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Sapphire Engagement Ring

Maristyl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
3
So I'm not an expert, heck, I'm no even a dabbler. I accidentally found this site from a scathing review of the Shane Company, so my previous expertise amounted to radio ads. However after stumbling around a little bit I found out that I know almost nothing about gemstones and mounts, and probably wasn't going to be able to be an instant expert either. So I figured that I might be able to avail myself on the expertise of this forum, and hopefully untutored internet explorers are welcome for the brief period they attempt to find what should be the most important ring of their lives. That being said, I did do a bit of exploring and found the list of vendors that has been stickied, and did do at least a cursory look at some of the sites listed. I'm looking for a sapphire engagement ring in the $500-$900 range in a style similar to these.

http://www.belljewels.com/product.cgi?group=122&product=2704

http://www.belljewels.com/product.cgi?group=122&product=7081

I found these through the links provided, which seemed to include a lot links to loose gemstones, but not complete engagement rings. I'm looking for a complete engagement ring because, if possible, I intend to surprise my girlfriend and running around getting a loose gem, a setting, and getting them put together, is less the feasible. Though I will admit that laziness on my part as well is why I'm looking for an entire ring rather than a loose stone and a setting. So essentially I'm asking if the rings in the links are reasonable priced for the gems and settings offered, can anyone find a better priced or larger gem for the same price in the same style, and if I wanted to go to an actual store instead of an online one which one would be most recommended? If it matters, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you for all your help, and for helping to reveal the technical mysteries of what, to me, is merely lots of shiny expensive things. I hope I haven't violated any forum rules or protocols in this post, as you can see by my post count, it is my first, and once again, thank you for your help.
 

Aoife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
1,779
Welcome to Pricescope, Maristyl.

I have no experience with the jewelry site you linked to, but just a quick look at both those rings and the sapphires in them tells me that the chances are good that the sapphires in them will be overly dark, and show little to no blue, what I call the Black Hole effect.

Have you discussed the choice of gemstone vs. diamond with your girlfriend? The styles of ring you linked to are very pretty, but have you discussed style with her? A little bit more information about her taste and yours would help us to help you find the right ring!
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
2,991
I agree with Aoife that those sapphires are going to be pretty dark in person. What color blue would you like the sapphire to be? http://www.crossjewelers.com/products/how_to_buy_sapphire.asp?FolderID=53 Even though the color names are just marketing, it's a good picture to show various shades of blue in one place.

I'd contact either Michael E. (http://www.gemshoppe.com) or Rick Martin (http://www.artcutgems.com) because they both sell gems and are jewelers as well. Tell them your budget and what you'd like to have and see what they can do for you.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Both of those are not particularly nice sapphires.

Honestly, buy a nice loose stone and look at using a vendor who can also do a setting for you as well - there are plenty that can. It doesn't need to be something expensive or 'custom', you can choose the setting from Stuller's catalogue for example.

I'm not sure 'laziness on my part' is a phrase ideally suited to the search for an engagement ring for the love of your life. On her behalf I welcome you to the PS e-ring boot-camp and we will kick you into shape! :Up_to_something:

Otherwise, why not propose without a ring, give her a budget and let her hunt down the e-ring she would like to wear? Win, win all round.
 

Maristyl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
3
Pandora said:
Both of those are not particularly nice sapphires.

Honestly, buy a nice loose stone and look at using a vendor who can also do a setting for you as well - there are plenty that can. It doesn't need to be something expensive or 'custom', you can choose the setting from Stuller's catalogue for example.

I'm not sure 'laziness on my part' is a phrase ideally suited to the search for an engagement ring for the love of your life. On her behalf I welcome you to the PS e-ring boot-camp and we will kick you into shape! :Up_to_something:

Otherwise, why not propose without a ring, give her a budget and let her hunt down the e-ring she would like to wear? Win, win all round.
I suppose laziness was perhaps an oversimplification, it's more that finding a time when I can go alone to deal with gemstone related business is going to be very limited and those times might end up being dedicated to other more immediate matters that need to be taken care of. We discussed a few months ago what she would like in a ring, and I want to surprise her with the ring and the proposal, rather then just a proposal and a budget for a ring.

Kismet said:
I agree with Aoife that those sapphires are going to be pretty dark in person. What color blue would you like the sapphire to be? http://www.crossjewelers.com/products/how_to_buy_sapphire.asp?FolderID=53 Even though the color names are just marketing, it's a good picture to show various shades of blue in one place.

I'd contact either Michael E. (http://www.gemshoppe.com) or Rick Martin (http://www.artcutgems.com) because they both sell gems and are jewelers as well. Tell them your budget and what you'd like to have and see what they can do for you.
I feel like Camelot or Royal Blue on that scale are the closest to what I'm looking for, when I get the time next to contact them I'll see what I can do, though until then I'm hoping to find an internet listing. If I contact a gemstone professional can I use those names for color or if not, then what terminology should I use to describe those two shades?
 

velouriaL

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
1,178
No, those color names aren't industry standard. You can, however, link to that page to show vendors your color preferences.

It might be difficult to find a setting exactly like the ones you link to in your budget. Melee (those tiny diamonds on the shank and halo) are very delicate, even at a higher quality/price point. Less expensive mass produced settings with lots of melee are usually not very sturdy. They also skimp on gold. An engagement ring is meant to be worn everyday and last forever, so you don't want stones falling out or the band bending in couple of years or even months! So, I think it's a much better idea to go simpler and higher quality. You can achieve this through a stock setting from a company like Stuller or Adwar, which a jeweler can source for you. You might be able do a simple custom setting, too. You can probably still have some diamond melee for sparkle, just nothing too crazy.

The colors you like are very desirable for sapphires. This is good if you want a smaller stone, like the ones you linked to, but you might want to find out if your GF would prefer a larger stone in a less expensive color (greenish, grayish, or lighter blue or even yellow)? It's a matter of personal preference.

I would echo the suggestion to contact Michael E at GemShoppe.com. He is wonderful to deal with and can supply you with a well-cut gemstone and a quality setting. He will be very honest with you about what makes the most sense with your budget. I'm sure Rick Martin is also good, I just have not personally worked with him so I can't say.

I really 110% respect and agree with your decision to keep the budget reasonable. You might want to think about going up just a little bit... if you went up to $1200 or $1500, you might find that you can get a lot more bang for your buck, especially with the price of gold being as high as it is today. ::grumble::

Also, have you checked out antique and vintage rings? It will take some looking, but you might find something you like.
 

MissStepcut

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
1,720
I bought a stone directly from a cutter (in my case, Bob Kast) and had it sent directly to a setting maker (Daniel M from Etsy). There was no running around at all. A finished ring came to me a few weeks later. Here's one that's a little silky but awfully pretty for what it is:

http://diamondbistro.com/image/20417/item.html

and you could pop it in this setting:

http://idjewelryonline.com/product_info.php?cPath=42_44&products_id=10116&cType=ER

If you're getting a sapphire just because it's cheaper, there's a few diamond rings being listed by members of this site right now, including this one in your budget:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200661748198?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

But I am going to be honest with you, when you're working with a smaller budget, I think to get a nice outcome, you have to be willing to put in the legwork. If you put in crap effort and have a modest budget... well... you can probably guess.
 

vinkalmann

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
231
+1 on picking a stone and setting separately. Poke around on the site here and educate yourself, there's tons of useful information. Picking a colored stone is actually a lot of fun once you get into it. People on the site LOVE to help and give feedback so don't be afraid to ask =)
 

Maristyl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
3
MissStepcut said:
I bought a stone directly from a cutter (in my case, Bob Kast) and had it sent directly to a setting maker (Daniel M from Etsy). There was no running around at all. A finished ring came to me a few weeks later. Here's one that's a little silky but awfully pretty for what it is:

http://diamondbistro.com/image/20417/item.html

and you could pop it in this setting:

http://idjewelryonline.com/product_info.php?cPath=42_44&products_id=10116&cType=ER

If you're getting a sapphire just because it's cheaper, there's a few diamond rings being listed by members of this site right now, including this one in your budget:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200661748198?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

But I am going to be honest with you, when you're working with a smaller budget, I think to get a nice outcome, you have to be willing to put in the legwork. If you put in crap effort and have a modest budget... well... you can probably guess.
It's less that I'm unwilling to do the legwork, but more that doing a lot of legwork will give away the surprise, we currently live together and spend almost all our time together, so keeping secrets is hard. A few months ago when we were discussing engagement rings she stated a preference for a blue or purple stone with diamonds in the setting so I'm not going for a cheaper ring by choosing a colored stone.

Thanks for all the help everyone, I'm going to try and contact some of the sellers people have recommended here so that I can get advice from them, and I'll definitely keep in mind the online offers people have posted, thanks you.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,707
Maristyl - for what it's worth here are a couple of my thoughts!

Unfortunately as with everything in life, you get what you pay for! The ready made rings you find are typically of low quality. Lower end gemstones are more often than not used and with sapphires they tend to be inky black and highly treated. The colour you like is top of the range and therefore, unfortunately, top dollar also! Having said that ...............

On this website you're among gemstone junkies who eat, live and breathe coloured gemstones! :twirl: We don't accept that for lower cost you have to accept lower quality items. Hence the information you've been given which is to buy a loose stone from recommended vendors (where you'll get a much better stone than one worth very little) and then have the thrill of being able to make it into a really special, well thought out ring. Having said that, building a ring is not for everybody and I accept that.

If you're determined to have a ready made ring then please look at Coloured Symphony (details posted above). Jill who owns that site works with www.simplysapphire.com run by a guy who knows his sapphires and typically buys good quality gemstones. Please don't buy from a high street store.

Good luck in your hunt.
 

chloeishere

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
189
I've recently gone through a similar process, so I can add what little expertise I have (the difference being that I'm the girl in this situation). In our relationship, if my boyfriend (future fiance, I suppose) had gotten a ring, as long as it wasn't something absolutely hideous I would have loved it. But, I started looking around for myself, and once I did he let me take the reigns because once I get into learning about something, I can be really particular. I wanted to get the best deal for his money. :Up_to_something:

So, as far as I'm concerned, the way to get the most for your money for a stone is through contacting precision cutters directly. Retail sites charge considerably more for lower quality stones, and ebay is a lot less trustworthy, in terms of whether what you will get is what you saw in the picture; and whether the stone is treated or synthetic. Since we also had a lower budget (I was hoping to spend around $500 on the ring; it ended up with the setting and the stone, and shipping, being just under $600), I didn't want to send the stone to GIA to get it certified because that would be a sizeable additional cost for this budget. Since I didn't want a synthetic or diffused stone, I felt safer buying from someone who was cutting the rough themselves.

The cutters that I had a great experience with were Dan at customgemstones.com and Gene at precisiongem.com. Both are very reasonably priced, and incredibly great guys, as well (Dan really goes above and beyond; Gene was amazing too). For either one, I would suggest contacting the cutter directly via email and asking if they have some rough that fits what you are looking for-- I suggest including a picture in addition to a written description of the shade(s) you prefer, and the cuts you prefer. It might also be helpful to mention your approximate budget for the stone. You are looking for a more ideal color than I was, so it might be a little harder (but certainly not impossible) to find a stone within your budget. (I suggest contacting them directly because it will save time vs. just waiting to see if anything you like pops up-- trust me on this one). Since you aren't looking for a huge sapphire, it shouldn't be impossible.

Bespokegems.com would also be a good candidate, but it will be coming from Australia (no personal experience with Doug). Jeff White (whitesgems.com) was very friendly and quick to respond, but he didn't have any rough that fit what I was looking for.

As far as the setting, you may not need to go custom, so that could save you some money and difficulty. (In my case, I have a nickel allergy so I cannot wear traditional white gold; and platinum is pretty unreasonable for our budget. Therefore, I wanted palladium or palladium white gold, which is hard to find in the style I wanted, because I'm picky). If you and she like halos and pave, those are fairly popular styles right now and you may be able to find a setting off ebay or other jewelry sites. Of course, read the feedback for ebay sellers, and pay especially attention to the negatives and neutrals! It's also good to search for the sellers name on here to get longer-term feedback.

Etsy.com can also be a good place to find someone to make a custom setting-- however, some jewelry makers do not set customers stones due to liability issues, so that's can be problem. DanielM on etsy makes very reasonably priced settings and has great customer service and will set a customer's stone (he does not work in palladium, but he gave me a really reasonable quote for platinum... still twice the cost of the palladium setting that I ended up going with, though). JanishJewels will work with a customers stone (but also doesn't work in palladium-- so I don't have a quote from her, but I expect that it would be pretty reasonable). KyleAnnMetals never responded to any of my messages, but there are people on here that have had good experiences with her.

The other thing to know with a setting is that sapphires are more dense (I guess that's the word) than diamonds-- a setting for a one carat diamond will be about 6.5 mm (round brilliant cut). My 1.15 carat sapphire has a 5.65 mm top (this will vary depending on how it's cut, though-- mine is a deeper cut stone, not a round brilliant). If you would prefer to buy a pre-fab setting, you might ask the seller to try to make the stone a "calibrated" size, like 5.5mm or 6.5 mm to ease finding a non-custom setting. Doug at bespoke gems does this often.

I adore this denim blue Montana sapphire that Gene cut recently, but it's actually a darker color (because I like a non-ideal blue sapphire color) than I would want. His pictures are very, very accurate to real-life (except they are much pretty IRL), though, so if you like the look of this one, it could be a good starting point. http://www.precisiongem.com/Gemstones/Gemstones/Sapphire.html It's 6.5 mm, so it would be easy to set in a non-custom setting, but it's got a touch of green and gray to it, it's not a traditional sapphire blue (most Montana sapphires are not, but that's part of their charm). It looks like this stone is on hold, but when I checked with him, he had a lot of Montana rough and he might have something similar.

Sorry for how long this message is, but I hope it helps!
 
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