Diamond rings, why is it so difficult to buy one..

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
31 replies 10.1K views
lavenderladylavenderlady Forumite
154 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
Hi everyone.

This year will be our 30th wedding anniversary and I am going to have an engagement ring, very exciting.

We couldn't afford a ring when we first married and after that it wasn't a priority. We've been through hell with illness etc and are now in a place where we can enjoy a little bit of happiness and have a little spare income.

So off we went shopping.. but its so confusing! I looked at second hand rings as I know I will get more for my money. I also found an independent jewellers selling a brand new ring at a discount which was almost the same as the rings I had looked at in pre owned.

Some of the shops I visited had taken out certificates for their rings and said I should be very wary of buying a ring in my price range without certification as jewellers may bump up the clarity etc to get a sale. I actually found this happening in one shop when I asked for details and the jeweller picked the ring up and said it was a H colour and SI. But he didn't even use a magnifier, it was just looking it over with the naked eye? Surely that can't be accurate.

So what do people think? Is it worth paying out more for a ring with a certificate or is an independent jewellers estimate ok?

I just want to get good value, its a once in a lifetime purchase and I've waited long enough :)

Thanks guys
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Replies

  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    I think you should start with educating yourself about the 4 'C's - colour, cut, clarity, carat.

    https://www.diamondgeezer.com/information/know-your-diamonds/

    This website has a pretty good explanation - note that I'm not recommending them as a supplier, I just remember the guy from Dragon's Den years ago & I've played about with the website a few times..

    They have a wide selection of certified loose diamonds, you can select the shape you want, colour, cut and clarity and see what choice of price you have.

    For example, if you wanted colour F, VS1 about a carat, you have a choice of 223 stones ranging from £4,400 (0.96 carat) to £11,375 (1.04 carat). You can get a stone the same size (1.04) for £6,340.
    So yes, it is a minefield.
    Should you go for a smaller stone, better colour?
    Or bigger stone, less clarity?
    Or any of the other permutations?

    A 1.00 carat stone will be exponentially more expensive than a .99 carat.

    Re the SI ring - inclusions can be seen with the naked eye.
    I'm not sure how easy it is to tell between colour G and H.

    Maybe consider going to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

    I had a reliable jeweller in Goa and bought a lot of loose gems & had them set.
    A setting can hide a fault in a stone so I always wanted to see it loose.

    We had a standing joke that if I won the lottery I'd be back to buy a 2 carat, colour D, internally flawless (IF) diamond - talking between £50k and £75k and I guess that would have made both of us very happy. :)

    Good luck, hope you find the ring you want.
  • ClaireMCClaireMC Forumite
    46 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I will only buy expensive jewellery overseas as in the US and Dubai it is around 1/3 of the price of the UK - even with import tax it is cheaper. So if you are planning a trip anywhere might be worth considering that. But as you say 'pre-loved' is a good option and I often look at the auction houses too - though you do have a buyers premium on top. Fellowes is a good one, with a lower premium than the likes of Bonhams.

    If I was spending a lot I would prefer a certificate BUT I would ask for a valuation from the shop if it did not come with a certificate (pre-loved and older rings may well not have them) - for insurance purposes if nothing else.

    Buy what you like - don't sweat it too much or it will be a chore and it should be a wonderful experience. Do you REALLY know the difference between VS and VS1 and do you really care. If you love it, it looks great on your finger, it is in your price range and you can look at it for the rest of your life and STILL love it - BUY IT!

    Hope that you get something lovely and Happy Anniversary :-)
  • Thank you to both of you :)

    I have been researching the four C's but you know what? It has become a chore. I should be excited but instead i'm stressed.

    I know now what grades etc but I can only go on what the jeweller tells me and it is now my understanding that I won't be able to tell anyway! They could sell me a F and tell me its a D and I would be none the wiser!

    I guess its best to just go with what I love and forget its statistics. I am off shopping again today. And I will try not to let my head quieten my heart :)

    I appreciate your help
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Just a word about vintage diamonds - the cut is sometimes not as good as modern ones, I believe it's called 'rose cut'.
    So they are not always as 'sparkly'.
    I have a vintage .7 carat diamond ring that was bought 2nd hand over 40 years ago and the cut isn't that great.

    Ask the jeweller for the use of his loupe, you may not know what you're looking at but you might be able to spot any bad inclusions which will affect the sparkliness.

    A friend of ours wanted to buy a diamond ring for his wife's 40th birthday.
    He said 'a diamond is just a diamond, right?'
    I took him to Warren James who were selling 2 carat rings, you could see the inclusions through the shop window and the yellowness of the stone.
    I then took him to an independant jeweller and pointed out the most expensive ring in the window which was much smaller and much more expensive than the WJ one.

    I sent him off to a manufacturing jeweller I've used for repairs and they treated him really well, showing him different stones - colours, clarity and carat - and he was really happy with what he eventually chose.
    His wife was over the moon, and gob-smacked at the trouble he'd taken in choosing the diamond and setting.

    Have a lovely day shopping and please come back and let us know how you got on.
    Don't rush it, you've waited 30 years so a couple of shopping trips are nothing as long as you get it right. :)

    I've had my diamond solitaire engagement ring for over 30 years and still love it.
  • Learning the 4 C's can be quite a chore.
    No one, not even an expert grader can tell the difference a D colour and E colour just from looking at the diamond mounted in a ring.
    Don't fall for the 'valuation from the shop' thing. They write what they want on a piece of paper. Best to get this done after you've bought a ring from an independent company. I'd trust them more than asking the seller to write a valuation.

    Yes a certificated diamond is the simplest way to go, but only if it's a credible certificate. GIA, HRD, IGI are the top international companies. While in the UK there are a few like IGR.

    I wouldn't recommend buying diamonds or gemstones from the USA or Dubai, the prices are friendlier but the quality is not as great as what comes through the UK.

    Enjoy shopping, buy what you like, choose a trusted seller and most importantly, don't rush it.
  • Thanks again guys.

    Well I'm back and I can't say I'm any closer to buying one. I went into Goldsmiths and had a look at one of their rings and compared it side by side to their Canadian diamond ring... wow I see what they mean about the 4 C's now. Goldsmiths have a 15% off at the moment and she offered me interest free which means I could keep my savings in the bank. I was even offered a cup of tea but I declined as I was only browsing and learning today :)

    Then I went into a little independent shop that buys and sells. They had a nice vintage ring in there and a platinum one that are the style i'm looking for. I took a picture and you can clearly see the differences in cut that we talked about earlier. I am trying to put the picture on here as its interesting but I'm failing miserably.

    I shall keep trying to post the pic. But the difference is there is no information of clarity or colour. However, you are paying just a third of the price of Goldsmiths so it reallly would be a matter of loving the ring and not caring about its statistics. Hubby says i'm just panicking and liking the cheaper rings as i'm scared of spending the money!
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Thanks again guys.

    Well I'm back and I can't say I'm any closer to buying one. I went into Goldsmiths and had a look at one of their rings and compared it side by side to their Canadian diamond ring... wow I see what they mean about the 4 C's now. Goldsmiths have a 15% off at the moment and she offered me interest free which means I could keep my savings in the bank. I was even offered a cup of tea but I declined as I was only browsing and learning today :)

    Then I went into a little independent shop that buys and sells. They had a nice vintage ring in there and a platinum one that are the style i'm looking for. I took a picture and you can clearly see the differences in cut that we talked about earlier. I am trying to put the picture on here as its interesting but I'm failing miserably.

    I shall keep trying to post the pic. But the difference is there is no information of clarity or colour. However, you are paying just a third of the price of Goldsmiths so it reallly would be a matter of loving the ring and not caring about its statistics. Hubby says i'm just panicking and liking the cheaper rings as i'm scared of spending the money!
    Yes you are closer. :)

    You've noticed differences in cut between new rings and vintage ones.

    Out of curiosity, what was the difference between the Goldsmith's ring and the Canadian one?
    I've looked on their website and they do a 1 carat solitaire that has this spec (Canadian):

    Manufacturer Model M06030755
    Diamond Carat 1.00ct
    Diamond Clarity I1
    Diamond Colour I
    Gold Carat 18 Carat Material Yellow Gold

    for £8,000

    On the website I gave you the link for earlier, here are lots of loose diamonds of VVS2 clarity (much better than I1), colour F (much better than the I Goldsmith one) ranging from £6300. giving a fair bit for gold content.

    https://www.diamondgeezer.com/diamonds/round/colour-f/clarity-vvs1/cut-excellent/1ct/ident-diamond

    I'm not suggesting you buy a loose diamond online but I would be asking myself how much of that £8k was for the plush carpet, fancy lighting and free coffee.

    If it were me I'd avoid the jeweller chains like Goldsmiths and Beaverbrooks

    Don't get caught up in finding a ring specifically for your anniversary. Take your time.
  • edited 15 February 2017 at 6:48PM
    lavenderladylavenderlady Forumite
    154 Posts
    edited 15 February 2017 at 6:48PM
    Pollycat wrote: »
    Yes you are closer. :)

    You've noticed differences in cut between new rings and vintage ones.

    Out of curiosity, what was the difference between the Goldsmith's ring and the Canadian one?
    I've looked on their website and they do a 1 carat solitaire that has this spec (Canadian):

    Manufacturer Model M06030755
    Diamond Carat 1.00ct
    Diamond Clarity I1
    Diamond Colour I
    Gold Carat 18 Carat Material Yellow Gold

    for £8,000

    On the website I gave you the link for earlier, here are lots of loose diamonds of VVS2 clarity (much better than I1), colour F (much better than the I Goldsmith one) ranging from £6300. giving a fair bit for gold content.

    https://www.diamondgeezer.com/diamonds/round/colour-f/clarity-vvs1/cut-excellent/1ct/ident-diamond

    I'm not suggesting you buy a loose diamond online but I would be asking myself how much of that £8k was for the plush carpet, fancy lighting and free coffee.

    If it were me I'd avoid the jeweller chains like Goldsmiths and Beaverbrooks

    Don't get caught up in finding a ring specifically for your anniversary. Take your time.

    Oh gosh no not that one. I wish I had that budget, i'm sorry if I made it sound like that. Let me get the code number for it. Ok it is 06030761.

    I'm just putting that picture I have of vintage vs new on photobucket and will then post it here..

    Ah yours is a one stone whereas I'm looking at a 3 stone
  • edited 15 February 2017 at 7:27PM
    lavenderladylavenderlady Forumite
    154 Posts
    edited 15 February 2017 at 7:27PM
    ring%20new.jpg~original


    Lets see if this works. So the top ring is stamped 1971-2 1.01ct but no details on the colour or clarity.

    The bottom one is a modern second hand ring. No details.

    Heck of a lot cheaper than Goldsmiths but I could be buying really bad diamonds. They are pretty though :)

    Gosh its massive, sorry!
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    I didn't assume you were buying the most expensive ring. ;)
    It was just an example of what Goldsmiths were charging for lesser quality compared to an online supplier.

    I could tell which was the older ring immediately, from both the cut of the diamonds and the setting.

    Both are really nice.
    But which do you prefer?
    Are they close in price?
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