Before I begin, I''d like to thank PS, without it I would have been lost and not even know where to begin in my search for an eRing. Special thanks to Lorelei and Todd Gray who gave great explanation of what the HCA score of the rock that I was looking at really meant.
So here goes the story, and it might be a bit of a longer read... (skip to the pics if you only want to see the pics)
My girlfriend and I wanted to get married and we had blessings from both families. So it wasn''t going to be a huge surprise if and when I proposed to her. However, she will still not have any idea of what ring I would get her and how I would actually propose, leaving some mystery and romance available.
I have to say that I am as meticulous a consumer as there is. Prior to purchasing any big items, I research to the Nth degree to know as much as I can. So like most of you, I stumbled upon PS while searching for info on how to buy diamonds/eRings. As soon as I landed on this site, from the advanced tutorial I could tell the quality and depth of materials was far superior to any website that I have previously encountered, and began my studying there.
Reading through the forums, along with my budget, I had a reasonable idea of what eRing I would get her. I would use one of the PS vendors and get the best and biggest rock for my budget and then look for a good setting. Since I live in Canada, I''m more limited on what I can do, but there were a couple of PS vendors that I can work with and I had already contacted one of them.
BUT... and this is a big BUT. I knew she was in love with the classic Tiffany Solitaire, and thought I could get the biggest/best rock and mount it on the best reproduction I could find. After going to various B&M Jewelers, including Tiffany''s, to get a better idea of how the rings would look on her. It was very obvious; she wanted the actual Tiffany ring, and not the best reproduction (Mark Morrell''s would have done the job though, but lot of hoops to go through to get that one).
Hence the dilemma, not only would the budget increase for an equivalent rock, from what I''ve read on the forums Tiffany cuts weren''t that great compared to top PS vendors. I knew I had to get Tiffany, I reminded myself this ring was for HER, and it''s what makes HER happy regardless of what I thought was best.
The budget dilemma was easier to deal with. I compared the prices of Tiffany in Canada and the US, and found (at the time) that rings in Canada were on average marked up another $1500 CAD to US counterparts, on top of that sales tax were 13% in Ontario and only 6% in Michigan. Hence ordering and picking up the ring from the Michigan store would ease the budget increase.
Getting a quality cut rock was the more difficult part. Tiffany will not send you an IS image. This is where the HCA is an invaluable tool!!!!!! I had already purchased an IS and had looked at numerous rocks from local vendors here and know what good and bad rocks looked like. Rocks with good HCA scores always looked good in the IS from my experience (as pointed out in other numerous) threads).
I called the Tiffany in Michigan and ask them to list me all the rings within my budget. I chose 4 from the list according to color and clarity range I wanted, and ask for the dimensions. The SA was very helpful and obliged. Of the four, only one of them had a HCA score less than 2. It was a 1.02ct F VS2
Since I can''t look the IS image, I recalled in a thread that getting one that fit in both the GIA and AGS boxes was a pretty safe bet. This where Todd Gray gave me an excellent explanation and confirmed that these numbers did fit.
I wired the money to purchased the ring, and was waiting until Valentines day to bring my GF over to Michigan for what she thought was a bit of cross boarder shopping. While we were at the mall, I had to wait until she needed to use the washroom to run over to Tiffany to pick up the ring. The first thing I did while in the store was whip out my IS and look at the rock. It was a stunner, all pink and no signs of leakage; it was as good as I’ve seen.
After a long day of shopping and a Valentines dinner, we headed back to the hotel. She was absolutely tired and needed a shower. Let me say that Detroit isn''t the most romantic place in the world, no offense. However, we were on the 60th Floor of the Rencen with an unobstructed view of the river and city, one building beside us actually had lights in a heart shape that could only be seen at night. While she was in the shower, I positioned the chair by the window, dimmed the lights, and had "Wonderful Tonight" ready to go on the entertainment console. When she stepped out, I played the music, and had her come over to the chair with the view...... slowly brought out the ring behind her, and popped the question... Yes!!!