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Thoughts On Spending £15K ($22K) On A Ring With An 1.2Ct E Vs1 Old Mine Cut Diamond (With Gia Certificate)


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Hi there,


Firstly having had a browse through this site and the forum it seems I've stumbled upon a pretty awesome place frequented by some interesting and knowledgeable people!


I know and I understand that buying an engagement ring is an emotional purchase and not one that can be entirely framed in terms of logic and reason. To explain my situation briefly, I am not engaged but plan on popping the question to my very lovely girlfriend of 9 years at some stage this year. She had hinted previously that she wouldn't want to be surprised with a ring, and hence we've been doing some browsing of shops in London in a purely 'theoretical' way. Trying on different things etc, just to get a feel for things. There is one ring in particular which we tried on which has left quite an impression on us both.


The ring in question is a solitaire ring with a 1.2ct E VS1 old mine cut diamond accompanied by another 0.25ct of single cut diamonds. The diamond is accompanied with a GIA certificate. It is undoubtedly a beautiful old stone which is full of fire and interest, and it is set in a quite lovely new hand engraved band.


My one reservation, and perhaps it is a silly one, is the price. For the price, is the diamond too small? When I look on the likes of Blue Nile, or indeed in the shop windows of Hatton Garden, modern stones of a similar size, colour and clarity seem to sell for in the region of £5k and I believe that the band, no matter how beautiful, will only ever be a small part of the asking price. Now granted, I know there is a difference between an antique diamond and a modern stone. We are both drawn to the slight sense of mystery associated with a stone that has been around and has a story to tell, and was once hand crafted, rather than what feels like a slightly more mass produced modern stone. But I'm keen for a more objective steer.


We found the ring in question in a part of London which is not exactly the sort of shopping environment you go to for a bargain. But that not withstanding, however much I like the ring, I would hate to feel I was being ripped off.


So I suppose the question is simple. Based solely on the description above, is the asking price ridiculously high? Or is it within / towards the top of what you would consider a reasonable range?


Thank you very much in advance for any thoughts / input.



Edited by skins85
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Hi Ted, welcome to DiamondReview!


Not a silly reservation at all - not least because it really does sound expensive. Generally speaking, old cuts go for a discount compared to modern cuts, although finding high colour and clarity old cuts of a decent size has become difficult (many have been re-cut into more modern styles), and diamonds cut today but with an old style faceting tend to go for a premium instead. This said, let's take away 20% VAT and $3000 for a really good quality (yet simple) platinum setting, and you are left with about $15-16k for the stone itself. 


This is about twice as much as the best modern cushions will go for when retailed by fairly aggressive internet-based sellers in the US: http://www.diamondreview.com/diamonds/?sortOrder=price&sortDesc=1&fShape=Cush&fCaratLo=1.20&fCaratHi=1.25&fColorLo=E&fColorHi=E&fClarityLo=VS1&fClarityHi=VS1&fCutLo=&fCutHi=poor&fDepthLo=50.0&fDepthHi=80.0&fTableLo=40.0&fTableHi=80.0&fSymLo=&fSymHi=poor&fPolLo=&fPolHi=poor&fCulLo=&fCulHi=vlarge&fFlrLo=&fFlrHi=vstrong&fPriceLo=0&fPriceHi=1000000&fLabGIA=1&fLabAGS=1&adv=1


In fact, $15-16k is right at the top of what similarly graded modern cut round stones go for: http://www.diamondreview.com/diamonds/?sortOrder=price&sortDesc=1&fShape=Rnd&fCaratLo=1.20&fCaratHi=1.25&fColorLo=E&fColorHi=E&fClarityLo=VS1&fClarityHi=VS1&fCutLo=&fCutHi=poor&fDepthLo=50.0&fDepthHi=80.0&fTableLo=40.0&fTableHi=80.0&fSymLo=&fSymHi=poor&fPolLo=&fPolHi=poor&fCulLo=&fCulHi=vlarge&fFlrLo=&fFlrHi=vstrong&fPriceLo=0&fPriceHi=1000000&fLabGIA=1&fLabAGS=1&adv=1


Note that (for example) the 4th stone from the top is also a definite "hand crafted" object, since Brian retails stones cut by himself under his "Signature" line. This is not to enter the debate of whether today's "hand-crafted" is in any way better or worse than yesterday's - just to point out that there are still items that are a little bit special being produced today (and being retailed at a premium price!).


It is also fair to say that running a jewellery shop (pardon me, boutique) in the West End of London (I assume) has costs that are significantly higher than running an internet-only or internet-mostly diamond retailing business in the US - and these costs need to be somehow reflected in the price.


So, is it ridiculously high? It is more than high enough that it would give me pause. Then again, the real issue is that finding another E/VS1 1.20 genuine old cut may well be rather difficult, and if you (she) have fallen in love with that one you may be in a difficult predicament.

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I second everything Davide has said so eloquently.  The bottom line is that the ring as described is very expensive and in theory, with some legwork, you could purchase something extremely similar for substantially less.  That said, how much legwork will be required and how much is it worth to you.  Unfortunately this would be a very difficult question to answer for anybody but yourself.  Just to see how difficult this could get, I called a friend of mine who deals exclusively in old mine and old European cuts.  He had nothing comparable in stock but did have an old European 1.2 ESI1 priced at $7,400 for just the stone.  So your quest would take some work, but it is not an impossible task.

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Thank you Davide and George for your really thoughtful  and interesting comments. I have a friend who works in the jewellery business in London who is going to go and have a look at the ring with a more critical eye than I am capable of applying. Then, somewhat frighteningly, I'll be on my own to make a decision.


It's probably fair to say that the asking price of £15k is an opening price. They have suggested there may be some flexibility.


PS Davide you were spot on, the shop is indeed in the West End.

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Just to keep people updated, I've asked the jeweller to put the ring to one side and I'll be going back over the weekend to probably make my final decision. They've provided me with a copy of the GIA certificate for the stone and it makes what I think is quite pleasing reading; very good polish, very good symmetry, table 58%, depth 59%, thin-thick facet and a slightly large cutlet.


I think if there's some wiggle room on price I might be committing to it... 

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Just to round out the thread, I dropped into the shop on Saturday morning and finalised the purchase for 15% under the original asking price. I know that leaves the price I paid towards the high end, but my girlfriend is going to be ecstatic and I can sleep knowing what I've paid, so it's all good! A few photos attached.


Now to plan how I will pose the crucial question...



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