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Help with getting a diamond for engagement

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saykalik

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
2
I am looking to get an engagement ring for my girlfriend (soon to be fiancée) and I really don’t know what to look for. I have looked around the web for information but all say the same thing and I still don’t get it. I do know that I want a round diamond with a white gold band, that’s about it. I don’t understand what caret does for you, what color does, what cut, etc...
On top of all that I am sooo nervous.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

kaosinla

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
19
I was in your shoes almost 2 years ago. My advice to you is read and study as much info on the net and this forum as possible. And, when your done with that, read some more. Be prepared before you even attempt to view a diamond, so that you know what to look for and how to shop. You'll become your own salesperson. Understand the C's first and the grading scales. Learn exactly what makes a good diamond and a bad diamond. That's a good starting point.

CARAT refers to the size or weight of a diamond

The GIA CLARITY scale starts at IF followed by VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3, etc.

A "D" COLOR diamond is colorless and is the most valuable color.
The GIA color scale starts a D and goes all of the way down the alphabet: D-M.

The measurement and proportion of all these cuts or facets determines the grade or quality of the cut that is given by a gem lab. There are five grades given:
Excellent (ideal)
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

So, an Ideal, IF(internally flawless), D (colorless) is what most consider the pinnacle. Carat size is up to you.

I hope this is a good starting point.

Good Luck!!!
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
14,920
You can go to a store and buy a prettty ring, spend a bit more, get a bit less maybe.
Or invest some time, do some home work and buy well online.

Or get some info and do better in a store.

Anyone like to tell us how long they spent researching? I guess it is min 5 hours and up to 40?
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Hi Saykalik,
This would depend how much time you have and money to spend.
I have never met a buyer like " I don't have the time to get educated about diamonds, what is the best colorless diamond I can get? Ok,... money is no object I would like five carats of it!",...

In the "usual" buyers world, people are ready to buy after they know at least the basics about diamond value and grading. Education will also tell you that when buying diamonds you need to be realistic If the money is limited. You can have a 1 carat diamond for $500 (Junk) or $15000 for top grade.
I think you need to know how to avoid mistakes. One thing I would like to advise you is, buy only certified diamonds by reputable gem labs like GIA, HRD or AGS. Be aware of everyones experience " If the price looks to good to be true, it probably is,..." And if you find a diamond you like, post the details on this Forum and we will tell you if it is fair deal or not. Buy on line from seller that will allow returns. Have your purchase checked by Gem expert near you.
Best
George
GLE Gem Imports
 

justme

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2002
Messages
184
Say - Welcome, time spent online researching, here asking questions and visiting local stores to actually see diamonds is the way to understand what your spending your hard earned $ on!

The tutorial (above) here and www.goodoldgold.com are both excellent for information/education.


Garry,

As I am a researcher by profession, I probably spent approx. 100-150 hours researching before buying! Well worth the effort though.


Justme
 

justme

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2002
Messages
184
Say -

One other piece of advice - look for a loose stone then the setting.

Justme
 

kaosinla

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
19
I've probably spent about 200-250 hours researching. And, I spent about 8 hours viewing before finally deciding on an Eightstar. This may be a lot of time, but I was always aware that the diamond was going to cost 10k or more. So as I was saving, I was learning too.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
I am a researcher by nature...psycho researcher at that...so I spent about 2 months researching very heavily before purchasing the stone, and another 1 months researching the setting. All in all about 150 hours as a rough estimate. Alot of time!! Of course after we bought the stone I spent another 3 months learning more....does that count?


Saykalik--

Definitely check out the Pricescope tutorial, the GOG tutorial that was posted (excellent info and alot of pictures with detail).

Beyond just the basics...such as carat weight, color and clarity which can sometimes be obvious...there is the 4th C...the CUT. Which is in most people's opinion the most important. Things such as table, depth, crown and pavilion angle will help you determine the cut. You first need to determine what is most important to you out of these 4 c's. Do you want the biggest diamond you can afford, regardless of the clarity or cut (think 1.5c for $7k that is L color and I2 clarity with a dull glassy sheen to it) or do you want to prioritize with a good balance of cut and color/clarity while sacrificing a bit of carat weight for a much better looking stone (think a 1c superbly cut H&A F VS1 with excellent light return for $7k). Those are just rough estimates and may be a little off...but you get the idea. So really you need to start with your priorities and then we can help you from there...as you learn more!

I also highly suggest you start visiting offline brick and mortar jewelers to get an idea of what you like visually. There are two ways for a consumer to grade a stone. One is with their eyes, the other is how the stone looks on paper (e.g. reports etc). Some place higher priority on one or the other, but Ithink a balance of both is in order. Start getting an idea of what you like to see in stores. Look at an AGS000 then compare that against a Hearts and Arrows stone. Compare the H&A and AGS 000 against a Hearts of Fire and an 8*. Compare those against a regular non AGS000 stone, maybe a GIA with ex/ex polish and symm and decent table and depth measurements. You will start to see what speaks to your eye more...then once you get a better idea of that...you can start really looking online for the stone that may fit the bill. In the meantime while looking offline (don't buy before you are ready...salespeople have great tactics!), continue to research online, check out pricing for what you are thinking of buying. Does dropping that carat weight .05c make a $500 price difference? If so, you may want to consider it. Play around with color and clarity combos on the Pricescope engine. What shows the best return for your $$ and still will be white to the eye with no visible inclusions (most likely around H/SI1 if you get a clean SI1). While looking in offline stores, check out different color grades and clarity, side by side. Does the G/H look yellower than the F? Or does it look the same? Some people do not notice a difference (me) so you save some $$ not paying for a colorless grade. The list goes on. There are countless diamonds out there, countless combinations of color, clarity, table, depth, crown, pavilion, etc etc etc. The more you learn, the more you will be able to weed out the duds and end up with something sparkly and amazing for the best value for your dollar.

Sorry to ramble on. Hope this helps!!

 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Welcome to the forum saykalik,

All of the information above is good but let me make things a little simpler for you.
You already know what shape diamond.
What is your maximum budget for the ring? You want to spend about 95% of that on the center diamond.
Has she said anything about what size diamond she wants?
You can get an ugly D FL or you can get a very beautiful H SI1 for the same price. This all depends on the cut. A lot of us here on Pricescope are very cut conscience.
I would recommend you start with a GIA or AGS certified G or H VS2/SI1 in your price range and see where that takes you.
Do not lay your money down until you feel a lot more confident. Buying on line with the vendors here on Pricescope is safe if for no other reason than if anyone stepped out of line, he/she would be out of business. Go into a store just so you will know what that feels like and how much difference in price the same diamond would be.
Have fun, you are back in school.
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792
Congratulations on your upcoming engagement Saykalik! There is a lot more to diamonds than meets the eye and in the beginning unravelling all of the information can seem quite daunting, but actually it can be quite simple...

Begin by deciding that you want to get what you pay for and only consider diamonds that have been graded by reputable gemological laboratories like the GIA, AGS or HRD. There are other "gemological laboratories" used by some of the less reputable vendors, however those laboratories tend to be less strict and consistent in their grading practices than the GIA, AGS and HRD. Since the price of the diamond you purchase will be based on the carat weight, color, clarity and cut (proportions, not shape) you will do yourself a favor by making sure you begin by looking at diamonds that have a better chance of being accurately graded.

No doubt you've heard of "the 4C's" but you may not realize that the most important of the C's is "Cut" which refers to the precision (or lack of) that the diamond has been cut to. A lot of sales clerks incorrectly explain "Cut" as "Shape" because they haven't been properly trained, but it actually refers to the combination of how the parts of the diamond have been cut to better reflect the light that enters the diamond back at you... Assuming you want the best light return you can get from the diamond you purchase, we're going to suggest that you seek a diamond within this range:

Total depth: 59 - 61.8%
Table: 55 - 56%
Crown angle: 34.3 - 34.8 degrees
Pavilion angle: 40.5 - 40.9 degrees
Girdle: 1.0% thin to 1.7% medium
Culet: GIA none or AGS pointed
Polish: GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal
Symmetry: GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal

This combination of proportions and characteristics falls within a very tight center region of the "ideal cut" proportions rating... Now a diamond cut within this range of proportions with these characteristics will cost more than a diamond that is not, but it will also have better visual performance than a diamond that does not... We suggest that you find a diamond with characteristics like this and compare it to some of the other diamonds in the jewelers display case and then make your decision. We saw that "Eight Star" had been mentioned earlier in the thread, they are certainly worth investigating, but be forewarned that they will cost even more per carat than the tighter ideal cut diamonds mentioned above.

If you want the diamond to be "eye clean" then you should start your search with diamonds in the SI-1 clarity grade, but be aware that some of the diamonds in the SI-1 clarity grade will not be eye clean - of course a lot of this depends on your vision... If you want to be 98% certain, start your search in the VS-2 clarity range... We only reject about four VS-2 clarity diamonds per year for not being eye clean as opposed to the 40% we reject in the SI-1 clarity range.

As far as color goes, we suggest starting in the F-G-H color range as it is not only cost effective, but is a good middle ground in terms of tonal value... Generally diamonds in the F-G range will face up as a nice, crisp white with H picking up a little color to most people's eyes... D/E can be pretty cost prohibitive and not everybody can see the color difference clearly enough to want to pay for it... If you want to stretch your budget a little, then consider an I-J color diamond if you don't mind a slightly warmer tonal value...

Try to find a jeweler in your area who takes pride in what they do... Somebody who will spend some time with you showing you the different clarity and color combinations under controlled lighting so tht you can make an educated decision.

Use the tools and tutorials here on PS and the web sites of the various vendors who contribute to these forums to better understand the characteristics of the diamonds you are considering... You can punch in the proportions information for the diamonds on the Holloway Cut Advisor (HCA) to get an idea of how the angles and degrees effect the visual performance... And you can compare the prices you get from your local retailer to on-line prices using the diamond search engine...
 

saykalik

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
2
wow, you guys are great. You answered me so fast that I am not as worried any more, now I know I can get help when I need it.

All this information is great (I have to read it all again to really absorb it)
but it has helped a lot.

Thank you all again
 
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