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Very basic first time engagement ring buyer questions

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Hi all -

I'm a new user, looking to buy a diamond engagement ring for the first time. I've looked at the resources on this site and elsewhere on the Internet and am trying to figure out best next steps out of what seems like a ton of information. A few questions:

1. What's the general opinion of Blue Nile? It's been recommended to me but then I see that it sells one carat diamonds for around $10k, which seems (to my limited knowledge but after looking around) to be on the high side since other places mention 1 carat diamonds (admittedly without listing the color/clarit) for much less. These are generally G/H color and VS1/VS2 clarity. Is that the going price for that sort of diamond? I have a budget of about $10k. What could I get for that price? For $7k?

2. My fiancee was married before and mentioned her previous ring was 2 carats. That may be out of my budget and she doesn't need/want/care for another one that big, but what can I do within my budget to get her something nice? Should I focus on a really nice cut/color or try to strike a balance of size and cut?

3. Any other sites besides Blue Nile you'd recommend?

4. I live near the Diamond District in NYC but have heard that's a great place to get overcharged if you don't have a connection. True/false? Is it worth my time to go look there at street level or am I just asking for trouble?

Any other tips for someone who's trying to educate himself, would like to get something soon and would like something nice but doesn't need to be super-amazing?

Thanks in advance for any help and sorry for what I'm sure are basic questions. I have a sense of some of the answers from Internet research but it's helpful to get real live people responding, too!

Okapi
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
Okapi,

Welcome.

Continue reading here. Read through the Diamond Guide under knowledge at the top.

Blue Nile's not bad as a reference, but other frequently mentioned vendors here are likely to help you more for similar pricing, because they will have been able to have in their hand most of the diamonds they promote. Unless a signature diamond, I think for BN, they are from a "list" they have reference to, but it is sight unseen to them.

A good start for your location is Good Old Gold, a long standing vendor on this site:

http://www.goodoldgold.com/

They are a store & internet vendor. Also, they're committed to quality & performance.

Keep reading, and best wishes,

Ira Z.
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
okapi|1312825823|2986555 said:
Hi all -

I'm a new user, looking to buy a diamond engagement ring for the first time. I've looked at the resources on this site and elsewhere on the Internet and am trying to figure out best next steps out of what seems like a ton of information. A few questions:

1. What's the general opinion of Blue Nile? It's been recommended to me but then I see that it sells one carat diamonds for around $10k, which seems (to my limited knowledge but after looking around) to be on the high side since other places mention 1 carat diamonds (admittedly without listing the color/clarit) for much less. These are generally G/H color and VS1/VS2 clarity. Is that the going price for that sort of diamond? I have a budget of about $10k. What could I get for that price? For $7k?

Blue Nile does not provide images and idealscope images which is why we generally do not recommend them. However you can find some nice diamonds on BN.

2. My fiancee was married before and mentioned her previous ring was 2 carats. That may be out of my budget and she doesn't need/want/care for another one that big, but what can I do within my budget to get her something nice? Should I focus on a really nice cut/color or try to strike a balance of size and cut?

I would focus on excellent cut and reasonable color/clarity. Do you know what she had before/what her preferences are? Do you know what type of setting she wants?


3. Any other sites besides Blue Nile you'd recommend?

Whiteflash, Good Old Gold, Brian Gavin Diamonds, and James Allen are PS recommended vendors who provide images. Each of these vendors has slightly different policies/settings so that might be worth reading up on

4. I live near the Diamond District in NYC but have heard that's a great place to get overcharged if you don't have a connection. True/false? Is it worth my time to go look there at street level or am I just asking for trouble?

Any other tips for someone who's trying to educate himself, would like to get something soon and would like something nice but doesn't need to be super-amazing?

I think you can get something super-amazing!


Thanks in advance for any help and sorry for what I'm sure are basic questions. I have a sense of some of the answers from Internet research but it's helpful to get real live people responding, too!

Okapi
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
21,100
slg47|1312826574|2986566 said:
okapi|1312825823|2986555 said:
Hi all -

I'm a new user, looking to buy a diamond engagement ring for the first time. I've looked at the resources on this site and elsewhere on the Internet and am trying to figure out best next steps out of what seems like a ton of information. A few questions:

1. What's the general opinion of Blue Nile? It's been recommended to me but then I see that it sells one carat diamonds for around $10k, which seems (to my limited knowledge but after looking around) to be on the high side since other places mention 1 carat diamonds (admittedly without listing the color/clarit) for much less. These are generally G/H color and VS1/VS2 clarity. Is that the going price for that sort of diamond? I have a budget of about $10k. What could I get for that price? For $7k?

Blue Nile does not provide images and idealscope images which is why we generally do not recommend them. However you can find some nice diamonds on BN.

2. My fiancee was married before and mentioned her previous ring was 2 carats. That may be out of my budget and she doesn't need/want/care for another one that big, but what can I do within my budget to get her something nice? Should I focus on a really nice cut/color or try to strike a balance of size and cut?

I would focus on excellent cut and reasonable color/clarity. Do you know what she had before/what her preferences are? Do you know what type of setting she wants?


3. Any other sites besides Blue Nile you'd recommend?

Whiteflash, Good Old Gold, Brian Gavin Diamonds, and James Allen are PS recommended vendors who provide images. Each of these vendors has slightly different policies/settings so that might be worth reading up on

4. I live near the Diamond District in NYC but have heard that's a great place to get overcharged if you don't have a connection. True/false? Is it worth my time to go look there at street level or am I just asking for trouble?

Any other tips for someone who's trying to educate himself, would like to get something soon and would like something nice but doesn't need to be super-amazing?

I think you can get something super-amazing!


Thanks in advance for any help and sorry for what I'm sure are basic questions. I have a sense of some of the answers from Internet research but it's helpful to get real live people responding, too!

Okapi
1. Ditto slg, BN has some lovely stones, but is not generally recommended for two reasons: they won't provide images/inspections of their virtual stones, and they won't provide images of their Signature stones, though they can inspect those for you. They market these stones as H&A but will not provide photos/H&A viewer of the hearts and arrows patterns, so you can't really be sure - well cut, beautiful stones may not necessarily exhibit perfectly radially symmetric hearts and arrows patterns, but if I'm paying a premium for the pattern I want to know the stone shows it! BN Signature stones do have upgrade policy - not sure on the specifics.

2. Ditto slg again, I would ask her what she wants! Probably not a good idea to go by what she had before... and I'm sure you already know, but I imagine it can be hard to remember sometimes, so I'll just iterate - don't try to compare what you can get her to what she had before, she's with you and it's not because of what diamond you can or can't get her ;))

3. Would add Crafted by Infinity stones to the list - available online at a handful of places incl. www.highperformancediamonds.com and www.niceice.com representatives from both vendors and the brain behind the Crafted by Infinity company are regular contributors here on PS.

4. I think it's definitely worth a trip if you have time - leave your wallet at home the first time though!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
I'm not sure why my other friends are ignoring your locale.

I've seen positive comments about ID Jewelery recently, for their lower cost (see them among the others, here:

https://www.pricescope.com/featured-sponsors/

And, at various times, both Engagement Rings Direct and Excel are favorably mentioned.

Between these, you may pay a modest premium for the technology and stock available at GOG. It will be good, I think, to take advantage of your location...but not on 42nd street, so much, but with vetted vendors, who also happen to be where you are.

With all 4 in the NY area, you can find lots of text on Pricescope to learn about other customers who have in various ways been satisfied.

Though this is true of also the others mentioned, i.e., White Flash, Infinity, Brian Gavin (I just bought from him), James Allen (I bought from him before)...and you may even want to end up there....you're IN NY. I'd take advantage of that, at least initially.

Ira Z.

P.S. ditto Yssie and slg on the absence of reflector images at BN. Too bad, they used to have them, or something like them.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Thanks for the tips everyone! I just wrote a response that didn't get posted because the connection timed out, so here goes again:

I've seen some diamonds I like, particularly on Whiteflash and James Allen. Can someone give me some thoughts on the ones below?

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1390701.asp
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2372501.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2617999.htm

Obviously, the Whiteflash ones are a bit more expensive, but that's generally in my price range - $7k-10k. I'm thinking of setting them in a solitaire white gold ring.

What's to like/not to like about each of the above stones? Is there anything you see that's "overkill" or not necessary for a stone that's not going to be resold but just worn? For example, does the "G" color matter or could it be stepped down a notch and the resulting savings used for a slightly bigger stone? Should I stick with VS2 to be sure it's eye-clean or could I change that? A bit bigger would be nicer but I'm not looking for something huge as much as I'm looking for something "nice", which good brilliance that looks like it's high quality - so I'd trade some size for sparkle but on the other hand maybe I don't need something near colorless or with fewer inclusions, too. Honestly, it's a lot of data to process and I'm trying to figure out which stats I should be paying attention to and which maybe aren't that important. I'd welcome any other suggestions from the above two or similar sites, too, assuming that's within the forum rules. Mostly, just an information I can use to make a more informed decision going forward would be a big help.

I know a lot of places charge sales tax on sales into NY. Do you think it's safe to get it shipped to family outside of NY and have them reship to me certified/insured?

Thanks in advance,
Okapi
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
I do not like the JA stone. both WF stones look good. Does one vendor have a setting that you like better or policies that appeal more to you?

For JA stone HCA says (pricescope.com/tools/hca)
Light Return: Good
Fire: Very Good
Scintillation: Good
Spread: Good
Total Visual Performance 4.4 - Good - Only if price is your main criterion
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
So much for old fashioned shopping by walking around.

This list should include your WF options (check me), plus, 2 from JA that are marked to perform:

https://www.pricescope.com/diamond-search-results/96083

Note, re your questions about VS2 being overkill...I was thinking you could take advantage of the resources on WF by looking at their item on their options specifically saying: Eye clean. But...each of the SI ones remove that option. Unknown to me (who knows?), if whether this info is customized by WF, or just uniformly shows all VS & better as eye clean, and SI and worse not commenting.

Ira Z.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,483

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
sorry, does anyone reading here know if there's any understood articulation between the JA diamonds presented on Pricescope's search, and what's on his website?

Would any True Heart options ever appear on the Pricescope search? I'm guessing no.

Ira Z.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Regular Guy|1313094393|2988770 said:
Note, re your questions about VS2 being overkill...I was thinking you could take advantage of the resources on WF by looking at their item on their options specifically saying: Eye clean. But...each of the SI ones remove that option. Unknown to me (who knows?), if whether this info is customized by WF, or just uniformly shows all VS & better as eye clean, and SI and worse not commenting.

Ira Z.
Thanks everyone for your input! I have been doing some walking around, too, but it's hard to really know price for quality, so I'm trying to get as smart as I can. That first JA one came recommended by one of their salespeople, for example, but seems to get downvoted by people here, so I appreciate the help.

One thing I did notice in response to Regular Guy's concern above is that some SI diamonds do appear to get the "eye-clean" comment on Whiteflash (see http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2531915.htm) for example, so it doesn't look like it's just a VS versus SI distinction. Presumably that means that those SI's that aren't marked as eye-clean aren't, then?

I'm off to follow the various links and look some more. Thanks again!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
Okapi,

Nice work (of course, it's your money, too). Probably an expert selection like that one is a smart type of buy.

If you'll get back to JA, though you have better things to do than report back to us...unless you know already (?), you might ask them why they do recommend that one. Also, on what basis they make recommendations, anyway. It seems their customer service staff is in Frederick, and most stock in NY. But, they've been making that work a long time. I suppose it's what BN does, too, but probably, JA is more helpfully hands on.

Ira Z.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Regular Guy|1313097103|2988811 said:
Okapi,

Nice work (of course, it's your money, too). Probably an expert selection like that one is a smart type of buy.

If you'll get back to JA, though you have better things to do than report back to us...unless you know already (?), you might ask them why they do recommend that one. Also, on what basis they make recommendations, anyway. It seems their customer service staff is in Frederick, and most stock in NY. But, they've been making that work a long time. I suppose it's what BN does, too, but probably, JA is more helpfully hands on.

Ira Z.
Thanks again, Ira. I'll ask JA why they recommended that one - the email I got was pretty general and just referred to its mesmerizing glow and how it would look nice in any setting. It would be interesting to know if they're just looking at the numbers/certificate or something more. After I asked about a slightly higher budget, they recommended the following ones, as well:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1395533.asp
http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1395821.asp

The first one listed shows a slight blue tint on the right side of the basic photo. Is that something that would actually show up in the diamond or just a bad photo? I've also asked about the various SI1's that people have suggested in order to find out if they're eye-clear.

You mention that an expert selection may be a smart buy. By that do you mean that something that's in that next step down from whatever a company's proprietary fancy name level (A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc.) is often a good choice in terms of value/quality? Do you guys find that the A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc. categories do lead to nicer diamonds/better cuts (to the extent that it's noticeable to a layman like me) or is there some degree of branding (and related extra charge) going on there?

I really appreciate all the help. It's great finding a knowledgeable, responsive community, especially in an area I'm new to.

[Edit: apparently the GOG one (http://www.goodoldgold.com/diamond/8473/) mentioned above is eye-clear. That seems like a good price for that diamond, from what I'm seeing (probably because of the SI1 clarity?). Any particular other drawbacks to it?]
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
You mention that an expert selection may be a smart buy. By that do you mean that something that's in that next step down from whatever a company's proprietary fancy name level (A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc.) is often a good choice in terms of value/quality? Do you guys find that the A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc. categories do lead to nicer diamonds/better cuts (to the extent that it's noticeable to a layman like me) or is there some degree of branding (and related extra charge) going on there?
Whiteflash's expert selection are stones that just miss the ACA mark. These are not sold as H&A and are less expensive than the ACAs. I think you are perfectly fine with an expert selection or premium select as long as the idealscope image looks good.

Out of the two from JA I prefer the 1.22 but since it is sold as a true hearts I would want to see the hearts image. JA usually provides idealscope images for their true hearts so ask about that also.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
The Expert Selection will still be very, very nice. They fall just short of the ACA standards but are still really good. I'm not a fan of that second JA stone (check out the HCA). It looks like a nice stone (and is marked as being eye clean)
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
okapi|1313099670|2988837 said:
You mention that an expert selection may be a smart buy. By that do you mean that something that's in that next step down from whatever a company's proprietary fancy name level (A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc.) is often a good choice in terms of value/quality? Do you guys find that the A Cut Above, True Hearts, etc. categories do lead to nicer diamonds/better cuts (to the extent that it's noticeable to a layman like me) or is there some degree of branding (and related extra charge) going on there?

Okapi,

Just to be clear, there are two points here. One...you and my friends are making, above.

But...my point is a different one...that I haven't seen talked about so much...although it's also talked about all the time.

Cut is very important, and the points being made about ACA vs Expert Selection concern cut.

My point is about clarity. Generally, buyers want one thing: eye clean-ness. But, they are not generally priced on that...they are priced on their grade, being VS or SI. So, what you read all the time here is that you should ask the vendor if it is eye clean or not, and that is designed to get at what WF has done for you in writing. So...this is something a little different. Generally, pricing will tend to be driven by the grade. Every vendor can of course set their own prices, as WF will have done here...but...to whatever extent this is substantive, they have virtually put in writing their "perception" of the eye-cleanness. THAT was my main point. We don't usually see that here...or at least I haven't. Then again, I haven't been paying all that much attention, and whose to say how much difference this really makes. But, there you go...

Ira Z.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Thanks again everyone. I appreciate it. Sounds like those JA ones again may not be the most interesting, so I'm leaning towards either of the following from WF that were mentioned above:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2531915.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2273551.htm

or maybe the GOG one that's mentioned (http://www.goodoldgold.com/diamond/8473/) that that one is "Superior" symmetry as opposed to Ideal.

Is there enough info on the websites to make much of a distinction as among the three? Am I missing any other options that are better? Any recommendations? Seems like price/size/eye-cleanness are all more or less similar.
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
Nice work.

1) Consider asking WF which they prefer of the 2, and give their answer some weight, if it seems to merit it.
2) The IS of the 1.22 seems modesly superior, so that would otherwise be my choice. The superiority may not be visible, however.
3) I'm guessing the savings makes either better than GOG's, which would otherwise be lovely, too.

My thoughts...

Ira Z.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
I think you're looking at 3 really nice diamonds. If the price difference is substantial to you, then I'd say ask WF which of the 2 they'd recommend. If not, then perhaps see which of WF and GOG has the setting you prefer.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Thanks! I'm thinking of a simple solitaire setting (6 prong, white gold) so I'm leaning towards WF because I like those a bit more and there's the added benefit of them being able to ship to NY without taxes (I think?), which saves a step or two in the process and/or $900. I have an email in to WF to ask for their thought as between the two. I'll let you know what they say and, again, appreciate the help a ton!

Okapi
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Just a follow up and a big "thanks" to everyone who helped out!

I spoke with WF and they said that the 1.23 and 1.22 stones suggested were really close (so close that they'd make a good pair of earrings - which I'm sure they would but those would be some seriously out of my budget earrings!). She said that the 1.23's inclusions were more visible under the loop and suggested going with the 1.22, so I put in the order last week. Waiting for it to be set and shipped my way - very excited for it to arrive. Does anyone have suggestions for good, easy places to get insurance?

Thank you all again for your help last week. It may what could have been a long, intimidating process into a fun and educational one. I really appreciate it!

-Okapi
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
Okapi, congratulations.

If a homeowners option, and if lazy (like me), that might be a first choice, but others could disagree.

An out of usual second choice, I'd say, is to check for an agent from State Farm. That could give you both a local agent, and a valuable articles policy.

Jeweler's Mutual advertises here, and is well regarded, and is another clear and favorable option.

If anyone could tell you how to get Chubb, it might be a first choice...but unless anyone can tell you that, I'd give up before starting.

Best,

Ira Z.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Hi -

Just a couple quick follow-up questions:

1. I think I'm going to go with Jeweler's Mutual, who seems to get good reviews here, for insurance. They're asking for an appraisal. My Whiteflash representative said that they'll for sure take the "Letter of Verification" that came with my Whiteflash order as this appraisal; I asked Jeweler's Mutual if that suffices and she didn't really answer the question but instead recited the policy of needing an appraisal for rings over $5k. In your experience, do you need a separate appraisal (for a 3-week old ring) or will a receipt and/or this Letter of Verification from an appraising company do the trick?

2. The Letter of Verification lists a price a good 50% over what I paid. While that's all well and good and didn't I get a sweet deal and all that... assuming that this works for Jeweler's Mutual, why would I want to insure a ring for more than I paid for it, knowing that the insurance company pays the lesser of the insured value or replacement value. Seems to me like this would lead to me paying a premium based on a higher amount, only to file a claim and be told that they can just replace it for the purchase price. Am I right? Doesn't just insuring it for what I paid make more sense?

Any other tips? I'm probably overthinking this but haven't gotten great answers from Jeweler's Mutual and obviously want to do this right so there's no issue were it ever to come time to file a claim. Or do I just find a good appraiser (where/how?), get an appraisal and be done with it? I'd like to get the insurance in place soon.

Thanks!
Okapi
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Get a real independent appraisal. There's a lot of protection in a good appraisal. https://www.pricescope.com/appraisers I've heard that David something is a good one in your area. It's worth the money and the time for the protection this affords you.
 

okapi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
9
Gypsy -

Thanks for the thoughts, that makes sense. Not to ask a dumb question, but what does getting a real appraisal do for me? Just give me piece of mind knowing the real value (and insuring that the insurance is correct), or is there other value or something else I should be doing with the appraisal as well? Very basic question, but how do I insure that the appraiser to whom I give the ring/diamond gives it back correctly - is it just a matter of going with someone reputable?
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,954
Okapi,

I think you have good questions about this. Appraiser issues have engaged me a long time.

There's several reads on Pricescope about Appraising; I've just super fast toured them. Dave & Neil seem to have both signed the one filed under knowledge, and Diamond Guide. There are several under FAQs which you can maybe only find anymore by specifically selecting the Forum file above, not the drop down. One more helpful I think is this one:

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/getting-the-most-out-of-your-jewelry-appraisal.19367/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/getting-the-most-out-of-your-jewelry-appraisal.19367/[/URL]

Generally, though, I think it's two things:

a) getting a precise description of what you're buying so that when replacing, you get no less
b) as you suspect, with (a) in hand, get your price low so you are insured accurately, and so that replacement can be done based on the assigned and describedrequirements.

Ira Z.
 
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