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Poor Grad Student & $1000 Engagement Diamond Help

SamuelS

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
24
Hello all,
I am new to the world of diamonds, jewelry, and all things engagement. Need some recommendations because this is out of my wheel house. Let's set some context.

1. I am a grad student with $1300 saved for an engagement ring (setting + diamond)
2. I want a white gold solitaire setting with a round central diamond
3. I am not aware of many good websites for purchasing rings
4. I've begun to understand the 4C's and have come upon this (feel free to comment): 0.6-0.75 Carats ; Cut = Excellent to Ideal ; Clarity = VS1-2 ; Color = E-F

Any advice?
 

Taylorbug!

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
1,222
@SamuelS Welcome to PS. =)2

Here is a nice stone and white gold setting within your budget.



Not sure what your timeline is like, but JA runs 20% off sales on their stones periodically. Possibly for Labor Day. ;)2
 

seaurchin

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
Messages
1,275
Cut is usually considered the most important for best diamond appearance so I'd go with ideal on that.

Color difference is usually not noticeable in the higher grades. I had a set of jeweler CZ color testing stones and could not tell the difference between an E and and H or I, for example. So I'd consider lower color.

VS2 should be fine on clarity.

Also, if you meant to post under the "man made diamonds" section, I'd add that you could also look at moissanite.

If you decide on a mined diamond, the same online shops often offer the same diamonds for sale rather than have them onsite, so you can often get the very same diamond at a lower price. I've used Adiamor twice through the years because of the lower pricing.

Good luck! Please let us know what you get. We have been known to beg for pics.
 
Last edited:

SamuelS

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
24
@SamuelS Welcome to PS. =)2

Here is a nice stone and white gold setting within your budget.



Not sure what your timeline is like, but JA runs 20% off sales on their stones periodically. Possibly for Labor Day. ;)2
Thanks so much!! Do you think I should wait until Black Friday/Christmas time? Don't need it until May of next year
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Messages
6,584
If your intended wouldn't mind, would you consider proposing with a simple band now, and in the future, give her the gift of a diamond ring on an anniversary.
 

Taylorbug!

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
1,222
Thanks so much!! Do you think I should wait until Black Friday/Christmas time? Don't need it until May of next year
I think it would be beneficial to wait, it that works with your timeline. Keep a check on JA site as they run sales pretty often or you can get a coupon code for the discount.

 

sparklyshrink

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
34
I agree with checking out Lightbox. You can get a 1 carat RB for 900-1000 depending on the setting. I have a LB one carat that is very pretty and faces up super white (is in a WG setting and looks good), no visible inclusions. The only thing is you might have to order a few and return them until you get a really good cut. From what I understand the cuts vary between very good and excellent.
 

SamuelS

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
24
I agree with checking out Lightbox. You can get a 1 carat RB for 900-1000 depending on the setting. I have a LB one carat that is very pretty and faces up super white (is in a WG setting and looks good), no visible inclusions. The only thing is you might have to order a few and return them until you get a really good cut. From what I understand the cuts vary between very good and excellent.
I'm not seeing engagement rings on the website? How would I go about making one?
 

m-cubed

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
47
I'm not seeing engagement rings on the website? How would I go about making one?
DeBeers is positioning Lightbox as fun, fashion jewelry, so you won't find engagement rings there. They want you to buy a mined diamond for that, at 5-6x the price. So you would buy a Lightbox diamond and have it reset by a local jeweler into a ring. You can have them make a custom setting or pick from a catalog of settings provided by a third party such as Stuller. I've seen some really gorgeous Stuller settings, so that's a good option in my opinion.

I bought two Lightbox diamonds and had them reset into platinum earrings by a local jeweler. Was pretty easy.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,891

Lessics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
427
I wouldn't get a Lightbox Diamond. With them you have to jump through so many hoops and can't be sure of the cut, color or clarity. Also be careful with Labgrown that are Colors H-Z they often have weird undertones.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
626
@SamuelS have you spoken to your SO about what they would like to prioritise in an engagement ring? For eg I see that you’re looking at E-F colours and 0.6-0.75 size, but it could be possible to go a bit lower in colour H-I and bigger in size 0.9ish (or 1ct if you go the lightbox route). Whether you should do that is a call you and your future fiancée should take! Lightbox is much cheaper (even factoring in the cost of getting a setting elsewhere) at that bigger size, but they’re uncerted so you have to take De Beers’ word for it. It is a pretty great bargain (in my opinion) at that budget though, since you’ll get the 1ct stone + 10kt gold setting for ~1k and a simple solitaire setting by Stuller is roughly ~400? So all in all with labour you’ll be at max 1.1k. And that’s before discounts - they have a signup discount, plus there are always Lightbox sales going on. However, if you both want a really superbly cut, icy white stone and you’re happy with a smaller size, then you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

Things that might help you make a decision:
- HCA tool here on PS can help you see if the angles work together on your stone, you get 3 free results so maybe use this as a second step
- diamondscreener’s cut estimator tool helps you determine what GIA and AGS grade your diamond would’ve gotten using a few metrics from the report. It’s also free but HCA is more discerning I believe, so use it to help you narrow down your search before running the finalists through HCA. I ran diamondscreener for both the stones you posted. The first one (59% table) was within both GIA Ex and AGS Ideal (which is great and what you want to see). The second one (55% table) was not, so I wouldn’t consider that one esp if you want something beautifully cut.
- check out Good Old Gold videos on YouTube to check your sensitivity to diamond colour. You might find that youre happy to go much lower in colour than you think! It’s obviously not as accurate as seeing it with your own two eyes but I do think that it helps.
- check out diamdb to compare what a 0.7ct vs a 1.0ct will look like on the hand (it’s even more accurate if you know the length of your fiancée’s finger and ring size). Might help you pin down the size you want.

Good luck! Sorry I wrote an essay lol.
 

sparklyshrink

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
34
Yeah. Lightbox white diamonds, from what I understand, are all very good or excellent cut, vs1/vs2, and G-J in color. The one I have is super white, def whiter than my H color mined diamond. So that's why you might want to order one, check it out, return if you don't like. It's a bit more labor intensive but you def will not be able to find a cheaper 1 ct with those stats anywhere else. Here's a forum post about Lightbox diamonds that were graded by GIA, if you're interested:

 

123ducklings

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
313
Great advice given already. I think it will help you narrow your search to consider:

1. Is the recipient excited about a lab diamond?
2. How important is size?

If size/finger coverage is a priority, a Lightbox 1ct round purchased through Reed’s or Bloomingdales on sale and then reset locally is probably the best value. The setting it comes in can be scrapped by your local jeweler or pawned for the metal.

If size is not important, most Pricescopers will recommend an ideal cut to maximize sparkle, so you should use angles and the HCA tool as a screening tool. You can browse rarecarat for stones, and since you have a healthy timeline I’d also watch James Allen and wait for a sale. They run 25% off sales pretty regularly.
 

mrs-b

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
7,672
@SamuelS -

Firstly - before we go anywhere - can you please clarify -

Are you looking for a man made diamond? You've posted a man-made diamond above. Please clarify this FIRST.
 

SamuelS

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
24
Yeah. Lightbox white diamonds, from what I understand, are all very good or excellent cut, vs1/vs2, and G-J in color. The one I have is super white, def whiter than my H color mined diamond. So that's why you might want to order one, check it out, return if you don't like. It's a bit more labor intensive but you def will not be able to find a cheaper 1 ct with those stats anywhere else. Here's a forum post about Lightbox diamonds that were graded by GIA, if you're interested:

how expensive was your setting?
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,678
If I were buying a silver-colored ring right now, I would get it in platinum instead of white gold. Gold is currently very expensive--twice the price of platinum per oz. (The price of gold goes up and down depending on the economy and other factors, sometimes dramatically--for example, right now it's more than four times what it was 20 years ago.) Platinum is heavier than gold, so you need more of it (by weight) to make the same size ring, but a platinum setting should still be cheaper right now than a white gold one, and many people prefer the look and feel of platinum to that of white gold.

Another white metal to consider is silver, though this would be an unconventional choice, and I wouldn't do it without consulting your intended. Silver is currently MUCH less expensive than gold (or platinum). It's not the best metal for making an elaborate or very delicate setting, but if you and she wanted something simple, it could work. I wear a 1 1/2 carat diamond in a simple silver setting made by an etsy craftsperson. If your future fiancee likes the idea, you could even set the diamond in silver now, and then later on, when you have more money to spend on rings or when the price of gold has fallen, have put it in a new setting for her. That would let you put more of the cost toward a diamond.

I agree that Lightbox is a great economical choice. You would buy one of their 1 carat pendants, and if you liked the diamond, you would have a jeweler take it out of its mounting and put it in a ring setting. You have enough time to order and return pendants until you find one with a diamond you're happy with.

Another great choice might be an antique. There are wonderful old pieces available on eBay, etsy, and other sources, sometimes for much less money than a new ring, though it might take some looking to find a good one. (The folks here and on the antique jewelry forum would probably be happy to help.) Your fiancee would have to be open to this idea and not creeped out by wearing a "used ring," though.

Have you discussed your plans with your future fiancee, or are you planning it as a surprise? Does s/he like the idea of a manmade diamond? What are her preferences--does she want the diamond to be as big as possible, or would she prefer a smaller, natural stone? What kind of settings does she like?
 

sparklyshrink

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
34
how expensive was your setting?
Oh, sorry! I bought a 1ct lightbox necklace and wear it as a necklace. I already had my e-ring by the time I discovered LB or even MMDs... my poor fiance horribly overpaid for a mined RB diamond, though it is beautiful and I will always cherish that ring since he picked it out. But I digress, my LB diamond will stay in the necklace setting and I love it as a complementary necklace to go with my e-ring. It is a beautiful stone!

Here are some pics of it (my lightbox diamond necklace)



I hope that helps!
 

123ducklings

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
313
If you want to go the Lightbox route you can look at Stuller settings, choose one you like, and call around to jewelers in your area for quotes (Stuller is a wholesaler so you’d ask for the local jewelers to quote you a price for the setting and to set a stone you provide)

https://www.stuller.com/search/results/?query=Solitaire+engagement+ring+


You can also make a post on the preloved forum to see if anyone is selling a 1ct solitaire setting, and check loupetroop

https://www.pricescope.com/community/forums/preloved-ps-jewels.92/
 

SamuelS

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
24
If I were buying a silver-colored ring right now, I would get it in platinum instead of white gold. Gold is currently very expensive--twice the price of platinum per oz. (The price of gold goes up and down depending on the economy and other factors, sometimes dramatically--for example, right now it's more than four times what it was 20 years ago.) Platinum is heavier than gold, so you need more of it (by weight) to make the same size ring, but a platinum setting should still be cheaper right now than a white gold one, and many people prefer the look and feel of platinum to that of white gold.

Another white metal to consider is silver, though this would be an unconventional choice, and I wouldn't do it without consulting your intended. Silver is currently MUCH less expensive than gold (or platinum). It's not the best metal for making an elaborate or very delicate setting, but if you and she wanted something simple, it could work. I wear a 1 1/2 carat diamond in a simple silver setting made by an etsy craftsperson. If your future fiancee likes the idea, you could even set the diamond in silver now, and then later on, when you have more money to spend on rings or when the price of gold has fallen, have put it in a new setting for her. That would let you put more of the cost toward a diamond.

I agree that Lightbox is a great economical choice. You would buy one of their 1 carat pendants, and if you liked the diamond, you would have a jeweler take it out of its mounting and put it in a ring setting. You have enough time to order and return pendants until you find one with a diamond you're happy with.

Another great choice might be an antique. There are wonderful old pieces available on eBay, etsy, and other sources, sometimes for much less money than a new ring, though it might take some looking to find a good one. (The folks here and on the antique jewelry forum would probably be happy to help.) Your fiancee would have to be open to this idea and not creeped out by wearing a "used ring," though.

Have you discussed your plans with your future fiancee, or are you planning it as a surprise? Does s/he like the idea of a manmade diamond? What are her preferences--does she want the diamond to be as big as possible, or would she prefer a smaller, natural stone? What kind of settings does she like?
I am thinking of going the Lightbox route but have some questions for everyone.

1. Is there a big difference between 0.7 and 1.0 carat? (my soon to be fiancé's ring size is 5.5)
2. I wouldn't know if the necklace diamond I got was good or not, how could I tell? Should I just take it to a jeweler and ask his/her opinion?
 

123ducklings

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
313
You can use this simulator to compare sizes
https://www.diamdb.com/compare/1ct-round-6.5x6.5x3.92-vs-0.7ct-round-5.77x5.77x3.48/

In short, if it looks good to you when you see it in person it’s a good diamond. But if you click around this site a bit you can go way deep into cut angles and idealscope imaging. I wouldn’t ask a jeweler as they have an incentive to sell you on their own diamond, and many jewelers will be disparaging about lab diamonds if you give them an opening.
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,678
I am thinking of going the Lightbox route but have some questions for everyone.

1. Is there a big difference between 0.7 and 1.0 carat? (my soon to be fiancé's ring size is 5.5)
2. I wouldn't know if the necklace diamond I got was good or not, how could I tell? Should I just take it to a jeweler and ask his/her opinion?
The difference between a .7 and a 1 carat is easy to see. Whether it's an important difference will depend on what you and your partner think, and to some extent on what size diamonds people in your circles are wearing.

To figure out whether the diamond is good enough for you, you could try one of these methods:

1. Get an ideal scope and follow the directions on the website (or those given in many, many threads on this site) for using it to evaluate the diamond.
(The "beginner's model" should be fine for your purposes.)

2. Look at the diamond with your eyes. See if you like it. You probably will--Lightbox diamonds are all near colorless, high clarity, and very good or excellent cut. That will make it better looking than the majority of diamonds you see in jewelry stores or on fingers. People on this website like to fuss endlessly about very tiny differences that most people would never notice.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
626
I am thinking of going the Lightbox route but have some questions for everyone.

1. Is there a big difference between 0.7 and 1.0 carat? (my soon to be fiancé's ring size is 5.5)
2. I wouldn't know if the necklace diamond I got was good or not, how could I tell? Should I just take it to a jeweler and ask his/her opinion?
I took a screenshot of the diamdb page after setting your fiancée’s ring size that @123ducklings posted. To my eye there is a huge difference between the two!

In terms of evaluating whether the diamond is good or not, don’t go by what the jeweler says to you. Most of them tend to disparage lab diamonds or diamonds you haven’t bought through them. It’s better to present the diamond to them as a fait accompli. You will need a bench jeweler to set your stone, so don’t go to a mall store like Zales or Jared, call up the local mom and pop jewelers in your area, ask if they carry Stuller settings (I think the cheapest option) or ask them to quote you a price for the style of your choice in a 1ct, and then take a call. Honestly I would go by eye, as others have mentioned, or if you really want to go the extra mile get the ideal scope that @glitterata mentioned. Though in my opinion your eye is just fine. I’ve learned what the tools are after coming here, but I’ve basically never used them for myself - I prefer to just get what I like and hang the difference.

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