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Radiant Diamond Help!! Engagement *


Rossauce
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Greetings All,

 

Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read my post and offer insight and help! I appreciate more than you will ever know.

 

I am very new to the whole diamond/engagement ring buying process and it is all a bit nerve wracking for me. I am basically in the 11th hour of trying to lock down the stone and ring I want to propose to my girlfriend with. I am planning to propose this 4th of July.

 

That being said, I know what she likes ring and stone wise and I'd love to make her dreams come true by fulfilling that. She is a taller woman with long fingers, so I am doing my best to find a bigger stone (that I can afford), that will look great on her. Sparkle, brilliance and fire are very important to me.

 

She wants a Radiant cut, at least 2 carats, with two trilliant side stones, set in Platinum. A very timeless, classy look. We want the Radiant to sparkle like crazy and have beautiful fire and brilliance.

 

I have had 2 diamond companies working on it, to see which will give me the best stones at the best price.

 

So my big crossroads that I am at is that both have found stones that they say are perfect for what I am looking for in my budget. (My budget is 15-20k). The first guy has a 2.04 Radiant H SI2 with Excellent polish and symmetry and no fluorescence. It measures 8.80 x 6.43 x 4.38. The price for the stone and the side stones and platinum ring all together for him is $19,500. The top view of the diamond on the GIA certificate shows many inclusions. But to the naked eye, he says they are not visible. What I like about it is the rectangular shape at 8.80 makes it look like a bigger diamond than it is.

The second guy has a 2.01 Radiant H SI1 with Good symmetry and Very good polish and no fluorescence. It measures 8.19 x 6.90 x 4.29 mm. The price for the stone and the side stones and platinum setting all together is $17,500. The top view on this one on the GIA cert has no inclusions and is clear. You can only see the inclusions from the bottom of the stone on the GIA cert.

 

My biggest challenge is that I have to do all of this over the internet and phone, because one dealer is in SF and the other in NY and I live far away from both. But they came recommended by family friends, so that is who I have chose to work with. They have certainly given me better price quotes than regular jewelry stores. And I am on a tight timeline to get this done.

 

I've seen both stones and setups in high def photos, but regardless, it is still hard to tell which is the better option. Both have their pros and cons. The 2.04 carat is longer and more rectangular which I like, but the 2.01 is SI 1 (better quality). Also, the 2.01 has no inclusions from the top view on the GIA cert. But one thing I don't understand is it says the girdle is extremely thin to extremely thick. Which one is it? Extremely thin or extremely thick? It doesn't say, it just says extremely thin - extremely thick.

 

Most important to me is that no inclusions are visible to the naked eye, no yellowness is visible to the naked eye and the diamond sparkles with fire.

 

I need to pull the trigger on this soon. Any advice or insight would be GREATLY appreciated!!

 

Thanks again!

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...Any advice or insight would be GREATLY appreciated!!

 

Hi Rossauce,

 

Thanks for a very complete description of your overall project.

 

Here's the issue:  Your job is to make a pie.  But you're assembling everything -- timing, flour, ovens, pan -- without deciding whether it will be rhubarb or blueberry.  You have to back up a little.

 

Just focus on the main stone.  Everything else will fall into place; trust me on this.  You know you want GIA, 2+ carats, H color (or better), hopefully SI1 clarity.  Put those in the diamond finder here.  (Or I could include pricescope.com too, but let's just do one website at a time. :)

 

The good news is, with these parameters you have a lot of room to work with.  For $16721 you can get the following 2-carat loose stone in G / IF clarity from a premium dealer --

 

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/radiant-cut-loose-diamond-3162408.htm

 

-- and that leaves enough in your budget for the side stones and metalwork.  (That's the rest of the PIE. :) )

 

Now let's say this stone just happened to be the apple of your eye and you decided to go with it straightaway.  Then you can buy the setting as well from Whiteflash, or just get the stone overnighted to you to put in a ring from your SF or NY vendor.  Problem solved in a week or two, and now you can go outside and enjoy the June weather.  Happy summer solstice!

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I’m actually inclined to start from the other direction.  Making that particular design is actually a fair amount more difficult than it seems at first blush.  The problem is that radiants come in different overall shapes, the corners are different and the bellies are different.  That means that the prongs and gallery will be different and the piece must be custom made to fit it.  The same applies to trilliants.  This is not rocket science but it’s not an afterthought either.  It's a pretty unusual skill set and the best craftsman may or may not be willing to work with stones that you sourced elsewhere.  Ask.  When I see the deals end up with an unhappy customer, easily 90% of the time the problem has to do with the mounting more than the stones.  

 

The other thing is that the ‘look’ of a radiant has a lot to do with the pavilion geometry, which is a detail that doesn’t appear on the lab docs.  Pictures help with this but they can vary quite a bit depending on the setup used to take the picture so if the photos aren't from the same source (and maybe even if they are), comparing photos is problematic. 

 

With goods like this, mostly the dealers don’t actually own them, they’re sourcing them from an outside 3rd party, and people share a lot of sources.  That adds a layer of inconvenience but it also adds an advantage.  For the most part they’re all working from the same general sources.  Whatever jeweler you choose can probably get whatever stone you choose (with some limits) and you can have them compete against each other on exactly the same stone.

 

Choose your jeweler first, then use them to help you find the stone.  Not the other way around.  The jeweler is your ally, not your opponent here.  Let them choose the trilliants to match the details of the radiant.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Neil's knowledge and experience can't be beat on this!  He sees mostly finished pieces, so he understands how a great idea on paper can be only partially realized when it's set in stone.  Especially with something like radiants.

 

Rossauce, a couple extra thoughts:

 

1.  First, on girdle -- extremely thin has some potential of acquiring damage.  Extremely thick is often wasted weight.  Viewed from the side, a stone like this can seem like a half-deflated souffle.  You should look at this stone very carefully before agreeing to have it put in a ring.  Especially for $20K.  (Look at some animations from the James Allen website to see how an uneven girdle appears when you rotate the stone.)

 

2.  Your well-prepared first comment should be sent to the three premier online vendors, Whiteflash, James Allen, and Brian Gavin, just to see what they can come up with in the way of a completely assembled stone and platinum ring with side stones.  They have (I think) sufficient margin to work with in your budget, and it would be nice for you to have a one-stop shop for everything.  All three compete for the title of best in the industry.  Not to downplay the value of other online vendors, but your particular circumstance is a targeted niche for these three.  You don't have a lot of time, and it needs to be right the first time.

 

3.  If you wind up with an extra 24 hours in your budget, consider making your proposal on Earth Aphelion 2014, which is July 3rd.  (That's when Earth is farthest from the sun in its elliptical orbit; the opposite of its perigee.)  Maybe a little offbeat, but designed to be memorable in its own right. :)

Edited by jginnane
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1) Be careful when extrapolating "valid" knowledge on rounds to fancy cuts. Girdle variability is much less of an issue, and it is practically unavoidable in most non-rounds; the more rectangular the better (or worse!).

 

2) There are plenty of other "premium" vendors in addition to those three, and as Neil points out, the key is getting someone who can make the ring properly. None of the three is particularly focused on displaying their skills in that area.

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1) Be careful when extrapolating "valid" knowledge on rounds to fancy cuts. Girdle variability is much less of an issue, and it is practically unavoidable in most non-rounds; the more rectangular the better (or worse!).

 

2) There are plenty of other "premium" vendors in addition to those three, and as Neil points out, the key is getting someone who can make the ring properly. None of the three is particularly focused on displaying their skills in that area.

 

What i was trying to (politely, diplomatically) say to Rossauce was that for his $20K, he ought to be looking at much better stones than what his two vendors came up with so far.  One's lopsided and the other's fairly nice, but it's an SI2.

 

Now admittedly, I'm looking at it from the perspective that he ought to be focused mostly on the main stone.  The two trillions and a platinum setting might actually cost $7K instead of my budgeted $3K.  (Note: I said cost, not "be worth".)

 

Or, as I suspect, there's a healthy profit pad built in to both of these proposals.

 

Regardless of what the two vendors are charging for the completed assembly over-and-above the main stone, I know that tastes change over time, and there's a non-zero probability the main diamond will be reset in the next 50 years. (Perhaps more like 20.)  When that happens, the setting is often sold for scrap value. The side stones go back in the bin. Is it a better value to write off $7K or $3K?  Is it a better proposition to have a main diamond that in today's price is worth 13K or 17K? 

 

Well, if you read Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, in this hypothetical future diamonds are worth about as much as lead pencils.  Perhaps less, in that they're not as useable by average folk.  However, this is SF, not reality.

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