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Diamond Novice Questions


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I should be getting engaged this weekend (don't want to jinx myself), and I'll have an old "heirloom" ring as a placeholder. I'm a complete novice but luckily my GF wants to pick out her own ring. So I know that's going to win out, but I still want to be useful in the process (and make sure I'm not getting ripped off).


My budget is $3000-3500 for the ring (so $2000-3000 for the stone). She lives in Atlanta so I'm going to take her to the Union Diamond store, and hopefully find something there. Overall the store seems pretty reputable and an excellent value, but they do have significantly more EGLs than anything else at my pricepoint. Not sure if that should be a concern?


Speaking of my pricepoint, I think I'll be looking at something .70-.95 carats, SI2+, G+, and VG+. I'd like to get a nice stone over a carat, but the more I look at it the more I don't think that's possible in my budget without sacrificing too much quality. For overall value, am I looking at the right criteria?


She's got small hands. To me that means I should "try" and stear her to the ovals and maybe marquise diamonds (I like them, but I doubt she does). However I know she likes the princess and rounds. Any thoughts and advice here?


anything else I should look out for?


Thanks for your help!

Edited by Peterg82
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EGL: it is a concern in the sense that effectively you have no independent grading to help you assess the stone. You are relying on the seller's word and your ability to make comparisons. On the other hand, you will be able compare stones "live" and/or ask UD to show you only GIA and AGS graded stones. Bear in mind that stones with a GIA or AGS report are not more expensive "because of GIA" - the cost of a GIA report for a 0.70-0.99 stone is $78 + S&H. They are "more expensive" because they are better cut, clarity and/or colour than EGL, IGI, etc. stones with the same "grades".


Overall value is in the eye of the beholder; some people like big rocks almost irrespective of what they look like, and others would rather have a "perfect" (D/FL?) stone no matter how small. If it were me shopping with your budget, I'd look at keeping cut at the top, let colour go to H/I and see what you can find in SI1/SI2 for that money... which means staying pretty close to the bottom of your weight range (0.70-0.75) for rounds. Forget a full carat if you are shopping for a round. You may (just) get there with a princess, but it won't look any bigger.


Ovals and marquises will also be cheaper, and particularly ovals may face a lot larger than rounds, but you will have a) far less choice, b] no guidance other than your eyes on cut (short of choosing the right seller) and c) a tougher time reselling if it ever came to that.


I'm not sure I understand your reasoning on your SO having small hands and therefore an oval or marquise being more appropriate. If her hands are long but slender, an elongated shape may be flattering, but if they are small overall a larger, elongated stone may look rather gawky. At any rate, the advantage of going to a store is that you (she) can try things on!

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Be aware that Union doesn't actually own most of the stones advertised on their site. They are sell on behalf of other people and the stones aren't located in Atlanta. If you find a particular stone or stones that you want to look at, make sure to contact them in advance so that things can be shipped in if needed. Just showing up without an appointment is likely to lead to disappointment.

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Be aware that Union doesn't actually own most of the stones advertised on their site. They are sell on behalf of other people and the stones aren't located in Atlanta. If you find a particular stone or stones that you want to look at, make sure to contact them in advance so that things can be shipped in if needed. Just showing up without an appointment is likely to lead to disappointment.


My GF and I looked and while we agreed that union is a great deal, their settings (at least on their website) seem "chunky." (She seems to like halos and some of the more delicate antique looks.) We still want to look, but considering what would be good etiquette. Would I be out of line asking to see 2x asschers (which both of us like inside Halo settings), ovals, rounds, and princesses that are in my price range?


Anyway thanks for the help....don't know what people did before the internet.

Edited by Peterg82
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I've never seen their store and I have no idea if it's got the same goods as the websitie or not. Actually, I haven't even looked all that much at the website. Most of the 'brick and click' style retailers actually usually are a bit different online and in person, particularly in terms of what inventory is available. Let us know how it goes when you visit.


I'm sure they would be thrilled to sell you a 2ct Asscher, as would ANY jeweler. As with the above comment, your chances go up if you call in advance or plan on 2 visits and tell them what you're looking for. It's possible that they'll happen to have on hand exactly what you want but it's not actually all that likely. A 2 carater isn't going to fit your price range unless you significantly raise your budget or you tolerate very low scores on clarity and color (or both). That's a set of specs that ratehr few people are happy with.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Got it. You want to look at 2 or more before you choose one to buy. No problem. That's why they have showrooms.


0.7x/G/VS Asshers are going to cost you in the neighborhood of $2200 -$3000. That fits your budget pretty well. No, it's not poor form to have the jeweler bring in a couple so you can choose. In terms of narrowing down whether you want an asscher, oval, princess or something else, they should have some stones that you can look at if you're not being too picky about the other details. That should narrow down the decision.

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I'm thinking about asking Union to bring in two diamonds, an asscher and an oval:


This is the asscher:




For the oval we are looking at two but only want to ask union to bring in one.


GIA: http://www2.gia.edu/reportcheck/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.showReportVerification&reportno=13889555&weight=0.97







I'd like to hear any feedback you have, and anything we should be particularly looking out for.


Thanks again!

Edited by Peterg82
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Not much one can say without images... the information on the report and on UD's website is simply not enough to do anything other than guessing.


Couple of observations:


1. You are picking a very high clarity Asscher cut, and two low clarity ovals. It is true that step cuts will show inclusions more easily, but you can go to VS2 without problems. Conversely, by choosing SI2 stones for the ovals you risk being disappointed by clarity (which you know about through the report) as well as cut. At the very least you should ask UD to check the diamonds for clarity first, and if they don't meet your requirements in this respect, to choose alternative stones.


2. The reports on the two ovals are quite old - 2002 and 2005. Diamonds are not perishable, but something must be the issue for them to stick around that long.


3. I believe I understand why you want to keep choices down, but I don't think you are doing yourself any favour to restrict things too much.I think you should have a choice between 3 stones of each type, and ask UD to arrange a comparison so that they can demonstrate to you - for example - why they ranked the cut of one oval much better than the other one.

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After visiting a couple of jewlery stores this weekend (including UD) we've decided to limit our search to Asschers and Emeralds in white gold halo settings. I ended up not asking them to bring in any diamonds this time, but now that we've got a narrowed search I will next time I'm in town.


I can't imagine picking a diamond blind/online. Anyway I'll be posting again in 2-3 weeks as I try and figure which diamonds to bring in. However some generic numbers that I'd use to limit my search before I ask Union to bring in a stone.



VS+ Clarity

G+ Color

.65+ Carats

Table undefined/unknown

Depth undefined/unknown


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Buying online and buying blind are not mutually exclusive, but neither are they necessarily joint. Some online dealers (whether "pure play online" or "brick and click" stores) provide you with a lot more information than most brick and mortar stores, and the widespread use of ample return periods (and cheap shipping) removes many obstacles for those that don't have a good dealer within reasonable driving distance...


Good luck with your search - we all look forward to seeing the results!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Peter,


I don't know how you prioritise carat weight, cut, colour and clarity in your search for a diamond, but as you seem to like Asscher cut stones you might consider this one




It is 'only' 0.51 ct, so a bit smaller than you state (0.65 ct +), but not many girls will be able to say they have a GIA certified D Flawless diamond so there is a big 'rarity' factor there. It's not far off your price range either. It won't actually look any better than a G, VS to anyone but an expert of course...


P.S. Not sure what the rules are on advertising here are, I found it using the diamond finder above. I have no affiliation with Blue Nile - I got my enagemant ring from elsewhere and was more than happy.


Best Regards



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  • 3 weeks later...

I had a question on how to tell if my diamond ring is real. I love it and I have never had a ring where it catches the light and sparkles so many ways. But I also know there are a lot of people selling fakes. My fiance' wont tell me where he got it, but I know he spent a decent amount on it.

The tdw is about 2 carats set in 14k white gold. The ring size is a 7. I have posted 3 photos. Any advice is appreciated.




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Unfortunately there is no way to tell from a photo (or a 1000). Bring it to a local jeweller asking them to tell you whether it's diamonds or something else. Most people will offer you a professional clean (which will make it sparkle like new) for free as well, in the hope that you stick around and buy something else... ;)

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