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Help a student find a diamond

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rxfudd

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
5
I'd appreciate some advice on exactly what kinds of rings I should be looking for. Here's my situation:

I'm a broke medical student planning to propose to my girlfriend at the end of July. Being a med student, I have no job, but I do get enough money from student loans to pay for school and all of my bills (rent, credit cards, etc). This poses a bit of a problem for me in terms of deciding how much I should spend, as I don't really have a "salary". I have enough room on one of my credit cards to comfortably spend around $1500, although I could spend more if it everyone here felt is was truly necessary. I really have no idea if this is an appropriate amount. I don't want to spend a lot of money if I won't be getting a ring with a reasonable degree of quality. At the same time, I AM just a student and I'm already taking on 200K worth of debt by the time I'm out of med school, so I clearly would like to keep this to a minimum. I am ultimately limited to what I have open on my credit card - about $2500 - because I can't just take out more loans to pay for a nicer ring. The gov't apparently isn't fond of paying for my engagement...

What I'm hoping to get (that is, what I know she wants - she's been sending hints for years) for that price is an emerald cut diamond in an interesting platinum setting. I know I'll probably get the best deal online, which is fine by me. Please help me find a ring, or at least a site that I can find this type of diamond/setting that is trustworthy. Although the tutorials on how to purchase a diamond are useful, they don't get you very far in terms of actually selecting a ring/store from the millions of each that are out there. I started looking at bluenile.com at some of their custom made rings, but I have no idea if this place is trustworthy or if these rings are worth their cost.

Another thing that might be important: she owns a ring from her grandmother with many large diamonds that she seemed to like a lot and was quite impressed with. When we got it appraised at only a few hundred bucks last year (because the diamonds were of low quality), she could not believe that diamonds as large as these could be worth so little. Even though she saw that they were highly colored (very yellow from what I remember), she was most impressed with the how large the stones were. I infer from this that she is a size over quality person. I also know that she is certainly not one to be impressed by technicalities (e.g. degrees of color, purity, etc). If it looks really nice on her hand, I'm sure she'll love it. Thanks very much!
 

Giangi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
2,530
Hello and welcome!!!!


After reading your post, I suggest you to look at an I 1 diamond. Some may disagree, but they can be great values. You'll see a little inclusions with your naked eye, but if you're working on a budget and you want size, you can live with that. You should be able to get a PROPERLY graded ~0.75ct stone. A 3/4ct stone faces up fairly large, if well cut, and she'll love it!
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
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7,828
Ditto Giangi...except only in a Round.

Is her heart set on an emerald? You will see more body color in an emerald & the clarity is more of an issue. Also, most emerald cut stones will appear smaller than a comparable weight in an Round Brilliant.

Also, what would she think about using her grandmother's ring as an engagement ring? You can promise a big honker when you are through w/ paying your student loans & are established in practice.

Another alternative may be a simulant. Just tossing around a few ideas. I had to see young folks go in debt.

Good luck. Do a search on pricescope to see what you can afford.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
I second getting a round brilliant cut stone rather than an emerald cut, since ECs look TINY for their carat weight! You should be able to get an amazing round brilliant, possibly even an H&As cut stone, for your budgeted amount and then later, after paying off some of your student loan debt and are working and stuff, get her a larger stone and make the current one into a pendant.

I wouldn't do a similant, though. . .they tend to show wear VERY fast (or at least the ones I've seen do).

Michelle
 

shinyside

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2003
Messages
14
I empathize with another fellow med student. What year are you? I ended up finding a lab that would pay me some for helping with a research project. For what its worth, I ended up ordering at Whiteflash after a few weeks of research. Diamondsonweb.com is interesting because they'll ship the diamond to a local jeweler w/o obligation, but you'll pay a hefty premium for the extra service. Blue nile also has a premium. As you know, take it all with a grain of salt...

Another way to compound and extend your debt is to get a 0% APR for 1yr credit card. Good if you are ABSOLUTELY sure that you can pay the monthly minimums and can pay in full by the 11th month. Otherwise you're hosed.

Have fun,
SS
 

Nate

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 17, 2003
Messages
211
If you don't mind my asking, where are you located?
 

rxfudd

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
5
Thanks for the advice everyone. Couple of things:

- I did a search on pricescope and found a lot of diamonds that seem to be within my range, but I'm not quite sure what I should be emphasizing in terms of features. I don't anticipate that this ring will be compared or evaluated by anyone at a level of fine detail. Should I be more worried about clarity? Color? Is there really THAT much of a difference between SI and VS or I and G/H? If you were in my position, what would you specifically be looking for in terms of carat, color, and clarity (or should I not really worry much about color and clarity since I am on such a tight budget)? Sorry for all the questions, but the vast number of sites and diamonds out there is a bit overwhelming to someone new to this like myself.
- How do you evaluate the cut with an online purchase?
- What exactly does depth and table tell you?
- Shinyside and Nate, I'm finishing up my M1 year in Chicago.

Thanks again, you guys are super helpful!
 

shinyside

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2003
Messages
14
I'm in Nashville. It's chilly and misting out right now.

Just a thing I've picked up. Cut is important. More important than color or clarity according to many. Some sites allow you to view certificates that will give you their opinion of whether the cut is "ideal" or not. The symmetry and polish might give you an idea of how carefully the diamond was worked on, and you might infer that the same care was given to the cut. I let the experts answer the rest



SS
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
Hm. I agree with the others. My only concern is that if she's been wanting an EC all these years, turning around and getting her a RB might not be the best idea. They are *very* different looks.

However, I'm assuming that the ring her grandmother has contains round diamonds? In that case, it might work.

It certainly sounds like she's willing to sacrifice quite a bit in order to get a large stone. I'd suggest, though, that you get the stone from a place with a lifetime upgrade policy. As she gets older, her tastes might change.
 

pqcollectibles

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
3,441
ooooooo!! Visions of ER
One of my Favorite shows!


Hi RX!


There was a guy here recently in much the same position. You might check for threads posted by NeedaRing. His budget was $2K and I believe he bought an I color Emerald or Radiant Cut. He lived near one of the appraisers that posts info here frequently. I'm not sure if he got a complete evaluation of the diamond or just got it "eye balled".

There's a thought for you to save some $$$$. Get a pro to look the diamond for you without all the Brilliance Scope, etc.

Everyone is suggesting rounds because Round Brilliants are the most brilliant and sparkly. Also, they tend to hold/show less body color. You can go J color in a RB cut where you might have to go H color in a square cut.

For cut charts, click on the Tutorial Link. On the first page of the Tutorial are links in the left hand bar toward the bottom for the AGA cut charts.

Giangi is absolutely right. You can get an eye clean I clarity. It will all depend on color, size, and location of the inclusion(s). I saw an I1 RB that you had to hunt for the 1 larger inclusion that gave that diamond it's rating.

You will notice when you search that the same diamond is listed by several vendors. Those diamonds are offered off a "Multiple Listings Sheet" available to the brokers.

While all the PS vendors have reasonable return periods, several offer life-time upgrades. Also, if you choose a "Multi Listed" diamond, the biggies like White Flash, Nice Ice, Good Old Gold, etc., will screen the diamond and make recommendations before actually selling to you. They have high standards and won't sell "junk" gems.

Check out return periods, life-time upgrades, etc., call/email a few vendors. They are all very nice folk to deal with. Find a vendor you are comfortable with, and let them be your eyes. They do this for a living and will find you the biggest, prettiest, diamond you can buy within your price point.

Good Luck in your search!
 

slmulkey

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
133
I'd stick with an emerald cut since she has given you hints that is what she wants. A three stone ring might work best for your budget, more total carat weight for less cost than a solitaire of the same weight. If it were me, I'd go for a 1/2 ct emerald cut diamond probably in the neighborhood of H-I-J color, SI clarity in white gold (platinum is expensive) with some 1/4 ct sapphire or ruby sidestones. Or... get platinum and drop the sidestones.

If your girlfriend wouldn't mind a ring that is less traditional, you could get an emerald cut sapphire ring set in platinum that would cost much less than a comparably sized diamond.

Mondera.com has some nice settings with side gemstones that you might want to check out.

For colored gemstones, I drool over these sites:
http://www.gemsold.com/index.htm
http://www.gemsuite.com/front.html

Good luck to you!
 

rxfudd

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
5
Once again, I'd like to thank everybody for all of your suggestions. Considering I knew almost nothing about diamonds and diamond-purchasing a week ago, it is an understatement to say that both this website and the people on it have been extraordinarily helpful. Here's one more set of questions for you (and a bit of a twist on my situation):

Turns out we will be leaving campus housing next month for a loft apartment in downtown Chicago (great apartment, but expensive) for many reasons that are beyond the scope of an internet post. This puts a substantially larger financial burden on both of us. Although this will inevitably alter my plans for the ring, I don't want it to terminate them. I will therefore have to adjust my budget. Where I had been willing to spend $1500-2000 on the ring, I'll now be forced to spend no more than around $1000-1100. Here are two rings at which I'm looking (the urls are a bit long, so I'll just type out the appropriate information to prevent the screen from shifting to the right by thousands of characters):

- Round, GIA graded, 0.5 carat, color H, clarity SI2, Table 61%, Depth 59.5%, Polish G, Symmetry VG, Girdle MED-ST, no cutlet, no fluorescence, $1076.00 (Whiteflash.com), $965.00 via pricescope
- Round, GIA-graded, 0.51 carat, ideal cut, color G, clarity SI2, Table 57%, Depth 61.9%, Polish G, Symmetry VG, Girdle MED-ST faceted, no cutlet, no fluorescence, $1020.00 (Bluenile.com)

You'll probably note that they are not EC as I was planning on getting earlier - in light of some of the comments above, I think this is for the best. Besides, she also once mentioned, "...but if you got me a regular diamond, I'd still be really happy with it..." Good enough for me, especially given the new budget crunch.

I'm leaning towards the second diamond because the numbers are a bit better, although the first one is cheaper if I tell whiteflash I found the diamond on pricescope. Even at these lower prices, I'll still be spending close about $1200-1300 because of the setting. She does not wear yellow gold so I'll be getting white gold or platinum (any recommendations on getting a white gold band for about $175 vs a platinum band for $300? Is it really worth the extra cash? Any good reasons to purchase or not purchase with either of these?).

So - for a couple of students in their early twenties, do either of these diamonds seem appropriate. While I realize that I can't be spending NEARLY the amount of money that people here appear to be spending (for obvious reasons), I'd still like to get something moderately nice. Thanks very much.
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
----------------
On 5/28/2003 4:49:13 AM rxfudd wrote:

- Round, GIA graded, 0.5 carat, color H, clarity SI2, Table 61%, Depth 59.5%, Polish G, Symmetry VG, Girdle MED-ST, no cutlet, no fluorescence, $1076.00 (Whiteflash.com), $965.00 via pricescope
- Round, GIA-graded, 0.51 carat, ideal cut, color G, clarity SI2, Table 57%, Depth 61.9%, Polish G, Symmetry VG, Girdle MED-ST faceted, no cutlet, no fluorescence, $1020.00 (Bluenile.com)

----------------
How about .59 I SI1 AGS Ex EX Medium Blue Fluor - medium pricescope price $1035.00.

You could easily go I/J in a well cut stone of this size. ...and bump the carat weight up a tad.
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
Agree with Fire&Ice. She's not going to see much, if any, difference between an H and an I in an ideal cut diamond.
 

rxfudd

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2003
Messages
5
I just found this one as well:

Round, GIA graded, 0.61 carat, SI2 clarity, H color, Depth 58.2%, Table 62%, Girdle M-Stk, Symmetry VG, Polish VG, No cutlet or fluoresence, 952.30 from AffordableDiamondsOnLine.com

I tried to look for others in the I/J color range, but this one stood out when I did my search. Not quite as nice of a cut as the others above, but still looks good to me. Opinions?

Also: Why do some online retailers (such as AffordableDiamondsOnLine.com) have the SAME diamond as others (such as whiteflash.com) for a drastically lower prices. I understand that it's the same diamond on one of those lists to which companies have access. But why is the diamond consistently often $150-$200 less expensive? What am I getting at whiteflash.com (or not getting at AffordableDiamondsOnLine.com) that is worth $150-200???
 

slmulkey

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
133
I found the attached setting on diamond.com....so pretty, for only $200 in 14k white gold.

The diamond you are interested in seems a little shallow...but could be nice. It's hard to tell without the crown and pavillion angles. Also, I briefly looked around and saw that there are plenty of 1/2 ct emerald cut diamonds around H-I, VS2-SI1 that should fall within your budget. You might also want to check out diamondsafe.com....prices seem reasonable, and they have pictures of all of the stones under magnification, plus the cert is visible, so you can plug the numbers into the cut advisor. Read the tutorial if you don't know what I mean by the cut advisor.

I'm a firm believer in giving a girl what she wants....since she wants platinum and emerald cut, it might be nice to fulfill one of those requests in her ring. Just my opinion


Good luck, Let us know what you decide on.

diamond setting.JPG
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
----------------
On 5/28/2003 1:37
4 PM rxfudd wrote:

? What am I getting at whiteflash.com (or not getting at AffordableDiamondsOnLine.com) that is worth $150-200???

----------------
Could be services like return policy - upgrade, etc. Maybe Whiteflash would match the price?

The diamond you listed could be nice & larger for its size. In something like this stone, you really need pav & crown degrees.
 
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