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Help On My Upgrade - Can I Get What I Want In This Price Range?


candace717
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For our 5 year anniversary, my husband is letting me upgrade to a real diamond.  Right now I am enjoying a round moissanite, equivalent to a 1.1 ct. I love the sparkle, but there is a yellow tone and while I'm at it I wouldn't mind going a big larger.  What I am looking for is a clear, white, bright, super sparkly round stone, anywhere from 1.25-1.5 cts.  We are willing to go up to 15k, but would like to stay as far below that as possible while still getting a diamond to love for a lifetime.

 

At the first jeweler, I was told my setting won't go to bigger than a 1.25 ct stone, but then at Jared's they said if I went with a Leo diamond, the way it is cut they could make it work with a 1.56 ct stone.  Then they backtracked and and said they could fit a regular 1.5 ct diamond in there, too.  (The setting is Simon G MR1395 see http://goldandgems.com/mr1395-18k-white-gold-ladies-engagement-ring-from-simon-g/) 

 

The Leo diamond they showed me is 15k.  I love the size, the clarity and sparkle are great, but it is much darker than what I wanted.  They say it is a G but it looks pretty dark.  Both jewelers told me that darkness is influenced by cut not color. I was also told that I couldn't get the white look in a diamond that big. Then he showed me a whiter diamond, but it wasn't as clear and he said it is only white because it is hazy and to get a white diamond in that size I have to sacrifice clarity and fire.  This sounds not quite right to me.

 

The GSI report on the Leo diamond we bought says:

Measurements - 7.49-7.47 x 4.65

1.59 Cts

Depth 62.2%  Table 55% Girdle- Slightly thick, faceted  Cutlet- none

Polish- Very Good  Symmetry- Good  (I was told that the rating doesn't get better than that on a Leo diamond because it is a special cut so the standards don't apply.  This also sounded off).

Clarity- SI 2

Color - G

Fluorescence- None

 

Gemex light performance report was very high on all counts.

 

It seems like I am limited by what jewelers have on hand so I am looking to buy a couple online to compare to the Leo as I have 30 days to return it if I find a whiter brighter one or one for a better price.  

 

For example, I'm looking at :  http://www.bluenile.com/diamond-search?pt=sig#diamonds_pid=LD04375078

 

 

Sorry for writing a novel here, but this is the largest purchase we've made outside our home and it is frustrating to wonder if we are paying more than we planned for less than we wanted, or if we could find better and at a price that doesn't hit the pocketbook so hard.

 

post-134280-0-45654600-1400827634_thumb.jpg

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You’ve got several issues here.  Pricing the diamond is pretty easy using the ‘diamond shopper’ link at the top of the page.  Most local stores are a little more pricey than the folks who advertise here but your budget is plenty.   I’m sure there will be more discussion on this coming up.

 

The mounting is a tricky problem.  With enough work, nearly anything can be done but it’s not a particularly easy job to put a bigger stone in that ring in a quality way.  The problem is that the prongs have been cut to set your existing stone and even ignoring the size problem are probably going to need to be replaced.  Since it’s integrated into the ring, this is tricky. Then there's the shape.  The ring in your link is for a princess cut and the stones you're looking at are round.  Is that correct?  It’s just work, and a sufficiently skilled jeweler with the right tools can do just about anything, but we're talking about a major retrofit of the ring here.   Pick your jeweler carefully and expect this to cost many hundreds of dollars for the setting job.  This is not a job for some teenager working at the mall.

 

Your salespeople have dabbled in cutting topics but it’s both way simpler and more complicated than they are making it.  Darkness, for example, has a tremendous amount to do with lighting.  Again, shape makes a big difference here.  As with the above, I’m sure there will be more discussion on this but simply buying  a Leo branded stone does NOT address this.  Some are good and some are not. By the way, polish and symmetry are not the same thing as cut. I would not recommend relying on GSI anyway, and their scale for these things tops out at ‘excellent’, not ‘good’ as your sales person told you.  That’s 3 important misses in the same sentence.  Yikes.

Edited by denverappraiser
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I think the jewellers you talked to should change job, and produce fertiliser instead. They seem to be quite good at it.

 

At the first jeweler, I was told my setting won't go to bigger than a 1.25 ct stone, but then at Jared's they said if I went with a Leo diamond, the way it is cut they could make it work with a 1.56 ct stone.  Then they backtracked and and said they could fit a regular 1.5 ct diamond in there, too.  (The setting is Simon G MR1395 http://goldandgems.com/mr1395-18k-white-gold-ladies-engagement-ring-from-simon-g )

No answer to that one without seeing the ring, measuring things and being quite good at bench jewellery. However:

 

1. There is no reason why if it fits a 1.50 Leo it won't fit a 1.50 traditional cut round.

 

2. Everything can be done - spending enough money. The question is at what point you end up spending less by buying a new setting, and at what point does a setting that has been very much altered stop being "your original setting" to become something else.

 

(3. ETA: Neil is quite good at bench jewellery. He is confirming what I suspected in terms of how easy or not the job would be.)

 

The Leo diamond they showed me is 15k.  I love the size, the clarity and sparkle are great, but it is much darker than what I wanted.  They say it is a G but it looks pretty dark.  Both jewelers told me that darkness is influenced by cut not color.

That may be true, but it depends on what you and they mean by "darkness". In any case, colour should have no impact on the ability of the diamond to reflect light until you get into Fancy Dark territory...

 

I was also told that I couldn't get the white look in a diamond that big.

Again, this might be true... but it depends on what you mean by "white look". The bigger a diamond is, the more it reflects of its environment (of which light sources occupy a small part, unless you are in full sunlight...) so a larger diamond will look darker; moreover, a larger diamond will reflect light back over a broader angle, and less will be directed towards your eye. Two points to note here as well:

 

1. This has to do with the amount of light reflected back, not its colour. You seem to imply that "darker" to you means more coloured (or "less white").

 

2. The difference between 1.10 and 1.50 is insignificant from that point of view. So you shouldn't expect a 1.50 to be less bright than your current moissanite just because of size.

 

Then he showed me a whiter diamond, but it wasn't as clear and he said it is only white because it is hazy and to get a white diamond in that size I have to sacrifice clarity and fire.  This sounds not quite right to me.

"This sounds not quite right" is the very polite way of putting it. There is no reason - other than budget, possibly - that you should have a 1.50 ct diamond that looks "dark", whether by dark you mean tinted or whether by dark you mean not bright (or both at the same time!)

 

The GSI report on the Leo diamond

...cannot be relied upon in terms of clarity and colour, and probably of the other grades too. It may not matter to you if you like the diamond in any case, but it does make any fair comparison a lot more difficult.

 

Polish- Very Good  Symmetry- Good  (I was told that the rating doesn't get better than that on a Leo diamond because it is a special cut so the standards don't apply.  This also sounded off).

You continue being very polite. There is no reason why polish or symmetry grades should be different on custom cuts and traditional ones. What the grades measure has nothing to do with a specific faceting pattern - they measure the extent to which a pattern - whatever it is - has been cut and finished accurately.

 

Gemex light performance report was very high on all counts.

Which would be great if anyone other than Gemex understood what "very high" means. Gemex is totally non-transparent as to what they measure (saying "the amount of light reflected" doesn't get very far on my books - which light, at which angles?) and - at least until a couple of years ago - the repeatability of Gemex measurements was quite low: you could get the same stone with two rather different readings even on the same machine, just by taking the stone off and then putting it back on the platform.

 

It seems like I am limited by what jewelers have on hand so I am looking to buy a couple online to compare to the Leo as I have 30 days to return it if I find a whiter brighter one or one for a better price.

If your credit card limit (or cash availability) stretches that much, this is a great idea.

 

[snip] if we could find better and at a price that doesn't hit the pocketbook so hard.

A lot depends on what you mean by "better". Comparing a Leo (or other custom cut) with a traditional cut is difficult because they will look different. This said, my vote goes pretty much always to the traditional cut, and the custom cut is usually more expensive (doubly so when one takes into account the unreliability of the colour and clarity grading).

 

From what you have said, I would not try to go higher in colour than G, but make sure that the diamond is graded by GIA or AGS (so that G is effectively colourless), and instead focus on getting the best possible cut. For example, check out these two:

 

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamond/diamond-detail/?product_id=AGS-104071372001

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamond/diamond-detail/?product_id=AGS-104069928026

Edited by davidelevi
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Candace717 >> Sorry for writing a novel here, but this is the largest purchase we've made outside our home and it is frustrating to wonder if we are paying more than we planned for less than we wanted, or if we could find better and at a price that doesn't hit the pocketbook so hard.

 

From what you have said, I would not try to go higher in colour than G, but make sure that the diamond is graded by GIA or AGS (so that G is effectively colourless), and instead focus on getting the best possible cut. For example, check out these two:

http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamond/diamond-detail/?product_id=AGS-104071372001
http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamond/diamond-detail/?product_id=AGS-104069928026

 

Hello, Candace717,

 

I'm a fellow purchaser who wandered in to this forum a few months ago to replace 2 pairs of earrings which were lost/stolen.  I've now gotten the last of my stones, as of a few days ago, so I'll be finishing up with active posting involvement here as soon as they're set.

 

I've learned a lot about diamond metrics during this time, and have come to appreciate the skill, precision and ethics of the professional jewelers who post here.  That being said ... what you have brought to this forum today is an all-too-typical example of what happens when an intelligent person tries to have a fair transaction with a certain large retail chain in the USA.  The task of the posters here is to (gently!) try to disentangle you from what you have been fed.

 

In the specifics of your case, here's my suggestions --

 

1.  Retire your moissanite ring intact.  You have a deep emotional attachment to it.  Keep it that way!  Some day your children or grandchildren will have the joy of discovering this in your safe deposit box.

 

2.  Davide's two suggestions are bulletproof, some of the "best of the best" stones from an online dealer (Brian Gavin) who specializes in superior cut stones.  Color G, SI1 clarity, 1.5 carat range is right around the 15K mark, with some over, some less. On the Brian Gavin website, all those funny extra pictures are from technical instruments demonstrating WHY and HOW these offerings give you the bright / fire / scintillating qualities you want in your stone.

 

3.  Unless you have rare tastes, allocate no more than $2K to a new setting (and skip the side diamonds).  The value of a new, complete ring is almost entirely in the stone (plus the scrap or melt-down value of the metal).

 

4.  You can use the diamond finder on this website to check other criteria.  First -- it's safest to use GIA or AGS grading for consistency.  (There are a lot of threads on this forum as to WHY.)

 

If you want a round, internally flawless (IF) D-color excellent-cut stone, for example, 15K buys a stone around .90 carat.  If you drop color or clarity grades, you can get a bigger stone.  Generally, G-color and Si1 clarity are the "sweet spot" in pricing, almost colorless and eye-clean.  And insist on an excellent (or no worse than very-good) cut to get the lively reaction to light you're looking for.

 

5.  I'd say to take the piece you have back to Jared immediately, but you're already halfway out to the car anyways.  Your instincts are indeed correct. :)

 

For 15K they'll only show you what's in stock at the store in the mall?  Heck, I've bought 4 stones from around the world in the last few months. They were all a lot cheaper than that. (Total expenditure this time about $12K.)  Excellent, knowledgeable service is surprisingly affordable.

 

Online buying is a great experience.  In addition to Brian Gavin, consider offerings from James Allen and Whiteflash if you are looking for superior (best-performing) diamonds.  Other online vendors tend to have a wide mix of cuts, from premium down to low American standard grade.  You can find good stones there (aside from the three premium vendors) but then you have to take time to understand the metrics, and I hate to say, but it's pretty dry stuff.  A ring is a more demanding viewing environment than diamonds worn as earrings, and that's why cut is so important.

 

 

 

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I am so grateful for all your feedback!  I am calling Jared's first thing this morning before they get hacking away at my setting to let them know deal's off.  It felt like a lot of money (more than both our cars combined!) to spend and have to make concessions on the look.

 

Neil, I found pictures of the correct setting with the round stone.  Here is the google image search - https://www.google.com/search?q=mr1395+round&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS475US475&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=3FB_U-_hPNC2yATPgIKIAQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&biw=1164&bih=818#q=mr1394&tbm=isch&imgdii=_

 

I think the idea of retiring the ring whole and springing for a new setting could be the way to go.  The hang up is my husband, he picked this setting and is rather attached.  I think perhaps if we go with another Simon G that will be a good balance.

 

With the Brian Gavin site, several of the diamonds rated SI1 you can see the black specks in their magnified 360 video and in the photos.  Are those visible to the naked eye on the actual diamond? 

 

Also, while we're debunking what jewelers have told me... I was told not to upgrade to the platinum version of my setting because it wears like pewter and will be about as much of a hassle to maintain as the every-6 month rhodium dips are that I am currently needing. Thoughts?

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I think the idea of retiring the ring whole and springing for a new setting could be the way to go.  The hang up is my husband, he picked this setting and is rather attached.  I think perhaps if we go with another Simon G that will be a good balance.

 

The web page you provided shows all the Simon G's.  Beautiful work. Maybe, if I can say this without sounding too schmaltzy, you can keep the moissanite ring intact and just wear it for those "Cialis moments" (like a signal, IOW).

 

 

With the Brian Gavin site, several of the diamonds rated SI1 you can see the black specks in their magnified 360 video and in the photos.  Are those visible to the naked eye on the actual diamond?

 

Not unless you have Supervision, like 200/20.  Those website images are magnified 30-40X so you can see what the inclusions are.  BG and the other 2 websites will usually certify an SI1 stone as "eye-clean".

 

On the marquise rock we bought, for example, the feather and twinning wisp look like the root system for an oak tree under 10x magnification.  (You cannot see anything at all with your naked eyes.  Very typical for SI1s.  The time when you want to upgrade to better clarity is with flat step cuts, like an emerald or Asscher-cut stone, because inclusions are more noticeable with those.

 

 

Also, while we're debunking what jewelers have told me... I was told not to upgrade to the platinum version of my setting because it wears like pewter and will be about as much of a hassle to maintain as the every-6 month rhodium dips are that I am currently needing.

 

No maintenance issues at all with platinum; it wears to a soft lustre.  See my 16-year old wedding band in the other current thread, Worried About Ebay Purchase Of Diamond Ring.

 

 

Candace, I would suggest you spend time exploring older threads on this forum.  There's a wealth of knowledge free for the taking.  I can't guarantee your "Diamond IQ" will increase by a point or 2 for every hour you spend just reading, but an evening or two browsing these comments will equip you MUCH better to deal with the Jareds of the world.

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With the Brian Gavin site, several of the diamonds rated SI1 you can see the black specks in their magnified 360 video and in the photos.  Are those visible to the naked eye on the actual diamond?

Call Brian and ask him... one advantage of shopping diamonds that dealers own is that they can tell you what they are like: not quite like seeing for yourself, but much better than going blind.

 

Also, while we're debunking what jewelers have told me... I was told not to upgrade to the platinum version of my setting because it wears like pewter and will be about as much of a hassle to maintain as the every-6 month rhodium dips are that I am currently needing. Thoughts?

Short answer: more fertiliser.

 

Longer answer: platinum doesn't wear much and certainly not as pewter, which is rather soft; it acquires a patina made of small scratches which can get soft and grey-ish - which I find much more attractive than scratched/partly unplated gold, but that's me and there are people who prefer the harder look of gold.

 

Here is a rather battered 13 year old platinum band (admittedly in a very hard platinum alloy, but never re-polished in all this time, and worn absolutely each and every day) where you can see the satiny/grey effect:

DSCF0851-Copy2_zpsf14ae7d3.jpg

 

and a close-up of the same ring, showing how battered it really is:

DSCF0851-Copy_zps2be7a25e.jpg

 

I don't know if this makes a case for platinum, but hopefully it relieves some anxiety.

Edited by davidelevi
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