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engagement rings

  • 23-01-2007 12:06am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 8

    hi i am thinking of using to buy engagement ring but not sure if they are too good to be true?? getting ring for 4000 less than in the shops. they have no premises anywhere and they use da capo to make up the ring when they source the diamonds.

    has anyone used them or heard of them?

    any feedback on this appreciated:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,184 ✭✭✭Fey!

    Shop around. Personally, I'm not overly impressed by the prices.

    What exactly are you looking for, and are you sure that the ring you order online is going to be what you want when it goes on the hand?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8 meme24

    hi fey

    i actually met with the guy that owns and i told him the ring i wanted and where i seen it and i told him i want same cut, clarity, and colour etc and he priced it for me at 4000 cheaper than high street shop. this ring i seen is only in one of the shops the others dont make the design.
    they claim that since they dont have rental prices they arent passing the cost to customer

    just wondering if anyone has had bad experiences with this dealer

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,184 ✭✭✭Fey!

    I thought that you said in another thread that these guys were based in Los Angeles.

    Shop around - you should be able to find prices similar to those on this guys website in various shops around the country.

    Also, if you read the thread you posted in earlier you'll see that cut doesn't just refer to the shape of the diamond; there are various qualities of cut. This is true of all of the 4 c's.

    Personally I'd prefer to see the diamond and the ring before I paid out my hard earned.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8 meme24

    hi again

    yeah they are also based in LA called something differnet. guy spoke to me on the cut aswell and he said that they cut them so you get the best look out of the diamond. very confused about this afraid i might pay out cash and then get nothing in return

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,557 ✭✭✭DublinWriter

    I would *never* *ever* buy a diamond without seeing it myself.

    Photos can hide problems with colour, clarity and imperfections.

    You really need to see it before buying it.

    In Europe, Antwerp is your cheapest and best option.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,623 ✭✭✭dame

    The price is of course something to consider when buying something as expensive as an engagement ring but E4,000 cheaper....I'd be a bit suspicious of the quality and like others said I'd rather see it and try it on...after all it will be worn for the rest of your/your fiancee's life.

    I don't know if it bothers you but I'd rather know where my diamonds are coming from too and know that they are ethical diamonds and not causing bloodshed in Sierra Leone or another African country and funding terrorists and dictatorships.

    By the way, you can find gorgeous diamond rings for less than E4,000 so you can definitely find rings for less than whatever you're looking at in the shops.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,184 ✭✭✭Fey!

    In Europe, Antwerp is your cheapest and best option.

    Antwerp may be the trading centre for diamonds, but it certainly isn't the "cheapest" and certainly isn't the "best" in Europe. I speak from experience of the shops in Antwerp.

    It is possible to get good value anywhere, and it is possible to get top quality anywhere.

    I went to a trade fair recently in England, which had jewellers at it from all over the world. I was appalled at the qualities on offer; and I was told that what I was looking at were what all the "best" jewellers in Antwerp and Londond were stocking. It was all stuff that I couldn't sell here because the quality was so bad; people just wouldn't accept it.

    People tend to feel that when they travel they'll always do better. It's a bit like "the grass is greener over there".

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,485 ✭✭✭✭Banjo

    Well, I just got back from Antwerp on sunday - a large amount of the shops were appalling but Appelmansstraat (about 5 minutes walk from the station) had two great ones - Joeseph Katz and Phillipe Harold - and a shop with a decent enough selection but far less of the hands on experience, Orsini. Obviously I'm no expert, but I saw rings in Dublin and I saw rings in Antwerp, and I felt we got a lot more for our money in Antwerp (including factoring in the flights and hotel). We went with J. Katz in the end because he had the right ring and setting but all three had beautiful stones. I didn't intend that to sound quite so dirty. It's a lovely city too, quite compact, stunning cathedral...

    Anyway, a couple of the things that I felt made the trip worth it, when you walked into the jewellers the first thing they did was ask if you knew anything about diamonds and if you didn't they explained the 4Cs. Then they asked what shape you wanted, if you had colour, clarity or cut rating preferences and what your budget was. Then they went and got a few stones, let you examine them under a 10x loupe and a diamondite (in fact, they *insisted* on this so you knew what you were getting), described the inclusions they could see if you couldn't, took out master-set stones of higher and lower colour grades so you could get some perspective etc. etc. Any stone they showed was in and around budget, depending on the ring. Not all were certified, but almost all of them were, and the jewellers would give their opinion - good or bad - of the details they saw in the cert. Then they showed you a bunch of rings that would fit the stone.

    In ireland on the other hand, we were shown rings that were over double the budget but much bigger, sparklier and more desirable than the ones that were and they were shown under bright sparkle-inducing lights. However, they did offer me a quality street in one of the irish jewellers, which never happened once in antwerp ;) My experience of jewellers in Dublin was limited to the area around Grafton st. and the Powerscourt center and was not by any stretch exhaustive - I don't want to over-generalise and say you *have* to go abroad to get a good deal. Also, not all of the jewellers were salespeople with agendas (although prices were consitantly far higher over here than there).

    In short, you always felt you were talking to someone who was working to secure his reputation, not his commission.

    If you *are* going to Antwerp - or to any other city for that matter - I'd recommend that you either go for a mid-week trip and/or you contact the jeweller in advance. They all said the same thing - every thursday and friday they'd get irish people coming in looking for cheap rings fast. They work monday-friday, so if you want them to find you a stone, find you a ring, fit the stone and make any alterations to the ring you're going to be under fierce pressure to make a decision early. Also, flights back on sundays cost a fortune (but Amsterdam is only 2 hours by train and the #8 tram drops you outside the station). If they have the ring with the setting you want, they can set the stone and make alterations to the ring same day if you tell 'em early. If you need anything special and they don't have it in stock though, you're screwed. We wanted a 'yellow' gold ring and setting which is apparently quite difficult to get (because they're not popular). A couple of emails the week before could save you a wasted trip. If you're after white gold though you'll have no problems.

    Also, Caramba near the cathedral does great mexican food. I recommend the Taquitos to start, Chilaquiles for your main and Plantanos Flameados for desert. Ariba! <-pick him! pick him! (I promised him I'd say that)

    End of the day though, Fey!'s an professional and I'm not. All I know is that my future wife was delighted with the ring, and no matter where you buy it that's all that's important :)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8 meme24

    hi banjo

    thanks for the advise. its a huge investmenet to make and i want to make the right one.

    i have seen threads in other websites about Antwerp and it all looks fairly promising alright. I have also seen threads about they are based in merrion square which looks great the man who owns it is a jeweler from antwerp he gives advice on people thinking of heading to antwerp if you dont want to go he sources the diamonds and they all come with a certificate. i have given him a spec of the ring to see what he would quote me and he gave me great advice on the clarity of an emerald he says the clarity on one i gave him is not great for an emerald and he would be sourcing a better one. (and cheaper than shop although i did not tell him shop name etc) some people have said that they got rings valued for over 60% on what they paid. not the the saving matters too much
    at the end of the day if the ring is beautiful and what she wants then thats me happy.

    Fey is an expert but we all arent as lucky to know all about diamonds to ensure we get nicest one. You have to have a little trust in people also and not think everyone is out to rip you off.

    congratulations on your engagment Banjo. Good luck in future

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,485 ✭✭✭✭Banjo

    Thanks :)

    Re: the 4000 cheaper thing, I'd believe it if the ring costs 8000 euro over here. Otherwise it sounds dodgy as hell. Of course, since you're buying by remote transaction you can return the ring within 7 days for any reason - if you chose to give either of those internet guys a try, at least go into a jewellers and pretend you're interested in buying a ring, get a good look at diamonds with a range of prices and you might be better poised to judge this one.

    Like Fey! said though, you really need to see the stone (ideally before it's set in the ring) before you pay. The grades on a cert are entirely dependant on the guy who looked at them on the day. He might have been hung over, he might have just had a happy-ending massage, he might just have lost €2000 on a champions league match. He might also have been taken on recently and have only a little more diamond grading experience than you! The grade on paper is at best a subjective guide. Trust your eyes - It's really easy to get hung up on wanting the highest grade of colour or clarity when you're ordering from a catalogue, and then when you see your stone you can't tell the difference between it and a lesser one without a loupe or microscope! The one that looks the nicest is the nicest, no matter the cert says.

    I'd heard some good things about and also a place in Harolds Cross (O'Connor's?). We never got a chance to check them out though 'cause the flights were booked.

    Fey's stickied guide was a great help to us when we went looking - print it up and read it over a few times. Also, there's a lot of info on with handy pictures and a few chuckles. You won't be getting a certificate from the GIA at the end of it but at least you'll have some idea of what you should be looking for, and you won't ask a jeweller to his face "how do I know that's not a cubic zirconia?"

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8 meme24

    hi banjo

    yeah the ring we have seen is 14,000 in the shops (paul sheeran jewelers but said they will do it for 4k less.

    might ask the guy in when i meet with him what is the refund poilcy. they recomend that you get the ring valued anyway so if i find that its worth less i will be going back to him

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,916 ✭✭✭✭iguana

    I have had concerns raised with me that the true nature of the original post is to advertise the company being discussed and tbh I share the suspicions. However I have decided to leave the thread for now as the comments of the other posters are worth reading. And provide some intelligent reasons to be careful about diamond shopping which are good reading for anyone considering purchasing a "too good to be true" diamond. I will keeping and eye on this thread and will remove it if I see anything more that concerns me.

    I'll also be keeping an eye on the op as s/he has 7 posts across 3 threads all on the subject of this company.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8 meme24

    i can put my hand on my heart that i am not advertising any company at all. i just wanted advice if i were to buy from them. have decided against them anyway from reading posts above its too risky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,184 ✭✭✭Fey!

    Banjo et al - thanks for the kind comments. Glad the stickied thread was of use.

    Banjos post here (#11) is spot on about the certs and grading. GIA/IGI and HRD use a system where 2 people assess the diamond, and if they don't agree it goes to a third. Not all companies do that.

    And the grader-with-a-hangover comment is VERY true!!!

    We use a dialite in the shop, but we also send people outside into daylight before they make a final decision, away from the bright light.

    Iguana - I'm glad to see you left this thread running. There are some very good points in the last few posts (although I still advocate "buy locally"!!!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,365 ✭✭✭hunnymonster

    Fey, is there any chance you could prepare a sticky on the ring setting? I know the stone and the 4C's are th biggest factor, but I'd like to read some expert opintions on the gold/platinum debate and the different type of settings and other factors I may not have thought of?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,184 ✭✭✭Fey!

    Hunnymonster - in my opinion, the setting type is purely personal taste; you really need to like it on your hand, and each one looks different on a different hand. Just try them with a wedding band, too - that changes the appearance of the ring on the hand somewhat.

    As for the gold/platinum debate, again it's personal choice. A lot of jewellers will say that you can't wear one with the other as the harder platinum will always wear down the softer gold. I may be factually incorrect (I'm better at stones than metals), but I feel that gold will wear down gold and platinum wear down platinumjust as quickly if the two rings don't sit well together; this would be due to friction between the rings. I've seen people come in to me with a gold and platinum ring they've been wearing together for 50 years that show very little wear, and others that show wear after 5 years. A lot can depend on the general wear the ring gets; I saw one case where the wearer was lifting weights with her ring on, and within 6 months her platinum shank had the diamond shaped from the weight bars imbedded on it!

    Platinum is a hard metal, and is more expensive than gold. It's normally stamped "950", and can go a dull grey after a while.

    Gold is extremely soft - pure gold can be shaped by the fingers - and is a strong yellow (gold!) colour. 1 gram of pure (24kt) gold can be beat into an almost transparent sheet 1m cubed. The gold used in jewellery is essentially an alloy, as other metal are needed to strengthen it, such as iron and nickel. 18kt gold is stamped "750", 14kt is "585", and 9kt is "375" (divide 1000 by 24, then multiply by the carat amount).

    High carat white gold usually has palladium through it to turn it white, but the dominant colour is yellow (18 parts yellow to up to 6 parts white). It is then finished with rhodium plate. A white gold ring will normally need to be re-rhodiumed about every 2 years, but this is not a hard and fast time (it depends on the wear the ring gets, and how well the gold is mixed and the ring plated in the first place). Unfortunately, there is no way to be sure how well it's done until the ring is being worn. Rhodium plating priced can vary from about €35 to €75.

    I hopw that this is of some help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 969 ✭✭✭gabbo is coming

    "I'd heard some good things about and also a place in Harolds Cross (O'Connor's?). We never got a chance to check them out though 'cause the flights were booked."

    Friends of mine got theirs in Harold's Cross. You're right, O'Connor's (of 'The General' fame). They were happy.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22 dermy

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to add our experience of Antwerp ring shopping!

    I brought my girlfriend to Antwerp to buy an engagement ring and we visited 4 of the 5 jewelers in the belgian diamond association, but only fleetingly as one stood out more than the rest for us.

    We ultimately ended up buying a stone from Philippe Harold as many other posters here have. He was a very friendly and sensitive guy and put us totally at our ease since we were both a bit nervous. We picked out the diamond and the setting by 12 noon, and Philippe put a special effort in to get it made that day, which is just as well since the shop doesn't open on Saturday. I didn't know this when I initially booked the weekend flights, but thankfully we were there Thursday night, and so had at least one full day at it!

    A couple of things worth noting-
    Firstly, it is worth buying with cash since they can't really do discounts with credit card. I knew this already from reading but didn't fancy carrying cash on my person. On the day however, Philippe Harold recommended Western Union around the corner where you can get cash on your credit card for a small commission (3 or 4%). Even with this extra commission, this is still the cheaper (and safer) way to do it. Note also that there is no commission in western union for buying dollars, which may be useful as most jewelers accept dollars. However the dollar rate is not that good, I suspect the commission is built into the rate. On the day I bought the ring, the jeweler quoted his dollar price using a rate of 1.48, whereas WU were selling dollars for 1.38. You need your passport or driver's license for Western Union by the way.

    Secondly, we were impressed by Philippe's honesty. After asking our initial budget, he brought out 4 or 5 stones with varying carats. He actually recommended the one which was second cheapest (and a couple of grand off the top choice!) since it had the best cut, colour and clarity. Even after we had agreed on the stone and picked out the ring, the price quoted was under budget for us. So we asked about adding another €500 or €600 to see what that would get us, and he told us to keep our money as it would cost a good bit more than that to get a bigger stone with similar quality. We thought this was very honest since we would not have known the difference and he could have just taken our money.

    So we picked up our ring and they posted on the certification for us (to avoid any customs tax!). Then we had a wonderful time in Antwerp itself. The old town is really beautiful and a wonderful place to spend a romantic day or two. I recommend Appelmans Brasserie for dinner and cocktails!

    We stayed in the Golden Tulip hotel which was kinda business oriented, but he rooms were lovely and the hotel is right in the diamond district and close to the train and bus depots. Not that 'special' for a romantic weekend, but has all you need (internet access was a bonus as it helped us with our diamond research). Food was ok, but we really only ate breakfast there.

    We flew to Brussels with Aer Lingus and took a 45 minute express coach to Antwerp for a tenner each. Our hotel was walking distance from the drop off.

    If anyone has any questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them for you.

    You don't have to buy in Antwerp, but I'd recommend it- not only for the value and expertise (which we found a bit lacking in Dublin), but also because it's a nice romantic weekend away. :)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22 dermy

    By the way, a big thank you to Fey and Banjo and many other posters who helped me plan my trip and ultimately get a beautiful ring which my girlfriend is delighted with.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,430 ✭✭✭Sizzler

    Diamonds are priced in US $ the world over, so with the dollar dropping like a stone you should be getting more bang for your buck wherever you buy.

    I'm guessing the high street jewellers dont bother their barney dropping prices but I'd say the made to order jewellers might be a bit more reasonable :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 283 ✭✭Countryripple

    Dont you mean your fiance Dermy! ;)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1 maggie 82

    Hi there all,

    We are planning a trip to Antwerp in late October and would be very interested in any help or advice that anyone who has been there would have. I cant really chat to any of my married/engaged friends here, as our news is secret until we get back;).

    We will be there from Monday morning to Wednesday afternoon. Is this time too limited?
    I have a fair idea of what kind of ring I'd like, but as the choice here to get ideas from is very limited, I don't want to make contact with a jeweller there and order a particular ring, only to get there and see a better selection to choose from.......
    Also is it necessary to book appointments with Phillipe Harrold and Katz etc?

    Re negotiating on price, that was interesting to note that cash is better for negotiation. I know that neither of us would be happy to carry that amount of cash all the way there, so would travellers cheques work? How does Western Union work?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22 dermy

    Maggie I've PM'd you with some details you wanted. Best of luck with it!