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a_mug

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
15
Hello all,

I''m new to the forum so a shout out to everyone here. I was told that I can get a lot of good advice and answers from the good folks here so here goes...

I''m ready to take the next step soon and propose to my long time girlfriend. But I''m in a bit of a situation that I need a lot of advice especially from people in Europe. I''m just moved to Vienna for work from Canada for not even a month. Back in Canada, I know some of the independent dealers where I can get diamonds at a very reasonable price, and quality. But here in Vienna, I am starting anew and I know of no places. I am inclined to go online to the likes of www.mondera.com , or www.whiteflash.com since they do international shipping and seems to have decent prices. BlueNile.com/ca/uk don''t ship internationally however. Do you have any suggestions (online or otherwise) on where else I can shop for an engagement ring? I am on a tight budget unfortunately (I can''t spend any more than $3500 USD) so I can use all the advice I could get.

Another problem that she''s in still in Canada (will be visiting in a couple of months and I want to hold on to this window of opportunity!!!!), and I don''t know her ring size. Bad boyfriend you''d say but she''s never ever wore any kind of ring before and I have no reference. I even tried to use a string to measure the size of her finger in her sleep before but no dice since she''s such a light sleeper. That said, a reasonable guess is all I could come up with so a places where they offer re-sizing might be an extra bonus.

Sorry for a whole slew of questions but being in a new place without knowing anyone around, I have very limited options so far. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

A.

[EDIT: Oops. Is there a way to edit the title? Too early over here. Need more coffee. :) ]
 

diamondhunter10

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
106
Welcome to PS, I have learned so much and shared a lot experiences, knowledge, etc. Whiteflash.com , has some great selections. I like Blue Nile as well, there are a couple of other sites that I have had some good experiences that I can send you if you are interested?
BTW- take a look at the reviews, tools, and Resources.
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
I love it..I can just see you trying to tie the string around her finger... priceless and very endearing.
So, she doesn''t wear other rings? If she had a jewelry box somewhere, you could get one and trace around the inside of it and use that. Can you enlist the help of the people she is staying with in Canada? What about her parents-do they know anything? You could always get a slightly large ring and then just have it resized after she receives it. Does she suspect that you are going to propose soon? You might try asking her best friend to take a guess or get her out trying things on for fun to figure out what shape stone/style ring she likes... I''m excited for you! Good luck!
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
2,398
Hi A.

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! That's great news that you are planning to ask your long-term girfriend to marry you! I'm sure she will be delighted. The string thing is hysterical!

I am a citizen of the US, but had an Italian boyfriend that lived in Germany. We started to look at rings in the US and in Europe. What I noticed was that the Europeans in general don't seem to place as much emphasis on the diamond engagement ring. Diamonds tend to be smaller than in the US. My Swedish friend didn't even get a diamond - apparently it's not a big tradition for them. Historically Europe is a much smaller diamond market than the US.

So that said, we had a hard time finding good deals on diamonds in Europe. We never happened upon a retailer who had really extensive knowledge. (I'm sure there are plenty, but we had a hard time finding them.) Particularly with Italian jewelry, the emphasis seemed to be on the design of the overall piece rather than the exact quality of the stones. The Germans were a little more attentive to diamond quality, but I never found good value. There was some savings if we were to purchase the ring overseas and then get the VAT back, but the stores that were accustomed to VAT refunds were generally the bigger stores, like DeBeers, Cartier, Graff, etc. and their stuff is extremely expensive to start with.

My boyfriend quickly came to the conclusion that one of the US internet vendors would be the way to go. We did not explore the whole Antwerp scene, so as a cutting center, you may be able to find good deals there, but I can't say for sure. I'm sure it would be a fun adventure! However, if you feel comfortable with the Pricescope vendors, that may be the best way to go. Trusting the folks you are buying from is REALLY IMPORTANT.

Please keep us posted!
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
a_mug,

Welcome to PS! I love that you tried to tie a string around her finger as she slept. If you don't want to give away the surprise whatsoever, I think guessing would be best. If she's a tiny girl, you might want to shoot for the 4-5 range and go up from there. Also, I'd choose a plain setting that'll be easier to size. Some settings with detail and/or diamonds are often un-sizeable, and if she isn't a big jewelry wearer, I'd venture to guess she'd appreciate simple over super blingy.

(Plus, if she does happen to LIKE super blingy, a $180 setting can be replaced more easily in however many months/years for an anniversary or christmas present.)

Regarding the shape, that's also tricky. Rounds are the most popular (and in my opinion, the most classic, but I'm biased!
) followed by Princess, I believe.

For $3500 (which is a healthy budget, by the way!) here are some great choices:

http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-129072.htm (For some reason, this stone is coming up quite yellow on my monitor, so it might do the same on yours. No worries, it's an F which means it's white white white. Still in the colorless range.)

http://www.whiteflash.com/aca_princess/A-Cut-Above-Princess-cut-diamond-31009.htm

The above are just examples of what your budget can buy at a well-respected vendor here at PS. White gold stuller solitaire settings are $180 for rounds and $262 for princesses, which is the way I'd go in your situation. Good luck, and let us know if you have any other questions!
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,116
I''d just add to what the others said that you should go with a plain setting if you do not know the size. We''ve seen people lately buy rings the wrong size and they cannot be resized due to the ornateness of the ring, pave, etc. I''d go with a $150 plain 14k gold setting and let her choose her dream setting later. That way the plain setting can probably be sized for temporary wear but not waste a lot of money. Arre her hands small? Fingers thin or chubby? A size 6 is considered pretty much average, so that would be one choice and you could go a little larger or smaller if you think she has smaller or larger fingers.
 

a_mug

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
15
Ah, sorry for posting in the wrong forum initially. I had no idea and I kept checking that (Diamond prices) and saw zero responses so I never bothered clicking it. Oops.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the information. Yeah, laugh all you want on the string thing. You have no idea how long it took to try consciously getting up in the middle of the night while remembering to give the feeble attempt a shot (washroom trip AND forgetting to do it doesn't count!). My girlfriend is never into accessories other than occasional earrings. She has never owned a ring of any kind and that's what make it tricky. I really doubt her parents know anything on that front either. Plus, I want to keep it minimal before going to her parents, which I am planning to do before I actually propose. Thought it's the right thing to do and I always wanted to ask her parents first.

That said, she's about 5'2, small hand, and my best guess is 4.5 for the size from what I gathered. I've poked around Vienna a bit but still couldn't come up with any jewelers that I feel comfortable going to. Either that, or there's a Tiffany... I doubt Ill go that route, however.


It looks more and more like I'll go to Mondera because 1) I really have limited options and 2) they ship internationally while I can still use my Canadian credit card. Haven't managed to get a CC here in Austria yet so that adds another point to the degree of difficulty.

Will definitely keep you all posted here. Any more suggestions and opinions on ANYTHING will be welcomed! Yes, diamondhunter10, it would be great if you can send me the links to the merchants that you mentioned. Thanks again.

A.
 
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