourescence, I plan to upgrade later myself but for now I'm happy with what I'm getting for the price =) either way whatever you decide, I don't think that you can go wrong with either of these lines of BGD diamonds because they are all hand picked by Brian and both Ideal Cut to his standards, so you'll know that you will be getting the best possible cut diamonds which is also a major factor in diamond performance argueably the most important aspect when searching for diamonds. I should've also included this link for you in the previous response, here is a very good video also from BGD on their blue line diamonds which shows and details how the blue line diamond will look in different lighting environments, hope this also helps....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7lzkPLyqZVg ( video from their site F color medium blue )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1xNbiU4Y5Q ( just a random video of another BGD blue line I VS1 strong blue flour.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyQzVWL368E ( this is a BGD H & A signature design with no blue G SI1 )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rcpRh80eh8&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL ( same ring as above G SI1 H & A no blue )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERdYKukgDGo ( this one I am not sure if it's from his blue line or signature H & A line however its
a beautiful ring also! )
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
so a custom plain solitaire setting? platinum or white gold? handmade or cast?

I would budget ~2k for a custom setting, so that leaves you ~3k for the diamond.

as far as color/clarity, if you are unsure G/H/I VS2/SI1 is a 'safe' range. If looking at SI stones ask if they are eye-clean to your requirements.
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
11,025
You have to figure anything custom will most likely run you around 1,000 - if you are looking for intricate work, pave- side stones- platnium, the price goes up and up!

I think you really need to contract some vendors and local jewelers with your ideas for the setting design and see what you get back in the sense of price quotes. This will allow you to see what you have budgeted for a stone budget.
 

nitrocore

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
3
Wow, thanks everyone for all of the helpful suggestions. Based on what I’ve heard, I think right now I’m gonna budget ~$3.5k for the stone and around $1.5k for the setting. I can probably swing up to 2k for the setting if need be but since I’m not exactly sure what exactly she’ll want at this point, I don’t necessarily want to go too low on the stone. I’ll try to probe for more info setting wise in the next 2-3 months to get a better gauge before I actually make a purchase. Then maybe I can get some estimates from local jewelers. I guess I’m glad I started this early. I’ll probably have some more questions when I get some more time to spend checking all the websites listed above (it’s tough to do when you live with her) to see exactly what my money can buy. Thanks again, I’ve already learned a ton in the last day from everyone here.
 

scepture

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
88
Welcome! I think you'll find a TON of really helpful people here willing to answer all of your questions, so don't be afraid to ask if you have them. I would also suggest, if you have some time, going back and browsing through some of the threads (it takes some time, but going page by page you can learn a TON).

You had mentioned in your original post that you just want a temporary setting. If you're going to do this, a simple solitaire setting will run you much less than $1,500. I would recommend getting a cheap (but well made) temporary setting which would allow you to put the money savings into the diamond itself.

If I could have one suggestion, it would be that, in almost all occasions, you are going to get what you paid for. You will only be getting ripped off if you think that you're getting "wholesale" prices and a steal of a deal. There are good VALUES to be had out there, but no one is going to be selling an 1.5 VVS1 F h&a for $5000.

I would also recommend looking under the "Knowledge" tab at the top (in between 'Resources' and 'Gallery') and read ass many as those as you have time for! They are a great place to start and have a TON of really good information.
 

rubybeth

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,567
nitrocore|1308326391|2948406 said:
Wow, thanks everyone for all of the helpful suggestions. Based on what I’ve heard, I think right now I’m gonna budget ~$3.5k for the stone and around $1.5k for the setting. I can probably swing up to 2k for the setting if need be but since I’m not exactly sure what exactly she’ll want at this point, I don’t necessarily want to go too low on the stone. I’ll try to probe for more info setting wise in the next 2-3 months to get a better gauge before I actually make a purchase. Then maybe I can get some estimates from local jewelers. I guess I’m glad I started this early. I’ll probably have some more questions when I get some more time to spend checking all the websites listed above (it’s tough to do when you live with her) to see exactly what my money can buy. Thanks again, I’ve already learned a ton in the last day from everyone here.
I would also add that it could work well to go with one of the Pricescope vendors who have upgrade policies, so that if you decide on a .9 carat stone to fit in the $3.5k budget, but then your gf/fiancée discovers that the vendor has a setting she already loves, or that custom in the style she wants isn't as expensive, you could upgrade the size/specs of the diamond at that point, if desired. Both Whiteflash and Brian Gavin Diamonds do excellent custom work from what I've seen on these boards, and I think either could do a wonderful job with a unique solitaire design, which sounds like what she wants. And, I think either could do an inexpensive 14k white gold solitaire setting so that she can wear the diamond in the mean-time. Good luck and come back for more help and to show us what you get!! :appl:
 
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