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Please help! - Skeptical Engagement Ring Buyer

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tsalyards

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
2
The good news is that I am certain that I have found the girl I wish to marry and be with forever...the bad news is that I am horribly skeptical in terms of buying an engagement ring.

My moral dilemna is as follows:

1) I know full well that diamonds aren''t really that rare and that the price is pretty much commanded by the realities of monopoly. I also realize that the diamond engagement ring is a recent phenomena. These things fund civil war in Africa. YUCK.

2) I don''t want to dissapoint the love of my life by breaking away from tradition. She is still a woman and I want to make "the dream" a reality.

3) While not poor, I''m not rich and don''t believe that starting our life together with an irrational multi-thousand dollar purchase (and the debt associated with such a purchase) is wise.

All of these attributes, as you can well imagine, make me a fairly skeptical buyer and treat for jewelery sales people everywhere


My questions are simple. What should I buy and where should I go while attempting to balance my own moral issues with making my soon to be bride happy and with a lasting token of my love? I am not interested in making an investment in a diamond, I believe that to be a bad investment; I want to make an investment in our future.

Help!

-Tad
 

NetRyder

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
9
LOL..I just posted a similar question. I agree with you totally!

Hopefully, we will find our answers here.
 

photogold

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2003
Messages
31
It sounds like it is not that important for you that your future wife has an beautiful diamond ring, but how does she feel about it? If it is something that would make her happy, then it could be a very good investment.

I agree that it is not smart to go into debt over an engagement but if you do a little reseach here, and on diamondtalk.com you can get a great ring for your money. I was there a year ago. Here is my advice:

Is your girlfriend the kind of person that knows exactly what she wants? Maybe even a little fussy? If so, when you buy a ring, make sure that you can exchange it with full credit, or better yet get a 30 day unconditional refund. That way you can surprise her with a ring, then encourage her to exchange it for exactly what she wants in the same price range or maybe a little higher. Be sure to consider whether a wedding band will match. I think it is best to buy a matching set to avoid the need to get a custom fitted wedding band later.

Buy a loose diamond, not one already set on a ring.

Dont compromise on cut quality, especially if it is a round brilliant.

If you are trying to save money, you don't have to get top clarity, as long as it is eye clean. A VS2 or SI1 is usually fine, some may even consider higher clarities a waste of money. Color is subjective, but see for yourself, many people are happy with I or J colors at a much lower cost, but some people prefer icey white D or E. See for yourself.

Many people are very happy with the online vendors that post on this forum, you can use pricescope to check for the best price. I you want a 30 day refund policy you might check bluenile.com. goodoldgold.com has a great tutorial section.

Good luck
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
I fully agree with you.... However, your girl will never say to you (or maybe

that she likes diamond rings.... It will not be kind from her since it's a gift from you.
I would recommand buying her a gold ring, pave on the side (it will more
brillant than a lot of rings, and cheaper) with a diamond around 0.80, color
no higher than H, SI1 clarity, round, well cut (but not ideal) with a large
table (around 61 or 62)..... You'll be able to find such a ring for 2500$US without taxes
if you take time to search for it....
The diamond would be around 6 mm in diameter which is surely large enough to be
noticed (remember that a 1 ct stone is around 6.4 in diameter)...

Trichrome.
 

shurikt

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
51

That's an interesting question Tad. If you'll let me do a little unlicensed psychoanalysis, I think you want to rationalize the diamond purchase...look where you've asked the question!


I do know a girl who's fiancee gave her the downpayment on a house for an engagement gift instead of a ring. She was thrilled. She told everybody about it. Everybody! But I think I could detect a hint of pain there, too. What fun is it to have to tell everybody you're engaged, instead of letting them see a sparkly new diamond on your ring finger?


As for not going into debt to buy a marketing driven symbol of your commitment, I'm with you, brother. A bunch of marriages break up because of arguments about money; maybe DeBeers can put that in their campaign somewhere. Starting out by demonstrating some fiscal restraint sounds like a pretty good symbol of your commitment. But it's not nearly as sparkly, is it? Also, diamonds don't have to be >6mm in diameter to be beautiful. If it's the thought that counts, buy her a little chip and offer to upgrade it later. (She never will).


But the bottom line is: It ain't about you, man. It's about her. Does she need a diamond ring? Will a plastic spider ring work? How about a downpayment on a condo? In reality, if she loves you she'll say "yes" no matter what you hand her (well, within reason). But 25 years from now, wouldn't you like her to still be wearing that diamond that you had to work two jobs to pay for?

If you haven't already, sift through these forums and check out some of the informational websites that they point to. Pretty soon you'll be wanting to purchase a diamond just because you know so much more about them than everybody else does.

Good luck.
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,143
Hi, Tad:

It seems there are two issues at hand: 1) you don't want to go into irrational debt, and 2) it violates your principles to feel like you "HAVE" to do this just because of a successful marketing scheme courtesy of the diamond industry.

Addressing the latter issue--principle--first: Let me just be blunt on this one....let it go. Diamonds aren't rare, it's true. Yeah, you're also right that the diamond engagement ring is a recent tradition....but the tradition of giving in betrothal isn't....the gift has simply changed to diamonds rather than dowry or payment. There will be plenty of other opportunities in life to stand on principle without disappointing your girl.

HOWEVER....important to note: Most couples have actually talked several times about marriage before a proposal....very seldom does it come out the clear blue. My beloved and I are on the way to marriage and have spoken of it several times, and we've discussed the importance of a ring, a payment for a house, etc. We both know that we are going to be engaged and married, but we don't feel that talking about is ruining the surprise; we both believe it will still be special and exciting when we make it "official".

My point is: have a *general* discussion with her to find out how important a ring is to her. Talking this way won't ruin the surprise or thrill of getting engaged when it happens. You may find out she doesn't want a huge ring, which solves your dilemma about a multi-thousand $$ purchase. Find out how important a ring is to her, what she wants....discuss that trade-offs that a "honking" ring might mean in terms of a house, future, etc. You may be pleasantly surprised....not all women want a killer boulder ring, especially it means a tradeoff in living space. Many are happy to have a modest ring, and some PREFER non-diamond rings like sapphires, etc.

Regarding not wanting to go into long-term debt, that's a smart concern, and if she knows you well (which I'm sure she does if you're considering marriage), she'll understand how you feel about this. Many great suggestions earlier....the ring can always be upgraded if desired down the line. Believe me, a well-cut .5 carat diamond is a stunner and won't break the bank....any of the three diamond below would be gorgeous and can be had for less than $2,000.











0 (H&A)
A Cut Above

1.1-EX
ex-ex-ex-vg





















$1563*










0 (H&A)
A Cut Above

1-EX
ex-ex-ex-vg





















$1729*










0 (H&A)
A Cut Above

1.1-EX
ex-ex-ex-vg





















$1729*

 

dfujita

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
5
Mr. X

I feel exactly the same way. I don't believe I just spent 3500 for a piece of rock. Its amazing!!!

I'd have to say the rock was very impressive and I really look forward to seeing it on her. Having a beautiful rock on her finger just shows my love for her even more I think. It doesnt matter what you really get her. Its all up to you.

I just wanna make sure people know that I wasn't cheap about something big to this person. Im 100% sure she will love it.
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792
Resolving "the moral issue" (read "Conflict Diamonds") is easy enough... Buy the diamond from a legitimate source that doesn't deal in black market rough. We are compliant with the Kimberly Diamond Act of 2003 and only purchase polished diamonds from DeBeers DTC Site Holders and those that purchase from them.

Resolving the financial issue is not so easy. Follow your heart, talk to your bride, share your concerns and see how she feels... Consider using her birthstone or another colored gem that she likes, however I will tell you that those are more likely to be sourced from conflict sources than diamonds these days... And they are likely to be treated in a variety of manners, some which I don't mind like heating the gems to improve the color and others which I do like oiling and fracture filling. We source colored gems as well as diamonds, so feel to email me with any questions you may have [email protected] and I will answer to the best of my ability or direct you to somebody who can...
 

Greg G

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Messages
36
I hear you in a big way! I had no clue how much this getting married stuff costs - kinda blew me away. Besides the cost of the ring is the cost of this little party called the wedding. As somone who doesn't even like going to weddings it's kinda hard to do. Neither of our families would be so thrilled by my first choice of it being just the two of us in Hawaii. But I get off topic...

When I first started looking into the ring purchse I equated buying a ring as burning a handfull of thousand dollar bills and tossing the ashes into the wind. My next stage was to consider it closer to buying a 50 year bond for my grand children so I need to find the perfect stone. After a week of research and trying to understand all this stuff I've mellowed a bit further. The way I look at it is that it's something that will make my girl very very happy and since I love her, that's the way I want her to be. The fact that I can't understand why a very expensive shiny rock on her finger makes her happy really has nothing to do with it. That it costs as much as 3 or 4 big screen TVs makes no difference. To her, the big TV seems like a total waste of money. I guess it's just a Mars/Venus thing. I will tell you that when I want to buy a big TV there will be no veto power allowed
.

I think I'm getting a better attuide about all this - does it sound that way at all?


Good luck with going through the process!

-Greg

PS - As far as being worried about where the diamond comes from, one of mylocal jewlers here sells Canadian diamonds that seem really nice to me (though the store is a bit pricey). The cool thing is that they come with a certificate issued by the Canadian governent saying that it was mined in Canada, when it was mined, and when it was cut. It's pretty much a sure thing that the diamond was never owned by anyone else as well if that makes you feel good.
 

pupnut2002

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
1
Like alot of others you are questioning the whole diamond thing. From personal experience I have found that alot of women today are really interested in different and personal when it comes to an engagement ring. There have been alot of requests for a semi mount with the bride to be's birthstone instead of the traditional diamond for the main stone of the ring. And with alot of birthstones you can design a beautiful and very touching engagement ring. If the birthstone isn't a favorite you can always choose one that is. I designed a diamond semi mount for my daughter for her grad ring and she wears it more than her actual engagement ring with her wedding band. There are alot of alternatives out there and the best way to be sure it will be a treasured item you are best to get her opinion on the matter or ask someone that is as close to her heart as you are. I hope that my reply is helpful to you and your soon to be bride. Best of luck to the both of you.

Shelly
 

okaynow

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 15, 2003
Messages
31
Warning, the following may contain many negative vibes.

First let me say that I can completely relate to what you are saying. The only thing that I see worth spending money on in this whole hoopla is the honeymoon - probably the cheapest part of the big three(wedding, ring, honeymoon).

However the big three is culture Americana. There is really little getting around it. My advice to you is to set a budget, screw research(it will only make you increase your budget), and get the whitest and biggest diamond you can within that budget from an e-store with a lifetime upgrade policy. Forget cut. Sparkle attracts too much attention. In some areas it's an advertisement for getting jumped and robbed.
Don't come back here and read up after you purchase a stone. Live life in ignorant diamond knowledge bliss. If your wife ever wants a better diamond in the future, take advantage of the upgrade policy.

As for me, I've researched too much for my own good. I'm about to blow many grand on a stone that will take me forever to pay off.

I have no clue how I'm going to pay for the wedding or the honeymoon(her mom doesn't have enough money for a wedding). Luckily we already own a house.

---this part has been edited out- i think i got to negative---


I try and get a ring within my budget. So I search for a J, SI2 and people here tell me not to ever go below SI1 and H color...not only that, but it's ALL ABOUT CUT. what If I can't afford a damn SI1 H Ideal?. Well she doesn’t want a tiny shiny diamond. She wants a decent size stone that she won't feel insecure about. What else can I do but go into debt... So I went into debt big time(at least as much as my visa's limit would allow). Even in the end I still had to settle for an SI2.

Now how the hell are we going to afford the wedding? After I asked her to marry me she said, "you know, you just opened a whole new can of worms."
She was right.


Thank God for Credit cards.
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
Okaynow,

First I completely disagree with you. You don't need to buy an Ideal Cut diamond BUT
you need to buy a diamond that is well cut... If you don't, you'll end up with something
that doesnt look like a diamond. What gives all diamonds their beauty is the way they were
cut! Also, J color would be fine in a gold setting. SI2 can still be eyeclean. So I agree
that a J, SI2 stone would be good looking if properly cut. My advice is to go with
larger tables, making the diamond looking bigger and more brillant but don't sacrifice
all aspects of cut just for the weight..... you'll end up with for example a 90 pointers
looking like a 75 pointer. However, as someone pointed out, 50 pointers are excellent choices.
Put them into any kind of illusion setting and you have a winner.

Greg,

If money is important for you, don't buy a Canadian diamond.... You'll pay a huge premium
because most of them are AGS0 plus because they were mined in Canada. If you're
on a budget, it's not a good option.

Good luck all,
Trichrome. (Born in Canada)
 

farfalla

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
2
I think whatever decision you make will be a good one, I suggest in terms of buying a rock, I would buy a canadian one,that way its not an african one.
That is what my fiancee did and I loved it! so will she trust me on this one.
things you should keep in mind is quality of the ring, trust the jewellery store your buying it from, and the stone clarity, and colour are important, make sure that you have certified documents as well on the ring value etc..thats what I have.
I hope that this helps, good luck
 

tsalyards

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
2
Thank you very much for all of your replies. The information presented has been very helpful. As far as e-shops go, what do you all recommend?

-Tad
 

Amazonrock

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
2
two words

Cubic Zirconium.

She gets the big ring, and no one will ever know the difference. Put that house payment down and invest for the future. Going into debt in a bad economy is irresponsible, upgrade to a real thing as your investment climbs in value while everyone else is struggling to make their next 20% interest credit card payment.

I am going to buy a big diamond personally, but I resigned myself to this fact at a young age when I told my mother and sister that I would not buy a big ring, but instead would spend it on a honeymoon. After recovering from the severe beating;-) and having planned for it for a long time I have made a rational decision to make this one insane purchase as a financial demonstration of my commitment to her.

Stay strong, and have open communication about what she values, hopefully it's not living beyond your means and being stressed and overburdenned with debt.

AR
 

the_whip

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
2
I have many of the same issues as the originator of this thread and am actually contemplating a sapphire instead of a diamond, so it's interesting you bring this up. My question, though, is this: are sapphires free of the ethical issues that hang over conflict diamonds? Any info will be appreciated...
 

pqcollectibles

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
3,441
Cut Heart is right. Everyone will reccommend the Vendor they used. I bought from White Flash and they were great. DBOF also has a good reputation. As does Good Old Gold, Nice Ice, and many others.

Search past Forum threads by Vendor name and read other's personal experiences. Check out each Vendor's return, refund, and upgrade policies. Email and chat with a few. They aren't 2 headed monsters waiting to steal your money. I chatted with several before selecting my diamond. Every Vendor I spoke with was very knowlegeable, friendly, professional, and most of all, not pushy! Find one you are comfortable working with.

Chat with your girl first. Find out what she wants and then set a price point you are comfortable working with. Tri is right. You will be amazed at what you can achieve if you keep CUT as your top priority. There have been more than a few folk with budgets around/under $2000 that get much more amazing rings than they thought possible by shopping with Price Scope Vendors.


Good Luck in your search!
 

valeria101

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Messages
15,809
Canada? Australia? Those did not have wars recently, but do have plenty of diamonds. Canadian diamonds came at a premium (intended for responsible buyers like you!), but Australia provides some politically correct merchandise as well. If you don't want to breack the bank than there are plenty of options... so, regardless of source, it all comes down to a budget and your willingness to trade color for clarity. To get an idea or prices, the search on the front page of pricescope is quite good. Champagne (Aussie speciality) and light yellow diamonds (Y-Z range) are even cheaper. Can't wait to see what happens with your purchase! After all, what does your girl want? Do you know? After all, showing up with a small, brown thing just because it is a diamond might do more harm than good, and a small Australian pink could do wanders regardless of dot-like size. Canadian diamonds are mainstream goods: it all is a matter of choice. Take a pick here:WW1, WW2, WW3, WWW4 I like the shop, but you can get better prices, this is trully just a sample (no recommendation included).
 

canadiangrrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
787
You've received some excellent advice already, but I will add that as a very thrifty female, I did not want my brand-new fiance to incur even one dollar of debt to purchase my new engagement ring. My philosophy on consumer debt is that it should be incurred only for essentials - a house, a car, maybe an investment or two - but an engagement ring is just not an essential.

Maybe your girlfriend is of the same mindset - as Aljdewey stated, you will only find out what her thoughts are on the matter if you have an open and honest discussion about her expectations. Ya never know, she may surprise you.
 

hoorray

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2003
Messages
2,798
I have lots of friends who do not have traditional solitare e-rings. There are many alternatives to the traditional e-ring. Channel set or pave bands, other stones, or just a single wedding band, etc. I agree 100% on not going into debt at this point in your lives. You will have many birthdays and annyversaries to bestow gems in the future.


My husband and I took a different approach to prioritizing the $$ of getting married issue. We took a simple honeymoon instead of a big exotic one, and saved lots of money. 17 years and many trips all over the world later, we still think of that as our best trip -- mostly because it was our honeymoon, and it doesn't really matter where you are, you are just elated to be there together! Also, it gets rid of one of the major planning burdens during the wedding planning phase, and you don't have to go from an exhausting wedding phase to megatravel to get to where ever you are going.

So...think outside of the box, and do what is right for the 2 of you. Tradition is great to a point, but this is one time in your life where you should focus on what is right for the two of you. Include her in the conversation, and you are sure to come up with the right thing.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Actually lop makes a good point. Nowadays an engagement ring does not need to be a big rock on a solitaire to make it so. I have seen some really beautiful rings that could be engagement or even double as a wedding ring, that have diamonds in them, or diamonds and another type of stone.




For example, if you want to go for a little brand name recognition and a cool design, I really love the Elsa Peretti double wire diamond ring from Tiffany. I think it's $1000. It's really cool looking, it's got diamonds in it, and its an exclusive design. To me..if I was not a big diamond girl, that would be an awesome engagement ring (and maybe even wedding). Or something similar to this in terms of one big chunky ring with a pattern, say the beautiful diamond filigree rings that you see around now, very old style and classy, with as swirly flower pattern in diamonds set amdist a 5mm or so band. Really pretty. More bang for your buck because the pave look costs less and gives you more visual sparkle--but still keeps it simple and classy.




Or you can do something like a 5 stone ring for the e-ring (and get a simple band for wedding) and make it sapphires and diamonds or something. Keep the stones small, the 5 stone ring lets you do that and still gives max visual impact. For example, you could do something like a 1ctw 5 stone ring, with each stone being around .20c each, and do something like ACA stones (super ideal H&A)s which come in such small sizes, for around $400 for each stone (est. H SI1 quality), that's $2000 and if you can find a basic 5 stone setting that isn't designer, maybe a few hundred extra for the setting. Then you're done! Or you can do something like 3 diamonds and 2 sapphires for the 5 stone. Or another colored stone that she finds beautiful.




Or even do something like a sapphire or a ruby as the center stone flanked by two diamonds and make it a 3 stone ring. This would be much cheaper and very beautiful. I adore sapphires (blue) and also aquamarines, if I wasn't a diamond girl, I would have LOVED a beautiful emerald cut aquamarine flanked with something like 2 smaller diamonds. Aquamarines are very very reasonable in price and so beautiful to look at, and the accent diamonds are petty cash when compared with getting a bigger solitaire. What are her favorite colors? Maybe you can find a stone and do a combo 3 stone like this that would combine diamonds and colored stones. One of my old bosses had a very beautiful 3 stone ring with a sapphire as the center stone, it was very eye catching, and she got tons of compliments on it. It was her wedding ring, from way back in 'the family'.




I hear what you are saying, and if you girl wants a sparkly ring, there are other options than just the big stone on a plain band or similar. Break it up, get creative. There are also plain pave bands, they have very thin stacking ones, she can get a few of those. Or one really chunky one. Or just an eternity ring. I would try to do a little investigative reporting, find out what she likes. If she is a traditional girl, maybe a solitaire is best. But if she is interested in things out of the ordinary...she may be really game try something different on for size.




The story of the woman whose fiance gave her the dp on a house is excellent. I would love a dp on our new house. BUT I'd still want some sort of ring. So he gives me $10k in cash for the house? I'd rather have $9k for the house and $1k spent on something cool and cute, like the double wire EP ring (I have alwys loved that ring) , so I have the best of both worlds, and the knowledge that we were smart about where our money went. A good start to a future!!





Best of luck!
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
Hi,

You sound a lot like my husband! He pretty much is NOT a diamond fan for all the same reasons and especially cringes at the idea of purchasing a diamond when we can put money into investment properties. He has bought me some beautiful jewelry over the years. Not many peices, but a few nice baubles, like a pair of diamond earrings for my 30th b-day. He also bought me a great/well cut diamond when we became engaged. . .but, this is about it for diamonds!

What it comes down to is compromise. If she wants a diamond, get her one! Find the BEST quality diamond with a great cut/color and spend money on it this once. Giving her a gorgeous stone she'll enjoy the rest of her life is what it's all about. Don't get her an itty bitty .10 stone she'll want to upgrade in a few years, forcing you to deal with these skeptical issues again. Get her THE BEST you can afford (like a Whiteflash ACA stone, biggest size/nicest color within your price range). Splurge once and then MOVE ON and enjoy your life with your future wife


But, as a side note. . .DOES she want a diamond? Have you asked her? Talk to her too! Having her involved in the process is the BEST way to make sure you both are happy about your purchase. You two are going to spend the rest of your lives working your finances together and working on the eng. ring is an excellent way to start practicing your negotiation skills


Michelle
 

Caratz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
222
----------------
On 1/30/2003 5:36:07 PM tsalyards wrote:

The good news is that I am certain that I have found the girl I wish to marry and be with forever...the bad news is that I am horribly skeptical in terms of buying an engagement ring.

My moral dilemna is as follows:

1) I know full well that diamonds aren't really that rare and that the price is pretty much commanded by the realities of monopoly. I also realize that the diamond engagement ring is a recent phenomena. These things fund civil war in Africa. YUCK.

2) I don't want to dissapoint the love of my life by breaking away from tradition. She is still a woman and I want to make 'the dream' a reality.

3) While not poor, I'm not rich and don't believe that starting our life together with an irrational multi-thousand dollar purchase (and the debt associated with such a purchase) is wise.

My questions are simple. What should I buy and where should I go while attempting to balance my own moral issues with making my soon to be bride happy and with a lasting token of my love? I am not interested in making an investment in a diamond, I believe that to be a bad investment; I want to make an investment in our future.

Help!

-Tad----------------



You are right -- it is wise to avoid digging yourself into a deep debt hole. If you do, it will cause too much stress to your marriage, particularly if the purchase is one that you have reservations about. There's no point in keeping with tradition, or trying to make "the dream" a reality, if in so doing you set yourself up for big problems down the road.

In terms of what you should buy: Much depends on your lady, on what her priorities are, on what makes her happy, and on how much she cares about what other people might think. I think there are hundred of ways to make an engagement a more romantic experience without having to blow thousands of dollars you don't have. But if she expects something very specific . . .
 
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