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Bring Your Own Diamond?


mzoltek
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So I have been doing some research for a few weeks and am always one who researches his purchases.  As you have guessed I am looking to buy an engagement ring, I went to a couple local jewelers and was not impressed with costs.  The last place I went wanted to sell me a .99 carat non GIA certified G-SI1 for 7600, which seems to be around the price from the same diamond GIA certified online.  

 

This lead me to days, and hours of internet research including posts here, multiple loose diamond websites and even this sites Diamond Finder.  I found a round diamond with these specs below, I have deleted the GIA number as it was not valid and I have contacted them in regards to the certificate number and they will email me with the correct info.  This diamond is listed at 8388 dollars and seems like a great diamond for the money.  So 1 is it? if the GIA checks out? what should I look for in the GIA to tip me off to this being a not-so-great deal? and is it really a good idea to bring my own diamond to jewelers?

 

I have my mothers old engagement ring that was appraised at a bailys banks and biddle many moons (about 20 years) ago for I believe around 15-1800.  There is a local jeweler that I was planning to take this to who accepts "trade-ins" and am planning to use the value of the ring to pay for the setting etc.

 

Is this a good route to go? does this save me as much money as I think it does? and is 1.2 a good size stone that will give me a decent amount of setting options?

 

Thank you for any help!

 
Carat Weight:1.20
Cut:Excellent
Color:G
Clarity:SI1
Price($):8647.83
Lab Name:GIA
Certificate No:2XXXXXX
Depth:62.30
Table:57.00
Polish:Excellent
Symmetry:Excellent
Girdle:M-TK
Culet:None
Fluorescence:None
Ratio:0.00
Measurements:
6.76x6.81x4.23
Edited by mzoltek
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Hello mzoltek,

 

There's nothing immediately wrong with the details you've furnished.  However, one or two vendors here seem to have a lot of errors in their input; make sure it's the same stone when they produce it for you.

 

What sort of timeframe are you dealing with?  If you have several months, it's worth it to keep accumulating knowledge and searching the databases.  Diamond prices don't seem to be going up steeply this year.

 

You might find that your local jeweler who accepts trade-ins is really talking about the scrap value of the metal (and very little for the stone).  If he offers you a fraction of the appraised amount, will that alter your plans?  (We're talking $300-400 here.)

 

You are aware of diamond price-per-carat increases, at 1.00, 1.50, and so on.

 

Also -- would you want your intended to be part of the selection process?  It seems to run about 50/50 in posts on this forum.  Some guys like the traditional "pop the question" approach, and like to do it all on their own.  Others -- and I was one -- want to make sure the stone and ring meet the partner's approval before purchase.

 

I spent a lot of time intensively studying what facts I could before we went shopping -- this was 1998 -- but then deferred to her selection.  My only input was a "hard" price cap, including setting and taxes (which was met).

 

Back to your partner's approval, though, you should know at least if she'd prefer a whiter/smaller/cleaner stone, or this G/SI1.  Settings as well are usually very individual choices, and may be factored in to coordinate with the wedding band selections.  (Our settings were very different and did NOT coordinate with the ER, but some people like to put them together.)

 

Good luck.  You've got a bit of work still ahead of you, and you're starting out the process in the right way.

 

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Thanks jginnane,

 

Timeframe is a weird topic, in a perfect world I'd like to have something within 3-4 weeks but if that is not possible then I am fine with waiting a few months until the fall.  Id hope to get a little more for the ring then that, but I am fully expecting it to not be anything significant. 

 

I pretty much know what she wants, we live together she knows it's going to happen so it's not a full blown surprise.  I asked her if she wanted to be a part of it and she wants to have some surprise.  I'm looking basic with a little bit of "flare" I'd like ideally a nice halo setting with a good sized center stone and some good accents just not anything obnoxious which seem to be popular.  I'd like to stay in the 1.1-1.2 size, basically due to the fact that she has stated that she expects more than a 1 ct center stone haha.  Most things I have seen recommend being in the G/SI1 range, would you suggest a different color/clarity to aim for?

 

Thanks for the help!

 

Edit:  In addition, I am going to go to the "trade-in" store this weekend, it local to my house and hard to get to due to their hours.  All of the places I have visited have been local to work, but none do the trade-in.  So I will see what happens, also is it cheaper/better to go this route? or are pre-built engagement rings a better choice?  One advantage I see so far to the online route is lack of sales tax, which is a plus

Edited by mzoltek
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>>> Id hope to get a little more for the ring then that, but I am fully expecting it to not be anything significant. 

 

Well, you have to ask.  And set up in your mind (before you hear the answer) at what price it's just not worth it to surrender a family keepsake.  I wish I had my parents' bands -- they wound up with one of my sisters.

 

>>>  Most things I have seen recommend being in the G/SI1 range, would you suggest a different color/clarity to aim for?

 

I've recommended G / SI1 to a lot of people; it's a good start.  And excellent/very good as the cut quality.  But there's a little bit of work for you to do -- borrow or buy a jeweler's loupe and take a look at some sample stones.  SI1 is normally eye-clean, but at 10x magnification the inside of a good stone can look like an aquarium full of funny little sea monsters.  You're mostly worried about inclusions that break the surface.

 

When you use an online diamond selector, like the one on this website, try to include one or two step-ups (like F as well as G color) to see if there's something near your price range.

>>> ... none do the trade-in.  So I will see what happens, also is it cheaper/better to go this route? or are pre-built engagement rings a better choice?  One advantage I see so far to the online route is lack of sales tax, which is a plus

 

I always factor sales tax in to my calculations.  That's why Amazon is much less attractive this year -- they opened a couple facilities in NJ, so everything is 7% higher.

 

Since you have some time flexibility, I'd suggest looking at pre-owned stones.  A couple days ago there was a post in the Classified section of this website about a nice Tiffany 1.06 F / VS1 w/platinum which nominally seems out of your budget, but the owner/seller indicated some flexibility on price.  (I doubt that your partner would not want a Tiffany ring.)

 

Ebay is an obvious choice too -- the difference is you're mostly buying from private individuals rather than merchants, or at least those are the stones/rings you should be looking for.  If you're extremely careful and use a credit card, it is definitely possible to find a good GIA-graded deal there.  (And much more likely than finding any EGL deal that's a real value.)

 

The reason?  There's no organized consumer aftermarket for diamonds, so Ebay is the best thing possible for "desperate" sellers.  If you're confident enough with your diamond knowledge, you're going to get that 30% haircut, not some reseller.  Any uncertainty can be further reduced by using a service like escrow.com to facilitate the transaction, giving you a few days to have an independent appraisal done.

 

The satisfaction of buying a ring or stone through Ebay at a substantial discount, and having it all work out, can be huge ... like awarding yourself a gold star in Internetting. :)

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I have spent hours on ebay.  I'm surprised that their loose stones are not as discounted as expected but I have not really looked too much into pre-owned stones, I will look at those as well before I head to this store on saturday.

 

Thanks again!

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I have spent hours on ebay.  I'm surprised that their loose stones are not as discounted as expected but I have not really looked too much into pre-owned stones, I will look at those as well before I head to this store on saturday.

 

Loose stones likely indicate a dealer. Rings *may* indicate a private owner -- you have to check the description; "auction" versus "buy it now" is more likely.  See if the item has been relisted -- by the 3rd attempt, even a third-party seller is more flexible.  Start a discussion with the seller to get the docs/info you need in advance, before the sale ends.  Of course, NEVER bid on Ebay until the final 3-10 seconds. ;p

 

You may also find better success with branded jewelry, because (for example) Tiffany owners are uncomfortably aware how the outside market views their premium purchases.  Online is hit-or-miss, but if you are willing to spend the time, it can be rewarding.

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Been looking more at assembled rings.

 

This stone seems like a great price. Although the GIA has a crystal in the center so I'd imagine why the price seems so low? is that a concern?

 

http://www.b2cjewels.com/dd-5175219-1.08-carat-Round-diamond-G-color-SI1-clarity.aspx

 

 

I love this setting they offer, and am considering ordering a ring directly from b2c, which I only found from this site.

 

http://www.b2cjewels.com/Diamond-Accent-Settings/Vintage-Style-Halo-Diamond-Engagement-Ring-14K-White-Gold-6183-1.aspx

 

Any thoughts either way? I'm close to chatting with them to see if I can make an offer lower than the total price :)

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You're going to have a chance to inspect and return the stone before it's mounted, so I wouldn't rule this one out.  And they also have this "Try It For Free" replica setting they'll send you, which beats the CAD/CAM drawing.  Price seems quite high for pave' and 14K WG, but to each their own.

 

One of the 4 diamonds I bought this year was from B2C, and they have a physical presence on 46th St. in NYC that I haven't been to.  Not a premium dealer, but good values.  They take terrible photos though, so don't waste your time asking.

 

 

You know, this price you're willing to pay is nearly spitting distance of that Tiffany+platinum ring already mentioned.  The seller's name in this website is Cherry.  Not wanting to beat a dead horse on this, but it would solve two separate needs (to my very simple mind).

 

If it's any help, I live halfway between NYC and Atlantic City, and could possibly facilitate.  Let me know.  (If you show the ad to your partner, you know she's going to say yes. :) )

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This stone seems like a great price. Although the GIA has a crystal in the center so I'd imagine why the price seems so low? is that a concern?

 

http://www.b2cjewels.com/dd-5175219-1.08-carat-Round-diamond-G-color-SI1-clarity.aspx

 

Well, the bad news is it seems to me there are a total of 4 crystals, not one.

 

The good news is that you need to mentally visualize just how big these are.  (Hint: not very.)  Blow up the GIA inclusion chart as large as you can, then put a scale on it to represent the 6.5 mm diameter.

 

The big caveat is that prices are set by people with a lot more expert knowledge than you and I, and they have the actual stones in front of them.  If they think a stone is worth $6,000 per carat, that's because that's where it fits in the pricing hierarchy.  A similar-sized stone selling for $14,000 is also able to be slotted very precisely next to all the others, based on the 4C criteria.

 

In a perfect market you don't find "values", but rather you find stones that are more or less acceptable to you for the characteristics they have.  That is ... your sensitivity to the things, whether inclusions, or color, or cut.

 

Its quite different with buying settings.  Remember that maybe 90% of the total value of your purchase is going to be in that center stone.

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Thanks for the tip, I decided against that stone and am highly leaning towards the stone I mentioned here

[...]  Seems too good to be true though which is always a concern....

 

When I was shopping for the 4 different stones I needed to complete a set, I'd "fall in love" with a bunch of them, consecutively.  Usually after sleeping on it, I'd awaken to find a new batch of great interest.  This cycle would repeat more times than I want to admit, but eventually I was able to hone my interests.  It helps if you give yourself a deadline.

 

HOWEVER, you ought to know that you'll keep tweaking the search engines over and over until you do come to a choice.  You'll forget which stones were on your short list, and which had been discarded.  You'll flip back and forth over things like symmetry, fluorescence, and ranking which inclusions you'd consider acceptable.

 

Part of this is a learning process; every day you spend looking you'll understand better why a particular stone happens to be cut in just that way and priced exactly so.

 

The setting thing is where no one here can help you.  Platinum is better; melee adds cost but not much value.  There's a good chance whatever setting you buy is going to be replaced in your lifetime, and the old one sold as scrap.  (This is why using your knowledge on used rings is particularly apt.)

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melee adds cost but not much value.

Typical case where "value" is in the eye of the beholder - if you are referring to resale value, you may well be right (though a nice looking ring may be easier to resell). If you are referring to "I like this and not that", completely different story, and personal preferences are a perfectly legitimate source of value.

 

I also disagree that "on average" whatever setting one buys is going to end up being replaced, however much I'd like that to be the case. Most couples buy one engagement ring and that's it; when people upgrade, the number of people that upgrade or replace just the setting is minimal - most upgrades involve the stone and the setting ends up being changed as a result.

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I have done TONs and TONs of searching over the last few days (I'm that way when I make any large purchase).  And as mentioned above am fully aware that I can get a little more for a little more money, as mentioned that there is not much of a discount when it comes to such a purchase.  You can always spend a little more to get a little more when it comes to diamonds, but you eventually need to stop somewhere and pull the trigger.  I wanted to maximize what I get in my budget, I chose the diamond that I mentioned due to the size, cut, clarity, and ultimately eye cleanliness (saw many photos of the diamond, and it was only certified a week ago so it's "new" and I don't think would last long personally).  Going with this diamond allowed me to ultimately get the setting I first wanted with a diamond the size and look I wanted.  So while in the end, it may not be an "amazing deal" or have 3-4 thousand extra dollars of resale value.  It got me the exact ring I was looking for, and will look how I imagined it to be when I started this... HOPEFULLY lol.

 

Thank you all for the tips and advice, not only on this post, but all as I have retained a lot of information from this great site from other posts as well.  Compared to when I started this process, I'd say I'm a diamond expert !! (but not really) :)

Edited by mzoltek
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