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Toronto + online buying experience (reviews)


Mar 29, 2012
First thanks to all the experts on this forum who made my engagement ring buying experience a pleasurable one.

I have posted at various points of my buying process, but wanted to keep a final log of my experience for other naive chaps from Toronto seeking to buy an engagement ring for their future fiance. (BTW, she said yes.)

Like most folks that started researching online I found Bluenile and Pricescope pretty quickly. After some initial research I was pretty keen a buying from Bluenile, for a couple reasons. 1) They had reasonable pricing in Canadian dollars (exchange rate is better than the bank or your credit card) 2) The transaction would have been seamless as the took care of all the customs and brokerage, etc. 3) They had a decent selection of Canadian diamonds at decent prices. However, probably to my benefit, I could not find a setting on Bluenile I liked a choose to search further.

In the end I choose to buy a loose diamond "online" from ID Jewelry in NYC and had a custom setting made by Leif Benner in Toronto.

ID Jewelry: 9/10

I dealt with Yuketiel at IDJ. Service was outstanding. I sent them an email about some diamonds on Bluenile that I was interested and within 2 hours, he had the diamonds in hand to examine in person! IDJ seems to very good at gaining physical access to the diamonds from the Bluenile virtual inventory as they seem to have good relationships with the diamond dealers in NYC and are able to beat Bluenile's price. We pulled in the two Bluenile stones, we took a closer look at them then took ASET, Imagescope, and Heart & Arrows of one them. In the end, I wasn't sure and Yuketiel was able to find another stone from one of his other dealers that had the same specs, but just looked a bit better on the images and had no inclusions under the table for only $100 more. So I pulled the trigger. It was a bit more of a pain to convert to CAD to USD and wire transfer over. Which took some time, so IDJ put the diamond on hold for me for a few extra days no problem. Once the wire was sent, IDJ Fedexed the diamond out the same day. The only reason, I didn't give a 10/10 is their photo quality of the images are much lower quality than some other PS vendors. So though the images helps, it still isn't as helpful as the could be if the image quality were better.

Leif Benner (Toronto): 9/10

I decided to go with local designer for a couple reasons. One was to support local artists, second was to maintain local relationship for ring cleaning, maintenance, and resizing. The reason I choose Leif was he really seems to have laidback and joyful creative edge compared to others I've talked to. In addition his pricing is very reasonable. Though as you can see, my ring design is not very elaborate, there were many "subtle" details that we discussed and designed into the ring.

Leif was flexible even though I secured my own diamond from IDJ though he has access through his dealer a good selection of Canadian diamonds at reasonable prices. But most importantly, he provides FULL insurance coverage even if you bring in your diamond. Not many people do that.

The only thing I'll would say is Leif is super busy, he says he usually has 50+ projects going at anytime, so if you're on a schedule, sometimes you do need to be top of things and follow-up with him on progress. For me he was able to turn the ring from first meeting to completion in less than a month.


USA Certed Diamonds (Toronto): 6/10

Yes, this Pricescope vendor with "USA" in his company name is actually in suburb of Toronto Canada. Martin Sheffield is certified appraiser and sells diamonds that he "calls in" or drop ships to an appraiser of your choice. Dealing with Martin was a bit of challenge, as we was not all that responsive at times. When I was looking for a diamond, I actually wanted to buy from him instead of Bluenile (given he was local), but it just took him a long time (some times 3-4 days) to respond to my questions and emails. In the end, I did end up using Martin to appraise the loose diamond I got from IDJ and he seemed to do a good and accurate job in that. Though again it took him another week to send me the appraisal report.

Diamonds for Less (Toronto)
In the Toronto diamond district. These guys have a high score on Google reviews, but I'm pretty sure it's bogus. They had GIA certed diamonds and pricing seemed reasonable, but didn't seem keen to help me in my buying process. In almost their exact words "shop around decide what diamond specs and setting you like, and we'll copy it and beat the best price". Thanks but no Thanks.

Budget Diamonds Online (Toronto)
Also similar to the above, but smaller operation. Their setting quality looked better, but still I didn't get a nice vibe from them and their prices were a bit higher.

Rose Jewelery (Toronto)
Victor at Rose Jewelery in Dundas Square comes recommend by some people here in PS as well as Martin Sheffield. However, my experience was no good. I'm not sure if it was Victor himself or his son or a colleague. But when I came in to actually talk about a custom setting, the person I was dealing with kept asking me to look at the Tiffany or Cartier catalog and pick a design to copy. He didn't seem to want to discuss design details or nuances, just find a design to copy and send me out the door.

Pamela Lauz (Toronto)
I also found Pamela Lauz being reference positively on this site. She's an independent designer, and honestly she was great. We had a few emails and then we meet up in person to discuss some designs for my custom setting. She had boatload of ideas and sketches prepared and was also very cheerful and passionate about her work just like Leif. However, I didn't go with her for 2 reasons. 1) She doesn't have insurance if you bring your own diamond and 2) Her quote was double the price of Leif's.

Final results:
Here are links to my other threads that have pictures of the final product. Thanks again to all the PS members and hopefully this post is helpful to future guys here in Toronto who are shopping for an engagement ring.

Ring pics:

Diamond pics:
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