Any jewelers on the forum? (Engagement ring help!)

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Boris
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Any jewelers on the forum? (Engagement ring help!)

Post by Boris » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:08 am

I decided this forum needs a third engagement ring thread :).

Here's my problem, I've been looking around for months... I know so much about gems (especially diamonds) it's not even funny. I'm not a big fan of diamonds because it's all marketing, it's expensive, there's a controlled supply to artificially hold prices up, and it's not rare or an investment like everyone would lead you to believe.

What I'm looking for (I'm not 100% sure yet, but I'd love ideas) is to create a custom engagement ring using an Natural Certified Alexandrite. Unlike a diamond, this gem has real value because of its rarity and I feel it would be very unique and cool. I've never seen one in person, which is why I'm not 100% sure about this yet--no jeweler carries them because of their rarity and price. I'm hoping somebody on this forum is a jeweler or an enthusiast who knows a lot about gems and can help me out.

My second and third choices are Ruby and Sapphire, but I almost feel cheap if I get one of those two. I know I shouldn't, but I do... damn marketing!!

Any input highly appreciated... I don't have much time to shop around, especially if I make a semi-custom Alexandrite ring.

One last thought, I know that there are manufactured ("created") gems floating around for all three of these... does it take away from the thought if one uses a created gem? In my searches I've been trying to steer clear, but I don't look at a rock as an investment of anything. I know she'd disagree (and I read the other threads to see what some women feel), but I just can't help thinking about it. To me, it seems "wrong" especially as an engagement ring, but once again maybe that's just marketing playing on my brain? I feel like I must spend a lot for it to have meaning, but I'm not sure either.

Thoughts? Please!

Confused,

Boris

P.S. I still haven't thrown the diamond idea out the window... they're very sparkly and beautiful in ideal cut, I just hate the idea of supporting a monopoly, going with marketing, etc etc etc.
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Post by Retiree » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:22 am

My advice would be to throw logic out the window and get whatever your girlfriend likes and wants.

.... Larry

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Post by Boris » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:41 am

Retiree wrote:My advice would be to throw logic out the window and get whatever your girlfriend likes and wants.

.... Larry
I would like for this to be a surprise :oops:.

Boris
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Post by Retiree » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:09 am

Boris wrote:
I would like for this to be a surprise :oops:.

Boris
Then you will have to get creative and devious! :lol:

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Post by Gekko » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:46 am

IMO, i'd stick with a diamond. every girl wants a diamond. there is no substitute.

stop looking at it as an investment and start looking at it as a "cost of doing business". get her a diamond, 1 carat minimum. i like the "princess" cut. good luck.

try -

http://www.bluenile.com/

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Post by Raybo » Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:47 pm

Instead of getting her a diamond ring as a surprise, how about getting her a nice gold band when you pop the question. Then, if she says yes (might she say no?), mention that you'd like to buy her a ring of her choosing.

It is much better to get a woman a piece of jewelry that she likes and will proudly wear then to get her something you think "fits" the occasion only to see her leave it in her jewelry box.

Ray
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Post by Boris » Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:48 pm

Retiree wrote:
Boris wrote:
I would like for this to be a surprise :oops:.

Boris
Then you will have to get creative and devious! :lol:
I've been trying... I'm open to any ideas you may have though!!
Gekko wrote:IMO, i'd stick with a diamond. every girl wants a diamond. there is no substitute.

stop looking at it as an investment and start looking at it as a "cost of doing business". get her a diamond, 1 carat minimum. i like the "princess" cut. good luck.

try -

http://www.bluenile.com/
I don't like "cost of doing business" thinking, this is why I invest with Vanguard. If I liked costs I'd go with American funds and pay a load. :lol:

I've been all over Blue Nile, I've built several rings that I'm happy with there--as I've said, I've been doing research for many months now, so looking at other gems is a recent undertaking.

Here's a reason I don't like diamonds:
1) They're not rare or special in almost any way (besides their hardness)
2) Cut ~= 50%, Color ~= 30%, Clarity ~= 20% of determining price per carat
3) A 1-carat ring can be had from $1k to $10k depending on many factors, most of which a non-gemologist couldn't see or know about. For example, search for a Clarity Enhanced Diamond with a Very Good Cut/Polish/Symmetry and search for a "H&A" non-enhanced diamond with excellent polish/symmetry, same color/clarity and you'll see what I mean.
4) Most people I know have insurance policies on their rocks and/or they put it in a safety deposit box and place a CZ in its place--nobody knows the difference.
5) I'm looking for a way to not spend a fortune and get her something that means something, or if I spend a fortune spend it on something which is truly unique and rare and special like the Alexandrite.

Ahh... why is this so complicating?? :cry: :cry: Why can't I just not get her anything... why do women think a [diamond] ring is that important? I'd much rather spend that money towards a new car for her (she really likes the Honda Fit :)).

Boris
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Post by Gekko » Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:03 pm

removed by admin alex for baiting - hiow about we try replying to the OP's actual questions?

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Post by SteveB3005 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:19 pm

A perfect storyline for the next Milwaukee Best commercial where the can comes through the roof.

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Engagement Rings

Post by actuaryinvestor » Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:32 pm

Boris,

You obviously know your girlfriend the best so if you think she would like it I think Alexandrite is more unique than a diamond. I found some pretty good sites just doing a google search, but I would probably avoid actually buying online.

If you decide to buy a diamond I recommend the book "How to Buy a Diamond" by Fred Cuellar. Another diehard also really liked the book.

If you want the proposal to be a suprise but not necessarily the ring you could get a $20 cubic zirconia solitaire on EBAY and propose with that. The next day when she's calmed down you can show her the Alexandrite ring you were thinking of getting her, maybe a diamond ring option, and let her decide what will be on her hand for the rest of her life.

Good luck and have fun getting married!

--
Brian

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Post by goosecat » Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:35 pm

Boris wrote: Ahh... why is this so complicating?? :cry: :cry: Why can't I just not get her anything... why do women think a [diamond] ring is that important? I'd much rather spend that money towards a new car for her (she really likes the Honda Fit :)).

Boris
I think the whole engagement ring issue is a good way to tell what kind of financial philosophies your girlfriend has. It can initiate a discussion that can help determine if you two are financially compatible. Topics like savings rate, financial independence, early retirement, joint funds, needs vs. wants, etc. will come into play. Having similar views on these topics correlates highly to marital satisfaction and divorce rate.

Most people (including me) grew up brainwashed by the diamond industry and societal norms. So just because your GF initially wants a diamond doesn't mean that necessarily represents her financial philosophy, BUT you certainly should be able to discuss with her all the different aspects of the purchase. If you can't have a thoughtful discussion with her about the topic, that's a red flag.

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Post by Retiree » Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:52 pm

Not to beat a dead horse to death, but:

My daughter is getting remarried soon - second marriage and she is in her 30s. Her fiance told her he wanted to marry her, she accepted. He then told her to pick out any ring she likes, no matter what the design, price, etc. She did. I have never seen her so happy, main reason is that her fiance trusted her to do what was appropriate, second, she has a ring that she truly likes. By the way, it is a diamond and she was financially responsible in picking something within their means!

Good luck! I still think it is of primary importance to get your girlfriend something she will like; same as most of the other responders to your request.

.... Retiree

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Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:00 pm

My opinion is that the value of personal jewelry (i.e., jewelry not bought primarily for investment purposes) is derived from its beauty and it's emotional connections. After all, any gem is just a colored rock anywhere other than on the pawshop counter. So I'd say go with what you think will look the best. Further, I would expect the emotional value to be higher for a customized piece.

Finally, there's no decorative reason to buy natural alexandrite as the better sythetics are identical in terms of chemical composition and crystal structure. In fact the primary way gemologists can determine that a good synthetic is synthetic is the lack of flaws that would typically be found in natural stones. I'll leave non-decorative reaons for choosing synthetic versus natural stones to you :-)

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Post by arrete » Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:11 pm

goosecat wrote:
Boris wrote: Ahh... why is this so complicating?? :cry: :cry: Why can't I just not get her anything... why do women think a [diamond] ring is that important? I'd much rather spend that money towards a new car for her (she really likes the Honda Fit :)).

Boris
I think the whole engagement ring issue is a good way to tell what kind of financial philosophies your girlfriend has. It can initiate a discussion that can help determine if you two are financially compatible. Topics like savings rate, financial independence, early retirement, joint funds, needs vs. wants, etc. will come into play. Having similar views on these topics correlates highly to marital satisfaction and divorce rate.

Most people (including me) grew up brainwashed by the diamond industry and societal norms. So just because your GF initially wants a diamond doesn't mean that necessarily represents her financial philosophy, BUT you certainly should be able to discuss with her all the different aspects of the purchase. If you can't have a thoughtful discussion with her about the topic, that's a red flag.
I think goosecat (you'll have to explain that name someday) has an important point. Sometimes we do this stuff because it's what is expected of us. Given a choice (midst a thoughtful conversation) we might choose something else. You know. A Honda Fit and an engagement ring to be named later. :)

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Post by Opponent Process » Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:37 pm

I'd say roll the dice and rely on your creativeness. If you have a unique women, don't go diamond, just like you don't go red roses on valentine's day.

Those women are really hard to find.

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Post by roymeo » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:15 pm

expectations and stereotypes

I don't know that I could have married a woman who wanted the diamond engagement n wedding ring thing. Not something I care about, wouldn't be a good fit.

My wife has diamond as her birthstone and has never liked them. ("Oh, yeah?" says the peanut gallery, "Prove it.") When her grandfather offered her the choice between 2 family heirlooms, she took the plain gold band rather than the diamond ring that had belonged to her much beloved grandmother that she'd been very close to.

Both of us do too much with our hands to wear rings, neither of us has much jewlery at all.


Around the time we eloped we went to a local aritsan who makes rings that aren't round, but shaped for your finger. He made some really cool stuff and it came from someone who does things with his hands, rather than some anonymous industry. The guy's shop was even directly across the street from us in the same mixed-use complex.

Yet after a month or two we hadn't actually ever felt like going over and designing anything. We realized that this whole ring thing wasn't something either of us was interested in at all, we were merely reacting to the social obligation/ritual/mores.

-----

The point is that as long as you know what's right, fitting, and acceptable, for you two, it doesn't really matter. On the other hand, if she's the type that this sort of thing matters to, she'll kill you after the first day of work where she had to answer all the other traditional women's questions about how many karats with a defensive "it's more rare and more expensive than a diamond". I totally agree that it's a shame so many people are duped into supporting the cartel that built apartheid all because of some clever advertising campaigns, but in the case of a suprise, you've got to know what you are doing, or fall back to cultural norms.

roymeo
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not every girl wants a diamond...

Post by DonnaB » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:51 pm

I personally cared much more that the ring be artistic, rather than mass produced. And if it is a diamond, it should be "cruelty free" - I believe canadian diamonds fit the bill. You should make her happy, but don't assume that conspicuous consumption is what she wants, unless you know it to be true. While you like the idea of a surprise, you may find, for example, that she really wants a "cushion cut" or something specific and you just didn't know. Don't make her wear a ring for life that isn't truly what she wants.

for some interesting rings, check out www.krikawa.com

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Post by Boris » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:24 pm

Just to address a few concerns that some people voiced, regarding her values: I've been with her long enough to know her values; I appreciate the concern, however I wouldn't be looking for a ring unless her values were aligned with mine.

---------------------------------------------------------

I went through each and every response and I want to thank everyone for their opinions and thoughtful comments. Figuring I don't want to spend so much money and make her disappointed, we just went around the mall and looked at various jewelry... just to get her impressions of what she liked and what she didn't.

First we looked at Ruby's and Sapphire's and I tried to explain a lot about them to her (without sounding like I've been doing this much research), so she found a very pretty diamond/sapphire (blue/white) band that she liked a lot... then when I hinted "yeah, but what kind of stone should go on top?" She looked at me dumbfounded and answered "a clear one......" and this is AFTER I spent an hour explaining how cool an Alexandrite is... so I got my answer. Even when I tried to explain my dislike for diamonds, she rolled her eyes. She only wants a diamond, because it's "traditional" and "what everyone else has."

We also tried on several diamonds as just "whatever" (I mean, we're not looking for "the" ring, right? ;)) and first she tried a 1ct and said it was too large... the one she liked the most, size wise, was a 5/8carat (small fingers). So that's good, I don't have to spend a small fortune :).

Next thing we did was try to compare an ideal cut to a good/very good cut... interestingly enough, after I asked my girlfriend which one looks/sparkles better, she picked the one with the inferior cut (HA!). Thus, I'm really curious if there are any jewelers here that can help; at what point do you notice a difference in all of this stuff (without magnification)? I mean, why spend the money for a D-color when you can get a G? Why get an IF when you can get VS or even SI1, etc. I mean NOBODY is ever going to look at this diamond with a loupe... why blow all the money? I'm not saying I want a "cheap" stone, but at what point do you just say it's a great value and it's "eye perfect?" I don't care that a laser can pick up something that I can never see or somebody sees something at 10x, 30x or 100x magnification.

Few funny stories...

Now, I've said I've been researching for months, right? Well, now that I know so much, I'm amazed at how little some of these sales people know. I asked one lady to look at an Ideal cut ring, which even my girlfriend understood after looking at several other stores, and she said she doesn't know what I meant. Then her co-worker came up to try and help and asked me "well, what's 'ideal' to you?" After several times of repeating myself and explaining that it's not a philosophical question, we packed up our things and went on to the next store.

In another store the sales guy was trying to sell us on super expensive rings with cubic zirconium in them, saying people usually "buy the ring and then 5-15 years later they buy the stone, so that they don't have to finance them.... since 'G' diamonds in 1-carat are 18-20k and 'D' are up to 100k." After he showed us all of the overpriced crap that they carry we just walked out. Wow, never thought I'd see that... I guess most people are clueless and just come in a store with a budget and take whatever the sales guy recommends.

Oh well, these are mall jewelers, so it doesn't matter.

Thanks again, and thanks for all the great responses thus far. I'd really like to get opinions on some of the questions I asked above in relation to cut and the difference to the naked eye.

Boris
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Re: Any jewelers on the forum? (Engagement ring help!)

Post by blood_donor » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:48 pm

Boris,

Buy a used diamond. Hook up with a private seller (try Craigslist), and have it appraised to make sure it is a good deal.

Boris wrote:I decided this forum needs a third engagement ring thread :).

Here's my problem, I've been looking around for months... I know so much about gems (especially diamonds) it's not even funny. I'm not a big fan of diamonds because it's all marketing, it's expensive, there's a controlled supply to artificially hold prices up, and it's not rare or an investment like everyone would lead you to believe.

What I'm looking for (I'm not 100% sure yet, but I'd love ideas) is to create a custom engagement ring using an Natural Certified Alexandrite. Unlike a diamond, this gem has real value because of its rarity and I feel it would be very unique and cool. I've never seen one in person, which is why I'm not 100% sure about this yet--no jeweler carries them because of their rarity and price. I'm hoping somebody on this forum is a jeweler or an enthusiast who knows a lot about gems and can help me out.

My second and third choices are Ruby and Sapphire, but I almost feel cheap if I get one of those two. I know I shouldn't, but I do... damn marketing!!

Any input highly appreciated... I don't have much time to shop around, especially if I make a semi-custom Alexandrite ring.

One last thought, I know that there are manufactured ("created") gems floating around for all three of these... does it take away from the thought if one uses a created gem? In my searches I've been trying to steer clear, but I don't look at a rock as an investment of anything. I know she'd disagree (and I read the other threads to see what some women feel), but I just can't help thinking about it. To me, it seems "wrong" especially as an engagement ring, but once again maybe that's just marketing playing on my brain? I feel like I must spend a lot for it to have meaning, but I'm not sure either.

Thoughts? Please!

Confused,

Boris

P.S. I still haven't thrown the diamond idea out the window... they're very sparkly and beautiful in ideal cut, I just hate the idea of supporting a monopoly, going with marketing, etc etc etc.

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Post by gunn_show » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:49 pm

Gekko wrote:IMO, i'd stick with a diamond. every girl wants a diamond. there is no substitute.

stop looking at it as an investment and start looking at it as a "cost of doing business". get her a diamond, 1 carat minimum. i like the "princess" cut. good luck.

try -

http://www.bluenile.com/
Hate to agree, but you should know your girl and her desires, thoughts, feelings, etc by now. Have you ever discussed diamonds? My girl and I are not even close to engagement, but one morning while in bed opened the laptop and for craps n giggles browsed bluenile.com

Every girl wants a diamond, unless she is some freako Boglehead like you (us) or comes from a land where marketing and friends with diamonds don't exist.

Fortunately or unfortunately gekko was blunt and correct saying "it is the cost of business" and I pretty much agree ...

1 carat min, princess cut usually preferred by most women, platinum band... can't go wrong

The ruby or sapphire may look cool, but just think what her friends will say
"Jenny, where is your diamond?????"

(I wrote this after reading only a few replies, so if she is cool with not getting a diamond, then bravo to both of you)
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Any jewelers on the forum? (Engagement ring help!)

Post by gunn_show » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:56 pm

blood_donor wrote:Boris,

Buy a used diamond. Hook up with a private seller (try Craigslist), and have it appraised to make sure it is a good deal.
A friend of mine found an extremely nice diamond ring through a private seller and got a super deal on it. I would recommend the same with good research, or ask around.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Post by goosecat » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:05 am

Boris wrote: Next thing we did was try to compare an ideal cut to a good/very good cut... interestingly enough, after I asked my girlfriend which one looks/sparkles better, she picked the one with the inferior cut (HA!). Thus, I'm really curious if there are any jewelers here that can help; at what point do you notice a difference in all of this stuff (without magnification)? I mean, why spend the money for a D-color when you can get a G? Why get an IF when you can get VS or even SI1, etc. I mean NOBODY is ever going to look at this diamond with a loupe... why blow all the money? I'm not saying I want a "cheap" stone, but at what point do you just say it's a great value and it's "eye perfect?" I don't care that a laser can pick up something that I can never see or somebody sees something at 10x, 30x or 100x magnification.
This concern for what a "jeweler" thinks is exactly the brainwashing that the diamond industry has pounded into our heads. You do realize that diamonds have minimal intrinsic value right? You realize that you are not buying it as an investment or even as a depreciating asset? That diamond regardless of what the jeweler says has very little monetary value as soon as you walk out the store. The diamond marketers have done a phenomenal job creating value out of thin air with stuff like the 4 C's and product placement in movies.

The ONLY thing that should matter is if you/she likes the way it looks or not. The LAST thing you want is the opinion of a jeweler.

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Post by Opponent Process » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:42 am

do people really care about this stuff past the first marriage anyway?

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Post by Opponent Process » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:54 am

goosecat wrote:The ONLY thing that should matter is if you/she likes the way it looks or not.
I'm not sure that's correct. For one, her girlfriends' views need to be considered, since they'll be evaluating his fitness for her based on their interpretation of the purchase.

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From someone who just went thru it

Post by diasurfer » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:58 am

there are a few women out there like roymeo's but they are pretty rare. Your lady has already indicated that a diamond is in your future. Ignore at your own peril.

everyone knows how the diamond industry sucks. not news here. doesn't matter. again, ignore diamond requirement at your own peril.

if you can afford it now, buy the diamond that she will cherish forever. if you do that, it's the last you'll ever buy and all talk of appreciation and investment value can be ignored as the hogwash it is. totally irrelevant. this diamond is going to last her way longer than any Honda you could buy her.

so try to get it right the first time. Cut is the most important thing. do not go cheap on cut. It will double the bling factor if not more. I'm not talking about the type of cut like round brilliant, princess, marquise, etc. Only consider round brilliant for maximum sparkle, unless she has expressed an interest in the other shapes. In that case, get her what she wants.

By cut I mean the quality of cut - how will the facets are aligned. The engineering of diamond cutting is actually quite fascinating to tech nerds such as myself.

Forget how they look in jewelry store lights. Those lights are designed to make everything sparkle. A well cut diamond will light up the room even in candle light. On cloudy days. All conditions. A good cut will also allow you to go lower on color and the diamond will still look white. G is more that adequate. Last summer I bought an I color and it looks fabulous because it is a super ideal cut - the best of the best.

Clarity better than VS2 is overkill. IF stones and D color are just for the Donald Trumps of the world who have money to burn and a need to brag. An "eye-clean" SI1 stone is adequate unless you think she is going to be viewing it through a loupe. No one does that except the most anal.
That's what I bought. Not all SI1s are the same. Get an eye-clean one, with no inclusion on the table. GIA or AGS certified only.

However, the "eye-clean" definition depends on the viewer so it is important that a reputable jeweler give you their definition of "eye clean". You will buy online won't you? You will if you want to save major bucks. Too many horror stories with E-bay and craig's list to go that route. Not recommended.

My recommendation is whiteflash.com. Their "A Cut Above" line is as good a cut there is. Their "Expert Selection" is also super ideal for a little less cash. Ask/email to work with Lesley Harris (you can tell her diasurfer sent you). If you want, you can speak directly with the master cutter Brian Gavin and have him personally describe any stone you are interested in ... the pros and cons. Impeccable reputation and service.

bluenile.com is also excellent but you'll pay a little more because they are the biggest. For opinions of other good vendors and anything else e-ring related, the biggest diamond discussion forum is pricescope.com. They also have a good education section.

Again, save your money on color (G-I) and clarity (VS2-SI1) and spend it on carats and cut. Cut is king.

Good luck

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Post by Sotol » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:23 am

Boris, some of the most beautiful, interesting, unusual settings that include diamonds and other stones are the older ones that you can get at major antique jewelers. I would certainly not buy anything on Craig's list - it's always best to go to a reputable jeweler. A trip to New York or Boston where there are several well-known shops that carry antique jewelry would be a great engagement present, too. Some have websites where you can check out what they carry beforehand (e.g. Shrubsole). Good luck. Let us know what you finally decide.

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Diamond Specifications

Post by actuaryinvestor » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:56 am

Everything depends on your budget of course, but I think the one area where you shouldn't skimp is the cut. Clarity and Color you could just get what looks good to the naked eye in the store and not worry so much about what the specs the jeweler states they are.

The cut, however, really determines how the diamond will sparkle and shine in everyday life and in my opinion is the most noticeable.

If the jeweler has this information and you want to get scientific.. here are some specific proportions to look for in a round diamond (from the book I recommended in an earlier post).

Table: 53-64%
Total depth: 56-61%
Crown Angle: 32-35 degrees
Crown Height: 11.2-16.2%
Girdle Thickness: thin to thick
Pavilion angle: 40-41.5 degrees
Pavilion Depth: 42.31-43.89%

I'm not saying by any means you have to take these specs into the jewelry store, but that's what I did.

I wish you a long and happy marriage!

--
Brian

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Re: Diamond Specifications

Post by diasurfer » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:38 pm

actuaryinvestor wrote:
Table: 53-64%
Total depth: 56-61%
Crown Angle: 32-35 degrees
Crown Height: 11.2-16.2%
Girdle Thickness: thin to thick
Pavilion angle: 40-41.5 degrees
Pavilion Depth: 42.31-43.89%


--
Brian
pricescope.com has something called the Holloway Cut Advisor where you can enter all of these numbers (which you get from the certification) and it gives you a cut score. It's a handy tool to evaluate cut and it's free. Recommended.

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Post by KJ32 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:32 pm

Why not Warren Buffet jewerly company? He claims that his company offers the best value in the market place. :D

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Borsheims is Berkshire Hathaway's Jeweler...

Post by DH287 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:09 pm

If you own BRK.A or BRK.B (Berkshire Hathaway Class A or B shares), and choose to attend the annual meeting in Omaha, typically, the first night's shareholder welcome reception is held at Borsheims. There are special jewelry discounts offered (inclusive of watch brands that are never discounted, normally).

You could save 15% off of a ring, but, if don't already own the stock, and aren't already planning to attend the annual meeting, it's a rather penny wise and pound foolish approach to saving money :)

My wife purchased a ring there, which they had to custom order. When we received it (a month later), it wasn't at all what was ordered; Borsheim's gladly refunded all of our money, and I later bought her the actual ring she wanted in St. Thomas (for less money).

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Post by a » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:42 am

Gekko wrote:IMO, i'd stick with a diamond. every girl wants a diamond. there is no substitute.

stop looking at it as an investment and start looking at it as a "cost of doing business". get her a diamond, 1 carat minimum. i like the "princess" cut. good luck.

try -

http://www.bluenile.com/
What do women think about this scientific approach to diamond buying? What do they think about the prevailing male consensus that it's stupid and that generally whenever you see a man proposing to his wife and opening up that beautiful sparkling ring, that the only thing REALLY going through is head is "This is stupid and so is she for wanting this, but I have to go through the act.."?

Just seems to me to be contradictory to any other situation in life when a woman is criticizing her partner for not being honest with her.

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Post by diasurfer » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:58 am

Those thoughts might be going through his head when he is reaching deep into his wallet to pay for the ring. But hopefully, when he presents it, the only thing on his mind is on how happy he has made her.

I don't think brutal honesty is always in order. To stereotype, at Christmas men often receive power tools, sporting equipment, and hi-def TVs, while women receive clothes, jewelry and fancy kitchen appliances. What a bummer the whole thing would be if we prefaced every gift exchange with "here's your stupid gift".

Wedding rings are just more magnified because they are so expensive and all the tradition, even if it is based in part of the most successful marketing campaign in history.

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Post by Boris » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:46 am

goosecat wrote:This concern for what a "jeweler" thinks is exactly the brainwashing that the diamond industry has pounded into our heads. You do realize that diamonds have minimal intrinsic value right? You realize that you are not buying it as an investment or even as a depreciating asset? That diamond regardless of what the jeweler says has very little monetary value as soon as you walk out the store. The diamond marketers have done a phenomenal job creating value out of thin air with stuff like the 4 C's and product placement in movies.

The ONLY thing that should matter is if you/she likes the way it looks or not. The LAST thing you want is the opinion of a jeweler.
Yes, I completely agree, but the reason I needed to talk to a jeweler and see the diamonds for myself is because I'm not sure an ideal or even better a H&A cut is worth the money. You know, people (marketing, I should say) says that cut is very important else light leaks out, the stone looks smaller, it looks less sparkly, etc. However looking at the stones I didn't find this. Maybe the saleswoman wasn't very good at showing me why I should pay twice the amount for an ideal cut over their standard cut, but that's the kind of information that I need a jeweler for. I need their experience after handling thousands of these stones.

For example, I read some jewelers bought their wives clarity enhanced diamonds because they're half the price and at the end of the day nobody knows nor cares (although they do mention that they hand-selected the best clarity enhanced, whatever that means).
Opponent Process wrote:do people really care about this stuff past the first marriage anyway?
This will be both of our first.... ;)

-------------------------

I looked through Craigslist and eBay... talk about an easy way to get swindled! I compared the real stuff to Blue Nile and eBay is still more expensive. I found some diamonds just slightly cheaper ($100-200), but eBay doesn't have as much information about the cut, rarely can you make out the full lab report, etc. Plus, with Blue Nile you know everything 100% ahead of time and have a great return policy with no problems... eBay is more like shopper beware.

Anyway, after a weekend of headaches I settled on a setting, so now I just have to find a stone that I like to put in it. Anything between 5/8-1ct. will be good, however I'm still unsure about cut and whether I care about "enhancements."

Any women on the forum? I'm curious how they'd feel about receiving an ideal H&A diamond for $10k vs a standard "very good" diamond for $5-7k or a clarity enhanced diamond for $2-3k? How about a CZ for $20? Do women actually go to jewelers to figure out what the thing is worth, or how well it's cut, or anything else? Or do they just care that they have something sparkly and cute on their finger that they can show off to their friends?

Boris

P.S. diasurfer, I went to whiteflash.com and I didn't like the setting selection (plus I can't look at side-views) and comparing their diamonds to Blue Nile, I didn't see any diamonds that were cheaper (at least the ones I was looking at).
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Post by diasurfer » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:49 am

Boris wrote:
P.S. diasurfer, I went to whiteflash.com and I didn't like the setting selection (plus I can't look at side-views) and comparing their diamonds to Blue Nile, I didn't see any diamonds that were cheaper (at least the ones I was looking at).
Just a couple of things ... You don't have to buy a whiteflash setting. I didn't particularly like theirs either. I ordered the Vatche setting she wanted through them. You can also just buy the loose stone from any online vendor and have it set locally, which is good as it allows you to develop a relationship with a jeweler locally. To see the difference in price with Blue Nile, you have to compare to BN's premium cut line or whatever they call it.

Again, almost any diamond will look sparkly in jewelry store lights. That is what they design them for. Ask them to take it outside, in shadow. You will notice a difference.

I urge you to go to www.pricescope.com and ask them if cut is important. Asking here is like asking for financial advice on a diamond forum.

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Post by diasurfer » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:54 am

All the online vendors have a full return policy. You can buy a loose super ideal stone online and take it in to your jewelers for a side by side comparison. (I did this). It will most likely blow anything you've been looking at away.

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Post by Splash » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:08 pm

The picking out the ring is very much a ritual to some women. I wouldn't want her to be denied that thrill.

Personally, I think it's a mistake to assume she will be happy with an obscure gem like Alexandrite, unless she has expressed this before, without prompting. Unless she has made it clear she wants an emerald, or ruby, or saphire, or something else, a diamond is the ritual for engagements.

If you want to start a marriage under a black cloud, spring something odd on her like an Alexandrite. Her first thought will be it's a cubic zirconium and you are a massive cheapskate.

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Post by Splash » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:09 pm

Oh, after having google for Alexandrite, I think it looks horribly fake and like a cheap colored stone. Bad choice.

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Re: Any jewelers on the forum? (Engagement ring help!)

Post by tdhg566 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:22 pm

Boris wrote:What I'm looking for (I'm not 100% sure yet, but I'd love ideas) is to create a custom engagement ring using an Natural Certified Alexandrite. ... Thoughts? Please!
You're probably heard this before but since (1) you asked the question in public, I'll say it again (2) I've been married 34 years to the same woman so maybe my comment counts for something and (3) my wife LOVES jewelry of any kind, ESPECIALLY DIAMONDS

YOU need to get the YOU out of this and make SURE you get what SHE wants. This isn't YOUR ring. It's HER ring and you're just paying for it. If you don't understand this simple concept now, you have some hard days ahead of you (end of marriage counseling session) :lol:

I'll tell you a short story. Some years ago we visited Amsterdam. Signed up for a tour of a diamond "factory". We hated the idea of the inevitable sales meeting in the private room at the end of the tour, but actually found it had a useful purpose. They were able to lay out in front of us almost identical diamonds that differed only in color (not clarity or size or cut). That would be impossible almost anywhere else. My wife quickly drew HER line between color grades. Didn't matter whether I could see the yellow in the stones or not. SHE could. Now we don't buy any diamond unless the color is within the range she defined. And I'm guaranteed that all my purchases will be OK. No re-dos.

So, personally, I only buy my diamonds from Blue Nile. Recently I had occasion to buy a necklace that HAD to match some earrings. I put the question to the BN people, who assured me my choice was an exact match. The proof came when the necklace arrived and my wife, true to form, lined the necklace and earrings up in a line and spent a hour studying them carefully in all types of light. Only when she satisfied herself that ALL the stones looked identical was the purchase truly complete.

Do yourself a favor. Forget investing philosophy. Forget discriminating purchase strategies. Forget all the techniques that help you be a better investor and just GET YOUR GF WHAT SHE WANTS. You won't regret the decision.
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Post by Splash » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:08 pm

tdhg566 really laid it out.

It's HER ring you are buying. If you want to invest in Alexandrite, do it within your investment portfolio.

All in all, I think it looks fairly tacky, and like all the poor-quality, artificially colored "gems" sold on QVC and those other dreadful TV shopping shows.

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Post by gunn_show » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:30 pm

I posted my reply before, but "tdhg566" put it into even better words, bravo

The OP is putting too much "me" into this and not enough "her"

Go with blue nile, everyone I know that has gone with them has been satisfied.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Post by Opponent Process » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:45 pm

right...the "me" part has more to do with "Do I want to marry the type of girl that wears/collects diamonds?"

that's a big question all it's own.

but if/when you've decided that you're OK with that kind of person in general, I'd agree that you should turn the entire decision over to her. at least it would make it less stressful for you.

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Post by khalf » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:17 pm

If interested, I have a beautiful 2.03 ct emerald cut diamond ring I'm selling - certified properly and all. Good luck with your purchase!

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Post by serbeer » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:46 pm

I used www.adiamor.com to custom-build the diamond wedding ring a couple of years ago. Saved me a bundle vs. retail for the perfect-cut diamond I picked and they had better prices than bluenile at the time too. Their lose diamonds are certified.

My (now) wife loved the diamond, but asked to switch the setting to the thinner one to emphasize the diamond when she learned that I have to ship it back for resizing anyway (which I had to do since I could not take her to jewelry store to measure since I did not want to spoil the surprise, so I used one of her old rings which turned out to be too big. Hey, better big than small when you present the ring :) They did it for free -- I only paid the insured shipping back, which was actually covered by difference in price for thinner and consequently cheaper platinum setting. The moral is, don't surround a diamond by too much metal, even if expensive one, let the diamond shine!

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Post by Boris » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:53 pm

Thanks everyone for your input. After discussing this with her I've placed an order :shock: ... hope it gets here soon.

Thanks again,

Boris
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Post by tdhg566 » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:04 am

Boris wrote:Thanks everyone for your input. After discussing this with her I've placed an order
Excellent move. I'm not suggesting you make a habit of buying expensive jewelry, but in this case it was a good move if she's happy. Once you're past this event you can do the Vulcan mind-meld trick to decide just how much you'll spend on this type of stuff in the future. Can't buy what you can't afford, but you also don't dare buy cheap if she prefers fewer items of better quality. Took me years to learn that hard lesson. I was fortunate that at our wedding my wife was happy with a small hand-me-down stone of average quality. I think she would have preferred better, but it was all we could do to pay for the settings. Now 34 years later she wouldn't trade that ring for the world. It's her ring, and symbolizes all these years. She would not be happy with that same quality stone purchased today in another setting, e.g. an anniversary ring. But the original ring won't ever change.

We all wish you many years of happiness.
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Post by Boris » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:38 pm

So I was talking to a friend about engagement rings and it reminded me of this thread....

It's been almost 3-years since my initial question, so I figured I'd write a follow-up in case anyone ever reads the archives for opinions. My gf and I got engaged a month after my final post and we were married a year later.

So, what did I end up buying? I bought this Cubic Zirconium. It was really important to her that the rock, no matter what it was, looked like a diamond - due to 'peer pressure.' She didn't care what it was though. Most people reading this probably care more about how the rock was received and is perceived by others, so here's our experience...

When she gives her ring for cleaning at the jewelers' she always receives compliments. One time I was with her and the jeweler looked at the ring and basically high-fived me for getting such a great piece of jewelry. Had he done any testing on it, he'd figure out it's not a diamond, but that's not the point. It's perceived to be a $10-20k Tiffany's ring and that's really all people see. My wife has gotten tons of compliments on it and not once has anyone asked "is it real?" or anything along those lines. So if that's a concern, don't worry about it.

Now, how did I convince my gf at the time that she wants a CZ? Well, it wasn't hard; she picked it herself. After going to many jewelers and talking to other people, we realized many people actually have the real rock (if it's valuable/heirloom) stashed away in a safety deposit box while they wear CZ's. Others have lost their rings. My mom actually has an insurance policy on her ring. Etc etc. All this added up to a lot more pain-in-the-ass than we really needed. So that planted the seed that a diamond has no intrinsic value, just perceived value, which can be obtained with a much cheaper CZ, which ironically enough many people already wear without any suspicion. So at one point, I asked her the question: "If you have a choice of spending $10,000 on a ring or $10,000 on a car... which would you choose?" She chose the car. Well, she got a new car and a CZ :).

To those worried about buying CZ, don't worry about it... just get something quality made so it looks and feels like a great piece of jewelery. Obviously with some girls it's just the 'cost of doing business,' but I would think most are pragmatic.

I used to think that it would feel 'cheap' to have a CZ, but it does not at all. The ring is a quality piece, made out of platinum (Tiffany reproduction) and the rock... well, it's a rock. Whenever she gets compliments on the ring we actually talk about it after the fact and high-five each other. It's an inside joke at this point. It's just fun. I've mentioned this story to a lot of the guys that I know that have been getting married over the past few years and the 'advice' doesn't stick with most of them. Oh well, they must have more money than I do or they must love their brides-to-be more. Nope, that's not it... the girl demanded it. (HA! Suckers! :wink:)

I really hope this helps someone in the future. The diamond itself really has no meaning and little value. If a girl truly loves you, then she'll get married to you without any rocks. Just a plain band. If you live a bit higher in the socioeconomic scale then there's a lot of peer pressure and girls seem to care about the rock. So get her a rock she can be proud of... and I guarantee when her girlfriends compare sparklies none will be the wiser. I know her stone is a CZ and I've compared it to many diamonds and I can not tell the difference!. Neither can she.

Sorry for the diatribe, but it's hard to fight all the marketing that's already ingrained in our heads. It was really hard for me, but with retrospect it was the easiest decision ever and easily saved us $5k or more.

P.S. If guys/girls are interested in pics of ring, let me know and I'll provide you with them or more information.
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Post by Opponent Process » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:03 pm

you'd be surprised at the level of trickery that goes on in the animal kingdom in regards to mating strategies. what you did is perfectly natural and rational. tricking a cuckold into unknowingly raising your offspring is probably even more efficient, and occurs in humans more often than thought (never get a paternity test unless you're willing to deal with the possible results).

in this case you and your mate are both in on it, and she can reap the social benefits of the charade by quickly rising in the rank order of her girlfriends. it's a little cruel to her girlfriends' boyfriends, but that's to your advantage. she's probably subconsciously registering your intelligence and actual fiscal discipline in making this move.
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Post by amh » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:12 pm

I'm curious how many people who buy diamonds are aware of their terrible resale value. Is there any other commodity or investment someone would willingly pay so much money for, which instantly becomes worth a fraction of the original price if you can even find a buyer outside a pawn shop? Heck, even new cars don't depreciate nearly as bad. I understand that there's an emotional component, but even something from the dollar store can have sentimental value in the right context. There are plenty of wedding ring options that would be far more unique and individualized, and much less expensive.

It's a testament to the power of DeBeers marketing, I guess. Count yourself very lucky if you married someone who can see past that nonsense.

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Post by pteam » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:17 pm

As previous posters said, get her a diamond. Every girl wants a diamond. She'll feel shafted if she doesnt get one. And everybody will ask her when your not around why she didnt get a diamond, and it'll make you look cheap. Sorry thats just the way it is.

It is not an investment. Its a gift. Do you evaluate all your christmas gifts and birthday gifts you give to family as investments? Or do you buy them what they want...

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Post by Boris » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:55 pm

pteam wrote:As previous posters said, get her a diamond. Every girl wants a diamond. She'll feel shafted if she doesnt get one. And everybody will ask her when your not around why she didnt get a diamond, and it'll make you look cheap. Sorry thats just the way it is.

It is not an investment. Its a gift. Do you evaluate all your christmas gifts and birthday gifts you give to family as investments? Or do you buy them what they want...
Obviously you didn't read the final post. None of the things you said are true. I ended up buying a CZ and she didn't feel shafted. It was quite the opposite; we did the shafting. Nobody has asked whether it's real, by the way, and I have no idea what she'd say if they asked. It's not really a big secret or anything, but nobody's asking. Everyone's just complimenting. Last time you saw someone's ring, did you ask the girl if it's real? Even if you thought it? I highly doubt it. It's just as much of a taboo to ask someone as it is to have one, it seems. In fact, even jewelers can't tell. To the naked eye they look identical!

It's funny you mention gifts. Yes, I do evaluate them as far as value, that's why I gift people cash for their birthdays. Flowers and card are more than enough for sentimental value.

P.S. Opponent Process, interesting thoughts. I'm sure you're right.
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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