In my experience, Boone and Sons jeweler in DC and Bethesda are excellent. They are family-owned, carry new and estate diamonds and have been around for a long, long time. In fact, my own engagement ring came from there several decades ago as well as a more recent purchase of diamond earrings. Definitely worth checking out!
My engagement ring is a 30 year old heart shaped CZ with a small triangular sapphire on either side in a white gold setting. I no longer wear it, but when I did, I received so many compliments, including from a couple of jewelers who didn’t realize it wasn’t a true diamond. I never wanted a real diamond because I am a) frugal and b) poverty stricken (actually was when growing up, but now, even at 60, still harbor fears of being a shopping bag lady), so spending that kind of money would never have brought me joy, just agita.
I don’t have an engagement ring. We were young, poor, and expecting. For some time, thought about getting afterward, but the urge drifted away. And I’m weird in that I don’t “get” diamonds: they are just really expensive sparkly things to me.
But this is in no way meant to judge that–it’s just me; people should get what is meaningful for them.
(Side note: I inherited a huge double diamond ring recently when my Mom died. It has much sentimental value, but truthfully, it’s tempting to sell because I’m probably never going to wear it. She didn’t even too often. But I’ll keep it to pass to kids or grandkids, unless a family emergency occurs.)
I had an engagement ring that used a small diamond from a stickpin that dh’s mother had. The diamond fell out, it got replaced and I lost the replacement as well. I liked the setting for the first few years, but in the end, I didn’t even like the way it looked anymore.
A few years before my mother passed away she gave me her jewelry box and I found a really simple opal ring that fits right over my weensy wedding band. I love it and I get lots of compliments for it as well.
The diamond earrings and ring I inherited sit in the bank vault. I keep meaning to get them appraised.
My son had shopped for an engagement ring, and preferred a sapphire stone between 2 small diamonds. Fortunately, he let a mutual friend shop with fiancée, so stuck with a diamond and rose gold. (Her choice). I do think the woman should have a say in a ring she will wear daily.m
I just finished helping my son buy a ring and it was delivered to him over the weekend. I spent a lot of time evaluating options on James Allen and Blue Nile. I don’t know that there is much difference between the two, but I preferred the James Allen site and found them to have a really good selection of stones in the range we were focused on. But the pictures, reports and descriptions on a website can never be a substitute for seeing a stone in person.
Normally I don’t get involved at all in their purchases, but diamonds are my thing, and they asked for my help. I learned several years after my wedding that we were basically lied to by the diamond dealer we bought from. He appraised the ring himself and significantly inflated the quality. I had never even owned a diamond before so we were ripe to be taken advantage of. I sure didn’t want that to happen to DS.
Armed with all I learned on the JA site, I visited a couple stores in my city to see how their prices compared. The traditional jewelry store had a relatively small selection of settings and very high prices. Next I went to a local store that bills itself as a wholesale jeweler and does a good bit of online business. I found their setting prices to be in line with JA and the diamonds were a little less expensive than JA. Plus, they don’t sell anything that isn’t GIA certified so I knew we would have the correct information.
DS’s girlfriend flew out for a weekend and we went to the store so she could try on settings. She picked her favorite and looked at a few stones so the salesperson could learn what was most important to her. Then my son worked with them by phone and email to narrow down to 3 stones. That’s when he asked me to go to the store and look in person. Even though all 3 were GIA certified triple excellent (cut, symmetry and polish), there was a difference in the fire. One was noticeably better in all light conditions. There’s just no way to get that information from a report.
I highly recommend getting a GIA certified stone with the report number laser etched on the stone. That’s the only way to make sure the stone is actually the quality level it’s presented as, plus it makes the stone identifiable in the future.
This is tax evasion. You can be prosecuted. Anyone remember Leona Helmsley? That was one of the many things she was indicted for–bought jewelry at Harry Winston in Manhattan and had them ship empty boxes to her home in New Jersey.
Another vote for local. My SIL had his mother’s first diamond (she upgraded from her “starter” ring) and picked out some sapphires, then designed the setting, which a local jeweler friend of his made. My D loves it. It’s beautiful and very personal. We were so impressed with the work that when I lost an emerald out of my ring (have your rings checked often!), I went to the same jeweler to get a new emerald and have the whole thing reset.
We bought my diamond from a friend who is a certified gemologist and used to own and run a small local jewelry store. He also sold us plain golf wedding bands and engraved them with what we requested.
Because my knuckle is larger than my finger, the ring would spin a lot so he added two tiny gold balls to the engagement ring inside band so it fits more snugly and stopped spinning on my finger.
Well, you are supposed to pay use tax when you buy something from an out-of-state seller who does not charge your state’s sales tax on your purchase.
@Joblue, my DH got my anniversary ring from Boone & Sons! It’s not far from his office.
My wedding band is gold with Hebrew lettering. 95% of the time, that’s the only ring on my hands. My anniversary ring has sapphires, but I don’t wear it that much, as I am always doing rough things with my hands, and I would hate to lose a stone or have the ring slip off.
Just a follow-up- Son proposed recently and his fiancee loved the ring he got. She said " he outdid himself. " Son ended up going with the jeweler friend of hers who worked with him on the design of the ring based on what she had said she wanted and his budget. He got it pretty much at cost , but still spent a good amount for it, with a GIA certificate. But it’s his money! A large round center stone , with a small pear shaped diamond on either side. The stones were set in white gold or platinum( not sure which) but the band is a thin, dainty 18k yellow gold. I think it is lovely and get to see it (and them) next month in person.
He went by train up and back from DC to NY/NJ area on the same day to pick up the ring and proposed that night. They seem very happy and excited to take this next step!
Thanks for all the suggestions and for following along!
How exciting! Congratulations to all of you, but in particular to your son for whom this must have been stressful. Phew, it’s all down hill from now. Only thing they have to worry about is the wedding. Easy peasy
Thanks @katliamom! Yes, I do think he was nervous about getting just the right ring. I think he ended up doing the right thing by sticking with her friend in the jewelry business. It seemed important to her, and the friend deals in wholesale so he was able to get a very nice sized diamond at cost . I like platinum in general so was surprised I liked the gold as much as I did when I saw the ring. Seems like gold is having a little bit of a comeback.
@sevmom, me too! I love my platinum rings but FDIL wanted gold and S bought her exactly what she wanted…an oval diamond solitaire in a simple gold setting, no other stones.
That sounds lovely, @runnersmom . And so nice when they pay such attention to what their partner wants and prefers.
Son’s ideal ring was a sapphire, but DIL wanted a diamond in rose gold setting. While in Scotland, they splurged one night to stay in a castle. That’s when he presented her with the ring.
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