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Good Deal on an Engagement Ring?


Jay Gatsby
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I've been haggling with a couple of diamond dealers in NYC and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (the latter being a long-time jeweller for my parents and their friends). Originally, I was inclined to go with the NYC dealer who offered the following:

 

GIA Round 1.16 F VS2 G/G 60.7% Depth/58% table mounted on a 2.5mm Tiffany-style platinum band for just under $9k (the NYC jeweller told me that the band would be a custom mount, and would give me a final price once the ring was complete. In the interim, I would need to provide a $3k deposit).

 

Although I was ready to buy the foregoing engagement ring package, before I sent in the deposit I was contacted by my family's jeweller, who offered the following two stones:

 

GIA Round 1.20 G VS2 EX/EX 60% Depth/60% Table (or within the "60" percentage range) mounted on a 2.5 mm Tiffany-style platinum band for $8,500

 

GIA Round 1.20 F VS2 G/G/ 62% Depth/58% Table mounted on a 2.5 mm Tiffany-style platinum band for $8,500.

 

No fluoresence on any of them.

 

Based on my Internet research, including this website and the "find online jeweller" link, it seems like all are in the ballpark, but I'm inclined to go with the 1.20 F over the 1.16 F, based on the fact that the parameters are virtually identical but the stone is 4 points bigger. Please note that I haven't seen any of the stones, so I can't judge them side by side.

 

Suffice it to say, I'm inclined to go with my family's jeweller, who will take care of me if there are any problems, whereas the NYC was just a name referred to me by a former work colleague (and has demonstrated a rather pushy attitude to buy her 1.16 stone when I asked if she could match the 1.20 stone(s)).

 

Thoughts?

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"(the NYC jeweller told me that the band would be a custom mount, and would give me a final price once the ring was complete. In the interim, I would need to provide a $3k deposit)."

 

This seems like a bit of a red flag. A price should be agreed on before the ring is made.

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"(the NYC jeweller told me that the band would be a custom mount, and would give me a final price once the ring was complete. In the interim, I would need to provide a $3k deposit)."

 

This seems like a bit of a red flag.  A price should be agreed on before the ring is made.

Agreed. She claimed that the final price would be determined by the weight of the setting. I had informed her of the ring size, so I assumed that giving me a firm price on a Tiffany-style setting in that size would be a no-brainer, since a) most of the value of the ring is in the stone, and ;) she claimed that the mounting I want is the most commonly-requested one. If Bluenile, etc...can give me a price on the mounting, why can't she? In fact, I would bet that jewellers that deal in mountings have established prices for their "blanks" in platinum, gold, etc...(and simply add the appropriate setting as requested by the customer, pricing in the labor and additional metal cost).

 

The NYC jeweller is a non-issue now, since she called me back and essentially told me that I was questioning her ethics/integrity, she had done business with CEOs, high-ranking law enforcement officials, powerful lawyers, etc... and I'm the most troublesome customer with whom she's ever had to deal. Accordingly, she couldn't do business with me. My response was that I felt that her attitude was pushy, and that was the source of any perceived negativity on my part. My guess is that she felt that I wasn't going to be an easy sale, with an easy profit, and therefore she wasn't going to waste any more time on me.

 

Fine. Good riddance.

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You are correct in that a Tiffany-style mounting is easy and very standard.

 

It definitely does sound like you're getting the run-around. As Megan points out, asking for a $3K deposit to "hand-make" a Tiffany-style ring is a gigantic, flashing, in-your-face red flag! And from some off-shore jeweler? Hmmmmm..... :-) Oh and the same goes for your arrogant NYC jeweler.

 

For something as simple as a Tiffany-style setting, I highly recommend you deal with one of the many reputable online jewelers. Many of them have a presence here on this website and can get you the diamond of your dreams, mounted on the Tiffany-style setting, to your doorstep via FedEx in just a few days, all at a very reasonable price and with superb and friendly service. It's that simple!

 

Good luck out there.

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I agree about the $3k deposit requested by the NYC diamond dealer. My family's jeweler in St. Thomas is very reputable, and has been around for many, many years. In retrospect, I should have dealt with him in the first place, rather than try and find someone in NYC. Although the NYC diamond dealer came recommended by a former colleague, my gut instinct when it comes to people (whether from meeting them on the phone or in person) is very rarely wrong.

 

So, is $8,500 a good deal on the 1.20 F engagement ring?

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Thanks for the reply Ben. I did try the Find Online Jeweler link at the top of the page, and you're right, the price does seem to be in the ballpark. The only differences that I've found is that the stones being sold online are all Very Good or better in regards to polish and symmetry. However, those stones are priced at least $500 more than the Good/Good stone that I've been considering. The lowest price that I could find for a combined stone and mounting was $300-500 more (causing the total purchase price to exceed my budget), leading me to believe that the deal I received from my family's jeweler in St. Thomas, VI is a fair one.

 

Having seen the plethora of 1.20 ct stones available online, I now seriously question the deal I was offered by the NYC "shark" for the 1.16 (~$9k). Perhaps I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but 4 points larger to me means that the stone is much closer to 1.25 cts than to 1 ct. When people ask her how big the stone is, she'll be able to say truthfully that it's slightly less than 1.25 cts. As an aside, she made a comment that she wanted a 2 ct stone (which would look enormous on a woman who is 5' 1") simply because two of her girlfriends received engagement rings that were 2+ cts (both of them are 5' 8"). I asked her whether she knew how much a high-quality (colorless with good specs) 2 ct stone cost. When I told her it would cost about $20k, she stopped complaining.

 

I decided today to purchase the 1.20 F, and should receive delivery of the finished ring early next week. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to ask her to marry me. ;) Unfortunately, her work schedule is terrible, as is mine, so getting away to do the deed (which is how I've always wanted to do it) is going to be difficult.

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Thanks Ben. And thanks as well to 10X and Denverappraiser. I've learned a great deal about diamonds, and knowing how many women think as they get older(i.e. diamond "shrinkage"), it probably won't be the last time I buy her one. Next time, however, I don't think I'll be buying as high a quality stone as I did for the engagement ring. Unlike other jewelry, an engagement ring is as special as you can get.

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