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What Is The Best Place To Buy An Engagement Ring?


Kgullett
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Hello. My boyfriend and I have been looking around at engagement rings, and by looking around I mean look at mall jewelry stores. However, I'm not completely sold on buying one from a large retailer such as that simply because I feel as if they are trying to cheat us. Am i wrong? What is the best place to purchase an engagement ring?

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"Cheat" is a big word - but definitely you can find better value in other places.

 

Part of the issue is that "value" means different things to different people, and many find the large, quickly available stock, the "lifetime warranties" and nationwide availability a good proposition for them, and more than enough to offset the prices and often poor quality of the diamonds (and metalwork).

 

What do you value?

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Thanks to the both of you for your help and quick reply!

 

Quality of the diamond is my biggest concern. I do not want them to sucker me (or actually my boyfriend) in to buying a poor quality diamond and me thinking it is perfect. Are mall stores bad for that?

 

Also how do you feel about the Satiri diamond? This diamond in particular is what got me a little apprehensive about mall stores. We found what appeared to be the ring I had been looking for (round center diamond with diamond halo and thin diamond band) on sale from 5,000 down to 2,000 and the ring was over a carat tw and SI2 clarity. My boyfriend almost purchased it but I felt as if there was something we were missing--it just seemed too good to be true.

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To your first question - not necessarily, but it varies a lot. A good first step is to make sure that the specific diamond you are interested in (or they are trying to get you interested in) has a reliable lab report on it. This means GIA and AGS first and foremost, followed by HRD. Other labs are at the very least subject to legitimate suspicion.

 

On the "Satiri" diamond - never heard of it. My experience with branded cuts is that they may look different but not necessarily better; there is a reason why they have a total minority share in the market...

 

Also - be very careful shopping on the basis of tcw. Diamonds are worth exponentially more as they grow in size. A "1 carat TCW" with a 0.90 centre and 0.10 carats of accents is worth a lot more than a 0.45 with 0.55 in accents.

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To your first question - not necessarily, but it varies a lot. A good first step is to make sure that the specific diamond you are interested in (or they are trying to get you interested in) has a reliable lab report on it. This means GIA and AGS first and foremost, followed by HRD. Other labs are at the very least subject to legitimate suspicion.

 

On the "Satiri" diamond - never heard of it. My experience with branded cuts is that they may look different but not necessarily better; there is a reason why they have a total minority share in the market...

 

Also - be very careful shopping on the basis of tcw. Diamonds are worth exponentially more as they grow in size. A "1 carat TCW" with a 0.90 centre and 0.10 carats of accents is worth a lot more than a 0.45 with 0.55 in accents.

 

 

 

While I do not know the "Satiri" diamond, I respectfully disagree with the bolded part above. It takes time for any new cut to gain marketshare, that doesn't mean it's inferior...it's just not very well known. The "old mine cut", "old european cut" and the "round brilliant" where all "new" at some point (the same goes for all other cuts).

 

Bottom line is that you pick what YOU like.

Edited by Dirk Rendel
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There's a pretty direct relationship between quality and price. That is to say, as you move up in one or more of the 4C's, the price moves up with it and as you move down it goes down. You WILL NOT be able to avoid this. That is to say, you will not find a dealer who sells 'better' goods for less money outside of issues of the value add (like financing or warranties) or general market changes (Internet houses are generally cheaper than big boxes which are cheaper than specialty stores which are cheaper than fancy jewelry stores). Mall stores tend to be towards the high end of pricing and they may or may not be at the high end of value-add. Some are and some aren't.  The opposite happens with Internet folks. They tend to be at the bottom of both categories but they vary quite a bit from one dealer to the next.

One of the nice things about the Internet stores is that their prices tend to be fairly transparent after you get beyond the games about lab selection. You can quickly and easily look up what a particular set of specs is going to cost you within a fairly tight range. That gives you a benchmark to use for comparison at the stores to decide what their extra features cost, if any. That doesn't really answer the question of whether they're worth it but it tells you what they cost, which is usually more than the salespeople will say and it gives you a place to start in deciding if it's worth it to you.

I've never heard of Satiri diamond. A casual glance suggest that even Google has never heard of them. That doesn't mean they're bad but it means they are a very small player. What was it you liked about them? What did the salesperson have to say about them that was different?

Edited by denverappraiser
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While I do not know the "Satiri" diamond, I respectfully disagree with the bolded part above. It takes time for any new cut to gain marketshare, that doesn't mean it's inferior...it's just not very well known. The "old mine cut", "old european cut" and the "round brilliant" where all "new" at some point (the same goes for all other cuts).

 

Bottom line is that you pick what YOU like.

Hi Dirk, welcome to DiamondReview. It would help everybody if you put your posts outside of the quote marks... so that it's clear what your point is vs. previous posts that you are just quoting.

 

I entirely agree with your conclusion - pick what you like. Just make sure it is what you like, not what the vendor is pushing.

 

On the branded cuts, apologies if you found my post overly dismissive, but there are two important points supporting my conclusion:

 

1. While changes from OMC to OEC were justified by technology changes (bruting machine), the drive from OEC to "modern round" took a bit over 30 years, and it's practically impossible to find any OECs dated much beyond 1940. There are plenty of "special cuts" that are over 30 years old, and still haven't got any market share to talk of. The only unqualified success has been the princess cut - which was not patented or branded, differently from the Baryon from which it is derived, and I suspect a good part of the success is due to the fact that princess cuts allowed much higher yield (and thus favourable marketing).

 

2. The biggest issue (in my opinion) with most branded cuts is that the sellers tend to make claims that are at the very least not proven, and in some cases can be directly disproved from reasonably objective evidence. E.g. claims that more facets automatically equal more brightness, or that a given cut has much lower leakage than "the best traditional (usually round) cut diamonds".

Edited by davidelevi
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While I do not know the "Satiri" diamond, I respectfully disagree with the bolded part above. It takes time for any new cut to gain marketshare, that doesn't mean it's inferior...it's just not very well known. The "old mine cut", "old european cut" and the "round brilliant" where all "new" at some point (the same goes for all other cuts).

 

Bottom line is that you pick what YOU like.

Hi Dirk, welcome to DiamondReview. It would help everybody if you put your posts outside of the quote marks... so that it's clear what your point is vs. previous posts that you are just quoting.

 

I entirely agree with your conclusion - pick what you like. Just make sure it is what you like, not what the vendor is pushing.

 

On the branded cuts, apologies if you found my post overly dismissive, but there are two important points supporting my conclusion:

 

1. While changes from OMC to OEC were justified by technology changes (bruting machine), the drive from OEC to "modern round" took a bit over 30 years, and it's practically impossible to find any OECs dated much beyond 1940. There are plenty of "special cuts" that are over 30 years old, and still haven't got any market share to talk of. The only unqualified success has been the princess cut - which was not patented or branded, differently from the Baryon from which it is derived, and I suspect a good part of the success is due to the fact that princess cuts allowed much higher yield (and thus favourable marketing).

 

2. The biggest issue (in my opinion) with most branded cuts is that the sellers tend to make claims that are at the very least not proven, and in some cases can be directly disproved from reasonably objective evidence. E.g. claims that more facets automatically equal more brightness, or that a given cut has much lower leakage than "the best traditional (usually round) cut diamonds".

 

Thanks for the warm welcome.

 

Since I am a relatively new member here, I feel it's important to mention that, while I am a Jeweler, I only represent myself on this forum. That being said, let the discussion continue.

 

To point 1:

 

I think you're going about this the wrong way. The reason why choice exists, is because the market demands it.

As an example let's look at cars. There are a plethora of choices and all of them have enough of a market to stay in business, even though one could argue, that many models by different manufacturers are identical in performance as well as fuel consumption, with only the shell looking differently. Heck, if you look at todays cars, I would even argue that most of them even look very much alike. Why all the choices? Well, some want German cars, others Japanese, others still Italian...

 

which brings me to point 2:

 

All of the car companies make claims of superiority. My car is faster, stronger, holds more people, runs on less gas, will make you look sexy....

While it will be difficult to prove or disprove some claims, others are much easier to dismiss. For instance, I know, for a fact, that no car can make me look sexier than I already am. :)

 

Bottom line beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that's why we pick different cars or diamonds.

Edited by Dirk Rendel
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Mmm - I think we are going to agree to disagree on this one. The market does not "demand" choice - demand is for traditional rounds and princesses; the rest is rounding errors. If there were greater demand for non traditional cuts, they would represent a greater share of the offer, precisely because there is a market.

 

Some people think they can generate extra demand by inventing new cuts - the fact that none of them (beyond princess) has gained a significant share is to me an indication that the demand does not exist. Compare it to the aggressive demand-generating marketing of De Beers post WWII - which created the huge diamond market that exists today, and it's pretty clear (to me) that there was latent demand for diamonds (at least in the US and Europe), but that demand is satisfied with the current cuts.

 

All this said, and back to the OP's question, we all agree in the recommendation of "buy what you like" - to which I add: "understand what you are about to buy first".

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Mmm - I think we are going to agree to disagree on this one. The market does not "demand" choice - demand is for traditional rounds and princesses; the rest is rounding errors. If there were greater demand for non traditional cuts, they would represent a greater share of the offer, precisely because there is a market.

 

Some people think they can generate extra demand by inventing new cuts - the fact that none of them (beyond princess) has gained a significant share is to me an indication that the demand does not exist. Compare it to the aggressive demand-generating marketing of De Beers post WWII - which created the huge diamond market that exists today, and it's pretty clear (to me) that there was latent demand for diamonds (at least in the US and Europe), but that demand is satisfied with the current cuts.

 

All this said, and back to the OP's question, we all agree in the recommendation of "buy what you like" - to which I add: "understand what you are about to buy first".

 

 

 

 

Ok, we agree on the final recommendation, including your addendum.

 

I'll agree to disagree, having said that, I don't think I explained the point I was trying to make adequately, so let me try one more time.

 

No demand existed for princess cut diamonds until they where available (and marketed, obviously) and arguably, there are more diamonds sold today, because the cut exists. Please feel free to add other cuts as you choose...radiant, cushion, assher, emerald...etc.

 

If I owned the sole rights of "marquise" cut diamonds (a cut that I really don't like much, but I had to pick one), I would be a millionaire virtually overnight. I call that a significant share of the market.

 

I think (and please correct me, if I'm wrong) that you're paying too much attention on the size of marketshare on any particular cut, rather than the fact that the choices available increase diamond sales as a whole and therefore every new cut has value, since it will attract a customer, that may not have bought otherwise.

 

Am I totally off-base here?

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From my experience I would have to side with Davide on this one, the majority of new cuts seem to be nothing more than marketing ploys. While it could be construed that they offer consumers more choice I find that this would hold more merit if they lasted or gained more recognition in the market, (this is of course assuming that hundreds of years of economic thought holds true that consumers are rational and choose what offers them the most benefit). Rather new cuts tend to be adopted by retailers as they offer a way to differentiate their stock, much like any other branded product we find on the market, in hopes of commanding premium prices from consumers. If these new cuts were such incredible innovations they would garner greater acceptance, like the princess cut, and would be adopted by many manufacturers and wholesalers, which is not the case. The fact that those up the chain haven't adopted them shows me that those with knowledge do not see the benefit in these new cuts.  We are endowed with great advances in diamond grading technology, and if a better cut came along it would be much easier to show evidence of its superiority.

 

 

If I had to compare many of these diamond innovations to something it would be new coke vs classic coke. This is not to say that innovation isn't a great thing or that one day the round brilliant may be completely revolutionized by technology.

But when that happens I would expect wide spread industry acceptance, rather than a solitary retail chain adopting it, to make a few extra dollars off consumers. 

 

I am glad that we can all agree on one important axiom "buy what you like" :) 

 

And great discussion btw, thanks to everyone for participating.

Edited by thediamondshopper
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[snip]

If I owned the sole rights of "marquise" cut diamonds (a cut that I really don't like much, but I had to pick one), I would be a millionaire virtually overnight. I call that a significant share of the market.

[snip]

A-ha, I think this is where the root cause of the "disagreement" lies. Not that I would say "no" to such an arrangement, but let me build a little statistic based on the diamonds advertised on the Diamond Finder here:

 

Total diamonds advertised: 532,000

Of which rounds: 323,000 (61%)

Princess cuts: 67,000 (13%)

Cushions: 44,000 (8%)

Emerald cuts: 21,000 (4%)

Pears: 20,000 (4%)

Radiants: 17,000 (3%)

Marquises: 13,000 (2%)

Ovals: 11,000 (2%)

Asscher cut: 8,000 (<2%)

Hearts: 8,000 (<2%)

Trilliant: 200 (<0.1%)

Non-categorised: 8,000 (<2%)

 

searching on Rapnet or Polygon or any other database would not yield qualitatively different results. Traditional rounds, princess cuts and cushions represent over 80% of volume advertised, and we end at 90% including emerald cuts and pears. In all of this, and non-standard cuts are at most a percent... in terms of overall business volume, a rounding error. Nice business if you can get it, but not significant in the way I was meaning it.

Edited by davidelevi
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The database here is mostly downstream of Rap, Poly and Idex and, in defense of the 'special' cut folks, mostly they don't appear in those database.  Stones flow straight from the cutter to the retailer and the likes of 'crown of light', 'masterpiece', 'celebration' and so on don't get listed.  I agree that they are even collectively a small market share but it's not as small as your methodology would suggest. 

 

By the way, I agree with all of the above in that you should buy what you like.  'Popular' is not a synonym for 'better' any more than having more or fewer facets makes a stone better.

Edited by denverappraiser
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The database here is mostly downstream of Rap, Poly and Idex and, in defense of the 'special' cut folks, mostly they don't appear in those database.  Stones flow straight from the cutter to the retailer and the likes of 'crown of light', 'masterpiece', 'celebration' and so on don't get listed.  I agree that they are even collectively a small market share but it's not as small as your methodology would suggest. 

 

By the way, I agree with all of the above in that you should buy what you like.  'Popular' is not a synonym for 'better' any more than having more or fewer facets makes a stone better.

 

The bolded above is kind of the point I was trying to make. I would add that different is not inferior, it's simply different.

That is what I tried to say, when I made the statement "the market demands choice". I still believe that to be true, since many consumers buy diamonds (and many other things) simply because they are different.

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Total diamonds advertised: 532,000

Of which rounds: 323,000 (61%)

Princess cuts: 67,000 (13%)

Cushions: 44,000 (8%)

Emerald cuts: 21,000 (4%)

Pears: 20,000 (4%)

Radiants: 17,000 (3%)

Marquises: 13,000 (2%)

Ovals: 11,000 (2%)

Asscher cut: 8,000 (<2%)

Hearts: 8,000 (<2%)

Trilliant: 200 (<0.1%)

Non-categorised: 8,000 (<2%)

 

 

Nice Breakdown: Very Nice Davide!

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Dirk Rendel, on 16 Jul 2013 - 10:53 PM, said:snapback.png

[snip]

If I owned the sole rights of "marquise" cut diamonds (a cut that I really don't like much, but I had to pick one), I would be a millionaire virtually overnight. I call that a significant share of the market.

[snip]

 

 

The sole rights....

A significant share of the market....

 

IMO: What nonsense. BLAH BLAH BLAH

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I am going to burn in hell for the rest of eternity and Hermann may very well end up banning me from this site.

However, I will answer ronk on a thread that was just locked:

 

1. Yes they are called multi-testers

 

Which everyone has, of course. What?

 

2. Ok yes, you are wrong. (which is ok) DUH!

 

So be it.

 

3. Just the opposite: Neil is a fine appraiser with a great pedigree.

 

So you are qualified to answer a question, I asked him?

 

4. In another post you called yourself a jeweler, now a diamond dealer. 15 years, 30 years. What's the difference?

 

jew·el·er  
/ˈjo͞oələr/
Noun

A person or company that makes or sells jewels or jewelry.

 

Please learn the terms!

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Dirk. Chill. Ronk is like that. You don't need to be. It takes quite a bit to get Hermann to interfere with a discussion but, when he does, that's a good time to drop it.

 

Ronk. Chill. Tons of threads are full of nonsense and 'what if' sorts of speculation, including a fair number of the ones started by you. Dirk is relatively new here. Give him a break.

 

Kgullett. Sorry for the threadjack. If you're still reading let us know if you have any further questions or want to delve further into the ones you already have.

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Dear Diamond Review Community,

I apologize for my tone in my last interaction on this forum. The “unprofessional remark†was a little out of line and I apologize to Dirk for that.

 

I appreciate the value of this community and sincerely apologize for what I know is clearly unbecoming of me. It will not happen again. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Regards R.K.

 

Edited by ronk15a
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Dear Neil,

I generally call it the way I see it. In regards to your commentary about me making nonsense claims/threads. I agree I have said some, not so intelligent things on here. The difference is: if I’m called out on my stupidity, or recognize it myself, I reflect on it, learn from it, and never feel bad about it. That what learning is all about.....

 

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Actually you always call me out on it, and I appreciate that! Obviously this is going nowhere...so I will end it here. In regards to "Dirk" this business requires you have tough skin, if you say stupid s*** repeatedly. Someone should tell you. In this instance that happen to have been me.
 

Edited by ronk15a
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Dear ronk15a,

 

You have my gratitude for the "oh so sincere" apology that you delivered, that was followed with a post that all but negated your previous one

 

In your last post you proclaimed yourself the expert of sh** , I bow to you and promise to never talk about sh** again, that I know nothing about.

 

/end sarcasm

 

I accept your apology (how ever weak I perceived it to be).

 

Dirk

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