Rookie diamond buyer in St. Louis needs help

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Dec 6, 2002
I am going to purchase a diamond engagement ring for my girlfriend and have never attempted to buy diamonds before. I have looked at a few places and think I understand the 4 C's. My thinking is:
cut- round brilliant
color- H or above
clarity- SI1 or above
carat- 1.0+

Can anyone recommend good shops in St. Louis and/or a trustworthy on-line seller? My budget is around $5000 but I will spend more if I absolutely have to. Can't go over too much though since I am a med student and it's all loan money to begin with. Thanks you for any store suggestions or buying tips you can give.


Dec 31, 1999
Hi Arf7ea,

, a member of this forum, has searched for a diamond in St. Louis too. He ended up buying online.[/u]


Sep 29, 2002
I did a search at some of the online sites that I have seen positively mentioned here. This is an excellent stone within your price range. It is from dirt cheap diamonds. It is AGS certed and a H&A ideal cut. It is a 1.03 H SI1 and it scored 0.3 (within TIC) on the HCA with 4 excellents (including spread). It lists for $4986. Here is a link. Good luck. :))


Nov 11, 2002
:)) I think you can get a better quality stone for that price, I think that even a g.i.a cert is good enough as long as the measurements are withing the limits of a good make.I think you should buy on line from as they offer many incentives(such as a free solitaire,free shipping,and a return policy)a huge selection, and if it is not in your state you would save the sales tax.
(I am sure you could find a VS quality for that price):sun: compare and save!

free 14kg setting,free overnight shipping,FREE GEMGUARD


Sep 2, 2002
I checked out this place because it carries Vatche settings:

Neustaedter's Fine Jewelry Inc.
1103 Concord Plz
Saint Louis, MO 63128-1307

I thought the service was really good. They are a Hearts on Fire dealer, so you can see good quality diamonds there. They also had some AGS000 diamonds that looked nice to my untrained eye. I would never buy a Hearts on Fire diamond because they are way too expensive, but if I still lived in St. Louis (it's my hometown, but I don't live there anymore) and I didn't want an H&A I would have tried bargaining at Neustadter's to see whether they would give me a deal that would be close enough to online prices that the advantage of having a local jeweler would tip things in their favour. As things were, the asking prices were too high for it to be worth it for me to consider buying there, given that I'm only in St. Louis a couple of times a year.

I had already seen Hearts on Fire diamonds at Christian Bernard at the Galleria. One clerk told me that Hearts on Fire were the only diamods to get a 000 cut grade. When I protested, she eventually asked another clerk who posts on Diamondtalk and was corrected.

Incidental note: At Christian Bernard I thought I could tell the difference between HOF H&A diamonds and other good quality AGS000 diamonds, but I asked them to give me a blind test to see if I could pick which was which. I failed! This was really lucky because I had a 50/50 chance of picking the HOF by accident and thinking I could tell the difference.

I did a similar blind test at Neustadter's and found I COULD tell the difference between E and G colour, face-up. (Unless I was just unlucky! But I saw a difference immediately, so I think this was a legitimately correct judgement. I went for F in the end.)

In my online purchase I went for H&A because I figured that I was already saving so much money that I might as well play everything safe and get a diamond that is top quality according to all objective measures, given that I don't have the advantage of actually seeing the diamond myself.

I'll get the ring in about a week!


Dec 7, 2002
As a med student in St. Louis that is also shopping for a diamond as well, what are the odds, I'll recommend the stores that have treated me well.

1. Christian Bernard in the mall, high quality, professional, low pressure, ask for Brian

2. PhilipJohn - down in Clayton on South Central, fairly good selection, willing to get what you want and for a decent price

3. Mandel's - out on Clayton Road a mile and a half west of the Galleria, kind of low quality, low inventory shop but I sensed they are willing to do anything to make a sell. I told him my specs and he started getting diamonds in for me. It helped on my schedule to be able to make short trips to see a few diamonds.

4. Lordo's on Clayton is also helpful in that respect but they don't have as many cert diamonds on hand.

Good luck man, hope you can fit shopping into your schedule.
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