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My First Ever Custom Ring Project with DiamondsbyLauren

luckyblackcat

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Hello! :wavey:

I've really enjoyed going through the forums here! Thank you for creating such a wonderful resource for jewelry addicts! This is my first ever post on Pricescope (or pretty much any internet forum!) about my first ever custom jewelry project, so I’m a bit overwhelmed by where to start! I wanted to write about my experience here as I'd be very grateful for any input along the way! I'm also hoping that I might help other lurkers who are nervous about starting a custom project as I was.

Unfortunately, I discovered Pricescope AFTER I got engaged… I stumbled across it while I was searching for wedding jewelry to match my engagement ring. This in turn lead me to a vendor called Diamonds by Lauren. There were, of course, a lot of vendors on Pricescope I really admired, but DBL stood out for me because of the really creative (and often funny!) writing and stunning photos that come with each piece on their website. It really felt like whoever was creating a story to go with each and every piece of jewelry genuinely loved what they were doing.

I also really loved the way DBL embraced diamonds of every color, as I’ve always loved warmer diamonds. And colorful diamonds! My pie-in-the-sky dream is to own a pale pink pear-cut (say that ten times fast!) diamond one day… Anyway! When I found a set of pear-cut necklace and earrings I really loved (did I mention I’m a pear-fiend?), I wrote to DBL and kept hitting refresh on my inbox waiting for a reply... I was pretty stunned when the president of the friggin company, David, wrote back in a matter of hours!

David was so kind and helpful from the start! He was great, the earrings were great, the necklace was the GREATEST (it still hurts a little thinking about this necklace, actually!)--and the price was pretty close to perfect! But… I just couldn’t pull the trigger--and I couldn’t bring myself to admit why.

Before I discovered Pricescope, one of my biggest misconceptions about custom jewelry was that you needed to be a bajillionaire to work with serious jewelers. But when I saw the kinds of rings I could have had for the price of my current engagement ring on the forums and on DBL's site, I was in awe! And also… completely devastated! My fiance and I picked my ring together from my hometown jeweler. I have absolutely no doubt that they did the best they could by me, but it’s clear that brick and mortar stores just can’t keep up with internet vendors. As I OBSESSED over DBL’s site, I succumbed more and more to that dreaded disease: Ring Regret!

Thinking about those dark times is bumming me out, so let’s fast forward a bit! After a lot of moping… Like, a LOT of moping… And many heart to hearts with the saint of a man I am so seriously blessed to be marrying, I reached out to David again to ask if he would pretty please help cure me of ring regret.

From there, about a hundred (completely neurotic) emails to David later (with just as many patient replies back) brings me here, to the first step of my custom project! We found my diamond! For now, my fiance and I have been calling her Empress Josephine (just kidding, it’s only me who calls it that in my head while my fiance simply refers to it as “The New Giant Rock” or “As Long As You’re Happy Dear”):

220-j-vs1.jpg

WEIGHT: 2.20ct
COLOR: J
CLARITY: VS1
MEASUREMENTS: 11.12 x 7.76 x 4.55 mm
TOTAL DEPTH: 58.6%
TABLE SIZE: 60.0%
POLISH: VG
SYMMETRY: G
FLUORESCENCE: MEDIUM BLUE
GIA REPORT #: 2173355425

The only downside of finding Empress J is that she eviscerated my setting budget. Initially, I had my heart set on a Look At Me I’m A Princess!!! halo like this one (full disclosure, I’m still deeply in love with this ring. If you own this ring, I want to meet you and drool on your hand!):

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-diamond-154ct-pear-shape-jif-cool-strong-blue-fluorescence-r3656

But! The idea of a simpler and infinitely more practical setting has really grown on me! I’m thinking now of going with something like these, maybe something in between these two settings:

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/old-mine-brilliant-142ct-branded-dbl-modern-antique-diamond-gia-r5165

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/colorless-diamond-ring-101ct-j-vs2-cushion-cut-gia-bezel-set-ring-r5856

Well, that’s all I have for now. Thank you so much for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts!! What do you think of the diamond? What do you think of the setting?

Take care, everyone!
 

Mayk

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I like the first one with the petals in the basket.

Pretty diamond! Congratulations.
 

drk14

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What a fun project for you! =)

As I wrote in my summary of my own custom project saga, one of the most important factors (in my opinion) is that you find a vendor with whom you "click", and you certainly seem to have found that in David and DBL.

You are smart to consider a bezel setting for your pear, I think it will look great and provide good protection for the point. The two examples you linked are very different, the first is more vintage-y, the second more modern. So it's hard to visualize what you might mean by "something in between" the two styles. What do you like about the first one, and what do you like about the second?

I know DBL uses two or three different benches, the best quality is from the bench he (used to?) call the "uber" bench (I'm not sure he still uses this moniker since that name became associated with a car service). But might be good to ask him about the different benches if you haven't had that discussion already.

Good luck, and enjoy the ride!
 

MollyMalone

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I love the shape of that pear, and think a bezel setting is a perfect way to highlight, and protect, it! :appl:

I'll whole-heartedly second drk's recommendation that you have a heart-to-heart with David about the selection of the particular bench to fabricate such a ring. We've seen pics of lovely bezeled rings from DBL, but there also have been some where I thought the bezeling & millegraining were pretty meh (I admittedly am really picky about bezel work). Looking forward to seeing what design you decide upon!
 

lovedogs

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Congrats! Such a wonderful stone, and I'm glad you found a vendor you like in DBL!

I really like the bezel with the petal basket--I think it's gorgeous, and a great way to protect the pear :)
 

Gypsy

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How about a halo like this instead? David Klass did this, and he tends to be very reasonable.

12387885_871615364607_2046773706_n.jpg
_1089.jpg
[/img]http://www.pricescope.com/forum/files/12312357_871615634067_1883962872_n.jpg/img]
 

luckyblackcat

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Good morning, everyone! :D

@Mayk: Thank you! I really like the floral basket, too!

@drk14: I'm so excited you commented because I've actually read your saga before and it was very helpful! Your ring is so beautiful!! Absolutely, the biggest takeaway for me was that you need to click with the vendor you work with. The way David presents his jewelry really resonated with me. I feel like he really puts himself out there as an individual rather than a brand.

It looks like DBL still uses Uber settings, and yes, I was definitely confused at first, especially because I'd just read an article about a jeweler who sells his pieces out of his Uber car! But DBL's Uber is who did the bezel with the floral basket. I really love the floral basket and the sort of double bezel thing(?) going on, but not so much the squared band. I prefer the rounded band of the other setting.

@MollyMalone: Thank you, thank you! The shape really did it for me, too!! I definitely need to have a chat with David about the setting. I didn't realize just how different bezels and milgrains could be until I really started paying attention... Do you have an example of what your ideal is?

@lovedogs: I love your name! And thank you! It's really reassuring to hear that a bezel is the right choice for protecting my stone.

@Gypsy: Wow, that is gorgeous! I've heard wonderful things about David Klass. A part of me still wishes I could have a WOW-factor halo, but I'm very budget conscious at this point since my diamond sucked away most of the budget along with my soul.
 

drk14

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Glad to hear my thread helped you, and thank you for the kind words about the finished e-ring!

I, too, like the floral basket with the millegrain on the bezel interior, and the workmanship of DBL's Uber bench definitely shows in that first setting. I understand know what you mean about doing that style but with a more rounded band like in the second style, that makes sense. Do you like the cathedral shoulders of the first ring, or do you prefer a profile without cathedral, as in the second ring?
 

NKOTB

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That David Klass ring Gypsy posted is mine, and was quite reasonably priced. It is one of Elle W's line of The Gemstone Project if you're interested in getting a quote. It's her Intrépide setting. :)
 

luckyblackcat

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@drk14: Great question! I've been thinking about that loads. I'm not a big fan of the cathedral because of the gaps in the band (if that makes sense?). They look like cut-outs in the metal and I want the band to look/feel whole. But I can't really visualize how the floral basket would work without the cathedral style!

@NKOTB: Oh my gosh! I hope you wear your gorgeous ring ALL THE TIME!! Thank you so much for the info!
 

Rockdiamond

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drk14 said:
What a fun project for you! =)

snip...
I know DBL uses two or three different benches, the best quality is from the bench he (used to?) call the "uber" bench (I'm not sure he still uses this moniker since that name became associated with a car service). But might be good to ask him about the different benches if you haven't had that discussion already.

Good luck, and enjoy the ride!
Hi All,
As it turns out I should be getting royalty checks from the car service Uber....I came up with the name years ahead of them...still, it's likely I'll be waiting quite a while for the checks:)
But it's still our name and highest level bench.
 

Bellebri

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I LOVE the diamond you have found :love:. One thing I've discovered in my own search for my dream ring is that I love pear cuts, like alot. I have highly considered a pear shaped diamond with a halo on a thin, micropave band, something like this:



Or this :



The settings you are interested in are lovely too, and not something you see everyday. With a diamond that beautiful you can hardly go wrong :angel:

6423d92d7201f143f4c5a3d2aa12ba00.jpg

3482c76560c835fce992601989fe6ef0.jpg
 

luckyblackcat

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@Bellebri: Thank you so much!! I love how unusual pears are! And those are beautiful settings, especially the rose gold! Good luck with your ring search!!
 

tyty333

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Congratulations! That pear is really beautiful. I recommend that you
Keep the gallery as open as possible like the first bezel setting. That
Pear is a little shallow and you don't want to block anymore light than is necessary. The bezel will already block some of the light so keep the gallery open. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!
 

BeekeeperBetty

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I'm also working with DBL! I darn near bought a 1.7 pear from him, but in the end decided it wasn't *exactly* what I wanted, so the search continues. His customer service is fabulous. And I'm insanely picky.

What's your setting budget? Have you asked him what he can do for you at that price point? That's my plan, once he finds the perfect stone for me. I'm going to show him some things I like, and tell him how much I have to spend and just see what he says. And then once I realize I can't afford any of those :lol: I'll see what he can come up with in my budget.

I adore, absolutely adore, this setting for his pears:
http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-colorless-diamond-170ct-j-si2-old-cut-pear-really-cool-cut-r5955

This one is almost perfect, in my eyes, except I would want the halo to be bezeled in a scallopy way with a delicate millgrain on the outside, and probably have the halo tilted just a little down, so it doesn't look like a spaceship:

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/semi-mount-ring-handmade-ultimate-pink-lemonade-ring-from-sandras-collection-so4028

I can't help it; I love the pink diamonds.

What about a bezel with a pave shank?
 

Gypsy

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Get a quote. I think you'll be surprised at how reasonable that one is. It's got a plain shank so the pave cost is minimal, it's really just mostly metal cost.
 

BeekeeperBetty

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Isn't it usually recommended that you have your stone set by the same vendor you buy it from?
 

Gypsy

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BeekeeperBetty|1465438494|4041989 said:
Isn't it usually recommended that you have your stone set by the same vendor you buy it from?
No. You can get it set anywhere provided the bench is a good one and your stone is insured.

We recommend "one stop shopping" because most shoppers are men, short on time or patience, and value the ease of the transaction over well... just about anything else.

But when you are buying a dream ring for yourself... things are very different. And not all vendors do all things perfectly. And some specialize in one thing, and other specialize in other things. And budgets are often tight.

You should do a poll and ask folks on here how many have rings where they purchased the stone from one vendor and the setting for another. You'd be surprised.
 

BeekeeperBetty

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That's interesting, I have spent a lot of time reading through old threads, and I must have missed those.
 

Gypsy

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BeekeeperBetty|1465439143|4042008 said:
That's interesting, I have spent a lot of time reading through old threads, and I must have missed those.

It's all about fit.

There is no "one" thing that is right for each poster. No "One Size Fits All."

You have to tailor your advice to the poster.

The reason we recommend against a poster getting a setting in a separate place than the stone vendor is very simple: most places will not insure a stone they have not sold while setting.

That's it. So if the setter is willing to insure it OR the stone is insured through private insurance like Jewelers Mutual while setting there is no reason no issue.

BUT-- and this is where the tailored advice comes in-- many of our posters are buying from overseas. Those that are, usually cannot get their stone insured privately for setting here in the US (there are exceptions) so we do often recommend one stop shopping especially for overseas buyers.

BUT-- again tailored advice-- there are some countries overseas that charge higher import duties on a set ring than on a loose stone. So that's an important consideration too.

So, basically, the more information you have the better the advice you can offer.
 

MollyMalone

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Hi, luckyblackcat :wavey:
Here is a real life photo (meaning taken by the PSer, not a web site "glamour shots") of a DBL ring with the kind of bezels I like; I believe it belongs to PSer stepcutnut:

I don't whether it will appeal to you, but here's an example of my all-time favorite kind of pear ring: bezel halo with a plain shank -- love the way this kind of setting makes a pear pop; this particular ring was once Niel's, the setting was from Ritani's Endless Love collection.
niel_s_pear_ritaniendlesslove.jpg

I have a strong preference for "one stop shopping" (although that was simply not a possibility in the two of the three custom projects I've done because the center stones were colored gems I myself had found) -- and I'm neither a man nor, to quote from Gypsy's prior post, someone who is "short on time or patience, and value the ease of transaction over...just about anything else" ;)) I am, however, very leery of what the fall-out would be if I filed a claim with Jewelers Mutual within the very first weeks of insuring a loose stone. And although I've never had a problem with USPS Registered Mail, I'm happy to spare any gem or piece of jewelry a trip.

Of course, the kind of ring you wish for should be in the "wheelhouse" of a jeweler, whose aesthetics are simpatico. So I wouldn't look to Erika Winters, for example, to produce a Gebelin Abaci-kind of tension ring & I'd personally hesitate to ask DBL to replicate an antique bombe ring with lots of intricate piercings, etc. But I'm not seeing anything in what you've posted so far that would prompt me to say "DBL is a poor fit for you, ditch 'em."

ew_ec_dbl_0.jpg
 

Gypsy

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I certainly wasn't saying that DBL is doing anything wrong. That particular setting I suggested, however, is a proprietary one, designed by a PSer no less, so I wanted to respect that and would not recommend a knock off, ethically.
 

luckyblackcat

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Happy Almost Friday, Everyone!

@tyty333: That is really great advice, thank you! I'm definitely leaning towards the floral basket!

@BeekeeperBetty: Vendor/pear twins!! I'd love to hear more about your dream ring! What diamond qualities are you looking for? Pink diamonds are SO dreamy! Have you seen this one?

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-pink-diamond-122ct-fancy-light-brownish-pink-pear-shape-gia-stunning-r5826

My heart!! And I, too, have had the exact fear of "but will this look like a spaceship?" when considering halos! :lol: My setting budget will depend largely on a trade-in going on behind the scenes, so I'm waiting to hear on that. Right now, a milgrain bezel seems like the most sensible option, to protect the stone as many have mentioned and to stay in budget while sticking with platinum for the metal. If there's wiggle room, I'd love to go with a simple halo around the bezel.

And on that note... @MollyMalone: The Ritani setting is perfection!! And thank you for bringing up the points about shipping and insurance! I didn't even think of that and I wouldn't want to overcomplicate my first project with technicalities, especially when I'm confident DBL can produce the setting I want. Stepcutnut's (what a fun name!) ring is a fantastic example of their work!!

@Gypsy: Thank you for the encouragement! NKOTB's ring is lovely, but I'll be staying with DBL for this project!
 

Sagefemme

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When I saw your very first picture, of the pear loose, I thought, "now that's a beautifully shaped pear," not too fat, not too skinny, just lovely proportions. Then when I saw your second picture, of the setting with large melee for the halo I thought "OH NO, don't do that!!" From a pure design standpoint, the scalloped edge of that halo completely obliterates the lovely shape of the pear. From across the room no one will be able to tell it's a beautiful pear center. It will just look.....confusing. Other posters have shown examples in your thread of better settings, both halo and bezel, that enhance, not destroy, the loveliness of a nice pear. Just my two cents.......
 

luckyblackcat

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Sagefemme said:
Then when I saw your second picture, of the setting with large melee for the halo I thought "OH NO, don't do that!!" From a pure design standpoint, the scalloped edge of that halo completely obliterates the lovely shape of the pear.
:lol: That's a great point! Makes me feel better about letting go of my halo dreams! This thread's really helped me feel more certain about a simple bezel setting. Thanks for your input!
 

Rockdiamond

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Gypsy|1465445680|4042045 said:
BeekeeperBetty|1465439143|4042008 said:
That's interesting, I have spent a lot of time reading through old threads, and I must have missed those.

It's all about fit.

There is no "one" thing that is right for each poster. No "One Size Fits All."

You have to tailor your advice to the poster.

The reason we recommend against a poster getting a setting in a separate place than the stone vendor is very simple: most places will not insure a stone they have not sold while setting.

That's it. So if the setter is willing to insure it OR the stone is insured through private insurance like Jewelers Mutual while setting there is no reason no issue.

BUT-- and this is where the tailored advice comes in-- many of our posters are buying from overseas. Those that are, usually cannot get their stone insured privately for setting here in the US (there are exceptions) so we do often recommend one stop shopping especially for overseas buyers.

BUT-- again tailored advice-- there are some countries overseas that charge higher import duties on a set ring than on a loose stone. So that's an important consideration too.

So, basically, the more information you have the better the advice you can offer.
There's two sides to this question.
From the perspective of a seller: If a seller can sell just the loose diamond, they have a lot less liability. If the ring does not come out right, or proves to be problematic, the seller of a loose stone has no responsibility to make sure the customer is satisfied.
From the buyers perspective: If a consumer is buying the diamond and setting from the same seller, they have a lot more recourse on the entire project. The consumer has one place to turn if there's a defect, or it does not come out as expected. Some sellers will offer a money back guarantee on the entire ring ( we do in many cases)
So there's a lot more than just the insurance issue.
In terms of style and ring makers copying designs: Some aspects of design are not possible to protect. A halo is a halo, and it's done by thousands of makers. One small difference and it's not the same. Given that the shape of the stone and the makers hand will force slight differences, most ring manufacturers make similar designs to whatever else we've seen. There's nothing new under the sun:)
 

BeekeeperBetty

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luckyblackcat|1465461814|4042106 said:
Happy Almost Friday, Everyone!

@tyty333: That is really great advice, thank you! I'm definitely leaning towards the floral basket!

@BeekeeperBetty: Vendor/pear twins!! I'd love to hear more about your dream ring! What diamond qualities are you looking for? Pink diamonds are SO dreamy! Have you seen this one?

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-pink-diamond-122ct-fancy-light-brownish-pink-pear-shape-gia-stunning-r5826

My heart!! And I, too, have had the exact fear of "but will this look like a spaceship?" when considering halos! :lol: My setting budget will depend largely on a trade-in going on behind the scenes, so I'm waiting to hear on that. Right now, a milgrain bezel seems like the most sensible option, to protect the stone as many have mentioned and to stay in budget while sticking with platinum for the metal. If there's wiggle room, I'd love to go with a simple halo around the bezel.

And on that note... @MollyMalone: The Ritani setting is perfection!! And thank you for bringing up the points about shipping and insurance! I didn't even think of that and I wouldn't want to overcomplicate my first project with technicalities, especially when I'm confident DBL can produce the setting I want. Stepcutnut's (what a fun name!) ring is a fantastic example of their work!!

@Gypsy: Thank you for the encouragement! NKOTB's ring is lovely, but I'll be staying with DBL for this project!
This might be jumbled; I do chemo on Wednesdays and I feel pretty crappy for a few days after and have that chemo fog thing going on, so I might think I'm making sense, but in reality I'm not. Sorry if this post makes no sense.

Anyhoo, I have that spaceship on the brain thing with halos because I have a 1.5 carat OMC in a double square halo, and while it's a really sparkly fun ring, it looks like a spaceship. One fun spaceship ring is enough for my ring wardrobe, so for this one I'm going for something a little more elegant and understated, but comfortable and something I can wear with jeans while I grocery shop. Cause let's face it, I go to fancy smancy events only once or twice a year, and the majority of my day is spent taking care of a 3 year old and running errands. I might as well have fabulous jewelry while I do it.

I'm not planning my ring until I find the right stone. I have David searching for a large eye clean light yellow with strong or very strong fluorescence. He has a few stones I'd love to have, but I have a tight budget and they're all out of my range. I still drool over them often.

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-green-diamond-152ct-faint-green-vs1-cushion-cut-diamond-gia-r7149

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-green-diamond-91ct-fancy-green-yellow-vs1-cushion-cut-diamond-gia-r7045

Love the size of this one, too bad there's no fluorescence and that pesky price point:
http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-yellow-diamond-235ct-y-z-vs1-radiant-cut-diamond-gia-r6917

I think the real challenge here is finding it for what I can spend, vs finding a stone out there that meets my qualifications.
 

Rfisher

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Mayk|1465347090|4041431 said:
I like the first one with the petals in the basket.

Pretty diamond! Congratulations.
I agree on the one with the petals. If you go with the other one, have you looked at the pear version in his stock settings section? The pear has the smallest opening in the gallery, from what I see. If you went with that one, I'd see if they could open it up any........
Have you tried on a cathedral setting in person, or are you concerned about the cut outs/gaps as you call them because of how they look in those zoomed in macro shots?
David is great - I found him for a pair of earrings about 13 years ago and went back to him for two necklaces and three rings....
The uber bench is noticeably different in their workmanship, but there is nothing wrong with the other two "levels" of bench he utilizes. You just know what you are choosing. As with anything else......
Congratulations on your pretty pear!
 

luckyblackcat

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@BeekeeperBetty: I hope you're finding time to rest! And your post made perfect sense! I was watching that first cushion for a while, too!! I love how it shows almost a powdery blue shade. This is one of my favs (naturally, it's a pear):

http://www.diamondsbylauren.com/index.php/jewelry/loose-colorless-diamond-167ct-m-si2-pear-shape-diamond-gia-r7152

I almost got this one, but in the end I wanted something larger. I still think it's absolutely drool-worthy though. I LOVE fluorescence with its color-changing magic.

@Rfisher: Thank you! I'm really hoping David says an Uber setting is possible. :pray: I'd love to see your other DBL pieces, if you don't mind sharing!!
 

BeekeeperBetty

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That's the exact pear I almost bought. :lol: He also had a trillion that I seriously considered, but it was over my budget, and right now I have zero flexibility with the budget. I love the trillion shape, however. It's so unusual in larger sizes. Part of me has been thinking that I should put this project off until the holidays when I will have some extra cash in the budget for frivolities. But then I have been channeling my inner Veruca Salt and I want it now!

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm doing fine, and after this week I only have one more week left. They're switching me to another medication. Thankfully I don't have cancer, just an autoimmune disease but we can't get it under control.
 
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