Taking the plunge....HELP!

  1. Hi everyone,
    I am usually on this site to drool over purses....but I thought I would come to this section to ask a few questions....

    I will be graduating University in April & for my graduation gift from my parents, they want to get me a classic pair of diamond studs that i can wear forever.
    I know I want screwbacks & a platinum setting....& each earring to be 0.40 - 0.60 carats each.

    My questions are.....
    -Where do I start? I know just walking into any jewellery store & buying a pair can be costly.
    -Is it better to buy the diamonds loose to save money?
    -I know "D" is colorless...but what is a good color range for the size I want?
    -Is there an awesome place to buy online that is reputable?

    Thanks! I am looking forward to your answers & would love to see your pics!
     
  2. i would advise you to check out the whiteflash site. they have both ready set studs and you can choose your own diamonds to create your own studs. most people are not real happy with the screwbacks from what i read. i thought i wanted them but changed my mind and i don't regret it. also try signed pieces they have their own facets collection plus estate pieces from tiffany, cartier and other designer names. i have bought from both of these and was happy with the product and service. also try pearlmans. i have not bought from them but have talked with them and they have a good reputation.

    mine are g color but i think that for earrings if they are well cut you can go lower and still be fine. good luck and keep us posted.
     
  3. ^^ agree with queen.

    on the earrings, you can go lower on the color and clarity, just make sure they are cut well. No one will look closely at them to look at inclusions, just need to make sure they sparkle. Color wise, I would go G-I, and Clarity, I would just so somewhere around VS2-VS1, maybe even SI.
     
  4. Thank you so far!
    What are the negatives to having screwback earrings? I would hate to worry about losing a diamond earring, so I thought this option was most secure....
     
  5. screw backs can hurt if you take them on and off a lot, my jeweler makes lock ones. You pinch the sides and they unlock, that's what I'll be opting for. My jewelry SA wears 3.50 carat studs and uses the lock backs and LOVES them.
    I agree, you don't need a color better than H, I is fine on ears in that carat weight I think.
     
  6. Totally agree with everyone here! I'm very interested in Swanky's lock backs. Are these on a website that I can check out?

    Sassy, if you can't get those lock backs, get solid posts with a very strong classic butterfly back that clicks/snaps when you put it on. Will stay on just fine.

    I wouldn't go the loose diamond route with earrings. Jewelers usually make an effort to match stones for earrings and that would be a pain for youo.

    My favorite basis to compare is Costco.com but was disappointed to see that the larger studs are screwbacks. :push: But I do love their princess cuts! Pretty!

    And since you're asking for opinions, I don't think you need to go platinum when white gold will do just fine. Unless you have allergy or other issues that require platinum over white gold. Otherwise, it's just a waste of money that could go to bigger stones. Save platinum for your e-ring.

    If you have the stomach for it, you can find jewelers that have similar products and pit them in a pricing war against each other. OK, OK, I know I'm probably making someone out there cringe, but when I was in the biz, and a buyer mentioned that they were shopping around at X and Y stores, I knew I was out of the running because X and Y would do ANYTHING to win a sale and beat out the other. This is America, and that's how the free market works. So work it!

    Don't go any lower than H/I color and SI2 clarity. Higher is always nicer, but sometimes you would rather have the size than the specs. KWIM? And cut is really REALLY important. Polish and Symmetry need to be at least Very Good.

    Happy shopping, and congratulations!!

    Lisa
     
  7. i have had no experience with pricing wars but i know that you can probably get at least a ten percent discount by asking if they offer any discount on the item. you mentioned buying via internet and if you do you will get the best price if you pay by bankwire or check. this is only advisable if you are confident that you are dealing with a trusted vendor. i find that when you do a cash deal you will save a little since the vendor is not out the cc fees.
     
  8. Doesn't matter. My motto is to only pay by Visa or other card with fraud coverage when shopping on the internet. It's not worth the risk.

    Are you not near many jewelry stores? I think you can usually get a better deal when you shop in person. And you can ask for more than 10% off. Start at 25% and negotiate.

    If you must go internet, I have heard that Bluenile is very good, but I'm no expert on internet jewelry shopping.
     
  9. i have a very good jeweler about an hour away but have in the last two years found i can get better quality for less price using two internet vendors that i found out about on a diamond forum. they have appraised to be exactly what they were represented to be and a local jeweler told me i had gotten a great deal.

    i would never have thought that i would purchase any jewelry much less diamonds via the net but i did. when i did the wire transfer i was so antsy but five percent of five carats of ideal cut diamonds in a platinum half bezel mounting tennis bracelet is a chunk of change. the other vendor i used four times and i used check or cc with them with no problems.

    b&m stores just can't sell as low as these internet stores. the bracelet i payed 7k for would have been 10k at the b&m's i checked. one eternity ring i bought at local b&m for 3k and i got another online for 2k. i am talking the same specs apples and apples. i do not buy anything using the computer i phone and do the transaction verbally and never put my card numbers on my computer. i am just paranoid about it.

    i know nothing about blue nile. i have used white flash once and signed pieces/facets four times. i did not enter into business with either of these lightly. i spent a year and a half researching before i got the nerve to take a chance. both vendors offered return policy's. not for everyone but i am happy with the four purchases i have made.

    i suppose there are two schools of thought on cc and debit cards vs cash. if everybody was paying in cash there would not be all of the fraud and prices would be lower. i have had 7k run up on mastercard that was not lost or stolen. it has been decided that the numbers were stolen from a very reputable business. it cost us nothing but somebody payed for it. all of us pay in higher prices and bank and cc fees. today's society is just so into convenience we demand easy. the threat of identity theft and cards being made and used to run up thousand of dollars of bills is scarier to me than the bankwire to a company i had fully done my homework on. just a thought on alternate forms of paying.

    forgive this book. jmho
     
  10. If you've got the time, definitely do the research! someone mentioned whiteflash...excellent, oh yes! go to several different sites & read, read, read! pricescope, nice ice... blue nile is a good place to start, esp since they post grading reports w/their diamonds usually... and have fun!

    Diamonds...sparkly...oooo! :yahoo:
     
  11. Those screwbacks are ouchy! I LOVE Swanky's "lock" ones...got any pics? They sound divine! And Sassy, as for color...don't go "D" on earrings. It would add major $$ that you wouldn't even see (since it's on your ears). I agree with the color recommendations posted so far. I'd say nothing HIGHER than a G and you can be find with a VS2...as long as the cut is really good. It's ALL about the cut! Look around. Don't be shy. If you've got some shops near you, go look...try some stuff on. Ask questions...that way you can dip your toes in. If the folks are nice, you just might be building a long term relationship!

    The internet is AWESOME but, I'd recommend you beginning your "quest for knowledge" in an actual store...so you can look and touch. Have fun!
     
  12. Hmmm, your question seems designed for me since I just bought half carat each diamond studs for myself. Brace yourself, testimony time.

    I bought mine from Whiteflash (Whiteflash.com) from Tracy Arneson and she was a doll :love: to work with. Whiteflash sells already paired and set earrings called Ready Set Go, or you can select the stones you want--either "a cut above" or "Hearts and Arrows," and then pick out the setting. You can search by size, quality, cut, and/or cost, and then compare from their website. Actually, if you're as AR as most of us are, this is a really fun exercise, and every time you do this, you get a little smarter about what you're looking for.

    About the Ready Set Go, I've heard wonderful things about them on Pricescope, a place where obsessive/compulsive is a requirement for entry. Basically, these are priced similarly to anything you'd find in the mall but the quality leaves the mall earrings in the dust.

    Also, WF has a great selection of settings--either YG WG or platinum. You can select either screw back or friction (wing nut, butterfly, you get the drift). When I discussed this with Tracey (ad naseum, I'm sure) her advice was that if I never planned on taking the earrings off--sleep, shower etc. then go ahead and get the screw back, but basically her advice was that the heavy friction back was a better choice. I took her advice and I'm really pleased with these backs. As it happens, I also recently bought my daughter a pair of studs, for her college graduation, with screw backs because she doesn't ever take them off, and she says she has to check them regularly, that they do come unscrewed.

    Anyway, I strongly recommend these folks--they were sweethearts when they had to deal with me and the constant questions I presented. Of course, worse case scenario they'll accept returns--no questions asked.