by Lykame » Apr 26, 2019 I want to start this post with gratitude, so much gratitude. I'm not even in possession of my ring yet, because I'm going to pick it up next Wednesday, but I've been sent a video from the workshop and I'm desperate to share it. I also have lots to say about my journey up until now, for anyone who wants to read about it, or you can just skip this bit and admire some of the pictures, and the video at the bottom of this post if you like. When I get the ring, I'll try to do some vaguely decent photos, but my photography skills are somewhat lacking. But I'll try! I've done a few posts in the past, talking about my journey of getting my Crafted By Infinity (CBI) Diamond. This one spoke about everyone I contacted in my original search. They were all awesome, especially Melissa (@Winks_Elf) and Wink (@Wink) at HPD, and also David at Good Old Gold. I spoke about the difficulties of selling my original ring, and how frustrating most of the jewellers down Hatton Garden were (never again) - barring the one that kindly ended up buying my previous ring from me. I spoke about being supported to find @Durham Rose, a London based jeweller that supplies CBI diamonds (one of only two places in the UK, as far as I'm aware). This one talks more about me realising I could actually aim for a CBI (I had thought this option was only a thing of my dreams), specifically hunting through various CBI diamonds (and seeing two in person) and finally choosing the diamond I ended up buying. My main two contacts at @Durham Rose were Faye, whom I am going to sing the praises of for all of this post, and Manu, the owner - he kindly spent so much time with me, showing me diamonds, talking diamonds (such fun!), ASET scopes (so pretty!) and never patronising me. I'm sure he was also doing so much behind the scenes - in fact, I'm sure there were lots of other people behind the scenes who were being totally awesome! I am so grateful to both Faye and Manu, and never, not once, ever felt any pressure from either of them. The CBI diamond I ended up choosing: 2.075 carats J VS2 8.19 x 8.21 x 5.06 mm Table 55.2 Crown 34.4 Pavilion 40.7 LGFs 76 I bought it without seeing it, such was my faith in CBI, and it was then shipped into Durham Rose for me to see to finalise the decision. This was at the beginning of November last year. Wow, so long ago now. My rushed pictures did not do it justice at all, but here are a couple: Jeez my hands look awful, sorry. Also! Durham Rose does not have the best internal lighting set up, which I know they are working to resolve. It's funny really, because I know most jewellery shops have very specific lighting that hides lots of flaws in their stock. This annoys me so much, and it's nice that this isn't the case with Durham Rose at all. Equally, I do worry that customers who don't quite understand the science behind CBI diamonds might not quite get the full 'blown away' factor that they will otherwise be 'used to'. I know the team does a great job at educating their clients, but as @Wink advertises, seeing is believing. CBI diamonds perform so amazingly in so many different lighting conditions, so I'm really glad Durham Rose is taking steps to allow the diamonds to be shown off - not only in 'normal' or even 'bad' lighting (important) - but also in lighting that does knock your socks off. I feel sure that will provide customers with the best range of lighting and really help show the range at which these diamonds perform, because they are incredible. Having said all of that, I did find it useful that I knew the lighting wasn't ideal on the cloudy day I went to see my stone. I knew that the level of tint I was seeing in the stone was a realistic representation of the tint I might see in that type of lighting, etc etc. Oh man oh man, I saw this diamond - my diamond! - laid out on a cloth ready for me, and it was so huge. Huge! Okay, when I tried it on, it was in a very tall ring holder, which made it look bigger, but even so, it was huge. I was a bit nervous it was a bit big, especially in terms of socially. But it was gorgeous. I knew I had made the correct decision to go for the 2 carats. As I've said before, I am very very colour sensitive, and previously would have said I was colour intolerant. However, although I could definitely see the colour in this stone, quite easily really, I wasn't bothered by it because the stone was soooo pretty. I recognised there was a balance - I could have a slightly smaller I colour, or an even smaller H colour (around 1.8 carats), or a 1.25 F colour... but none of those would have been correct for me. This was especially as I wanted to custom design a very long-term setting, and I felt overall I was better going as large as I would ever go, and then if I wished to at some point, I could upgrade in colour rather than size. Also, I felt it would be easier to upgrade around the 2 carat mark rather than to try and upgrade in the more rare range of 1.85-ish carats. Those are much more few and far between. I know some awesome people on this forum are doing it the other way, getting to the colour that works for them first and then upgrading in size, and that's also perfectly great. I videoed the diamond and then obsessively watched the videos over and over again. It was a tiny bit annoying as my phone case was black and diamonds are mirrors - but even so, it sufficed to get me through waiting. The setting journey: Originally when I had gone to @Durham Rose, I had randomly messaged them the day before I was going into London, and it just so happened that Faye was going to be there the next day and she was happy to meet with me (this was in about August of last year, before I had sold my previous ring). I knew about Faye from Melissa. I just randomly showed up and I spent a long time with her. There were no CBI diamonds in the shop at that time, but she gave me so much of her time, which made a really big impression on me. I was so anxious about custom designing a ring. It had gone so badly wrong for me the first time, but Faye is just a beautiful human being. She was so patient, and I felt I could really communicate with her. Have you ever been to a hairdressing appointment, hated the haircut, but told them you love it because that's easier than saying you hate it and therefore creating a fuss? You leave feeling angry, dissatisfied, and in need of a new hairdresser. I am a people pleaser, but that makes doing things like custom-design quite difficult for me because I have to work hard to find my voice. That was what was so special about Faye to me, honestly - I was totally able to have a voice with her. Her patience was infinite. And you know, I didn't completely know what I wanted. I had seen lots of rings I didn't want, but I wasn't 100% sure what I did want, and I know that that's a dangerous place to be when you're going into a custom design process. I wrote Faye MANY emails. Many. I'm scared to look at how many. I created a word document with many many pictures of rings that I especially liked or especially didn't like, and explained why. We did video conferencing so she could go through that information with me, without me having to trek into London for it. And she totally understood me. It was honestly delightful. Although I worried I was a nuisance, she never made me feel like a nuisance, and she always seemed to understand me. Some CADs were generated. I asked for advice here about things like the prongs for the pavé that I wanted (thanks @JrJ!) and moved towards approving a setting. Somehow I'm not sure the setting by the CAD stage was actually quite what I might have been thinking of originally, even though I didn't know exactly what I was thinking of, but still it was awesome and perfect. I paid for a wax... ... and approved the ring at the end of November. It was going to be ready just before Christmas! The pavé diamonds were going to be 1.8mm diamonds (which I had chosen as ideal cut H coloured melee, the easiest decision of all!) and the shank was going to be 2mm wide. Then I showed the wax to my mum, and she questioned the shank and how thin she thought it was. I was a bit miffed, to be honest - I thought it was perfect. But my mum's approval is really important to me, so she made me question myself. Added to that, but Faye then asked me about pilot holes, which I really wanted - I then freaked out a little that they may not be possible in the ring without me worrying about the structural integrity of the shank. Cue another very useful thread and excellent advice. I put the ring on hold. I paid for a second wax with 2mm pavé stones and a 2.2mm shank. I felt like Goldilocks. The difference in the shank was so obvious to me. I realised that the original ring I had been going to approve was too thin (especially as, as you'll see below, it would have ended up slightly thinner still), but the new wax was too wide. What! It took a lot of getting my head around, but what I eventually sussed out with the support of Faye, is that the waxes are a little bit bulkier than the finished ring. I knew this, but knowing and visualising are two different things. So actually the band that was too wide to my eyes measured about 2.4mm, and in reality it would be polished down to 2.2mm with 2mm melee - and that would be perfect. It would be like putting the larger stones of the bigger wax onto the band of the thinner wax, but then not making that band any thinner (because that wax was 2.2mm, and would have been polished down to 2mm). I hope that makes sense. To me that would be perfect. So I went for the 2mm stones on a 2.2mm band as my final choice, even though the wax for that option made it look a tad too wide. This meant sending the original melee back to America and re-ordering new melee, and what with Christmas holidays etc, I was now looking at getting my ring late January. Cue a long wait, helped a bit by things like a lovely Christmas with my family, my birthday, and lots and lots of work. Finally my ring was ready, and it was sent to me. Faye really kindly sent me pictures, but I actually decided I didn't want to look at them before I saw it in person. I could also see how very invested Faye was in this whole process, it was so important to her that this go well, that I be happy. I know she totally knew that to me this was more than 'just a ring', and I know she had invested so much of her soul into this process too. I know it had been so difficult for her to have to share some of the process - to have to give it to a workbench etc. Have I mentioned how much I think Faye is just awesome? Oh my god, I was scared to open the box. I knew immediately that the central stone was awesome, the pavé was perfect, the width of the shank was perfect... but there were a few niggles that I spotted over the first couple of days or so. I held off posting here, because I felt sure that @Durham Rose was going to be awesome about it, and I didn't want to do a post here where I was going 'well I love it but...'. I didn't feel they deserved that, and that isn't how I wanted to introduce the ring. I wasn't at all cross about it; these things happen and I had faith the issues were pretty minor. Even so, I was very anxious about expressing my concerns to Faye, but she was so wonderful about it. I was worried I was creating a bit of a fuss, which as I've said, makes me quite uncomfortable. I wrote an email first, mostly so I could organise my thoughts and get everything into perspective, and then we met up. I wasn't really sure whether all the issues could be (or needed to be) resolved. I also didn't go in with a fixed viewpoint about what exactly should happen in response to the things I was mentioning. I felt like there was more than one way to handle them all, and I didn't want to try and force a particular route - I'm not a jeweller and wanted to provide them the flexibility to do what worked for them as well. If people would find it helpful for me to go through the individual issues then I will think about it, but overall I don't think it adds anything to talk about the issues here. What was more important to me was the way @Durham Rose handled it. Faye went away to discuss it all with Manu, and they agreed that really, the only way to resolve the few issues was to remake the ring from scratch. I think the majority could have been resolved on the ring I had, but there were a couple of things where they felt they would get a better outcome on the 'fix' if the ring was just remade. I was really happy about that as well and very grateful. It hadn't been something I was necessarily expecting, but I could see that I would be happier with a remake, and so I was really pleased. Even more brownie points to them! Faye told me the wait would be six weeks. This was mid-February. It's been six weeks, and boy was it a long six weeks. I have tried so hard to not think about the ring, I've even spent a lot less time on Pricescope because I felt the wait so strongly. It was, at times, this physical thing. To have had it for a couple of weeks and then to have to give it back... ouch. Honestly, I know there are other things in life than diamond rings, but I guess if you're here you understand me. See, having the CBI for that period of time, I was just starting to get to know it a little, and honestly there are no words for how amazing the light performance of it is. My previous diamond that I had for years, it scored 2.3 on the HCA (which I know is a flat out reject for most people here, but I didn't know that when I bought it). It had pretty decent arrows, it sparkled pretty nicely, it had wonderful brilliance, it even looked pretty decent under an ASET - definitely above 'above average', you know? Somebody out there will have bought my diamond, I hope, and I hope they're delighted with it. It's a pretty awesome diamond. But this CBI... I mean, there's just no comparison at all. Maybe I should do a shorter CBI review, because this paragraph will get lost in the rest of this, but there is just no comparison. The CBI diamond is just like this bottomless pit of optical performance. It's mesmerising. It's like all the internal facets float in the diamond, like all the arrows hover within the depths of the stone and light ripples and rolls through the body of the diamond and on the outside all at once... I can't describe it. I can't capture it with video either. It's just out of this world. As for the colour, my stone is a J - from face down, you can't tell. It's easily as white as my F was, it's as white as my mum's F coloured diamonds, etc etc. You can definitely see the tint from the side, and in some lights the tint is more and in some lights the tint is way less. In my friend's house, she has yellow walls and yellow lights, and surprise surprise [not] the diamond is yellow. In most other lighting, including pretty miserable office lighting, the tint is really not that obvious. Enough for me to spend a few thousand pounds upgrading colour? Definitely not currently!!! At some point in the future? Maybe, but not now. Why am I going on about this? Because most people I see discussing J coloured diamonds are really talking about how they can't really see any colour, and that's why they're okay with it, OR that they specifically choose warm coloured diamonds. For me I can see the colour, would normally choose a more colourless diamond, but I am still delighted by my stone because it's freakin' awesome, the light performance does wonders for it, and it allowed me to get a two carat diamond - and so I wanted to share that possibly slightly different view. Anyway, at the beginning of this week, Faye told me the ring was going off for hallmarking, and today she unexpectedly sent me a video from the workbench!!! It probably still goes through a couple of extra checks or whatever, but here is a video of the ring. Oh man oh man I love it!!! I know it's totally the opposite of all the stunning CvB rings and everything that are so beautiful and popular on here, but this ring is just wonderful. It's so solid and top heavy and edgy and yeah. I get to go pick it up in person on Wednesday!!! I cannot wait. I'm expecting it to be even more awesome in person, especially as that video is to show off the setting and there's also a freakin' two carat CBI diamond in it!!! And ideal cut melee!!! Faye and I are going to hopefully go for some food and I'm going to have a fight with her about paying, because it's the least I can do for everything she has done for me. I know she has invested so much of herself again into this remake, I know she gets to see it in person on Tuesday and I'm delighted that she does. It feels only right that she sees it first, genuinely. So yeah, I'll start and end with gratitude. I'm so grateful to Faye and everyone else who has been involved with this process. I've had so many comments in my various Pricescope threads that I value immensely. They have been so helpful. This would never have happened without you guys. This journey has been ongoing for more than half a year, so it's amazing to think I'm finally getting there. Wow. Love you all, Lydia. PS: I thought about posting a couple of pictures of the first version of the ring, which I have done in another thread actually, but I've decided not to - the video is enough and I'm super excited to share the final finished ring later on in this thread!!! Maybe then there might be a couple of comparison pictures. PPS: Well done for getting through this if you got this far. Wow. I just don't do concise. Can you imagine what Faye had to wade through to get me to this final stage???