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Where's a chap supposed to start?

Rogueish

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 9, 2016
Messages
33
I find it hard to believe this isn't a common issue but it seems hard to find guidance for how a man goes about choosing an engagement ring, I'd be very grateful for guidance :) In my opinion men are simple creatures and I suspect that if I am a reasonable example have little clue as to what really matters when choosing a ring.

So, well, it's got to fit, I know the size... (yay me)... there's apparently some significance to the choice of metal ( I guess silver is out, is that because it's too soft or too cheap?! It needs to be white so I assume white gold or platinum.

So far so good. Now, how it looks, I've figured out some of this, it'll be pave (those expensive shiny bits half way around the band!), the stone will be round, princess or cushion (seems lots of places eager to sell me any of those!).

Now, these 4 C's I keep reading about... I'm good with "cut", mostly, but color, clarity and carat? Seriously? How's a fellow supposed to figure out what is what... and what is necessary? Do you pick a budget and start there? Combine a budget with a target number of carats and get the best clarity and color you can afford? Do you shoot for the best clarity and color and buy the most carats you can afford?

My head is spinning, I've read everything from "what you can afford" to "three months pay" and really have no clue whether I'll end up broke or with a disappointed sigh when all is said and done.

Is there an "average"? A "typical"? A range? I find it hard to believe I am unique in my struggle but if nothing else I am certain I am struggling and in desperate need to some education on how to get some of these things right!!

Please, please help me! :)
 

JDDN

Ideal_Rock
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Aw, you are so sweet! We will help you :)) .

Some good starting places:

1. What is your budget (forget about that 3 months salary crap). What can you realistically afford, what are you comfortable spending on this ring?

2. Does your GF have any strong preferences that she has voiced to you? Ie, size, color, clarity? Some cultures value color and or clarity. What culture does your GF come from?

3. What is her style? Does she like simple classic jewelry? Antique or vintage jewelry? Can you find out from her friends or family? Does she have a Pinterest page?

4. What shape/kind of diamond does she like? Round, square? The more specific the better, modern round brilliant, emerald cut, asscher, cushion, etc. Again, can you find out?

5. Are you comfortable buying online with a well regarded vendor? (We all have over here so we can point you in a safe direction if you are okay with online).


Edit: You want to pick a stone with the very best cut humanely possible. That will produce the sparkle and shine that makes the diamond look amazing. Again, once we have more information we will help you do this within your budget. :wavey:
 

Rogueish

Rough_Rock
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Jan 9, 2016
Messages
33
I feel I've found some float-worthy flotsam while wallowing lost in a storm sea :)

So, for the stone, round, princess or cushion are preferred, I at least understand that bit fairly well. Regarding style generally an understated simplicity although that theory may not extend to this particular piece. Pretty much all of her jewelry is silver from Tiffany, she does not where any gold, currently. In terms of style she likes rings similar to the Tiffany Nova, I believe the small diamonds embedded in the band are referred to as pave, but with the diamonds visible to the side rather than inset.

The main mount prominent but not too much so, wary of catching it on things and so on, she likes the way the Novo band sort of rises up to join the mount, I'm not sure of the proper way to describe that feature. She also (apparently) likes what I like which I'd describe as a pave solitaire (probably incorrectly) where the ring is round with pave diamonds and a fairly prominent prong mount for the stone.

Budget, well, flexible, there's the dilemma. I'm not cheap but I am pragmatic, I really have no idea though. $5k? $10k? While I cam afford it I also think about things like a deposit on a house and so on in my deliberations. I am quite capable of viewing a 2.0ct Novo at Tiffany for $40,000 and sure, it's awesome but I somehow can't fathom spending a five figure sum on a ring.

That sort of brings me to color and clarity, trying to understand what is too much and what is too little in terms of sparkle and the difference it really makes. I can drag sliders around and see the price change but only in a fairly bemused fashion. Is the difference between an F & G distinguishable to the naked eye? How about between a D and a G? G & J for that matter!

The same with clarity, I start of sure I'd want a VVS but wait, would a VS or an S mean I can afford more carats? Is that better? Smaller and shinier or bigger and hum, not so shiny I guess?

I have this urge to question women in the street but I suspect it wouldn't go well... "How many carats is that? Is it a VS? Are you okay with that or will you resent him for the rest of his days because of it? Do you even know what it is..? Maybe that's why you get a certificate so we can compare notes accurately even if I don't have much of a clue!

Seriously, thank you, I so value getting a few pointers on how not to make a complete hash of this!
 

cinnamonstick

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 14, 2009
Messages
569
All great advice given! You r in the right spot :)

Tip #5...buy online from vendors suggested on PS. Save a ton! :) Great suggestion. I'm thinking I saved maybe $3,500 with my new ring from start to finish by working online.
 

Rogueish

Rough_Rock
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Messages
33
I'm sorry, I neglected to respond to #5, I don't have a problem buying online, I'm also curious as to opinions on the used market and eBay?
 

Queenie60

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Hi Rogueish: I feel that you need to set a budget - then some of the experts on this site can chime in and can help you find a wonderful stone and a setting that will suit your gf. Now that you know what shape and style she likes. Good luck - I'm sure that some of the expert PS'rs will help you put together an awesome ring. :wavey:
 

cinnamonstick

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
569
$40k for a two ct at Tiffany is almost 40% name IMO. I wouldn't bother buying a diamond unless it is a lifelong dream of hers. I own plenty of overpriced silver from Tiffany's. I need more bang for my buck with a diamond vs brand name. I can't get what I want w high end brand names. An excellent cut diamond (apples to apples), Tiffany brand or direct from the diamond district, are only different by the name of the vendor.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Okay, to help you with the setting, there are Novo replicas out there. Here is a high quality one:

http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/diamond-settings/5th-ave-pave-diamond-engagement-ring-1592.htm

Look down at the bottom of the webpage and you will see some actual rings they made with that setting that look a lot better than the sample in the main picture.

For the diamond, I would recommend a round as they will face up larger for their weight than a cushion, and princess cuts are much more likely to go in and out of style. Rounds are always in style and can be bought in ideal cut which will provide you with a brilliant and beautiful diamond.

I recommend G-H VS2-SI1 for an engagement ring. That is the higher end of the near colorless range. Some people do go down to I and J to get a larger stone, but I color is as far as I would go.

Here are a couple of suggestions, but we can go smaller if these are too much or larger if you wish!

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3577103.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3590800.htm
 

cinnamonstick

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
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Rogueish|1452381134|3973411 said:
I'm sorry, I neglected to respond to #5, I don't have a problem buying online, I'm also curious as to opinions on the used market and eBay?
I love the heck out of ebay. Big time. Shop and sell constantly! I wouldn't personally advise for a diamond? Can maybe do as well with a PS vendor. There are also some great preowned PS vendors others can recommend and a preowned PS thread. I feel they are safe if u do your homework. My first diamond was second hand. Can get a great value. Stick with the GOOD certs only. Period. GIA, AGS...others can add to this topic. You get what you pay for vs soft grading.
 

Rogueish

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 9, 2016
Messages
33
cinnamonstick|1452381675|3973417 said:
Can maybe do as well with a PS vendor. There are also some great preowned PS vendors others can recommend and a preowned PS thread. I feel they are safe if u do your homework.
I admit I'm wary of eBay, I've bought and sold a lot on there but I have my doubts for jewelry. I'm not sure and maybe I should know but what do you mean by "PS"? Private sale?
 

JDDN

Ideal_Rock
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If she doesn't have a strong preference regarding color or clarity, then we usually say G or H and VS clarity. Many recommend SI1 here and while that's totally fine I personally like a VS stone, so you will have to decide where your/her preferences lie. No need to go VVS as that is overkill and you are paying for something you cannot see. Unless clarity is uber important, then stick with VS for getting bang out of your buck. Same with color. F is nice and white, but you aren't paying for the D or E premium. G and even H are very nice too. G will be virtually indistinguishable from an F, so again...more bang for your buck.

Here's another option. Gorgeous stones too. Will look for others and check back.

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/pave-and-side-stones/novela-platinum-5372p


Larger than what DS posted since we don't know your budget:

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.201-h-vs2-round-diamond-ags-104080749002

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.317-h-vs1-round-diamond-ags-104081959007

Around 1 carat:

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.133-g-vs2-round-diamond-ags-104082148006

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.005-h-vs2-round-diamond-ags-104082875029
 

cinnamonstick

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
569
Sorry just another comment. I am far from an expert so there's not much I can really comment other than some basic things.

When I was looking for a 2 carat there was one being sold pre-owned on consignment at a local shop. It had a GIA report and was a 'very good' cut. "I" color. Guy was firm on $15k. I posted it here when I was starting my journey and a lot of people said I could do much much better with quality/cut for near the same amount of money. And I did. Boy did I.

So no matter what you do, anywhere, please always post the information here for opinions on the diamonds and prices. The folks here will not guide you wrong. I promise.
 

Rogueish

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 9, 2016
Messages
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I realize I'm not necessarily comparing like for like but based on the rings and diamonds posted (thank you muchly, by the way) I'd be looking at around $10,500, give or take. The Tiffany Novo with a 1.0ct shows on their web site as $12,800, while the price difference is not vast would I be right in assuming that the quality of the diamonds posted is significantly better than what Tiffany include as "standard" (if that's an appropriate term) and as such the real price difference is even greater?

Would folks say that a 1.0ct ring is typical..? Above the norm? Extravagant? Disappointing? I realize how stupid I probably sound and rest assured I am blushing appropriately.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I do not usually recommend buying diamonds second hand unless the stone is GIA Excellent cut or AGS Ideal cut and from a reliable source. We have a preloved forum here on PS, but I don't believe there are any diamonds that would work for you at this time. I have bought diamonds from there myself, but my main diamonds were purchased from Good Old Gold and Whiteflash.

Vendors such as Good Old Gold and Whiteflash offer full upgrade policies as well, in the event you change your mind about size, color, etc. or later want to upgrade. I have used that a few times as I have upgraded my diamond stud earrings through Whiteflash.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
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906
Rogueish|1452381134|3973411 said:
I'm sorry, I neglected to respond to #5, I don't have a problem buying online, I'm also curious as to opinions on the used market and eBay?
Secondhand is tedious and risky much of the time. The superideal cut diamonds haven't been around a long time yet. There are few of them for that reason, and also because most vendors of them have offered tradein and upgrade and sometimes buyback options that may give the owner the full purchase price credited toward their new diamond. On the other hand, there are a lot of older wonky and/or inferior-performing diamonds out there. The odds of you finding so-so diamonds on the secondhand market are much greater than the odds of finding a modern superideal diamond at a bargain price.
ebay is full of vendors who are selling inferior performing diamonds at higher prices than the Pricescope dealers would sell the same thing for.
Mostly, with modern diamonds, new or used, you get what you pay for. There are many reasons why superideal H&A RB cost more to begin with and why they retain value or may actually increase in value with time.
Most women don't want a secondhand engagement ring mounting. They may be okay with a secondhand stone. And there are reasons why mountings from Victor Canera cost more than rings from China that are sold on ebay. Quality and craftsmanship cost real money.
 

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Rogueish|1452383157|3973430 said:
I realize I'm not necessarily comparing like for like but based on the rings and diamonds posted (thank you muchly, by the way) I'd be looking at around $10,500, give or take. The Tiffany Novo with a 1.0ct shows on their web site as $12,800, while the price difference is not vast would I be right in assuming that the quality of the diamonds posted is significantly better than what Tiffany include as "standard" (if that's an appropriate term) and as such the real price difference is even greater?

Would folks say that a 1.0ct ring is typical..? Above the norm? Extravagant? Disappointing? I realize how stupid I probably sound and rest assured I am blushing appropriately.
Does she care about names?

You keep mentioning Tiffany? Does she care about Tiffany?

For me,I like Tiffany, but I like diamonds more than the name. So I am not going to pay for the name when that money could go to more diamonds ::)

I would be a tad upset if my husband got me diamonds from big T becuase I know he could get more for less elsewhere. However, there are others who wouldn't take a ring if it wasn't in that. Little blue box.

What I do, and what you can consider as a happy medium, is wear brand name wedding bands, but my e ring is not a signed piece.

Do you live in an area where people wear large diamonds? Do her friends have large diamonds? Is it normal for her family members to wear large diamonds? It would be best to flat out ask her her expectations when it comes to size, but if you can't, this is a way of judging what she might be expecting.

Also, it would be easiest for us to help you I'd you could come in with a max $$$
 

Rogueish

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Messages
33
I am very much leaving away from "Big T", I was just trying to validate why. In regard to expectations that's what I don't know, I'd say that friends are not wearing especially large diamonds but there a reasonable expectation hers would be larger, shall we say. That is part of my dilemma, I don't know what constitute large.

As for budget gain I struggle, it is less about having the money but more about trying to work out what is appropriate. I'd say when I first started thinking about this I had a number of $4-$5k in my head, I'm now tending to think I was underestimating. I'm not really in a position to estimate other friends rings in order to compare, maybe I need to work out how I could do so.

I'm not tiring to be an ass over my budget, I suppose I think of it like buying a car, it isn't set a price and pick a car it's about placing a value on what you're getting for your money, so to speak. I don't want to spend $10k just because I theoretically can do so but nor do I want to screw it up.
 

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Rogueish|1452388454|3973465 said:
I am very much leaving away from "Big T", I was just trying to validate why. In regard to expectations that's what I don't know, I'd say that friends are not wearing especially large diamonds but there a reasonable expectation hers would be larger, shall we say. That is part of my dilemma, I don't know what constitute large.

As for budget gain I struggle, it is less about having the money but more about trying to work out what is appropriate. I'd say when I first started thinking about this I had a number of $4-$5k in my head, I'm now tending to think I was underestimating. I'm not really in a position to estimate other friends rings in order to compare, maybe I need to work out how I could do so.

I'm not tiring to be an a$$ over my budget, I suppose I think of it like buying a car, it isn't set a price and pick a car it's about placing a value on what you're getting for your money, so to speak. I don't want to spend $10k just because I theoretically can do so but nor do I want to screw it up.
Well we are here to help you get the best for your budget. To look at it like a car, no one here wants you to buy a lemon. So whatever you want to spend, well make sure you get the most for it. Problem is there is no way to know how to help you if we don't know what you want to spend .

10k can get you a nice ring. So can 5k.

You say you think she's expecting size. And she expects more than a plain old solitaire setting. Don't worry what we think, don't worry about how much you think you're suppose to pay. How much are you comfortable with, really?
 

Gypsy

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So you want a modern
cushion pave solitiare.

Okay. That's not hard. I'm going to recommend you stretch your budget just a little to 6K to make sure you get a platinum setting as that is the best metal for pave.

Now, what to buy. You are lucky because this is an easy one.


Buy this stone:
http://www.brilliantlyengaged.com/1.02-carat-g-vs2-x-factor-cushion-cut-diamond-gid-614618.html

With this setting:
http://www.brilliantlyengaged.com/31-536-fy-pe-bpid-1147-18.html Which they can make for you for a cushion. Or they may have one that is a better fit, and I just can't find it on their site. They have a real store.


Make sure you tell them you want "a Novo" look pave setting, that allows a flush fit band, in platinum.


And you are done. BE is a great vendor. You can't go wrong with one of their rings and they specialize in lovely cushions.

Also if you spend 5k on an engagement ring right now they will give you a beautiful diamond pendant free.
 

Medphysdave

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I'm going to chime in with my perspective/recent experience.

I too painfully tried to find a balance between price and practicality. It's not that I can't buy more, but at some point it becomes absurd.

Top quality cut. Most important learn those parameters and shop accordingly. Being a "deal" hunter. I chose to look for a White Flash expert selection that I couldn't figure out why it missed the A Cut Above category. I think it saved ~ 2k, but who knows. Call whiteflash. Their customer service is awesome. They will help find something.

Less concerned about bargain shopping, then I'd go to Brian Gavin and pick. All the stones seem great, just a matter of picking what technicality on paper you want most.

Choosing size: I actually had the diameter of my girlfriends finger, and drew various circles in the middle or a rectangle to see what looked good proportionally. I take this to be the minimum diameter stone. I don't think you can be punished for too big.

Color: most of these well cut stones face up white. BGD claims down to J color. You could get a J color, and set it in something with a more closed crown. This would hide the sides, and thus hide the lower color. I personally like the warmer colors and wouldn't want to hide it, but society seems to stigmatize this.

Clarity: this one is tough for me. The reason being is that in video of diamonds the higher clarity stones do look more transparent to me, but this may not translate to anything in person. "Is it eye clean from any distance or angle?" Is the question you want to ask. I'd have no problem with an SI1, and would even take an SI2 from a trusted vendor that met the above question.

Setting: Steve Kirsch stuff looks amazing. I don't know what sets it apart. I'm seeing more stuff I like from brilliantly engaged, and I really liked Victor Canera as well. I've gotten quotes from all three, and all have been pleasant. They seem to specialize in different things, so one might be willing to do something the other is not. FYI, there was a sizable price difference in quotes, so it pays to look around and see what is important to you. Picking a setting has been more agonizing than the stone. I think going this route for a setting is really going to set it off.

My 2cents
 

LLJsmom

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My 2 cents.

I'd err on the side of bigger. 1.5 carats. You did say people might expect bigger, and it's probably within your budget.

I would not go lower than H, and since it's an e-ring, VS2.

I would definitely go with round, a classic.

I would choose Whiteflash, ACA (proprietary cut) for maximum sparkle.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3601956.htm

And maybe a simple setting like this, provided you don't want a hand-forged platinum piece.

http://www.whiteflash.com/engagemen...en-cathedral-diamond-engagement-ring-1539.htm

However, I would want this in platinum. It's gonna be forever, right?

Good luck. I'm sure you'll be looking at a lot of rings and stones.
 

diamondseeker2006

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The cushions face up too small for their weight, so that is why some of us were recommending you stick with a round since size perception seems to be important.

I agree with what LLJsmom just said. I had posted the Vatche setting which is really nice, but you can go with the less expensive setting she linked (in platinum) and put more money toward the diamond. To answer a question you asked many posts back, yes, diamonds such as the WF ACA's and other hearts and arrows ideal cut stones are generally going to be at a higher cut standard than what you'll find in Tiffany and similar brand stores. Crazy, but true.

Many guys come here quite surprised at diamond prices. $5k is a lot of money and people think that will buy a large stone. Well, they also don't factor in settings that can easily be $2k+ if platinum and diamonds! Believe it or not, diamond prices are relatively low at the moment. They would have been higher last year had you been buying then. So be happy you are not buying at one of the times prices are at a peak!
 

Gypsy

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LLJsmom|1452391460|3973493 said:
My 2 cents.

I'd err on the side of bigger. 1.5 carats. You did say people might expect bigger, and it's probably within your budget.

I would not go lower than H, and since it's an e-ring, VS2.

I would definitely go with round, a classic.

I would choose Whiteflash, ACA (proprietary cut) for maximum sparkle.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3601956.htm

And maybe a simple setting like this, provided you don't want a hand-forged platinum piece.

http://www.whiteflash.com/engagemen...en-cathedral-diamond-engagement-ring-1539.htm

However, I would want this in platinum. It's gonna be forever, right?

Good luck. I'm sure you'll be looking at a lot of rings and stones.

I thought he said his budget was 5K? And definitely not more than 10k? :confused: :confused:

I think a cushion is a better choice for this person. Why? She likes the Novo. That's clearly a cushion. And he can get a 1 carat G cushion for 4500 in G VS. Where as a 1 carat G VS round is going to cost 7K. Yes, the round will be bigger. But both will hit the magic "carat" mark.
 

LLJsmom

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Gypsy|1452408310|3973573 said:
LLJsmom|1452391460|3973493 said:
My 2 cents.

I'd err on the side of bigger. 1.5 carats. You did say people might expect bigger, and it's probably within your budget.

I would not go lower than H, and since it's an e-ring, VS2.

I would definitely go with round, a classic.

I would choose Whiteflash, ACA (proprietary cut) for maximum sparkle.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3601956.htm

And maybe a simple setting like this, provided you don't want a hand-forged platinum piece.

http://www.whiteflash.com/engagemen...en-cathedral-diamond-engagement-ring-1539.htm

However, I would want this in platinum. It's gonna be forever, right?

Good luck. I'm sure you'll be looking at a lot of rings and stones.

I thought he said his budget was 5K? And definitely not more than 10k? :confused: :confused:

I think a cushion is a better choice for this person. Why? She likes the Novo. That's clearly a cushion. And he can get a 1 carat G cushion for 4500 in G VS. Where as a 1 carat G VS round is going to cost 7K. Yes, the round will be bigger. But both will hit the magic "carat" mark.
He said he had $4-5k in his head but is seeing that these numbers at not be high enough. He also said he did not want to spend $10k just to spend it. I read that to say that he wants to understand what he would be buying, but not that he was limiting it to a specific number. My impression is that he is very open to all suggestions. So here I am, suggesting. Yup, up to him.
 

Gypsy

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Okay. My reading comprehension skills clearly failed me.

In that case... I will suggest a few other things.
 

Rogueish

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Messages
33
Thank you all for your guidance on my journey this far, I am learning, if a little overwhelmed and still comparing. A big plus is seeing a number of settings that I really like, in comparison to the Nova I actually prefer the ones like http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/pave-and-side-stones/legera-pave-platinum-5861p which I'd describe as the ring meeting the mount lower, more like a solitaire than having "arches" that come up from the ring to meet the mount.

As for diamonds I am still learning, I feel confident that the place to buy is one of the several online merchants mentioned, I still need to deliberate cushion vs. round I think and then get back to the other C's. I suspect I need to stop by a store and see if I can look at comparable stones in different sizes to get an idea, it could be a 0.75 is "big" to some people or, as has been suggested, maybe it takes a 1.5 or larger.

I'm still a little unsure of color and clarity - and how the mount affects the choice if in some cases it covers blemishes in some way. I get the impression the lowest I should go is a VS1, probably, and color not lower than H, does that seem reasonable?

The cut is still puzzling me, I think I thought cut meant round or cushion but I get the feeling that there is a quality of cut in some way, is that accurate? It seems there is a "cut score" and a "cut quality" that I have not quite figured out yet.

In my logically-minded approach to comparison if I go to whiteflash and set my search parameters as follows, for an example: Price up to $8,000, Round/Cushion, Color G-H, I see 16 in-house diamonds ranging from 0.95 to 1.21 Carats and $6,000 - $8,000 in price. I'm not sure if you guys feel this is a sensible approach but to learn to compare I need to cut down the field a little, even if this isn't my final criteria.

Where this takes me is to the realization that once the field is narrowed a little, if I choose two similarly priced diamonds and compare them thus http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/compare.aspx?idnos=3172009,3577103 the differences are the category (a cut above vs premium select), the girdle (?) and then the carats/size.

So, if I understand this, the difference in "category" correlates to getting 0.2 carats more which equates to a stone that is 0.4mm larger in diameter? Am I on the right track here in terms of how to compare?
 

Jimmianne

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Love reading this thread. Ah, the adventure!
One thing I do when comparing stones is look at the size in millimeters, not carat weight.
 

Lenapie

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Sep 24, 2014
Messages
80
I think the important thing to really emphasize here, regarding the budget, is that no matter what budget you set, all the experienced PSers here will be able to get you the best bang for your buck. If it's $4-5k, they'll be able to get you the best you could possibly get for that amount, same goes for $10k or $15k. No matter which budget bracket you end up choosing, you'll be getting the best value.

Does your girlfriend have Pinterest or something you could take a peek at to see if she's pinned any rings she likes? Perhaps that could be a place to start looking for some clues/parameters for the engagement ring!
 
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