IT'S A TRAP! I'll rehash some previous posts of mine - there are also several good threads about buying engagement rings/diamonds. Disclaimer: I'm no great expert, but I work with several valuers/gemmologists daily. Few things depreciate as badly in value as jewellery does. "Investment-grade" jewellery is generally...not. DeBeers are continually fighting the growing industry in synthetic diamonds, but it's probably only a question of a very short time before the synthetics are completely indistinguishable from natural ones, and the whole huge bubble bursts. Another aspect: The whole "blood diamond" thing is no myth. At its roots, this is a shitty industry, and DeBeers is the worst and by far the biggest turd in the pile. If you want to feel good about the purchase, regading those aspects, buy something that's demonstrably vintage, or get stones that have those new "ethical" certificates. If I insisted on buying a natural one, I would do this: - Get some rough technical knowledge and impartial advice, particularly when you've picked a few candidates. Neat trick: Make a deposit and take the candidate to an auction house or a dealer in antique jewllery - they normally do free valuations, and they won't mind taking a quick look at it at all. It's part of their business plan to provide free unwritten valuations. This would also render a gemmologist's certificate unnecessary - you can always get a new valuation with a certificate later, if necessary. - Buy from a reputable auction house or a specialist dealer. Avoid any volume marketers like bluenile etc. A trip to the New York, Amsterdam or Antwerp diamond districts is very educational, and might offer a good deal. - Buy vintage
, and if you plan to buy for the stones, seek out formerly really expensive jewellery in as bad/un-commercial a taste as possible, and then chuck the brooch/stick-pin/pendant. Or buy a good, old ring as it is. - Have the ring restored and the stone re-set at a good working jeweller's, if necessary. Again, avoid big names, but fish around a bit for who does the actual work for them. These very often do not have store-front shops, just hidden-away messy workshops. This is how you get what you can claim to be a "bespoke" or "custom" setting. (Or just get the standard solitaire settings, they come pre-made for various sizes of brilliant-cut.) A few thoughts: - The importance of the difference between old- and new-cut brilliants is overrated, IMO. An old-cut diamond with a good precise cut can be far nicer than a new-cut one. The rarer cuts, like baguette, marquise, etc. can sometimes be bought for far less. Heart-shapes often command a big premium. One of the tricky points of a brilliant-cut stone is that they rarely can be re-cut without a significant reduction in size. Re-cutting a stone This makes re-cutting brilliants almost pointless, but can in some cases heighten the value of other cuts, particulary the oblong ones, like baguette and marquise. - Few people are able to discern slight imperfections in a stone. If you can't see them, and practically noone else can, what's the point of paying for perfection? Not a very romantic thought, I know, but this is really about getting practical value for money. - The idea that it's bad luck to buy an old/second-hand/used engagement ring is another part of the deBeers mythology. Don't listen to it - fantastic pieces of antique jewellery have been destroyed because of the idea. Apart from that, an old piece will very often have a better setting and general goldsmith's work. No point in destroying it, if not absolutely necessary, for reasons of taste or other. The tradition in much of Europe, thankfully, are just plain gold bands for engagement rings, like wedding bands. You just move it from one hand to the other at the time of marriage, or get a similar wedding band. Here's what I did: My great-grandfather prospected for gold around Nome in Alaska around 1900, along with Seppala
(they grew up together) and Lindeberg
. He actually found a good little bit of it before he returned to Norway, married his old sweetheart and started a business with the proceeds. However, he kept enough Alaskan gold to furnish himself, his wife and his six children with wedding rings, and also a bit of jewelry etc. My grandmother had a pendant which is just a big (say, half-inch long) nugget with a loop attached., which my sister now has. Just a couple of weeks before the wedding, my mum gave me great-grandfather's wedding ring, along with a broken, but huge and thick watch-chain, a tie-clip with nuggets and some golddigger's tool regalia on it, along with some other broken old jewellery made from the Alaska stuff, like a few collar-studs, etc. Now, I really regret sacrificing the tie-clip, it was very cool as a little heirloom to pass on, but I'd never have worn it. There was enough old alaska gold to go around for a ring, anyway. I had it melted down and made into a ring for my wife, and kept the old one for myself:
This cost me all of ~$120 for the work, and I still have a little lump left for whatever use, probably enough for another ring or so.