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Need advice on purchasing engagement ring

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by need4speed, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. need4speed

    need4speed Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,597
    Pacific Palisades
    Hi Everyone,

    This weekend, my girl and I went on a fact finding mission to Rodeo Dr.
    We went to all the stores (exhausting...and btw, Cartier is the most snobbish, will never go back) to find a style that she likes and to see what size fits on her finger the best.

    And for myself, I needed to know the price range. I never paid attention to this stuff before. I don't like paying retail when I can avoid it. So now that we know the style, the size, and the quality, where can I go to shop around for my own stone and custom jeweler?

    Or is this one of those things that you have to pay retail? Please say it isn't so.

    Thanks all
     
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  3. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 14, 2003
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    Retail? HA! Go down to Hill Street (Pershing Square) and go through the jewelry mart. You'll find a deal. I know someone...if you want to PM me.

    DL
     
  4. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 6, 2002
    74,357
    Houston, Texas
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    Bubba
    You are in Cartier, on Rodeo Drive, and you don't intend to pay RETAIL?

    You just made my day!

    FWIW: the Cartier store here in Houston gave me the best advice of my life. When looking for my rings I was taken by a triple band of channel set diamonds. The older woman behind that counter counseled:
    "Oh honey, that's too much to spend for your wedding rings. You'd better save that one for your TENTH anniversary!" LOL

    On the tenth anniversary, my wife refused it, saying, "No, I don't think your ex-wife should be seen wearing that." She got her divorce two years later.

    GOOD LUCK, BRO! I'm cheering for YA!
     
  5. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
    47,853
    Texas!
    ROTFLMSAO, Ah yes brother, you gonna pay and pay and pay! But it's worth it.

    Truth is that jewerly shops make Ferrari dealers look like Mother Thersa.

    You can try what I did. When my wife and I got married, we were stone cold broke. I was working for the IRS bringing home less than $500 a month, and she was a student. (And no, this was not back in the Stone age. It was 1977 if you must know.)

    So we got the cheapest rings that we could find that wouldn't bust the $250 limit on my one and only credit card. But, I told her that for our 25th anniversary, she could have anything she wanted.

    Well, year fore last, was the 25th and damn if she didn't bring this up. Man, have rings gotten have lot more expensive! (I'm still wearing the original ring, BTW.)

    To answer your question, my wife picked a one-off designer so there was very little wiggle room. I think I got a 25% discount. But if you are just getting a GIA stone in a standard setting, I'd start by offering maybe 40% of sticker just to see what happens. You never know.

    BTW2, my wife is worth it every penny of the 25th year ring. I have never looked back.

    DrTax
     
  6. need4speed

    need4speed Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,597
    Pacific Palisades
    Dr. Tax,

    It seems like congratulations are in order for you and all aspects of your life. And thanks for the advice.
     
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  8. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
    5,446
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    Sunny
    The key is to shop around the jewelry district. If your in LA, this is made a lot easier for you like Dave said. Often the stone and setting will be worth more appraised than the initial cost which is a plus, but the best part is being able to pick the stone. As the saying goes, no two stones are alike? Well, you'll see. Good luck!

    Edit: the archives has a couple big threads on diamond shopping to get you up to speed on what to look for

    Sunny
     
  9. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Hey DrTax,

    Can I celebrate my 25th, if I get married again for another 13 years?


    Nah, forget about it!

    Speedy308 for President!
     
  10. jjstecher

    jjstecher Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2002
    962
    Rochester Minnesota
    Full Name:
    John Stecher
    Dont do it man...thats my advice :p

    Actually in all honesty if the girl cares about just getting an expensive ring to show off then she is missing the whole point of getting married. DrTax example is perfect...if you have a girl that will marry you with nothing she will stick with you through anything. Getting married is about getting married not the rings and all that. Just a personal opinion.
     
  11. need4speed

    need4speed Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,597
    Pacific Palisades
    I whole-heartedly agree with you JJ. But it's hard to argue for a no frills ring when you've got a Ferrari and a few other "toys" sitting in the garage. I'd rather use the money for a killer honeymoon or invest in our future. But women..............................
     
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  13. henryr

    henryr F1 World Champ
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    Nov 10, 2003
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    u shouldbe able to find a wholesaler to work with you. belive it or not, on the wholesale level, diamonds are commoditized in pricing. that is the only way your get a fair price.

    if you buy at any sort of retail shop you'll get screwed.
     
  14. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    1,601
    Los Angeles
    As others have said, go to the Jewellery district vs. Rodeo drive. By now, you have discovered the 4C's. clarity, Color, carat, and cut. The 4th - cut, is extremely important too and oftentimes discounted in the certifications and decision making. A great diamond can look dull with a poor cut. A perfectly cut solitaire is probably the way to go - timeless, sparkling and classic. From there, it depends on your budget.

    I have a very good friend who owns his own private business (in the jewellery district). He is outstanding and honest. I got my wife's ring from him and it was a great experience. If you are interested, PM me and I can hook you guys up.
     
  15. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Formula 3

    Apr 20, 2002
    1,501
    Go to gia.com to learn about how to "look" at a diamond (assuming you haven't done this all ready) Look at a bunch of them at different jewelry stores - you'll start picking up which ones are good and which ones aren't. Jewlery typically has a 400% markup so substantial discounts are the order of the day - unless you're looking at exclusive designer pieces and in exclusive designer boutiques. If you don't want to overpay, you don't have to get a stone with a certificate. Once you learn to see the differences for yourself, you'll be able to pick out a nice stone and then have your own insurance appraisal done on it. (I used to manage a jewelry store BTW) And like a couple of others have said, depending on your personal situation, there are many other more important things to buy as a newly married couple than a honkin' ring right off the bat. My wife and I were scrapping by while we were engaged and for a while after we were married. We got married with plain gold bands - there wasn't even an engagement ring. Thanks to my previous jewelry store job, her dream ring is on it's way to her this summer. Again I don't know your personal circumstances, but I saw too many couples go WAY into hock for a hand ornament who really had no good reason to do so at that time. Just make sure..... :) and of course best of luck to your future happiness.
     
  16. robiferretti

    robiferretti F1 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2003
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  17. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
    47,853
    Texas!
    Oh, and BTW, major congrats are in order. Don't listen to all your good time buddies, getting married for all the right reasons is one of the best moves you can make. Sure it doesn't make any sense blah, blah, blah, but it still the way to go.

    And yes, I can see how it might be a bit tough to take the poor boy route when you already have the toys in the garage... :)

    Good luck!
     
  18. Diablo

    Diablo Formula Junior

    Good Luck to you...

    I myself have somehow bought my time with my lady.

    6 YEARS-No Ring Yet...

    Maybe this year????
     
  19. JOEV

    JOEV F1 Rookie
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    Aug 6, 2003
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Joe
    First of all, congratulations and best of luck to you, and congrats to you Dale on the 25th.

    Sorry I have no advice on how to buy a ring, but this is an interesting topic to me.

    There is something about the entire engagment ring process that rubs me the wrong way. Remember those DeBeers commercials that said that you should spend 2 months salary on a ring? The by-line was "Spend more and they'll rave, spend less and they'll talk." I know I'm an awful cynic, but what does this have to do with anything? Who the hell is "they" and why do we care what they think?

    We all know that the price of diamonds is artificially created and maintained at a high level by the Amsterdam diamond conglomerate(s). Why would a guy be "shamed" into spending e.g. $15-20K on a piece of jewelry?

    To me, the ideal situation would be hooking up with a woman who doesn't care about "symbols" but instead wants to spend the money on an unforgettable trip or a bigger house or whatever.

    The size/cost of a diamond has nothing to do with how much you love her and it annoys me that we're all told that it does.

    Maybe women see it differently, but it still makes no sense to me.

    Cynically yours,
    Joe
     
  20. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    need4speed.....

    I know nothing about diamond engagement rings because my wife didn't want a ring, as it is not customary for Brasilians to accept/wear them.

    Well...that was a PLEASANT surprise to say the least !!!

    In sort of an answer to the question in your thread, she did refer however to the various "supplier's" that she would have to frequent when organizing our ceremony and subsequent party as, the "WEDDING MAFIA"..........so proceed forewarned and congrats !!

    Dale....

    Congrats to you too !!
     
  21. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
    47,853
    Texas!

    BTW, the desiginer of the 25th anniv ring was Michael Beaudry. Great classical designs. I think he has an office in Newport. Not cheap!

    Good luck, Dale
     
  22. need4speed

    need4speed Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,597
    Pacific Palisades
    First, I have to say this Fchat community is great. I want to thank all for sharing their advice and experiences.

    I want to share one more thing on this whole ring thing. I spoke with a buddy of mine who recently proposed to his girl. And he said aside from the COST of the ring, he was made aware of "ring insurance". WTF!!!

    Who knew!!! He's leaving it up to his fiancee to cover the cost of the insurance. He says that at that cost, he can buy another ring in a few years.

    Is it worth it? How many of you got ring insurance?

    Man they get you coming and going.

    Cheers
     
  23. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    need4speed.......

    I have got to ask...........does this "ring insurance" cover the possibility of a "NO" answer so you get your money back ? LOL !!!
     
  24. SRT-10

    SRT-10 Rookie

    Dec 16, 2003
    47
    Greater Boston
    Buying diamonds is very tricky. You need to have a discriminating eye and it takes time to learn the basics. If you know very little, it is important to find the names of "very" reputable jewelers and bring a friend that has some experience.

    Bright light is very important when buying. If a shop is not well lit then they have something to hide. If you’re buying a one-carat diamond, never settle for 98 or 99 Pts. These stones are less valuable than a full 100 pts or over. If you’re looking for ¾- carat, never settle for less than 75 pts, etc. An engagement ring should not be less than ¾-carat. Your fiancé may be happy for a while with a ½-carat but it will wear off after she measures up with her other friends over time.

    The four c’s need to be remembered: color, cut, clarity, and carat-weight. When judging a diamond for color, study both sides on a white piece of paper. You’re trying to get as close to colorless as possible. This will be the best refractor of light for the ideal prism effect. Also, cut is important in this area. The diamond can’t be too shallow or too deep; otherwise the angles of the facets/surfaces will not reflect the light properly. You should not be able to see anything in the diamond with the naked eye. If inclusions can been seen this way, then the diamond is classified as an imperfect (I). Look at the stone with the jeweler’s 10X magnifying glass to rate the imperfections. A good range to look in is SI (small inclusions) or VS (very small inclusions). Above these grades will get you more into the investment area with greater expense, and the average person cannot appreciate the difference. Also, a good value range for color is G, H, or I (near colorless). This is where reputation is important, since one person’s idea of the above grading system may not be that honest. The best advice is to visit several shops and be specific about what you want to see. For example, “I would like to see what you have for ¾-carat, round cuts, G thru I color, and SI or VS clarity.” See what they serve up and you’ll start to get an idea of who is giving you the best deal.

    Good luck, and the most important thing to know about the above is that I don’t know **** about the jewelry business.
     
  25. mw575

    mw575 F1 Rookie

    May 30, 2001
    2,924
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    Martin J Weiner,M.D.
    Just FYI--retail jewelers in diamonds work on a 3% profit margin----------------If it cost a dollar they sell for $3!!!!!!!!
    So be very careful since a markup of up to 300% leaves a lot of room for "discussion"
     
  26. BWS550

    BWS550 Wants to be a mod

    Apr 1, 2002
    8,933
    NEW JERSEY
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    BRUCE WELLINGTON
    NEED 4

    BUY HER A 3 CARAT ZIRCONIA.SHE WONT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE AND THE REST YOU SAVE, PUT IN ON YOUR FERRARI MAINTENANCE BILL


    GOOD LUCK.

    BRUCE
     
  27. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Formula 3

    Apr 20, 2002
    1,501
    What exactly does "ring insurance" do? I have a couple pieces of jewelry that have seperate riders on my policy, it doesn't cost a whole lot, and covers them against theft, breakage, or dropping it down the sewer. Depending on where you buy from, some companies will cover the diamonds against falling out of the mounting - even if you can't find the diamond to bring back to be remounted.
     
  28. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    1,601
    Los Angeles
    Ring insurance costs me about 4% of what the ring is worth per year.
     

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