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The thin line between love and hate
Mature discussion about understanding the opposite sex...

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Old 10-07-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
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Engagement Ring Buying Advice

Sup all. Hoping some of you guys might have some words of advice re: engagement rings.

Finally (after 5.5 years) going to pop the question next month. The plan is to do it in Maui, where we'll be in early Nov for a friend's wedding.

I'm currently in the market for a ring... looking at a budget of $10,000-$14,000... I honestly have no idea whether that is an appropriate amount to spend, what the average engagement ring costs, etc. I can afford to go up to $15k or so, but that seems a bit excessive? My gf is not the type who cares much about 'bling' so I am more concerned about getting a beautiful ring than I am about her having a huge stone on her finger. Opinions on this budget? Reasonable?

After Maui, where I'm going to propose, we're flying directly to SE Asia for 3 weeks of traveling, which presents its own problem... do I buy her the 'real thing' and bring it with me, or do I get a CZ / dollar store ring to put in the box that I take to Hawaii and then give her the real ring when we get home? I am leaning towards the latter option because I'm not thrilled about the prospect of carrying a $10k+ item around SE Asia, especially since it might need to be returned if it doesn't fit or she doesn't love it.

And finally, how do I know a good deal or a rip-off when I am looking at rings? For example, I like this one a lot... 2 Carat Certified Diamond Solitaire Ring

...but how do I know if it's priced fairly? Should I be looking at an independent jeweller instead of a place like People's or Lugaro? (I am in Victoria)

Huge thanks in advance for any advice / opinions! Even a link to a great 'buyers guide' would be helpful.

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Old 10-07-2014, 09:56 PM   #2
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You have a very big budget for an engagement ring so you have quite a few options available. normally your average sized purchased solitaire is around half a carat. jewellers tend to shoot for a carat because they see it as the ideal size. Its your money and you can spend it however you want. My fiancé couldn't justify me spending 9,000 on a carat so i respected her wishes. We have a very open relationship so i know that she would be ok with not having a carat. I just purchased an engagement ring about 3 months ago and was extremely happy with my purchase. i spent a lot of time going to chain diamond dealers (spence, michael hill, etc), indecent jewellers, whole sale jewellers and online jewellers.

chain jewellers tend to carry the same things that others do. always promising that they're stock is different from other jewellers. all of their specs tend to be the same. below average diamonds and huge inflated prices (than again, what diamond isn't inflated?)

I took the advice of a few co-workers and decided to purchase my engagement ring through blue nile. Blue niles customer service IMO is unmatched. I was able to call our chat online if i had concerns and was able to receive my custom ring in less than 48 hrs. They are based out of Seattle and ship overnight Fedex. The package was insured and i didn't run into an issue. I looked through thousands of GIA certificates for diamonds, specs, etc etc until i found the perfect one.

If i were you, i would look into an independent jeweller or shop through blue nile. You'll get way more for your budget going through blue nile.

I LITERALLY spent 2 full fucking days going through all the specs on diamonds. Diamonds go far and beyond the 4 C's (e.g. florescence, pavilion, crown, imperfections, etc, etc, etc)

I thought i would have an issue taking my ring to the USA to propose. I played it safe and visited the CBSA days before my trip. they informed me that i shouldn't have a problem entering back into canada because i had all of my documentation (shipping info to canada, GIA certificate, receipt from blue nile.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:59 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot man, really helpful post.

Were you concerned about returning the ring to Blue Nile if it didn't fit or she didn't love it? Shipping a $10k ring back to the seller seems a bit sketchy / a bit of a hassle.

As far as diamond specs go, are there some that I should care more about than others? Like, I sure as hell won't be able to notice the difference for a lot of this stuff, so which ones are actually important? And what about carats -- bigger is better, or is that a secondary concern?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:12 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot man, really helpful post.

As far as diamond specs go, are there some that I should care more about than others? Like, I sure as hell won't be able to notice the difference for a lot of this stuff, so which ones are actually important? And what about carats -- bigger is better, or is that a secondary concern?
I wasn't worried about returning it at all. you can ship it back if she doesn't like it. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT SHIPPING IT. I'm dead serious. The ring is insured and Fed ex makes you sign for it, you have to physically open it in front of them, inspect it and they'll take a picture of it proving that you did receive it. it is unfuckingbelievably organized. its overnight mail a majority of the time. may take up to 48 hours. I was not worried AT ALL with shipping.. even with the amount of money i spent. I can't tell you what i spent because I have a troll fiancé that lurks the forums here. LOL

Start with the 4 C's. This will help determine where your budget will take you. Ideally you want to focus on Cut and Clarity. you can make any diamond in any colour look nice if you focus on cut and clarity.

I'd recommend .5-1 carat, F colour (colourless), Very good-Best Cut, vvs1 or vvs2 for clarity.

You can go higher in clarity but you won't notice the difference unless you are under magnification.


It's hard to pull up certification for diamonds quickly through jewellers. its stuff they keep packed away and only show interested buyers. if you're picky (like myself) you'll be looking at tons of certificates which is going to annoy the HELL out of any jeweller.

if you want some practice, go to bluenile.com and do a custom ring. pick your diamond. adjust the scales to what you are looking for. click each individual diamond and bring up the GIA certificate. look at all the the specs listed.

you'll want to brush up on all the advanced specs. you can bring them up online and they'll let you know what is good to look for.

just for a quick example. The "girdle" of a diamond should be medium in terms of thickness. a girdle that is too thick of to thin may not take in good light or may crack easily.

Start small (4'cs) establish what you realistically want to get, pull the GIA certificates and look at the advance specs. cross reference them with recommended specs to make sure your diamond is what you are looking for.


note that i accidentally put "GED certificates" in my earlier response.. ultimate typo. They are "GIA" certificates. aka Gemological Institute of America

just ask if you have any other questions. happy to help
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:33 PM   #5
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Also looking for one to purchase.
When it gets shipped from US, do they charge duty or anything?
my brother flew to NYC to bought his apparently it is a lot cheaper according to him. my budget is also around 15k
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:40 PM   #6
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Also looking for one to purchase.
When it gets shipped from US, do they charge duty or anything?
my brother flew to NYC to bought his apparently it is a lot cheaper according to him. my budget is also around 15k
are you talking about bluenile? all taxes are paid in advance so you don't have to worry about it. you'll get legal documentation stating that taxes were paid. you don't pay duty because of NAFTA.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:46 PM   #7
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Before you buy straight off blue nile, I would definitely recommend going in person to see the differences between stones of difference colours and clarity. It's easy to get caught up on making sure all your sliders on blue nile are perfect, but you actually know what those numbers/letters mean by seeing the differences in person.

I've heard great things about blue nile, but if you're a little bit old fashioned, nothing beats going into a store and having people walk/talk you through everything. The free lifetime cleaning and polishing isn't bad either.

I got my wife's ring from Minichiello Jewellers (actually recommended by another RSer).. they were super helpful with reasonable prices (can't compete with online of course), and I would definitely go back, should I ever need another ring..
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:48 PM   #8
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Forgot to mention, for size.. depends on how big your girl's hands are. 2 carat is pretty big, and might look odd on her finger if she is smaller and not into bling, as you say. I think 1 carat is a pretty good size for the average asian girl
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:16 AM   #9
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Shit you guys are ballin. I bought my wife a .5ct engagement ring. I did go for diamond quality over size to an extent, but it was in the 3k range. You know how bummed I was that I wasn't spending that on a set of 17x9 CCW classics? I walked into spence, said give me something for 3-3.5k and walked out that day. They were nice to deal with to be honest, never tried to upsell me, and showed me a lot of options without acting like my small budget wasn't worth their time, and that says a lot I think. I probably could have gotten a better diamond for the price to a small extent, but that would have been work, and I wasn't prepared for that.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:22 AM   #10
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Serious question: If she's not into "bling," then does it have to be a diamond ring? In my case, I know my girlfriend would rather be given a blood opal than a diamond. Another friend of mine had a titanium band made with custom etchings done on it. It's obviously a case of YMMV, but it's usually being popped The Question that gets them excited rather than the ring.

Anyway, just something to consider.




Either way, as Freakshow mentioned, definitely go check out a couple local stores and have them show you what the different specs mean. I spent some time at a couple jewelers a few years back when I was shopping for a diamond necklace for a girlfriend and ended up walking out with something far cheaper than I had intended to spend, simply because I thought the specific cuts on that particular one looked far better than on some of the more expensive options.
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:45 AM   #11
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Serious question: If she's not into "bling," then does it have to be a diamond ring? In my case, I know my girlfriend would rather be given a blood opal than a diamond. Another friend of mine had a titanium band made with custom etchings done on it.
I feel the same way. I would rather have an engagement ring with my daughter's birthstone on it than a diamond (apparently my bf thinks I'm weird for this). I think as long as she is happy with it, it shouldn't matter whether it's "bling" or not lol.
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:07 AM   #12
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2 carats is one big f'ing diamond for someone not into bling. My wife's is 1 carat and it is plenty big IMO.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:26 AM   #13
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:32 AM   #14
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I just bought a ring for my Fiance from Brilliant Earth. My coworker recommended it to me, and when I checked - they were similar priced to Blue Nile so I just stuck with BE. I spoke with someone on the phone there, they weren't based in Seattle, they're in San Fran - but the ring still got here overnight no problem. I even sent the ring back to them to get resized, and it came back a week later, which is earlier than I expected.

I got about 0.5 carat, but ended up getting a lab created one, which is a bit cheaper than the mined diamonds. I spent about 2k after everything because I actually needed it rushed because I took too long to decide.

My girlfriend doesn't wear a lot of jewellery, so the 0.5 carat was plenty big for her. Personally I think having >1 carat is too big, I wouldn't want her to be scared walking down the street at night.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:57 AM   #15
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I agree 2 ct is going to be enormous if this girl has small hands. I have little hands and my ring is 1 ct. It's borderline ridiculous. I have to turn it around when I'm walking through East Hastings so I don't feel like an asshole. If she's into big bobbles, though, and you can afford it, do it up. I also second trying to find out if she even wants a diamond. I guess most girls still do and if you don't want to ask you probably can't go wrong with one. I highly recommend the lab created route for ethical and environmental reasons, though, if you do go with diamond.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:29 AM   #16
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Congratulations, OP!

If at all possible, take your soon-to-be fiancee ring shopping. I know you want it to be a surprise, but buying the ring together will ensure she'll get a ring she loves. Chances are, you may get one that she'll appreciate, but she will be constantly comparing her ring with others that come into her field of vision.

After we bought the ring, there was still the surprise of when/how I would propose, so there's still some mystery and anticipation there. To this day, my wife still adores her engagement ring. If I had picked it by myself, I definitely would have fucked it up!
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:35 AM   #17
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If she NEEDS to have a 15k ring.....shes not the one.

Spending that kind of money is nice, and it give you something to tell friends, but at the end of the day you are paying for a metal hoop with a stone on top of it. If you feel that spending 15k is an appropriate thing to do for something that is only metal and rock then so be it but I would not spend that kind of money on a ring.

Find out what kind of setting and stuff she would like, and spend 5k (max) and the rest on a honeymoon or something to actually make your lives together more enjoyable.

Like I said, if having a 15k ring is something that is super important to your SO perhaps you should take a closer look at the relationship because that's just gold digging.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:41 AM   #18
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I'd recommend .5-1 carat, F colour (colourless), Very good-Best Cut, vvs1 or vvs2 for clarity.
Just for clarity's sake, the colour D is absolutely colourless, the best you can get, followed by E and F.

IF is internally flawless, no internal or external imperfections. vvs1 and two have imperfections, but not noticeable to the naked eye.

For the budget OP has, I'd say compromise the size a little (get a 0.7ct-0.8ct maybe?) and get a D, IF diamond, literally the perfect diamond
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:48 AM   #19
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Shit you guys are ballin. I bought my wife a .5ct engagement ring. I did go for diamond quality over size to an extent, but it was in the 3k range. You know how bummed I was that I wasn't spending that on a set of 17x9 CCW classics? I walked into spence, said give me something for 3-3.5k and walked out that day. They were nice to deal with to be honest, never tried to upsell me, and showed me a lot of options without acting like my small budget wasn't worth their time, and that says a lot I think. I probably could have gotten a better diamond for the price to a small extent, but that would have been work, and I wasn't prepared for that.
should have given her 17x9 ccw's as her ring
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:09 PM   #20
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If you're set on getting a diamond engagement ring I'd start off by going to stores and seeing the different C's in person, make notes on what's important to you and what you like the look of and then go order it online. If you're spending that high of a budget you could save enough to buy westopher some nice CCW's with the savings.

Also I wouldn't get too caught up in how a diamond looks up close, most of the time it'll be seen from a distance so I wouldn't worry about minor flaws that can only be seen from millimeters away.

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Shit you guys are ballin. I bought my wife a .5ct engagement ring. I did go for diamond quality over size to an extent, but it was in the 3k range. You know how bummed I was that I wasn't spending that on a set of 17x9 CCW classics? I walked into spence, said give me something for 3-3.5k and walked out that day. They were nice to deal with to be honest, never tried to upsell me, and showed me a lot of options without acting like my small budget wasn't worth their time, and that says a lot I think. I probably could have gotten a better diamond for the price to a small extent, but that would have been work, and I wasn't prepared for that.
Even $3k is ballin' by our standards, the ring my girlfriend likes is $300, $800 if it's white gold (vs sterling silver). Although she is an accountant so that probably helps.
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:12 PM   #21
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should have given her 17x9 ccw's as her ring
She gave me a set of 18x8/9 2pc. polished Rays Victrix as an engagement gift.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:23 PM   #22
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Good idea thinking about it.

Not so good in reality.

This (engagement, wedding, etc.) is a starting point for a very long journey together.

Don't start big (as in a large diamond), because if you do, your fiancee will be expecting bigger and better in the future.

I am not saying that this is set in stone (pun not intended), as people have different expectations....but

It is possible, that if you buy her a large ring now, the subsequent gifts after may have to be pricier and better.

On the other hand, if you start small... you have a lot of room to grow for your long life together.

If your 2 carat ring does not stretch your budget, and you think you can give her more (in terms of material things AND real love when married), then of course, by all means, I heartily clap you on your back.

But if 2 carat is in the middle of your budget or at the top, IMO, it is not a good thing to start right-off with a 2 carat 10k to 14k ring.

Good luck with the exciting times!
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:36 PM   #23
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I didn't read the replies.. but here's my advice.

1. Congrats
2. Learn your 5 Cs
3. Read Premier Diamond and Jewelry Community | PriceScope
4. Go to Spence Diamonds on a slow day and get a crash course on diamonds
5. Buy your diamond online - bluenile, jamesallen, diamondexchange
6. Narrow down 3-4 diamonds you like, bargain
7. Get diamond, get a fake setting or set it on a cheap ring ($500?)

$10-14k budget you are looking at a pretty good diamond (1.1-1.3 carat for above average specs). Don't forget the setting! It's hard unless you know what she likes. They can go $750-$6000 depending on brand, material, design.

Don't bring your real thing to SE Asia. Use a dummy ring.

Last edited by Special K; 10-08-2014 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:40 PM   #24
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Oh one more thing.

Use the HCA calculator. You might get an excellent diamond in terms of Cs but HCA calculator assess the angles. How "fire" the diamond is.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:46 PM   #25
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Looks like some of you are looking to buy from the states. FYI:

Diamond only = no duties, 5% GST, ? 7% PST (not sure)
Diamond set on ring = manufactured goods = duties (if not NAFTA), 12% GST/PST

I forgot the source, but remember reading it somewhere.
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