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My Diamond Search Begins - Advice Wanted

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
New member here, so I thought I would take the time to introduce myself. First off, I have to say that this is one of the best web forums I’ve ever come across. I’m a member of many online forums, but this is by far the most active and the people on here are always respectful and constructive toward one another.

As you might guess, I discovered this forum while researching diamonds. I am starting to look for a diamond ER, even though I don’t plan on proposing until spring or possibly summer of next year. I suppose I’m likely allowing myself more time to shop than 90% of men do, but I want to make sure I do this one right since it’s a fairly significant decision (financially and personally). I’m also really enjoying learning all the nuances of diamonds – probably because I have a penchant for expensive things.

Anyways, I was hoping to solicit some opinions on when the best time of year is to buy a diamond, what kind of diamond I could expect to get within my budget, and any suggestions for how to conduct my diamond search. I consider myself reasonably well read at this point, as I’ve done at least 20 hours of research on the finer points of diamonds, but I’ve got a lot to learn still. I’ve also visited a few jewelers (T&Co included) to learn a bit in person and see if I can discern differences in color, clarity and cut.

So here’s where I’m at right now. My girlfriend is very traditional and conservative, so I think she’d like something as classic/timeless as possible (which is what I would pick anyway – we have very similar tastes). Therefore, I’m looking for a RB solitaire with the classic 6-prong Tiffany-style platinum setting. Some might call that unadventurous, but the subtle elegance of it is perfect for my tastes. I’d much rather put my efforts and money towards finding a spectacular stone than try to design a custom setting that I wouldn’t feel as confident would appeal to her. I would like to keep it around $30k, with a hard limit at $35k. From looking at stones and everything I’ve read, my minimum requirements are as follows:

Cut: Ideal with Hearts & Arrows
Color: H
Clarity: VS2

I’m not really willing to compromise further on any of those, so I’m hoping to just get the biggest stone I can afford with these quality standards (I care much more about having a lot of fire and brilliance than a larger stone). From what I can tell, I can get up to about a 2.3ct if I buy it right. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews on here about Whiteflash, so their reputation (as well as their B&M store in Houston – I would consider flying down to look at the stones before the final decision) really appeals to me. Any advice that anybody is willing to offer me on how they would buy such a diamond if they were in my shoes would be much appreciated.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but thanks in advance. You guys are awesome.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,121
Well, you have certainly come to the right place as most of us have similar thinking to yours! I also happen to love the traditional round solitaire and Tiffany setting. And I think H VS2 is a great choice (I have H VS1). After being here a few years, I have found the best in-house diamond selection at Good Old Gold, WhiteFlash, and Brian Gavin Diamonds. All three specialize in extremely well cut stones. I have actually bought things from all three.

Right now it looks like WF is the only one with what you want, and they have about three 2 ct. H VS2's at this time.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2645111.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2684405.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2638947.htm

Please note that all of those will be reduced more (around 5%) if you tell them you are a PriceScope member and will pay by wire.

I've never gone to see the diamonds I purchased. I had them sent to me and I have returned some that I didn't like. But I never had to do that with an ACA because the cut is perfect and you are also not dealing with stones with potentially objectionable inclusions, either. However, it certainly would be fun to do if you didn't mind the time and expense! (You have to make an appt. because they do not have a storefront and they would have to bring in the stones you wanted to see to the office you'd go to.)
 

farmer gal

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
1,063
This maybe is crazy thinking but have you ever called tiffany to see what 2 carat stones they would have to offer you.

http://www.tiffany.com/Engagement/item.aspx?GroupSku=GRP10001&selectedSku=19683133#f+0/0/0/0/0/0

I see on their website they are advertising the 2 carat for 33,600. Usually I would not recommend this, but you want the tiffany setting and it is really not that far off in price if they have some nice stones to offer you. I would come back with the GIA reports before buying anything, but it might be worth looking into.
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
thank you all for your suggestions. is it generally best to wait around to see what stones come available, or is it better to work with a particular vendor to try to find a stone that meets my specs?

Farmer Gal, that's not a bad suggestion, but I don't think you can get the same quality stones without paying the stiff Tiffany premium. When I was in there, the young lady who helped me (she was very knowledgable and helpful, btw - I liked her a lot better than some of the sleezy diamond salesman I've encountered elsewhere) wrote down the price of three stones for me:

1.92ct H vvs1 - $36.5k
2.00ct H vs2 - $41.8k
2.20ct H vs2 - $46.4k

and Tiffany does absolutely no negotiation, so I think I'd have a tougher time affording it.
 

farmer gal

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
1,063
Better to avoid, I didn't know how their pricing worked I don't have one around me. I would stick to WF then:)
 

CedarRapids

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
146
Lahey|1318964667|3042872 said:
thank you all for your suggestions. is it generally best to wait around to see what stones come available, or is it better to work with a particular vendor to try to find a stone that meets my specs?

Farmer Gal, that's not a bad suggestion, but I don't think you can get the same quality stones without paying the stiff Tiffany premium. When I was in there, the young lady who helped me (she was very knowledgable and helpful, btw - I liked her a lot better than some of the sleezy diamond salesman I've encountered elsewhere) wrote down the price of three stones for me:

1.92ct H vvs1 - $36.5k
2.00ct H vs2 - $41.8k
2.20ct H vs2 - $46.4k

and Tiffany does absolutely no negotiation, so I think I'd have a tougher time affording it.
Based on my visits to Tiffany, those prices seem right. Are these quotes for H&A diamonds? Somehow, I don't recall it when I visited.

As far as looking for the stone independently of the vendor, ideally, you get the diamond and setting from the same place. It saves money, sometimes there are 10% discounts off of the setting when purchasing a completed ring, etc. Having said that, it can be hard too find the "perfect diamond." I'd give your preferred vendor a call and ask about diamonds meeting your requirements. When I bought my loose stone, I was looking intensely for about 3 weeks -- late on a Sunday night, one popped up that I hadn't seen before, and I held it and eventually scooped it up.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
the ES from WF looks good...perhaps it is not H&A? you can ask WF why it missed ACA.
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
that's very helpful - thanks. the second stone you listed (from WF) looks fantastic. these are both slightly out of my price range, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to pass on a great stone if it was only an extra $1k (that seems silly on a $35k ring).

however, I was also just looking through the virtual selection on WF. as I understand it, these are stones that aren't in-house. am I correct in assuming that some of these may be H&A diamonds, and they may also match the ACA standards? are these all stones that WF looked at and then decided that they didn't want in their inventory, or are they stones that they just don't have the money to finance as part of their inventory, so they haven't looked at them (but they know they are out there)?

also, would WF ever let me select a few stones (say, 3 or 4 and perhaps 1 or 2 of which are from their virtual selection) and have them sent off to an independent appraiser for an opinion on which to buy? it would seem that the appraiser would have a more valuable opinion on which is the best buy anyway, so that's probably even preferable to me flying down to look at the stones in person.
 

emeraldmurphy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
38
WF seems to have the best selection in those criteria. The two below are SI1 and Eye Clean, so that is a compromise vs. your original request, but it would be helpful to understand from what distance, and VS2 is worth the extra price or smaller stone compared to an Eye Clean SI1?
(2.14ct, H, SI1, 1.6 HCA, $27k) - Expert Selection
(2.24ct, 1.8 HCA, $30k) - A Cut Above

With regards to Virtual Selection, they are not in house and may be with an affiliated dealer who shares inventory, but hard to know whether they are worth considering until physically examined (cost$ ??), given lack of details on Eye Clean, light performance etc. until in house screening by WF.
Previously I have seen people use the HCA tool to get a rough estimate for cut characteristics (to weed out poor performers), but that is still not a guarantee until WF physically reviews the stone and provides optical performance assessment. Another caveat is that they do not offer the same upgrade options and trade-in guarantees as the in-house ACA, ES, PS stones.

Also, nothing jumped out from Virtual Selection as significantly better than the in house stones
i.e. this one HCA Score = 4, Total Visual Performance 4.0 - Good - Only if price is your main criterion doesn't seem to be a bargain, and appears to be a lower quality cut.
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
what about this stone? This is obviously a bit more expensive than what I had intended, but it seems to me to be a much better value than any of the other stuff I am seeing. the spread on this seems really good (8.98mm for a 2.6ct seems like a lot), but I hope that's not cause for concern over it being too shallow (though I don't think it should be since the HCA score came out to 0.7). it is also listed as an H&A stone.

Carat: 2.60
Color: H
Clarity: VS2
Lab: GIA
Cut: Excellent
Polish: Excellent
Symetry: Excellent
Table: 58%
Depth: 60%
Crown Angle: 33%
Pavillion Angle: 41%
Girdle: Thin to Medium
Dimensions: 8.97mm x 8.99mm x 5.39mm

thanks in advance for your help!
 

kal2021

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
585
Lahey|1318969035|3042910 said:
that's very helpful - thanks. the second stone you listed (from WF) looks fantastic. these are both slightly out of my price range, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to pass on a great stone if it was only an extra $1k (that seems silly on a $35k ring).

however, I was also just looking through the virtual selection on WF. as I understand it, these are stones that aren't in-house. am I correct in assuming that some of these may be H&A diamonds, and they may also match the ACA standards? are these all stones that WF looked at and then decided that they didn't want in their inventory, or are they stones that they just don't have the money to finance as part of their inventory, so they haven't looked at them (but they know they are out there)?

also, would WF ever let me select a few stones (say, 3 or 4 and perhaps 1 or 2 of which are from their virtual selection) and have them sent off to an independent appraiser for an opinion on which to buy? it would seem that the appraiser would have a more valuable opinion on which is the best buy anyway, so that's probably even preferable to me flying down to look at the stones in person.
The WF one you like that slg listed has a Pricescope wire price of $35,024.40. I would say for $24 over budget that's a deal! Of course you have to factor in the setting. Is your $35k just for the diamond or whole ring? I think the ones diamondseeker listed are all fantastic, as well! All of these stones would be "no-brainer" buys...all gorgeous stones you would not need to worry about! BTW, I think a 2+ carat RB stone in a classic solitaire setting is the perfect choice (my dream ring!)!!
 

kal2021

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
585
Lahey|1319488787|3046825 said:
what about this stone? This is obviously a bit more expensive than what I had intended, but it seems to me to be a much better value than any of the other stuff I am seeing. the spread on this seems really good (8.98mm for a 2.6ct seems like a lot), but I hope that's not cause for concern over it being too shallow (though I don't think it should be since the HCA score came out to 0.7). it is also listed as an H&A stone.

Carat: 2.60
Color: H
Clarity: VS2
Lab: GIA
Cut: Excellent
Polish: Excellent
Symetry: Excellent
Table: 58%
Depth: 60%
Crown Angle: 33%
Pavillion Angle: 41%
Girdle: Thin to Medium
Dimensions: 8.97mm x 8.99mm x 5.39mm

thanks in advance for your help!
Where is this stone from? Do you have a link to it? Idealscope images?
 

kal2021

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
585
I will let the experts chime in about the stone and vendor, but it did score a 0.7 on the HCA which is great - all Excellents! Have you given any more thought to slg's Whiteflash stone that I mentioned was only $24 over budget? Also, what is your budget for the setting?

Capture.JPG
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
is that really a concern with a crown angle that is only 1 degree different than most? I thought the girdle was more the cause for concern, and the girdle is thin to medium thickness. I'm no expert, but I'm really interested to learn about that, so your advice is much appreciated.

my only hesitation with the Whiteflash stone is that it scores 'very good' in all categories of the HCA rating with the exception of fire, where it gets an 'excellent.' the other stone is about $3k more expensive, but it's an extra .3ct and about .4mm in diameter, and it scores 'excellent' in all categories on the HCA.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
I think the risk of chipping comes with a low crown combined with a thin girdle. you could ask Eternity about the girdle (how thin is it...how much of it is thin...is there a risk...)

I would not put any stock in the individual factor ratings on the HCA. the HCA is like a 'chalk outline' that gives a very general view of the stone using only four numbers (which are averaged and rounded). Images and idealscope images tell a lot more about the actual performance of the stone.

I believe Eternity has a good return policy so you could get the stone shipped to you and take it to an independent appraiser?

Also, just curious, what type of setting are you looking for?
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
good to know - thanks.

I'm looking for a very simple 6-prong solitaire setting.
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
I've been working with Excel diamonds (I decided that I like their Tiffany setting the best, and I want to work with one vendor for both the setting and stone if I can) , and they have found what appears (to me, anyway) to be a great candidate. although this is an SI-1 instead of my target clarity of VS2, I'm told that this is completely eye-clean. in their opinion, this stone is worthy of a VS2 grade. it's also a grade up in color (G vs. my target color of H). would the experts mind taking a quick look at the details of this stone and telling me what they think? I don't really know how to read an idealscope.

http://www.exceldiamonds.com/Diamonds-1/GIA-Graded-Loose-Round-Diamond-2-5-Carat-G-Color-SI1-Clarity-111266.html

any thoughts you can provide would be most appreciated!
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
if it is eye-clean to your standards, looks like a great stone. I would definitely ask if it is eye-clean from all angles and from what distance (it is quite possible it is totally eye-clean but I would want to make sure before making such a large purchase!)
 

Lahey

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
36
slg47|1319646624|3048035 said:
if it is eye-clean to your standards, looks like a great stone. I would definitely ask if it is eye-clean from all angles and from what distance (it is quite possible it is totally eye-clean but I would want to make sure before making such a large purchase!)
agreed. I think the next step is have it sent to me locally so I can have it appraised.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
Lahey|1319650959|3048102 said:
slg47|1319646624|3048035 said:
if it is eye-clean to your standards, looks like a great stone. I would definitely ask if it is eye-clean from all angles and from what distance (it is quite possible it is totally eye-clean but I would want to make sure before making such a large purchase!)
agreed. I think the next step is have it sent to me locally so I can have it appraised.
sounds like a great plan! you will also want to get a re-appraisal or updated appraisal after the ring is set for insurance purposes.
 
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