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2 side trillians platinum setting


vilyin
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Hi,

 

I bought a loose diamond and need to get it set.

This is an aniversary ring for my wife. The center stone is a 3.04ct, D/SI1, good, GIA certified radiant.

I have 2 questions.

 

The first one:

I am trying to get an idea/ball park of the fair price I would have to be prepaid to pay for a custom-made platinum setting with 2 trillians including the setting job. I woud assume that the ideal parameters for the trillians would be around 0.5ct each, E or F, SI1. So in my mind I would pay about 2*(~$800-900/per trillian) plus ~$400-500 for the platinum plus about $300 for work. So it should come to about $2500. Is it reasonable? Is the split that I made in prices is about right?

 

The second one:

What is the best way to approach this task? It seems to me that at this point I need to find not a jeweler (who I define as a sales person who fronts the jewelry store) but a good "setting" maker. What is this proffesion called? Is there any site or directory for the people in this trade? How do I get in touch with those people in Manhattan jewelry district who actually "do the work", such as make the setting and set the stones?

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

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Vilyin,

 

Custom jewelry is an art form and some artists are quite simply better than others. I think you will find that skilled labor is considerably more expensive than you’re expecting. The cheapest craftsman isn’t usually what people want for a 3 carat stone. The problem is that cheap craftsmen are often that way because their craftsmanship is poor. Raising that $300 labor budget to $1,500 will probably result in a considerably better final product. I know of no capable jewelers who will allow you to supply your own platinum but it's not unusual for a client to provide some or all of the diamonds although this can be a source of trouble as well. $400 won't go very far at todays platinum prices but it will depend on what your final design looks like.

 

I'll let others discuss your diamond budget.

 

Just out of curiosity, why do you prefer a jeweler who works in Manhattan?

Assuming you’re a local there, it works well to go visit the jewelers and examine their work. Most will have showcases with examples of their work and you can look at the quality. The best are normally not in the highest profile stores and the majority are not on the ground level. Choose one that does the kind of work that you like. If you’re not a local, you might want to rethink that requirement unless there's something valuable to you about New Yorkness.

 

Many of the best tradesmen (and women) are in small shops distributed in communities all over the world. They call themselves jewelers but this will sometimes be called bench jeweler, working jeweler or some similar qualifier. There isn’t really a central database that you can consult for finding them and many of the best are really quite difficult to locate because they don’t feel the need to advertise. They have as much work as they want. Word of mouth referrals and personal observations are generally the best way to find them. Go into stores and ask if they have a working jeweler on the premises. Ask to see some of their work, especially a custom piece that they're proud of. Most will have a few things in the case that they have made. Take a loupe and inspect the quality. Make sure the stones are all even, level, and set with no snags. Notice if everything that is supposed to be symmetrical is, and that everything that is supposed to be polished is. Look at the finishing in the difficult areas like underneath the stones and inside the hollow portions. Read the hallmark (the brand on the inside) and ask about it if it doesn’t make sense. If it’s for someone else, then you know they didn’t make it in the store. This isn’t really a problem unless they lied and they are trying to convince you that the guy in the back is good based on the workmanship of some supplier who will have nothing to do with your piece.

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Hi Vilyin,

I'd say it's a dangerous path you're choosing.

The only way to know if a shop does good work is trial and error.

You can find setters who charge $5 to set a 2.00 diamond- we pay about $50.

Now that does not mean setters charging $50 are neccesarily good.

If you're willing to take these chances you may do well, or have to re-do the ring, adding a lot to the cost.

 

Pricing assumptions about the ring, and trills:

In terms of a ring, I'm sure you can find a shop to charge what you ask- the finest shops charge far more.

 

1/2 carat E-F SI1 trills too are a lot more than you are anticipating.

$3000 per carat for well cut E-F trills is more realistic- and the price could possibly be even higher for really well cut ones.

 

My reccomendation is to choose a diamond seller that can provide the setting too.

Make the entire deal contingent on you approving both ring and diamond.

 

By trying to become your own manufacturer, you will deal with multiple sources, none of whom may take any repsonsibility for the final product.

 

 

For example- if the setting comes out crooked, the setter can say the stones were not properly matched- the stone seller can in turn, point to the setter.

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Neil, David,

 

Thank you for your replies. I've done enough reading on this forum to really appreciate your advise. Thank you.

 

There were cople thoughts/points though that I'd like to follow up on.

 

1) I would't argue that the best way to buy a ring with the highest quality of everything: center stone, side trillians, quality of the ring would be to go to cental stop and shop location, something like Tiffany's, Crafts, Cartier or a such. But even with Tiffany's you have to be careful - they sell up to "I" color stones - which I simply find rediculous.

For a high quality ring with my requiments at Tiffany's one should be prepared to pay about $80-90K.

 

Some people would compare "big" boys to Mercedeses and BMWs vs small shops that I guess would be KIAs or Hundiys in this case. I do disagree with this view because there is no value added to the stones that "big" gus sell. As a matter of fact these stones are of not a better (and as I mentioned above sometimes of a much worse) quality than what I can find on a market otherwise. These "big" guys do remind me a lot of "old car" dealers. Diamond sales are mostly built purely on marketing and "sales"=lies.

 

2) That is why to me it makes perfect sense to take the other alternative path. Namely a path of buying a seprate center stone for a real market value (which by the way is also very arguable) and than separately buing a setting.

 

3) I do agree with both of you that jewelry is an art. And trust me I've seen bad made jewelry. I don't want this ring to be example of that. Neil, thank you for your advise points onn how and what to look out for looking for a bench jeweler.

Also I might've expressed myself not clear enough when I said that I'd like to get a custom made ring setting. What I meant to do was to get an idea on how to estimate the non-inflated price of the setting that I have in mind.

 

4) Of cause I'd rather go to the bench jeweler who can make an exceptional piece for a reasonable price than to the left-handed crook who would make a disastrous piece cheap. The question is how do I find a good craftsman? Do you have anyone you can recommend either in Manhatten (not necessarily on 47th) or anywhere in New Jersey - Fort Lee, Engelewood area? Neil - to answer your question - yes, I do live ina New York area. And to answer your other question - "what 's so great about New York?" - in this particlar case it's a markers' supply and demand situation that makes me happy - much higher concentration of suppliers than in any other area.

 

5) David, you said "$3000 per carat for well cut E-F trills is more realistic". But I don't need 1 cr. I need 2 halfc a ct stones which I am sure you would agree is quite different. That is why I estimated 2 trils to be 2*($800-$900)/each=$1,600-$1800. Makes more sense?

 

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

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Hi Vitaliy,

1) there are sellers offering quality on par with Tiffany's for FAR less. What's wrong with I color diamonds?

 

2) makes little sense to me

 

3) "Inflated" prices makes it sound as though someone is gouging.

In fact, a company needs to have adequate resources to handle this type of job- so profit is essential- who wants to set up a business to NOT make profit?

 

4) build a lot of rings, and you'll start to see who's good, and who's a hack.

Sometimes you can tell on the first project, sometimes it takes a few.

The folks I use would not entertain the pricing structure you have in mind......

 

5) $3000 per carat IS for 1/2 carat diamonds.

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Vitaliy,

 

In order to properly fit a Radiant/trilliant combination, you are going to need to either have a great deal of luck or have the entire mounting custom built for your stones because of the number of different issues around length/width, shape of the curves, depth and the like. This isn’t so much a problem as simply part of the process. It’s a straightforward enough CAD or fabrication job for someone with the appropriate skills and tools but these skills are more unusual than I think you are imagining. David’s concern about the buck passing between the various participants is dead on and the fewer people you can have involved, the less likely it is to occur. It’s not the separation of the center stone from the remainder of the shopping that he was questioning, it was the separation of the metal, labor and side stones that put you on the road to trouble. His example of the setting fee for the center stone is a good one. Saving $45 here is missing the point entirely and you will find yourself devoting your energies to pinching your pennies and not your dollars. You want to find someone who will set it straight and without breaking it. Whether they charge $5 or $200 to do this is remarkably unimportant in the grand scheme of what is probably a $30,000 budget item. A dealer who has a big sale hanging in the balance is probably well prepared to make this decision wisely and most consumers don’t really understand the issues. Sure, you can learn it, but this is a case where there really is value being added by the jeweler and the fact that they’ve been through it before is quite helpful. I would not describe this as inflated but, yes, they do expect to be paid for their efforts.

 

By all means, if you’re a NY local, it makes sense to shop there. There are even people who like to buy things there just because it’s NY and they like the feel of the place but they can’t arrange to live there. I have no problem with this. I was sensing that you were from somewhere else and you were interested in the district because of an impression that that was the place to get a ‘deal’ or because the best craftsmen, by definition, work there. This I was prepared to dispute.

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Great post Neil- as usual- very thoughful and you put my concerns into words well.

 

Vataliy- Neil hit upon another good point- the matching of the side stones is absolutely essential.

Neil- I do feel that purchasing all the stones together is a good idea when possible.

Although this may not be possible in this case, getting the ring built as a whole might still make the best sense.

 

Vataliy- I just looked at your initial post again- and I see you've got a real "big boy" 3 carat D/SI1 diamond. That means you need quite a substantial ring.

 

My estimate is about $2500+-for a proerly custom made platinum ring, and $3000-$4500 for the trilliants

 

I was not meaning to be flippant either, I apologize if I did not answer fully before.... maybe I'm a little sensative.

I really do consider the manufacturing of jewelry to be an art.

I NEVER question the price a good craftsman charges.

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David, Neil

 

Thank you for your replies again! You really help me level set my expectations. Even though I don't agree with everything you say...;-)

 

David,

To address your argument points

1) "I NEVER question the price a good craftsman charges."

With all do respect, I always do... I would always question the pirce I am "asked" to pay - wether it's jewelry, car, boat or whatever else. If you don't,... well, you must be "Bill Gates - rich" and don't need to be aware of any money issues - unlike the rest of us....

 

2) "makes little sense to me". Well, it makes perfect sense to me, because I paid $6,000 less for the stone over the internet than I would otherwise if I bought this stone through the "friendly and respectible" jeweler.

And after I told the jeweler that I bought the stone, that he showed me, over the internet for 6 grand less he tried to tell me that I bought crap.

Only after I shoved it down his nose the verification cert from IGI that the stone matches its GIA cert he started back-paddling

 

3) "What's wrong with I color" - well, everything as far as I am concerned (again this is me). Ever had your wife or girlfriend compare her diamond to her girl-friends??? .... than you know....

 

4) "The folks I use would not entertain the pricing structure you have in mind......"

What structure would your boys entertain?... without it being a hack....

 

5) "My estimate is about $2500+-for a proerly custom made platinum ring, and $3000-$4500 for the trilliants".

Again, that's what you would try to make your customer pay. That's because you are a seller and you need to make profit.... As you said. And I understand that. There is nothing wrong with that. Although I don't agree with you.

 

What I would pay for the same setting caps at $4,000.

 

Neil:

1) You mention CAD for the setting. I certainly agree with you that it's not much more difficult than that. Why is it so difficult to fing a good designers/good setters/ good bench jewelers? What do you think?

2) I hope that I am not asking too personal question: how many years of experience do you have working with precious stones, diamonds in particular.

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

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Vitaliy,

 

I retired after 25 years as a bench jeweler in 2002 and became a full time appraiser. I ran a shop that ranged from 3 to 8 benches and I’ve trained dozens of people who now present themselves as ‘master’ jewelers. My resume is on my website if you want to look at my diamond qualifications. Most people find them to be adequate. The link is in my signature at the bottom of every post. Click on ‘Professional Appraisals in Denver’.

 

CAD design work for a typical 3 stone ring isn’t especially difficult but accommodating all of the variables of each stone can be a bit of a chore and therefore time consuming. There is, of course, some equipment expenses and training that must be amortized in addition to paying for the workers time. Decent finishing is also surprisingly time consuming, especially with platinum. A quality finish job on a piece like this can take anywhere from a few hours to more than a day. Lastly, setting and fabricating are arcane skills that take a LOT of practice to get good at. Skilled jewelers are demonstrably better then the mediocre ones. Why? I'm not sure but I have to say, It's way worse now than it was in 1980. I'm inclined to blame it on the public school system but this sidetracks us into an entirely different discussion. The tendency of the consuming public to accept inferior work in exchange for a lower price is surely also a contributing factor. Using a journeyman setter for a 3 carat radiant is, in my opinion, nuts, although it would probably save a few bucks and there are plenty of people who do this.

 

Most shops have a labor billing rate in the neighborhood of $75-$120/hr. (Mine was more than that - a few are less.) More experienced workers tend to cost more. I must admit, if a customer had come into my shop with your plan, I would have politely declined to do the job and sent them on their way with very little explanation and zero negotiation. I’m still not very patient with people who want to fight about the value of my skills and my time. I’ve never claimed to be the cheapest and I’ve never been interested in customers who were seeking that. I suppose that gives me a different bias from most and it has undoubtably cost me some business that I could have had if I wanted to compromise more. Fortunately, it was never really all that much of a problem to find customers who were willing to pay my prices and there are plenty of jewelers who are competing for customers who are looking for someone to do a job cheaper. There’s lots of ways to cut corners where hardly anyone will notice.

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David, Neil

 

Thank you for your replies again! You really help me level set my expectations. Even though I don't agree with everything you say...;-)

 

David,

To address your argument points

1) "I NEVER question the price a good craftsman charges."

With all do respect, I always do... I would always question the pirce I am "asked" to pay - wether it's jewelry, car, boat or whatever else. If you don't,... well, you must be "Bill Gates - rich" and don't need to be aware of any money issues - unlike the rest of us....

 

 

2) "makes little sense to me". Well, it makes perfect sense to me, because I paid $6,000 less for the stone over the internet than I would otherwise if I bought this stone through the "friendly and respectible" jeweler.

And after I told the jeweler that I bought the stone, that he showed me, over the internet for 6 grand less he tried to tell me that I bought crap.

Only after I shoved it down his nose the verification cert from IGI that the stone matches its GIA cert he started back-paddling

 

3) "What's wrong with I color" - well, everything as far as I am concerned (again this is me). Ever had your wife or girlfriend compare her diamond to her girl-friends??? .... than you know....

 

4) "The folks I use would not entertain the pricing structure you have in mind......"

What structure would your boys entertain?... without it being a hack....

 

5) "My estimate is about $2500+-for a proerly custom made platinum ring, and $3000-$4500 for the trilliants".

Again, that's what you would try to make your customer pay. That's because you are a seller and you need to make profit.... As you said. And I understand that. There is nothing wrong with that. Although I don't agree with you.

 

What I would pay for the same setting caps at $4,000.

 

Neil:

1) You mention CAD for the setting. I certainly agree with you that it's not much more difficult than that. Why is it so difficult to fing a good designers/good setters/ good bench jewelers? What do you think?

2) I hope that I am not asking too personal question: how many years of experience do you have working with precious stones, diamonds in particular.

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

# 1)-Good point Vitaliy- I did not make my point well.

I HAVE questioned people - IF- there was something wrong with the work- or the price was totally exorbitant.

But the fact is- the best people I use charge a fair price, not exorbitant

The price I consider fair for superb work is about 40% more than I could find if I did not mind cutting corners.

It's your 3 carat stone- you want to cut corners?

I also learned that suggesting the person who does superb work should work for the same price as one who does good work is a poor idea- IF- you want superb work

 

2) Vitaly- it's great that you got a stone you love.

I would certainly defend purchasing from an online seller.

It's a shame that you found a jeweler who wanted to charge $6000 more than an internet seller- more so that you did not find a really strong retailer who might actually own a nice 3 carat radiant.

Also sucks that the jeweler acted badly after you bought elsewhere

 

3) A lot of folks love diamolnds of ALL colors. To each his own.

Just as I'd defend somone's decision to spend for a D color, so would I see the value in an M color.

 

AS far as the price of a custom made ring: Vitaliy- as we've ben saying- you can probably find someone to make it on the cheap.

For example: say we wanted to save money making such a ring.

We could simply buy a shank with trill settings built in, then a head for the center, and simply assemble and set.

The center diamond would sit way higher than the side stones, but it would only cost maybe $1200 instead of $2500.

Who cares if the center diamond is set higher than the trills? Likely the lady wearing it.

By the way, who's responsible in the unlikely event a stone is chipped?

 

AS far as the price of a pair of trils to match a D color 3 carat radiant? I guess you could go with $2000 per carat 1/2 carat I1 D color.

Or a pair of $2000 per carat I color pair- but we know you hate I color- and I color trills would look horrible with a D color center.

Or get 1.00 total weight D/SI1 well cut trills and you'll be paying over of $2500 per carat.

 

Cad is very nice for certain designs.

For three stone rings which are made around the diamonds, one off design in the wax seems to make the most sense.

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Congrats on buying a 3ct stone.. Not everyone can afford to enjoy jewelry at that level..

 

A lot of what I agree with has already been stated.. At some point when purchasing custom designed jewelry you simply have to make a choice on price and quality.. And yes, the two "tend" to go hand in hand.. There will be occasions where you will find amazing work for extremely cheap prices, but that simply isn't the standard..

 

As David said, there are many ways to cut corners to get to your price point, many of which would be acceptable to most people.. But from what you have said about things like "I color" I get the impression that you would be less than thrilled with the final result..

 

There are all levels of jewelers and artists out there with all levels of pricing.. I know quite a few that can easily beat internet pricing, and even more that do both internet and in store sales and are perfectly comfortable working in either environment.. But there are also a lot of hacks out there..

 

I would recommend doing your research when looking at platinum jeweler.. It is a unique metal with it's own requirements.. Many gold jewelers are incapable of working in platinum at the same quality level.. So don't use gold jewelry as a guide.. Look at their work in platinum..

 

Finally, I have to ask how you came to the price you set as a cap.. Where exactly, or how did you come to the price cap of $4000?? I haven't worked out how much we would charge for such work, but I have to think that David is probably pretty close and I know that he produces good work.. I'm just really curious how you came to that number..

 

Steve

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Again, thank you all for your responses. I do realise that I couldn't even hope to obtain the information that David and Neil shared otherwise or anywhere else. It all comes down to experience that I apparently do not have and Neil, for example, has tones of.

 

I guess my main problem at this point is that I am yet to find that jeweler type in NY area who Steve describes as

I know quite a few that can easily beat internet pricing, and even more that do both internet and in store sales and are perfectly comfortable working in either environment.. 

I did have a good jewler in Boston area before we moved to NY/NJ.

 

I would be glad if there is anyone you can recommend here (in Fort Lee, NJ area).

 

Steve, to answer your question of how I came up with $4000 cap for the ring setting:

Initially (in my original opening of this topic) I had calculated the money to be spent as follows:

I woud assume that the ideal parameters for the trillians would be around 0.5ct each, E or F, SI1. So in my mind I would pay about 2*(~$800-900/per trillian) plus ~$400-500 for the platinum plus about $300 for work. So it should come to about $2500. Is it reasonable?

After listening to David I understand that I would need to increase the amount of money to be paid to 2trils from aout $1600-1800 to about $2500.

Platinum would stay the same - it's a thin ring and wouldn't require that much platinum. My wife currently has a platinum ring which is approximately 3 times havier that the one that we are thinking of creating now, so ~$400 for platinum still sounds about right to me. And the rest is for for design (even though there will be almsot none - the ring is a pretty standard tril setting ring), work and setting. That's where $4000 come from.

 

But again I am flexible in a sense that I DO want to get a good custom made setting. I just DON'T want to overpay for it.

 

Remember my original question: $2500 - is it reasonable. David is saying that somehwere towards $7000 is more reasonable. I think the resonable price lies somewhere in between. At this point I am convinced that it would probably be more in a range of $5000.

 

So, the question still remains: HOW DO I FIND A GOOD BENCH JEWELER?

Please help!

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

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Vitaliy,

I believe a brand new Porsche BoxsterS should be,say.....$20,000.

 

Do you think my Porsche dealer will use my idea when he sells the car?

 

If you find one who will PLEASE let me know!

 

 

Finding a good bench jeweler is very difficult.

For one thing, how much work will you be giving them?

Is a highly regarded craftsmen going to accept a single piece when they have companies giving them work day in and out?

The best people we use would not.

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Thanks for the explanation Vitaliy.. Please don't think that we are beating up on you.. But I know that I see these types of things on a daily basis, and I'm sure that David does as well, and I am always fascinated at how people decide how much they will pay for something, and by inference, how much I should be paid for doing it :)

 

When I look at your job I see setting a 3ct stone that you bought on the internet $150 (assuming that I agree with the lab report and it is safe to set - which I'm sure it is).. Drawing, carving and casting a simple 3 stone ring in platinum, $1200 to $1500 depending on metal cost weight.. Plus two trillions with a tw of 1ct ($2500 to $3000).. Puts us up at $4500 to $5000 real fast..

 

Then you have to add all the intangibles.. Dealing over the net, high expectations, the whole bit.. I think that part of the resistence you are seeing in the local stores is partly this, and partly your budget vs expectations.. David had a great example of pricing, but I think another way to look at it this, (and I have no idea what you do for a living) someone walks into your work, tells you that they want the best, and this is what you will charge for it.. Without any knowledge of your business, overhead, or procedures they have come up with what they think is a fair number.. It might very well be fair, but it's also just as likely that it's wildly out of perspective either high or low..

 

We're just hoping to put a little reality into your expectations..

 

As for New Jersey, I can't help you there, I don't know anyone in that area..

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David,

 

I am not a Porsche man myself. Even though I like speed, I like luxury more. Although I did lease Bimer Z3 for my wife several year ago.

 

But anyway, I think you came up with a good analogy to diamonds sales: cars sales and leasing.

 

The only correction that I would make is that the point is not to try to buy a $60K (invoice price) car for $20K, but rather to pay just a little over that invoice price (let's say $64K) oppose to paying a full stiker price of let's say $72K for the same car.

 

I know that when I come to the dealership the first time (and I don't PERSONALLY know the sales person) I should be prepapred to hear a price much higher that the one I will altemately pay.

I'll give you an example: I was quoted $950/month for X5 3.0 36months 12K/per year no money down lease. I ended up paying $695 including MA sales tax. And the invoice price on the car was still the same!

 

And it happened not once. And it will happen over and over again.

That's the nature of sales. And that's a nature os a SALES PERSON.

 

You as a consumer should be prepeared to be ripped off by a sales person (whether it's diamonds or cars) UNLESS you educate yourself before hand and know exactly how much what you are buying really costs.

 

Now,

Is a highly regarded craftsmen going to accept a single piece when they have companies giving them work day in and out?

Possibly not. But again, he just might do that.

 

Thanks,

Vialiy

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Hey Vitaliy,

We have had different experiences, which probably causes us to react differently.

No one like to get ripped off.

But who likes to be accused of ripping off others?

For an honest person, that's one of the worst things you could do- IF- you want a good relationship.

 

So, if someone walks into a seller of ..anything- expecting someone to rip them off, they'd probably treat the salesperson in a manner which would elicit a particualr response.

This might lead the ultra skeptical buyer to miss certain things.

 

For example- simply by going online to BMW's website, I find that X5 3.0i leases start at $489.

Sure, once you get the options, ( like tires...heheh) it's going to be closer tp $650.

But if someone walked into the BMW store and used your assumptions, they'd be offering $350 - would they be driving "the Ultimate Driving Machine"?- we both know the answer there.

 

By the way- being a SALES PERSON is an honest way to earn a living.

MANY sales people are hard working folks, honest as the day is long.

 

 

Do people get ripped off by bad sellers- every day.

Should folks do research- absolutely- like what you're attempting to do here.

Of course in this case it appears you feel that folks are inflating things.

 

I'm sure that SOMEONE will be happy to confirm your beliefs and offer to make a ring on the cheap.

I'm also pretty confident that a ring done with bottom dollar in mind will not compare favorably to one done by the best people for a reasonable price.

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I'm also pretty confident that a ring done with bottom dollar in mind will not compare favorably to one done by the best people for a reasonable price.

David,

I completely agree with you.

If you look at the begining of this thread you will see that for me the point of this topic was not to find a cheapest possible price but to understand what would be a reasonable/fair price that I should be prepared to pay.

 

Of course in this case it appears you feel that folks are inflating things

You are right again. I do feel that way. Unfortunately this feeling comes from and is supported by my past experiences with sales people.

 

I do thank you, Steve and Neil for your responses and explanations!

I wish you a Happy Christmuka (Christmas and Hanuka) and a Happy New Year!

 

And on the closing note - now that you know exactly what I am looking for and being located in jewellery district in NY, would you feel comfortable quoting me the price for the final ring if I were to come to you,....... possibly through the PMB?

 

Thanks,

Vitaliy

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