- 3 years ago
Dear Wedding Bee Board Users,
This will probably be the only discussion I ever start here, but I wish to thank the board members here for all the advice on engagement rings which they have accumulated on this board over the years. It made figuring out what ring to get – something few are expert in as you’ll only ever do it once it your lifetime – tractable for me, I am eternally grateful to you all.
In return for all your useful information, I’d like to return my story of how I went about selecting the perfect engagement ring for us, and I hope both board users find it useful as do any future potential husbands similarly stuck as I was. I’ll start off with some background: we had been for some time in Canada under a work visa with a large multinational company, but I was laid off in August and I failed to find anyone willing to sponsor me for a new work visa either in Canada or the US given the very long processing times for new work visas in both countries. We also had our first child on the way, something which was intentional given what we thought was our new more prosperous life in North America, and without jobs we had no healthcare. That meant we would have to return home where there are very few jobs but there is free baby delivery, so we were expecting to remain unemployed for many months to come.
I had decided to pop the question, and moreover I wanted to buy the ring before we left North America as rings are very considerably cheaper there than in our home nation which is important when you don’t know when you’ll next see income, plus you get vastly more choice in materials and designs than at home. I was also looking for something very unique: a ring which reflected how we met, and I won’t bore you with the lengthy details except to say that it involved “shiny diamonds” (quite literally, there is a bag of 25 shiny diamonds) and due to our personal history I was very specifically looking for a ring which looked bland and boring until you put it into a shard of sunlight, whereupon I wanted it to look like a little sun on your hand.
At this point there is no substitute for a woman’s judgement, and given her best friends were a few thousand miles away and we were under significant time pressure, I let the unromantic cat out of the bag to the SO and sent her a list of links to websites with designs I thought potentially possible to the SO. After about a week of working through them each night, she whittled the designs down to half a dozen, though she wasn’t hugely pleased that she couldn’t hold any of them in her hand. With the onus back onto me, I started my research of everything I could learn in a short time period about engagement rings by searching Google, which kept leading me repeatedly to posts on this very Wedding Bee Rings board!
It took about two weeks of nighttimes searching and reading before I had decided on the exact order, and it’s worth explaining why I chose the stone, cut, colour, clarity and of course size. Some years ago I had bought her a stone in a basket necklace in white gold from mossco. We were impressed with the quality, though I did specifically get the thicker, chunkier chain for strength and durability. The Moissanite stone was a bit brownish, but by god did it light up in the sunshine. I reckoned that the centre stone would definitely be Moissanite to get that little star on your hand in sunlight, if I could find a design to match.
What I’m about to say all comes from this board, so all credit is due to you guys! Moissanite comes in three types (i) original C&C (Charles & Colvard) Moissanite which is about colour K-M and definitely a bit browny given the necklace mentioned above (ii) C&C Forever Brilliant Moissanite which is about colour I-J (iii) BetterThanDiamond Amora Gem Moissanite (which isn’t the same as “Amora Enhanced Moissanite” by C&C) which has the same colour range as diamonds (colour D-E), but is not available in Western nations due to a patent held by C&C until 2015. All these sources can supply stones up to 3 ct at VS clarity or better without problem, so all I needed to decide now was cut and size.
Someone on this board pointed out that Moissanite has different refraction to Diamond, yet because people want a diamond simulant they prefer Moissanite in the Brilliant Cut which actually underplays Moissanite’s fire and lustre which is hard to imagine. Now that intrigued me, because I was looking for a little sun on the hand! Furthermore, current technology cannot cut Moissanite as well as diamond, so the quality of a round Moissanite cut will only ever be “good”, never “very good”, “ideal” or “hearts and arrows”. Given that the cut can only be “good”, a much better cut to bring out Moissanite as Moissanite not diamond is the Old European Cut (OEC) which is a much “chunkier” and less “flat upside down dish” looking cut to the Brilliant Cut, which was designed for diamonds’ particular refraction but has its “crown” made thinner by C&C to hide the warmer colour using extra glare. The Old European Cut is interesting on its own actually – it is how diamonds used to look back when cutting technology wasn’t as advanced as now and therefore has far fewer facets, and indeed people still often draw diamonds on paper when asked in the OEC shape. The modern Brilliant Cut does bring out diamonds far more, but it does make diamonds look almost like a shallow cone with the flat face upwards. In contrast, an OEC cut is a taller (by about 0.5mm), thicker stone which is shaped a bit like an ice cream cone with ice cream in it but most of the ice cream eaten. The looser angles, however, suit Moissanite far better for light dispersion, but at the cost of exposing the warm colour. And of course with the far fewer facets, an OEC cut looks much better with a “good” cut just as diamonds did with outdated cutting technologies.
That left me with size to decide upon. Someone on this board suggested a useful equation: finger diameter / (finger diameter-diamond diameter) = 1.618 (the golden ratio for aesthetics) which means that the stone diameter ought to be finger diameter divided by 2.618. I borrowed one of the SO’s favourite rings and using a measuring tape decided it had a diameter of 19.5mm which is a US ring size 9.5. Therefore, the stone ought to be 7.41mm, which rounds up to a 1.5 ct (7.5 mm) stone.
So, in short, I was now looking for a ring design to mount a 1.5 ct Forever Brilliant OEC Moissanite stone which would hide the warm colour, would normally look fairly plain and boring and ordinary but would come alive and then some in the sunshine. Luckily, of the half dozen designs the SO had shortlisted, it really came down to just two of those which would match what I was looking for, and I eventually decided on this Round Moissanite Antique Tulip Engagement Ring from mossco (http://www.moissaniteco.com/round-moissanite-antique-tulip-engagement-ring-p-8086.html) as I suspected that the side mounted diamonds around the tulip would be spectacular in sunlight, while the detailing in the metal of the tulip which surrounded the bottom of the stone would obscure the warmness of the OEC Moissanite. Mossco said they had no problem doing a custom build in Palladium (why Palladium? I can’t tell it from Platinum except by the lack of weight, and unlike white gold it never needs replating) with an OEC Forever Brilliant stone, so the order was placed!
This was exactly two weeks before the US Thanksgiving, and I planned to ask her father for permission during Thanksgiving so I had the ring sent to her parent’s house in the US. I asked mossco to make absolutely sure it got there on time as we’d only be in the States for a very short time. Mossco put a note on my order plus asked me to pay for next day delivery, and they delivered with two days to spare!
Once I got the ring however, I saw that there was a problem: the mounting of the stone was crooked, and while you had to look closely to see it, I felt it cheapened the look of the ring. You can see this crookedness in this photo where I stand the ring on its head on a table:
One of the side stones was also misaligned – something very small, so small I wouldn’t return it just for that alone, but in combination with the mount it was another issue. The following morning I took a better look in the sunshine streaming in through the window, and oh my god the ring just came alive in the sunshine! Like a little furnace blazing away – exactly what I had hoped for!
So, all my planning had worked out beautifully, so I showed it to my very excited SO who had figured out what that strange package from FedEx must be. She of course instantly tried it on … and it fell off! Hmm, that’s weird … upon closer examination there was a final problem, and it was a real surprise: the ring was far too big!
So after Thanksgiving we returned to Canada, and the first question was how I got the ring size so wrong? Well the cause will be very obvious to those on this board, but I’ll explain for any men reading this! It turns out that ring size depends on the thickness of the ring, so wider “chunky” rings need a bump of a size or two to let the person get the ring on and off. I had measured the SO’s favourite ring which is a very chunky thing and then used the same size for an engagement ring which is of course thin and dainty. Taking the GF to a professional ring shop for measuring we discovered that her actual ring size is US size 7.5, so I had gotten it very wrong indeed.
I contacted mossco about the problems with the ring, plus I needed it dropping by two sizes which is of course a huge amount. I also had a much bigger problem: we were emigrating from Canada in three weeks, and if the repaired ring did not reach us before we left it would have to be forwarded by mail to our home country which charges a 23% sales tax on imported jewellery. Mossco thought it was doable, if Canadian customs didn’t delay the return as they sometimes can, so off the ring went back to the US via expedited post.
Mossco in fairness did a superb job with the returned ring – in fact, they had to completely recast it, which they didn’t charge me for, and they got it back to Canada with three days to spare which is one hell of a quick turnaround. I know there have been occasional negative comments about mossco’s customer service here with names named of agents who were not positive to deal with, but I have to say I found the same names in question were absolutely wonderful, with a very positive, can do attitude which was understanding and most importantly, delivered on time exactly what was promised under what must have been for them fairly tight internal scheduling. I cannot thank them enough – it’s hard enough to move between continents as it is (I would personally call it as stressful as a death in close family), but mossco made the ring part almost stress free. Thank you mossco!
In the new improved ring the side stones are now randomly orientated which has improved the furnace-like glow in direct sunshine still further. The mount is now absolutely flat, and both myself and SO couldn’t be happier with the ring.
I suppose I ought to close with some thoughts on cost as some men reading this may wonder “is Moissanite worth it compared to Diamond?” especially as women don’t understand “worth it” the same way as men when it comes to engagement rings. A 1.5 ct round diamond with J colour and VS clarity – the same colour and clarity as the Forever Brilliant OEC Moissanite I bought – will set you back about $8,500 just for the stone alone compared to the $830 I paid for my stone (the closest OEC 1.5 ct diamond I could find online was G colour and I1 clarity for $6,100 from oldworlddiamonds). That might make it might seem like a slam dunk for Moissanite especially after the D coloured stones come out from 2015 onwards, but remember that current technology cannot cut Moissanite particularly accurately. In other words, you’re not going to find a “hearts and arrows” quality cut (this is the highest possible in diamond) ever in Moissanite – something which will set you back at least $15,000 in diamond, but if you ever do compare a “hearts and arrows” quality cut with cheaper quality cuts, you’ll quickly see that the doubling in price is probably worth it – quality of cut makes a huge difference to how spectacular a diamond looks, perhaps as much as a third brighter.
Let’s be clear: if you can afford it, you can’t go too wrong with diamond – very few women will be unhappy with diamond with a good colour and clarity, even if the quality of cut is inferior. If you do spend the extra on a top quality cut, even if you end up with a smaller stone as a result, its extra “aliveness” will continue to dazzle you and her for years to come. If you have a good job, are debt free and in good health, why not splurge? Equally, if you’re unemployed, in debt, have a baby on the way and are forced to emigrate across continents due to lack of work visas to a country where you will not see employment for many months, you might put aside any thoughts of buying diamonds at all.
I attach some photos of the final ring below. The photos were taken using a weak winter sunlight, best we have here until the summer, and they don’t do the ring justice, especially as the winter sun is fairly yellow. We send our apologies there is no hand, due to swelling from late pregnancy the ring no longer fits. I tried to show just how much disperson of light you get to get some idea of the sparkle and lustre, cameras tend to do a poor job at that, but I tried my best.
Finally, my thanks to mossco for such great service, and once again to you guys! You really helped us out, and I hope this post is something useful in return.