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Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 weeks

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
So I just bought an engagement ring from a brick-and-mortar jeweler that needs a 0.5ct princess-cut diamond in the center. Because of the halo, the stone needs to be very close to square. The woman I bought the ring from wants to sell me this one:

Weight: 0.51ct
Clarity: SI2
Color: I
Dimensions: 4.62x4.65x3.08
Depth: 66.7
Table: 77.4
Crown Height: 5.8
Pavil Depth: 58.9
Girdle: 2.1
Price: $985

A few things I'd like help with:

1) Is it decently priced?

2) Is it as much of a convenience as she claims to have the ring and diamond warrantied by the same store? Is it important to have the diamond warrantied at all (it would cost about $100 extra)? How commonly do they tend to chip/crack/get lost?

3) I'd be okay with spending a few hundred more (not more than $1300) if it got me something significantly better. I want to propose during the first weekend in August, so I'd need to find it in the next couple weeks to get it set in time. Should I be looking locally (Minneapolis, MN) or online, or both? Online certainly has the best selection, but since I don't have enough time to be shipping things back, I'd be committing to a stone before seeing it in person. Should I be worried about that? Are there certain online sellers I should be gravitating toward/avoiding?

4) I don't really know what to look for when it comes to the various cut measurements, and the various online resources I've read seem to have conflicting information about what makes a great princess cut.

Thanks to everyone in advance for your infinite diamond wisdom.
 

nfowife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
544

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

nfowife|1310583640|2968225 said:
You really need to find the stone FIRST before the setting....makes things much easier.
I admit I'm pretty clueless about the process, and I probably should have done a bit more research before I went ahead and ordered it. Either way, it's mine now, so I guess I have to do it the hard way and fit a stone to the setting. At least it looks good.

I mentioned to the saleswoman that I was planning on looking at other diamonds, and she said the ideal width for the setting is 4.50mm, and to try to stay between 4.45 and 4.65. So that narrows it down a bit.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
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9,667
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

is it possible to return the setting?
 

jaebond

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
208
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

I would say that you actually have, well not plenty of time, but definitely enough time to ship some stones, although that could take a chunk out of your budget. I bought my diamond a few weeks ago and I decided that I was going to buy on Sunday and had 5 stones shipped in and decided on one by Friday. But like I said, it will cost you some money.

As for your stone, I would say that the table is too large (and consequently, the crown is too small).
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

I would be comfortable buying online with images/ASET images especially since shipping would take a large chunk of your budget.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,232
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

1) Is it decently priced?

Hard to tell...which lab graded the stone? That has a huge effect on price. Have a look at stones of similar color and clarity at Blue Nile or James Allen to compare for yourself.

2) Is it as much of a convenience as she claims to have the ring and diamond warrantied by the same store? Is it important to have the diamond warrantied at all (it would cost about $100 extra)? How commonly do they tend to chip/crack/get lost?

Princess cuts are prone to chipping at the corners. As for loss, it depends on your fiancee. I'd insure it with a company like Jewelers Mutual rather than getting the warranty though. It covers "mysterious disappearance," loss, damage, etc., for a full replacement of the ring through a jeweler of your choice (not just the stone).

3) I'd be okay with spending a few hundred more (not more than $1300) if it got me something significantly better. I want to propose during the first weekend in August, so I'd need to find it in the next couple weeks to get it set in time. Should I be looking locally (Minneapolis, MN) or online, or both? Online certainly has the best selection, but since I don't have enough time to be shipping things back, I'd be committing to a stone before seeing it in person. Should I be worried about that? Are there certain online sellers I should be gravitating toward/avoiding?

We know nothing about the cut quality of the stone you're looking at. I personally would not buy a princess without seeing an ASET image (unless it's an AGS ideal). All of the diamonds suggested so far have potential. The Whiteflash one is the safest bet since it's been hand-picked by experts and has an ASET, Sarin, etc. It's a branded ideal cut, so you're going to pay a slight premium for the brand name, but WF's premium is less than a lot of major brands (Jared Peerless, Hearts On Fire, etc.). For the James Allen stones, you'd have to ask JA to take an ASET photo (they can take up to 3 for you). Ironically, I think you have MORE information buying online from one of these vendors than if you buy from a local place that doesn't supply ASET images and may not be familiar with AGS labs. I bought my princess online from Whiteflash and would not hesitate to do it over again.

Vendors that sell AGS0 princesses and/or provide ASET images include:
whiteflash.com
briangavindiamonds.com
goodoldgold.com
idjewelry.com
exceldiamonds.com
highperformancediamonds.com

Blue Nile gets an occasional AGS0 but will not provide ASETs since they're a drop-shipper. They have some nice diamonds, but I'd probably go with another vendor for anything except a round brilliant.


4) I don't really know what to look for when it comes to the various cut measurements, and the various online resources I've read seem to have conflicting information about what makes a great princess cut.

You can't judge a princess cut's quality by numbers alone. They need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. You need to see detailed photos and an ASET image if you're buying online, and/or buy an AGS ideal cut princess since AGS is the only lab that grades princess cut quality. The WF stone is one.
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

jstarfireb|1310621230|2968578 said:
1) Is it decently priced?
You can't judge a princess cut's quality by numbers alone. They need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. You need to see detailed photos and an ASET image if you're buying online, and/or buy an AGS ideal cut princess since AGS is the only lab that grades princess cut quality. The WF stone is one.
So if the cut is AGS0 and the clarity is sufficiently high, can I feel safe buying without detailed images? What about this one for example:
http://www.bluenile.com/princess-diamond-1-carat-or-less-good-cut-i-color-vvs2-clarity_LD01929178
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
14,069
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

The BN stone looks promising.
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

Stone-cold11|1310752692|2969781 said:
The BN stone looks promising.
I'm a bit confused about the cut quality. The certification says it's an AGS0, but Blue Nile rates its cut as "Good." Do they do a separate appraisal using different criteria than the AGS? Is their opinion worth anything, or should I just ignore it and go with what the AGS report says?
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
9,667
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

fefairman|1310762610|2969917 said:
Stone-cold11|1310752692|2969781 said:
The BN stone looks promising.
I'm a bit confused about the cut quality. The certification says it's an AGS0, but Blue Nile rates its cut as "Good." Do they do a separate appraisal using different criteria than the AGS? Is their opinion worth anything, or should I just ignore it and go with what the AGS report says?
ignore the vendor cut labels.
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

slg47|1310763263|2969919 said:
fefairman|1310762610|2969917 said:
I'm a bit confused about the cut quality. The certification says it's an AGS0, but Blue Nile rates its cut as "Good." Do they do a separate appraisal using different criteria than the AGS? Is their opinion worth anything, or should I just ignore it and go with what the AGS report says?
ignore the vendor cut labels.
That's what I figured. Since all the other AGS0 stones I can find either have significantly lower clarity or cost significantly more, I'll probably buy this one in the next couple days unless someone gives me a reason not to.
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
14,069
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

Best put it on hold or it will be most likely be sold while you are pondering over the next few days.
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

Stone-cold11|1310765322|2969939 said:
Best put it on hold or it will be most likely be sold while you are pondering over the next few days.
Thanks, I just did after reading that. I'll probably order it tomorrow, after I double-check with the jeweler to make sure it'll be a good fit for the setting.

Speaking of which, they said there would be a $100 mounting fee added since I'm not using their diamond, which seems high. Could I save a bit by getting it mounted elsewhere? Is mounting one of those things that any jeweler can do adequately well, or would I need to be careful where I bring it?
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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14,069
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

For princess, I would prefer the stone be mounted by the seller. Princess are easier to chip at the tip and most jeweler will not cover for that event if the stone is not sold by them.

BN do not have a setting that you like?
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
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9,667
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

Stone-cold11|1310770388|2970008 said:
For princess, I would prefer the stone be mounted by the seller. Princess are easier to chip at the tip and most jeweler will not cover for that event if the stone is not sold by them.

BN do not have a setting that you like?
the OP has already purchased the setting.

$100 mounting fee seems on par with what other vendors charge.
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
14,069
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

OIC, lost track.

I think jeweler's mutual does insurance for loose stone during mounting, check with them.
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
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Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

slg47|1310770676|2970012 said:
$100 mounting fee seems on par with what other vendors charge.
Fair enough. It'll be more convenient anyway.


Stone-cold11|1310770388|2970008 said:
For princess, I would prefer the stone be mounted by the seller. Princess are easier to chip at the tip and most jeweler will not cover for that event if the stone is not sold by them.
It does worry me a little, although she's the type of girl to wear the engagement ring full-time until the wedding, and then wear it only occasionally afterward. So it's not like it needs to withstand a lifetime of constant use.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

fefairman|1310771494|2970029 said:
slg47|1310770676|2970012 said:
$100 mounting fee seems on par with what other vendors charge.
Fair enough. It'll be more convenient anyway.


Stone-cold11|1310770388|2970008 said:
For princess, I would prefer the stone be mounted by the seller. Princess are easier to chip at the tip and most jeweler will not cover for that event if the stone is not sold by them.
It does worry me a little, although she's the type of girl to wear the engagement ring full-time until the wedding, and then wear it only occasionally afterward. So it's not like it needs to withstand a lifetime of constant use.
I believe stone-cold was referring to damaging the stone during the setting process. you can get insurance during the setting process through jeweler's mutual
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,232
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

fefairman|1310752207|2969776 said:
jstarfireb|1310621230|2968578 said:
1) Is it decently priced?
You can't judge a princess cut's quality by numbers alone. They need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. You need to see detailed photos and an ASET image if you're buying online, and/or buy an AGS ideal cut princess since AGS is the only lab that grades princess cut quality. The WF stone is one.
So if the cut is AGS0 and the clarity is sufficiently high, can I feel safe buying without detailed images? What about this one for example:
http://www.bluenile.com/princess-diamond-1-carat-or-less-good-cut-i-color-vvs2-clarity_LD01929178
Sorry I missed this earlier. My answer is both yes and no. Yes, any AGS0 stone will outshine 99% of princesses on the market. However, there's still a lot of variation in faceting patterns within the AGS0 category, and some AGS0 stones are better than others, so I personally would not buy one without at least a photo. But BN has a good return policy, so if you don't like it, you can return it. By the way, the new AGS reports now come with an ASET - this is an older report. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something you should be aware of.

As for eye-cleanness, you're probably safe with VS2 and above, but there's nothing wrong with VVS2. My princess is an I/VVS2 as well. It's an unusual combination around here as most people go for higher color and lower clarity, but I'm a lot more sensitive to inclusions than color.

And yes, the vendor's description of the cut as "good" is based solely on numbers, which don't mean much for princesses as you know. AGS's cut grade is based on actual observation of light performance. So throw out vendor grades and look at the AGS grade, which is more informative.
 

farmer gal

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
1,063
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

When you have completed the ring you will want to get an appraisal and get the ring insured for ex. www.jewelersmutual.com
This will protect you if the stone ever chips, falls out, gets lost etc. It is a premium every year but it's worth it if something ever happens :twirl:
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
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Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

I ordered the stone from Blue Nile, it should be here by Wednesday. Hopefully it'll be what I'm expecting so I don't have to return it. For the record, here's what I got:

Price: $1,134
Carat weight: 0.52
Color: I
Clarity: VVS2
Cut grade: AGS0
Depth %: 75.7%
Table %: 58.4%
Polish: Ideal
Symmetry: Ideal
Girdle: Slightly Thick to Thick
Fluorescence: None
Measurements: 4.42 x 4.41 x 3.34 mm
 

fefairman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
9
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

So I got the stone in the mail and it looks great. What are the normal steps for appraisal? Should I get it appraised before it's set, or after?
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
14,069
Re: Layman needs help buying a 0.5ct princess stone in 2 wee

Should be fine if you appraised it after it is set. Usually you appraised it loose if you have any doubt about the authenticity of the stone, color, clarity, etc.. or it's condition.

The appraiser can easily much the stone's inclusion with the grading report after it is set to verify if it is the same stone, but accurate grading of color and clarity will require to stone to be unset.
 
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