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Thoughts after buying an engagement ring 5 years ago

teobdl

Brilliant_Rock
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May 8, 2013
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It's been 5 (!!) years since I bought a diamond and got engaged. I spent quite a bit of time on the forum learning about cut and performance. In the end, I decided that my priorities were the following:

1) Budget (what was the maximum I was willing to spend)
2) Cut: get in the sweet spot of PS-recommended stones. It's not hard. Highest grade AGS, or at the very least GIA Excellent. Don't bother with anything else. Get the crown angle, table size, pavilion angle, depth in the PS ranges. Make sure it's symmetric.
3) Size: get as big as you can go
4) go as low as possible on clarity and color to maximize size.

I ended up with an H, SI2 with a side inclusion that was easily covered by prongs. I would have been okay with a high I color. If I hadn't found my acceptable SI2 then I would have gone SI1.

Unless the woman (or guy) really values clarity, I see no reason to go above SI. Color is even less important--environment of viewing matters a lot for color. I started seeing a little color at I if I compared it to an F in the right light.

What makes you smile and what gets your attention is a ball of sparkle. To this day I'm glad I didn't force myself into VS2+ or F+ territory because the ball of sparkle simply would have been noticeably smaller for my budget. No one is pulling out a loupe, and no one is looking at the certificate. I've also seen some big rounds that are noticeably poorly cut--they look lifeless and fake (maybe they were fake idk).

Before you buy, I recommend you convince yourself that color and clarity don't matter much so that you can maximize cut and size. In fact, I would even argue that once you're in the PS range of cut, the premium for the branded super ideals is better spent on size for most people. Go to Tiffany or Cartier and also to other reputable jewelers around you. Bring the stones to a window, put them under a shadow, etc. Look at the certificate for those stones. What I found was that as long as you're in the range of PS recommended diamonds (34.5-35.5 crown, ~55% table, etc), you'll be fine. In my own home, I compared BGI, JA True Hearts, a good old gold pick, and a regular JA stone that had all the general characteristic angles of a great diamond (I compared 2 at a time, not all 4). Just like in the jewelery stores, my lay-person eye didn't much of a difference either up close or far away. Each diamond did play with the light a little differently to a barely noticeable extent, but I definitely wouldn't say one was preferable to another. Small differences in size were definitely noticeable.
EDITED TO ADD: I forgot that I used the HCA pretty extensively, and I basically just defaulted to what HCA says was a good combo after I was in the general range.

Lastly, most people don't get the grime off their diamonds frequently enough... don't be bashful to ask your fiancé/spouse to clean it often to keep it looking good. That's a sure way to make sure your diamond stands out, as most people never clean them at all.

Best wishes!
 
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headlight

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 2, 2003
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I am happy you are still, 5 years later, happy with your selection and the reasons for it. I cheer you on for most of everything you said. The only point I take issue with, and it is no surprise to anyone here that I'm saying this, is that the color is noticeable. The fact that it doesn't matter to you is a good thing because it afforded you a larger diamond. I agree that no one is carrying their certificate around (well, maybe some people do lol!), and if you can't "see" the impact of a lower clarity then why pay for it... but color you DO see. And it has nothing to do with lighting environment. I have owned a wide range of diamonds in varying colors and I can tell you, there is a visual difference. With that said, if you don't notice then you are BLESSED, as it is otherwise a curse IMO lol. But to say it doesn't matter means it only doesn't matter to you. In reality, there is a difference amongst the colors or else there wouldn't be different grades. To make the statement that color is "even less important" than clarity makes no sense because you can actually see color. Wherever you think the color doesn't make a difference... where you think your stone looks "white", I can assure you the high grade color looks noticeably more white. And while I am in agreement with you regarding clarity, there are a lot of people out there reading this right now who are all about knowing their stone has high clarity. I, too, would PREFER that, but given a budget that is one area I was able to compromise on. But for some people compromising on clarity is completely out of the question. I think it is great to offer your perspective, but to say that clarity and color do not matter isn't great advice. Also, with regard to size, that is subjective. What is large or small to one person is not the same for another. And, quite honestly, not everyone is looking for a large (however you want to define) diamond.. or for "the largest they can get". Some people want something of not only good cut, but of high clarity and color, where the size isn't the focus but, rather, the total overall quality in all factors. They are about getting something smaller of rarity over something larger.
 

mission1

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 17, 2019
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139
Everyone has different priorities beyond cut. I couldnt find an SI2 that was good enough, and found it easier at SI1. Color I was too low, and very noticeable (to me)....so for me color IS important.
 

RunningwithScissors

Shiny_Rock
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Apr 29, 2019
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To me color is waaaay more important than size. I second what Headlight said. While we may be in the minority, some of us can very much see color differences between the different grades. Also, we all have different skin tones and while a warm diamond might look charming on some people, it can look awful on others.

Also, I personally did not want a giant diamond. I do not want to look like a rap star or a cast member from a reality show. The culture I grew up in believes in being understated, and flashy is looked down on. That might sound snobby, but that's how I grew up and I don't want to be a pariah in my social circle.
 
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WillyDiamond

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RunningwithScissors you are entitled to your opInion. I respect that you do not need the largest stone to be happy.
 

Siamese Kitty

Brilliant_Rock
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I really think some lose sight of the fact that it is possible to accurately see color and inclusions and still choose to purchase a diamond of said "lower quality." It is all about making the right compromises for you. (or your intended) The innuendo that a purchase of lower specs is somehow indicative of an unsophisticated buyer or someone who simply just does not know any better is almost a bit offensive?

And gosh, it cannot be said enough that low color does not equal low quality. I do honestly like the color of my D more than my I at times, but I also love my I and its intensely colored fire. And its size.:) But actually, my U-V is one of my favorites.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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Also, I personally did not want a giant diamond. I do not want to look like a rap star or a cast member from a reality show. The culture I grew up in believes in being understated, and flashy is looked down on. That might sound snobby, but that's how I grew up and I don't want to be a pariah in my social circle.
Isn't your ring 2 and a half carats? That seems pretty big to me.
 

RunningwithScissors

Shiny_Rock
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Isn't your ring 2 and a half carats? That seems pretty big to me.
Yes, it seems giant to me too. But I caught crap for not pushing size and instead valued color. One poster even found my diamond online and used it as a comparison of "who would ever buy this/make this decision." Well, someone who can see color and doesn't like it, and someone who doesn't want a super giant diamond. To me 2.5 ct seems huge and I am not comfortable with 3+ ct that many people where pushing on me. So very many people pushed pushed pushed me to go larger, it was tiring.
 
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RunningwithScissors

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I really think some lose sight of the fact that it is possible to accurately see color and inclusions and still choose to purchase a diamond of said "lower quality." It is all about making the right compromises for you. (or your intended) The innuendo that a purchase of lower specs is somehow indicative of an unsophisticated buyer or someone who simply just does not know any better is almost a bit offensive?

And gosh, it cannot be said enough that low color does not equal low quality. I do honestly like the color of my D more than my I at times, but I also love my I and its intensely colored fire. And its size.:) But actually, my U-V is one of my favorites.

What is unsophisticated, ignorant actually, is when a poster makes a blanket statement such as this one the original poster made: "Before you buy, I recommend you convince yourself that color and clarity don't matter much so that you can maximize cut and size." This statement is dangerous because it assumes that what works for THEM works for everyone. They assume everyone SEES like them and VALUES what they value. We don't. We all value different things. Its perfectly okay if someone values a warmer color, or wants a smaller or larger diamond, or lower or higher clarity. What I'm advocating for is for posters to STOP making blanket recommendations assuming everyone sees/wants/values the same. I'm going to fight it every time they do.

Of course I'm happy the OP likes his/her diamond. That's awesome. I'm sure its a beautiful ring. But don't assume everyone should value size above all else in a diamond.
 
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monipod

Shiny_Rock
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Jun 25, 2019
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201
I think the OP's opinion is good to take on board as one type of buying practice but it certainly wouldn't work for everyone. I love finding eye-clean I1 stones but I would never recommend a first time buyer find a diamond based on my principles. It's just something that works for me and my budget.

Colour is definitely important though, especially if you have metal colour preferences. I've seen some lower colours work well with white gold/Pt but for most part, the higher colours do look nicer.
 

StephanieLynn

Ideal_Rock
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I'm pretty sure threads like this are meant with good intention, perhaps the enthusiasm gets taken for arrogance. I find it helpful to apply this quote to threads such as this:

"Take what you need and leave the rest"

Most people are cognizant of their own preferences anyways so just because the OP may prefer size over color, that doesn't mean that someone will take that as hard and fast rule.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
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RunningwithScissors you are entitled to your opInion. I respect that you do not need the largest stone to be happy.
Her stone is plenty big,colorless and beautiful ...:love:
 

diamondsR4eVR

Shiny_Rock
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Dec 8, 2019
Messages
289
I agree with whomever said skin color may impact how a diamond looks on your hand and perhaps that’s why some are far more color sensitive than others.
I’m olive complexion and don’t mind warm diamonds at all. I was just thinking of this the other day...perhaps the reason for that is due to my yellow undertones on my skin a stone may face up brighter than it actually is or it just compliments my skin nicely.

We all like what we like and no one should be made to feel a certain way just because it differs from someone else.
 

JohnnyAngel

Rough_Rock
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Nov 3, 2019
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When I first started looking for my diamond, I thought I had to buy F or higher because I could see color in anything lower than that. After reading this forum, though, I realized color doesn’t make a diamond inferior to many people and ended up going with an I. I can see color in it, but I still think it’s beautiful. I have very pale cool-toned skin, by the way. I wanted to maximize size and ended up with 1.20 carats. I wouldn’t say I prefer warmth, but I don’t dislike it either. And I preferred the bigger size more than I preferred the cooler tone. Of course, if I was deciding between a 2.5 carat and a 3 carat, I’d have gone down in size to get a higher color, too, because the stone is huge either way. But when you have a more average budget, maximizing size makes a huge difference.
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

Shiny_Rock
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Dec 5, 2019
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203
It all comes down to each person's priorities and preferences. For most people carat and cut are most important, with more flexibility on color and clarity.

For me personally, I value all of the 4Cs almost equally (with cut as the highest) for engagement rings because I am color sensitive and wanted a high clarity ring.

As long as the person buying and the person receiving the diamond are happy, and the specs/budget work for them, that is all that matters!
 

mrs-b

Ideal_Rock
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I'm with you, @MRBXXXFVVS1 - I value them all. I tried an SI1 - no go. Now on a VS2 - but also a no-go. Had an I, an H - had to be an F or an E. Cut is a given - I mean - if the darn thing doesn't sparkle - what's the point, right? And then there's size....

I think size is more a question of proportion. It's how it looks on your finger. I've always thought my 3.05ct center with 2 x .61ct sides was just a tad small...until I saw it on @SimoneDi's gorgeous slender finger! When @Tekate tried it on, it was positively falling off the sides! But on my size 7? Nope. Just kinda...normal, really. I'd love to go down to an H, say, and get something in the 4ct range - but I know the color would send me bonkers. It really is horses for courses.

I do agree with you, tho, @teobdl, that most women want sparkly and substantial - or, at least, their version of it. There's exceptions to every rule, of course, but I've seen very, very few upgrades go down in size to improve the other C's, and almost all of them reflect at least some increase in size. There's a lesson to be learnt there, I think.

Thanks for your post - I think your comments were worth hearing and should be taken on board by quite a lot of would-be fiances. Which would-be fiances, tho, is the question, of course...
 

Tekate

Ideal_Rock
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@mrs-b it was a bit larger but it was one of the most exciting times I have ever experienced, trying on that beautiful ring.. never forget really.. Hope all is well with you and your home MrsB. Things look better in Australia. sending love and a huge hug.
 

mrs-b

Ideal_Rock
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@mrs-b it was a bit larger but it was one of the most exciting times I have ever experienced, trying on that beautiful ring.. never forget really.. Hope all is well with you and your home MrsB. Things look better in Australia. sending love and a huge hug.
Hallo, Kate the Awesome! Things in Australia are MUCH better and my house is fine and should remain that way. I'd love to get your new ring and my ring together over a cocktail or a coffee one day! Hmmm...now there's a great plan.... :mrgreen:

Hugs back at you, lovely lady!
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
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Yes, it seems giant to me too. But I caught crap for not pushing size and instead valued color. One poster even found my diamond online and used it as a comparison of "who would ever buy this/make this decision." Well, someone who can see color and doesn't like it, and someone who doesn't want a super giant diamond. To me 2.5 ct seems huge and I am not comfortable with 3+ ct that many people where pushing on me. So very many people pushed pushed pushed me to go larger, it was tiring.
Oh I'm so very sorry you feel that way. Perhaps it would alleviate the bad taste in your mouth to re-read your 'Forever' Diamond Search thread. All of the replies there were responsive to your query about fire-scintillation; no one questioned your stated preferences re size, clarity, or color range.

The other thread you're thinking of was initiated by a newbie who didn't go in search of your diamond in order to knock it or you. He'd been feeling overwhelmed by the hunt for a diamond & was trying to figure out why branded "super-ideals" were priced so much higher than what he thought were comparable stones.

I can see why his later query in that thread about whether a HPD stone he'd come across was worth the premium or "is it like $400 flip-flops" might sting you, the purchaser of the stone that was being cut to order. But please consider that he was trying to suss out the respective value between it and a GIA -graded 2.5 ct, D VS1 he'd seen listed for a much lower price (i.e., he wasn't comparing it to, say, a 4.5 ct J SI stone). People again tried to explain the value to be had in buying from HPD... while also acknowledging that his priorities could end up being different. No one scoffed at your diamond or took issue with the explanation you gave later in the thread.

Hope this dissipates whatever pall has been lingering over your delicious dream diamond :love:
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I am so glad the OP educated himself and decided on his own preferences and is still happy with the result! That's what we all have to do! But I will not ever "convince myself" to go low in color and clarity to get a greater size. I have multiple diamond rings in the 2 carat range because of the same reasons @RunningwithScissors stated above. The ring I wear most is my AVR, and at the time I got it, Jon had virtually never had a 2+ ct stone above I color. So because I loved the cut so much, I ended up going lower than my true preference for color (I VS1). I value cut, color, and clarity in modern rounds (I do have lower color antique stones). Budget prevents me from getting the highest color and clarity in the size range I want. If I were to buy a superideal today, my top preference would be F VS1, but I'd probably go with G VS1 due to the pricepoint close to the 2.5 ct range (my max). Sure, I'd be well over the 3 ct mark if I went with I SI1 or lower, but I don't have any desire for a 3 ct mrb. My preference is a balance of great cut with moderately high color and clarity. My studs are superideal and H VS2 while many here go for much lower color and clarity. But again, I like high quality, so that's what I buy! Thankfully there are specs to please everyone!
 

msop04

Ideal_Rock
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Also, I personally did not want a giant diamond. I do not want to look like a rap star or a cast member from a reality show. The culture I grew up in believes in being understated, and flashy is looked down on. That might sound snobby, but that's how I grew up and I don't want to be a pariah in my social circle.
Hmmmm... I only wish my diamond was large enough to look like a Real Housewive's ring. LOL

BTW, larger diamonds aren't the problem. It's the whole "all the money in the world cannot buy class or taste" comment that holds true, IMO. So I'd never look down on someone who owns what some may call an "obnoxiously-sized" diamond, unless they gave me reason by their actions. I'd actually hope we could be pals, bc I'd love to try on something so obnoxious. ;-)
 

msop04

Ideal_Rock
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I am so glad the OP educated himself and decided on his own preferences and is still happy with the result! That's what we all have to do! But I will not ever "convince myself" to go low in color and clarity to get a greater size. I have multiple diamond rings in the 2 carat range because of the same reasons @RunningwithScissors stated above. The ring I wear most is my AVR, and at the time I got it, Jon had virtually never had a 2+ ct stone above I color. So because I loved the cut so much, I ended up going lower than my true preference for color (I VS1). I value cut, color, and clarity in modern rounds (I do have lower color antique stones). Budget prevents me from getting the highest color and clarity in the size range I want. If I were to buy a superideal today, my top preference would be F VS1, but I'd probably go with G VS1 due to the pricepoint close to the 2.5 ct range (my max). Sure, I'd be well over the 3 ct mark if I went with I SI1 or lower, but I don't have any desire for a 3 ct mrb. My preference is a balance of great cut with moderately high color and clarity. My studs are superideal and H VS2 while many here go for much lower color and clarity. But again, I like high quality, so that's what I buy! Thankfully there are specs to please everyone!
This is the truth for me. If I had the choice between my diamond (I/SI2) and another of the same size in F/VS1, then of course I'd choose the higher color/clarity if the price was the same. But that's not reality, and I'm super happy to have a larger diamond that's white enough for me, eye clean enough for me, and sparkles like crazy.

As @kenny always says, "...people vary." Get what you like. You are the one wearing it. Other people's opinions be damned.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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@msop04 So very true about not being able to buy class or taste!

I am very happy for my friends here that wear 3-4-5+ ct diamonds! I did want to make it clear that I don't look down on people with large diamonds!!!! Lol! All my friends here who have larger diamonds DO have beautiful stones. I LOVE the big ones but know my own comfort range!
 

msop04

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@msop04 So very true about not being able to buy class or taste!

I am very happy for my friends here that wear 3-4-5+ ct diamonds! I did want to make it clear that I don't look down on people with large diamonds!!!! Lol! All my friends here who have larger diamonds DO have beautiful stones. I LOVE the big ones but know my own comfort range!
Definitely a generalized statement, DS!! Not directed toward anyone at all!! :wavey:
 

mrs-b

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@diamondseeker2006 and @msop04 - that whole F VS1 combo really bites. I REALLY want to go from a VS2 to a VS1, but...$$$. In about 7 weeks, I'll know if that's possible for me and I'm absolutely biting my nails....

ETA It was definitely possible...right up until I saw a gorgeous 4ct EC!! @diamondseeker2006 - I think you're like me, in that we both like them very white, or very warm, with the warmth played up to the max. That whole golden look is just delicious, but I don't think I would have gone that route had I not already locked down my colorless 3 stone. I like having the choice, but if I can only have one, it would be the white one first.

Ugh. If I could go back and do it all again, I'd do it COMPLETELY differently!
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

Shiny_Rock
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203
@mrs-b If you could start from scratch, what would you do? Would you consider selling other pieces to get your dream ring?
 

mrs-b

Ideal_Rock
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@mrs-b If you could start from scratch, what would you do? Would you consider selling other pieces to get your dream ring?
Hi @MRBXXXFVVS1 :))

If I could do it all over again, I'd do one of two things. I'd get a custom cut 4ct colorless August Vintage cushion and I'd halo set it. Had I not jumped around, sold, started again, upgraded, downgraded, jiggled this, that and the other, this would have been well within my ultimate budget;

- or -

(...and let's be honest - this is the real dream ring...)

I'd get the smaller sibling of *this* - given that *this* was estimated to auction off for around $2mil by Sotherby's, as I recall:

Ruby ring.jpeg

Swoon. As far as I'm concerned, rings don't get any better than this.
 
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