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engagement ring buying advice - Page 4

post #46 of 89
A quick guide, and what I did:

From my understanding, the 'sweet spot' in terms of color and clarity is F and VS2. Cut should be as perfect as possible. Within those parameters, max out the size (unless of course your budget it so big, this would mean a ridiculously large rock). If you want to spend more money, increase the color before the clarity (sensitive eyes may be able to tell a D from an F, but VS2 and IF should be indistinguishable without a loupe).

Keep in mind some shapes will face-up larger than others given the same carat weight. Round brilliants and ovals look the biggest; asschers and emerald-cuts look the smallest.

My personal advice with regard to the ring design: keep it classic and forget about the trends. This thing should last decades.
post #47 of 89
Thread Starter 
I just spent some time reading the info at http://www.pricescope.com.... they have price stats and cut quality search engines that are very useful. There is good info in tools such as the HCA (Holloway Cut Adviser) that help in the search. I'm still a little apprehensive about distant buying but then again the options are much greater ... I guess it's similar to buying a suit at a distance, i.e., if you really know your measurements there should be no problem, but then again different people can measure slightly differently ... in any event, I now know a lot more than I did yesterday ....
post #48 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by peshlaki View Post
I make wedding sets for a living.There is nothing better than high karat gold bands,they look beautiful for all the years of your marriage.We've all been sold a bill of goods by the diamond merchants.Diamonds are forever....they are also very abundant,not rare at all.
By the way,yellow is the way to go,if you want white go with platinum.

This is a great thread and really got me interested in buying a diamond. I think I will get engaged.
post #49 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
I just spent some time reading the info at http://www.pricescope.com.... they have price stats and cut quality search engines that are very useful. There is good info in tools such as the HCA (Holloway Cut Adviser) that help in the search. I'm still a little apprehensive about distant buying but then again the options are much greater ... I guess it's similar to buying a suit at a distance, i.e., if you really know your measurements there should be no problem, but then again different people can measure slightly differently ... in any event, I now know a lot more than I did yesterday ....

Pricescope is a good resource; but man oh man, the women on there have some ugly rings.

Regarding measurements: in the case of a GIA or AGS certified diamond, exactly the same people are doing the measuring. In many cases, multiple vendors (including Blue Nile) are advertising exactly the same stone. It's not like they each have their own vault where they store all the diamonds they list.
post #50 of 89
Thread Starter 
... very interesting how multiple venders are advertising the same stone. seems like a clearing house sort of thing were deals would be harder to come by. I assume that with the online vendors there is little room for price negotiation due to things like this?
post #51 of 89
We had a discussion some time back about synthetics. I'm too lazy to find it, but a search should bring it up.

I stand by my previous position that a diamond is not a rational purchase. There is a story and mystique wrapped around it that cannot be duplicated by a synthetic or man made stone no matter how large, colourless or flawless. Get a woman a non-natural stone and she will read something about the relationship and how you view her.

K
post #52 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by West24 View Post
yea the rapaport is based out of ny city though and may not be accurate everywhere.

It is widely used by wholesalers and major diamond buyers nationwide, and is definitely used here in Houston.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennglock View Post
There are some smart tradeoffs within the 4-Cs, IMO, for maximizing the diamond you get for the price. For instance, it's possible to find diamonds rated SI1 (some inclusions) where the inclusions are such that they're invisible to the naked eye or else easily hidden by the setting. You need to master the loupe or else have a jeweler you can rely on to pull off buying a SI1, though. It's also my experience that it's very difficult to tell a color difference between a D and F stone.

Cut and Carat are the most important characteristics, provided the diamond in question has no inclusions visible to the naked eye and is relatively colorless. The cut is what really gives a stone it's sparkle... it's the performance of light hitting the stone.

Whatever you do, I'd get an ideal cut stone. Nothing below a GIA rating of "excellent," and even that excellent rating would not be enough for me. Not every excellent rated GIA stone is created equal. There are one or two agencies, I dont remember their names, with a stricter set of cut guidelines than the GIA, and getting a rock with their top rating would be good. A perfectly cut round diamond will show symetical arrow shapes if you're looking at it from the top, and heart shapes if you're looking at it from the bottom. Several boutique jewlers have trademark names for these "hearts and arrows" diamonds. You may want to look into them.


Tiffanys is ok. You're not going to get sold a dud there, and their markup on diamonds is actually pretty reasonable compared to their other jewelry and other brick-and-morter stores. My experience with them was, though, that they were not willing or able to focus on the cut of their diamonds, treating all their cuts in the store as equal and trying to make the sale based on the other Cs. I wanted a perfectly cut diamond and wasn't sure I was going to get it there.

All of the beginning advice is good.

And yes, Tiffany is certainly OK but anyone in the trade will tell you that their quality and markup is almost certain to be at the very highest end.

If you want security, name recognition, and the "Diamond Buying Experience for her", as opposed to an internet or wholesale purchase, then Tiffany can be excellent. But be prepared to pay top dollar.

An affluent friend of mine just bought a nice 3 carat stone from a direct wholesaler for 45K. He then went to Tiffany with another friend who is a very competent gemologist. No 2 stones or GIA certs are exactly the same, but the closest stone that Tiffany had was 72K. That's a big difference. If cost doesn't matter, and the "Tiffany Experience" and provenance are important to you, then by all means I would recommend them. But you are going to pay top dollar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophilia View Post
Three words.

One
Carat
Wholesale

Good short answer to your initial question.
post #53 of 89
I don't think Tiffany offers a particularly special buying experience. In fact, it's downright awful. The Fifth Avenue store is always a total zoo and customers are dealt with assembly-line fashion. Worst of all, your girl will see dozens and dozens of rings exactly like the one you're going to get her, lined up anonymously and unceremoniously under glass. Anyway, I think the craftsmanship of their regular rings is mediocre at best.

Cartier is somewhat better, but much snobbier.

The best 'buying experience' is at Harry Winston. Now, they know how to create the illusion of exclusivity. Rather than display all the rings up front, they take you to a private sitting area where a salesperson will bring you different rings one by one to look at. When I was there, they were exceptionally friendly and patient.

Of course, I think the 'buying experience' is a silly and expensive thing to pay for, but that's just me. I got my wife's diamond from a broker in Florida--over the phone. A similar quality ring at Tiffany would have cost me a foyer or two.
post #54 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
I don't think Tiffany offers a particularly special buying experience. In fact, it's downright awful. The Fifth Avenue store is always a total zoo and customers are dealt with assembly-line fashion. Worst of all, your girl will see dozens and dozens of rings exactly like the one you're going to get her, lined up anonymously and unceremoniously under glass. Anyway, I think the craftsmanship of their regular rings is mediocre at best.

Cartier is somewhat better, but much snobbier.

The best 'buying experience' is at Harry Winston. Now, they know how to create the illusion of exclusivity. Rather than display all the rings up front, they take you to a private sitting area where a salesperson will bring you different rings one by one to look at. When I was there, they were exceptionally friendly and patient.

Of course, I think the 'buying experience' is a silly and expensive thing to pay for, but that's just me. I got my wife's diamond from a broker in Florida--over the phone. A similar quality ring at Tiffany would have cost me a foyer or two.

Agreed It's not just you, foo!

You're much more eloquent than I and you did just what I was suggesting the OP do.

Do your due diligence, try "the in-store experience ( but don't buy ), and then finally save a lot of money by buying from a reputable wholesaler you trust.

The range of markups available to the public is very broad. There are ultra exclusive name stores that work on high mark ups and there are wholesalers that work pretty close.

Foo, you were born to be a lawyer! The sartorial and diamond knowledge are just lagniappe.

To the OP, if you follow mafoofan's advice within your budget parameters you will do just fine.

Congrats and Good Luck BTW.
post #55 of 89
A couple of recent threads we had on this topic: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=12440 http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=51194
post #56 of 89
you want to go wholesale? Go to India where the majority of cutting is done these day. If someone will connect you to the right sources, and your stone is of the right config your savings could equal the price of a nice holiday (or close to it)


K
post #57 of 89
I'm looking to buy a engagement ring as well and have been looking at Van Cleef & Arpels.
My budget isn't too big, but the rings look good and are (in my eyes) a little bit more exclusive then say Tiffany's.
Retail in Japan isn't exactly cheap though for the size/quality of the diamond IMO.
Is this (getting a brand name) a bad idea? Does anybody have any advice/comments?
post #58 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by semdornus View Post
I'm looking to buy a engagement ring as well and have been looking at Van Cleef & Arpels.
My budget isn't too big, but the rings look good and are (in my eyes) a little bit more exclusive then say Tiffany's.
Retail in Japan isn't exactly cheap though for the size/quality of the diamond IMO.
Is this (getting a brand name) a bad idea? Does anybody have any advice/comments?

I like some of those engagement rings a lot. Any idea how much the Spring solitaire goes for?
post #59 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
Any idea how much the Spring solitaire goes for?
Here in Japan the catalog price for 0.5ct, DIF is 1,659,000 yen (approx $17,827.84). That's a bit too expensive for me, so I'm looking at another model (not on the official site) in English called the (I think) Felicite, pictured as the top ring here (Japanese) in 0.3 or 0.5ct EVVS2 which will be significantly less.
post #60 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by semdornus View Post
Here in Japan the catalog price for 0.5ct, DIF is 1,659,000 YEN (approx 17,827.84 USD)

I'm just interested in the setting. Sounds about right for a DIF though.
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