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Tolkowsky Rings


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#1 harper306

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 05:56 AM

Does anyone have any opinions on the Tolkowsky engagement rings? I am currently looking at the solitaires for my girlfriend, but was wondering what type of quality these rings have or if other brands are better than Tolkowsky. I have also looked at the Helzberg masterpiece, and the leo diamond. Any comments?

#2 denverappraiser

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 06:37 AM

Gabi Tolkowski is a diamond cutter currently living in New Zealand who decended from a rather famous diamond cutting family in Belgium and who makes a branded diamond line called Gabrielle. In addition to his and his relatives work, the name gets widely, and often incorrectly, used to describe a particular set of proportions in a round diamond. Tolkowski's work is available from select dealers worldwide and knockoffs both good and bad are just about everywhere but I don't recall ever hearing it used to describe a ring. Where are you seeing this?

The Helzeburg Masterpiece, as far as I can tell, is a branded 57 facet round brilliant cut using the GIA grading scale for cutting. That is to say, it's a GIA 'excellent' and nothing more, not that there's anything wrong with that. The Leo is a different facet pattern being sold by Jared and their related stores that grades using their own proprietary system and the Brilliancescope approach, which I consider to be nearly useless. That doesn't make Leo's either better or worse, just different, and it DOES make them difficult to shop and compare against one another. There are LOTS of other branded dealers out there and all the same questions apply. What's the grading? What's the cutting? What sort of documentation do you have to back up the previous two claims? What's the cost? How does it compare to other similar choices? What other things is the dealer tossing in to make it more valuable to buy from them than from their numerous competitors?

Edited by denverappraiser, 22 November 2010 - 09:51 AM.

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#3 davidelevi

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:16 AM

Are you asking about Tolkowsky custom cut (like the Leo diamond, which is not by Tolkowsky) or about the metalwork (i.e. the rings themselves)? Helzberg as far as I know does not cut or retail custom cut diamonds, but has a collection of designs that is called "Masterpiece".

Anyway, for what it is worth, some thoughts about custom cuts:

  • They look different. "Better" is a matter of personal taste; for example I don't like most of them more than traditional cut styles.
  • They come in a range of qualities, just like traditional cuts. There are good and bad Leo (or Gabrielle, Ashoka, 88, ...) - with the added disadvantage that telling a good from a bad one is more difficult, since...
  • There are far fewer of them around, reducing your choice of size, colour, clarity and the availability of expertise to tell good from mediocre.
  • They tend to be retailed by full-service stores only - which is neither good nor bad per se, but it increases the ability of the distributor to charge high prices for service that you may or may not value.
  • They are more difficult to trade-in, value or sell.
All in all: unless you are really in love with one of them, I'd choose a traditional cut and put the creativity and uniqueness in the design of the ring.

As to quality of metalwork. There is good, bad and indifferent around. I haven't seen - and thus cannot comment on - rings made by the Tolkowsky or Helzberg suppliers/factories, but in general one does get what one pays for. There's a little bit of brand value in metalwork, but don't assume that what someone is charging $5000 for can be had in equal quality at half that price.
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#4 harper306

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:31 AM

This is basically what I am looking at:
http://www.kay.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product1|10101|10001|-1|150900405|15051|15051.21960.22130



except the in store price is 4399.99 with 20% off then I would receive a credit of $1500 towards the purchase of a wedding band or a wedding ring for myself.

The Leo solitaire is right around the same.

The Helzberg Masterpiece is 4499.99 with no discounts or credits. It also has a smaller carat weight of .56 where as the leo and the tolkowsky are .75, otherwise all three stones have similar characteristics.

#5 davidelevi

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:48 AM

Sorry for being thick, but I don't understand your question. Have you seen all three of these? Do you like them? They are NOT the same, not even at the level of "primary characteristics" like size, clarity, colour and cut.
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#6 harper306

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 01:10 PM

I have seen all three and I like all three. I guess I am asking which of the three is a better ring. They are all around the same price.

Can you explain the differences to me? this is all new to me.

#7 davidelevi

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 12:52 AM

Easy shortcut: which one do you like best?

Difficult long path: you are comparing apples to pears to sausages. The link you gave us is a link to a type of ring; that says nothing about what stone was in the ring you saw. Same for "Helzberg masterpiece", with the added confusion that it's not even a single model but a whole collection. Leo diamonds can be set in any setting you like.

I have no idea what specifically you have seen, and personally think you can do better (certainly in terms of value for money) that either of the three, but that means deciding what you want in the first place. There is a lot of difference between a 0.75 GIA G/VVS1 EX/EX/EX, a 0.60 H/VS1 Leo with an IGI report, and a 0.50 H/SI1-SI2 graded by the vendor. Some of it may be irrelevant (cannot see it - not just you, anybody), but it does make a difference in terms of price/fair value.

What is it that you like about the three rings you saw? What did you see? Don't give us links or names unless they point to ONE specific stone - give us specifications and ideally photographs, ASET images, scans of lab reports.
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#8 jan

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:28 AM

If you really want to do a comparison, tell us what you are looking at, color, clarity, cut grade, weight and what lab report?

I personally think it is better to stay away from branded diamonds and just buy the best color, clarity, cut grade and size you can get with your dollars with a legitimate lab report from GIA or AGS.
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#9 denverappraiser

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:54 AM

This is basically what I am looking at:
http://www.kay.com/w...051.21960.22130


That's pretty interesting. Thanks for the link. It looks like they (or their supplier) has licensed the Tolkowski name and are attaching it to a ring, or at least a diamond. The ring claims to have platinum prongs and a 14k shank but the picture sure looks like it's all one piece. You might want to ask about that. It's still not clear to me if that's a Tolkowski branded ring, a Tolkowski branded diamond, or a diamond that IGI is claiming to be cut to Tolkowski proportions. It may not matter to you at all but for some it's an important topic. I've never seen that 'T' logo before and it's NOT the logo of the makers of the Gabrielle.
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#10 jan

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:16 AM

The problem is that the stones have a split grade SI1-SI2 H-I color. That means, no lab report or like a IGI with split grades. Not worth it in my opinion. You could actually get a ring like this one from ArtCarved in 14kt white gold for $579 leaving you $4420 for a gorgeous 3/4 ct. ideal cut hearts and arrows.
31-V221DRW-E.JPG


For example in that price range you can get an AGS ideal hearts and arrows diamond .76 VS1 F for $4150 and have money left over.

76VS1F AGS report 001.jpg
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#11 denverappraiser

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:45 AM

Assuming that the grader is competent, and IGI is competent, a split grade of SI1/SI2 means AT BEST SI2 on the GIA scale. The same holds for split grades on color. The reason you're getting a split grade is because it was examined in the setting and therefore couldn't see what was under the prongs. That's further complicated because they aren't all using the same grading scales and they don't all apply those scales equally. It's entirely possible, in fact probable, that you're looking at an I1 and/or a J if it were to be graded unmounted and by GIA. Play a bit with the database here and you'll see how much difference this makes on the prices. It's not a tiny detail.
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#12 harper306

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:10 PM

Thanks for the help everyone! Like I said this a whole new ball game for me. I am just trying to find a good ring for my soon to be fiance without getting ripped off.

It looks as if a lot of people are buying stones online along with a setting, is this a better way to go? If so what are some good trustworthy websites?

Thanks again.







#13 davidelevi

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:56 AM

Buying a diamond and the setting "separately" (i.e. choosing them independently) gives you maximum flexibility and breadth of choice; it's still a good idea to source them from the same place, so you avoid being caught in the middle of any disputes about quality or (let's hope not) damage. I'd say that for what I have seen in terms of ready-to-wear jewellery, separate stone and setting are also better value for money, although clearly they require more work and some imagination on your side to make it work.

Trustworthy websites: two of the three people that have posted on your thread are diamond and jewellery sellers; anything we may say or recommend may not be perceived as objective... however, I think both DBOF and ourselves are trustworthy. Other participants to this site - both in the forum or in the Diamond Finder database - are also good firms.

What would a good dealer look like for you? Apart from trustworthiness and honesty, would you like someone that is known for the quality of their stones, no compromises at any cost, or someone that is known for service and generous policies on trade-up and cash-in, or someone that provides the bare minimum but is the lowest cost?
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#14 denverappraiser

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the help everyone! Like I said this a whole new ball game for me. I am just trying to find a good ring for my soon to be fiance without getting ripped off.

It looks as if a lot of people are buying stones online along with a setting, is this a better way to go? If so what are some good trustworthy websites?

Thanks again.

A lot of jewelers are marketing themselves online and seem to be fairly effective at it. Deciding who is the 'best' dealer for you is a matter of deciding the merits of the jeweler every bit as much as deciding on the merits of the stone and/or ring. Most of the online folks are pretty aggressive in terms of pricing and it's a matter of deciding if they 'click' with you in terms of communication style. They are not all the same. Some tend to specialize in their online operations, some will have a showroom somewhere with the website as an afterthought and some will have a combination of the two. Look them up on their local BBB site (www.bbb.org), check them out on places like ivouch.com or ripoffreport.com to see what others have had to say and feel free to post a question here with their name in the title to see if others have done business with them. Choosing a good jeweler in the first place goes a LONG way towards making this a painless shopping experience. Remember that it's not the stye of advertising that makes the big difference. It's the character of the people behind the keyboard/counter that you're looking for.
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#15 theheartbandits

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 03:43 PM

Harper,

Where are you proposing? Do you need help with ideas?
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#16 enyouartist

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 12:41 PM

You can do better than an H/I color and Si1 clarity for that kind of money. MUCH better.



#17 LaurieH

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 09:46 AM

Harper--

Any updates?
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