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Everything posted by jginnane

  1. Quote: I wanted the halo setting because the emerald isn't as sparkly as the popular cuts and i found the contrast halo is so beautiful. It doesn't seem to distract the main stone (...) [End quote] A very good theory, because the scintillating flashes from the emerald cut tend to be larger, fewer, and "different". This is why a lot of settings that complement a round center stone have emerald cuts themselves -- to flip your idea around. Personally, I will always go for simplicity. We have an inherited ring with three Old Euro diamond stones, and it has an elaborate framework of emerald-cut emeralds around the three. Over the decades, some of the melee has fallen out, and the frame is soft to the point that the ring is not worn frequently. But we are constantly advised not to disturb the old damaged setting, because "you can't find this anywhere any more". So, it will sit in the safe deposit for future generations to make the same choice, I guess. :-\ For your ring to work for you, you will develop a simple mental narrative, a mantra that encapsulates your worldview and how the ring represents it. "This is my center, these are my family." Or, "this is the accumulation of our hopes." It doesn't have to be complicated, and doesn't have to be schmaltzy like these examples, but it seems to occur on a conscious level with every piece of jewelry my wife or I have owned. Scintillation and technical specs fall away in the memory over the years, yet you will always continue your core narrative. And that is how you know when a ring is right for you.
  2. I realize a lot of people are loading up the Wurlitzer gun to fire back on my dissing pave. My bad. Think: clickbait. It is beautiful, and it enhances a stone. As your photo aptly demonstrates. However, do not confuse the increased cost of an elaborate setting with an increase in value. The small stones do not retain any value except as part of a constructed piece. If you should ever want to sell the ring, you will get a loose stone price (for the center only less a remarketing "haircut") and a metal cost weighed in troy ounces, if your hallmark is legible. In other words, the breakup value is your stone plus maybe $30-80. You have paid for craftsmanship, and it is important to do this, but think of it as a sunk cost -- unlikely to ever be retrieved.
  3. Since a carat is 200 milligrams, you are talking about a weight difference of 12 milligrams. Dimensions, on the other hand, could make a visual difference. It's also worth thinking about what you might do in the future. My wife likes to get things reset in earrings, brooches, etc, so if you are that sort of person -- or think you might become one -- then you should imagine your stone in a different setting. I realize that's a tall order. Personally, we don't care for the "halo" approach because that detracts from the center stone, and somewhat increases the future likelihood of a repair needed if you lose a one-point stone. If you use a halo, it is in order to distract, in other words. Your center stone is essentially too good to be surrounded by lesser quality pave'. Furthermore, anyone who tells you "total carat weight" by including the number of small stones in the setting is misleading you. There is only one stone with carat weight, and the rest is high-cost sandpaper grit. (Small exaggeration there! )
  4. Been a while since I've posted here, but here's a couple perspectives: 1. Get the cheaper stone. At under 2/3rds of a carat, these are just big enough to identify as diamonds. 2. You didn't specify investment, or mounting in jewelry. Neither is suitable for the first. For jewelry, it matters where the stone is worn -- ring, pendant, or earring? -- and what it is mounted on. As a stud earring, it will be viewed "from the top". As a ring, viewed from 360 degrees, so you want the video to demonstrate a pleasing sparkle as it is rotated. In either case the metal and how it secures the stone could play as big a difference in how you like it as the quality of the stone itself. 3. Neither stone will make you unhappy. If you can live with color and clarity downgrades, a larger stone for the same money might make you more happy. Try G/H color and even SI1 clarity before you commit to a purchase -- a .9 carat stone is noticeably larger.
  5. Neil >> http://www.manhattanvirtualoffice.com/virtualoffice.html Sure! So why does someone want to pretend they're "in the heart of", when they're a good quarter mile away? They probably even work Fridays and Saturdays. ;p I don't consider any of the shops on 5th below about 46th Street to have anything to do with the Diamond district. There's a certain work ethos, a tradition; it helps if you can fake a few words of Yiddish. We've looked at the Chinatown shops for chook gum (24K gold), but they're not competitive with 47th Street on diamonds. If you Google this International Diamond Laboratory, it seems they're big stuff in Dubai. However, the operations overseas have nothing to do with this New York outfit. And nobody in any of the forums is talking about them (except us).
  6. David >> "In the heart of the diamond district" (their expression) is very different from "not anywhere near it" (your expression). ... Their expression may or may not be totally correct - Actually, it (their statement) is completely wrong. Quoting the wiki entry, "The Diamond District is an area of New York City located on West 47th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) in midtown Manhattan (...)" David >> at the end of the day, GIA was at 580 5th until a couple of months ago, which is still "to one side of the district", and about as distant from their present location (50 W 47th) as 521 5th Ave is from 580 5th Ave. Yours is definitely wrong. Huh? 580 Fifth is the corner building of 5th and 47th. Doesn't get any closer than that (except their new, better location). In contrast, 521 Fifth is at 43rd Street. There is no entrance from Fifth Avenue -- you have to go over 200 feet down 43rd to the entrance, since Fifth is now all retail presences. But the usual traffic pattern is the most significant difference. 521 Fifth gets foot traffic from Grand Central, the 42nd St subway(s), Port Authority bus terminal (42nd and 8th), and even Penn Station (33rd and 7th). 47th up to 50th gets people through the Rockefeller Center complex or the 6th Ave subway. Actually very little foot traffic in the morning up from 42nd, until the tourists arrive later in the day. David >> Yours is definitely wrong. I will certainly concede the point if and when you give me a list of diamond retailers who are claimed to be "part" of the Diamond district, yet further away from the DD than these people on the 17th floor of a general office building on 43rd. Geography can be difficult. Look at all the poor Russian soldiers accidentally wandering in to the sovereign Ukraine state's territory. David >> Secondly - but not secondarily - location has nothing to do with reliability or reputation. AGSL is in Las Vegas, Gübelin is in Luzern (Switzerland, not PA). While this is true, it is not pertinent to the previous discussion. The sole reason International Diamond Laboratory has a "prominent" New York address (about which we know better) is to impress rubes from Iowa. However, you would think that Las Vegas should have the makings of a good retail district by themselves, instead of just the huge seasonal trade shows from JCK and others. Of the in-casino shops we've visited, the best are Venetian (Sands Corp.) and the Wynn (Steve Wynn); the few "good" jewelry shops in City Center are in a separate complex from Aria and the Cosmo. (And if you're bottom fishing to check out the local pawnshop action, be advised that most, at least 95%, are payday loan operators dealing in retail consumables like used lawn hedgers and portable radios. Better luck shopping for jewelry on Craigs List.)
  7. 521 5th is about 4 blocks / 1/4 mile away from the heart of the district; I wouldn't say it's "nowhere near it". AGS's main lab is in Nevada, which IS nowhere near the NY diamond district, but it doesn't impact their credibility in my eyes. You've been away too long, David! Distances in the beehive are measured in minutes-to-get-there -- by foot, taxi or subway. Five blocks is to Broadway; even less distance to Fox News headquarters. Schlepping diamonds up and down Fifth amidst the tourist throngs? No way! In the Diamond district, it's a matter of storefronts and floors traversed. So, for a no-name to claim it's in the "heart of the diamond district", as this outfit does on their website, is too far a stretch. Particularly if no one in this forum immediately jumps to enlighten us on who they are. "Everything-is-connected." All I do know is, as functioning website designs go, my granddaughter age 7 does better. What a flimsy pretext for a business!
  8. FWiW, their address listed at 521 Fifth Avenue is not anywhere near the Diamond District. I ought to know ... I worked for someone in that building 17 years ago. If you're lucky it's just a boiler room operation. If you're not lucky, it's not only a boiler room, but they're a short-term sublet of a vacated tenant. On the bright side? At least it's not an address in the Hudson or East River.
  9. I've completed a number of Ebay transactions of various types in face-to-face meetings. Usually this is in a parking lot at an easily-identified commercial place (restaurant, mall, etc.) A couple times, it was outside the seller's workplace during lunch break. This would be (1) where I'd like to examine the merchandise with the seller present; (2) a cash transaction might enable the seller to skip some Ebay fees; (3) I have no interest in having this person come to my home, nor see where he lives; (4) shipping is not necessary because it has already been identified that we are within a decent driving range for both. However, I would rely instead on Ebay guarantees with shipping/transaction data recorded for certain other sellers -- like those with zero recorded history of sales. In the case of jewelry, I was ready to send my wife to Hong Kong a few years ago to collect an Audemars Piguet Star Wheel, since the cost of the transaction was high enough. However, the seller was able to provide complete authentication and we completed the sale in a normal (mail) manner. If I was dealing specifically with diamonds from a private seller, I might use escrow.com. That's a secured process where they (1) receive the money for the purchase, (2) instruct the seller to send the item to the buyer, (3) allow the buyer several days after receipt to examine the product, and (4) release the funds to the seller. I used them only once -- when I had reason to believe the brand new laptop I was purchasing might have "fallen off a truck" owing to the seller's non-history and apparent infamiliarity with Ebay procedures. (I likely wouldn't bother using them again, but they do have certain uses.) The smartest way relative to this forum is to do what Neil proposed: use the offices of the independent appraiser you will employ, if possible. Hallmarks on metal can easily be faked; jewelry can be precious or worthless. Look at the huge Ebay selling inventory of "near-gem-quality" stones, which are often just polished pieces of rubble. (A ruby is a sapphire is a piece of corundum, more commonly known as aluminum oxide. The difference is in the details. )
  10. It's not a "comparable" unless you accept it as one. First, who provides the grading report -- GIA or someone else? Second, how much is this ring costing you? You can find what each of the main stones should cost (within a range) using the diamond finder here. Third, for them to replace the entire ring because one pave/melee stone fell out is very suspicious. Doesn't seem like they value you as a customer, honestly, because replacing a 1-5 point diamond chip should cost at most $15-75. For them to pull something else out of stock means they don't have any metal workers, or they're downgrading you. Fourth -- if a stone falls out so easily, I'd be very suspicious about the rest of the workmanship. This isn't like the crap you buy at Toys'R'Us for a Christmas morning, where you're lucky if half the toys are still operational by evening.
  11. There are two different approaches you can take. The first that you have chosen is to rely on brand names to make many of the decisions for you. The latter path involves selecting the diamond first and building the ring around it later. For example, at the top end of your budget you're looking at (for example) an E-color VS1 2.5 carat stone with top-grade cut from one of the three premium online vendors, which you can see from the Diamond Finder. There is plenty of help on this board in making your best selection. Although the Cartier or Tiffany names on your ring will be impressive, it comes down largely to how you value your money and your time. Do you like to tinker? Are you interested in what's inside? Then don't let the brand make most of the choices for you. With a budget of $20K to 60K, what might you do with the "saved" 40K that wouldn't be realistically obtainable if you instead went heavy on the engagement ring? Would your intended future spouse be more satisfied with the bling, or your sense of prudence? Finally, perhaps the very first question you should ask yourself is -- do you want to do this (make this decision) alone, or with her? Seems like about half the guys like the "pop the question" surprise approach, and half like to shop together with their future spouse on a decision like this. I don't know which is better. Both times I've gone through this, I've adopted the "shared" approach, and so far, I've been right 50% of the time.
  12. Not much of value to contribute. I'd go with the VS1 (larger one) because you don't need the higher clarity grading of the smaller stone. All things equal, women usually prefer larger stones. However, if I was shopping, I'd put these next to an F/G color and see how much the colors differ. Once again you should be able to buy a slightly bigger stone for the same money.
  13. Comparing to your original Leo ... Top down dimension: 5.03 x 5.02 versus 5.41 x 5.26 mm. On this angle, you are selecting a stone appearing about 4.5% smaller than the original. However, the shape is much more square, which tends to be preferred on princess cut stones. The stone is likely to be MUCH whiter, and much cleaner from a clarity standpoint. It's difficult to tell because of the first stone's grading. E color in AGS and GIA is a little overkill, but if it's affordable, why not? VS1 from a reputable grading entity is far better than what GSI purports as VS2 ... which could actually be SI under GIA or AGS grading. In short, if you were to put both stones together, you would certainly see a big difference in these attributes. I'll leave it to the experts here to discuss the ASET and Ideal-scope images, but even without discussing the technical particulars, the category Whiteflash uses called "A Cut Above" puts it in their very top tier of diamonds. BTW, I hope you're saving these threads, because your intended is likely to ask "How did you choose this stone?" There's a mythology that often develops around fine purchases -- that is, a memorable story to be told. You can make the story long or short, but she would be interested to know the decisions you made in arriving at your final choice. (If you wind up being able to demonstrate to her how you used the ASET images, all the better.
  14. Not necessarily, not at all! Take your original dollar figure and feed it into the diamond finder on this website, and the one on Pricescope. Play around with all the parameters, including even changing the cut. Look at the 3D animations on the James Allen website. Find out what your original budget, the money you spent on the Leo, is worth in terms of alternatives. (I recommend making sure you select at least GIA grading, and include AGS where you can to get a sense of the premium charged for stones with their grading.) If you're still thinking of a princess cut -- which is beautiful -- you will get an absolute sense of what you can buy for the money with specific size, color, clarity, cut-quality settings. Only after you understand how these things work together (a little like multi-dimension chess) can you intelligently, and confidently, decide whether you want to spend more for a stone with certain specific improvements. I've advised some people starting out that a good first point is G color, SI1 quality, and a size just below the nearest price bump, whether 1 ct., 1.5, and so on. Personally I have often chosen to go with "spready" stones that seem larger in top-down view, but sacrifice fire and blaze because the cut angles do not reflect optimally. (The professionals here disagree with me!) I do not like pave (AKA melee) on a setting because you're paying for workmanship, not a "thing" of value, and again some professionals disagree because each setting is unique, and there are some fantastic ones which rely on smaller stones. I like fluorescence, but if a stone is going to have it, I want it all the way, into Very Strong Blue. These are the choices I have personally adopted from my time spent studying and looking around the online diamond community. I could change them tomorrow, but this is where I'll stick my landing.
  15. First of all -- congratulations on your decision to return the Leo. No one here wanted to seem like they were forcing you, but we've had a number of stories over the years about a certain chain that sells "Leo" cut stones, and the ethics of some of their sales staff are a bit dodgy. In the nature of the beast, the salesman doesn't get paid unless you buy, so there's incentive to push product at you, regardless of your interests. Two of the four diamonds I bought this year for our earring project were from Blue Nile. They occupy the vast middle of the online marketplace. You won't get great deals, and sometimes they tend to tout their product a little too much, but there have been no instances I'm aware of where anyone got gypped by Blue Nile. This is a lukewarm endorsement, IOW. What several people have suggested to you here is that you look at the above-standard vendors. There are three big ones -- Whiteflash, James Allen, and Brian Gavin. All sell superior cuts, and all have a good inventory of AGS-graded stones. Remember GIA? They're the gold standard of grading entities. AGS is even better, in some respects, and one of those is that they will tell you in writing if your princess-cut stone is a really good cut or not. You can find AGS-graded stones anywhere in the open market, but consider that these are usually stones in the top 5-10% as far as cut quality. The three vendors here try to get "the best of the best". You will find additional information about the diamonds, from 3D viewing to various light-refracting procedures that show how well the diamond works at reflecting light. If you have a couple weeks, it might be worth it to read through all their stuff and let it slowly digest for you. If you don't have that much time, then the usual guideline is that within a vendor's offerings, stones that cost more are "better". You want to find out what "better" means, so you can express a personal preference over a deep or spready stone, the types of inclusions you expect (or will tolerate), the question of fluorescence, and stuff like that. The effort pays off in your personal level of confidence. You won't get ripped off, with the knowledge you gain. However, your chances of "getting a great deal" remain as good as they ever were. (That is to say, there aren't many deals, and the great ones disappear very quickly. At least you'll be able to recognize one if it appears in front of you.)
  16. It's unlikely any ring will appreciate in value from what you paid. However, that's a different question from whether you received fair value for your money. Do a little research on this "GSI" versus GIA, which is essentially the gold standard among grading entities. Or, read some older comments in this forum. But to be 100% comfortable with your decision, go with Neil's suggestion (of an independent appraisal). That appraiser will estimate for you what the color and clarity are by GIA standards. (He wouldn't be able to give a complete review without dismounting the stone.) The appraiser will tell you what the ring is worth in the market, what the replacement value would be for insurance purposes, and answer other questions.
  17. 1. Is the setting deliberately two-tone, or are they trying to confuse you with the amount of platinum you received? 2. The report of authenticity seems to be by Gemological Science International. Are you comfortable with that? 3. Although princess cuts are usually deep, this stone faces up much smaller than most one-carats. 4. Good/good on polish and symmetry are usually below the ratings we like on GIA stones, but there is no documentation for how "GSI" comes up with these ratings. Same with the claimed color being "I". Neil is right that you'll need an independent appraisal if you want to contest this certificate. However, if the place you bought the ring from has a clear open return policy, you might just want to take advantage of that instead, then buy from a source than uses a more reputable grading entity. It seems you are having misgivings about what you bought but are unsure about how to proceed. In a case like that, return the ring if you can for a full refund. If you are only given store credit toward another purchase, and this wasn't clear to you before you made the purchase, see if your credit card company can help resolve this. I'm guessing, but it seems you think you have been trapped, but you don't know if it's the quality of what you bought -- probably -- or some other trick. I VS-2's on the Diamond finder here in the .97-1.02 size range run from $1800 - $5400, including both GIA (good) and EGL (not so good) grading reports with, all polishes and finishes. A 14K ring could be anywhere from $200-800. Conceivably, you paid $6500 for $2000 worth of diamond and ring... or you could have wound up at the better end of the spectrum.
  18. For a pendant you should consider stones in the range of SI1; perhaps even lower. For the same price as the two you have selected, you may be able to find lower-clarity stones which are significantly, visibly larger. However -- 1. If you think you might eventually wind up with the stone set in a ring, keep the clarity relatively high. 2. G-color is amenable to white gold for your pendant. A higher color (D,E) would work better with platinum. 3. What else do you plan to put in the pendant? 4. Unless you're wedded to the notion of a classical round cut, consider alternate stone cuts for a pendant. The price per carat will be significantly less. 5. Similarly, a naked one-carat in a pendant isn't too much to look at because of its smallish size. It looks better in a ring setting with a woman's delicate finger as backdrop. (That's why I asked what else will be there, on your pendant.) And there will be mostly off-axis viewing of a pendant, so much of the discussions about precise cuts, hearts-and-arrows, etc., are less relevant to you. Essentially, you want a BIG stone that's going to put out big flashes of light.
  19. The invoice, for one. You're just over the line where there's a big increase in price-per-carat. If you search instead for a diamond just under 1.50 carats, it may be hard to tell the difference in size ... but the slightly smaller stone could be 15-20% cheaper. That price difference could buy you a nice pair of solitaire diamond earrings, perhaps a carat each (depending on the quality you choose).
  20. On the gemesis website there's a .9 carat "brilliant pink" only 4x as expensive as an equivalent fancy yellow... $6600 USD. The fluorescence is "strong orange". I'll look closely next time there's a trade show I can get to. Right now, the IGI certification and actual hue outweigh my interest, but not by much. Of course, anyone who knows me will know I'm not going to have a natural 90-point pink just for show!
  21. Of course you would have one. I was looking at manmade ones -- and I credit you for not rising to the bait of me calling them Fake! -- simply because of price and general availability of the off-color fluorescence. The idea being that we have three earring stones that are Strong Blue FL, yet the Asscher is ordinary / normal / plain. But for that matter, Gemesis even has relatively affordable pinks, so that could be another way to go too.
  22. Update -- As of Monday morning, they've posted the 3-carat on their website for $20,475: http://gemesis.com/3-ct-round-si1-k/ I only know because I went back to their website to look at some "fancy yellow" stones, the idea being that a startling different fluorescence could be an occasional random sub in our "Pi earring" set. I mean, if you're going to have Fake, you need to go all the way out there and make it Super Fake, like orange glow instead of blue.
  23. That's right - DOH! I should have remembered this, but wasn't ever interested in updating my own 1998 GIA report. (By the time we get around to it, they'll have laser holograms, hopefully. I was contemplating snapping this up but didn't, because I would need a 6, not a 4. It didn't seem the ring is amenable to being resized, at least in the conventional way. So -- what's a buyer to do? In a case like this, would YOU ask for GIA regrading ... on a D VVS1? And is there a way to stretch the ring two sizes, or does this go back to Kretchmer for replacement?
  24. It cost a bit more than $21K to succeed in the 9 month production on this, so: definitely a showpiece. K and SI from IGI could be M-N and I-3 by the time GIA gets to look at it. Nevertheless, it's a bold statement of where the market may evolve to in our lifetimes, and it means Gemesis is willing to keep pushing the R&D envelope.
  25. Hi Neil -- I know you didn't see this, but it ran in the JCK newsletter a few days ago. (Note their diamond grading is from IGI, though) -- 3 Carat Synthetic Colorless Diamond Produced—Largest-Ever Grown GemBy Rob Bates, Senior Editor / Posted on July 24, 2014 Courtesy: Pure Grown /3 ct. K SI lab-grown diamond Pure Grown, the man-made diamond company formerly known as Gemesis, is selling a 3 ct. K SI stone­—which it calls the largest colorless diamond ever produced by nonnatural means. Lisa Bissell, the Fabrikant veteran recently appointed president and CEO of the company, says that she has every intention of selling the gem, which has a report from the International Gemological Institute. “I don’t run a museum,†she says. She predicts it may fetch $21,000.
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