Looking for advice

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  1. I need some help, and I don't know where to turn. I trust you guys, so I'm coming here first.

    My husband and I will be purchasing a diamond for a wedding ring. I wear a simple band now, and we are ready for a diamond.

    I've decided what kind of ring I want - A single emerald, cushion, oval, or round on a really thin platinum band.

    Here's my dilemma. We know a local jeweler, and this my sound crazy, but I don't know him well enough to know if he really knows his stuff. I'm sure he does, but I think you all will tell me the dirty hard facts, and he may not.

    Ame has provided a great cheat sheet for rounds (thank you so so much), but how do I choose another kind of diamonds? What are good specs? I know each person will vary, but I'm sure there are lines that should not be crossed. Like, I know you can get away with an emerald with more color, but I am so incredibly lost that I have no idea what to do.

    I plan on looking at diamonds at our local jeweler, then researching the specs. I don't want to think it's a good diamond then get home and realize it's not.

    I will also research the specs based on some of the recommended online jewelers I have seen on this forum (thank you again guys so much for sharing that information). I will compare prices too. I'm not bargain shopping but want a fair price. If I see a big discrepancy, I am not against purchasing the diamond online.

    What do you all suggest? I feel very lost and overwhelmed and want to choose a good diamond but not be duped into over spending.

    Thank you guys so much!
     
  2. Hi Wildflower22,

    Choosing fancy shape diamonds always tend to offer better value for money over Rounds. However, in regards to the fancy shapes - it's not always easy to recommend ratios and measurements - mainly because their beauty is defined by you. Take for example a cushion cut diamond - there are many who prefer a square ratio, but there are others who would prefer that it be rectangular - because the facets are better defined. Ovals as well - there are many people who prefer that the shape be slim and elongated, and some prefer that it be broader. In regards to choosing a shape that you truly love and its' ideal ratio, my honest recommendation would be to go window shopping. Different jewellery stores will have a variety and shapes and ratios - and you'll be able to get a substantially better idea of what you like.

    Once you've decided on a shape, I would then suggest to find out more about the certification of the diamond. Time and time again, I've heard of people who simply ask whether the stone comes with a certificate - and leave it at that. Despite what anyone says, I will firmly say this - the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certificate is by far the most unbiased and true reflection of the diamond's characteristics. It is the only certificate that is truly recognised across the world and by a range of well established insurance companies and appraisers. Please ensure that the diamond you purchase is graded by GIA - in the majority of cases, these diamonds will have a laser inscription of the GIA Report Number on the girdle of the diamond.

    The next three main factors that we should consider are the diamond's carat weight, colour grade, and clarity grade. It really comes down to your budget and what you want to give preference to. Most people tend to go for the largest carat weight they can afford and compromise on the colour and clarity grade. Personally, I don't think this is ideal - I believe diamonds are good investments because they hold their value quite well - and my preference is: colour and clarity over carat weight. Now, I'm not in any way suggesting to purchase a D Colour, Flawless stone - but try not to go lower than a '100% eye-clean' SI1 or VS2 clarity grade, and in regards to colour, anything above an I colour grade (both on a GIA report) would be ideal. Then, depending on your budget, look into the carat weight. (Again, this is just a suggestion - your preference of the characteristics may vary).

    The one factor that truly defines the lustre and brilliance of the diamond is the Cut, Polish, and Symmetry Grade. No matter what anyone tells you, if the diamond you select has a Triple Excellent Grading (i.e. Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish, and Excellent Symmetry) the stone’s brilliance will be stunning. Believe me when I say, the price difference may be a little higher, but the stone’s quality will be exceptional. A Triple Excellent grading basically means that the stone has been cut and polished perfectly - hence bringing out the maximum scintillation of the stone. I would highly recommending looking for a higher end SI1 grade stone, and put the savings towards ensuring that the stone is a Triple Excellent grade. It will make a huge difference towards the end product. (Note: Fancy Shape diamonds do not have a 'Cut' grade in GIA reports - referring to my initial point that the 'shape' of a fancy shape diamond is defined by you).

    I'll end my reply here - hoping that it's a good starting point. When you've decided on a shape, give me a shout - I'll try and share my knowledge on it. (Just a heads up: When window shopping be aware of the lights that are used in most stores today - they make even the lower graded diamonds appear stunning - once you step outside - it won't be the same.)

    Wish you all the best.
     
  3. Oh my goodness thank you so so much. I've looked into all of the above except I had no idea what to do with the information. You've given great and VALUABLE information! Thank you so so much for giving me something to go off of. We are window shopping Friday so I will report back what I like!!!
     
  4. No worries. Look forward to hearing from you :smile:
     
  5. Went to the jeweler today, and I decided that I prefer the oval. It's really beautiful! We talked about color, clarity, and the shape, and I decided on what I like best there too. The jeweler didn't have any in stock that fit my needs but is going to order some in for me to look at!

    The only negative part was that my husband was so grumpy, and he was frowning and scowling the entire time. It was quite embarrassing. I had to apologize for him when we went into the bathroom because his behavior really dampened the experience. I think from now on, I'll have to go back to the jeweler myself because I don't need anyone to rain on my parade!
     
  6. Also, I used your advice and the jeweler matched it perfectly! It was so nice to see everything you mentioned and know exactly what to look for'
     
    quixote_24 likes this.
  7. Hi Wildflower,

    I'm glad to hear I could help. The experience is always better when you are more knowledgeable and confident about what you are looking for. Ovals are gorgeous, I'm sure it will come out beautifully.

    Some advice with the Ovals - because of their shape and cut, they tend to 'hold colour.' What this basically means is that the table of the stone (centre) may appear slightly off-coloured compared to the rest of the stone. Absolutely nothing to worry about - and neither should it cause you to change your decision - because it's not always noticeable. My only suggestion would be to aim for a colour grade between D and H. Avoid the I colour - it may end up looking less colourless, and may have an effect on the overall ring.

    Again, if there is anything else I can help with, feel free to drop a message. Good Luck.
     
  8. Thank you so much! Your advice is invaluable!
     
  9. There are no "cheat sheets" for fancies. But I strongly dispute this "advice" about staying above an H. There is no reason for that at all. There are diamonds as low as a K (hell, lower than that) which will look quite white face up, in just about any setting, in just about any lighting condition. Saying to stay above an H is bogus advice, going lower will NOT have any ill effect on the overall ring, and sounds like a jeweler's sales tactic. D, E, F stones can even look cold, steely and often less lively compared to a slightly warmer counterpart, say an I or a J, even when everything else about the stone cut-wise and claritywise is identical.

    Furthermore, while you do need to look at the stone in person when dealing with a cut like an Emerald cut or Asscher cut, you should also learn about the way stepcuts play with light. They don't "sparkle", as much as they flash. They do not send light back out the same way a round with ideal cut will. Sometimes people expect the same performance and are really disappointed when they don't get that.

    Regarding this particular jeweler: dealing with someone you know doesn't always guarantee a good deal, or the best quality. It could complicate the relationship or the transaction more than otherwise if something goes awry. Keep that in mind before you move too far along. What will you gain or lose working with this person vs someone else if it goes well or badly.

    I would see if this jeweler is AGS affiliated, and has an ASET scope in their store. That will assist in weeding out poor performers (esp if you learn how to "read" the results.) GIA is not the only reputable lab. AGS is worth considering as well.
     
  10. Ame makes some valid points.

    I will stand by my statement about sticking to the higher colour grades when dealing with fancy shapes because of the lower number of facets. Going down the colour scale with a round diamond may not be too much of an issue, but with fancy shapes it is noticeable.

    Even in the rounds, the J/K/L does not always face up white - in fact, the majority of them are yellow, a few brown, and the minor percentage that do face up white, most like have fluorescence. The handful that face up white AND don't have fluorescence are rare to find - mainly because most jewellers would take that stone to a less reputable grading lab and get a higher colour grade put on it in order to make a larger profit margin - it's quite a common practice around the world.

    Secondly, if you were to try and compare lower colour grades to stones in shops to the ones online - you'd have a very difficult time because of the lack of consistency in how the lower colours face up. Hence, my recommendation to stick above H. It's not an exact science - but you're a lot more likely to get it right.

    Ame's suggestion of the ASET image will prove to be very useful when sifting through the Ovals you like. It's important to point out that ASET images are a tool in detecting light return. Helps remove poorly cut diamonds from your choice - however - it does not take into consideration the actual face up colour of the stone.
     
  11. What great information. Thank you guys so much. I have more research to do! One of the ova stones we looked at the other day was an H- I really loved the color. It wasn't so white but also looked deep and beautiful. We also discussed the cut. While I haven't looked into my jewelers credentials, he seems to be sensitive to a good cut (and polish and something else), and I mentioned how that's very important to me.

    I will report back to you guys when I see the next set of stones. We've narrowed everything down to a fatter shaped over with general certain dimensions and the carat size (+-3).

    Oh now that I think of it, my jeweler showed me a stone that was an AGS rated, however all the ovals he had in stock were GIA. I will let him know those work as well.

    I'll also look for the ASET scope.

    I hope I make a good choice. Thank you again!!!!