Tag Archives: diamonds

Buying an Engagement Ring Online (Part 2): The Diamond

After doing research on the type of diamond I wanted, I browsed through many forums to find out which international online retailer would be the most trustworthy. From what I read, BLUE NILE seems to be the most popular, followed by JAMES ALLEN. Blue Nile apparently has the most stock for diamonds, which sounded win-win at first.

However, what drew me to James Allen eventually was that they capture 360 degree video with 15x zoom for all their diamonds!! So you can see every inclusion the diamond has & know exactly what you are buying. This is super reassuring for someone buying a diamond online. Another plus point is that they offer either a 100% full refund or free exchange of your product, as well as free shipping.

James Allen Review
Once I decided on the diamond which fit the the specs I wanted and the budget, B and I sat down together to order it! WE WERE SO EXCITED.

At the time of our purchase, USD was weak comparatively to SGD so we managed to get a pretty good deal. We accidentally ordered it in the wrong currency at first (would have cost us more), and when we emailed them asking if we could change, they were very quick & efficient in their response. (From my email correspondences with them, they always responded within 24 hours, and were very polite & friendly! Another plus point for them.)

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The package came really fast (about 1 & 1/2 weeks), even quicker than what Fedex Tracking reported! The morning it came, I was about to rush out for an appointment, but I just couldn’t resist opening it first. As you can see, the packaging was very nice & elegant looking.

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Inside the box, besides the red box containing the diamond, there’s also a cloth for you to clean the stone, the GIA certificate & a gem holder for you to inspect the stone up close. Needless to say, I was really impressed.

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Opening up the little red box to see the stone was magical to say the least!

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I just had to hold it in my palm!! So so pretty & sparkly & no visible imperfections at all phew!

As I wanted to be surprised at B’s proposal in the future, I had to pass him the James Allen box for safekeeping & so he could complete the ring in his own time.

Oh yes a funny thing happened when we received the package. Since Fedex didn’t attach a tax invoice with it, we thought we were lucky & managed to evade the good & services tax! We were super gleeful about it haha. But eventually a few weeks later it came & rained on our parade sigh.

That’s it for my post on buying a diamond online! Stay tuned for my next post on choosing a setting (:

Part 1 (Research)

Part 3 (The Setting)

XOXO,
Daryl

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Buying an Engagement Ring Online (Part 1): Research

B & I have always been comfortable with discussing marriage since early on in our relationship. I guess it’s because we had that typical, unexplainable “THE ONE” feeling haha. Through our conversations, we came to the conclusion that 2016 would be a good year for us to settle down as we would be financially & emotionally ready. We also agreed that I should have a say in the engagement ring as I would be wearing it for the rest of my life, so it’d better be something that I love! Hence, we began research for the ring in the 2nd half of 2014. I’d like to pen down my research and opinions in hope that it’d be useful to both girls who are getting ready to settle down, as well as guys who are getting ready to propose to their other halves.

I knew from the start that I wanted something more special and unique than what’s offered in jewellery stores in Singapore (most brides-to-be seem to be sporting solitaires), so I decided to go the online route. As I’m not one to really care for brands, by going online, B would be able to save costs too (as these retailers cut out costs of having a brick & mortar store).

So where did I start?

1) STONES

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I realised there were so many options besides the typical Diamond, & this was actually my dream wedding set for awhile (it’s so damn gorgeous!):

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But after heavy research, I realized that though coloured stones are really pretty & cost less that diamonds, they’re not as scratch resistant, durable, and low maintenance. So, a diamond it is!

2) SHAPES

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I generally like round things, so this was a no-brainer for me. Round brilliants are the most classic, timeless diamond shape and are also the most sparkly (& who doesn’t like sparkly right??).

3) The 4 C’s

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Okay, here is where most people get really confused, but I believe the image above is pretty idiot-proof. Here are my comments about the 4 C’s in order of importance (in my opinion):

1. CUT
Cut is extremely important as it directly affects how sparkly the diamond is. I would definitely recommend buying an ideal/excellent cut diamond for maximum light performance. Many people have been commenting how sparkly my diamond is & that’s because it is a GIA certified triple-ex stone (excellent cut, polish & symmetry).

2. COLOUR
I discern colour shades pretty easily, so this was my 2nd priority. I think a D-H coloured stone would be good, as it will not be so easy to tell the shades of D-H apart unless you place them side by side in a row. I eventually found an E colour stone within budget and have been very happy with how white it looks!

3. CARAT
Carat actually refers to the weight of the stone, though you can estimate the size from the weight. The price of a stone typically jumps more at certain popular weights, like 0.75, 1, 1.25, 1.5 carats etc. So it is worth it to go just under those carat weights to get the best value (since the difference in mm is miniscule). Since I was going for a quality diamond, 1 carat would have been out of budget, so I eventually settled for a 0.81 carat stone which I’m really happy with. It’s not too humongous that it looks like costume jewellery, but it still gives decent finger coverage.

4. CLARITY
Clarity refers to how clear the diamond is. Diamonds are imperfect, & nearly all have flaws. They could take place in the form of what experts call feathers, crystals, clouds etc. In my opinion, clarity is not as important, as you would rarely have people staring so closely at your stone. The only person who would do so is probably yourself! However, I would still advise people interested in getting diamonds online to go for a VS2 & above. This means that you can only see inclusions under a 10x magnification after searching for about 10s. If you are going to a store, you might be able to get away with SI diamonds. As you can both look through the microscope & with the naked eye to see if you can notice any inclusions. My diamond is a VS2 & I cannot see any inclusions at all even while looking at it super up close.

4) CERTIFICATION
There are many diamond certifiers in the world, and I think GIA is the most common. Though I’ve heard they may not be the most strict. Always make sure that your diamond comes with a certificate so that you know exactly what you are getting.

From the certificate, you would be able to gain a lot more information about the diamond. For example:

1. FLUORESCENCE

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Fluorescence is the diamond’s ability to emit a blue glow in uv light (e.g. Sunlight). Though I would have preferred to have a zero fluorescence diamond so that the it looks white in all lights, due to budget constraints, my eventual stone has medium blue fluorescence. I’ve learnt to get used to my diamond looking different in all types of lighting & actually feel like it gives the stone a little but more character. So no regrets there (:

2. MEASUREMENTS

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Honestly speaking, I did not know much about this when I purchased my stone. It was only after subsequent research that I realised its importance. Apparently you can use the HCA (Holloway Cut Advisor) Tool, to calculate the potential light return, fire, scintillation & spread of a round diamond. I realised that my stone didn’t do too well using this tool (experts would say a score of 1-2 is considered excellent). Mine was probably in the range of Good only. However, I still like how my stone looks overall, so you could prob play around with this took just to eliminate not so good stones, but take it with a pinch of salt.

I didn’t realise how long this post has become, hope I didn’t bore those of you who bothered to come read my blog! Seems like I have pretty good knowledge of diamonds after all that research haha. Stay tuned to the next few parts to see my reviews on the retailers I went with!

Part 2 (The Diamond)

Part 3 (The Setting)

XOXO,
Daryl