Heck Yes. I’m freaking engaged up in here.
The journey to getting the ring was not without some quibbles though. As succinctly as possible, here is a recounting of the tale, followed by the all important pics of the ring/engagement.
I was looking heavily at the Whiteflash (WF) ACA line of stones for a diamond while my (then girlfriend, now) fiancé and I began shopping around for rings. I knew what I could afford with WF, so I was pretty disappointed with the offerings of most B&M stores we visited. I saw cloudy stones, heavily colored stones, inclusions that broke the table surface, etc.
I would estimate that we looked at probably 100 rings in our hands, another 400-500 in the case, and maybe a hundred on in the internet. I didn’t show her WF’s website, since I didn’t want her to see the final product until I proposed.
We visited a local store called Diamonds Direct (DD) which sells to the public via about 3 storefronts in the country, but also sells diamonds to retail jewelry stores. They supposedly own the entire process from mining to cutting to the jewelry counter, so they can offer you good deals on excellent stones. My (now) fiancé found two settings at that store that she liked. One was a D. Vatche Royal Crown with channel set side stones and the other was a Verragio with channel set side stones.
I explained to her that I wanted to get her the best ¾ carat diamond I could find, so I’d prefer to go to WF. I also described the Rounded Open Cathedral Ring to her from their website and she said it would be stunning and she would love that too.
I went back to DD to shop around and get a “diamond education” as the saleslady put it. She taught me about a few things and showed me the Rapp report and essentially told me that EGL (Israel) labs were “stricter” than AGS labs. She showed me a 1ct EGL stone that I could afford, that looked very nice and told me that I could put it on hold and my money was completely refundable if I changed my mind for any reason. “Okay,” I says. “Put it on hold,” I says.
I returned to Pricescope to find that, much to my chagrin, EGL Israel reports can be way off and that they’re primarily a seller’s tool instead of a buyer’s tool.
“No good,” says I.
I emailed saleslady saying I wanted a refund. She said, “No problem, just come to the store any time and we’ll put the money back on your card.”
In the meantime, I put a very nice 90 pointer ACA on hold with WF since I figure I can trust them and they’ve got great rapport here on Pricescope. I’ve seen their merchandise. WF ACA’s make no apologies to anyone.
I went back to DD for my refund. My saleslady wasn’t there, so they put me with someone else who gave me the rundown, telling me there are no guarantees from the internet and that the internet is made up of stones that retailers reject, etc., etc. I wasn’t buying it, and I still wanted the refund. He said, “No problem, I'll go run it for you.”
Then the owner of the store walked in and sat down with all my paperwork and the diamond I put on hold. He asked me why I was taking my business elsewhere, and I explained to him that I felt duped on the EGL cert/stone and that I'm not looking for a "good enough" diamond, I'm looking for "the best" diamond. He then apologized to me, and told me it was a miscommunication between me and the saleswoman (which I still doubt) and told me what he was willing to do to make it right.
He said he'd pull in 3 or more AGS 000 stones for me, send me the certs ahead of time, allow me to bring in my stone for direct comparison, and undercut the ACA price by about 12%. I probably wouldn't have even considered it, but I was drawn to the free inspection, maintenance, and polishing that would come with an e-ring from the wholesaler. Plus, I could possibly get a setting that my (now) fiancé really liked. I got my refund that day, but told him I would come back to see him when the ring arrived from WF.
One thing he did say is that if I was going to spend the money on a stone like that, I should be getting a 1 carat stone. Well, that hit home with me and I mulled it over for several days.
In the next week, WF got in a new batch of ACAs for me to peruse, and I decided to make the jump from a 0.9 ct. to a 1 ct. with WF. I also put the setting on the order form. Rounded Open Cathedral Engagement Ring with channel set side stones. It had everything my (now) fiancé wanted: open gallery, cathedral shank, channel-set side stones and white/silver in color.
I got the WF ring in ~ 2 weeks before I wanted to propose so I’d have some emergency time to fix it if there was anything wrong. I get the ring in and it’s gorgeous. Very petite. Beautiful polish. Sparkly, bead-set side stones. Wait, what? Did he say bead set? Well, there was something wrong. My (now) fiancé really wanted channel-set side stones. Less flash, less bustle, more protection. I even remember her saying that she’d rather have a solitaire than pave, prong, or bead-set side -stones.
So now I’ve got a beautiful e-ring that’s not right.
Luckily, both Whiteflash AND Diamonds Direct stepped up to the plate.
I visited DD on Monday morning and viewed his AGS 000 stones. They were all excellent stones, and very comparable to what I had bought. All <2 on the HCA scale, with the same or better color than my stone. However, none of them had an un-clefted hearts pattern as viewed by my nifty new WF viewer. I asked him he would be willing to sell me a setting only and set my stone in it. He said that he could. I asked him if he could do it in the next 10 days. He said had to send it off to Vatche, but that he could have it back in time. Then I asked him what that would cost. He quoted me a price $500 lower than they originally quoted me for the setting. He explained that he felt bad about the miscommunication and that this was his way of making it up to me and trying to earn my future business.
I was shocked. What genuine professionalism! What customer service!
So I walked outside and called Vera from WF. Since it was a special situation (they had mis-described the setting as having channel side stones) she agreed to let me have it un-set at Diamonds Direct as long as they could do it non-destructively. Wow.
Again, what genuine customer service!
I walked back in to DD and personally watched the jeweler gently bend back the prongs of the WF setting. (My heart was definitely pounding since I had read on PS that diamonds can crack while having work done, but luckily no such event transpired.)
Well, Diamonds Direct delivered on their promise with a beautiful D. Vatche setting and my Whiteflash ACA diamond in it just 8 days later. Whiteflash delivered on their promise of unparalleled customer service by refunding 100% of the setting cost after it was returned.
Here’s the ring, thanks to Pricescope, Whiteflash, and Diamonds Direct (Charlotte)