The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Helping a Soldier Buy an Antique-Style Ring for $4000

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us. Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

I have a question I’m hoping you can help me with. I’m currently in Iraq, and searching online for an engagement ring. My goal is to order online so it will be waiting for me next month when I go on r&r, and I can propose. My girlfriend loves antique jewelry, and I found a website,, that has a beautiful ring I’m thinking of buying. However when I called to ask some specifics, she told me that it is not a certified diamond, but does come with a certificate of appraisal from a GIA/AGS certified appraiser. Should the fact that the diamond itself is not certified concern me? It is a vintage ring, and the diamond is old European cut. Is this possibly why it isn’t certified? Also she lists on the website that it was appraised at 6,150, but is selling for 3,895. Your help is greatly appreciated.

First of all, I just wanted to express my appreciation for your service. It’s especially meaningful and relevant for me, being an American who has moved to Israel.

Now, about sylvia’s – I would not buy a diamond online that was not certified. The fact that a graduate gemologist appraised the stone is completely meaningless. It should be viewed with extreme skepticism since the gemologist works for the company that’s trying to sell you the stone.

Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend buying an antique ring. My wife’s first e-ring was an antique and it constantly broke and had to be fixed. Old gold breaks down. You’d be much better off buying a new ring in an antique style.

Why not take a look at and have a look at their ring selection and see if anything speaks to you. If you find something, I can recommend a great stone from you from their inventory. I push JA because it’s the only site that offers magnified pics of the stones – which I need to make my recommendations.

Thanks for the quick response, and the words of encouragement. May I just say that it’s so refreshing to find someone as up-front and honest about things as you, especially over the internet. After considering your advice and parousing your website, I think I’ve decided to go with a James Allen ring (with your recommendation, of course). As far as Sylvias, I have to say it definitely raised a flag when she said “not certified.” Thanks for saving me from a possibly huge mistake.

On to the ring. Like I said, a lot of my questions were answered just looking through your site. I saw one guy you helped had asked about which setting to choose, and just the feed between you and him answered more of my questions. However I still have one– I’ve basically narrowed it down to the classic solitaire knife-edge setting, or the rounded French-cut pave setting. My only concern with the pave one is, the stones in it are color G-H. Now from what I read concerning the stone I’ll be buying, I know a color I might be possible. Would having a pave setting with higher color stones than the actual center diamond affect its brilliance or detract from it in any way?

As far as the actual stone goes, I’ll go ahead and give my parameters and budget, but I’d like to ask you to hold off on actually searching until sometime in the first week of September, because I can’t make the purchase until I get paid, and I don’t want to risk you finding a great stone now and it selling before I have a chance to grab it. I’ll keep in touch with you though, and let you know when to start looking.

Basically I have a 4k budget for the stone. Before I got educated via your site, I had lofty ideals when it came to color and clarity. You have already convinced me that a lower color, si1 or si2 stone can be found that will still be beautiful and undetectable to the naked eye. So, basically I want the biggest bang for the buck. It doesn’t have to be a full carat, though I’d like as close to a 1.0 as possible, without sacrificing. I really don’t want to say too much, but rather would just like to let you run free and find me a great deal.

Thanks again for the help. It still feels a little too good to be true, that you would just dispense this knowledge so freely and cheerily. I know you get a commission, but I also know it is highly deserved. Thanks so much in advance.


I know I said to hold off on looking until next week, but I just can’t help myself. Also I think I forgot to mention that I’m looking for a round cut.

I decided against the pave ring, so you can disregard that question. I’m going to go with the classic solitaire setting.

I do have a question regarding the true hearts cut vs. an ideal cut. What’s the main difference? I have to admit, just looking at them myself, they look spectacular. But I’m not sure if I could find an ideal cut that looks just as good. What are your thoughts? Like I said in my previous email, at the outset of my search I had higher standards for color and clarity, because my thinking was that I would rather have a smaller-carat stone that sparkled more brilliantly than a higher-carat stone that looked like garbage. I still feel the same, but once again after extensive reading on your site, I feel like a good balance could be found between a lower color, clarity that is clean to the naked eye, and carat. Also it seems that if the cut is good, then the stone will look better….

I’m sorry if it seems I’m bugging you but like I said I’m just excited about the process! Thanks again

btw heres a couple that I’ve looked at in my price range…..thoughts?

I’m sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I hope you received my email from last night with the explanation.

I took a look at the two stones you suggested, and between the two, I like the H VS2 better. There’s really no reason at all to go for a VVS1 on a round diamond. You’re paying a big premium for something you’ll never be able to appreciate.

For that matter, you really don’t need a VS2 either. This stone will look identical to you if they were both sitting in front of you on a table, yet this stone is a lot cheaper:

Have a look and let me know what you think!

Thanks for the note. The stone you suggested looks great, however I’m still wondering about the difference between a hearts and arrows cut and an ideal cut? Is it more of just a premium label (like the clarity grades), or something that you would actually be able to appreciate? I found a couple that I was looking at…

I couldn’t really find any SI1 that looked eye clean to me. But then again, I’m not the expert. Also I know you say on the site that J colors are ok for a round, but would there be any noticeable difference between an H or an I? Thanks again!

Those two stones you linked to look great!

As far as H&A vs Ideal goes – I think there is a difference that’s noticeable, but it’s fairly slight. The question of whether it’s worth the premium or not is a difficult one because some people are very picky and have a very sharp eye for these things. Most people don’t. Even if you could appreciate the difference, it’s still questionable whether or not that small difference is worth the relatively large increase in price.

You might be able to perceive a difference between an H and a J if they were held next to each other for direct comparison, but you’d have to really look hard and concentrate. Once they’re set and worn for a few weeks, though, there would be no difference in their look.

I think I have decided to go with one of those two, and I’m leaning towards the I color one. I just have one question about it– is that an inclusion in the very center, or just a tiny shadow or something? Thanks again for the help.

I think that’s a spec of dirt or something in the center.  There’s nothing in the inclusion plot in that area.

Just thought you’d like to know I decided on the .95 J color stone. I put the order in today, and the ring will be waiting for me when I get home in 3 weeks. I’m thrilled! I used your coupon code too, so you should get your commission. I can’t say thanks enough for the help, it was truly indispensable. I’ll also be sure to refer anyone I know shopping for a stone to you and your site. Take care!

Great news!  Please let me know what you think when it arrives!

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