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Newbie, lots of questions (long)

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Perplexity

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
4
Hi all,

I''m planning to buy an engagement ring very soon. Just when I thought I had learned enough to move forward, I came across this board. I''m a little overwhelmed by how much more detailed the information here (both the tutorial and the forums) is than what I''ve read so far, but I''m impressed with the quality of discussion on the boards. Anyway, I have a bunch of questions -- I''d really appreciate responses on any or all of them.

General background -- I''m pretty sure I want a round/brilliant, about 1.5ct (+/- ~0.10ct), budget about $15k all-in (+/- as much as $5k), with simple/classic platinum solitaire setting. Everything else is still sort of vague. So, my questions:

Bluenile vs. other online merchants -- until I found this site I thought BN was the only big name in online diamond sales. I see from the boards that I was wrong. In fact, it seems like posts here talk about BN a lot less than other sites. So, why is BN mentioned less here? Also -- the fact that BN is a fairly large public company makes me confident/trusting about making this huge purchase online -- are there places I can read more about the other companies that will make me feel better about them? Am I losing out a lot by only looking at BN?

Setting questions (I''ve looked mostly at the BN ones, but I imagine these apply to any) -- is 4-prong vs 6-prong a purely aesthetic choice, or is the 4-prong a lot safer, or what? What''s the deal with comfort-fit? What do most people choose on these two questions?

Clarity -- I want a diamond with no visible imperfections to the naked eye, but I don''t care much about imperfections under magnification. It looks to me like this means I should be setting my minimum at VS2. Is this correct?

Color -- I''ve been struck in my BN searches at the drastic price jump for moving up single levels of color, keeping all else constant. Again, I want something that looks colorless to a non-expert, and don''t care too much beyond that. Where should I be setting my minimum? H? Do I have to go to a B&M store and look for myself to decide this issue?

Cut -- What should I be thinking about here? Is the BN "Signature Ideal" designation meaningful? Is it overkill? Should I just be entering proportions into the HCA and looking for values between 1 and 2? What aspects of cut are not capture by the HCA score?

Polish/Symmetry -- I haven''t seen too much written about this... I''ve been setting most searches to VG/EX (GIA) / EX/ID (AGSL). Does this sound reasonable given what I''ve written so far?

Dealing with huge selection -- This search on BN brings back 40 diamonds: (Round, 1.41-1.59ct, Ideal, G, VS1/VS2, None/Neg Fluor). Those already seem like pretty tight constraints to me -- how am I supposed to pick one of these 40?

Thanks for any responses!

Alex
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,330
yeoww! lots of questions.

BN provides beautiful stones, to be sure. If you're round shopping, between HCA, AGS Ideal, hearts and arrows Signature Ideal, you're pretty safe.

6 prong all the way for me. What happens when she drops the ring?

If you don't care about inclusions under magnification, SI1.

H is a good color. F-H, usually.

cut-see first answer.

Polish/Symmetry/selection: I'd pick a BN Sig Ideal with Tolkowsky-like proportions, or an AGS 0 light performance with HCA<2.
 

mrssalvo

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
19,132
Hi Alex and Welcome.

I''m sure I won''t answer all of your questions but I''ll try. BlueNile is one of the most popular etailers and do a ton of business. The reason why a lot of folks here like places like Whiteflash or GoodoldGold is because of all the info they provide on individual diamonds. As far as I know, Bluenile won''t give you a sarin report which is important to some people when buying a diamond sight unseen. Also, many of the pricescope vendors have upgrade policy''s which is an attractive bonus for some. There are a few happy Bluenile customers here too.

as for the setting, you can do a search on 4 or 6 prong, there are tons of threads and discussions. They say 6 prongs are safer but I''ve heard if the stone is set correctly 4 prong is just as safe. I''d probably go with preference. Some folks feel 6 prongs make the stone look more round.

If you buy from a vendor who owns the stone they can look at it and tell you if it''s eyeclean or not. there are gals here who have found eyeclean SI2''s so you don''t have to limit yourself to VS2. I have and eyeclean SI1 that I''m very happy with.

Color is personal. I prefer stones in the G/H range but would probably go down to and I for the right stone. there are many happy J stone owners here as well. remember Cut is key and will help hide color in a round.

having an HCA score b/t 1-2 is a great start. also limiting your searches to AGS000 and GIA ex/ex will pretty much guarentee a superior stone..

stick with a stone Bluenile owns like the Signature Collection..
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
Hi and Welcome to Price Scope!!
35.gif


4 vs 6 prongs. There''s pros and cons arguements both ways.

Some people think 4 prong gives a Round a squarish look. Wink from Winfield''s did a recent presentation where he showed a 6 prong ring with a broken prong. Wink said if it had been a 4 prong ring, the lady would have lost her stone.

4 vs 6 prongs is something you''re gonna have to research and choose on your own.

Mrs. Salvo gave you lots of good info.

I''d personally suggest you go out, on your own to some diamond brokers'' shops. Look at various levels of Cut and Color of diamonds to see with your own eyes the difference Cut can make in the performance and appearance of diamonds. Right now you may think F color, but once you see well cut diamonds live and in person, you may realize you can go H/I, maybe even J and find a fabulous diamond she''ll love.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,935

Lots of good advice given above. I’ll try to fill in a few.


Blue Nile advertises more than anyone else in the industry, by a lot. Probably more than the whole rest of the online industry combined. That produces a lot of brand recognition. Understand, of course, that all of this advertising isn't free and that this money comes from somewhere.


The dealers here tend to specialize. Some aim for the super-ideal type cutting while others aim for the rock bottom prices. BN tries to be everything to everyone and that doesn’t generally make them the best at anything.


Comfort fit is an inside round shape to the ring shank. Especially on wide bands it makes them more comfortable to wear over along period. Since that pretty much describes a wedding band, they are quite popular. They cost a little more because they’re heavier but almost everyone who gets one is glad they did.


The huge selection can be daunting to be sure. If you buy from a stocking dealer, like the BN signature series or several of the dealers here you can call them up and they will have experts that can advise you about the differences between the various stones.


Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
A lot of good thought out questions, and a lot of reasonable answers.

There is an advantage with BN''s refund policy being 30 days... and if for some reason the item needs to be returned they are reliable with providing refunds promptly.

However, once the 30days is over, BN lacks a good upgrade, or buy back policy, which WF and Good Old Gold and some others have in place.

I''d advise you to understand that the gradings can be "broad" .... especially for the cut gradings. GIA''s cut grading is far different from AGS, which is far more stringent and accurate, but even then every AGS 0 cut grade isn''t equal. There are some that are better than others. Suppose this depends on how discriminating you are with what you''d accept and your personal preferences.

Even though you seem hesitant to visit local B&M stores, seeing the appearance differences in clarity/color and cut grades along with carat weight, is probably worthwhile for you to do. Check www.ags.org for local stores, which would be the most likely places to see stones in person with AGS grading reports.

This will offer you some good comparison information as to pricing as well. Some B&M''s are willing to be competitive with the online internet sellers, and some aren''t. Can''t hurt to "research" that a little, to help reassure you that you are making the "right" decisions for you.

An informed customer is the best customer.

Rockdoc
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
Date: 2/5/2007 9:18:38 PM
Author: mrssalvo
Hi Alex and Welcome.

I''m sure I won''t answer all of your questions but I''ll try. BlueNile is one of the most popular etailers and do a ton of business. The reason why a lot of folks here like places like Whiteflash or GoodoldGold is because of all the info they provide on individual diamonds. As far as I know, Bluenile won''t give you a sarin report which is important to some people when buying a diamond sight unseen. Also, many of the pricescope vendors have upgrade policy''s which is an attractive bonus for some. There are a few happy Bluenile customers here too.

as for the setting, you can do a search on 4 or 6 prong, there are tons of threads and discussions. They say 6 prongs are safer but I''ve heard if the stone is set correctly 4 prong is just as safe. I''d probably go with preference. Some folks feel 6 prongs make the stone look more round.

If you buy from a vendor who owns the stone they can look at it and tell you if it''s eyeclean or not. there are gals here who have found eyeclean SI2''s so you don''t have to limit yourself to VS2. I have and eyeclean SI1 that I''m very happy with.

Color is personal. I prefer stones in the G/H range but would probably go down to and I for the right stone. there are many happy J stone owners here as well. remember Cut is key and will help hide color in a round.

having an HCA score b/t 1-2 is a great start. also limiting your searches to AGS000 and GIA ex/ex will pretty much guarentee a superior stone..

stick with a stone Bluenile owns like the Signature Collection..
I did get a sarin from BN but no pictures...
 

mrssalvo

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
19,132
ah, thanks cehra, good to know BN can do a sarin...
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
Date: 2/5/2007 10:38:06 PM
Author: mrssalvo
ah, thanks cehra, good to know BN can do a sarin...
it is a fairly rudimentary one, but nonetheless... LOL The only info I got off of mine that wasn''t on my GIA cert (that I can think of) was the crown height... and for the OP this wasn''t a round so don''t be concerned about that stuff lol
 

sunshine14

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 2, 2005
Messages
247
I''m not an expert at alllll, but just so you know, James Allen has a 30 day return policy, and a trade in policy (I think it is a little more restrictive, but still pretty good, especially if you get a ''signature'' stone).

Just something else to add to your search!
 

Kit

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
501
I just did a quick search on PS for HA AGS0 stones to your parameters and found 12 listings. You could start there?

Carat Color Clarity Depth Tbl Lab Gdl Cul Sym Pol Flr Measurements $/Crt Price Source
1.537 I SI1 61.8% 57% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.38-7.41x4.56 $6551 $10069*S
1.57 I SI1 60.4% 57% AGS thn id id no 7.55-7.58x4.57 $6484 $10180*S
1.55 I VS1 61.9% 55% GIA thn-med face no ex ex no 7.43*7.46*4.61 $6981 $10820*S
1.575 I VS2 61.7% 55% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.47-7.50x4.61 $7093 $11171*S
1.54 I VS1 60.6% 56% AGS thn-med id id no 7.48-7.51x4.55 $7482 $11522*S
1.52 G SI1 61.1% 57% AGS thn-med id id no 7.41-7.44x4.54 $7882 $11980*S
1.53 G VS1 60.6% 54% AGS .9-1.3 id id no 7.47x7.49x4.53 $8701 $13312*SP
1.55 G VS2 61.6% 55% GIA thn-med face no ex ex no 7.45*7.48*4.60 $8819 $13670*S
1.591 G VS2 61.9% 56% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.47-7.49x4.63 $9661 $15371*S
1.54 G VS2 61.7% 56% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.40-7.41x4.57 $10032 $15450*S
1.58 G VS1 60.8% 54% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.58-7.60x4.61 $10762 $17004*S
1.595 G VS1 60.6% 55% AGS thn-med f id id no 7.60-7.62x4.61 $10720 $17099*S
 

vnlong

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
6
Check out GoodoldGold as well... I recently purchased from their and people (me included) love the quality and helpful stuff... Their prices are relativily similar to BN as well... And with your price range you should think about Heart & Arrows diamond... You could get 1.4ish stone with that settting all for about $15k.... That site also provides a WEALTH of information on diamonds, cuts etc...

Good Luck!
 

Perplexity

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
4
Thanks for all the replies so far. Some very helpful posts.

I''ve broadened my search, looking a lot at WF in addition to BN.

I wonder if anybody might comment on a few of the candidates I''ve found.

Two extremely similar (ACA H&A, G, VS2, 1.59ct and 1.54ct) ones:
http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-150436.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-65449.htm

(Why is the smaller one more expensive?)

A substantially cheaper ACA H&A (H, VS1, 1.67ct):
http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-210359.htm

(Not on site yet, so maybe not enough information?)

A BN Signature Ideal (H, VS2, 1.57ct):
http://www.bluenile.com/diamonds_details.asp?__fun_frm=i&pid=LD00902936&filter_id=0

(They have several others with extremely similar stats, this was just the cheapest, and I checked the HCA...)

And another BN Signature Ideal (G, VS1, 1.59ct):
http://www.bluenile.com/diamonds_details.asp?__fun_frm=i&pid=LD00147055&filter_id=0

(There are other, substantially cheaper ones with similar stars... but this was the first with HCA between 1 and 2)

Thanks in advance for any opinions or comments.

Alex
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
The WF one that weighs slightly less could be priced higher for any number of reasons. Could be the cost difference in the rough. Maybe the price of Crude Oil shot up one day causing shipping costs to be higher. Maybe over all production costs increased.

The 3rd WF one you posted might possibly just be coming back from the AGS Grading Lab. When I checked the web page, WF had posted the Ideal Scope image and the ASET, so those are available in addition to the copy of the Cert.

Of the ones you've posted links to,.......... It seems you'd essentially be splitting hairs. Personally, I'd go WF over BN just for the upgrade policy. You never know what the future will hold. Your gal may want to upgrade down the road.

Of the 3 WF stones,......... I'd lean toward the 3rd one. H color is fine for me. It's nearly perfectly round. The cost is lower to go H as opposed G. And I doubt, unless you saw them in person, side by side, you could tell which is G and which is H. Just my thoughts.
 

mrssalvo

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
19,132
I think H would be white enough for most folks. that is a great price for and ACA in that size...
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
Date: 2/6/2007 4:37:49 PM
Author: Perplexity
I think maybe you''re right about the 3rd one just getting back... the AGS report wasn''t up before, but it is now.


I''m pretty tempted by this one, starting to think that H is white enough.


The ASET image looks a little asymmetrical... is that bad?


Reposting the link:


http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-210359.htm


Alex

I noticed that, but I wonder if the diamond was tilted slightly when the pic was shot.

John Pollard talked about diamond photography in one of his presentations. How difficult it is to get the diamond just right for a clean shot of the Ideal Scope and ASET pics. Diamonds, it seems, do not want to cooperate when having their pictures taken.
9.gif


You might want to ask WF about that.
 

diagem

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
5,009
Date: 2/5/2007 8:58:13 PM
Author:Perplexity
Hi all,

I''m planning to buy an engagement ring very soon. Just when I thought I had learned enough to move forward, I came across this board. I''m a little overwhelmed by how much more detailed the information here (both the tutorial and the forums) is than what I''ve read so far, but I''m impressed with the quality of discussion on the boards. Anyway, I have a bunch of questions -- I''d really appreciate responses on any or all of them.

General background -- I''m pretty sure I want a round/brilliant, about 1.5ct (+/- ~0.10ct), budget about $15k all-in (+/- as much as $5k), with simple/classic platinum solitaire setting. Everything else is still sort of vague. So, my questions:

Bluenile vs. other online merchants -- until I found this site I thought BN was the only big name in online diamond sales. I see from the boards that I was wrong. In fact, it seems like posts here talk about BN a lot less than other sites. So, why is BN mentioned less here? Also -- the fact that BN is a fairly large public company makes me confident/trusting about making this huge purchase online -- are there places I can read more about the other companies that will make me feel better about them? Am I losing out a lot by only looking at BN?

Setting questions (I''ve looked mostly at the BN ones, but I imagine these apply to any) -- is 4-prong vs 6-prong a purely aesthetic choice, or is the 4-prong a lot safer, or what? What''s the deal with comfort-fit? What do most people choose on these two questions?

Clarity -- I want a diamond with no visible imperfections to the naked eye, but I don''t care much about imperfections under magnification. It looks to me like this means I should be setting my minimum at VS2. Is this correct?

Color -- I''ve been struck in my BN searches at the drastic price jump for moving up single levels of color, keeping all else constant. Again, I want something that looks colorless to a non-expert, and don''t care too much beyond that. Where should I be setting my minimum? H? Do I have to go to a B&M store and look for myself to decide this issue?

Cut -- What should I be thinking about here? Is the BN ''Signature Ideal'' designation meaningful? Is it overkill? Should I just be entering proportions into the HCA and looking for values between 1 and 2? What aspects of cut are not capture by the HCA score?

Polish/Symmetry -- I haven''t seen too much written about this... I''ve been setting most searches to VG/EX (GIA) / EX/ID (AGSL). Does this sound reasonable given what I''ve written so far?

Dealing with huge selection -- This search on BN brings back 40 diamonds: (Round, 1.41-1.59ct, Ideal, G, VS1/VS2, None/Neg Fluor). Those already seem like pretty tight constraints to me -- how am I supposed to pick one of these 40?

Thanks for any responses!

Alex
Check out Cartier (yes Cartier)..., I read in one thread that they are selling an engagement ring with a 1.5 carat G-VS2 for around $17K.
I still wonder if this is true and realistic!!!

If yes, please inform.....
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Hehe... it was a mistake by Cartier, DiaGem... they did honor the price for that particular transaction, but also clarified that the ring was incorrectly qouted-- real price is 22K.
2.gif


Still, it might be worth calling and seeing if you get the same mistake. hehe
 

Kit

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
501
Date: 2/6/2007 4:37:49 PM
Author: Perplexity
I think maybe you''re right about the 3rd one just getting back... the AGS report wasn''t up before, but it is now.

I''m pretty tempted by this one, starting to think that H is white enough.

The ASET image looks a little asymmetrical... is that bad?

Reposting the link:

http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/A-Cut-Above-H-A-cut-diamond-210359.htm

Alex
I love this stone! I would be shocked if anyone thought it wasn''t perfectly white. As Mara always says about her ACA J, people look at it and think it''s a D...unless your gal is uber-color sensitive she won''t know. I have an I and it looks very white to me. Remember that ideal rounds show less color than fancies too.

Also, maybe try comparing the idealscope and aset images together as they both show the pattern of the hearts and arrows and facets, so perhaps the asymmetry you are seeing is just a product of the stone being off center?

Good luck!!
 
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