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Engagement Ring Search

Rock Climber

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Hello all,

I am in search of an engagement ring and am overwhelmed with all the options for purchasing. I have been everywhere from Robbins Brothers to the L.A. Diamond district to all over the internet. I know what I want to get my woman but am having a difficult time deciding which is better value for the money. Is it best to get a smaller diamond with a better color and clarity rating or is it a waste of money to purchase a D color and a VVS1 when it won't be seen anywhere except for my girl's hand.

I am trying to not get caught up in the letters game but most of the ring prices I have been quoted have come from the Rapaport report and they are all based on the ring grading. So what I pay for the ring is based on the letters whether I like it or not.

I recently looked at a 2.60 carat G color SI2 round diamond with a good cut that is EGL certified and was quoted 18,800 for it. I normally would not even look at an SI2 but it is a clean diamond visually. Under a scope it is easy to see the numerous flaws but that is expected with a rock with this clarity rating right?

I was also quoted on a 2.00 G VS2 round for 16,500.

Also a 2.00 G SI1 round for 12,500.

Am I looking at any deals here or am I on the wrong track for what is the best value for purchase.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. Robbins Bro's has a great sales pitch but is not a very good deal price wise.

Internet purchase makes me very wary even with return policy. Plus I like to see and feel before I buy.

Diamond district is a potential nightmare. How do you choose from 500+ dealers.

I am working with a dealer recommended by a friend and hope that works out.

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Lots of questions.


Most people who buy D color do it for symbolic reasons. There’s a lot to be said for getting the ‘best’. That said, the reason that most people end up buying something other than a D is the money. Most people can’t tell the difference between a D and a G with an unmounted stone in bright room on a white sheet of paper if they don’t have another known stone to compare it with. Mounted in a ring, it’s even more difficult and on a finger it’s impossible.


Whether this is worth it to you depends entirely on you. It’s a serious shopping problem and it’s rather like asking which raindrop is the one that makes it a storm. The steps are tiny and each saves a bit of money so it’s easy to move down a little bit. The end of this road is at about Q before people stop asking ‘Whats that yellow tint in my diamond?’ and start asking ‘What’s that interesting yellow stone? You simply have to draw a line somewhere. For most Americans, that line goes at about G-I.


Clarity has a similar problem. Everything above SI1 will be visibly the same, even up close. Mounted and on a finger, many I-1’s and even a few I-2’s can be knockouts. For most Americans, the line is somewhere from VS1-SI2.


The pricing sheet you mention is a grid that relates size/clarity/color with money. Conspicuously absent is cut and less conspicuously absent is grading accuracy. One grader’s idea of SI-1/G can be another grader’s idea of SI-2/I. Excellent cutting vs. mediocre cutting can produce a 50% difference in the same size/clarity/color combination and crappy cutting drops it another 50%.


Look at the top of the page and you’ll find a link titled ‘find online jeweler’. Even if you have no intention of shopping online this is a helpful tool. That leads to a database of stones being offered for sale by an assortment of dealers who advertise here. You can search for a set of parameters and quickly pull up a list of offers. Change one parameter and see what it does to the list. Notice in particular that you’ll see a lot of stones that are superficially similar with wildly different prices. This is mostly because of the cut/grading issues that I described in the last paragraph. 2.60-2.70/G/SI-2, for example, produces about a dozen offers ranging from $15,267 to $24,430.


You described the stone you saw as ‘good’ cut. What do you mean by that? More importantly, what did the person who told you mean by that? Not everyone uses these terms the same ways and often good means bad. Ask questions about this.


Choosing the right dealer is absolutely the best first step and it's worth some real effort. Educate yourself first, talk to them and ask questions that you already know the answer to. If they lie to you, head for the door. As you point out, there's lots of competition. Personally, I find diamond districts to be not worth the trouble but some people like the circus atmosphere and the illusion that they are getting a great deal. A personal recommendation for a dealer is a great place to start.



Edited by denverappraiser
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