Post # 1
My boyfriend of 9 months just proposed to me a couple days ago. But we have to shop for an engagement ring since earlier in the relationship I once mentioned that I want to pick it out myself. Our budget is between $15k – 20k. I prefer a quality diamond over size. I went to Zales last weekend and looked for a E color, VVS1 clarity, ideal cut round brilliant diamond, 1.2 carat and bigger, and must be GIA certified. Zales said they have to order it for me to see in store this weekend.
My question is should I go with mall stores or should I go to a jewelry strip in Center City? I live in Philadelphia. My concern with small boutiques is the warranty and service they provide in the long run, and in case I want to upgrade my ring later. It is easy to pick the diamond, but I’m concern about the setting design. Any suggestion on the brand is appreciated. (I don’t need to get a ring at Tiffany since I know they will charge a higher price for their so called “brand”, I am more into the diamond quality than anything)
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2009 - Mountain Meadow/Mansion
My stone is from James Allen. They have great prices and a lot of inventory (stone quality was also very important to us). My setting is from a local jeweler so that I have someone to cheek it, clean it, etc. It sounds like you have access to many jewelers, but of you can’t find something you like, try online.
Post # 4
@goldfish2308: Blue Nile is a great place to buy loose diamonds and you don’t have to necessarily purchase their settings either. My FI and I got a diamond off of Blue Nile and didn’t have any issues.
Post # 5
Shop online. Blue Nile, James Allen, whiteflash, Brian Gavin, Debebians…..
Post # 6
+1 to all the PPs about online stores.
I find that Zales are over priced for what they offer. You would be able to find great quality stones online for a great price than a brick-and-mortar store.
Post # 7
Agree with PP. I’d stay away from Kays, Zales, Belden, any mall store. Online retailers will give you MUCH better bang for your buck.
Post # 9
DO NOT go to retail stores. You will get ripped off. I HIGHLY suggest Dyer’s in Aston, PA. My ring is from there and he is NOTHING but honest and you will be able to get a way bigger ring then 1.2 for that money. My FI’s family goes there, and only there, for 20+ years. My ring is 1.25 brillaint cut, very close to your specs and my setting is another .75 ct and it was no where near that much. Depending on what part of Philly, it will take you no more then 45 mins – 1 hour to get there. Message me for details if interested.
Post # 10
@goldfish2308: congratulations and welcome to the hive.
i agree with pp. zales, kays, etc are usually overpriced for what you get. i would check out some reputable online diamond retailers and some local jewellers as well.
definitely do your research before purchasing anything. you can always ask us bees for their opinions too if you are unsure.
Post # 11
Eh, FI got my ring from Kay for a great price and it appraised for 2.5x what he paid for it.
That said, with your budget and the specs you’re looking at, I’d check out some online retailers (Blue Nile, James Allen), and local places instead. You’ll get more for your money, with the option for custom!
Post # 12
I would not go to Zales or Kays or any of those chain stores. I have read too many horror stories from bees.
I would definitely recommend Blue Nile. DH purposed my center stone from there and got a setting made else where.
Post # 13
@MrsT2009: +1 James Allen
Their rings have a lifetime warranty. And they don’t force you to buy any “extra” insurance or have mandatory ring examinations (although we bought a setting too not just the stone).
Post # 14
I would shop online, from a place like James Allen, Whiteflash, Brian Gavin Diamonds, Engagement Rings Direct, High Performance Diamonds, or Good Old Gold, that have been in business a while and have high quality and many happy customers. With your budget, you should be looking for an ideal cut. I would not waste your money on clarity above VS2, since at that level you’ll have no visible inclusions and no durability issues. I would also look at diamond color of GIA-certified diamonds in person to see what your preference is. Pricescope.com has a ton of resources if you haven’t been there yet.
Post # 15
@goldfish2308: Don’t discount Tiffany too quickly – their customer service is second to none, and they don’t even offer lesser-quality diamonds in their stores. I originally thought it would just by paying for the name, but we were surprised by how good the prices were for the quality we got.
Post # 16
Thanks all for your suggestions. The sale lady at Zales just called me to give the quote base on my criterias.
1.2 VVS1, E, $29,000
1.33, VVS1, E, $31,000
1.42, VS2, D, $23,000 (I don’t want VS)
They are all ideal cut (according to her). So, like most of you said, they are overpriced. And when I asked if their diamonds are GIA certified, the lady said “we can get them certified for you”. So that may be one of the reasons they are jacking up the price.
I think shopping loose diamond on Blue Nile or James Allen is a good option. But I am worried about delievery though. How do they ship it out? I am scared of the idea of receiving such a valuable thing in the mail. And it is so small. I will talk to my FI later today and see what he thinks.
I will definitely keep you all posted on my ring hunting. Thanks again.