(Closed) So many questions! Cushion vs round diamond?!?

posted 3 years ago in Rings
Post # 2
Member
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Hopefully I can begin to answer some of these questions. I have a 1.5ct being set into a Tacori today. Tacori only makes 18kt, so your choice will be between that or platinum. I’m going with rose gold, but I’ve heard from others that white gold (not necessarily Tacori specifically) can wear down and need to be replated often. Someone I know has had to replate their ring about every 3 months. Someone else had other issues with a different white gold ring. So, I would say, if you can make it work in your budget, get platinum. 

For your stone, a cushion does face up smaller than a round. If you want sparkle, I suggest looking into Brian Gavin Signature cushions, they are hearts and arrows which is basically nonexistent elsewhere for cushions. I also recommend them for round stones, that is where we purchased mine and it would have fit into your budget. Mine is a VS1, I see nothing in it. For lower clarity grades, it often depends on the placement and type of inclusion. BGD has high def videos to check such things. 

My stone is an M color with strong blue fluorescence. Read up on both on their website. It works well for my rose gold ring but you will likely need to go up a bit for platinum or white gold. H should be fine. 

I haven’t gone custom as I think they may not be able to copy it and all the lovely Tacori details exactly. I’ve heard successes and horror stories. If you are ok with similar but not quite the same, find a jeweler you trust and go for it. If you want exactly that, I wouldn’t recommend it. 

 

Post # 3
Member
1389 posts
Bumble bee

Good morning! When my Fiance and I were initially ring shopping, I literally went to every major jewelry store in the Houston area. I found the most perfect designer ring, but with our budget my Fiance said I can either get the designer ring with a non diamond, or a cheaper setting with a real diamond. So my choice was to go for the diamond and look for another setting. You just have to decide what is more important, more money towards your setting or more towards the stone. I personally would cut back on the setting. We ended up ordering it through Blue Nile- which I loved because there are so many different spec options you can literally find whatever you want. Initially I chose a 1.2 carat round, but switched it to a .91 carat round to give us a little more budget room for the wedding. My specs are .91 center, ideal cut, VS1, I color. After having my ring for a few weeks now, I would say to go with a G-H color. While most of the time my I looks white, in certain lighting it does have a tint of yellow. But it all depends on how color sensitive you are-  I didn’t know I was until now! My total ring cost was $4900. I recommend going on the BN website just to play around with the diamond specs to get an idea of what you want will cost. Good luck with your shopping! 

Post # 4
Member
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I would be wary of trying to save money by having someone copy a setting.

One, it’s questionably ethical to exactly copy another designer’s work.

Two, unless you are 1000% confident in their bench worker’s abilities, the ring may not come out as refined looking as the actual Tacori piece, and because it is custom, you may be stuck with it or working with that jeweler to remake it until you get something nearer to what you wanted. This could be an expensive and exhausting process.

Cushions are harder to buy than rounds because many of them are not cut that well. If you want a Tacori ring and a cushion diamond, the only place I’d really recommend working with is Good Old Gold in NY, who is a tacori dealer and sells excellent cushions.

Assuming that your quoted price for the authentic setting is $5600+$2000 since you said that was the price of the replica, you’re looking at $8000 for the stone which is not going to get you a 1.5ct round H color or above that is well cut. That’s also, frankly, an insane price for a setting. You might be able to find a decent 1.5ct H/VS2 cushion for around $9k, but it won’t be as large as a 1.5ct round. I don’t like the hearts and arrows cushions but you might. 

I myself don’t like the color or patina of platinum so my pieces are all 14k or 18k. Unplated white gold doesn’t need to be plated and I hate the color of plating so that works out for me. 

If I were you, I’d focus on getting a really nice diamond of the size you want and a simpler setting. Spending half the ring budget on the setting isn’t a route I’d take. And I’d only try to have the ring made by someone else if you are 100% okay with it not being identical, because it won’t be identical to the authentic piece.

I know there was a bee awhile back who had an amora gem in a tacori 3-stone. That could be an option and would be a better option than a CZ. The amora gems are hard to come by right now, though, so that might be a problem.

Post # 5
Member
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

aprilshowers413 :  

1. Is a 14k ok? Or 18k? Or is the splurge to platinum worth it? What do you have? 14k is fine for most types of setting. Most american white gold will have nickel (banned in the UK, mostly they use palladium white gold). I personally love platinum. But, platinum is dense and squishy. Gold is less dense and hard. If you are talking pave in the ring — go platinum. If you are talking non-pave, most of the time gold is fine. Platinum does not want to stay shiny and will develop a ‘patina’ over time. 

2. For the diamond color, can you visually see the color in like an H grade…Diamond color is a subjective matter. I personally can see rather fine color differences, but they just don’t bother me for a good performing stone. I look at the whole package with cut, cut and cut being first. For the average person for a round or cushion…you can drop to an I. You will only see tint from the side for a well-cut stone. I’ve seen K’s from HighPerformanceDiamonds that face-up white. Why? CUT. Buying from a brick and morter will be about 20% more for the diamond than online from a reputable vendor (Whiteflash, JamesAllen, GoodOldGold, HighPerformanceDiamonds, B2C Jewels, ID Jewelry…). I’ve seen G’s that are poorly cut and can see the color. 

As a starting point, stick with diamonds with GIA or AGS certification…no IGI, no store graded, not joe’s diamond grading, not EGL. With GIA and AGS, they are quite strick in grading, so you can compare apples to apples. 

3. You want eye-clean at 6-8 inches. I’ve seen that in SI2 stones hand-selected by a gemologist that meet this standard. Not all inclusions are the same (clouds, specs, twinning whisps, etc.). Depending on their location, color and density…they can have no or huge impact on performance. For a modern diamond, I want eye-clean. Period. For an OEC, I’m more flexible. My first e-ring diamond was an Old European Cut (OEC) 2+ carat and inherited. It was a VS2. I have a ring in progress with two OECs as side stones…a VVS and a SI1…but they are perfect match. The cloud in the SI1 has no impact on performance, but it was nearly half the price of the VVS. It just took me time and having a good eye. 

4.  Size on your finger is your aesthetic. My mom is a 6.25 and wears a 5+ carat blue diamond. I have a size 10.25 finger and like a 2-2.5 carat on me — but I like 3-stone over solitaires. But, in the US, I’d say 1-1.5 would be typical. With a 15k budget, I’d put 2-2.5K into a setting. That leaves you with $12.5k-13k for the diamond. 1-1.5 c is within your range…but, drop size before you drop cut quality. If your really want an exquisite setting and can pay 5k, look at Loen Mege and Steven Kirsch. But, my advice is spend most of your budget on the stone. Get a simpler setting if necessary. You can always upgrade the setting, but that diamond will be staring at you for much longer. A high-performing round will look better and bigger than an average one.

5. Cushions will have a smaller spread (length & width in mm) than a round. So, a round 1 carat diamond is around 6.5 mm. A 1 carat cushion will be about 5.8 mm. Don’t compare diamonds by carats (weight) compare by size (spread in mm). All diamonds are the same to keep clean. The setting will impact how easy it will be to keep the stone clean. Cushions and rounds have totally different looks, but if you like both, I’d stick with a round. You can buy a round by the numbers (cut, quality, angles, depth, etc.). You can’t do this with any other shape. 

6. Brand has little to do with quality in the setting. What matters is the workmanship. Do you care if the ring is Tacori branded or not? Do you need the name? If not, look elsewhere. That said, if you get something made, be respectful of the difference between a setting inspired by a branded one vs. directly copied. I’ve bought stock rings, done semi-custom and full custom. For a novice, stick with stock or semi-custom (you slightly change an existing setting). Custom is hard even for the very experienced. I’ve been working with a jeweler for a custom ring for 3 months now. 

 

DIAMOND BUYING 101

Run any diamond under consideration through the HCA Tool. Anything scoring a 2.0 or larger are eliminated from the running (but a .8 is not better than a 1.7). http://www.pricescope.com/tools/hca

You can use this chart as a cheat sheet in order to help you find a well cut round diamond.

depth – 60 – 62% – although my personal preference is to allow up to 62.4%
table – 54- 57%
crown angle – 34- 35 degrees
pavilion angle – 40.6- 41 degrees
girdle – avoid extremes, look for thin to slightly thick, thin to medium etc
polish and symmetry – very good and above

note – with crown and pavilion angles at the shallower ends ( CA 34- PA 40.6) and steeper ( CA 35- PA 41) check to make sure these angles complement in that particular diamond – eyeballs, Idealscope, trusted vendor input – check as appropriate!

 

From expert John Pollard.

“As the above implies, configurations depend on each other.  A little give here can still work with a little take there.

With that said, here”s a “Cliff”s Notes” for staying near Tolkowsky/ideal angles with GIA reports (their numbers are rounded):  A crown angle of 34.0, 34.5 or 35.0 is usually safe with a 40.8 pavilion angle.  If pavilion angle = 40.6 lean toward a 34.5-35.0 crown.  If pavilion angle = 41 lean toward a 34.0-34.5 crown.

GIA “EX” in cut is great at its heart, but it ranges a bit wider than some people prefer, particularly in deep combinations (pavilion > 41 with crown > 35).”

 

Post # 6
Member
1203 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2002

aprilshowers413 :  I won’t be able to answer all of your questions but the first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that you will significantly overpay at a retail jewelry store. Consider buying your diamond loose, online. I highly recommend James Allen. You could easily almost double your money that way. I’ve purchased two loose diamonds from them. The first, I took to a local jeweler for a custom halo. The second, I had them set for me. I will include pics of both and their specs and price. 

My oval is GIA cert. G color, IF (internally flawless) clarity, .94, EX symmetry, and we paid $4950 for the loose diamond by itself. 

My round is also GIA cert. G color, SI1 (eye clean) .59, EX cut and symmetry, and scores a .9 on the HCA tool (very important to use this when choosing a round), and it was $1500 for the loose diamond. 

I ❀️ My oval and while it is a very lively diamond, it can’t compete with the round-nothing can. Rounds are disco balls! πŸ˜‚

More of the round, since you are considering round:

Post # 7
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

Hi! Throwing my opinion in the mix. Ultimately it’s your decision but I hope this helps and doesn’t confuse you more haha!

1. I picked out 14k but my jeweler ended up upgrading me to 18k for free πŸ™‚ I plan on upgrading to a larger center diamond in the future so I’ll go with platinum then. I personally couldn’t see or feel a difference between the two even though some say they can. 

2. This has to be up to you and your color tolerance. I have an I color. When I began my search I thought I would be sensitive to color but I totally wasn’t. I could’ve tolerated something lower to up the carat but because I was going halo and my melee was a higher color, I wanted to be safe than sorry. I’ve only noticed the difference in color once and in extreme sunlight. But again everyone is totally different. We went for a diamond and didn’t consider alternatives.

3. I have an eye clean SI2. Even with all the magnifying thingys and my jeweler pointing out the feathers my diamond had, I couldn’t see them. We felt it was silly to overpay for clarity when you can’t see it with the naked eye. I would advise you to look at clarity in person. Some inclusions are more visible and located in different spots. I.e. Mine was on the underside and did not affect lighting. No brainer for me!

4. Look in the range just under those magic numbers. You’ll easily pay a premium just by hitting that magic number. 1.4 is only mm in size difference to a 1.5. I promise you, you won’t be able to tell the difference and you’ll save thousands. Esp if you select one with a larger face up appearance and go for an excellent cut. This is partially why a lot of people preach cut is king. Same with 1 ct. .9 is virtually the same. Also it sounds like you’re going for a halo, below is a pic of my 1 ct halo (2.11 TCW). Everyone thinks it’s a 2 ct, but it’s totally not and no where near the cost. 

5. Cushions don’t face up as large as round brilliants. That’s why rounds cost more. It’s also harder to find a well cut cushion that will give you that shine it sounds like you’re looking for. They do sell cushions that are cut like a round brilliant but that may take time. I was in the same boat as you, so I went with both! A round brilliant in a cushion halo. If you’re planning on upgrading your diamond in the future, rounds resell and trade up better-keep that in mind.

6. Yes! Every jeweler I went to told me honestly Tacori is overpriced. You’re paying for the name. Going custom can save you thousands. But go with someone good. Pricescope can recommend a great vendor based on what you’re looking for.

7. Your budget can get you a beautiful ring but you have to be a little flexible. Don’t go into it saying I have to have 1.5 H VS2 Tacori. Then yes, you’re being unrealistic. However if you go into it saying I want a triple X, eye clean round brilliant that faces up large in the range of 1-1.5 ct and a delicate/large halo made of platinum, then you will definitely find your dream ring for under budget. Again head over to Pricescope and trust the folks over there. My budget was less than yours but they helped me get everything I wanted!

 

Hope this helps!

 

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Read more: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/so-many-questions-cushion-vs-round-diamond/#ixzz4LBmACedu

Post # 9
Member
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

aprilshowers413 :  Good on you. Just make sure that if you really pay attention to the details of the halo. You are fighting the shape of your stone (round) and trying to make the eye see it as a cushion.  The folks over at PS can guide you, but here are the basics: keep the halo stones to .5 or .75 pointers, the halo should tilt downward by 20% off level (not be flat), use four prongs for a round in a cushion, make sure the gallery has enough room for your wedding band, platinum is better for pave, make sure they set your stone IN the halo—the girdle should rest on the halo opening not be floating way above it (unless you like the look). All the above shown below (althought cushion in cushion). If you going custom, be clear about how you want your wedding ring to fit (gap or no gap). 

Here’s some references:

 

Post # 10
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

Of course!! My setting is actually by Henri Daussi (AMKL). Paid way less than retail which allowed me to get better specs for the center stone. Posting the stock pics as well to give a better idea. I was going for a 3/4 pave, larger halo, cathedral and a clean gallery.

Post # 12
Member
242 posts
Helper bee

I too was looking for a Tacori ring, debated getting a custom made ring instead, as well as the white gold vs platinum debate, so we went through a lot of the same questions you’re considering.  Here’s what we encountered along the way:

1) I have a nickel allergy, so I’m always cautious about buying white gold.  Tacori alloys their gold with palladium, not nickel – so it would have worked allergy wise.  Also using a palladium alloy results in a whiter gold than those alloyed with nickel, so you don’t have to rhodium plate it like some other white gold rings.  In the end we ended up selecting the platinum setting though, and I’ve been very happy with how it wears.  The platinum is softer but stronger than gold, so it won’t gradually wear away with time like gold can.  I think the platinum setting was about $1300 more than the gold setting, and we felt the price difference was worth it.

2) Diamond color selection will depend on how color sensitive you are.  I generally stick to the G to H range when purchasing round diamonds, as it’s a good balance of white vs budget.  However, due to the size of stone we were looking for, I dropped down to an I color to help offset the cost.  It faces up very white, but I do see a hint of yellow in some lighting (I’m somewhat color sensitive, but didn’t mind the color sacrifice).

And stick to GIA and AGS grading (EGL and IGI are known for having looser color grading – so although the price might seem better for an “equivalent” color spec, you’re actually getting a more yellow looking stone).

3) My ring is a VS2, and it’s super clean. I do have a few other diamonds that are SI1, and I can see the difference compared with my VS2 when looking at them up close (although other people wouldn’t be evaluating your diamond that closely).  However, going with SI1 is a great way to help the budget; just ensure that it’s “eye clean”.  Each stone will vary in type and location of inclusions, so some SI1s may present better than others.  You’ll have to view each stone to see what you’re comfortable with.

4) We originally started looking in the 1.7-2ct range, but in the end we selected a 1.6ct (which is only a difference of .5 mm diameter compared to a 2ct).  That ended up being the sweet spot for us to get the quality we wanted at a price we were comfortable with.  I’ve always been one to vote for quality over size.

With your budget, you might need to drop a little below the 1.5ct size to keep the quality specs and Tacori setting you’re considering.  It’s good to keep your options open by widening your selection to the 1.0-1.5 ct range.  Also, your setting size (and cost) may change based on the dimensions of the diamond – something to inquire about (as different Tacori settings have different dimension range requirements).

And remember, cut is king.  For a round stone, run the dimensions through the HCA tool, and look for vendors that offer ASET and Ideal Scope images to evaluate light performance (the folks on pricescope can also help you source a ring of your desired specs and budget).  There are some great vendors online like Whiteflash and Good Old Good than offer excellent selection of ideal cut rings.

5) Cushions generally face up smaller than rounds, so for the same carat weight you get less coverage.  I love the look of cushions, but think that they’re harder to shop for than rounds (I don’t know nearly as much about cushions, but it appears that there are lots of different cut varieties, some might not offer the same brilliance as others, etc).  I ended up going with a classic round, and set it in a cushion shaped basket, so I get the great light performance of the round cut, but the overall soft cushion shape.

6) I fell in love with a couple of Tacori designs, and did contemplate having something similar custom made to save money.  Yes, you are paying extra for the brand, but for us there was value in knowing exactly what we were going to get, and saving the time and effort of going the custom design process.  If you do go the custom route, ensure that the jeweler has the skill and ability to reproduce the fine details that you’re expecting.  I’ve seen some custom rings that were Tacori inspired/reproductions, in which I could definitely see a difference in the quality and size of the milgraining.

The setting was really important to Darling Husband, and even though I found some more affordable settings and alternate designs, he felt we should just go with the Tacori setting that we both loved.  So that’s what we did πŸ™‚

We ended up purchasing from Whiteflash, and they were absolutely wonderful to work with.  We both LOVE the final product, and are super happy with the way it turned out. Here are a few pics:

Good luck with your ring shopping – have fun and I hope you both find something you totally love πŸ™‚

Post # 13
Member
459 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

The pp’s have covered a lot of the detail but I wanted to encourage you to go look at cushions and rounds side by side to compare the cut. Most cushions have “chunkier” sparkle which I loved in person! I wasn’t able to see the difference online. 

Post # 14
Member
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

aprilshowers413 :  yep! I fell in love with the setting. I started out not wanting to go designer, cause I wanted to maximize our budget. There was no other setting out there I liked better (we looked for approx 7 months, I know…insane lol). I personally did not like the cut of Daussi’s stones, I wanted a GIA cert round brilliant. So happy I kept searching until I got what I wanted. I encourage you to too! It’s such a big decision.

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