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The Grand ER Search, Help!

SAdams10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
3
Hey folks,

Long time lurker, first time poster! Hopefully it is not rude to ask for help on my first post, but I have been absolutely blown away by the depth of knowledge on this forum (not to mention seriously impressed with some of the bling). I have been searching for an engagement ring for my girlfriend, and was hoping for some guidance. Lengthy post to follow, so you can skip to the questions below if you dont need details or dont like long essays :).

My budget for this is $15k, although there is some wiggle room there for the *perfect* ring. Based on my PS education, my basic strategy for diamond shopping is pay for what you see-->mainly cut and carat while meeting minimums in color/clarity. My personal goals for the diamond are:

1. Excellent Cut - There are a lot of variables and levels of excellent/ideal obviously, but I have been following the general table/depth/pavilion/crown/girdle percents and angles suggested on this board.
2. H color or better - I have done some in-store looking and my eyes start to pick up color around here
3. SI2 or better clarity - basically I want the diamond to be eye clean, I know this is more rare at SI2, a bit more common at SI1, etc
4. No Carat requirement - gf has no minimum, but I'm generally trying to get above 1.5ct...1.7/1.8 would be ideal

The diamond will be set in a 6-prong "tiffany style" solitaire, and I'm leaning towards platinum over white gold for durability and its hypoallergenic qualities. I'm aiming for a pretty thin shank, probably around 2mm or less but here's the rub: I KNOW she would really appreciate some uniqueness to the setting, so I'm trying to figure out my options between engraving, putting a birthstone on the inside of the ring, etc...something to set it apart. Finally, I expect we will look for a diamond wedding band, and ideally I would like it to sit flush with the ER. GF has a ring size of 5.5 or so.

Initially I was looking at local jewelers, but I have been shown a number of diamonds outside some of the recommended cut characteristics. They all look bright and shiny, and I'm no expert, so I'm concerned about value. I feel more comfortable verifying with idealscope and ASET images so I know what I'm getting, and obviously less overhead online. Based on recommendations here, it sounds like Good Old Gold, Whiteflash, Brian Gavin, etc are the places to be.

Onto the questions:

1. How does my overall strategy/information sound? Any recommended changes? All ideas welcome!
2. Any online retailers to add or take away? I have heard good things about CBI, brilliantly engaged, James Allan
3. Many of these jewelers have different Ex/Ideal cut levels: ACA at WF, Ascendancy at GOG, Signature at BG, but many also have a 2nd level like expert selection at WF, premium select at GOG, etc. Will a layman such as myself EVER be able to tell the difference between these?? I'm a value shopper at heart :angel: , and I'm not sure I would pay a ton extra for an extra 1% sparkle if thats the real difference between top 2 levels.
4. For the setting, how thin of a shank could I engrave something on? How thin could I mount an internal birthstone? Are these good ideas (I've heard mixed reviews)? Any recommendations?
5. How much should I expect to pay for a custom setting like the one above? Any recommendations? I've heard the names Victor Canera and Steve Kirsch (sp?)


Aaaand thats it!!! Apologies for the long post, it was helpful for me to get it all down in one place. Lots of info out there, not a lot of experience for me.

A pre-emptive THANK YOU for any and all help!!! :clap:

-Steve
 

Fulvia

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 15, 2015
Messages
246
Hi Steve,

I am still a relatively new PSer, but your criteria and budget seem very reasonable to me. You didn't mention what cut you're looking for. Do you want a RB? If so:

1. For online retailers I personally would stick with Whiteflash, Brian Gavin and Good Old Gold. You might also check out High Performance Diamonds and ID Jewelry. Unless you are willing to invest the time into looking for and evaluating the optics of diamonds on other, un-curated sites, these should be (IMO) your go-to guys. BUT If antique-cut diamonds are up your girl's alley (they are very much up mine, and many others on PS!) check out Jewels by Grace.
2. The question of premium cut (i.e. WF ACA vs expert selection) is truly a personal one. Ignorance is bliss, of course, and if your bride-to-be isn't heavily into diamonds, you can probably go with a less-than-excellent cut. I have heard, however, that WF expert selection has yielded some real losers as of late, so sticking with ACA et al. is the safest course of action and the one I would choose (in fact it is the one I have chosen for myself).
3. As for personalizing the ring, I'm not extremely find of the birthstone idea, unless it is incorporated in an extremely subtle way. For instance:

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/4-27avc-meets-steven-kirsch.191951/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/4-27avc-meets-steven-kirsch.191951/[/URL]

I LOVE Steven Kirsch's work, and I think the ring above is TDF :love:

4. Settings vary by vendor and style, but I think $2000-3000 ish for a top artisan like Canera or Megé in a simple setting is the going rate, but better to others' voice on this.

I hope this helps!
 

SAdams10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
3
Thanks for the reply Fulvia!

I am looking for an RB shape, what an obvious detail to leave out :wall:

There are so many good vendors/diamonds out there, I honestly think I could comparison shop forever with the variety of characteristics, settings, etc. The birthstone idea was something that would be "just for her." In other words, I would probably put it on the internal side of the shank where nobody could see it, but she could if she took it off. Ultimately I'm just looking for a light touch of uniqueness in what is otherwise a very classic and traditional setting.

-Steve
 

MissGotRocks

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
12,174

foxinsox

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 18, 2015
Messages
3,125
SAdams10|1457900333|4004574 said:
There are so many good vendors/diamonds out there, I honestly think I could comparison shop forever with the variety of characteristics, settings, etc. The birthstone idea was something that would be "just for her." In other words, I would probably put it on the internal side of the shank where nobody could see it, but she could if she took it off. Ultimately I'm just looking for a light touch of uniqueness in what is otherwise a very classic and traditional setting.

-Steve
Steve, no idea about stones but have you had a look at Erika Winters or Caysie Van Bebber for settings? They do beautiful, classic but different settings. Definite vintage vibe so it might not be what you're after but worth a look?
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,607
It is by far easiest to get a great stone from vendors such as WF and GOG since they have done the selection work already, and I definitely think you can find great stones in their second tier! I'd give you specific cut parameters if you were looking at vendors who did not provide what these two do to verify cut quality. But those are the two vendors I have bought diamonds from, and both would have classic Tiffany style settings such as the Vatche U-113 (which is what I have).

G-H color is great, and VS2-SI1 is a common choice around here.

You can definitely get a 1.5ct+ for your budget.

Platinum 2mm setting is great. I honestly wouldn't do too much with the solitaire setting other than maybe see if they could engrave the proposal date, but you'd have to be very certain nothing would change that date! The thing is, the wedding band traditionally has something engraved in it, so I am not all that big on engraving anything in the e-ring unless it is something like "I love you" or something sentimental (if they can squeeze that in a 2mm shank!). But just remember, rings may eventually be sized, so it would maybe mess that up. I have never thought setting birthstones on the inside of a shank was a good idea because gunk would just collect there. A gorgeous diamond in a classic setting is special enough!
 

SAdams10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
3
Thanks all for the replies, been traveling for a few days so haven't had a chance to post. I appreciate the recommendations on diamonds and settings, I will check them out.

As far as the setting, I've heard a lot of hesitations when it comes to anything on the band, especially the interior. In lieu of anything on the band, I would look at going as thin as possible. How thin have people gone with a platinum band and a ~1.5ct diamond? It looks like a 2mm width is pretty common, but how thin is safe to secure the diamond and not make it too unstable on the hand?
 
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