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Popping the big question - budget buyer

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needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Hello Everyone,

I am going to pop the big question soon. OK - The first step in the engagement process has been completed. Now on to the 2nd step: I NEED A RING. I don''t think my budget is near what most people on this board are willing to pay.

I am finishing up college this summer and my GF will be finshing up shortly after me. I am limited in my budget but not as limited as a typical student since I have been working full time for the last year or so. That being said, my GF does not want a big ring or anything extravigant. That is good because I do not have a lot to spend.

She has made comments in the past about 3 stone princess cut rings as being to her liking. After lurking these boards for a while and looking at a few in the stores I have decided the minimum specs I am looking for is atleast a J Color and I1/SI3 Clarity. A Carat TW around 1 - 1.5 would also be good.

Like I said I really do not need anything to extravagant. I do not think it even has to be certified. I am mainly concerned with the quality I will be receiving and getting the best deal possble for my money.

Does anyone have any comments as to how I should proceed? What can I expect to pay for a ring like I described? I have looked on ebay and saw some at OK prices, does anyone recommend this route? What about any recommended jewelers in St. Pete/Clearwater area that can offer a good deal?

Thanks all for your comments!
 

Talonnav

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Messages
110
Hi!

Please go read www.goodoldgold.com. Everything you wanted to know and needed to know about diamonds is on that website.

If it were me, I would not be pleased with a highly included low on the color scale larger diamond. I think it might be best to determine what you can spend on a diamond and then get a nice medium of the 4 C's. Cut is most important, and I'm not talking about the shape of the diamond.

Sounds like your girlfriend doesn't want a stone in the 1 to 1.5 carat range. How about a nice 1/2 carat diamond? You can always upgrade to a larger stone down the road. I'm in the middle of upgrading my original e-ring diamond as we speak.

Even though I do buy & sell on ebay, I just wouldn't buy my diamonds off ebay. On the other hand there are a few internet diamond sellers I would recommend.

All I can say is read more about diamonds before making a decision.


Heather
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Hi heather,

thanks for the info. Well, you are right, she would not like a 1 CT stone. I was referring to the total weight being 1 CT - 1.5 CT.

I am looking at 3 stone princess cut rings. Maybe like a .5 center with .25 sides. A little larger would be nice if possible. That is why I said 1.5 CT.

Anyone else have suggestions or advice for me? As I said earlier, I don't think it matters if the diamond is certified. I would just like to get the best deal without sacrificing quality.

Thanks .
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
My advice would be to find a jeweler you trust to look out for your best interests, give them your requirements and your price limit, and see what they can come back with. That's the easiest way to shop.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
You may not mind if the diamond is certified but almost anyone you would want to work with will most likely have certified stones and you really shouldn't have to pay more to get a certified stone either. Try searching on pricescope's diamond engine to find stones and what you may be willing to pay for them.

I would also try to caution you away from an I1/SI3 rating. First off SI3 is really just I1...but the labs who use SI3 just don't want to say its an I1 and that means also that jewelers can charge you more for an I1 stone! Not all labs recognize SI3 as a legit grade. I wouldn't go below an SI2 for a stone...why are you spending money on it at all if it has inclusions you can see? Get an eye-clean SI2..with the inclusion on the side near a prong or something.

Stay away from eBay. Run an archive search for more info on this. It's too risky and you will have no idea what you get until it arrives.

I ran a quick Pscope search and found that for an I SI1 princess cut stone in the .50c range you will pay around $700-900. For a .28c H SI it was priced at $550. There was only one stone in this range in the entire db (large db!!) so you may have a harder time finding small princess stones such as the .25c online. You may want to focus on the larger stone and then work with your vendor to try to find you a smaller set of stones. I know someone on here did this with Whiteflash recently, bought their center stone through them then got smaller side stones for a 3 stone ring.

So if you use that estimate above...for a 3 stone .50/.25/.25 you may be paying around $1800 for the 3 loose stones. Depending on what sort of 3 stone setting you want and in what metal, that may be anywhere from $500-1000 (depending on if you use a designer setting etc). The setting may be expensive for your budget.

If that is too much for you, consider a nice solitaire of around .75c maybe. You can get a good .75c stone in the H SI1 range for around $1300-1700 depending on your criteria. Not bad!! You get a much whiter stone than J and an eye-clean stone (be sure its eye clean SI). Then you can get a basic white gold setting for $100 or so..and you're all set. You didn't break the bank and her ring will be great. Anyway just another thought in case the 3 stone idea ends up being too expensive.

Also my two cents is don't sacrifice too much quality just to get size. In the end it is not worth it...I'm sure you'd rather produce a stunning well cut stone for her that sparkles amazingly than a dull 3 stone I1 ring!
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
"If that is too much for you, consider a nice solitaire of around .75c maybe. You can get a good .75c stone in the H SI1 range for around $1300-1700 depending on your criteria. Not bad!! You get a much whiter stone than J and an eye-clean stone (be sure its eye clean SI)."

-This actually would not be a bad idea. I could get a .75 CT Solitaire and just upgrade the setting later with some side stones. I have been looking but I can't seem to find a nice stone for the price you mentioned with similar specs. Anyone out there know of a reputable place in St. Pete/Clearwater Area or even online?

-By the way, I went to Bond Jewelers just to get a general idea. They me a price of $3999 for a 1.55 CT 3 stone Princess Cut (SI/[email protected] Clarity, H Color, Certified). Obvioulsy, I can get this cheaper elsewhere.

-I also saw a 3 stone ring on Ebay that ends in a few hours. If it does not get too much out of hand I may just buy it to see exactly what it's like. They have a 7 day return policy but I will be sure to use a Credit Card for Purchase Protection if I do go through with it.

-Anyone have any comments on my points listed above.

Thanks Everyone for your help.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Hmm I don't know if you can match these prices offline but you can sure try. Use what you know about online pricing as leverage for the offline B&M stores. For example, if you know you can get a stone online for a certain amount and a similar stone is in a B&M store for $500 more, use the pricing online to try to drive that offline price down. If the B&M seller feels as though he may lose a sale to the dreaded online 'wholesalers', he may be more accomodating towards your budget constraints.

Here are three stones I found online that are reasonably priced and are all within the princess 1A or 1B AGA premium and ideal cut ranges. That does not mean that the stones will be perfect, but using some basic numbers (e.g. table within 62-71, depth within 64-75, symm and polish within ex-good) I drilled out these few stones which should be good ones to take a 2nd look at. Not really knowing your budget, I stayed within the $2100 range, but the other 2 may be better for your budget.



http://www.virtcert.com/cgi/u/1012/v.cgi?stock=1267893&_s=1012&_p=sdf348gd743&_c=&_fs=1&prestock=

H SI1 .72c $1617


http://www.virtcert.com/cgi/u/1012/v.cgi?stock=1123922&_s=1012&_p=sdf348gd743&_c=&_fs=1&prestock=

G VS2 .77c $2114


http://www.virtcert.com/cgi/u/1012/v.cgi?stock=1280490&_s=1012&_p=sdf348gd743&_c=&_fs=1&prestock=

G VS2 .70c $1919

As you noted, you can buy the center stone now and then maybe for your wedding or 5 year anniversary you can upgrade and get the 3 stone ring with 2 new side stones. That is always fun.


Also post the URL for the eBay item you are looking at if possible. We may be able to look at the auction and help raise any red flags or give you a better feel for the stone and the seller..etc before you buy. If you do buy, use escrow as the credit card option through PayPal will NOT always afford you protection. There were a few threads recently on this as well...so use caution.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Thanks Mara,

What do you think about this stone I found. Looks like it is going for around $1600. Is there a big difference in a J Color? I have mainly seen I or G Colors and they look fine to me. Any comments from anyone?

Thanks again.

Shape Princess
Carat 0.81
Color J
Clarity SI1
Measurements (mm) 5.04-4.96X3.64
Table % 73
Depth % 73.4
Polish Good
Symmetry Good
Girdle THIN TO VE
Culet None
Fluorescence Medium or Moderate
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
That stone looks like it is around a 2B princess cut if you use the AGA chart at www.gemappraisers.com, still a good cut (under international fine trade cut)...3A/3B is around what you'd find in typical retail stores maybe.

Have you seen the stone? G stones definitely faces up white in my opinion (mine is a blinding white and looks as good as my coworkers E (and sparkles more BTW))...H is usually still white, I can be tricky sometimes, and J can be tricky as well. I wouldn't buy an I or J sight unseen unless I really trusted the vendor if they said it was face up white. I have seen face-up white I's but you have to look a little to be sure, and J's are on the same borderline. Someone on here recently bought a well cut round J and returned it because they felt it was too yellow once it arrived.

Are you setting the ring in white gold or yellow? If its yellow, some of the setting color will absorb any color in the stone, so your stone may face up whiter in a yg setting than wg/plat.

If you have seen the stone and really like it, it sounds like it could be a good deal for the carat size of the stone. If you can...I would focus more on an H/I SI1 than a J...but I know you are tight on budget. Sounds like you really want to get the most for your money, just be sure that it is a face up white J if that is what you are looking for. You don't want to spend all your $$ on a well cut yellowish stone IF you are going for white. Esp when you can come down slightly in carat weight and do better on color. It's your preference!

Good luck..hope this helps.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Hi Mara,

I actually found that stone online so I haven't seen it yet. I agree, I would definitely like to go higher that a J in color. I guess I will keep looking. I don't want to drop below 3/4 CT. I

I would like to do something within the next few weeks since I am planning the big day in May. This would give me time to send it back if I am not happy with it.

If you see any other deals, or anyone has any good advice, please do let me know. What other places online should I check out. I lloked at White flash and a few others and have been really happy with what I saw so far.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Take a peek at www.gemappraisers.com and click on the Charts for Fancy Grades (or something like that) and then click on Princess. You will see a chart that Dave Atlas and his expert friends have put together on trying to categorize princess cuts into something that us consumers can understand. Fancy cut stones (anything that is not a round) do not typically have a 'standard' method of determining the cut. This chart is an attempt at trying to do that. It's broad and all combos within the ranges may not make for a gorgeous stone, but it is a good place to start. Compare any stones you are considering to the chart specs. If everything falls into the 1a category but one item (e.g. very thin girdle) that pushes it to the area of the chart where the thin girdle fits in (e.g. 3a maybe). Anything above 3a/3b is better than a typical retail or a mall stone for the most part. 1 and 2 stones are pretty good makes.

I also wanted to say that even though you mention you dont want to fall under a 3/4c...something like a .72c will have no visible difference to the eye that it is smaller. You may even pay more for a 3/4c than a .72...possibly considerably more since it is one of the 'markers' where stone prices tend to rise (markers meaning like a .5c, .75c, 1c, 1.5c, 2c..etc. Ususally if you can buy by going around the markers, sometimes you can save money. So a .72c stone may be perfect for your budget and the eye will think its a .75c.

I would suggest WhiteFlash, DiamondOptics, NiceIce, GoodOldGold, DiamondWholesale.CC (a discount arm of whiteflash), and I don't know who else carries princess cuts, I'm not super familiar. But good luck!!

Also I'm glad to hear you are focusing on a slightly higher color than a J. I would do an H with no hesitations. Good luck!
 

okaynow

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 15, 2003
Messages
31
one of the good things about getting engaged young is that people won't expect you to be getting a big budget e-ring. You'll find that the more you research and talk here, the more your budget will increase. I say, set a budget in stone right away, don't compromise it, and get the best possible ring within that budget. People will say stuff like, "don't go below SI1 or I color", or "it better have incredible sparkle." Don't get carried away, you may find a great SI3,I, okay cut stone in the carat that you want. They key is to compare. Also, don't forget to include the setting in the budget.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Thanks for the info guys.

Just wondering if anyone else has any comments on the diamond specs I listed above. Is it a good deal.

Does anyone know where I can get a comparable stone for a better price?

Still looking and I would like to make a decision within the next few weeks.

Thanks Everyone!
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
What about this one? It is a few hundred more. Thanks again.

Shape Princess
Carat 0.82
Color I
Clarity SI2
Measurements (mm) 5.44-5.08X3.48
Table % 80
Depth % 68.5
Polish Good
Symmetry Good
Girdle THIN TO SL
Culet None
Fluorescence
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
SI2 stones are not guaranteed eye-clean...be sure to check this out!

I don't know too much about princesses, but I do know that table on this stone is quite large. I would stick within 62-71% which is already a pretty wide range. Anything outside of 71% puts you in the 3 or 4 class of cuts which is not optimal and is around 'mall' store quality.

I would continue to look.
Did you look at any of the stones I posted above? They all seemed to have some good numbers on them--a place to start!
 

divergrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,224
Hi,

Mara, you are such a gem....(no pun intended). To Needaring, I had the 3 stone princess ring, and found it drowned my center stone. And I love that setting in round brilliants, oval, & emerald cuts. Go figure. I'm weird. But what your true love may be loving is the princess shape. Personally, I love it.

I think Mara has you on the right track. And if you do settle for an SI2 stone, remember, that even if the inclusion is somewhat visible, (mine you need a loupe and excellent eyes) its kind of cool after you have your ring cleaned to be able to see your ring's "fingerprint", in other words, you know it wasn't switched during cleaning, etc. My hubby had a budget, and to buy a stone the size I preferred, he had to go down in clarity a bit. But my inclusion is this teeeentsy clear spot,and its not visible to anyone who doesn't know where it is and who isn't holding a loupe. If you were some Joe friend of mine grabbing my hand saying "ohhh let me see your ring" you would not be able to tell that there was an inclusion.

I think you've got some great stones here, and the folks on this board will help you find a great setting too!~

Congratulations!

Divergrrl
 

divergrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,224
P.S. Needaring, those are good prices for your stone, don't sweat the setting. You can always set it in a plain setting (go to www.dirtcheapdiamonds.com, or www.whiteflash.com, or www.tradeshop.com for low price solitaire settings -- tradeshop is the bomb for custom design work if you want to go that route as well as the fact that they have settings)

Or you can go to any jeweler and just get the simplest, most traditional setting...my original engagement ring came in a $170 white gold solitaire, i still have it in my jewelry box, someday I want to put my birthstone, a sapphire in it & my stepmom put her mothers ruby in her engagement setting when she transferred her engagement diamond into the setting of her choosing. My sister in law had a small diamond band soldered next to her engagement ring. So many options. Spend your money on the stone, gold is cheap, I just had a custom ring made for $400 at a designer (including metal) and its amazing.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Hi all,

I wen to Friedmans yesterday just to get some idea of the stones I was looking at online. Fist off, they tried to show me some 1.5 CT stone that was as yellow as a bannana. LOL...not really to me liking. They did however have a certified 1 CT 3 stone diamond for $1499. I really liked the setting on this one and the diamonds seemed nice as well, however, it wasn't princess cut.

I am really beginning to wonder now. First, I was thinking of princess cut 3 stones. Now I am thnking to get a nice 1 stone and upgrading the setting later. This seems like the best option. What does anyone else think? She likes the 3 stones but I am not sure it is worth it at this point.

Also, if i buy online, do I still have to get it appraised? Since I am buying on a budget, I am not sure it is worth it since I will have to spend a few hundred for an appraisal once I receive it. Any advice on this?

Thanks all. FYI, I still have a few weeks before I plan to purchase. I am thinking the big day will be in early May so I would like to have something in hand by early April.

:)
 

Giangi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
2,530
So now you're looking at a single stone and not anymore at a trilogy? Am I right?
If so, bee sure to check superbcert.com's selection... They are some of the most beautifully cut pricesses in the world!
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
If i buy online, do I still have to get it appraised? Since I am buying on a budget, I am not sure it is worth it since I will have to spend a few hundred for an appraisal once I receive it. Any advice on this?
 

Giangi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
2,530
An appraisal is DEFINITELY worth its price. If you purchase a stone accompanied by a report, then the verification price could be as little as 30-50$. For a full appraisal service on a stone smaller than 1ct, I think you'll pay up to 100$ +/- 25$... It depends on the appraiser and his/her tools, the weight of your stone and the area where you live.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
I am curious. How long does it normally take to get a response from the online sellers?

I saw a few diamonds I was interested in and I e-mailed a couple sites over the weekend and I have not received a response yet. I know USA Certed was one of the places I contacted.

Anyone else expereience this?

Thanks all.
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
213
USAcerted emailed me within 24 hours of my request. Other emails filtered in over the following week. A few, I called myself. I found that nothing says "give me good service" like a phone call.
 

needaring

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Messages
41
Hey Everyone,

I am looking on this ring online. What do you think of the specs(sarin attached:

Clarity: VS1
Color: I

82 sarin.JPG
 

whirled

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
26
Hey Needearing,
I think you've seen some good deals on diamonds, and others have shown you some great stones, too. So honestly, I don't think you can go wrong. I knwo you want to get the best quality stone for your budget, but don't get dragged too deep into it all. Your girlfriend will love whatever stone/ring you give to her. My fiance picked out the stone and setting, and I love it! I got a solitare, round cut. I also really liked the 3 stone, and round wasn't my first choice, but I love this ring and wouldn't trade it for any other. He was also on a tight budget, so it's not the biggest or highest quality stone, but it's very pretty. And the ring isn't the only thing he has bought/done to show me how much he cares. He's always taking me out to my fav. restaurants, we go on trips, etc. I'd rather have a smaller ring and know that we can do other stuff with the money saved. Plus like everyone else said before, you can always upgrade later! So take a step back from the craziness of looking for the perfect stone and just remember what an engagement ring really means!! (It means, Hey guys, this girl is taken! LOL).
 
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