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Buying A Colored Diamond Engagement Ring


foolishman
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Posted this on another forum, but trying to get a variety of opinions.

 

Hi, I'm a man who is looking to propose next month while on vacation in Italy. Have a month to find a ring and get ready for the proposal, so I have a limited time window.

 

I'm looking for a ring that stands out, but I have a limited budget. I'm looking to stay under $8k, but if something great arose, I can stretch the budget.

 

I am willing to save on things that are only visible under 10x magnification. So perfect clarity, and so on, are not really my concerns.

 

I would like a unique engagement ring and am leaning towards a colored diamond. While my girlfriend is into many of the name brands, the name brands for diamonds (Cartier, Tiffany's, etc.), seem like a bit of a rip off to me. I don't want to pay a premium because these companies had an effective marketing campaign 50 years ago and are living off of their reputation.

 

In other words, I've pretty much narrowed to an online dealer. Though I live and work in Manhattan, the diamond district intimidates and scares me. Lots of pushy people who throw terms at me I only half understand (hope this isn't too offensive, as I know you are in the business...but it is frustrating to shop for something that I only half-understand).

 

A few questions:

 

1) In my price range it seems as if the only colors available to me are: gray, brown, yellow and orange. While I realize a pink ring would be perfect, would a women even like an engagement ring in these colors? Are colored diamonds (brown, yellow, etc.) popular for engagement rings or only for other jewelry?

 

2) Are there different factors for judging colored diamonds? I understand that clarity is not as important, but how about other factors?

 

3) I want a natural color and do not want something irradiated or with fake colors added in a process. Is it going to be hard to find a brightly colored diamond without these processes done? I want a bright or deep color (I suppose the term is vivid) as opposed to a diamond that is mostly clear and has hints or grey or brown and simply looks like an imperfect colorless diamond.

 

4) Any tricks for getting a ring size? She has a ring I could use to measure, but she would realize if it disappears for more than an hour or so. Any suggestions?

 

5) I know platinum is generally preferred for colorless rings. Is this true of colored diamonds as well or does gold, white gold, or silver work better with these colors? Is there some chart to refer to for this?

 

6) My vacation is a lengthy 23 days cheesy.gif. Many online websites have a 30 day return policy. It will be difficult to time out the whole ordering and shipment process, vacation, and possible return within this 30 day window. While I am confident she will say yes, is it too risky to order online as I know I may not be able to return within the 30 day window? Will online sellers extend the return policy in certain situations and does anyone have any experience working with a company in this regard?

 

I've matured to the point where I realize I don't know what women want and never will truly understand how they think about these things (which is how I know I'm ready for marriage evil.gif). So I want a window for a return.

 

Thanks for your help.

Edited by foolishman
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Look a bit into the grading scales used for fancy colors. It may help zero you in. There are 4 parts. For example: “Fancy intense greyish Yellowâ€. Start at the back. ‘Yellow’ means that the dominant color of the stone is yellow. It's the first color you see when you look at the stone. This could be blue, pink, green etc. Prices go nuts sometimes and you’re correct that yellow, brown and orange are likely to be where you land given your budget unless you SERIOUSLY compromize sie. You might find some combinations like yellow-green as well.

 

‘Greyish’ is a modifier. Unmodified spectral colors are pricey so expect one of these as well. Greyish, brownish, greenish, etc.

 

‘Intense’ is the color saturation. It starts at ‘fancy light’ and goes through 6 steps (as I recall) ending at ‘deep’. ‘Vivid’ is usually the most expensive and ‘deep’ and ‘dark’ are usually the cheapest. Depending on how you deal with size you can probably get an intense or vivid but you’ll be a lot bigger if you go lighter or darker. It’s your call.

 

‘Fancy’ just means that it’s outside of the traditional D-Z grading scale used for color grading of diamonds. O-Z or thereabouts are often sold based on their color and the price bumps up as soon as the color saturation is high enough to justify the ‘fancy’ word. Again, this is your call. Z’s are pretty light but they definitely have color and it depends on what you want. Size vs. color within a budget is the usual tradeoff.

 

Natural pinks are psycho-expensive. Treated pinks are relatively cheap. Same with blues.

Edited by denverappraiser
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One other option to consider are synthetic diamonds. They are real diamonds, just grown in a lab rather than mined from the ground, and are not simulants, CZ or Moissanite. They can be grown in blue, yellow, orange and white and look the same as comparably graded mined diamonds. Lab-grown blues are a very natural, pure color, not like treated blues. Colored synthetic diamonds are a good amount less expensive than comparable mined diamonds. You didn't mention a size, but for $8k, you could probably go up to 2ct in yellow/orange and 1ct in blue, depending on specifics and the ring.

To check her ring size, there are pdfs you can print out and hold a ring up to, or something like this online: http://findmyringsize.com

It won't be as accurate as taking the ring to a jeweler, but is certainly better than guessing.

For an engagement ring in white metal, most people stick to platinum, white gold or palladium. It is common to have yellow diamonds set into yellow gold, since the colors complement each other. You could have just the head be yellow gold and the rest of the ring in a white metal.

Behind all policies are real live humans. Usually if you tell them your plans and ask nicely in advance they will give you some extra time.

Full disclosure: My company makes synthetic diamonds.

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Make sure that you get a GIA lab report with your colored diamond, if you want a natural colored diamond. Those do tend to run more than stones that have been color enhanced.

 

If you are looking for a yellow diamond, here is one under your budget.

 

 

 

This ring is made in 14kt white gold with 14kt yellow gold prongs holding a .92ct. VS1 Natural Fancy Light Yellow cushion cut diamond surrounded by SI1 G-H round brilliant diamonds cascading halfway around the shank. An elegant bezel set surprise diamond graces the under gallery of the ring on both sides. The total side diamond weight equals .33cts.

 

http://www.dbof.com/jewelry/14kt-white-gold-fancy-light-yellow-cushion-diamond-ring/

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Posted this on another forum, but trying to get a variety of opinions.

 

Hi, I'm a man who is looking to propose next month while on vacation in Italy. Have a month to find a ring and get ready for the proposal, so I have a limited time window.

Welcome to DiamondReview - and congratulations (??? ;)) for your impending engagement. If you don't mind me asking, where are you going to be in Italy?

 

I'm looking for a ring that stands out, but I have a limited budget. I'm looking to stay under $8k, but if something great arose, I can stretch the budget.

 

I am willing to save on things that are only visible under 10x magnification. So perfect clarity, and so on, are not really my concerns.

Which is good in as much as it helps to contain prices. However (see below) with coloured diamonds clarity is not as big a driver of prices as it is in colourless (D-N).

 

I would like a unique engagement ring and am leaning towards a colored diamond. While my girlfriend is into many of the name brands, the name brands for diamonds (Cartier, Tiffany's, etc.), seem like a bit of a rip off to me. I don't want to pay a premium because these companies had an effective marketing campaign 50 years ago and are living off of their reputation.
Well, to be fair the reputation of Cartier and Tiffany dates a lot earlier (and has much more solid bases) than De Beers's "A Diamond is Forever" campaign (1947). But I get your drift. ;)

 

In other words, I've pretty much narrowed to an online dealer. Though I live and work in Manhattan, the diamond district intimidates and scares me. Lots of pushy people who throw terms at me I only half understand (hope this isn't too offensive, as I know you are in the business...but it is frustrating to shop for something that I only half-understand).
Perfectly understand. It is frightening out there. Also bear in mind that a lot of the pressure "at ground level" comes from horrendous overheads - shopfronts are hugely expensive on 47th.

 

A few questions:

 

1) In my price range it seems as if the only colors available to me are: gray, brown, yellow and orange. While I realize a pink ring would be perfect, would a women even like an engagement ring in these colors? Are colored diamonds (brown, yellow, etc.) popular for engagement rings or only for other jewelry?

The lion's share of engagement rings is white; however, colours are becoming more popular and quite a few people (and celebrities) are starting to look for colour as their first option.

 

A pure pink - as Neil says - is horrendously expensive. Brownish pink, or Pink Brown are within affordable range. You can get something that looks very pink and is a decent size if there is brown as a modifier or main colour - look here http://www.diamondsb...sie-color-r3344 (I know this is more than your budget, but then again it's nearly 1.50; for a 1 carat you can get within budget!)

 

Or if you want to stick with pure pink, there's ways of making them look significantly larger than their size: http://www.diamondsb...and-color-r4056

 

Other options are synthetics (as per Eric's post - the origin of colour in these is "natural" in as much as it's the same as for natural diamonds of the same colour)

 

2) Are there different factors for judging colored diamonds? I understand that clarity is not as important, but how about other factors?
Well, unsurprisingly colour dominates the value and "appreciation" stakes. Not least because the D-Z scale is almost incredibly granular, but covers less (in terms of colour range) than the Fancy Yellow grade. Clarity plays very much second fiddle, partly because it is less visible (I have an I1 Deep Orange Yellow that is completely eye-clean) and partly because fancy colours are rare enough that there is no need to get artificial rarity injected into the market. Cut is still important, but it plays by different rules: the main objective is that of getting the colour out; brilliance, contrast, fire, sparkliness come a close second.

 

3) I want a natural color and do not want something irradiated or with fake colors added in a process. Is it going to be hard to find a brightly colored diamond without these processes done? I want a bright or deep color (I suppose the term is vivid) as opposed to a diamond that is mostly clear and has hints or grey or brown and simply looks like an imperfect colorless diamond.
A properly graded Fancy Vivid is likely to place things out of budget. However, you can get a lot of yellow "out" of a Y-Z or a Fancy Light (and a Fancy Light Pink is going to be very visibly pink), if they are set properly. Brightness (and sparkle) are more a function of the cut than of colour.

 

4) Any tricks for getting a ring size? She has a ring I could use to measure, but she would realize if it disappears for more than an hour or so. Any suggestions?
Measure yourself with her ring and note where it gets on your finger, then use that as a reference (for me it's easy: my wife's right hand index finger is exactly the same size as my left pinkie!). Alternatively, use her ring to draw a circle on a piece of paper, and use that as a guide. Knowing the radius in mm or inches it's easy to get the size. If you are going for a relatively complex setting, or a very thick shank, there may be some adjustment needed regardless: the thickness of the ring will change the way in which it fits.

 

5) I know platinum is generally preferred for colorless rings. Is this true of colored diamonds as well or does gold, white gold, or silver work better with these colors? Is there some chart to refer to for this?
It depends on the colour. The advantages of platinum are still there if you use it for the shank and most of the structure, but to get the maximum colour out of a yellow stone you should have a yellow gold basket and prongs (and similarly for a pink one).

 

6) My vacation is a lengthy 23 days cheesy.gif. Many online websites have a 30 day return policy. It will be difficult to time out the whole ordering and shipment process, vacation, and possible return within this 30 day window. While I am confident she will say yes, is it too risky to order online as I know I may not be able to return within the 30 day window? Will online sellers extend the return policy in certain situations and does anyone have any experience working with a company in this regard?

 

I've matured to the point where I realize I don't know what women want and never will truly understand how they think about these things (which is how I know I'm ready for marriage). So I want a window for a return.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

I believe most smaller dealers that don't have to contend with corporate bureaucracy would be able to help and agree an extended return period. I'm sure we can!

 

I don't understand one thing from your last comment, though: do you want a window for returning the wife or the ring? :ph34r:

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

To answer the question above, we are starting in Vienna, visiting Salzburg, Venice, Tuscany (Florence and some smaller towns), and Rome. Not sure where I am planning on proposing, but will find someplace romantic. Will just be walking around with the ring until I find the right moment.

 

Well, I did the mature thing and sat down with her and looked through the colored diamonds. She hates colored diamonds and prefers the colorless ones. huh.gif I honestly don't get it. Colorless diamonds seem so lifeless to me, but she finds like the colored ones "look fake".

 

I'm not going to argue as it takes a few thousand off my budget. But thank you all for your help. This really is a great forum with lots of helpful people.

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

To answer the question above, we are starting in Vienna, visiting Salzburg, Venice, Tuscany (Florence and some smaller towns), and Rome. Not sure where I am planning on proposing, but will find someplace romantic. Will just be walking around with the ring until I find the right moment.

I think you will have the embarrassment of choice...

 

Well, I did the mature thing and sat down with her and looked through the colored diamonds. She hates colored diamonds and prefers the colorless ones. huh.gif I honestly don't get it. Colorless diamonds seem so lifeless to me, but she finds like the colored ones "look fake".

 

I'm not going to argue as it takes a few thousand off my budget. But thank you all for your help. This really is a great forum with lots of helpful people.

Well, thank God you did ask her. Imagine the surprise... Happy to help you in whichever way to choose a good colourless stone!
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