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Setting Differences


steelqtip
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Hi all! First, I wanted to thank you for all the advice I see on here. When I first started looking for an engagement ring, I did not do any real research. Combined with my inherent distrust in sales people, you can imagine I was not really achieving anything. After I found this site and read through A LOT of topics, I went back to looking armed with a notebook and questions. I wish I could describe the looks on some of the faces of the salespeople :rolleyes: . I found a great diamond and now I am looking for a setting.

 

I had read that white gold contains a small amount of nickel (generally no more than 10%). My gf has a mild allergy to nickel so I am not sure if that amount will affect her or not. To be safe, I am looking into platinum settings (if you have input on the white gold/nickel issue, I would appreciate it, though).

 

So now I have been to several stores. One store had a setting for a price of ~ $1200. Another store had one for ~$600. I asked the salesperson at the second store about the difference in price. He assured me it had nothing to do with the quality of the metal and was more to do about the difference in stores.

 

Is this true? It seems like such a large difference in price that I am automatically suspicious. I do not want to put my hard-earned diamond on a cheap setting. Can there be differences in the platinum that affect the cost?

 

Thanks again for all the advice and help! I really appreciate it.

 

Mike M.

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Hi all! First, I wanted to thank you for all the advice I see on here. When I first started looking for an engagement ring, I did not do any real research. Combined with my inherent distrust in sales people, you can imagine I was not really achieving anything. After I found this site and read through A LOT of topics, I went back to looking armed with a notebook and questions. I wish I could describe the looks on some of the faces of the salespeople :rolleyes: . I found a great diamond and now I am looking for a setting.

 

I had read that white gold contains a small amount of nickel (generally no more than 10%). My gf has a mild allergy to nickel so I am not sure if that amount will affect her or not. To be safe, I am looking into platinum settings (if you have input on the white gold/nickel issue, I would appreciate it, though).

 

So now I have been to several stores. One store had a setting for a price of ~ $1200. Another store had one for ~$600. I asked the salesperson at the second store about the difference in price. He assured me it had nothing to do with the quality of the metal and was more to do about the difference in stores.

 

Is this true? It seems like such a large difference in price that I am automatically suspicious. I do not want to put my hard-earned diamond on a cheap setting. Can there be differences in the platinum that affect the cost?

 

Thanks again for all the advice and help! I really appreciate it.

 

Mike M.

 

 

There are alot of things that can contribute to the price difference beside store markup. Is the ring a designer setting? How much does the setting weigh? What is the platinum content of the actual piece? Does the ring have additional diamonds in it etc.

 

Also you might want to consider palladium as an alternative to platinum or white gold. It's non allergenic and stays white like platinum yet is closer to gold price in the piece. Maybe even a little less.

 

So what is the design that you are thinking about? Have any photos?

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Thanks for replying Jan. The ring is not a designer setting. I did not think to take down any specifics about the ring like weight; it did not occur to me to ask that question. I was more focused on the thickness of the band (medium thickness based on my gf's fingers). I should have asked about the platinum content, though. Next time, I will ask a bunch of questions.

 

The setting has no special features. My gf wants a classic solitaire setting. I am going with four prongs although I have looked at six. I believe the salesperson referred to the $600 ring as a "princess" setting but I might be recalling in error. Will definitely take note next time around.

 

The palladium alternative is a great idea. I did not know about that metal. I have been reading up on it since you posted and it seems like a viable alternative. I also read that some white gold rings use palladium instead of nickel as an alloy so it might be worthwhile to ask a salesperson about it; however it has been my experience that most salespeople know very little beyond price and the rote replies they are trained to give (i have been a little frustrated lately about salespeople, sorry).

 

mike m.

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I'm thinking the person that quoted you $600 for the platinum solitaire could possibly have one in stock from the old platinum price or made a mistake in pricing. It would probably be closer to the $1200 price currently in platinum. About $290 in palladium to give you a comparison.

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Platinum has roughly doubled in price in the last year with the major changes happening within the last few months ($2078/oz today, march 12, 2008). $600 doesn’t buy much of it these days. I agree with Jan, this sounds like an error or an old price.

 

Most modern white gold’s don’t contain nickel precisely because it’s a problem for some consumers. In Europe it’s actually illegal. That said, if the salesperson can’t get the alloy information from their manufacturer, that’s a reason to choose something else or to simply shop elsewhere. It should be no problem to find a nickel free white gold solitaire.

 

In your price shopping, watch out for other fees like sizing and setting. It's certainly fair that these people are paid for their work but the lowest price quote may be adding these things in later while the higher ones may include them 'free' as part of the deal.

 

Neil

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Neil, Jan,

 

Thanks very much for all the helpful info/insight. I will definitely be going back to check on the white gold again and ask about the alloys used. Platinum was not really in my budget and I have been stuck for 5 days wondering what to do about it. Now i think i see a light at the end...

 

thanks again and have a great St. Patrick's Day! Remember that St. Patrick was not Irish! :rolleyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I went back to a bunch of different places, from large chains to local independent stores. Every time i asked about non-nickel white gold and manufacturer alloy content, I received the same look of implied stupidity (and i mean every time). Everyone insisted that white gold had nickel in it. There was one place that said they could order one but that i had to purchase it before i saw it...not exactly what i want to do with such an important piece of jewelry.

 

i have about 3 weeks before the "deadline", giving myself a week buffer to get the diamond set and all. if i have to delay the proposal any longer than that with lame excuses, my girl is going to be very upset (not your problem but i just want to get across my motivation).

 

i thought buying the diamond was the hardest part but wow, was i wrong! i really do not want to go online to buy the setting because it means i have to send my hard-earned diamond through the mail. Although insurance and registered mail will cover any monetary losses, none of that will make a difference if I have to delay proposing any longer. Talk about sucking the romance out of something that is supposed to be all about love.

 

Help! Any advice at all? :wacko: Thanks!

 

Mike

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SteelQ,

 

In digging around I find quite a bit of nickel free material for custom jewelers and manufacturers of heads out of it but I don’t see a finished ring from any of the big manufacturers. I’ll dig around a bit more on Monday for you if you haven’t found one yet or if no one here has come up with an offer.

 

For example:

http://www.gsgold.com/castinggrain/palladi...astinggrain.htm

 

If we can find a manufacturer that makes one, your local jeweler may be able to get it as well. Where are you?

 

By the way, I also dug into the European rules a bit because it seemed crazy that this is being so difficult. The rule seems to be that it’s not permitted to have more than 8%. That’s decidedly different than requiring that it be nickel free.

 

Neil

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steelqtip,

 

 

A $600.00 Platinum ring is somewhat of a red flag in the current market.

 

A couple other items to be aware of Re: Platinum rings.

 

(1) Some of the chain stores are selling .585 Platinum which is approx. 58% pure Platinum, in contrast to the industry standard of 90-95% pure Platinum.

 

(2) Most Platinum rings are cast, and one of the most common blends of Platinum used for casting rings is 95/05 Platinum/Iridium. 95/05 Platinum/Iridium blends are easier for the jeweler to cast and therefore very commonplace in the market. However IMO, this blend presents the least desirable attributes for a consumer because the .950 Plat/Iridium blends are quite prone to scratching and also prone to bending as this alloy is one of the softest platinum alloys used for jewelry.

 

I recommend to anyone considering a platinum ring to ask for a quote in 95% Platinum / 5% Ruthenium as this blend probably has the ideal mix of attributes with regard to hardness and scratch resistance. Because Plat/Ruthenium is harder and/or more expensive to cast, many jewelers do not use this blend (especially in price point type merchandise)

 

Sounds like you are starting to 'feel' the impending time-line a bit, three weeks is still plenty of time... probably not enough time to learn everything one might feel they need to know about Platinum options, jewelry productions methods, etc.

 

But it is enough time to pick a jeweler that knows what they are doing and have them guide you in the process.

 

There are jewelers out there that are familiar with Nickel free white metal alternatives, maybe that should be your first question for the prospective jewelers?

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SteelQ,

 

In digging around I find quite a bit of nickel free material for custom jewelers and manufacturers of heads out of it but I don’t see a finished ring from any of the big manufacturers. I’ll dig around a bit more on Monday for you if you haven’t found one yet or if no one here has come up with an offer.

 

For example:

http://www.gsgold.com/castinggrain/palladi...astinggrain.htm

 

If we can find a manufacturer that makes one, your local jeweler may be able to get it as well. Where are you?

 

By the way, I also dug into the European rules a bit because it seemed crazy that this is being so difficult. The rule seems to be that it’s not permitted to have more than 8%. That’s decidedly different than requiring that it be nickel free.

 

Neil

 

Neil,

 

I am in San Diego. I have been trying to find a jeweler around here but rthe yellow pages and cold calling seem to be the only way to really find anyone. Internet searches are difficult, probably because of the specific-type search criteria i am using.

 

does manufacturing a ring cost more, a lot more, no more? and how long might it take (on average at least)?

 

it does seem that maybe i could be asking for a nickel content 8% or less. if the european jewelry market feels that is a low enough threshold to prevent allergic reactions, maybe that is a good sign. but again, my experience thus far has shown me that the salespeople generally do not know the content or how to find it, therefore they tend to steer the conversation towards platinum and a bigger commission. once i continue to press them on the content, they eventually pass the buck by blaming the manufacturer for not providing the info i am looking for.

 

i guess palladium might be the way to go. it just seems like i will be selling the palladium to my girl, much like trying to convince someone that a "generic" brand of a product is different from a brand name product only because of its packaging, not because the product is any worse. i hope that makes sense.

 

as always, i will appreciate any input/advice. thanks very much! hope your Easter was fantastic.

 

mike

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steelqtip,

 

 

A $600.00 Platinum ring is somewhat of a red flag in the current market.

 

A couple other items to be aware of Re: Platinum rings.

 

(1) Some of the chain stores are selling .585 Platinum which is approx. 58% pure Platinum, in contrast to the industry standard of 90-95% pure Platinum.

 

That said, it does appear that there are legitimate stores selling 950PL rings for under $600. For example, Adiamor has a 2.8mm 4 prong (basket) solitare ring for $595. Granted, it is rather small as bands go, and I don't know what the 5% is, but our independent appraiser said it was "first class". Their knife-edge is $800, I believe.

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Custom making a piece will likely take too long although what you're asking for isn't an especially difficult job.

 

I'm pretty sure these guys in Oakland use a low nickel 18k white alloy in their manufacturing and pretty much every jeweler in the country can buy from them if they want. Call them up to be sure what you want comes in the right recipie and then call your jeweler and get a price. They're usually fast to ship.

www.ottofrei.com

 

Neil

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