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Go For This Custom Ring? Yellowish Princess In Bypass Setting


ralph
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Hello,

 

Please give me your thoughts on purchasing a diamond engagement ring, both on the diamond/ring and the seller. I asked my girlfriend to look around at styles, then we went together to a store with the ring style she liked best. The store is an independent jewelry designer who goes to Israel to buy stones, designs rings, works with a jeweler for fabrication in about two weeks, and has done this for 30 years. She calls herself a wholesaler and does not have a fancy showroom, more of an office with a catalogs, loose diamonds, and a microscope. She seems matter-of-fact, not pushy or fake-friendly like at one prominent huge store I visited. There are many other diamond shops in the same building, along Richmond in southwest Houston.

 

My girlfriend and I looked at several diamonds and found a particular one that we like. It is about 1 ct, princess cut, clear when I viewed it through a loupe, and has noticeable yellowish color. (I plan to get the specs.)

 

We saw the setting in a catalog full of this woman's designs and discussed the customization we'd want (mostly yellow gold with some white gold, and square cut on the center and side diamonds). The setting is called bypass channel, I think. We like the diamond color and think it will go well with the yellow gold.

 

So, a few questions:

1. I plan to ask for the diamond specifications by email before I see the seller again. Then I can see the Diamond Finder for price range (I think she quoted approximately $2400). What else should I ask for by e-mail?

 

2. How practical is 14k vs 18k gold? My girlfriend has a desk job. I know 14k is more common, and 18k is softer and slightly more expensive.

 

3. The ring would be custom-made, so what policies should I expect? No refunds, only exchanges? Deposit?

 

4. How do I protect myself? For example, I'd consider getting an independent appraisal the next day, but with no refunds what would my recourse be? What can I reasonably ask the seller to guarantee regarding the appraisal? I've looked for reviews of the dealer but found little; one is very happy, but another says to beware of her "all sales final" policy. I don't know which reviews to believe. The BBB says 30 years in business and shows no complaints.

 

5. What else should I check? I tend to (over-) analyze a lot; I could compare this diamond with the proportion tables for princess cut, view hundreds of diamonds, etc., but since we both like the way it looks, should I just be happy?

 

I think I just want to check that I'm not missing something big. What do you think?

 

-Ralph

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[snip] 1. I plan to ask for the diamond specifications by email before I see the seller again. Then I can see the Diamond Finder for price range (I think she quoted approximately $2400). What else should I ask for by e-mail?

As much information as you are going to need to make the decision. At a minimum, if you just want to compare prices, you will need colour, clarity, precise size (the price of a 0.99 is very different from the price of a 1.01, all else being equal), finish, fluorescence and most important who has graded the above.

 

2. How practical is 14k vs 18k gold? My girlfriend has a desk job. I know 14k is more common, and 18k is softer and slightly more expensive.
The greatest difference is going to be made by the alloy used. 14 vs. 18k per se is going to be irrelevant in terms of durability, though the chance of getting allergic reactions is slightly higher with 14k.

 

3. The ring would be custom-made, so what policies should I expect? No refunds, only exchanges? Deposit?
It varies. We have a return and buy-back policy on most anything, and pretty much anything we make is custom made. Many retailers that have standard product lines will accept returns on those, but not on custom work. Others will charge a restocking fee.

 

Same for deposits, some people want you to pay in advance for most or all of the cost, others will send you a bill once you are happy. If this is the first time you work with a given jeweller, some form of deposit is likely to be required.

 

4. How do I protect myself? For example, I'd consider getting an independent appraisal the next day, but with no refunds what would my recourse be? What can I reasonably ask the seller to guarantee regarding the appraisal? I've looked for reviews of the dealer but found little; one is very happy, but another says to beware of her "all sales final" policy. I don't know which reviews to believe. The BBB says 30 years in business and shows no complaints.
Then make the deal contingent on a refund for any reason (including "I changed my mind") within a relatively short period of time. If the dealer does not agree, and does not put it in writing, no deal. There's plenty of other jewellers. And pay with a credit card.

 

As to what you can ask the seller to guarantee, a fair description of the goods that they are selling is what you should expect, not least because they are responsible legally for selling according to description. Beware of things like attributing a colour or clarity to the diamonds without referencing the standards to be used, and beware of what is not said in the invoice description (e.g. if the description does not quote something that is important to you, be it the colour of the gold or the clarity of any pavé stones, ask for it to be added before you pay).

 

5. What else should I check? I tend to (over-) analyze a lot; I could compare this diamond with the proportion tables for princess cut, view hundreds of diamonds, etc., but since we both like the way it looks, should I just be happy? I think I just want to check that I'm not missing something big. What do you think? -Ralph

The fact that you like it is an excellent sign, and one of the most important things to get right. However, since you are both relatively inexperienced, getting a few references for what is available is not a bad idea.

 

Viewing hundreds of diamonds perhaps is a bit too much, but seeing a few others won't hurt, particularly if you do go and see what the industry calls "well cut" ones (e.g. from Tiffany, Cartier, or the Peerless line from Jared's or other AGS-0 graded diamonds).

 

Proportion tables are useless - or worse.

Edited by davidelevi
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