I had a great experience working with them. I did a ton of research before deciding where to buy a ring and they had great reviews. I never thought I'd buy a ring like that online.
The locals aren't going to hose you. Talk to Alex up at Boccardos, Mark at NB Levy's or either of the brothers at Ciccotti's.
There is a good spot in Clark's Summit as well on State Street. The GF loves that place.
going to a trusted jeweler in a large city's diamond district. Do not even think of going to Jared's, et. al, unless you want your wallet to cry.
My wife's cut is the best you can have and it allowed the clarity to be lower, which limited the price.
But a perfect, flawless, 2 carat ring is not an option for most people. It wasn't an option for me.
While I've never bought an engagement ring from either (got it at Zales Outlet in Woodbridge, VA), I've had nothing but good luck with both Village II Goldsmith in Wyoming and Rainbow Jewelers in Kingston, if you're looking to give a local place a spin.
Lots of people seem happy with Boccardo up at that end of the valley as well.
People always laugh, but I was a poor Med student at the time and got a diamond that appraised at $12k for $5.5k, so I say fuck it. You can check their inventory on line and if you see diamond(s) you like, you can contact them and they'll ship it to the local wherehouse so you can check it out in person with no obligation to buy.
I also looked into blue nile and they seemed to have pretty comparable stones, you probably can't go wrong there.
Then marry her.
We had no money for engagement rings and we preferred to pay the bills than to dump a load of money into a ring. I won $200 through a Powerball lottery which paid for our wedding rings.
We've been married for twenty years, have two smart and healthy kids, and don't have hang-ups about the fact that our wedding rings are not encrusted with gems. I suppose that is why we decided to marry one another years ago.
ex, it still amazes me how much money people blow on diamond rings and wedding receptions. Put it towards a house, vacation, education fund, something useful.
Other than that, 3 months salary.
Great prices and service. They allow you to really research your diamond. Go with platinum, and then just know what she wants. Better quality of diamond is more important than size (plus you don't want something gaudy or that will be a target).
Finally, get that thing insured!
Get a stone that actually looks good, if you're going to get a stone. Emerald, ruby, sapphire... hell, even an opal.
Don't get suckered into the DeBeers conspiracy.
So gents, disregard his subject line.
Remember the family guy bit, and you'll be right as rain.
Diamonds make good engagement band stones because they are hard. Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are beautiful, but they are much softer. Given that she will wear the ring every day, probably even while doing all sorts of things (on purpose or by accident) that don't mix well with fine jewelry, the chances of chipping a stone other than a diamond is quite high.
Diamonds are the standard engagement stone because DeBeers hired an advertising company 100 years ago to save their flailing business.
It says nothing about whether they are or are not fit for the purpose.
As for ndtiger's point, I don't know whether, by the ohm's scale, they're "hard enough" or not. But I have known of people who had rings set with other stones that suffered damage. Maybe that was a fluke. But those stones are more fragile than diamonds, even if only somewhat so.
Rubies and sapphires are corundum, which is the next hardest gem mineral to diamond. Only silicon, titanium, or tungsten carbide is as hard (aside from a few substances that I doubt would be likely to be encountered).
Emeralds are beryl, which has a relative hardness of 7.5 to 8. They might be damaged by hardened steel or a couple of other minerals.
I promise I'm not doing this on purpose.
First off, if she wants the look of white gold, go with platinum instead. I chose white gold for my engagement ring, but if I could do it all over again, I'd do platinum. The rhodium plating (that makes the white gold look "white") wears off the back much faster than I thought it would. Gold is actually trading higher than platinum right now, so there shouldn't be too much of a price difference I think. The head, however, should always be gold.
Second, get your terms right. A solitaire is just that--a solitary diamond, no side stones or melée (small stones in the band). If she wants stones in the band, don't go looking for a solitaire setting. The side stones can be channel set, prong set, or pavé. If she has a preference, make sure you go with that.
Third, the 4Cs have somewhat of an order of importance, but they're dependent on each other as well. For example, I think cut is most important. You (and she) want the diamond to really sparkle. Make sure you do not get a shallow cut diamond. The depth should be about 60% of the overall width. Shallow cutting is common because it makes the diamond appear larger, but it has much less brilliance and fire. Next I think is color, but only in so far as it's an H or below. No one is going to notice if it's a D or a G when it's on her hand. Clarity matters in that you don't want any visible flaws, nor do you want flaws that affect the brilliance and fire. But as others have said, no one is going to look at it under a microscope when she's showing it off. So get a good balance of those three in the largest size you can afford, if that makes sense. Be aware that a .98 carat will be significantly less than a 1.00 carat just because of the jump at the carat mark, but no one will ever know the difference.
The downside of BN is that you can't actually see the stone before. Two stones may have identical clarity ratings, but their actual flaws will cause them to look different.
As far as amount, go with what you think is best. The "rule" about three months salary or whatever is garbage. If a woman doesn't want to marry you because you didn't buy her a big enough diamond, or spend enough money, she's not the woman you really want to marry.
Finally, when picking the ring (including the size of the center stone) take into account the size of her fingers. If she has smaller fingers, the stone will look bigger, and vice versa. Also, if she has smaller fingers, a thinner, more delicate setting will probably look best, whereas if she has larger fingers, a thicker setting will probably be better.
My wife has very small hands, so buying a 1 carat diamond would have made no sense at all. I think I ended up with something around 0.25 carat but went up on clarity. The diamond looked just right on her.
Also, on cost of ring compared to salary, I think I went a little over a month's salary. My wife really couldn't have cared less how much I spent, though. Then again, I don't think I know of a woman who cares less about material possessions.
My diamond came from my mother's engagement ring. So I'm wearing a 1.22 ct stone, which looks even bigger in my setting and on my tiny fingers (size 3.75), and he only paid for the setting. I laugh when people make comments about how he must have spent so much.
Although platinum has its problems, as well. I think Argentium is pretty cool, but it would be significantly more difficult to find an Argentium setting. You'd almost certainly have to go to an actual jeweler.
Argentium is a type of sterling where the alloy is germanium. It is virtually tarnish-free like fine silver, but hard like sterling, so it holds up as a ring. It's also sterling silver (93% silver), so it's GOBS cheaper than gold or platinum, which means IrishinScranton could put more towards the stone. And tradition aside, silver is a whiter white than gold or platinum. Some would say it looks better.
I thought sterling silver scratched more easily than gold or platinum. And I agree that platinum has its problems. I chose gold because I liked the lighter weight and the ease of polishing, but the rhodium plating wearing off bugs me. However, my ring was custom made, so it's not like I can take it back and exchange it.
If you shop around you should be able to find a place that will do it pretty cheaply, too. You are right about sterling, it is softer than the others. Argentium is a little better, I think, but still softer.
The guy who did it originally will do it at a good price and right away, but he's only in his shop during the week, and I work far away. I can certainly take it to another jeweler, but that almost always involves giving it up for awhile, and I'm sure they charge more.
yea I have no frigging clue what I'm talking about when it comes to women's jewelry. She wants a round stone and then stones down the side. She's petite and her hands are small, so I did plan on getting a thinner band.
Since I think it would take me about 3 years to save 3 months gross salary, that seems awfully large.
I think our Dear and Beloved Ruler, Mr. Obama, should enact a new tax deduction for "Engagement Ring" thus exempting those 3 months of salary from the IRS.
I've just heard that's supposed to be some bench mark. I think it's dumb. Spend what you can afford and what you want to. I do like the idea of the tax deduction though.
It's possible, even likely, that all these places can buy the same diamonds. As in, the exact same diamond. Blue Nile will often have the best price, so if you take print-outs to a shop, you can flat-out ask if they can buy that same diamond and price match.
As for the setting, unless you are spending a lot of money and getting something customized, they will all have the same catalogs under the desk. They order the stone and the setting and then put it together for you. They may even show you the catalog and let you pick out a setting you like. They will then call the company for the metal spot price that day and quote you a price - it will probably be triple-keyed, which means three times what they are paying the casting manufacturer. So obviously they'll need a cut, but that should give you an idea of where you are negotiating from.
Ideally, and this is just my personal preference, you would go to a local metalsmith/jeweler and design something unique that was within your budget. For instance, my wife's ring doesn't have a diamond, it has two sapphires and a center pearl. My wedding band is sterling. My point is, I hope you possess the self-confidence to do something different if you want to do something different. It paid off for me, my wife adores her ring and gets complimented on it all the time (including from high-end jewelers we met in New Mexico). Plus, unless your budget is huge and you can get a monster custom diamond ring anyway, this allows you to support local business and trained artists instead of the cookie cutter crap you see at Jared's.
Not sure if that's still available anymore, but look into it. If you're buying an expensive rock, sales taxes could be considerable.
address for me, so I didn't pay sales tax. I had it sent to a friend for a $30 insured shipping charge versus 8% sales tax.
I'm sure a chain won't do it, but depending on the jeweler -- it might be worth asking.
Insure the ring/stone ASAP. Usually you can get a rider onto an existing homeowners or renter's insurance policy. Your jeweler should provide an appraisal which will value the ring for insurance purposes.
Was well worth it when our ring was damaged accidentally. Saved a couple thousand dollars in replacement costs.
My other advice was that you can usually negotiate a discount if you're willing to pay cash. Again, this was NYC, but I think it'd apply everywhere.
I had insurance on my wife's ring and it was something silly like $90 for the whole year. We bought a house, I mistakenly thought the rider on the home owners policy covered the ring. I let the other insurance lapse, 2 months later my wife loses the ring while swimming in a lake. Rider only covered about $1200 or $1500, so I had to buy another ring.
Be sure the stone is certified. Without a certification, it's just the word of the guy behind the counter on what the grade is, and odds are he's not qualified to grade it.
I agree with a lot of what ACross says below. Brilliant cut is your best bet if you're doing this without guidance. National chains tend to have a very bland selection. They may offer cleanings, but unless you want precisely what they've got, you'll just be getting something you don't like cleaned. Clarity is indeed more important than size.
"White gold" is a myth: it's just silver alloyed with enough gold to inhibit tarnishing. It also goes in and out of fashion, but pure (or "yellow," if we want to be redundant) gold will always look good. Recall that wedding and engagement rings don't count, so to speak, for matching purposes, so don't just go by what her other jewelry is, unless you know it's indicative of a strong preference.
If you want something other than 1) a plain circle or 2) something encrusted with too many ancillary stones, look at estate jewelry shops or sites. You can find some amazing antique pieces with beautiful filigree that is very hard to find new. I tend to think those are a lot prettier than contemporary rings with lots of tiny stones.
Remember that the point is that she will wear the ring, and one with it, for the rest of her life: if the rings rub together over the years, they will wear out. Look for a ring or a matching set in which the engagement and wedding bands do not lie flush against each other all the way around.
You may be thinking of vermeil or maybe rhodium-plating. Actually, I don't know what you're talking about. Also, white does not go in and out of fashion. White is white. If anything, it's yellow gold that has gone in and out of fashion.
I believe you are quite wrong about the immutability of taste in white gold. It's been rather popular for the last decade or so, and people have bought less gold jewelry, but gold rings do not ever look dated simply because they're made of gold.
If you are or are eligible for a USAA account, they have an excellent buying service. The prices there were a little better than Blue Nile.
In any case, print out the prices for a few stones in your range from Blue Nile and then ask a jewelry store if they can match/beat the price. Fink's (mid Atlantic) did that for me and included no interest for 6 months.
I think the most important thing is making sure you get an excellent cut. It will make whatever the size of the stone stand out all the more.
the setting from a chain. No jeweler could come close to the price and quality of what I got from blue nile. Then the advantage of a chain for the setting is that they will clean it and repair it for free every six months.
Also, when assessing quality, many people recommend choosing clarity over color. I don't think I agree at this point. My wife's stone had a high clarity rating but lower color rating. I suppose it's nice knowing that you could look at the stone through the lens and only see one tiny imperfection... but of course after you leave the store no one will ever look at it under a lens again. And you can find many diamonds that are rated as low as SI1 (slightly impacted 1) where you still can't see the imperfections with the naked eye. However, you can definitely tell the difference between the sharp, cold reflection of a stone with a high color rating, versus the warmer, yellowish glow of a something with a lower color rating.
In other words, go with what looks best to the naked eye, because that's all you or anyone else is going to see it with.
Is there a reason you didn't buy both from BN?
But no, there wasn't much of a price difference at all on settings.
swap out the diamond you purchased online and use cubic zirconia or some such crap. At least that's what my guy on 47th Street says. Probably because that's what he would do.
Not sure how true. But that's why you get a "map" of the stone from Blue Nile and spend plenty of time looking at the stone under the lens before handing it to the store. It's pretty easy to tell if it's the same stone when you look at it again after it's set.
1. Decide how much you can reasonably spend. Don't be cheap. But don't be an idiot either.
2. Do not go to a chain. Go to a trusted jeweler.
3. Educate yourself on the grading system.
4. Choose quality (color, clarity, cut) over size.
5. There's no reason to go over 2 carats. And a high quality 1 carat diamond looks great too.
5. Stick to brilliant cut (round).
If you follow rule #2, most of these other rules will fall into place. A friend of mine got engaged at the same time I did last Christmas. His initial stone was larger than the one I got but the imperfections were obvious even to a novice like me and he went to Jared (no kidding). He overpaid in a big way and I believe he regrets it to this day.
My jeweler worked with me to find the perfect fit in terms of price and size. The entire staff was willing to help me out and in the end they were spot on in terms of what they suggested. Take the time and maybe pay a little more to go to someone you trust.
platinum or white gold setting. Otherwise you're buying a diamond with beautiful color that will still look yellow because of the setting.
I say white gold or platinum.
I think simple is best, but that's more preference than anything else.
I also don't think Platinum is wise, because it degrades/tarnishes.
It's much harder than gold, it actually holds up much better than gold.
solitaire ring with round stone, white gold setting with a few smaller stones in the band.
This setting would cost a jeweler $300. Hopefully this will help you understand cost when you negotiate. Edit: That's 14K white gold, by the way.
The ones I have been looking at have stones reaching almost halfway down either side
I'm sure you will have lots to choose from and she will love it. This one is $350. I'm just bored.
No chains. If you do not have a trusted jeweler, ask people in your area for recs. Agree on quality over size. Hopefully, your fiancee understands that too. Remember the importance of the depth of the diamond. A big, but flat diamond will not shine like a smaller, but deeper one.
No one can answer how much you should spend. Spend as much as you can afford. As Across said, do not be stupid though.