by Postitnotes » Feb 12, 2019 at 12:31 AM I've finally started my search for an engagement ring. I've done several days of research both on these forums and elsewhere and I think I have some idea on what I should look for. I am looking for a square cushion, around 1ct, eye-clean and near colorless. Solitaire setting and still debating white gold or platinum. No preference on chunky or crushed ice as long as it looks sparkly. Budget for rock and setting is $5300 with some flex if worthwhile. From what I have seen, most PS users seem to favor buying online vs. BM. I am comfortable with purchasing online, especially with the helps of all the experts here. However, I am worried that the savings I get from online vendors will be offset by the cost of international shipping (Canada) when I send it back to them for inspection, cleaning, warranty, etc. In your opinion is this a valid concern? I am also open to the idea of buying a loose stone and getting a setting done locally. Are there any pitfalls I should look out for if I go this route? I visited a wholesaler today and had an pleasant experience. He was not pushy and was very patient with me. Unfortunately he only had one square cushion in stock right now but will be getting more in the near future. From my relatively untrained eyes, the four stones that he showed me (even the crushed ice) were much more brilliant than photos of similar spec stones on JA, Brilliant Earth, and Blue Nile. Could this be an effect of the lighting in the shop or was he showing me better quality stones? I also feel like it would be very easy for him to be strategic in what he show me to push me towards a certain stone / price. Am I paranoid? In terms of price, the one cushion he showed me was a 1.01 SI1 E and quoted for $4900USD. I wasn't happy with the obvious non-symmetrical table and how it wasn't as bright as some of rectangular cushions, so I plan to go back when he has more stock for me to look at. For around that price, how are the following online alternatives? https://www.brilliantearth.com/loose-diamonds/view_detail/7164904/ https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/cushion-cut/1.01-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-sku-5629098 https://www.bluenile.com/ca/diamond...DiamondDetails&action=newTab&catalogView=true Can I do better? Are my expectations unreasonable for that budget? Sorry in advance if these questions have been answered before. These forums are vast and the search function isn't working too well for me.