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Starting new projects - what's your process?

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
I'm *just* dipping my toes in fine jewelry, which is so fun but I have SO.MUCH. to learn! I need help from you experts. (warning: this post is a word vomit of my questions and thoughts, so please hang in there.)

I want some drop platinum earrings using antique diamonds. So, I've started The Search for The Perfect Ones for me. And I'm curious to hear from those of you who start from scratch, rather than purchasing things already made. Do you buy loose diamonds? Diamonds that are set in settings that you have your bench jeweler remove? If you do that, how do you make sure that what you bought can be removed without messing up the diamonds? And then would you resell the setting, or have them melt it, or what? I see a lot more vintage diamond rings up for sale than loose pairs of diamonds available, and wondered if I should consider buying a ring with two stones and use them for earrings, or if I'm just getting distracted by shiny objects and need to keep my eyes focused and options narrowed. (I've already figured out that I'm not advanced enough to buy one diamond and then try to find a matching one down the road).

And is all of this too advanced for me as a first project? The thrill of the hunt is a ton of fun and I thought the earrings would have more meaning if I designed them on my own. And, to be real, the other reason for a project is budgetary - I thought if I collected the four diamonds over time, rather than pay the full amount up front, the price wouldn't sting so badly (read: so my husband doesn't notice as much haha). But in doing that, combined with my lack of expertise, I'm kind of all over the place in decision making and I'm scared to ever pull the trigger - first, it's harder to find matching diamonds, much less antique matching diamonds. Second, I fluctuate on the shape when I'm out searching (see above comment about distraction of shiny objects), although old mine diamonds are what get my heart to pitter-patter the quickest. I also like funky-shaped diamonds, but those usually aren't vintage. And third, I still don't have a great instinct on what's a good deal vs what's a scam so I can't ever pull the trigger quickly enough before what I want is gone (mostly on Instagram).

Here's my inspiration piece - if I had almost $10k to drop today on something, I'd buy these in a second. But how much less expensive is it to do a piece-meal project? Will I end up spending close to the same amount at the end of the day?

Thank you for suffering through what's going on in my head! :)


OldMineCutDiamondDropEarrings-2_600x.jpg

OldMineCutDiamondDropEarrings-2_600x.jpg
 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
Bumping this because I had the mods move from Antiques to Rocky Talky for hopefully more feedback. Similar to @lovedogs question about projects/regret/budget in some ways but also specific. Thanks in advance!
 

lulu_ma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
960

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
@lovetodream what is your budget ideally?

Ideally, around $3-4k over time. Maybe up to $5k? It depends on the diamonds I find, I suppose. If I find ones that really speak to me, I also like french wire drops with bezel settings for every day earrings, which I would assume would be cheaper to create?
 

lulu_ma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
960
Ok, if I see anything good I will post on here for you. I'm not sure what carat weight your inspo earrings are, but it seems like it can be a challenge to match antique stones.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
23,547
What size do you think those bottom stones are?

I know someone posted recently about Old World Diamond having a deal on stud earrings. Maybe you should contact him
and see if you can just get matched stones. I'm sure he has some and can let you know the price. Its hard to match old
stones yourself. Its worth a start to see if its in your budget.


Here is the tread (they are really cute for studs...you just want the rocks though)

 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
One thought is to make a pair of studs (or use ones you have already) and create a jacket for the drop part. That way, you can wear them both ways!

That's a great idea - especially if I keep an interest in jewels, I can do drops in emeralds, sapphires, etc. Probably a smarter budget idea. Would you do .5 or 1 carat each for studs then? The ispo post is 2.5 tcw so I'm guessing the bottom ones are 1 full carat each, or maybe .8.
 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
Ok, if I see anything good I will post on here for you. I'm not sure what carat weight your inspo earrings are, but it seems like it can be a challenge to match antique stones.

Thank you! They are 2.5 tcw but of course I'm flexible since antiques are harder to find.
 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
What size do you think those bottom stones are?

I know someone posted recently about Old World Diamond having a deal on stud earrings. Maybe you should contact him
and see if you can just get matched stones. I'm sure he has some and can let you know the price. Its hard to match old
stones yourself. Its worth a start to see if its in your budget.


Here is the tread (they are really cute for studs...you just want the rocks though)


Your signature line is totally me! Cracks me up. I'll reach out to them, although I really prefer old mine cuts over European (not even sure why, but I'm weird)
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
1,083
That's a great idea - especially if I keep an interest in jewels, I can do drops in emeralds, sapphires, etc. Probably a smarter budget idea. Would you do .5 or 1 carat each for studs then? The ispo post is 2.5 tcw so I'm guessing the bottom ones are 1 full carat each, or maybe .8.

It depends on personal preference and your ear size! I would do 1 full carat each and then go bigger on the drops!
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
5,110
Realistically, you're looking at 7-8k. 2500-2800 for each 1ct diamond (matched old cushions are very difficult to match), 1500 for the top pair of diamonds. Plus mounting.
 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
Realistically, you're looking at 7-8k. 2500-2800 for each 1ct diamond (matched old cushions are very difficult to match), 1500 for the top pair of diamonds. Plus mounting.

That makes sense. But still, less expensive and larger stones than the inspiration piece, so that's a positive. That was one of my questions - if the prices many vendors ask for finished pieces were *that* much higher than putting a piece together on your own. Thanks!
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
5,110
That makes sense. But still, less expensive and larger stones than the inspiration piece, so that's a positive. That was one of my questions - if the prices many vendors ask for finished pieces were *that* much higher than putting a piece together on your own. Thanks!

7-8k is if your scour ebay and auction sites and succeed at matching ungraded pairs. That's not GIA graded pricing. I tried matching 3ctw old cushions and failed miserably. Ended up with a ring and a bangle and sold the other 5 diamonds that didn't match perfectly... Out of the 60-70 old cuts I've purchased in the past 11 years, I couldn't get a well matched cushion pair together for a decent price.
 

lulu_ma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
960
Just came across these. Obviously smaller than your inspo earrings, but maybe worth a look...

 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
Just came across these. Obviously smaller than your inspo earrings, but maybe worth a look...


Thank you for sharing and thinking of me! Unfortunately, I need full platinum because I'm allergic to gold. Part of the reason I thought I needed to go the custom route. Full platinum at a reasonable price is hard to find because the diamonds are usually 3+ carats each.
 

lovetodream

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
64
7-8k is if your scour ebay and auction sites and succeed at matching ungraded pairs. That's not GIA graded pricing. I tried matching 3ctw old cushions and failed miserably. Ended up with a ring and a bangle and sold the other 5 diamonds that didn't match perfectly... Out of the 60-70 old cuts I've purchased in the past 11 years, I couldn't get a well matched cushion pair together for a decent price.

That's such valuable information, @ForteKitty, and kind of what I was asking in the original post. Knowing you looked and collected for that long and still didn't get what you were looking for helps me be realistic, especially since I'm still learning about diamonds and don't understand table depth and it's relationship to shine, etc. Thank you! Might start with simple, smaller french wires.
 

elizat

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
2,789
Those earrings are very pretty.

I don't think you save money by collecting your own stones unless you stumble upon some very lucky finds as @ForteKitty says.

I will say that I have remodeled my various pieces multiple times and the earrings that I have now that are diamond drop earrings somewhat similar to your inspiration earrings, came about after multiple resets.

It is hard to find matching stones.

If I were in your shoes and had the budget that you have right now, I would focus on finding one component of the drop and doing that as a stud earring for now. I would do a simple setting that is not very expensive, knowing that you ultimately need to buy another pair of diamonds and pay for a platinum mounting.

You can always reset and do the dangles when you have a larger budget for the other set of drops and the metal.

The alternative is to buy a pair of earrings similar in style but not close to the carat weight that you want. It's not a bad idea, but then you are left in a position where you need to sell those earrings to fund the pair you want.
 
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