Three stone anniversary ring Q+A

Three stone anniversary ring Q+A

Three Stone Anniversary Ring Enquiry

Finding the perfect three stone ring

In this enquiry I help find the perfect three stone ring to celebrate their anniversary.

In this Q+A, you’ll learn:

  • What to consider when choosing your anniversary ring style
  • What ‘don’t buy the box’ means
  • How the visible size of a diamond changes with carat weight

Are your recommended retailers suitable for anniversary rings?

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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Excellent website.I am buying an anniversary ring for my wife. We’ve done some store shopping for styles. Are your retailers also good for this kind of ring, or should I look for a different kind of jeweler/supplier? 

Yes! Anniversary ring considerations

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To: D****@gmail.com

Hi D

Thanks for dropping me a line and congratulations on your upcoming anniversary.

Online retailers are definitely a great option for buying an anniversary ring as well as an engagement ring – you receive all of the same benefits in terms of wider choice, easier comparability of products, free resizing if needed and better return policies.

I’m not sure how much thought and research you have put into your choice so far, but here are a few things to think about:

Style

Do you know what style of ring you want to buy? Many people choose a ring with a row of smaller diamonds set into a band, but there are a few things to consider here:

Metal
If you think that your wife will wear the ring next to her existing engagement ring (which is common), you should ensure that the ring is the same metal as the ring that it’s going to sit next to. This is because different metals are different hardnesses. If a platinum ring is worn next to a white gold ring, for instance, the two rings will rub against each other and the harder ring will erode the softer ring.

Budget
Budget obviously plays a big factor in the metal choice and the size of diamond (if that’s the style of ring you’re choosing). I always recommend that buy write their budget down on a piece of paper and keep it in mind when buying a ring. It’s very easy to succumb to price creep when faced with a huge range of options.

Sizing
Full eternity rings are very difficult to resize, so if you’re not 100% sure on the size then I wouldn’t recommend buying one without your wife actually present.

Without knowing what you’re looking for, that’s about as much general guidance as I can give at the moment, but if you’d like some help finding the anniversary ring that will deliver the most beauty for your budget, then let me know what you’re looking for and I can make some recommendations

Many thanks,

Alastair

Researching at a Bricks and Mortar retailer

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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Alastair: Thank you for the reply.

My wife and I went to a store and just found an ‘old-timer,’  told her candidly we were just trying to size up the field for anniversary rings, and let her do some magic on us.

She was an excellent salesperson who guided us to some sorts of rings we would like. She laid out 4, and we took photos of them, so I now have an idea of what my wife would like.

My plan is now to build a ring from what we saw, probably a three stone ring with some smaller stones set in pave. Your suggestions re lifestyle are very good.

Also, consider where her original ring will be. I wouldn’t have thought of that. 

Right now I’m thinking about a 1.25 carat in the center and 2 smaller stones surrounding it (if 25 points on each side look good, I’ll consider that). I’ll also probably go with a high grade cut, as you suggest. 

If I can do all that for about $10-12,000, I’ll be happy, and so will she.

Thank you again.

D

Anniversary ring recommendation

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D,

Great idea to go and have a look with your wife to get some guidance – choosing jewelry is definitely not something that comes naturally to most men, so it’s always good to get some guidance.

I’ve found a stone and setting that I think fit your requirements absolutely perfectly: link to recommendation

The stone is 1.36 carats, so slightly larger than you originally requested, but I’m not sure if there is a woman alive who has turned down a bigger diamond than she was originally expecting! I’ve also included a link to a pave setting with two 0.25 carat sides stones. You didn’t mention what metal you were looking for, so I’ve linked to the platinum version of the ring, although a white gold version is also available and is less expensive. With the platinum setting, the total for the ring would be $11,296. With white gold, it would be $10,486.

The reason I chose this stone is because of its excellent performance on the Holloway Cut Adviser.

The HCA is a tool developed by a diamond industry veteran which takes into account all of the angles and proportions within a diamond and how they will work together to reflect light. It then uses an algorithm to determine how much light will be returned by a diamond and therefore how much it sparkles.

Not all ‘ideal’ or ‘excellent’ cut diamonds are the same, and before making any recommendations I narrow the my selection to my preferred range of depth % and table % and then check the performance of every diamond using the HCA.

A score under 2 on the HCA means that the stone will perform excellently – return as much light as possible and sparkle brilliantly. Very few stones, even those with an ‘excellent’ or ‘ideal’ cut grade actually achieve this.

Let me know your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to review

Alastair

PS. Just as a heads-up, great performing diamonds tend to get snapped up pretty quickly. If this diamond isn’t available when you go to review it, just let me know and I’ll find another great performing diamond for you

Contemplating a less common diamond shape

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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Alistair:  The ring you recommended certainly hits all the quality recommendations I’d like, and it is in the price range I had in mind. You have done a good job in the selection. But I think I may have some shopper’s remorse. Here’s my problems and how I’m trying to resolve them: 

  1. I’m thinking about the 1.36 ct. weight, and whether I went too big for my wife’s small hands.  While you are correct about size matters, my wife is a cheap date and the size really means nothing to her. I mean this in the best way., I went to the James Allen site and looked at 1.3 ct rings, trying to imagine that size on her hand. That didn’t really work. They have an excellent tool that shows you a hand with various shape stones, but the stones look like half carats.  Do you have a suggestion for this? How could I “see” a one carat, or .80? (Blue Nile really ought to put this tool up on their site. It’s excellent and probably would pay for itself).
  1. I’m also re-thinking the traditional round shape. My wife would have no problem if I bought something non-traditional. I will handle this by going to the James Allen site and viewing a couple of different shapes, especially Assher and Radiant. I’d probably still stay with the same setting,  How does this sound to you?

So, any comments you have will be helpful. I’d like to hear your advice about cut and dimensions in relation to a 1.25 or 1.3 ct. radiant or assher cut. I will look for a design that I like and give it over to you. If you have any recommendations, let me know. We can get something done by next week I hope. 

Comparing diamond carat weights

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D,

Thanks for dropping me a note and I can understand that you want to get this right. There’s a few factors to think about here, so I’ll go through them below:

Size
Diamond carat is a measure of weight, rather than size, which means that a 9% increase in carat weight (from 1.25 to 1.36 carats) doesn’t mean that the diamond will look 9% larger. The visible difference is much smaller than than because so much of a diamond’s weight is carried in the pavilion – the bottom half of the stone which isn’t visible once the stone is mounted in a setting.

I’ve attached a to-scale image to show how the two sizes compare, as well as comparisons to a 1.3 carat radiant and 1.3 carat Asscher cut.

The difference in diameter between a 1.36 carat round brilliant stone and a 1.25 carat round brilliant stone is just 0.2mm, so very difficult to actually see unless the two stones are placed right next to each other and examined closely.

I included a 1 carat round brilliant diamond as well to show that 1.3 carat radiant and Assher stones actually have a smaller width across than a 1 carat diamond as they carry more weight in their corners and in the bottom ‘pavilion’ half.

Seeing a ring on a finger
I’ve been considering how to do this on my site for a while now, but the best solution I have seen is on Ritani’s site. If you go to their diamond search tool, find a 1.35 carat round brilliant diamond and add it to a 3 stone ring, you can click a ‘view on finger’ view and see what the ring will actually look like.

I’ve done this for a 1.25 carat round brilliant and a 1.35 carat round brilliant and attached the images to this email and the rings look very similar.

Different shapes
The Asscher shape is a very different beast to the round brilliant. While the round brilliant’s facets are optimised to bounce as much light off the inside of the diamond and back to the viewer’s eyes, the Asscher’s stepped cut and flat sides doesn’t sparkle in the same way, but instead bounces flashes of light off the surface of the stone. It’s a very different effect, but no less beautiful.

One thing to know also is that the Asscher isn’t quite so good at hiding warmer colours as the round brilliant and its large, flat top ‘table’ can mean that inclusions are more likely to be visible at the same clarity grade.

The radiant is a newer cut and is a mix of the elegance of the Asscher and the sparkle of the round brilliant. It’s a great choice, but does need a bit more attention paid to choosing the right stone. Rectangular radiants can be liable to have show a ‘bow tie’ effect where there is a dark area in the center of the stone. This is an issue for all elongated diamond shapes and while it can’t be eliminated in elongated stones, you can choose a stone with a minimal bow tie. However, the only way to tell is to examine the individual stone, which is why you need to use a retailer who provides good images of each diamond.

For this reason I recommend James Allen as my primary recommended retailer for diamonds that aren’t either round brilliant or Princess cut. I’ve put in my recommended specs for 1.3 carat radiant stones at James Allen here so you can see what your options could be.

Side Stones and ring style
Lastly, an Asscher or radiant cut diamond have fewer side stones and three stone setting styles that will work with them than a round brilliant or a Princess cut does. I’ve attached a couple of images to show some James Allen settings.

Other retailers
Yes, I do have affiliate relationships with other retailers, including James Allen and Ritani as well as the other retailers on my recommended retailers page.

So, I don’t feel that I can make a recommendation on which direction you should go on, but I wanted to provide some information to help you make your decision. The difference in visible size between a 1.36 and 1.25 round brilliant would be minimal, but I can definitely understand if this is something that you’re concerned about if you feel that the ring will be too large for your wife’s hand.

Of the two alternative shapes, I personally prefer the radiant because it gives a more brilliant sparkle and ‘faces up’ larger than the Asscher. For both of these, I’d first see which setting styles are available before making a decision.

Hopefully this was all helpful and hasn’t confused you at all!

Let me know your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to read through

Many thanks,

Alastair

How does the price of fancy shaped diamonds compare to round brilliant diamonds?

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

.

Alistair,

I’m ready to move to a stone and setting. I tend to overanalyse research and sometimes get stuck in ‘paralysis by analysis,’ but for a $10,000 purchase I see no problems with that minor flaw of mine.   

I’ve looked at the James Allen, Ritani and Enchanted Diamonds sites. All are good sites, but James Allen, as you said, is overall the best. Features on other sites that I like are Ritani can deliver a ring for inspection to Beverly Jewelers. That’s a good feature for me as I live near one, and in fact bought my engagement ring there 20 years ago.

The Enchanted Diamonds site can provide an ASET photo, which is a big advantage. On both Ritani and Enchanted the search features would sometimes fail. Anyway, keep these comments in mind as you search for a ring. At the end are some questions I have that impact on my comments here.

  1. After viewing a lot of stones and settings, I think your earlier recommendation was very close to what I want, except for the shape – a three stone/radiant center stone/pave. The center stone could have a halo around it, but that’s not critical and is a function of price and look. The radiant center stone should be about 1.3 carats in weight, with the side stones about .25 carats each. I do not particularly like crescent side stones. All the specs on the main center stone should be as listed on your website. I do not want a rectangular radiant, and please make sure the table is not higher than the depth.
  2. There is a stone on the James Allen site that comes very close to what I’m looking for. It is item #669140. If I was looking by myself I probably would have bought it. It is a great buy with regards to quality/price. One problem is they don’t offer the ideal setting I’d like with that stone. 
  3. On any ring you’re recommending, I’d like a 3-D and zoom look. It seems that all the websites offer that, but I just wanted to get it out. If possible, I’d like an ASET photo.

I hope this gives you enough info to find a ring. If you require more, or have any questions, check back with me. You can also call me at the number below. I’m in the eastern time zone.

Here are some questions:

Your webpage says a radiant typically runs about 30% below an equivalent brilliant round. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. For example, on the James Allen site the prices for a 1.3 carat radiant ring with the identical specs you provided in your recommendation run from $7630-$9640. Those are about the same as the brilliant stone you are recommending from Blue Nile (which is no longer available, but I have the GIA report). Where am I missing the price differential?

As I looked around, I came across some photos taken by a process called ASET. Those pix offered a lot of good info. Is it possible to get that with your recommendation?

Please explain the 30-day guarantee. Does that mean I can reject the ring, return it and start the process all over? No questions asked? What is your involvement in that? Any comments on your part?

How does it work with your commission? Do you collect it from the provider, or do I pay you? How about the logistics of the sale. Do I pay the provider? I guess I”m asking about the mechanics of your involvement.

Looking forward to your selection,

D

Comparing diamond shape prices & ASET images

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D,

Nothing wrong with detailed analysis!

That’s why I started really looking into diamonds to begin with, as I didn’t feel like I could find a sufficiently detailed source of information which would tell me what I needed to know.

Radiant vs. Round Brilliant prices
There are a lot of factors which affect the price of diamonds, but one of the factors which affects the price the most is the carat weight.

As you go heavier with carat weight, the number of diamonds gets produced at that size gets smaller, so the price increases.. For less common shapes like the radiant, as you go up in carat weight, high quality diamonds get much, much less common, so the price goes up at a much-higher-than-proortional-rate.

My 30% cost saving stat is still definitely true, and some carat weights can give as much as a 50% saving e.g.

1 carat, colour G, clarity VS2 diamonds

Halo setting
Halos are a great way to make a center stone look larger – they can make a 0.5 carat center stone look as big as a 1 carat for a much lower cost.

You mentioned earlier that you were worried about the 1.36 carat round brilliant looking too large for your wife’s hand. If that is still a concern, then I would not choose a halo three stone ring, as it will make the ring look much larger on the finger. However, if you choose to go for a custom setting (which you may need to to find a radiant setting that fits your requirements, then the retailer may be able to use extremely small melee diamonds which don’t add too much width to the setting.

Radiant diamonds
Unfortunately the radiant diamond that you sent through that you had been looking at has been sold. I couldn’t find it, so checked with James Allen who confirmed it. As I mentioned in an earlier email, good diamonds to tend to get snapped up.

Options
The more specific a diamond buyer is, the fewer options there are as although there are hundreds of thousands of diamonds in the market at any one time, the vast majority of them are round brilliant or Princess cut and not particularly high quality. Choosing a high quality square radiant means that the options available at any one time are narrowed hugely.

Searching James Allen’s current inventory, this diamond appears to tick all of our boxes.

It fits my recommended table and depth %, it has a lower depth % than table %, it has excellent polish and symmetry, is very square (length / width ratio of 1.01), has clarity grade of VS2, no fluorescence and is 1.31 carats.

ASET images
ASET images are extremely useful for assessing how brilliant a diamond is going to be. With fancy shapes, a buyer can select criteria which should mean that a diamond is likely to sparkle as brilliantly as possible ie. depth %, table %, symmetry etc, but the only way to really know is to test.

Unfortunately not all diamonds are photographed using an ASET viewer when they. ASET images are something that only a small percentage of diamond buyers want to see, so most manufacturers only take an ASET images of some stones, while others will take an ASET image on request,

There’s no ASET image available for the recommended stone at the moment, but James Allen can source the diamond from their supplier and take one. Once they have done that, you would have 24 hours to make a decision as they can’t hold a diamond for longer than that.

James Allen will actually take ASET images of up to three diamonds for a customer, which is a great service. However, looking at the radiant cuts which fit my required specifications, the stone recommended above is the only one that would fit your preference for a square stone.

I haven’t requested the ASET image as they ask that customers request all three at the same time. I therefore wanted to wait, just in case you wanted to look at ASET images of other stones / shapes as well.

But, if you are happy with the stone, then you should contact James Allen via the live chat feature and request an ASET image and we can then assess.

If you would like to find some alternative shapes to also request, then I can definitely help with that, but if you are looking for a square radiant then this is the only choice at the moment it seems.

Custom rings
James Allen do offer a custom ring service, and I think that this may be the answer to get the exact ring that you’re looking for.

Once you’ve chosen the stone, you can fill in the form, including requirements for side stones, and a link to the three stone ring that best fits your requirements as inspiration.

Or, one of the existing settings could often be made to work, even if there are no examples on the site currently. It may just be that no-one has requested that specific combination of radiant diamond and setting e.g. James Allen of offer a three stone Infinity twist pave setting and if you use the drop down on the image you can see that it has been set with a Princess cut in the past. It therefore shouldn’t be too difficult for them to set it with a radiant stone. However, this is something that we would need to enquire about.

Returns
The difficult with custom pieces is that they are only returnable some of the time, and this is on a case-by-case basis. The only way to get an answer on whether a ring would be returnable is to put in a request-for-quote via the form on the James Allen custom ring page and ask the team there.

If you were just to go with a off-the-shelf-setting like the infinity twist above, or one of the other settings that James Allen has available then the return policy would be 30 days, no questions asked.

I’m not involved in the returns at all. Once a purchase is made, that’s usually where my relationship with a transaction finishes.

Commission & logistics
I make a commission if someone clicks through and purchases within 30 days of them clicking through to the retailer. It’s administered by a third party and I wait for the 30 day return period to be cleared before I am eligible to receive payment. The commission comes out of the retailers’ margins and doesn’t affect the price paid by the ring buyer at all.

You would just complete your purchase as normal and the administrator will decide whether I am eligible for the commission or not.

As always, I hope this information is useful for you. As mentioned, the more specific you are about requirements for a diamond, the fewer choices there are, but I think that the square radiant James Allen stone recommended is an excellent choice and would make a stunning center stone for your ring.

If you decide to go with this stone, your decision is then whether any of the existing James Allen settings fit what you’re looking for, or whether you would like to work with their custom design team to craft your perfect ring setting. I hope that one of the existing three stone settings hits the spot for you, but it is obviously very subjective and dependent on what you personally find beautiful.

Let me know if you have any further questions. I’m heading to bed now, but will endeavour to answer as quickly as I can

Many thanks,

Alastair

Making the final diamond decision

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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Thanks. Very helpful.
Your recommended stone is very nice and I may go ahead and select it. For today I’m considering dropping down in size to between 1-1.2 Carats and using the difference in money for a setting. I’ll stick on the James Allen site. If I decide to stay larger, I’ll use your recommendation. If I go lower, I’ll send you one or two for you to recommend back to me.

Narrowing in on the perfect diamond

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D

If I reduce the carat weight on the search screen to 1.1 carat, there are no square radiants that fit in with my required depth %, table % etc.

If I reduce the carat weight on the search screen to 1 carat, then this stone is available, which looks like an excellent choice.

Price per carat
Buying a diamond is alway about finding the right compromise between the diamond ‘quality’ characteristics and price.

One thing to note is that as the 1 carat diamond has a slightly higher color grade and clarity grade, its price per carat is higher. The 1 carat diamond is 1.00 carat exactly and priced at $6,180, so it’s price per carat is $6,180 per carat. Pretty easy math!

The 1.31 carat diamond I linked to earlier is priced at $7,190, so is $5,488 per carat.

Just something else to consider in your decision making.

As always, let me know if you have any questions at all

Many thanks,

Alastair

Do you need to see the diamond?

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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One final question. I assume there is no point in my seeing the stone if I’m set on what I want, correct? You’ve examined it, I’ve got a GIA report – what am I going to add to the knowledge base? and they all look pretty damned good anyway.  I’m going to try to grab the 1.3 carat you found this morning. One thing I noticed is the dimensions are the size of a 1.1 carat, which I assumes means that a lot of weight is carried in the girdle, which is thick. So this is a great compromise. I’m going to try to get that infinity ring with side stones and pave. If I can’t get that for another $3,000 or so, I’ll compromise on setting somewhere. I’m off to the site now, and I’ll report back on my experience, which I’m sure will be excellent.

Narrowing in on the perfect diamond

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D,

It can be good to see a stone in real life, but the beauty of James Allen’s 360 degree images is that you can get an excellent idea of what the stone will look like from any angle.

James Allen goes have some physical locations that buyers can go and visit. This is a new extension of their service, so the coverage isn’t as wide as Ritani’s, but you can see their physical locations here

But that’s great news that you have reserved the stone – it would have been a shame to miss out on it as it fulfils all of our criteria so well.

The size of the 1.31 carat stone is 5.97mm x 5.94mm x 4.16mm, while the size of the 1.00 carat diamond is 5.67mm x 5.48mm x 3.91mm, so the 1.31 carat stone is larger in every dimension than the 1 carat stone, as would be expected.

You’re right though, your wife will love the ring because of the care and thought that you have put into selecting it and because of what it signifies for you both. It’s going to be a stunning ring and a really beautiful symbol of your continuing commitment.

Let me know how you get on, and as always if you have any further questions then please don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

Alastair

Purchase made!

From: D****@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 12 February
To: alastair@ringspo.com

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Alastair: I received the ring from James Allen today. It is really very nice – just as I expected. And they deliver it in an exceptionally nice package. Thank you for your assistance.D

A great result

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Alastair Smith headshot

From: alastair@ringspo.com
Subject: RE: Question
Date: 30 January
To:D****@gmail.com

Hi D,

Great news!  I’m really pleased to hear that the ring lived up to your expectations.

Huge congratulations once again on your anniversary and I’m glad that I could help you find a ring to mark the occasion. I enjoyed our correspondence and I appreciate the amount of thought and rigour that you put into your choice.

Take care,

Alastair

Get the help you need to make a confident decision

You’re not in this on your own! If you’d like some help finding your perfect engagement ring, or if you just have some questions that you’d like to bounce off someone, then get in touch and I’d love to help you out.

Click the button below or email me at alastair@ringspo.com and I’ll get back to you with an answer licketysplit.

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