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Searching for the perfect Ering - please help

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Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35

Hello All,


I am new to this website but I have been reading the forums for a couple of months now and I think I have overreasearched and now I am totally confused as to what I want and what I can actually buy. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 8 years now and we live together and we have decided to get married next year. He has asked me to choose the ring I want. So I have been doing a lot of research and I am totally confused. I need someone with experience to bring me back to reality and tell me what to do. We both do not believe in overspending on a piece of jewelry for a number of reasons, we are saving for a house, and I do not want to risk losing an expensive ring which has happened to people I know, etc. So we have decided that our budget will be around 5000. I have tried some rings and I definitely seem to like rounder cuts, I would love something in the 1.5 ct range with little diamonds all around the band (as much sparkle as possible :) However, it seems that it will be hard to find something that big within our budget. Please let me know if you disagree. I am willing to go lower in the cts but I would like a really unique setting, something similar to the "exceptional rings" they have on the Cartier website. I will not be wearing a wedding band on the same finger so I would like to have a more unique setting.


Based on my research here is what I found:


1. It seems I can get a bigger cushion or oval for the same price as a smaller round one - do rounds generally look bigger than oval and cushion. I have been looking at round rings sooo much that I cant imagine having an oval or a cushion one instead. If anyone can suggest a unique oval or cushion setting, that would be great


2. It looks like most people nowadays are shopping on-line. My problem is that I am not an expert on dimensions and I don''t want to end up getting something that will not fit into a setting that I choose.


3. Should I be looking to buy the diamond separately from the setting or will I get a better deal on a preset ring, i am thinking maybe vendors want to get rid of inventory s they would be more willing to lower the price??


4. Is it worth looking for an estate ring instead, are they generally cheaper than new ones.


Any input will be greatly appreciated. My boyfriend wants us to go to the NY diamond district this weekend and I am super nervous he will think I am too material or snobby for overanalyzing this so much.

 

jet2ks

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
2,022
Welcome to PS, Bimbi

I''m not as much an expert as many around here, but will take a shot at your questions.

$5k is a decent budget for a ring, but you are probably not going to find a well cut 1.5ct stone in that price range. Make sure to get insurance on the ring. That way if you lose it, you will at least be able to buy another.

1. An oval does generally appear larger than a round of the same weight--not sure about cushions, but if you like rounds, that is what you should go with. It is a small price difference and this is something you will be wearing for the rest of your life, so go with what you like best.

2. I''m not sure that most people now shop online for jewelry, but it is a growing number. A good jeweler will be able to match the stone and setting (either by ordering the setting for your chosen stone or changing the head, depending on the style of ring)

3. You are generally better off buying the stone and setting separately. The better quality stones are usually kept loose for customers to look at.

4. Estate jewelry is a great way to get bang for your buck (or should I say "bling for your buck") provided you can find the look you like, can find a good jeweler to work with and don''t mind a pre-owned ring.

I would suggest a couple of other ideas, as well. A halo setting would allow you to buy a smaller center stone, but still have more finger coverage--if you like that style. There are some great halos owned by PS members if you do a search. Another option to stay within budget is to work with a vendor with a very good upgrade policy. That way you could get the setting you want with a smaller stone right now and then later upgrade to your desired 1.5 carat stone later. I know Whiteflash has a very good upgrade policy on their ACA H&A rounds.

Best of luck on your search. If you give a little better idea of what you like for a setting, the members here will provide many good suggestions with pictures for you to peruse.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
Thank you Jet2ks, really appreciate your help.

The ring that I absolutely love is this one, except I do not really like the thick metal wrapping the diamond, I think it takes away from its brilliance. I wonder if it can be done with prongs or another alternative. If you can suggest something similar to that within my budget, that would be great.

http://www.bridal.cartier.com/index.php?t=1&nav=ficheprod&ref=N4186400&cc=us&codeLang=en

I just went to a local jewelry store and tried on some solitaires. I definitely cannot go over 1.5 with my 4.5 size finger. The above setting is pretty low so the people at the store told me that I can save money by buying a more shallow cut diamond. Is that going to affect its appearance?

Also, I wonder how much would a setting like the one above cost on its own.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
Date: 2/26/2009 7:27:47 PM
Author: Bimbi
Thank you Jet2ks, really appreciate your help.

The ring that I absolutely love is this one, except I do not really like the thick metal wrapping the diamond, I think it takes away from its brilliance. I wonder if it can be done with prongs or another alternative. If you can suggest something similar to that within my budget, that would be great.
If you're talking about going custom then yes, you can do just about anything (prongs, etc.).

When you say "I think it takes away from its brilliance," are you talking about the brilliance (light return/sparkle) of the diamond, or the brilliance (beauty) of the setting? If it's the former, just be aware that that is not true in most cases. A well-cut stone will still sparkle wonderfully in a bezel (the "metal wrapping around the diamond" that you referred to), and it will not appear as thick in person.

http://www.bridal.cartier.com/index.php?t=1&nav=ficheprod&ref=N4186400&cc=us&codeLang=en

I just went to a local jewelry store and tried on some solitaires. I definitely cannot go over 1.5 with my 4.5 size finger. The above setting is pretty low so the people at the store told me that I can save money by buying a more shallow cut diamond. Is that going to affect its appearance?
YES that will affect its appearance (in a bad way, in case that wasn't clear). There are lots of resources here for you to browse on cut quality. You can do a search for "shallow cut" or something like that. I'll see if I can dig up some threads for you to peruse.

The jeweler you're talking to is nobly trying to get you the size (spread) you want by cheating the cut quality. Don't do it. A smaller, ideal-cut diamond will outperform a larger, poorly cut diamond every time.

Also, I wonder how much would a setting like the one above cost on its own.
It depends who you have make it, what metal you choose (platinum, yellow gold, white gold, palladium), etc. That's something that we absolutely can't tell you in any accurate way.

Here's the picture you've been linking of the setting in question:

prettycartiersetting.jpg
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
Thank you. Yes, that is the setting that I like at Cartier. Have you seen anything similar or as unique as this. I would love to receive more suggestions. How big do you estimate the two side diamonds should be with a 1ct center stone.

My boyfriend and I will be going to the NY district this weekend. Some friends say we should buy the diamond from one store and the setting from another. Is that how it is done, wouldnt the vendor of the diamond be more willing to sell me the settng too at a good price. Do all of the stores in the district make custom-made settings. I am thinking we will probably not buy this time around but rather look and then compare online prices for the diamonds. Who knows. I am trying to come upwith a strategy, what to tell the vendors. Is it safe to bargain for something and walk away to check out other stores and then return to get it or do I pretty much have to jump on something if I think the price is right. Both my boyfried and I are shy when it comes to negotiating, so we will see how we''ll do.

A friend told me he went back to a store after hours and got a really good deal. Does that really matter.
 

jet2ks

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
2,022
That setting is certainly unique and beautiful. Something with that many design elements will be tough to do on your budget.

From your last post, I would agree that your best bet when visiting stores is to just look at this point for several reasons. First, you will get many more ideas seeing the rings in person rather than just pictures. Sometimes one that looks great on the screen won't look as good on your finger or may not be comfortable to you. You will also get a better idea of what your $5k will get. I think you will find that the PS recommended vendors will in most cases be able to beat the prices of a brick and mortar store. If you are anxious or shy about negotiating, internet may be a better way to go.

As far as what to tell the stores, just tell them the truth--you are looking at engagement rings, but are not quite ready to purchase. A store with good customer service will still be attentive and try to find what YOU want. When you hit a store with bad service or is really pushing you to buy immediately, feel free to just look at settings for ideas and then walk away. That is not someone you want to get into a business relationship with.

It is possible to get the stone at one dealer and the setting at another, though it is usually recommended to get both at from the same vendor if possible. There are several reasons for this, but that will only become important once you find a setting.

Just remember to enjoy the shopping trip--looking at diamonds is supposed to be fun!
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
19,456
I think you've received some good information so far. One thing I would like to bring up is that you might explore other options a little bit. Your budget of 5k is a very decent amount, however, it will not get you an ideal cut 1.5ct diamond. These are the options as I see them:

1. Put your money into the stone. Get the biggest and best round you can within your budget and put it in a solitaire. Then upgrade later, with your perfect setting or diamond size, or both.

2. Put your money into the setting. Get a smaller diamond and a setting like that, and upgrade both later.

You have a few more options, if they are something you'd like to explore:

3. Get a round gemstone that matches common Ideal cut diamond dimensions, and get a ring made around it, so that when you want to upgrade to a diamond, you can just exchange stones. This way you get the size, the setting and the option to upgrade to the size stone you want without starting over with a whole new setting.

4. Get a cheaper ring now and save the money left over for a time when you're more financially stable.

Here are two diamonds (1.50cts) I'd recommend in a heartbeat:
$14,000, I, VS1, Whiteflash ACA

$18,000, G, VS2, Whiteflash ACA

A 1ct will be more of your range, but still above the budget:
$5,600 1.002cts, I, VS1, WhiteFlash ACA

$6,000, 1.005cts, H, SI1, Whiteflash ACA

One other option, but the prices don't go down much in this arena for the size you want...

I would go to the Diamond district, but I would only go to look and try on rings to see what looks good on your hand. I would not buy and I would not try to haggle over anything because I am 99% sure you can get a better deal online. If you fall in LOVE with something that's in your budget, that's a different story.

On the other hand...this white sapphire is about the size of a 1ct diamond:
1.17cts $560

Sapphires won't look the same as a diamond would, but most people wouldn't notice. If you went with that option, you could get just about everything you want, the size and the setting, but you could switch out the stone when you can better afford it.

Or you could get a cool custom gemstone ring like me (although mine is forever) as a placeholder until you can afford exactly what you want! (The one I have now was less than $500 for a 1.2ct spinel in a white gold stock setting, it will be around $600 for my custom reset--no diamonds at all in my ering though.) You have affordable options, don't let anyone tell you that you don't.

ETA: one more thing--you said sparkle was the most important factor (well in a roundabout way) so I think you should stick to ideal specs for your center stone. Cut is the most important C and will help hide any flaws of the other Cs...but I'm not a diamond expert, so I will shut up now and defer to them! (Come see us in Colored Stones if you decide to go that route!)
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Hi Bimbi,

I just wanted to jump in here and mention with a 5k budget for the whole ring, you won''t be able to find a quality 1.5 ct diamond, that budget will get you around a carat. Some fancy shapes will look a little larger for the carat weight so this is an option you could explore.

Also a shallower cut diamond isn''t always a good idea as there can be tradeoffs. A diamond which looks large for the weight may be bright and brilliant usually, but won''t be the best all round performer.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
OMG, you are great. Talking(writing) about this with someone is so helpful. I like the idea of choosing a different stone rather than a diamond not to go over budget. I have been thinking about ruby since red is my favorite color and I wear red a lot. I will have to check the posts on the colored stones for more information.

Thank you so much everyone, I will let you know how my trip to NYC goes.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Date: 2/27/2009 6:47:27 AM
Author: Bimbi
OMG, you are great. Talking(writing) about this with someone is so helpful. I like the idea of choosing a different stone rather than a diamond not to go over budget. I have been thinking about ruby since red is my favorite color and I wear red a lot. I will have to check the posts on the colored stones for more information.

Thank you so much everyone, I will let you know how my trip to NYC goes.
Just to warn you, fine ruby is probably THE most expensive gemstone and will cost significantly more than any white diamond of a similar size.

Obviously there is ruby and then there is fine ruby, but be prepared for sticker shock.

There are coloured stones for all budgets, but as with diamonds you will get what you pay for and many of us with coloured e-rings have spent similar amounts for our stones as we would have done had we gone for a diamond. They are not always a cheaper option.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
You are right. Rubies are as expensive as diamonds if not even more. I love color but I also feel like the engagement ring is something that I would like to wear every day and I want it to go with all my outfits, nail polish etc. I like the suggestion of going with a white saphire instead but then I feel like people will be saying that my boyfriend got me this because he is cheap or that i have a fake diamond and I know I shouldnt pay attention to what people say but knowing myself, comments like this will bother me. I am already under a lot of pressure from family and friends because we have been dating for so long and living together, I dont want to add anymore negativism when we do finally get officially engaged.

Someone recommended an estate jewelrer to me. I looked on his website and he has a lot of "European" cut diamons. What does that mean.
 

wishinpink

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 5, 2008
Messages
587
From my experience, buying used is the best way to get the bang for your buck!
 

melz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
405
Hi Bimbi,

I am exactly in your boat, every time I learn something new I change my mind! Anyway, I loved the setting you picked out so much I called Cartier. You probably knew this already, but turns out you can''t just buy a setting from them unfortunately. Which I''m sure would put it out of my budget and yours, although I know you didn''t want the bezel anyway. Good luck to you in your search!
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
OMG, not only did I call Cartier, I actually tried the ring on. I have never even before tried any ring in my 4.5 size. I couldnt believe they had it in exactly my size. Maybe that''s why I fell in love with it. I was ready to walk out that store with it. It was 30k though. I think I really love it and I would sacrifize the stone for the setting, get an older cheaper diamond or another stone until I can upgrade. 5k seems like a lot of money but I get the feeling that you can''t buy a whole lot with that much in the diamond business. Most of my friends'' rings are in the 20k range, but I just can''t see myself spending that kind of money and I wouldnt want to put that burden on my boyfriend either.
 

melz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
405
I''m absolutely positive that my boyfriend wishes I felt the same way ....


I''ve a message in to a local jeweler that designs rings about replicating that setting, when I hear back from him I''ll let you know re price.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
Yes, please do as I almost positive I want to go with that setting. I am thinking of getting a red spinel center stone instead of a diamond, but we will see. I will check with some jewelers I know too re: price and will let you know. Where are you located.
 

melz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
405
Boston. Happy to give you his website if that''s allowed on this forum I''ll have to read the rules ... but I will post when he responds with a price.
 

LGK

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
2,975
Bimbi, "european cut" diamonds are an antique round cut, usually called Old European Cut (OECs). Check out http://www.oldworlddiamonds.com for more info, or http://www.jewelsbyericagrace.com. Both have good info on antique stones and are good vendors all around too. It is a very different look than a modern round cut, but some of us (I''m certainly one) prefer them... my e-ring has a center stone that''s about 100 years old, and is an OEC. They (to make a gross generalization) if well cut tend to have large flashes of fire, and be balanced towards more fire than white light compared to a modern cut.

I would say, if you do have an interest in antique cuts, there is one advantage to them regarding getting a larger stone for your $. That is, if you don''t mind the look, you can drop the color a LOT more on an antique cut and it will look "right"- since it''s very hard to find a high color old cut (and indeed you pay a premium for it), most are lower colors and thus less expensive. And there''s less of a "stigma" about a lower color with an old stone, at least it seems that way to me when talking with the average person off the street about it. Generally people perceive sparkle and size first, color and everything else as a far distant second. Still, it is of course your own taste that matters! Old cuts do have a bit of a discount typically compared to a modern round brilliant, with some exceptions.

If I were you and really wanted a substantial stone and an ornate custom setting, but had a tight budget compared to what I wanted, I might consider getting a place holder stone (colored gem, or a well made simulant, something like that) and getting the setting custom made. Personally, I''d probably choose something that resembed a diamond closely so when I swapped out the center stone eventually, it wouldn''t be a huge deal and would not attract too much discussion.

Another option would probably be to get a beautifully cut 1 ct-ish round and put it into a cheap temporary setting, with the intention to upgrade stone and setting later.

Or you could drop color and clarity drastically, stick with ideal cut, and get the biggest possible stone that way. http://www.highperformancediamonds.com has the Infinity line of ideal cuts, and they get some unusual color and clarity combos- there is an M SI1 at 1.26cts for $5K listed. It wouldn''t look perfectly white from the side but typically an ideal cut even in a low color like M would face up pretty white.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
From my research it looks like cubic zircon is the best diamond look-alike. However, I dont even know where to look for one and how much it would cost. Do you have any suggestions. If i went that route, I would prefer to order one from a store so I can see it and make sure that it looks like a diamond. I dont know why but I think I would prefer something nature made like a spinel, I just can''t stop thinking that people will think my ring is fake if I get a cubic zircon and make comments behind my back. Girls are so cruel.

I think the uniqueness of the setting is more important to me than the stone, I cant imagine myself having just a huge rock on a plain band. It''s just not me. After reading so many posts on this website and seeing som GREAT pictures I am definitely considering a colored stone for the center, something red :)
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
19,456
Date: 2/27/2009 4:05:26 PM
Author: Bimbi
From my research it looks like cubic zircon is the best diamond look-alike. However, I dont even know where to look for one and how much it would cost. Do you have any suggestions. If i went that route, I would prefer to order one from a store so I can see it and make sure that it looks like a diamond. I dont know why but I think I would prefer something nature made like a spinel, I just can''t stop thinking that people will think my ring is fake if I get a cubic zircon and make comments behind my back. Girls are so cruel.

I think the uniqueness of the setting is more important to me than the stone, I cant imagine myself having just a huge rock on a plain band. It''s just not me. After reading so many posts on this website and seeing som GREAT pictures I am definitely considering a colored stone for the center, something red :)
Ok. Cubic Zirconia is synthetic. And very very cheap. Your jeweler would be able to get ahold of them very easily. Discussion of them is not allowed on PS however.

I suggested white sapphire because it is a VERY white stone, and that''s what people will notice. It won''t show dispersion (rainbows) like a diamond would, and sapphires look very "icy" compared to diamonds, which are often described as being "fiery".

Other white stones include white topaz (not many people sell this though because it is SO cheap for large pieces), white zircon (which is a different animal from white cubic zirconia), and white sapphire-which would likely be your best bet because it''s the hardest stone next to the diamond. Topaz and Zircon will not stand the test of time as well as a Sapphire and they are not as resistant to wear as Sapphire as well.

Red spinels will be a bit (very) pricey, but if you went more of a garnet route, they would be very reasonable.

Artistic Colored Stones-Garnets
ACS-Spinels
ACS-Sapphires (i love the white oval)
Custom Gemstones-Garnets (the big red on the bottom is sold )

Anyway, if you think you want to consider a colored stone, come play over in Colored Stones. (If you haven''t already!)
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
That is very pretty. I like the contrast between the diamonds and the red. I have found some estate and antique jewelers that people recommended and if I can''t find a diamond that fits my bidget I will definitely go with a red stone.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Date: 2/27/2009 3:38:57 PM
Author: LittleGreyKitten
Or you could drop color and clarity drastically, stick with ideal cut, and get the biggest possible stone that way. http://www.highperformancediamonds.com has the Infinity line of ideal cuts, and they get some unusual color and clarity combos- there is an M SI1 at 1.26cts for $5K listed. It wouldn't look perfectly white from the side but typically an ideal cut even in a low color like M would face up pretty white.
Ditto this. I'd call Wink, ask him is there are any upcoming M I1's in your carat range. With a bezel setting (that's what the style of the setting above is) the warmth from the size view of the diamond won't matter and bezel's made diamonds look much larger (well cut diamonds) so you could easily do a 1.25 carat.

I think that setting is gorgeous, but I would have someone very skilled make something similar to it. I would recommend contacting Wink to talk to his designer Ocean Pearlman, or contacting Maytal Hannah for a setting inspired by that Cartier setting you love.

If you can afford it, I would increase the budget to about 8K. budget 5K for the stone (a lower color and clarity Infinity through Wink), and 3K for the setting (get it in palladium as that is cheaper than gold or platinum right now).


If you do opt for a red stone. Shoot for a nice wellcut Garnet that is not too saturated. Spinels in a 'true red' are very pricey.
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
19,456
Ditto Gypsy.
 

swimmer

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
2,516
You said you liked RBs, vintage, and rubies, here is one that is ready to go, a bit over your budget, and you wanted one ring with presence. how did NYC vintage searching go? link
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Date: 3/2/2009 10:28:48 AM
Author: swimmer
You said you liked RBs, vintage, and rubies, here is one that is ready to go, a bit over your budget, and you wanted one ring with presence. how did NYC vintage searching go? link
Beautiful suggestion!
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
I couldnt make it so NYC this weekend, a college friend was visiting last minute. I did go to a store someone recommended, Nagi Jewels in Stamford, CT. There was a setting I absolutely loved. I never thought that I would like a halo setting but this one was perfect. I emailed Peter Suchy and will go to visit his antique jewelry store this week. The one thing that I wonder is if an older cut diamond will look good with a modern halo setting or should I buy a more vintage looking setting. Any ideas?

The setting was $2,200, white gold. Is that a reasonable price. It has about a 1/2 total cts in little diamonds all over the band and on the sides. I have beein trying to find it on their website but I cant. I may have to go back.

So with my budget of around 5k, if a setting is 2,200, the price for the diamond should be no more than 3000, 3500 the highest. Is that a reasonable price for a 1 cts or something that looks like 1 ct. Should I be searching for an estate/antique diamond or can I find a brillian cut for that price.

Lastly, can someone give me a list of things that I should look for when I go to look at old diamonds at Peter Suchy''s, I mean what color, clarity, depht, table, etc, should I stay within for it to be a good diamond.

Thanks everyone.
 
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