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Lang Antique: Comments? Antique Settings: Market Value?

Discussion in 'Antique and Vintage Jewelry' started by OldAndMine, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 5, 2012
    Hi there. I am new around here but have been lurking for many years, and have now finally gather enough courage to pop my head in here and ask this question. I was not sure where to post this, so I have posted the same question in the latest thread I could find dated Oct 2011 discussing purchasing from Lang Antique, and here. I am a long time fan of anything antique and have fallen in love with the Old Mine Cut some years ago. I heard good things about Lang, so I have been looking through their stuff recently. I have also been reading some feedback about Lang in this forum and yelp. It seems from the comments, their service is very good, their product range and quality amazing, but their prices is on the high side. What I would like to hear more about is

    (1) whether their relatively higher prices are justified and whether their descriptions of their diamonds in particular are "generally" accurate, given that some stones can't be removed from their setting without taking too much of a risk and that examination of stones in their settings can not be done to the same level as those which can be removed.
    I looked through their website and reading about their staff members they seem to be very well staffed with qualified and experienced gemologist. I know that as with all antiques it can be hard to quantify "quality" and therefore "justified price". I suppose I am talking "on average".

    (2) I prefer stones with their original settings (or settings with their original stones), although I understand that "original" can also be hard to establish as there is no real way of telling if some stones have been moved around several settings many years ago. If there is in fact a way to establish this, do rings with original setting and stone command a premium price?

    (3) There seem to be an establish market value for Old Mine Cut of particular qualities and size. Is there a similar agreement in the market for antique platinum settings? That is, market value for good quality antique platinum setting with good craftsmanship and good condition, etc?

    Thanks in advance for your comments!
     
  2. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 5, 2012
    Hi again folks. Please do let me know if I have posted this in the wrong section. I really would appreciate any comments you may have. Thanks so much!
     
  3. kefira
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    by kefira » Jan 5, 2012
    Hi OldAndMine! This is my first post (I used to lurk here years ago, and I have recently renewed my obsession), and I'm certainly no expert, but I too love antiques and shopping at Lang. My husband and I bought my wedding band at Lang, and I agree that the service is very nice, not stuffy, and the shop is delightful. I do agree with other posters who have commented on the high prices, but the selection can't be beat, in this area, at least. When you find that one-of-a-kind piece that you just love, it's hard to say no, since it's not like you will find it at a lower price down the street. I think they may negotiate a bit on price, but only a teensy bit, maybe 5%? I did receive a holiday 10% off card from them, since I guess I'm on their mailing list. I think anyone can sign up for that on their site.

    The accuracy of the item descriptions is pretty close, I would say (again - not an expert). But generally the pictures are very good, and true to life. I looked at nearly every ring online, to choose what I wanted to see when I went in, and often the rings were even prettier in person.

    I don't think there is a particular premium placed on pieces deemed "original". I haven't noticed any comments in-store that would lead me to think that, anyway (I've never heard a piece described as extra special for being original, for example). Some pieces in the shop are refurbished, certainly, and I know that at least one vendor they buy from rhodium plates white gold and platinum pieces. Just a heads up in case that is something you want to avoid. I love the patina that my ring has, and was glad it hadn't been plated.

    I'm not sure about your last question, but I do know that at Lang, some pieces are marked delicate, or fragile (can't recall which it is). It's not a lot of them, and they have always been up front about that notation with me and others I have seen in the shop. I'm not sure if that designation results in a lower price tag. I do think that the more intricate pieces tend to cost more, and designer pieces have a markup, for sure. The stones with GIA reports also demand a premium, although I don't know if Lang sends for the grading themselves. The EGL stones don't seem to be regarded in the same way, although they let you know if there is a report. They usually do stick to the EGL grading for the description/pricing, though, so be aware of that issue.

    I hope I was able to help somewhat! I hope some others will chime in with their experience with Lang, or just with antique jewelry in general.
     
  4. backwardsandinheels
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    by backwardsandinheels » Jan 5, 2012
    I went to Lang's in September 2011 and loved it. Best, largest selection around. Suzanne is a seasoned pro and and as nice as can be to boot. I only bought a platinum chain to wear with a pave heart, but I could have spent a lot more time there dreaming. Tried to be nice to the DH and kept it to an hour. He learned a lot and luckily likes antiques so he could handle it without complaint :praise:

    They will plainly tell you which is antique and which is an antique/modern mix though their quality is so good it is hard to tell. I don't think you can go wrong with them.
     
  5. MyDiamondSparkles
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    by MyDiamondSparkles » Jan 5, 2012
    I don't have any experience with them as far as a purchase but I had been eyeing a ring on their web site for at least 3 weeks. It was the most beauuuuuutiful ring I ever saw and the price was way below anything I had seen on other web sites and I am talking about 50 percent less! Original platinum setting, original large diamond :love: it was glorious I tell you! It was Christmas time I was busy and when I got "unbusy" and went back to buy it the ring was sold. I know I will kick myself a hundred times over the one that got away. DRATS!

    So not all of their prices are high.I am not on the mailing list but I'm going straight over there to sign up. I think if I would have had an additional 10 percent off coupon in hand I would have surely made more time to make sure that ring was firmly planted on my hand and not someone else's...lol....sigh.....
     
  6. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 6, 2012
    Hi All. Thanks so much for your replies!

    Kefira, your comments are really really helpful. There is a lot of info there. Thank you!
    Backwardsandinheels, I am glad to hear that they will let you know if there is any modern element mixed in there. That is reassuring because I don't always ask, and I had a bad experience purchasing a piece of jewelry in an antique shop in Singapore where the seller conveniently neglected to mention that the item I was buying was not antique at all, because I did not ask.

    MyDiamondSparkels, I heard of Lang from a friend who recently bought a ring there. I wonder if the ring she bought is the ring you were looking at....?? Early deco / Edwardian platinum filigree 2.45 ct Old Mine cut....??

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  7. anne_h
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    by anne_h » Jan 7, 2012
    Hi,

    I've never purchased from them, but I do consider myself an avid antique jewelry lover (and buyer). I personally find their prices a little overinflated. Although I did read recently on another PS thread that they may be open to some negotiating.

    I have no idea if their gem quality descriptions are fairly accurate or not. I would guess yes-ish, but I have no actual idea.

    HTH,

    Anne
     
  8. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 7, 2012
    Hi Anne

    Thanks for your input.

    Looking at their Old Mine / Early European with lower colours (K L M N O or thereabouts) they seem to come to about $7000 per carat (please pardon my ignorance if there is in fact a large price difference between these colours), this is without counting the platinum settings of course, some are more intricate than others. And I read somewhere here that someone in PS had obtained a 2 ct (I think?) of similar descriptions for about $7000 (I think?), which was considered by most here to be fair (Please correct me if my numbers is not accurate. I can't seem to find that thread). Good quality platinum settings are around $3000? Let's say we are feeling generous and budget $5000 for the setting. That brings stone + setting to about $12,000. A 2 ct of similar descriptions at Lang Antique varied between $17,000-$20,000 or thereabouts. That is about $5000 premium.

    The post I saw about the $7000 2 ct Old Mine was what got me interested in what the prices of antique platinum settings are like, because it was hard to make the comparison to Lang's rings which are already set in platinum Deco or Edwardian.

    I suppose I am wondering if I should go for Lang if I see something I like there, or, if it might be better to look for an antique cut / antique stone, and then go to LM or SS to custom design a platinum setting for it (ditch the antique look for for a modern polished one or arrange an antique repro), or, hunt for an original antique platinum setting.

    I do realize that by paying a premium with Lang we obtain not only a ring but also:

    (1) one stop shop: hassle free, less time consuming
    (2) reputation: service and peace of mind
    (3) historical significance: assuming the stones are "original" to the settings (thus my initial question above)

    and even when "originality" of setting to stone can't really be established and do not really command a premium (as commented above), and even if someone from Lang is sitting somewhere doing nothing but matching antique stones with antique settings, or any other forms of putting together a ring for us, i.e. adding value, we can consider ourselves to be paying a premium for this added value and (see point 1).

    The question is I suppose, are the above worth $5000(ish)? Theoretically, we could easily go to OWD and SS and still have a reasonably swift process in obtaining a beautiful ring with the charm of the old world.

    And then of course there is that other aspect which Kefira have already mentioned: LOVE (lust?). If we found something we like at Lang, is it worth paying the extra $5000 or so to get exactly what we want, or, can we consider that this premium is too high, so much so that it might be more reasonable for the average person (and I stress "average" here) to spend some time hunting for an old stone, and work towards setting it so that it is as close as it is humanly possible to what we really want?

    Anne and Kefira, as avid antique jewelry collectors and lovers, perhaps you can share your thoughts on the above?

    And if others have any thoughts about any of this I would be more than happy to hear about them.

    Thanks so much for your time.....!
     
  9. anne_h
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    by anne_h » Jan 7, 2012
    Hi OldandMine,

    Having been through an antique stone 'dream ring' search recently myself (last year), here are my thoughts:

    - Look at both loose antique stones, and intact antique/estate rings. Either could lead to what you want.
    - For antique cuts, as far as trusted PS vendors go, I'd recommend you contact JbEG, OWD, SingleStone. In my experience, JbEG is priced the best. But may not have as much selection. I note you're interested in old mine cuts. In my experience, there are not as many of these kicking around as OEC. But not to deter you! :)
    - Not active on PS (AFAIK), but I do have some experience also with Dover Jewelry, Mel's Antique Jewelry and New York Estate Jewelry. For Dover eBay auctions, you can get really good deals; but I believe they now have a no-returns policy. They do maintain a regular website though. Some people feel Mel's Antique Jewelry is overpriced; I find it's not so bad (I've also called directly and negotiated prices by phone). She has a good selection. Note that some are "antique style" which means reproduction. I've shopped with New York Estate Jewelry several times; David seems very experienced in the industry and I find him pleasant to work with. *And* they have a HUGE selection (of intact pieces). Whatever the vendor, be sure about return policy in advance. There's also Antique Engagement Rings, pricing is pretty reasonable, but inventory is somewhat limited and slow-moving. Oh yeah, there's also Wanna Buy a Watch, never worked with them, but they do have a selection of antique rings on their website.
    - You asked about pricing for a platinum setting. Yes, 3k is probably a reasonable 'general' guideline, but it really depends on presence/size/type of side-stones.

    BTW, if you find a stone or piece that you fall in love with, and it's priced a little higher than what you feel is fair, it's still probably worth the purchase. Yes, try negotiating down, but if I looooved it, I'd eat a little extra cost. I've missed out on a few special pieces over the years which I still kick myself about. Making a 'great bargain' can't replace secretly pining for the one that got away. Also, having done my own search on the order of months, I would definitely say there's a value to the peace of mind and time-saving of paying a little premium of finding something you love versus hunting forever for the 'best deal'.

    Hopefully others will see this and chime in with further suggestions. I'll post again if I think of anything else.

    Good luck and welcome to the antique-lovers club!!

    Anne
     
  10. anne_h
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    by anne_h » Jan 7, 2012
    Ah, one more thing... a lot of antique vendors seem to favor EGL certification, so keep in mind that the same stones if graded by GIA would probably come out 1-2 color & clarity grades lower. Also, some vendors have no certs.

    So again, return policy will be a consideration, just in case. But if you love, love, love something, just go for it!

    Anne
     
  11. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 8, 2012
    Hi Anne
    Thanks so much again for your comments, I found them very helpful.
    I do tend to have a very strong gut reaction to the "right" item. It is almost as if they found me as much as I found them. And they do usually cost a little bit more. I always tell myself that the extra bit of money is to buy the "right-ness". Having said that, I always try not to be too emotional about making my decisions, although it is hard with jewelry. Like anything, I found that there is a point where the enjoyment bought with price one pays above and beyond what one feels is fair, reached a plateau, no matter how much we want something initially, after which it starts to dip and effect every enjoyment we are suppose to be paying for. And at that point, it defeats the purpose really. I suppose this breaking point differs with different people?
    I will check those vendors out. But chances are, if I see something I love at Lang, I probably will find it hard to want anything else! Unless, my premium tolerance reached breaking point.
    It seems like there are mixed reviews about Lang's prices, and the accuracy of their stone descriptions. Again, I can't remember the dates of the comments, and I do realize that there had been changes of owners at Lang.
    Will bear in mind the possibility of 2 grades lower in colour descriptions because of EGL.
    Now, if I can just decide what my premium breaking point is, before anything attractive become utterly not so....
    Thanks again ever so much Anne!
     
  12. canuk-gal
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    by canuk-gal » Jan 9, 2012

    What she said! I have been oogling pieces on Mels for years (some are still there!) and have always felt their prices, like Lang's were above other dealers. I nearly bought a ring from "Wanna Buy a Watch", it was well priced, but ended up buying local instead.

    First Dibs has an enormous network of dealers who post there. You'll need weeks to go through it all. Oh and don't miss Fourtane. Unreal eye candy. Highly priced, but desirable pieces. ETA: Oakgem has antique pieces as well--nicely priced.

    cheers--Sharon
     
  13. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 9, 2012
    Thanks Sharon!

    I will check them out.
    So far, I keep going back to Lang! Mel's has other jewelry that caught my eyes, but none of her diamond antique rings. As with the others.

    Speaking of Old Cut Stones, what do you guys think of LM's old cushions? I saw one shown in PS and wow those chunks..... I am already thinking about a second ring haha. One antique and maybe one antique-ish from LM. Ambitious I know :P

    But seriously :)) if one were to have a modern sleek setting ala LM, and I heard if LM you might be persuaded to get the stone from him as well, and their antique cushions do not look too shabby. I know I am going into a different territory now, "antique style cut", and will have to explore August Vintage from GOG as well. And I have :P But there is something about the face of August Vintage which I found too close to modern cushion, which I found a bit too similar to round brilliant, I can't explain it, come to these things I rely heavily on my eyes, and all I can say is that I am looking for stones which remind me of cotton budding from their stems ready for picking. Does that make sense? :))

    Thank you all very much for sparing your time and commenting :wavey:
     
  14. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jan 10, 2012
    correct me if i'm wrong but isn't EGL the preference for these older cut diamonds?
     
  15. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 10, 2012
    Hi Movie Zombie. That is what I heard too. Perhaps their system of grading lend itself better to aspects of old cuts?

    Here is a good tidbit about colour grading for diamonds:

    http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/crying-game.htm

    (I probably should post this in the rockytalky sub-forum as well)

    Speaking again of premiums for antiques, might we not as well go to places like Fred Leighton for an antique ring if we are willing to pay about $5000 premium from Lang? I am not sure why I think Fred Leighton is a better place. I am just more familiar with FL's name before I even got to know about Lang, even though this is my first time hunting for an antique ring. I also saw in passing a comment about the price someone paid for something which she felt was better crafted and at a lower price at FL. Having said that, I do realize that come to antique and vintage pieces, although places like Lang and FL can be relied upon as some form of centre for quality control, the finding of individual pieces that is "yours" really depends on "luck". Which is part of the fun of it I guess :mrgreen:
     
  16. anne_h
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    by anne_h » Jan 10, 2012
    I'm not an expert, but I seem to have the impression some vendors prefer using EGL as they tend to be a little more generous than GIA in grading color and clarity. Which of course is advantageous for stone pricing. ;) It's possible that EGL's grading fees are lower too, I'm not sure.

    If anyone else knows better, please share!

    Anne
     
  17. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 10, 2012
    I just recall that I think Lang Antique grades their diamond according the GIA standard (not to say they necessarily have GIA certification, I think), although some of their antique stones which are certified seem to almost always have EGL certification, and not GIA.

    So, old stones tend to use EGL because it can get them better gradings and therefore better prices?
     
  18. kefira
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    by kefira » Jan 11, 2012
    I had figured that EGL is often used so that the piece doesn't have to be disassembled/reassembled. But convenience and price may play their parts as well. I have never personally sent something to be graded, so I don't know if that theory holds. The more generous grading is possibly just a side benefit, or it could be being used strategically.

    I recently purchased a diamond that I would call a European cut, but was graded by GIA as a round brilliant. This resulted in a good/good/good grade, which doesn't look very desirable to a buyer from a straight numbers game. EGL seems to more freely use the OEC and transitional labels, so maybe it is better from a marketing standpoint?

    I am an enthusiast, but not a very experienced buyer. This topic is very helpful!
     
  19. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 11, 2012
    Ah. So using GIA to grade old cuts is like using a ruler to measure circumference? I tried to find out more about the difference in their system of grading but I don't have the patience :mrgreen: Just by reading through this forum so far, this is what I gather: that GIA effectively "punishes" old cuts by not having the category appropriate for grading old cuts, as their grading framework is based on the properties of a modern cut. EGL's grading framework allows it to take into consideration the properties of older cuts (which many of us who are fans of them consider aesthetic rather than imperfections or flaws) without "punishing" it's assessment of quality of cut. Yes? As such, it is understandable that EGL appear more "lenient". For example, in terms of cut, hand cut old stones will never reach the symmetry of machine cut stones, therefore, we can say that GIA is more stringent, yet at the same time, we can say that this stringency is not entirely appropriate in the context of hand cut stones. Yes? :twirl:
     
  20. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Jan 12, 2012
    OK, so

    - Lang: good.
    - Premium price: necessary, sometimes, if it is emotionally the right item and the right time.
    - EGL: common with antique and old stones, not sure why, but so it is, consider 2 to 3 grades down in GIA equivalent.

    - Most older stones, especially OMC, are warmer, that is "lower" colours, that is K L M N O P etc because the whiter ones have usually been re-cut to make more money

    MORE QUESTIONS

    - GIA only grade loose stone and dismounting a stone is not always possible with old rings because of the risk of damage, so with some items we are stuck with EGL?
    - Chances are better to getting whiter stones with OEC?
    - Any chips and cracks to old stones will appear in their clarity grading, so with anything VS and higher we can assume that there is no chips and cracks?
     
  21. OldAndMine
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  22. OldAndMine
    Rough_Rock

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    by OldAndMine » Jan 14, 2012
    I saw something at Lang's :P
    Thanks everyone for your comments and assistance! :wavey:
     
  23. canuk-gal
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    by canuk-gal » Jan 15, 2012

    OK SPILL! :mrgreen:

    cheers--Sharon
     
  24. star sparkle
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    by star sparkle » Jan 19, 2012
    OldAndMine- I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to say that my future engagement ring was recently (October) purchased at Lang's. I had gone in there just to have a look around, not intending to actually find "my" ring, but to get a better idea as to whether or not I actually wanted an antique cut stone.

    Well, from the moment I put this particular ring on, I knew it had to be mine. And better yet, it was incredibly inexpensive (by Lang standards), and over 50% below my e-ring budget! I was SHOCKED after I put it on and saw the little tag saying that the stone was only .65ct because it looked HUGE on me. They told me it was K VS1 and only certed in-house, not by EGL or GIA or anyone, but it truly sang to me and that lack of independent cert didn't bother me.

    The setting was so sweet and amazing, however the shank was a little worse for the wear. The stones were all set in platinum prongs, and the remainder of the shank was yellow gold. The bottom of the shank was extremely thin, so I opted not to have Lang's perform their complimentary first sizing with purchase because I knew I'd want to have the shank taken care of before wearing the ring. I took it to Joe Escobar Diamonds to be inspected and have the shank taken care of, as they are my go-to for jewelry repairs and probably have the most knowledgeable staff of any B&M I've ever been to. Ultimately they ended up reshanking the ring in platinum, and it's even more amazing than when we got it. My guy at Joe Escobar also commented that it's an extremely well-cut OEC and that it's more I-J color.

    Now, I realize that I probably could have gotten a larger stone for the same price elsewhere, and I've seen some stunners here on PS and on jbEG, SS, etc. However, I'm still absolutely convinced that none of them would make my heart sing as much as this one does. So even if there's a premium, as long as it speaks to you then you really can't go wrong.

    Best of luck!
     
  25. Rhea
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    by Rhea » Jan 19, 2012
    I recently took what I believe to be a OMC to a GIA GG to have appraised. It's now marked on the paper as a "round brilliant of fair cutting". I got it appraised because prices were increasing and I could no longer afford to replace it out of pocket if it should be lost or damaged. I also wanted the type of cut noted on the document so that if my insurer attempted to replace it with a like diamond I could argue for another OMC. That's not how it turned out though.

    EGL seems to note on their documents if the stone is OEC or OMC, a huge help later for replacing the stone if necessary.
     
  26. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jan 19, 2012

    that is indeed a stone to compare all others to!
     
  27. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Feb 3, 2012
    Sorry for the delay peeps. I had been away.

    :mrgreen:

    I can't seem to take a pic of the ring which shows how the stone really looks in real life! It is hard! Will post as soon as I can get the right shot. How does everyone do it.....??
     
  28. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Feb 3, 2012
    Hi SS, you are absolutely right!

    I guess this is the thing with antique shopping. I had been trying to share this with some people who mainly buy modern round brilliants with liquidity and therefore market price, certification and other standardizations in mind, and I realized that buying antique diamonds is a whole other ball game.

    There is something about this particular ring. It is almost like going to adopt a puppy, they say they pick you and not the other way around. It was a little like that! As if the ring was picking me! Something I never experienced in buying a modern diamond ring, not even a Tiffany or a Cartier!

    I must say a REPUTABLE seller is the absolute MUST.

    And given that, I agree with you wholeheartedly!
    I feel much better now :mrgreen:
     
  29. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Feb 3, 2012
    This is good to know Addy.
    Is it expensive to get them certified? I am wondering how much it will cost to get GIA and EGL both. And can it be done without removing the stone from its mounting? I really do not want to have to dismount the stone....

    I recently lost an diamond ring so I am anxious to get this insured, but I know for that you need an independent appraisal done for this, which is not the same as certifying it, yes?
     
  30. OldAndMine
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    by OldAndMine » Feb 3, 2012
    I *think* I have something really close to this.... :twirl: BUT I am not experienced with old cuts and have been wondering nervously what people means when they say "crushed ice", because I want to make sure my OMC does not have this look, which I don't think it has.... From what I can see from various posts, this term refers to the sharp pin like burst and glitter...? While what most people are looking for in a cushion or OMC is bold flashes all over the stone, a little like a disco ball?

    I am still unsure. Not only this is my first old cut this is also my first non-round. So I really have nothing to compare this to in real life. Except that if I trust my eyes, these flashes which I have do not look like pins to me..... But as far as "crushed ice" look is concerned.... crushed ice can have bold flashes too....???
     

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