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Question Re: Optimal Specs For .90 Carat Round


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Hello!  I'm coming in knowing nothing about diamonds, I've done a bit of browsing and reading, and have come up with the following specs for a stone for a custom engagement ring:



.90 carat

VS2 (or should I consider SI1 at this size, depending on where the inclusions lay?)


Depth % close to 60% (supposedly close to ideal)

Table % close to 59% (supposedly ideal)

Fluorescence - don't care.

Will be on platinum pave ring, possibly with small sapphires next to it (smaller than traditional 3-stone setting).


In consideration of getting a beautiful diamond on a middle-class income, how do these specs hold up for scrutiny?  Anywhere you think I ought to compromise?  I'm certain certain variables offset others or can be countervailing, so any and all enlightenment is much appreciated.


I suppose the only trouble for price (aiming for <$6k) is that I am trying to do a custom engagement ring (will be getting one estimate via findmyjeweler, another via referral to private/concierge jeweler in another state, and another via referral to local jeweler), and their pricing may be above what I've found on pricescope.  How can I best attempt to get prices in line with what I see online?


Unfortunately for my search, I am looking at proposing maybe 3-4 weeks out.  So as for the alternate approach, that's limiting for trying to purchase online, take to an appraiser (any recommendations in Arlington, VA?), and take to a jeweler for custom build.  Speaking of which, is there any etiquette I should be aware of in taking a diamond to a jeweler to have a custom build?


Edit addendum:  if, due to apparent availability issues of .90-.99 carat stones (due to high demand in that price point), I were to go with 1.00 carat, SI1, and otherwise equivalent specs... what are the thoughts on that clarity for that size?


Many thanks for your time and such an incredible resource of knowledge!

Edited by roadhouse
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Specs are fine, other than table and depth. Ignore depth; it's taken care of by the (GIA/AGS) cut grade. Table: if you like large tables, 59% or thereabouts is fine; I prefer (much) smaller. That doesn't make me right, but it doesn't make 59% right either - it's a matter of personal preference.


You may also want to look at H colour, particularly if budget gets stretched. The difference is minimal - but go out and look at some before you decide (same advice for clarity and cut; not everything is visible, and not everyone likes or even sees things the same way).


SI1 is OK, whether above or below 1.00; it may cause you a few more problems in terms of making sure the inclusions are not visible. The vast majority of SI1 are clean for most people in practical circumstances, but people's sensitivity and visual acuity differ. Get a vendor that can see and vet stones for you, or even better someone who owns the stock (and therefore has it in house): faster and more reliable than having to wait for people to call stones in.


Final point on specs is about grading labs: GIA is a good choice, but AGS is too: stay with their cut grade between 0 and 2, and you'll be fine.


In terms of setting price, I'm not sure what you have found on Pricescope (are you sure? last time I looked, they were a venue for advertising diamonds, not jewellery, much less custom-made settings), but by and large you get what you pay for. This said, and regardless of where you have seen your reference prices, custom-made pieces will be more expensive than made-to-standard-stock (all else being equal), unless the made-to-stock brand has a particularly high reputation.


Actually, "Online" is not that much of a constraint, if you plan things properly - shipping from one part of the US to (almost) any other part is 24 hrs, so the most you lose in sending things to a jewellery maker somewhere else is 2 days.


Etiquette-wise, let them know you are in a hurry upfront. Some people may be able to reschedule their workload; some may not and you are better off knowing earlier rather than later; it's also much nicer than someone quoting a "3 weeks" off the cuff, and then prioritising someone else's work instead (because it is also urgent), just to be shouted at with 3 days to go...


To your added point: the scarcity of 0.9x diamonds is not much to do with their high popularity; it's due to price/carat jumping up by 20-50% when weight hits 1 carat, so cutters tend not to cut to proportions that result in not hitting the threshold. The real problem is that the premium on nice cuts is around the 30%+ mark... which may put things out of budget compared to a 0.9x even when downgrading clarity to SI1.


One thing with which I cannot help is a personal recommendation for an appraiser in or near Arlington - but looking at Neil's advice here may help (and of course HE may know someone).

Edited by davidelevi
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Davide - thank you for your prompt and very informative reply.  I'll definitely take the information and recommendations to heart.


WRT price found on PriceScope, I should clarify that I was referring only to the diamond itself, and not including the custom ring it will be placed in.  Though I've just discovered they have a beta jewelry search, but not as immediately useful as one might like.


Here's a dumb question:  why are the digital facsimiles of GIA certificates different from the full ones, which have the plotting image/reference diagram?


Thanks again!

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GIA issues two types of report on D-Z colour diamonds: a Diamond Grading Report, which has the plot, and a Diamond Dossier, which hasn't, but comes with a laser inscription of the report number included in the price. The Dossier is about $25 cheaper, so many cutters, particularly large ones, go for that on diamonds below 2 carats.


Thanks for clarifying re: PS; my remark on "remote" buying remains; same day shipping is perfectly possible, as long as you pay with a credit card and the dealer has the diamond in stock. Drop-shippers like Blue Nile may take a couple of days longer to ship.

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As far as creating a custom ring is concerned, giving your jeweler your deadline up front is critical.  Keep in mind that a design can take a few days to perfect and then can take a couple of weeks to create.  Very little can be done on the design side until you have the center stone to work with, or at least exact measurements.  All this to say that you are under a little pressure to start working on this.  If you have a sketch or an image of what you are ultimately aiming for, this can be of great help in the creative process.  As I create custom pieces every day, I can tell you that the design process is not always as quick as you would assume.  Working with CAD helps but tweaking it can take time.  Keep this in mind as you move forward.


I hope this helps

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