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Help with OEC Diamonds

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Hello Pricescope Community,

I'm in the process of trying to design and buy my girlfriend an engagement ring and I'm sort of be intrigued by old European cut stones. Through these forums, I came across the jewelsbygrace.com website. I've browsed through all of the listings there and have "narrowed" the list of stones that I think I might be interested in. I know that selecting a diamond, especially an older cut diamond, is really a matter of personal preference and there is only so much that can be ascertained from pictures on a website, but I was curious to get other folks opinions. Is there anything you see on any of these that would be disqualifying in your opinion? I'm also looking for a combination of quality and value. Any feedback you'd be willing to provide would be great. Thanks.

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/94ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-f-vs2#.VkBJSCvQOih

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/96ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-g-vs1#.VkBJbCvQOig

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/94ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-f-vs1#.VkBJgyvQOig

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/90ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-i-vs1#.VkBJ6ivQOig

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-01ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-i-vs1#.VkBKlyvQOig

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-10ct-old-european-cut-gia-j-vvs2#.VkBLJSvQOig

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-06ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-l-vs2#.VkBLUivQOig
 

AnnaH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
1,226
Not an expert, so bumping this for you. You are already with a good vendor for the old cuts, but there are others if you don't find what you want.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
24,008
Its nice that Grace has such a large selection right now. With that being said, your list is rather large. I think you really need
to talk to Grace, tell her your specs and ask for the top three most firey stones in the bunch. That should help you narrow
it down some.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,258
I love nice, old cuts, but are you certain that your girlfriend is enthusiastic about them? Not everyone is (e.g., my niece dislikes the open culet, thinks those look like distracting "weird holes") -- or has even seen a good one so as to have some idea of whether they want one for themselves.
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Thank you for the advice. I know that I posted too many options, but I really didn't know how to narrow down the field. I was thinking that I wanted something in the 0.90-1.10 carat range and then just picked the ones that appeared to be the most interesting to my untrained eye. I really don't know what a "well cut" old diamond looks like compared to a poorly cut one. As I've looked at these more, I've sort of been focusing on this diamond:

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/94ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-f-vs2#.VkBJSCvQOih

My biggest concern is that as an f color diamond, it will be too bright and white. But I like that it appears to be fairly symmetrical and the pattern looks attractive. I mean I don't want a stone without any imperfections but I think lopsided or unevenly cut stones also look a bit off too. I've reached out to Grace to ask her her thoughts as well. What do you think? Anything that would scare you away?

As far as what my girlfriend will like, she showed my a couple rings that were either truly vintage or vintage in style so that's what I'm trying to go with and thought that an old cut ring would complement that well. Also, she doesn't wear much jewelry, definitely nothing with precious or semi-precious gems, so I honestly don't know that she has a firm opinion on older cuts vs. modern. I also know that she doesn't want something ostentatious so I think the fact that the old cut diamonds aren't as bright (is that right?) will actually appeal to her. Anyway, those are my thoughts. Maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew, but unfortunately this is something that most men are totally unprepared for.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
24,008
Just wanted to point out a few things in case you don't already know.

Old stones usually face up smaller for their weight bease of their depth. A regular round brilliant one carat faces up 6.4ish.

An F will be pretty white. They due tend to face up whiter/brighter (IMO) because of the bigger facets (if we'll cut).
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
tyty333 said:
Just wanted to point out a few things in case you don't already know.

Old stones usually face up smaller for their weight bease of their depth. A regular round brilliant one carat faces up 6.4ish.

An F will be pretty white. They due tend to face up whiter/brighter (IMO) because of the bigger facets (if we'll cut).

+1

Very beautiful stone that you have focused your attention on. It is considered rare due to its colorless grade and clarity, as already stated by Grace, and very symmetrical, which is also harder to find in a true OEC vs a newly cut one in the style of OEC. Also the culet is on the smaller end too, so not as noticeable when set.

Your girlfriend would definitely be impressed and blown away by this one since she doesn't wear much jewelry, if this ends up being the stone you pick. I love vintage and now have a modern round colorless and low colored OECs...I am definitely more drawn to the OECs. Since OECs do face up whiter, you could go lower in color and get a better spread that is equivalent to a modern 1 carat size, if that matters to you, as long as it is well cut. You are in great hands with Grace.

What setting are you planning to put the stone in? Some stones are not perfectly symmetrical as the one you mentioned, but is still visually round enough as well and should be considered based on performance and cut too.

OECs give off broader flashes vs smaller ones by MRB. Definitely two very different looks, regardless of color, if both perform well. Flowery look is usually seen in nice OECs while the heart and arrows are the look you want for MRB.
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Thanks again and for the advice. Unfortunately you sort of confirm part of my fear that this would be too white although who knows until I really see it. The ring design I'm going after is hopefully something like:

vintage_engagement_ring_side.jpg

vintage_inspired_engagement_ring.jpg

I'm working with a jeweler locally so it might not look exactly like this, but this is the general idea.

Another question I have is should I buy this diamond on my own, how do I discuss it with the jeweler I'm working with? One of the reasons I started looking online is that I wasn't totally thrilled with the diamond they showed me. It was very nice but it was $7,500 for a 1.17 carat diamond. I thought it looked too big and that was more than I really wanted to spend. It wasn't as white though which I think I liked. They had others which were too small or even more expensive. Is it insulting to say that I bought a diamond on my own? Do you think they'd still be willing to work on the ring if I'm not buying the stone from them? Thanks again for your help
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
That setting will be beautiful with an OEC! So white gold or platinum setting? Ask your local jeweler that you are working with, but they usually should not have any issues with setting a diamond that you buy elsewhere, but check their policies. I would not see it as insulting to ask. You are making very important financial decisions and need to understand your options. If you have to, Grace will probably be able to help with the setting if you end up buying the stone from her.

So you don't want a super white diamond? What are your concerns with having a too white diamond? Yes, you would be paying more for the super white colorless range. I would not look lower than a "K" for an OEC that is well cut and can still look white. If she is color sensitive and side tint matters too, then probably don't go below a "J".

What was the color of that $7500 diamond you saw at the jeweler? That should help you with the feel of OEC colors, or was it a MRB that you saw? Was it an ideal cut? If not, then it may not have helped quite as much since it would not have performed as well. Well cut will always perform better and appear larger to the eye.
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Not really sure on the choice of metal. I was leaning towards platinum. I don't really like the idea of needing to go back periodically to have the ring re-rhodium plated if I went with white gold. Any suggestions?

I don't really know what my concerns are, but I'm just afraid of it looking too bright (if that's the right word). And it just seems that a diamond that has a bit more color is more interesting. More than anything, I'd like to be able to just see something in this range in person and then compare. Maybe my fears are totally misguided.

I think that diamond I saw was a J, but I can't quite recall. It also was an SI1 but it looked fine to me.
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
Platinum is a great choice, but still depends on your setting budget. Platinum will be the most expensive and heavier feel compared to gold. You are correct that white gold would need to be re-rhodium plated if you want to keep up the white look. If not, them unplated white gold would be the way to go with no need to replate and will have a slight yellow hue. If you go the platinum head route with a gold shank that won't be seen from the top, that might work too if she is OK with two toned metals. Finer work can be done with platinum and gold requires slightly more metal to obtain the same details. Does she have any white gold alloy allergies?

A bit more color is personal preference. Is she very particular in her taste? If so, please find out and use that info during your search. Is your budget firm or flexible? Yes, try to see more OECs in the color range you are considering in person... that will probably help you feel more comfortable in your decisions. All will work out. Good luck on your search and I will continue to help where I can.
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
I forgot to mention that a super white well cut diamond will still pick up surrounding colors too...just like lower colored ones. It will appear very white otherwise.
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
Ok, I finally had time to go through the ones you listed and out of those, I prefer 1.10 ct J VVS2 and the 1.01 I VS1. The L is lovely as well, but definitely warm and shows a tint face up to me. I think you should also consider the 1.03 ct K VS1 that Grace has and here is the link.

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-03ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-k-vs1#.VkP2jXqrRdg

So those are my top three choices for you from what I see in your size range that Grace has to offer that is posted on her site.
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Thanks for your advice. I ended up speaking with Grace yesterday and she actually said that the 0.94 F diamond I was leaning towards was one of her favorites. And I didn't solicit that. So that made me feel good. She also recommended another diamond:

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-02ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-h-vs1#.VkS9FflViqI

I agree that it is really nice but I'm still drawn to the diamond I was originally focusing on. Also both this diamond and the 1.10 that you liked are a bit more than I really wanted to spend, but maybe I could stretch. By the way, speaking of pricing, do you you think these prices seem fair?
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
In my opinion, Grace's prices are reasonable and she offers a 5% discount for checks and bank wire. Not sure if you realized that or not. That H VS1 diamond does not speak to me. I go by appearance first and then check the report to have a better idea of the stone. What I love about OECs too is the smaller tables and chunky crowns and this one doesn't have it. To me that is a major part of the charm of them and the fire that they can exhibit.

What is your girlfriend's finger size? You should take that into account as well. Is that how you came to the conclusion of the carat range that you are going by?

Only stretch if you must. This purchase is very important, but please do not go broke or into debt over it. What is your timeline to get this done by?

Please tell what your wants are based on what you know now so I can better understand your comfort level in this process...list them for me.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
24,008
When you know for fairly sure that you want to buy from Grace perhaps you can get her to do a video of the F with a lower
colored stone that you like together so you can see can see the difference. I dont know how to explain it and I dont know
why it is but lower colors (say H on down to LMNOP) just seem to work beautifully together. I have an uncerted J OEC (which
probably means it's more like a K/L) that is just gorgeous. I adore all the color in it. From the top it faces up very bright with
a slightly off-white color. I also own a GIA graded D colored pear. For me, its just too white. If I could suggest any color for
you it might be more the middle of the road leaning towards a little color like an "I". Color is subjective though...
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Thanks for the suggestion. I might ask her to do that before I buy the 0.94 F, but when I was going back and forth with Grace she said she could have her jeweler make the setting too. I'm a little hesitant doing everything over the internet but she quoted me a price of $2,100 for that ring in platinum, while the local jeweler I'm working with is quoting me $4,200 plus $200 to set the stone. I don't mind paying a bit more but was pretty surprised that the prices would be so far apart. Has anyone worked with her actually making jewelry vs. just buying diamonds from her? Can anyone speak to her quality? Also, what are your thoughts on buying a ring over the internet like that. It makes me nervous but those savings are significant. Thanks.
 

_lovesvintage_

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
817
I agree with tyty333 to ask for a side by side video comparison once you narrow down your stone(s) to compare with the "F" one you like.

I would not have any qualms in working with Grace entirely. I had a complete ring made by working with her (bought the diamond from her, but used Erika Winters bridal line). I am not sure if it is the same jeweler though. I was very pleased with the entire service. Grace offers a free maintenance on rings now too, but check her policy for the finer details or just ask her. How the setting is made could be a factor in the price... cast vs hand forged. Ask both vendors the actual process of making the setting and that should help out. Hand forged will cost more than casting. Also B&M jewelers have more overhead cost to factor into their price.
 

arkieb1

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
9,717
Grace's bench do really nice work. So you should be fine if you use them. Either stone the F or the H are both lovely, depends if you want big fat arrows that go on and off or not. I think if people are not used to seeing and living with mid to lower colours of old cuts then a H and an F are fine, they still have the cut and scintillation pattern of an OEC. It really depends if she likes and can live with mid coloured stones or not, if she is coloured sensitive a high colour is a great option.
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Well, I actually had Grace send me the diamond. I probably should have had her do the comparison but I also wanted to just take a look at it in person, and unfortunately the weekends are really the only time I can do that. Cross my fingers that I like it. She also confirmed that Erika Winters is the jeweler she would use. I've obviously never heard of her, but I browsed the website and it looked nice. And it sounds like she is highly regarded around her. Grace said that she didn't think the design seemed overly intricate and that they could do a good job on it. Given the difference in price, it certainly is tempting. I guess I'll see how I like the diamond and what else my local jeweler can show me this weekend and then decide how to proceed. I don't think my girlfriend has a firm preference on color one way or the other. I just hope this looks nice. Thanks again for your continued input.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
24,008

Veltiesmom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
165
Grace is great! Just to add a suggestion, Adam at Old World Diamonds has fantastic prices and a great eye for stones. Plus I've found his customer service to be second to none.

You can't go wrong with either vendor. Good luck!
 

Novice29

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
8
Well the diamond from Grace arrived on Saturday but believe it or not, she sent the wrong stone. The sent the correct invoice and charged me for the write diamond, but she actually sent this one:

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/94ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-f-vs1#.Vkn5zflViqI

And this is the one she was supposed to send:

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/under-1-ct/94ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-f-vs2#.Vkn55flViqI

The good news is this is one of the diamonds on my original list and I suppose it was nice enough, but I don't know whether it was because it wasn't the diamond I was expecting or what, but I wasn't in love with it. And I think my feelings about it being too white were somewhat confirmed. But I was comparing it to an L and an M at the jeweler. Something in between those two ends of the spectrum seems like where I would like to come out. I haven't been able to reach Grace yet, but I'm thinking she should be willing to send the diamond I originally ordered free of charge. But with my knowledge now about an F colored OEC I'm wondering whether I should ask her to send another one instead. I'm thinking maybe I should ask her to send one or two of the following:

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-03ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-k-vs1#.Vkn6AflViqI
(this is the one lovesvintage pointed out)

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-02ct-oec-diamond-gia-j-vs2#.Vkn6K_lViqI

http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-01ct-old-european-cut-diamond-gia-i-vs1#.Vkn6DflViqI

I also brought up to my jeweler that I had gotten quotes for the work from Grace and from another local jeweler that were both in the $2,100-$2,200 range. My jeweler (Pave Fine Jewelry in Berkeley and Oakland by the way) said well we do everything by hand and you're going to end up with a much higher quality setting than if someone were to put this into a CAD program. I feel terrible about the idea of walking away after they have been helpful but it just seems like an awful lot more to spend. The only real advantage I can see is that I guess I'll have the opportunity to go see the wax model before it is cast so if there are any issues I can comment on it. Obviously every business has the right to charge whatever they want, and I always expected that I was paying a premium, but not this much of a premium. Buying an engagement ring doesn't feel like the type of purchase where I really should be haggling but I'm curious how much of that is common in this industry. Would it be fair for me to say something like:

"I want this ring, in platinum, with an OEC diamond VS2 or better, color G-K, and 0.95-1.05 carats for $8,500. And if we can't find a way to get that done here, I'll have to go somewhere else."

Or maybe put it a little gentler, but you get the drift. As always any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

apacherose

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 19, 2014
Messages
1,315
What a beautiful ring and project you have here. I love your taste, and how you are being drawn to the older cuts with that setting, and how you find the mid-colors more interesting. I hope you post the final result, as I am sure it will be incredible and I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Grace has a great eye and I trust her and her bench with custom projects. She and her bench have excellent attention to detail.

If I wanted a totally hand-forged ring and was paying the premium for it, I would likely choose Victor Canera, as being on this forum and seeing the rings he creates has made me truly admire and respect his work.

If I were you wanting the ring you posted I'd absolutely do one stop shopping with Grace and her bench, and put the savings from the ring to the diamond, looking for a gorgeous facet pattern, puffy crown, symmetrical, lovely OEC in the H-K range. Going bigger as you go lower in color is nice to do, since they lower colors do not reflect as much white light back and can be chameleons, reflecting all the environmental colors, etc. A beautiful facet pattern is definitely something you can appreciate and enjoy and interesting to look at in all kinds of lights. Be picky. Look at as many as you can as it will help you notice and be able to articulate the things that appeal to you.

Just browsing more superficially, I am absolutely in agreement with lovesvintage in loving the 1.10 J vvs2 as the front runner- a lovely OEC package, is the sweet spot for color in terms of what I (think) you are describing as ideal:http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/loose-diamonds/1-ct-to-2-00/1-10ct-old-european-cut-gia-j-vvs2#.VkoSJjZdHIV

And, yes, no matter who you go with, do inquire about any discounts or sales. If you are purchasing diamond and setting from the same vendor, I have seen more of a discount offered, which makes sense.

Best of luck!
 
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