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sparklepixie's Achievements


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  1. Hi guys, long time no post... I'm guessing you're probably glued to your TV's today, so congratulations/commiserations depending on your viewpoint!.....but if you've had more Election news than you can bare: At long last it's finally come round, I go to Brighton tomorrow so try on LOADS of rings to try & work out what stone spec I'm after. Apart from being super excited just wondered if you had any last minute top tips on the selection process? I've done quite bit of homework & recapped this thread. I don't intend to purchase yet, just hone in on the spec. Hope you have a great day, if nothing else I'm sure you're all glad the election is over & that's gotta be worth a beer, right!? Cheers
  2. Yay...I love The Lanes. In fact I think Brighton's a great place to spend some time. 'Estate jewellery'? Is that what English folk would call 'second hand'? The Lanes does have a good combination of old & new - lots to choose from in a small area. I can leave hubby in the pub & we'll both be happy!
  3. Thank you....got it. So if I'm looking for a H&A stone do I need to search under that 'premium' criteria? Are there any other parameters I can input on the search engine to limit the stones returned, or do I need to rely on websites/retailers providing viewer images? Thank you again PS....Don't know if you guys have heard of it but I'm visiting a place called The Lanes in Brighton in November. It has quite a few jewellery stores located in close proximity. I certainly don't intend to buy from there but it should prove to be a really useful exercise in finding out my personal preferences & what I'm prepared to pay extra for (without fear of getting carried away with the plastic )
  4. Oohh...I'm not sure I understand what you're telling me about H&A's. Having watched a number of youtube videos I definitely liked what I perceived to be the extra 'sparkle, fire, scintillation'. Are their other ways of homing in on this kind of stone without the branded premium? Sorry, I'm just a bit confused. Thank you again
  5. Why is H&A important? - In short....I've been watching youtube videos. I doubt very much I'm recounting this correctly but something along the lines of : Perfect optical symmetry giving evenly distributed fire (flashes of colour) & sparkle. Clear definition of H&A = more scintillation, movement of sparkle/jumping around = eye catching. This seemed like a way to harness the 'off report factors', enhancing the XXX cut. I'm bracing myself...go on, disappoint me
  6. Doh!! Silly me, I guess it was starting to sound a bit too easy. I do love the fact you guys are so honest with me (but with a slightly heavy heart), lol 1) I should have mentioned to achieve the H&A symmetry I would also need the settings on XXX. This has been suggested by an internet supplier as a way of filtering a stone shortlist - their stone 'experts' would then make a visual inspection & report back. 2) Although subjective, provided I trust them, an 'experts' eye clean is on balance likely to be a better overall judgement than my eye clean. I think vendors were trying to highlight this as a way of keeping cost down, ie SI2 eye cleans do exist if you search. It's just me trying to fathom how all the variables will have to be compromised to suit my particular situation. Thank you
  7. Hi everyone....I've taken a few days out to give my poor little brain a rest, it definitely needed it . Is it possible to confirm or clarify the following information I've been given by a couple retailers: 1. If I set the search criteria to read: Depth 60-62% & Table 55-57% I will get the Hearts & Arrow effect without the cost of the premium branding? 2. Approximately 50% of SI1 stones & 10% of SI2 are eye clean? As my confidence grows I'll no doubt be less worried about returns Thank you very much
  8. Thanks Joshua The website says free returns to US, Canada & Hong Kong, not UK? I've added you to my list of companies to check out but any chance you might let slip the names of a couple others? I don't want to break any forum rules but I see it as educating me in market opportunities. I've just tried the duty calculator - a £20k ring attracts a £4,600 delta. It's not good or bad...it's just needs to be taken into account in the final tally, (along with the returns risk).
  9. 1. What I'm looking for in a vendor doesn't exist. I'd like the advantages of the US websites with the convenience of a local corner store. If only I lived in the US all would be well . The websites are amazing, the level of photography & idealscope (only just encountered) are leaps & bounds above UK sites. To date I've not found a UK site/store that can offer anything close. So if there's anyone listening who's in a position can I recommend this as a great business opportunity in the UK...you'd clean up!! 3. Would definitely like to see lots of stones. Though there may be similarities to shoe buying, try on every pair, then tired & hungry returning to the first Unfortunately, I become easily overwhelmed in the presence of diamonds, so strongly note your advice about leaving £ at home & breaking up the day. 6. You're not prying , I've asked UK folk a number of 'hand waving' questions to solicit opinion, attempting to establish a theme/process, if not a definitive. However, the US questions were quite specific all relating to shipping & returns. For example, "I'm based in the UK, how does your returns policy apply to me?" "We have a 30 day no quibble returns policy" "Thank you but I'm in the UK, please can you explain how to process a return?" "We have a 30day no quibble return policy, as long as you return the items undamaged in that timescale there's no problem, all the terms are on our website", and so it goes on & on. It just wore me out. I just need to take my time doing further investigation...I'm sure it will eventually start to come together. There's no deadline..so slow but sure.
  10. Thanks guys...you've not failed me . I'll try to cover the points raised in order: 1. Identifying a GIA ref to a UK vendor should help them focus on the 'off report factors' I struggle to describe. I presume an established UK jeweller with a reasonably high turnover would find the import process less challenging than myself as they likely do it as park of their routine business. Their response will determine what sort of relationship is formed & hopefully trust, honesty & confidence will build between parties. Zero in & haggle. 2. Plan C - a trip to the US. Well, I've not entirely ruled it out yet 3. I'm still researching UK internet options. I've found 2 or 3 that have London viewing offices. I get the impression you make an appointment & they show you a selection of stones/settings to try to close the deal. The stock held is limited so I'm not sure how useful this is without further investigation. You won't view your actual stone, though I guess if you proceed you could return to collect. I'm unclear at what stage they'd expect payment. 4. Do UK retailers take returns? Based on my limited experience I think not if you've picked a ring from the shop window, or seen the assembled ring before purchase. Of course, faulty workmanship would be different. No doubt there are retailers that place huge importance on reputation so may refund, but more likely they'll make alterations to the setting or exchange the stone to retain business & customer goodwill. 5. Yes, my preference was/is a UK based retailed. However, after BN insist I pay for returns thought I'd dig a little further, hoping the cost differential would make it worthwhile. 6. Baulking at US retailers - maybe I've not been clear as I genuinely think if you ask them to do what they're set up to do they're brilliant. They're very polite & seem genuine in their desire for you to have a great purchasing experience. However, it's when you don't keep to the script & ask awkward off-plan questions it seems to go downhill. To be fair this applies to the UK equally! For example, they deliver answers confidently but when you drill further the previous information starts to unravel. Also, they can expertly sidestep the question, after repeated attempts you just accept defeat. Overall this has the net effect of making you lose confidence in the whole process, possibly unfairly but with so much at stake I'm uncomfortable. Like I said, it's early days so my knowledge of the UK market is limited. There may be lots of things I've just not encountered yet. Oh, the joy of the chase
  11. Hi guys...thought I'd provide a quick update : Having now chatted extensively with the US websites I perceived to be the most comprehensive/UK friendly it seems I must reluctantly admit defeat. Overall the process was quite complex, so even I don't feel comfortable with the level of risk. Plus, the headache encountered if I had to return the item is just unthinkable (Customs ), turning what should be pleasurable into a nightmare. I also learnt some UK web based retailers want to charge fees in the region of £150 for Returns. So not quite the risk/hassle free experience they'd have you believe. So where does this leave me? Well, I think I'm right in saying retailers have access to a worldwide database of stones, explaining why the same stone often appears on competing sites? If so, I could still utilise info available online (eg James Allen) to identify a preferred stone(s) & then hawk the GIA ref around competent UK jewellers that have an attached workshop, requesting a quote for the stone plus setting. Knowing what others are charging or the stone gives me leverage to negotiating a sensible price. Sound feasible? Once again hoping you'll tell me if I'm fooling myself with my tenacious enthusiasm for the right 'deal' PS....I think I'm slightly embarrassed to admit my 10x loupe arrived from Amazon on Monday
  12. Thanks Bill...appreciate your comment. Trust me I'm fully aware just how fab these guys have been in helping me....& who knows I just may end up doing that. However, $25k is a ridiculously large amount of money to me & it's only right I complete my 'due diligence' Until I get to HG & have a 'play' with lots of stones I don't actually know what I even want
  13. I've just come off the phone with them again...spoke to a different lady who followed it up by email: "To return your ring/diamond we recommend sending it back to our facility in Ireland using FedEx and Parcel Pro International insurance. We offer a reduced price for FedEx of £40 and insurance is £6 per £1000 value the item is insured. If you would prefer, you can use your own carriage option, but please make sure the item is fully insured before shipping." I guess I could try UPS/DHL to see what they charge but I doubt I'll beat the BN preferential rate. So right now I'm looking at about £160 all in.
  14. Thanks again guys....I've a lot of work to do so trying to fit it in around 'real life' lol. However, I seem to have hit my first snag: I spoke with BNile yesterday thinking they're the most UK friendly. I was reassured about taxes, shipping, warranty etc . They even supply a £40 prepaid FedEx label if I need to return item to their distribution hub in Dublin. In fact all was going swimmingly until - I spoke with FedEx. To ship the item back to Dublin would cost £51.86...ok so I've an extra £11 to pay, no big deal. However they only insure up to the value of £1k & will not increase. They said I could try another courier who might cover insurance (invalidating £40 label) or try obtaining separate insurance. This sounds like it might be expensive. I've not yet had the chance to investigate further but does this sound right? I intend to contact BN again...& possibly DHL but wondered it you'd ever come across similar? Thank you very much ps...I'm enjoying keeping you busy pps...Switzerland got me thinking...Antwerp anyone?
  15. So much info, thanks again guys! So now I've drawn up my list of vendors & started on the 'key questions'. Noting the point about market position, I certainly don't need super high quality & will work hard for a the right result. So the dilemma I have is choosing the spec. I'm worried I'll upscale through fear & a good sales pitch - While I'm eating, living, breathing diamonds getting the highest possible spec seems all consuming but I guess the reality is once I've owned the ring for a few months the novelty will wear off & unless I've got a diamond expert over my shoulder no-one will have a clue if it's a IF, D or SI1, H. As you say...if you can't see the difference why pay the premium. I clearly need to take some time out to read about sparkle, brightness, fire, pattern (& the GIA article) but if I had a XXX cut does this not take care of a lot of this, inc pavilions, tables & crowns? If I had to choose I'd rather the stone looked best during natural daylight rather than bright or dim, again does XXX take care of this to some extent? Great info on selection process...I sincerely hope come January I've had enough time to digest the advice sufficiently & able to proceed methodically, rather than just hyperventilating or dribbling idiotically And finally, what you say about overpaying makes absolute sense...the highly competitive online market is unlikely to let me down (as long as I can manage the overseas risk element). Gosh I'm exhausted & I've barely started the challenge. I clearly need to up my stamina for the journey ahead! I don't think I've said it enough but thank you so much for such good advice
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