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Engagement ring for my fiance. Please help!

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dhltal

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I am a newbie, so I apologize for any redudancy I may have in my post in regards to other posts and questions from other members.

My girlfriend (or fiance I could say) and I started shopping for engagement rings this past weekend. Long story short, her and I have been together for a little under 2 years now and practically live with each other and both feel this next step is the right for the both of us. Anyhow, that leads up to this past weekend of ring shopping.

I went to the shopping mall, of course, since you see so many jewelers and inside, we visited Helzberg Diamonds, Whitehall Co., Crescent Jewelers, and Ben Bridge.

Helzberg had the diamond, that we both liked the best. The hearts on fire diamond. That thing really sparkled and it was the highest quality. For a 1 ct in a 18KW setting, it was $9995.

We didn''t get much attention at Whitehall, so we left.

At Crescent, we saw a 2 carat in a 18KW setting for $6995 and a 1.5 carat in a 18KW setting for $4995. Obviously, these diamonds were not the highest quality (I don''t remember the exact specs right now), but we were just merely browsing.

Last, we went to Ben Bridge and saw a few in platinum and 18KW as well. Prices were similar and not too far off from that of Helzberg Diamonds.

Let me lay out what my specs are right now:
Carat: min 1 - 1.5 max 2 (most likely going with 1.5)
Finger size: 5.5
Diamond specs: Of course I want the best, but I know I have to pay for it. That''s why I am leaning towards Hearts of Fire just based off first impressions.
Budget: I''m hoping to stay under $10k, but anything a little above won''t be stretching it
Metal: I was told many things in terms of platinum vs. white gold. The Helzberg jeweler told me to go with 18KW because platinum scratches far too easily and requires more maintenance. The Ben Bridge jeweler told me that platinum is obviously more rare, hence more expensive and although it does scratch more easily, it is much stronger than 18KW because of the other allows used to make an 18KW ring.

Anyhow, this is my first (and only) engagement ring [I hope], and I want to do it right. I''m obviously going to let her choose the designs and what not and I''ll decide on the carat. Are there any specific stores I should visit and where could I find the ideal diamond for me?

Again, I apologize for any repetition, but I do appreciate anybody''s time and assistance.

Thanks for your time,
David
 

Ellen

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dhltal

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Date: 4/16/2007 5:48:36 PM
Author: hikerchick
https://www.pricescope.com/sift.aspx

If you aren''t opposed to buying online, check out the link above to search the vendors here.
Are you or your FI color sensitive? what is the lowest color you are willing to get?
I''m definitely not opposed to buying online because I''m an avid online shopper, BUT I have no clue about about online diamond shopping and am also very wary about online fraud. I will check out the link. Much appreciated.
 

dhltal

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neatfreak

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If you want reviews of them just pop their names into the search box at the top of the page. Hundreds will pop up.
 

JulieN

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I suppose, here. Just type "good" or "bad" and the vendor''s name into the search.
 

hikerchick

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Date: 4/16/2007 6:11:01 PM
Author: dhltal

Date: 4/16/2007 5:48:36 PM
Author: hikerchick
https://www.pricescope.com/sift.aspx

If you aren''t opposed to buying online, check out the link above to search the vendors here.
Are you or your FI color sensitive? what is the lowest color you are willing to get?
I''m definitely not opposed to buying online because I''m an avid online shopper, BUT I have no clue about about online diamond shopping and am also very wary about online fraud. I will check out the link. Much appreciated.
We were also pretty unsettled about buying online until we educated ourselves about the steps we could take to protect ourselves. There are a number of trusted vendors here and Ellen has linked you to 3 of the more popular ones. For your 10K budget, you will be able to get a gorgeous diamond which is about 1.25 to 1.3 . . .

You can also find an independant appraiser near you for a confirmation of what you are getting. What color is your lower limit?
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/16/2007 6:19:23 PM
Author: hikerchick

We were also pretty unsettled about buying online until we educated ourselves about the steps we could take to protect ourselves. There are a number of trusted vendors here and Ellen has linked you to 3 of the more popular ones. For your 10K budget, you will be able to get a gorgeous diamond which is about 1.25 to 1.3 . . .

You can also find an independant appraiser near you for a confirmation of what you are getting. What color is your lower limit?
How much does the typical diamond appraisal cost?

Could my ~$10K budget support a hearts on fire diamond and the band as well? In terms of the color, I''m thinking D-G.
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/16/2007 6:27:40 PM
Author: JulieN
Not a 1.5 ct stone.
She has a size 5.5 ring finger. Do you think 1.2-1.3 would suffice?

Her sister has a size 4.5 and her 1 carat looks massive on her finger.
 

JulieN

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Most people can go down to H.

I don''t know how much a 1.2-1.3 HOF would be. But, yes, it''s a lovely size.
 

Ellen

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Yes, that size will look very nice on her finger.

You will need to stay at G to get more size (you won''t see any color, I have one), and preferably SI1, of which many are eyeclean.

I would suggest reading the tutorial here, there''s a wealth of info. GOG, one of the links I gave you also has a great tutorial, plus some videos and other stuff. This will help you get your feet wet to online buying, the terms, what to look for, etc.

And as said before, doing searches on here will let you know what vendors are good to work with. I have personally bought from WF and GOG and had a great experience with both.
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/16/2007 6:40:46 PM
Author: Ellen
Yes, that size will look very nice on her finger.

You will need to stay at G to get more size (you won''t see any color, I have one), and preferably SI1, of which many are eyeclean.

I would suggest reading the tutorial here, there''s a wealth of info. GOG, one of the links I gave you also has a great tutorial, plus some videos and other stuff. This will help you get your feet wet to online buying, the terms, what to look for, etc.

And as said before, doing searches on here will let you know what vendors are good to work with. I have personally bought from WF and GOG and had a great experience with both.
I will spend some time this evening reviewing these sites and will come back tomorrow morning with questions (I''m sure). Hopefully I won''t be redundant. Thanks again for all your help. I''m glad I found this forum online as a resource in helping me find the ideal diamond for my fiance.
 

zoebartlett

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Ellen mentioned some of the vendors here who are used frequently.

We are getting my engagement ring from Whiteflash, located in Houston. Their service has been great and everyone I''ve spoken to has been extremely helpful. One benefit of Whiteflash is that you can make a private appt. online (click on the Whiteflash tag above for more info.) Also, John Pollard (aka, John Quixote here on PS), the Director of Consumer Education, Bob Hoskins (GG), and Katie (sales rep I believe) often do webinars weekly. It helps those like me (who had trepidation when purchasing online) get to know them and build trust -- very important.

I can''t speak from firsthand experience with the other vendors, but they have very happy customers. I''d trust them.

Read as much as you can (the tutorial here and on www.goodoldgold.com) and be educated as much as you can before your purchase. Ask lots of questions and have fun looking.

I hope this helps!

Zoe
 

Ellen

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Date: 4/16/2007 6:43:22 PM
Author: dhltal
I will spend some time this evening reviewing these sites and will come back tomorrow morning with questions (I''m sure). Hopefully I won''t be redundant. Thanks again for all your help. I''m glad I found this forum online as a resource in helping me find the ideal diamond for my fiance.
Ask away, no problem. It''s a lot to absorb, but well worth it. Trust me, your fiance wil thank you.
 

risingsun

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I looked at a HOF 1.25 ct G VS2 and the price was around $18,000. Call any jeweler selling HOF and they can give you price per carat, based upon color and clarity. I ultimately went with WhiteFlash "A Cut Above" Hearts & Arrow diamond, which compares favorably to HOF. I then had the stone set in a HOF semi-mount and got a matching HOF wedding band. I had the ACA sent to an independent appraiser, before purchase, and the stone more than met my hopes and expectations. Getting the ACA online saved me a bundle a gave me a beautiful stone.



DSC00425 solo c.JPG
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/16/2007 10:58:25 PM
Author: risingsun

I looked at a HOF 1.25 ct G VS2 and the price was around $18,000. Call any jeweler selling HOF and they can give you price per carat, based upon color and clarity. I ultimately went with WhiteFlash ''A Cut Above'' Hearts & Arrow diamond, which compares favorably to HOF. I then had the stone set in a HOF semi-mount and got a matching HOF wedding band. I had the ACA sent to an independent appraiser, before purchase, and the stone more than met my hopes and expectations. Getting the ACA online saved me a bundle a gave me a beautiful stone.

When you say the Hearts & Arrow diamond compares favorable, what exactly do you mean?

My fiance and I were looking at the HOF engagement and wedding rings and we really like the designs. What exactly is an ACA?
 

JulieN

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It is Whiteflash''s brand of hearts and arrows diamonds. You can look it up on their website. It must meet the pattern specifications as well as brand specific proportions and attain the AGS 0 grade.

There are other branded hearts and arrows diamonds available, such as from Infinity Diamonds, Tolkowsky (carried by Good Old) which are cut by the brands and must meet their specifications.

And there are other hearts and arrows stones carried by Good Old Gold and James Allen, sourced from various cutters, which usually come with hearts/arrows/Ideal Scope pictures and AGS 0 or GIA EX reports (or some combination of those.)
 

swingirl

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ACA = A Cut Above

It is a diamond design that WF''s Brian Gavin has developed. It''s a Heart''s & Arrows design which means it has a facet pattern of hearts and arrows that you can see when magnified. WF website has a more accurate explaination.

The Hearts on Fire is another branded stone. They claim to be perfectly cut stones giving off lots of fire, sparkle, shine, etc.

ACA and HOF are both beautifully cut stones and it''s personal preference as to which you prefer. WF also sells what''s called Expert Selection. These are stones that almost made it into the ACA pile but missed it by a hair. They are excellent stones, priced well and most of us could hardly find the flaw that made them miss the ACA standard.

Hope this info is helpful.
 

ladykemma

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helzberg doesn't carry HOF brand. they carry masterpiece, which are GIA certed stones. can you go back and get the specifications and certiicate number of the ring you were looking at?

i have a lot of helzberg pieces, including the ring i my avatar.. they are nice rings. you get more bang for the buck online but helzberg is convenient.
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/17/2007 4:06:39 AM
Author: swingirl
ACA = A Cut Above

It is a diamond design that WF''s Brian Gavin has developed. It''s a Heart''s & Arrows design which means it has a facet pattern of hearts and arrows that you can see when magnified. WF website has a more accurate explaination.

The Hearts on Fire is another branded stone. They claim to be perfectly cut stones giving off lots of fire, sparkle, shine, etc.

ACA and HOF are both beautifully cut stones and it''s personal preference as to which you prefer. WF also sells what''s called Expert Selection. These are stones that almost made it into the ACA pile but missed it by a hair. They are excellent stones, priced well and most of us could hardly find the flaw that made them miss the ACA standard.

Hope this info is helpful.
That was a very helpful description. Like I said earlier, I am a complete newbie, so after I saw HOF, I was absolutely biased. I had never seen a diamond sparkle like that, so it was automatically my favorite. It''s good to know there are alternatives as HOF diamonds are higher priced. I will definitely look at the ACA. Thanks again.
 

angeline

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dhital,

Before I discovered Pricescope and educated myself about diamonds, my husband and I bought a 2ct HOF semi-eternity, because yes they sparkled like nothing else I had seen (I had only been to mall stores).

However I have now had the pleasure of buying several stones from Whiteflash which I returned until found my current stone a 2.1ct F SI2, from their Expert Selection. It is without a doubt just as beautiful and sparkly as the smaller HOF stones. I know it''s not a direct comparison as it''s larger, but to my eye their is no discernible difference in the beauty of the WF stone compared to other HOF and branded stones I have seen (and I have done a lot of browsing! now with my new stone on to compare).

Hope this helps. As far as trusting online vendors I can only speak for WF but you can read my story here if you are interested. Chronicle of a chronic upgrader

Good luck and congratulations!

a
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/17/2007 5:34:33 AM
Author: ladykemma
helzberg doesn''t carry HOF brand. they carry masterpiece, which are GIA certed stones. can you go back and get the specifications and certiicate number of the ring you were looking at?

i have a lot of helzberg pieces, including the ring i my avatar.. they are nice rings. you get more bang for the buck online but helzberg is convenient.
They don''t carry Helzberg? Hmm, the jeweler there kept mentioning hearts on fire and even showed me the hearts and arrows. Maybe it''s their masterpiece collection that is similar to hearts on fire, just like hearts & arrows are comparable.

Thanks for the added info!
 

ladykemma

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Date: 4/17/2007 11:27:48 AM
Author: dhltal



Date: 4/17/2007 5:34:33 AM
Author: ladykemma
helzberg doesn't carry HOF brand. they carry masterpiece, which are GIA certed stones. can you go back and get the specifications and certiicate number of the ring you were looking at?

i have a lot of helzberg pieces, including the ring i my avatar.. they are nice rings. you get more bang for the buck online but helzberg is convenient.
They don't carry Helzberg? Hmm, the jeweler there kept mentioning hearts on fire and even showed me the hearts and arrows. Maybe it's their masterpiece collection that is similar to hearts on fire, just like hearts & arrows are comparable.

Thanks for the added info!
unless this is something new.... no they don't carry hearts on fire and should not use those words or brand name.

now a well cut round has hearts and arrows, and if it is a helzberg masterpiece, well, it IS a masterpiece. good to buy. that's why we need the measurements on the certificate.

edited to add: since the saleperson is a doofus, make sure the certificate matches the stone....
i encourage what made your heart and eyes pop.
 

dhltal

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Date: 4/17/2007 11:37:07 AM
Author: ladykemma
unless this is something new.... no they don''t carry hearts on fire and should not use those words or brand name.

now a well cut round has hearts and arrows, and if it is a helzberg masterpiece, well, it IS a masterpiece. good to buy. that''s why we need the measurements on the certificate.

edited to add: since the saleperson is a doofus, make sure the certificate matches the stone....
i encourage what made your heart and eyes pop.
Yeah, the guy was a little older, but was very nice. Being in the services industry, I am very judgemental in terms of how a sales person approaches me an I appreciated that this salesperson was less harsh and pushy than others. I am somewhat disappointed taht he would continually mention their masterpiece diamond as a HOF diamond. I am assuming that they are somewhat comparable, but you should never misrepresent the product you are selling. I will call in and ask him for exact measurements.

How do I make sure that a certificate matches the stone? The laser etching?
 

BunniBling

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Date: 4/17/2007 12:05:12 PM
Author: dhltal

Date: 4/17/2007 11:37:07 AM
Author: ladykemma
unless this is something new.... no they don''t carry hearts on fire and should not use those words or brand name.

now a well cut round has hearts and arrows, and if it is a helzberg masterpiece, well, it IS a masterpiece. good to buy. that''s why we need the measurements on the certificate.

edited to add: since the saleperson is a doofus, make sure the certificate matches the stone....
i encourage what made your heart and eyes pop.
Yeah, the guy was a little older, but was very nice. Being in the services industry, I am very judgemental in terms of how a sales person approaches me an I appreciated that this salesperson was less harsh and pushy than others. I am somewhat disappointed taht he would continually mention their masterpiece diamond as a HOF diamond. I am assuming that they are somewhat comparable, but you should never misrepresent the product you are selling. I will call in and ask him for exact measurements.

How do I make sure that a certificate matches the stone? The laser etching?
Yes, make sure the cert number matches; also know your inclusions! Since each stone is unique, knowing the where/what type re: inclusions will always help you identify *your* stone. HTH.

-J
 

risingsun

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Date: 4/17/2007 3:45:05 AM
Author: dhltal

Date: 4/16/2007 10:58:25 PM
Author: risingsun

I looked at a HOF 1.25 ct G VS2 and the price was around $18,000. Call any jeweler selling HOF and they can give you price per carat, based upon color and clarity. I ultimately went with WhiteFlash ''A Cut Above'' Hearts & Arrow diamond, which compares favorably to HOF. I then had the stone set in a HOF semi-mount and got a matching HOF wedding band. I had the ACA sent to an independent appraiser, before purchase, and the stone more than met my hopes and expectations. Getting the ACA online saved me a bundle a gave me a beautiful stone.

When you say the Hearts & Arrow diamond compares favorable, what exactly do you mean?

My fiance and I were looking at the HOF engagement and wedding rings and we really like the designs. What exactly is an ACA?
You have already had some excellent replies
I spoke with an independent appraiser about HOF and ACA. He said I would not be compromising if I purchased an ACA instead of a HOF. I have to agree. When I brought my ACA to be set by my jeweler, who sells HOF, he thought I had bought one of his HOF stones. He put under his microscope and scrutinized it up one side and down and the other. He told me I had purchased a beautiful diamond--he was just sorry it wasn''t one of his
We did spend plenty on the semi-mount and the wedding band
 

dhltal

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Here goes my update:

So I take my fiance out for dinner, but before that, I tell her I found a local HOF dealer, Roger''s Jewelry, and why don''t we just stop by and check out what they had in mind. What I thought would be 15-20 min ended up being close to 2 hours. Not that I mind because I feel much more knowledgable now. We checked out genuine HOF diamonds, as opposed to the "masterpiece" diamonds the Helzberg jeweler had told me were HOF. The diamonds that Roger''s had, as a secondary but close option to HOF, were called Isee2 diamonds.

We have pretty much decided on the setting: A very simple HOF setting or something that looks exactly like it. Still cannot decide on the platinum vs. 18KW, but we were told that there was a mixture of the two: platinold (sp?). Basically a combination of platinum and white gold. What are your thoughts on this material?

In terms of the diamond, it''s still very up in the area. Minimum is 1 carat with 1.5 as the max. They did have an "Isee2" diamond that was 1.5 carats that was I, SI2. The price for it was $13,700. What do you think about that price?

I had one last question for now. At the store, they had this machine that digitally analyzed the carat, clarity, and color of the diamond. Is this something that is very common? According to the jeweler, his store was the only one in the whole area that dared to carry this analyzer. He did a simple demonstration of a HOF that scored a 9.5 versus a "ideal" cut diamond they purchased from Blue Nile that scored a 4.6. He then put in the Isee2 diamond and it scored a 9.x as well.

Thanks everyone for all your responses and help. I have learned a lot, in such little time.
 

JulieN

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Date: 4/18/2007 4:59:39 PM
Author: dhltal

In terms of the diamond, it's still very up in the area. Minimum is 1 carat with 1.5 as the max. They did have an 'Isee2' diamond that was 1.5 carats that was I, SI2. The price for it was $13,700. What do you think about that price?
too expensive. around 10K or less.

the machine spitting out the two digit scores is probably an ISEE2 machine.
 
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