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engagement ring buying advice - Page 5

post #61 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).
That's quite a premium to pay for the Van Cleef name. I think the "Spring" setting is simple enough design where a similar item could be found from other retailers. Some excellent similar stones (.5ct, D, IF, Excellent/Ideal cut) could be found on Pricesope.com for around $3,500-$5,000. Even allowing $2,000 for the setting you are still saving more than $10,000 over the Van Cleef ring. You can also get a semi-custom or custom setting and still end up with similar savings.
post #62 of 89
It seems to me that paying for a Tiffany, Van Cleef, or Cartier ring is the equivalent of buying a $5,000 MTM or ready-to-wear suit: the designs will be of the mass-produced cookie-cutter variety and the craftsmanship is often middling at best.

Before spending $10k on a Tiffany ring with a .5 carat diamond, I'd buy an equivalent quality diamond for about $2k and pay the best custom jeweler $3k to make me a handwrought ring (not cast). The detailing will be far superior and the setting will be properly proportioned to your stone; most big jewelry stores just use pre-made settings and bend the prongs to fit the diamond you choose. If you look up close at Tiffany settings, you will see all sorts of sloppy, uneven finishing.

When it comes down to it, ring design isn't much of a mystery--just like with a suit. There are only so few ways to optimally mount a stone and a few classic formats. Once you start playing around too much, you tend to get something unique in an ugly way.
post #63 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
a handwrought ring (not cast).

+ 1

Anyone can lay down the big bucks for a big honking rock. But choosing a ring and mounting can reflect some taste and class. Going custom or at least getting something nicely made (not cast) is especially worthwhile if you are on a budget. Size down your stone by a bit and get it mounted on a really special ring.
post #64 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinW View Post
+ 1

Anyone can lay down the big bucks for a big honking rock. But choosing a ring and mounting can reflect some taste and class. Going custom or at least getting something nicely made (not cast) is especially worthwhile if you are on a budget. Size down your stone by a bit and get it mounted on a really special ring.

Agreed.

I think if you're spending more than $10k on the stone itself, there's really no excuse not to get a handmade, custom setting to match.
post #65 of 89
Who is a good custom jeweler? Any online ones, searches came up with negligible numbers.
post #66 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology View Post
Who is a good custom jeweler? Any online ones, searches came up with negligible numbers.

Leon Mege in NYC. He is particularly good at pave and micropave.
post #67 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by visionology View Post
Who is a good custom jeweler? Any online ones, searches came up with negligible numbers.

I have seen some of this guy's custom work and it's breath-taking. Relatively affordable, too.

http://www.vancraeynest.com/index.html

The website pics don't really do justice to his work, IMHO.
post #68 of 89
Thread Starter 
so how would this work in practice? - buy rock from online vendor - send rock to good custom jeweler - work w/ him on getting a handmade ring and custom setting? ??
post #69 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
so how would this work in practice?
- buy rock from online vendor
- send rock to good custom jeweler
- work w/ him on getting a handmade ring and custom setting?
??

Exactly.

Except, seeing the jeweler in person is preferable. If you are interested in a pave or micropave ring, NYC happens to be the best place to go. Even the big European jewelers, like Cartier and Girard, have their pave work done in NYC.
post #70 of 89
Thread Starter 
just checked http://www.vancraeynest.com/index.html for them at least, you cannot supply the center stone, i.e., you have to buy it from them. they have som nice work on their web site though, will givem them a call
post #71 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
so how would this work in practice?
- buy rock from online vendor
- send rock to good custom jeweler
- work w/ him on getting a handmade ring and custom setting?
??

That's about what I did. I had a workmate who's wife was a jeweler - so she helped me a little by directing me to that best people and liaising with them for me. She also educated me on chasing, carving, casting and cushion cuts. I was on a pretty tight budget, so I went for a fairly small main stone (.4k) that is top quality and a hand designed and made ring to show it off. Compared to the retain options I could afford, I think there is no comparison - my fiance adores it and gets a lot of compliments on it. I'm having a matching wedding band made right now.
post #72 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
just checked http://www.vancraeynest.com/index.html
for them at least, you cannot supply the center stone, i.e., you have to buy it from them. they have som nice work on their web site though, will givem them a call

I used Leon Mege. His default 'house style' is much more simple and classic, but he can do a wide variety of things.
post #73 of 89
Thread Starter 
... RE your suggesetion, if one breaks up a total of 5k as 2k for rock and 3k for handwrought ring, isn't one really shortchaning the rock?
post #74 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
... RE your suggesetion, if one breaks up a total of 5k as 2k for rock and 3k for handwrought ring, isn't one really shortchaning the rock?

Yes and no. Yes, you could have bought a nicer stone and a worse setting. I was just making the point it that it is comparably a better value than getting a pre-made ring at a place like Tiffany. I probably wouldn't spend 2k on a stone and 3k on a setting, myself. But the more you spend on the stone, the more the price of the setting makes sense.

Anyway, it's true most people will be drawn directly to look at the stone, and the setting often goes less noticed (the way it should be). But a nicely executed setting will make the stone and the ring look better.
post #75 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDr89 View Post
just checked http://www.vancraeynest.com/index.html
for them at least, you cannot supply the center stone, i.e., you have to buy it from them. they have som nice work on their web site though, will givem them a call

I'm pretty sure he will work with any stone you provide.
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