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Review of Victor Canera + Alistair Kelsey (from Sydney)

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Hello!

After receiving so much guidance and insight from the forum, it is time to give a little something back. Apologies if this runs on a bit long!

Before discovering pricescope, I thought I had done an adequate amount of research prior to going to see diamonds in person. However, it was only afterwards that I realized how much more there was to learn about diamonds and engagement rings. I'm glad that I was not quite satisfied with my previous research, as I would never have ended up with such a brilliant ring for my (now) fiance.

I quickly learned that being based in Australia was quite a disadvantage for the typical e-ring shopper--weak AUD, dealing with import GST, making such a large purchase online sight unseen, shipping (anxiety), insurance for a loose stone during setting, etc. Eventually, after seeking much advice from RT, I decided to go with Victor Canera.

I was drawn to VC based on recommendations, but also browsing through numerous threads on his work. The idea of a completely hand-forged piece really appealed to me as well. Upon contacting him, he was very easy to deal with and his signature Canera Ideal Hearts H&A diamonds ensured an amazing cut.

The initial plan was to use Victor for both the diamond and setting, but my fiance nixed that plan when she discovered a local setting that she fell in love with. With a diamond already purchased from VC, it become a bit complicated (and expensive) to go with the local jeweler due to insurance concerns. They were also not very communicative and cast their pieces.

Victor was very easy to deal with over the phone and via email. He informed me when someone else inquired about a diamond I was considering from him, but had not put on hold (this may have been my own fault for posting about it!). When debating between two similar stones, he even recommended the slightly more affordable one. After inquiring, he offered suggestions on how to adapt one of his standard designs to fit specific criteria of mine. Then when I asked him about a specific custom design, he politely indicated that it would be more cost effective and better suited as a cast piece.

It was around this time that I discovered Alistair Kelsey (on the advice of arkieb1 and Acinom). Alistair ticked all the boxes: PS-approved, beautiful work as seen in his dedicated thread, completely hand-forged, willing to set an outside stone, comprehensive insurance for any loose stones sent to him and (somewhat) locally based in Sydney. On top of that, he was incredibly easy to communicate with, both over the phone and via email. He provided very detailed and prompt email responses to all of my (many, many) questions and handled my anxiety very well with exceptional customer service.

I can't recommend both Victor and Alistair enough and am looking forward to commisioning our wedding rings from Alistair too.

Needless to say, there have been many compliments on the ring, including from the folks at Harry Winston in Waikiki, HI. Enough with the pre-amble and on to the pictures!

Work in progress
in_the_making_-_er_solitaire_1.jpg

Work in progress
in_the_making_-_er_solitaire_2.jpg

Final glamour shot
er_-_solitaire_t.jpg

Special thanks to arkieb1, acinom and all the others that responded to my various threads!

Cheers,
SC
 

LLJsmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
9,499
That is gorgeous. Congratulations on a successful project. You should ask the moderators to move this thread to SMTB so you can show off your beautiful bling.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,097
It turned out beautiful! Congratulations!!!
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,508
That is absolutely stunning! So elegant & I love the basket and cathedral shank.
 

ac117

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
3,770
Gorgeous!! Congratulations!! Can't wait to see some hand shots! :love:
 

Acinom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
10,106
What a fabulous result!!! Both the stone as well as the hanforged setting are amazing. I am so glad you and your fiancee are thrilled with the result. Please post your own pics and handshots as well. Looking forward to see these.

You can move your thread to 'Show me the Bling' by hitting the 'report concern' button in the right upper corner of your first post. You then ask the moderators to move your thread from Rocky Talky to Show me the Bling.
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
11,296
This is just fantastic!!! I saw images of this on AK's instagram and facebook and thought it was gorgeous! Can't wait to see more pics--AK is a true artist!
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Thank you for all the kind words, everyone. Hand shot coming later tonight!

(I've also asked the mods to move this to SMTB. Oops.)
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Looks fabulous. Please post LOTS of pictures of this ring. I really like it!
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
I just have the one hand shot for now. Are there particular angles that members typically post or that folks are keen to see?

hand_shot_-_ak.jpg

BTW, it is 18k white gold, size H 1/2.

Cheers,
SK
 

MissGotRocks

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
12,490
It looks beautiful - job well done! We would like to see close up pictures and side view pictures of the ring if you please!
 

m-2-b

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
3,688
It looks lovely on you! Congrats! :appl:
 

Acinom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
10,106
The ring looks beautiful on her!!! She has beautiful hands too.

We love pics from every possible angle: the profile, the side view, top down, detailing of the gallery etc :appl:
 

arkieb1

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
9,591
Yay!!!! It's amazing, stunning from every angle, posts lots more pics, we can't get enough of it!!!! And congrats too!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
 

istase2000

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
367
Wow that's beautiful!

Can I ask how you got the stone to Alistair? Did you drive there? :)
 

GeorgieQ

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2013
Messages
214
This is STUNNING!!! Congratulations on your engagement and sealing the deal with such a beautiful ring! :appl:
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Thank you for all the compliments! Apologies, I've been away on a business trip, but will work on getting more hand and detail shots tomorrow while we're out in natural light. We will also do some wedding band shopping to get ideas before we meet with Alistair.

istase2000 said:
Wow that's beautiful!

Can I ask how you got the stone to Alistair? Did you drive there? :)
I actually shipped the stone from Sydney via standard AusPost Express for about $15. Admittedly, I was a bit anxious not take out my own insurance or declaring a value on it, but Alistair's insurance covered the stone during transit!

I know men's rings are a bit of a rarity on these boards, but would anyone happen to know the width of this ring from Harry Winston http://www.harrywinston.com/en/vertical-diamond-row-wedding-band? I was hoping it'd be listed on their website, but there is not much detail.

Cheers,
SC
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,816
The HW ring appears to be about 6mm to me. That is a fairly average width for a men's band.

The engagement ring is beautiful! :love: You did very well! Congratulations on your engagement!
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Here are a few more images of the ring from this afternoon. Unfortunately, I don't have a macro lens for my camera, so a cropped version of pics from my mobile will have to do. Enjoy!

img_4554_0.jpg

img_4553.jpg

img_4552.jpg

diamondseeker2006 said:
The HW ring appears to be about 6mm to me. That is a fairly average width for a men's band.

The engagement ring is beautiful! :love: You did very well! Congratulations on your engagement!
Thanks, DS! We also went into another jewellery store (where Alistair was previously the head jeweller) to look at options for wedding bands. The HW ring fit quite well, but it ends up that a 5mm ring felt just right. It's amazing how much 0.5mm can make in a ring! I'm looking forward to designing my own ring now, particularly after becoming fascinated with diamonds through my own research.

Cheers,
SC
 

Acinom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
10,106
The ring looks stunning on her! Thank you for posting the handshots.
Looking forward to see what kind of wedding bands the two of you will choose. Keep us posted.
Enjoy your engagement :wavey:
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Acinom|1479667891|4100828 said:
The ring looks stunning on her! Thank you for posting the handshots.
Looking forward to see what kind of wedding bands the two of you will choose. Keep us posted.
Enjoy your engagement :wavey:
Thanks, Acinom! I am looking forward to meeting Alistair in person next month and getting feedback from him on slightly modifying the HW design to incorporate French cut diamonds instead of full cut melee (either 1 rectangular stone or 3 square ones in a vertical line). My fiance is leaning towards a half eternity band and was surprised to see that she liked a very thin side wall/bright cut as opposed to a more exposed girdle.

Cheers,
SC
 

Paris1Day

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
32
SeekingClarity- Hello fellow Aussie, I'm in QLD and am wanting to get my e-ring o/s too. Mind if I ask some questions?

I'm currently on this same path and am having trouble getting my own thread questions answered!?
I am considering Victor or Steven Kirsch. In-house diamonds are covered by VC of course but if I wish to have it examined prior to setting it WHO does one go with being an international client!?? I'm starting to wonder if after 13 years of waiting it is never going to happen!

1) Can you tell me on your findings- is it not possible AT ALL for us aussies to have the loose stone insured whilst it is being set over in america?

2) Did you get the diamond examined by an appraiser in US prior to it being set with Alistair?

3) Was Victor ok with you getting just the stone from him and sending over to Sydney? Was it insured for this process?


Please if you have any info that would be so great.
P.S you have done well I bet your fiancé is wrapped :clap:
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Paris1Day|1479948807|4102055 said:
SeekingClarity- Hello fellow Aussie, I'm in QLD and am wanting to get my e-ring o/s too. Mind if I ask some questions?

I'm currently on this same path and am having trouble getting my own thread questions answered!?
I am considering Victor or Steven Kirsch. In-house diamonds are covered by VC of course but if I wish to have it examined prior to setting it WHO does one go with being an international client!?? I'm starting to wonder if after 13 years of waiting it is never going to happen!

1) Can you tell me on your findings- is it not possible AT ALL for us aussies to have the loose stone insured whilst it is being set over in america?

2) Did you get the diamond examined by an appraiser in US prior to it being set with Alistair?

3) Was Victor ok with you getting just the stone from him and sending over to Sydney? Was it insured for this process?


Please if you have any info that would be so great.
P.S you have done well I bet your fiancé is wrapped :clap:
Of course, not a problem!

Based on my digging, it seems Jewelers Mutual is the only insurance company to cover loose, third party diamonds during the setting process. Unfortunately, this is only available to US/Canadian consumers. I tried Q Report and a couple other places in Sydney but wasn't able to find similar coverage. Fortunately, Alistair's insurance covers stones in-transit to him, during setting and in-transit back to the customer.

I did not use an independent appraiser in the US before having it sent to Sydney. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea. But because I bought an in-house stone from VC's signature line, I was pretty confident that it would be okay. He also has a 21-day return policy, though you might have to eat GST and shipping costs, if you were to return it from Australia. This might give you the flexibility to send it to an appraiser in the US though. There might also be independent appraisers in the US that you could have the loose stone sent to and I would imagine they are used to having a stone shipped directly to them and then onto a jeweler. Victor is in LA, so having it sent to an appraiser there might be the most convenient.

Victor was completely fine with me purchasing just the stone and was super helpful over the phone and via email. It was fully insured during shipping and came extremely well packed with tracking information via FedEx. He also included an appraisal along with the invoice, receipt and original AGS certificate. I originally went with Victor because I thought it would be a 1-stop shop and wouldn't have to worry about insurance.

After receiving the stone, I shipped it to Alistair. He gave it a closer look than I was able to with my 10x loupe and then after it was set, I had Gem Studies Laboratory do a full appraisal of the completed ring afterwards. Q Report requested the appraisal (more for the picture and description), but seem to have gone with the invoices that I had provided, as currency, precious metals and diamonds can all fluctuate in rate against the AUD.

Hope this helps!
SC
 

Paris1Day

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
32
Thank you very much for all that SC!
SC did you get it appraised because you had to for the insurance with Q Report?

Was wondering & feel free for anyone else to chime in here, I did not think that a stone could be appraised once it had ben set because how can you see it properly, find the laser inscribed number etc.
Is it because of the solitaire style that it could be done?
My own ring style will be a RBC with cushion halo and side stones- I imagine it would be difficult to look at it's quality once set? Anyone know the answer to that?
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Paris1Day|1479983737|4102189 said:
Thank you very much for all that SC!
SC did you get it appraised because you had to for the insurance with Q Report?

Was wondering & feel free for anyone else to chime in here, I did not think that a stone could be appraised once it had ben set because how can you see it properly, find the laser inscribed number etc.
Is it because of the solitaire style that it could be done?
My own ring style will be a RBC with cushion halo and side stones- I imagine it would be difficult to look at it's quality once set? Anyone know the answer to that?
You can only have a complete piece of jewelry appraised and it was required for Q Report (which should be one of, if not, the best choice for jewelry insurance in Australia).

It is my understanding that the stone isn't appraised on its own, but you provide the certificate to the appraiser so that they know what they're looking at. They can then confirm the inscription and dimensions and identify it through the marked inclusions on the report. A prong was covering the laser inscription on my fiance's ring, but they were able to use a microscope and look through other facets (pavilion perhaps?) to see the number in reverse.

Cheers,
SC
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,271
What a beautifully elegant ring! Congratulations on your engagement!
 

Acinom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
10,106
Still happy with the ring? I was wondering whether you have met Alistair for your wedding rings. Any news?
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Thanks for that, VRBeauty and derbygal!

Acinom said:
Still happy with the ring? I was wondering whether you have met Alistair for your wedding rings. Any news?
The fiance is still enamoured with the ring and is worried she might be cleaning it too often! Unfortunately, we weren't able to meet Alistair this side of the holidays, but we will see him early next year. We have already talked about a few different design options for both of our wedding bands and he was able to confirm that he can get custom cut French cut diamonds for my ring as well. Very exciting.

Perhaps this is more suitable for another thread or even a good search, but we're debating on a full eternity and half eternity for my fiance's wedding band. Anyone have any thoughts? (Not to derail my own thread...)

Cheers,
SC
 

LLJsmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
9,499
SeekingClarity|1482502466|4109178 said:
Thanks for that, VRBeauty and derbygal!

Acinom said:
Still happy with the ring? I was wondering whether you have met Alistair for your wedding rings. Any news?
The fiance is still enamoured with the ring and is worried she might be cleaning it too often! Unfortunately, we weren't able to meet Alistair this side of the holidays, but we will see him early next year. We have already talked about a few different design options for both of our wedding bands and he was able to confirm that he can get custom cut French cut diamonds for my ring as well. Very exciting.

Perhaps this is more suitable for another thread or even a good search, but we're debating on a full eternity and half eternity for my fiance's wedding band. Anyone have any thoughts? (Not to derail my own thread...)

Cheers,
SC
Full cause of spinning and seeing metal annoys me. Of course it may not annoy her! :lol: So it depends. So happy for you that your ring turned out so well. It looks beautiful on her. Congratulations!!
 
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