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Steven Kirsch or David Klass?

Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
Another overlong post. Apologies in advance!

@yssie @Fabulous50 @mrs-b and/or anyone else who has worked with Leon — Any idea what a 3 stone setting like this might cost? Just a ballpark. I want to make sure I can actually afford him before going through the hassle and risks of shipping my stones halfway across the country! If the final bill winds up a little over budget for whatever reason, we can certainly handle it financially, but I’m not sure it’s worth the grief from my boyfriend.

I already told Leon my budget ($5k-$6k), and asked him if this was realistic for the project, but he didn’t give me a direct answer. Replied that I first need to send him my stone(s) and we will go from there. He did mention that he would try to source l*b diamonds (sorry!) for the side stones to keep the cost down, but no promises — if he can’t find ones that are suitably shaped/sized/matched, we will do natural. I have no qualms paying more for natty, so long as it doesn’t push us overbudget.

I’ve dug through the fora trying to get a better sense for LM’s pricing, and have seen pricetags ranging between $1k-$6k for labor alone. However, most of the posts are a bit long in the tooth — like 10+ years old — and for different styles than what I’m after (e.g., micropave, halos). I’ve also seen at least one thread in which the OP said she was ultimately quoted much more than the initial estimate after shipping her stone (granted, this was a fairly controversial thread).

Do we imagine LM will be in line with SK? As I mentioned earlier, SK quoted $3600 for the cost of platinum + labor, and said even with the additional cost of side stones it should stay under $6k total.

Side note: I have to say, I’m beginning to regret going this route (separate vendors for stone and mounting). I hazard I would have saved upwards of 30% just doing the whole shebang with Victor Canera, and the stone he quoted me on had better stats, too (4.01ct E VVS2 vs. my 3.75ct G VS2). I wonder if doing it all through LM would have offered a similar pricebreak. Sort of kills me!
 

Voldemort

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
15,663
Hello, dears! I think I’ve finally settled on an engagement ring style, and the next big question is who will make the damn thing! Right now I am between Steven Kirsch and David Klass. I’ve reached out to a number of different vendors over the last several weeks, and these 2 are left standing due to a combination of their 1) communication/responsiveness, 2) quick estimated turnaround (~3 weeks), and 3) excellent reputations here on PS.

A little context: I already have the center stone (11.05x7.35 emerald cut) and a small baguette I’d like to incorporate, as discussed here. I’ve decided to keep it pretty simple with the setting: either veeery elongated step cut traps or long straight baguette side stones (north-south orientation). No pave, milgrain, etc., just nice and clean. I’m leaning towards claw prongs (hopefully double on center EC, if the corners allow, and single on side stones). If I go for the baguette option, I would be open to tab prongs on the EC and bar set sides, but am wary as I’m incredibly picky about my tabs.

This is what I’ve gathered so far, from my reading here on PS and direct correspondence with each vendor:

Steven Kirsch:
  • Handforged (or at least partially/mostly?). Perhaps this bodes better for the prongs (aesthetically), and for lifetime wear and tear.
  • More expensive. I was quoted $3600 for the setting in platinum, not including the side stones. However, even with the side stones on top of that, we should still be within budget according to Sandra (<$6k).
  • It seems the general opinion of PS is that if you have the budget, SK’s work is superior to DK’s, and in the same tier as LM and VC.
  • It seems like I will have some input on important aspects of the design (e.g., setting height, shank profile) but I don’t have to design the whole thing myself. I can trust him to make something attractive.
  • I don’t love the proportions on many of the 3 stone rings he’s made, but maybe I haven’t seen enough of them. FWIW, I enjoy LM’s sense of proportion generally speaking. I should say that I am very particular about traps, and I don’t necessarily love what other people think looks great, or what might even be widely considered most “correct.”
  • I’m unclear on whether he will custom cut side stones for the design, or if he will just find an existing pair that he personally thinks look nice/compliments the center.
  • Not sure if I would get sketches or CADs at any point in the process? How much of a trust fall will it be? All I know for sure as he won’t do anything until he has my stone in hand.
  • Sandra is confident Steven will find a way to incorporate my little sentimental baguette.
David Klass:
  • Cast, not handforged. He says he will use his “uber bench,” as recommended here on PS.
  • Significantly less expensive. I was quoted $1350 for 14k unplated white gold the ring will cost, $1450 for 18k gold (any color), and $1550 for platinum (not including side stones).
  • Unlimited CADs! No cost upfront. Doesn’t need the stone in hand to start rendering. I can be as picky as I please, and will have the option to try on a plastic model before it’s cast.
  • He will have the side stones custom cut to get the long skinny shape I want.
  • I think it might be a bit too much freedom for me to handle! I feel a little overwhelmed and out of my depth when it comes to interpreting CADs and knowing what “works.” This is an important piece of jewelry, and I don’t know if I want it to be the custom project I cut my teeth on.
  • He thinks the sentimental baguette is too large to incorporate into the ring, and recommended having it set into a separate wedding (or other)
Is it ultimately a horse a piece? Is there something I’m not considering? Should I just take a pill already? I’d love to hear any advice, personal experiences, etc. you are willing to share!

I love the talent of both but I can say wholeheartedly that I love David and with all the pieces I’ve had made by him, he has never steered me wrong. ♥️ Top notch beauty.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,524
Another overlong post. Apologies in advance!

@yssie @Fabulous50 @mrs-b and/or anyone else who has worked with Leon — Any idea what a 3 stone setting like this might cost? Just a ballpark. I want to make sure I can actually afford him before going through the hassle and risks of shipping my stones halfway across the country! If the final bill winds up a little over budget for whatever reason, we can certainly handle it financially, but I’m not sure it’s worth the grief from my boyfriend.

I already told Leon my budget ($5k-$6k), and asked him if this was realistic for the project, but he didn’t give me a direct answer. Replied that I first need to send him my stone(s) and we will go from there. He did mention that he would try to source l*b diamonds (sorry!) for the side stones to keep the cost down, but no promises — if he can’t find ones that are suitably shaped/sized/matched, we will do natural. I have no qualms paying more for natty, so long as it doesn’t push us overbudget.

I’ve dug through the fora trying to get a better sense for LM’s pricing, and have seen pricetags ranging between $1k-$6k for labor alone. However, most of the posts are a bit long in the tooth — like 10+ years old — and for different styles than what I’m after (e.g., micropave, halos). I’ve also seen at least one thread in which the OP said she was ultimately quoted much more than the initial estimate after shipping her stone (granted, this was a fairly controversial thread).

Do we imagine LM will be in line with SK? As I mentioned earlier, SK quoted $3600 for the cost of platinum + labor, and said even with the additional cost of side stones it should stay under $6k total.

Side note: I have to say, I’m beginning to regret going this route (separate vendors for stone and mounting). I hazard I would have saved upwards of 30% just doing the whole shebang with Victor Canera, and the stone he quoted me on had better stats, too (4.01ct E VVS2 vs. my 3.75ct G VS2). I wonder if doing it all through LM would have offered a similar pricebreak. Sort of kills me!
If anyone wants 6k for labour for this - I believe an appropriate response would be to make a poster and picket the establishment :twisted2:

My experiences with Leon have been that if he's happy to do a project his pricing is very reasonable for quality of work. If you incur a PITA fee - he'll be pretty forthright about that fact :lol:

Leon and Victor have different styles. Victor's style is bolder and more geometric - I think Leon's three stone pieces are consistently more delicate and I prefer his fluidity. I don't think you made the wrong choice, if Leon's aesthetic is your personal preference.
 
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
If anyone wants 6k for labour for this - I believe an appropriate response would be to make a poster and picket the establishment :twisted2:

My experiences with Leon have been that if he's happy to do a project his pricing is very reasonable for quality of work. If you incur a PITA fee - he'll be pretty forthright about that fact :lol:

Haha! I have to say I was little shocked when I read a PSer was quoted a number like that. My SO would have a conniption! Relieved to hear that’s not standard. I’ll just be a PITA here on PS instead of with Leon...

Leon and Victor have different styles. Victor's style is bolder and more geometric - I think Leon's three stone pieces are consistently more delicate and I prefer his fluidity. I don't think you made the wrong choice, if Leon's aesthetic is your personal preference.

This honestly makes me feel a ton better, thank you. I think VC’s style is very pretty, but I do prefer LM’s aesthetic for this ring.

Also, if I can be greedy and ask one more question: do you think registered mail is the best way to ship him my stone? I don’t think LM provides a shipping label (and therefore insurance) like SK does.

Thank you so much for all of your help!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,409
Haha! I have to say I was little shocked when I read a PSer was quoted a number like that. My SO would have a conniption! Relieved to hear that’s not standard. I’ll just be a PITA here on PS instead of with Leon...



This honestly makes me feel a ton better, thank you. I think VC’s style is very pretty, but I do prefer LM’s aesthetic for this ring.

Also, if I can be greedy and ask one more question: do you think registered mail is the best way to ship him my stone? I don’t think LM provides a shipping label (and therefore insurance) like SK does.

Thank you so much for all of your help!

I would ask for an insured label from LM, no question. I would be very uncomfortable shipping without a vendor’s label. Hope he will provide one for ya!
 
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
I would ask for an insured label from LM, no question. I would be very uncomfortable shipping without a vendor’s label. Hope he will provide one for ya!

Just called and, nope, no shipping label for me! I guess USPS registered mail is my only/best bet? I won’t sleep for a week waiting for the delivery confirmation.
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,409
Just called and, nope, no shipping label for me! I guess USPS registered mail is my only/best bet? I won’t sleep for a week waiting for the delivery confirmation.

I’d get that baby sent overnight or at least 2-day. Others can chime in with recs, I’m sure!
 

Lookinagain

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
1,539
I use registered. It is slower, but safer as the package is signed for each stop along the way. I also believe that you can insure for more with registered, up to $50k whereas I believe $5k is the insurance limit on priority/express.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,253
Jewelers Mutual itself recommends using USPS Registered Mail.
Since it's in JM's own best interests to minimize payouts on claims arising from loss/damage during transit, I think their recommendation means a lot. So that's why I've only used insured Registered Mail (if the vendor doesn't offer a label for insured delivery to him/her).
 
Last edited:

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,524
Another recommendation for USPS Registered.

And may I recommend buying your own reinforced paper tape and prepping your box yourself at home? This what I use:
I buy the gummed tape - I believe it adheres much more strongly than the self-adhesive. Wet a sponge - a kitchen sponge works great - and run it across the coated side of the tape strip. This stuff does need a little time to dry, though (couple hours is plenty).
 
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
Thank you, all! As much as the long wait with registered mail will kill me (please tell me it’s not more than a week!), I think it is the safest option. Especially if that’s what JM recommends, per @MollyMalone .

@yssie I don’t know if you’ve ever had anything shipped from a Chinese vendor via EMS, but I was planning to tape the box the way they do — basically every square inch cocooned in packing tape. You need a buck knife and patience to get it open :lol: . Thank you for the gummed tape recommendation. I’ll order myself some!
 

valenledge

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
84
Double- box, and make sure nothing rattles! USPS registered is the most secure, but making my packages as uninteresting as possible for anyone is more for my peace of mind.

And I completely empathize and stand with you on the anxiety of figuring everything out and waiting. It’s really hard. But don’t compromise on what you want so you can have a piece you truly love.

My original set is LM, and it’s beautifully done and has stood the test of time. It’s 1.6mm and has never gone out of round, none of the pave stones have popped out, and the prongs have held the diamond in place without snagging on anything. My husband liked working with Leon, and I think their direct and straightforward styles worked with each other. Can’t wait to follow your design journey!
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,524
Thank you, all! As much as the long wait with registered mail will kill me (please tell me it’s not more than a week!), I think it is the safest option. Especially if that’s what JM recommends, per @MollyMalone .

@yssie I don’t know if you’ve ever had anything shipped from a Chinese vendor via EMS, but I was planning to tape the box the way they do — basically every square inch cocooned in packing tape. You need a buck knife and patience to get it open :lol: . Thank you for the gummed tape recommendation. I’ll order myself some!

I HAVE. I know exactly what you mean... Cocoon of packing tape is an apt description :lol:

Registered requires that the (outermost) layer of tape is paper tape that you can write on with a sharpie. And all seams of the box need to be covered with this paper tape. I recently sent a package to Australia and I did exactly the same thing - tape the entire box up in regular plasticey tape, then use the reinforced paper tape as the outermost layer because it’s super strong. I pity the customs official that decides to inspect it :bigsmile:
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,409
Thought of you this morning @Mary Queen of Scotch

Little mousy holding a piece of real corn, and a cast iron figure (I did myself) with the raccoon skull as the body
3DBAF899-456D-453D-998E-6F526875E6B7.jpeg

Mouse’s usual home - she used to be part of a set, (the weirdness of German children’s toys knows no bounds) so I make sure she is never lonely HAH

1DAECE1A-7ADD-41B9-A020-84A0697D030F.jpeg
 
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
@Cerulean Love mousy and friends! And the only thing stranger than German toys are Danish ones... I will need to lint roll my (real) cat’s cat fur off my fake cat’s cat fur before posting a pic. His pals include a very cheery voodoo doll, an alligator foot, and a mini museum (teeny pieces of medieval chain mail, the Hindenburg, dino bits, etc. floating in acrylic). Lots of junk, essentially!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,409
@Cerulean Love mousy and friends! And the only thing stranger than German toys are Danish ones... I will need to lint roll my (real) cat’s cat fur off my fake cat’s cat fur before posting a pic. His pals include a very cheery voodoo doll, an alligator foot, and a mini museum (teeny pieces of medieval chain mail, the Hindenburg, dino bits, etc. floating in acrylic). Lots of junk, essentially!

Hah, the further north you go…I think the weirder things get! Lol! Excited to see your funky collection!

But more importantly…your ring. It’s going to be divine!
 
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
79
The package was successfully delivered yesterday evening! Huzzah. I called Leon today to talk side stones. I had sent the little baguette of my mom’s with the center stone, which I kind of regret because I think it may have confused things. I just wanted to get his opinion on whether or not we could make it work somehow (even just on the inside/underside of the band), but I DON’T want to use it if that means compromising the overall beauty of the ring. But here we are.

He’s going to look for some straight baguette side stones and send me pics in the next couple days. Possibly for a 5 stone with stepped baguettes, but most likely a 3 stone — he seemed to be of the same mind as @diamondseeker2006 on that front. If we hate it, we’ll try for traps or something else altogether. He was less...opinionated than I’d thought he’d be.

And as with our initial convo, I found him perfectly professional and polite, but I can see why he’s off-putting to some. He doesn’t let you ramble (and I RAMBLE when given the chance, you may have noticed) and he likes to deadpan jokes (e.g., he mentioned adding bright cut pave, I said, no, boyfriend hates all pave, and he goes, “so what, are you going to let him run your life?”).

Anyway, thanks again for all the help and advice! I’ll post the side stone options as I get them — probably in a new thread with a more relavent title.
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,409
The package was successfully delivered yesterday evening! Huzzah. I called Leon today to talk side stones. I had sent the little baguette of my mom’s with the center stone, which I kind of regret because I think it may have confused things. I just wanted to get his opinion on whether or not we could make it work somehow (even just on the inside/underside of the band), but I DON’T want to use it if that means compromising the overall beauty of the ring. But here we are.

He’s going to look for some straight baguette side stones and send me pics in the next couple days. Possibly for a 5 stone with stepped baguettes, but most likely a 3 stone — he seemed to be of the same mind as @diamondseeker2006 on that front. If we hate it, we’ll try for traps or something else altogether. He was less...opinionated than I’d thought he’d be.

And as with our initial convo, I found him perfectly professional and polite, but I can see why he’s off-putting to some. He doesn’t let you ramble (and I RAMBLE when given the chance, you may have noticed) and he likes to deadpan jokes (e.g., he mentioned adding bright cut pave, I said, no, boyfriend hates all pave, and he goes, “so what, are you going to let him run your life?”).

Anyway, thanks again for all the help and advice! I’ll post the side stone options as I get them — probably in a new thread with a more relavent title.

Ooooh this is all very exciting! Very happy to hear that your diamond arrived safe and sound!

I wouldn’t sweat sending the baguette - it was worth a shot!

Please keep us posted. Very excited to see side stone options!
 
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