Hey – I had five hours of thesis work done before lunch! I know that my whole work=reward thing might be a little too revealing about the way I was raised (by two doctors), but you gotta do what works for ya.
Besides, my kid is back from the beach and her steady myspace exclamations and endless phone calls make too much background static to focus properly.
It’s true – you CAN get a great deal on a diamond in the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles. My boyfriend and I spent the day checking out the addresses I mentioned in my last diamond post. We met Hampy. First of all, it was much busier in the jewelry district than I had anticipated – actually felt a lot like nyc, only sunny and more shades of brown skin. We parked in a lot (to be safe), but then realized we could’ve saved the $7 and parked on the street, just as easily.
There are tons of jewelry shops. The streets were just lined with them and without my addresses clutched in my hand, I would have felt as lost as I did in Bangkok’s Chinatown. So, we gaped and gawked just a little and moved along. Turned out that both of my address were directly across the street from each other, a block or so away from the hub of things. Ritz Jewelry was a tiny storefront linked to an open jewelry “mall.” You walk in and you can browse several dozen storefronts on the street level.
Ritz Jewelry does not have great selection. But Hampy (and his wife Nora) did offer us a ring (white gold- with three stones) for $3,400, including tax – cash up front. The largest diamond was .93, VS1, I in color and very good round cut with a GIA certificate. A comparable diamond at bluenile would be $3,869 for just the diamond, plus the ring and other stones. When we hemmed and hawed Hampy said, okay $3,100… It was unclear whether he meant just the diamond or not. Anyway, we didn’t have the cash with us (but we may go back…)
We also went to Robbins Bros. (where they give you free drinks and treat you like royalty) and browsed. The plus side to a store like that is that they actually 100% guarantee their diamonds and settings, meaning, if the stone falls out while you’re washing the dishes? They’ll replace it. Also, they have a 100% trade-in/upgrade policy. So, if you feel like getting a bigger or nicer ring in five years – they’ll accept your old ring as a trade-in at its original price. And the place is way classier then the obnoxious radio ads might have you believe. The downsides – only the really expensive settings perked my interest, which means a very, very small diamond. If I am going to get a regular ring and a nice diamond, then I might as well go back to Hampy, n’est-ce pas?
Finally, we spent more time online at bluenile. I love the platinum semi-bezel solitaire setting ($1200) which leaves me with $1800 for diamond. I could get a nice .62, SV1, G color, ideal round cut for that. Chad is leaning towards this option, but he would prefer never dealing with a live salesperson. Me? It’s a dilemma – go for the bargain? Hampy says that I can always change the ring later…
(btw, we have obviously decided to ignore the conflict dimond issue. Turns out that conflict diamonds make up less than 5% of the diamond trade, and there is now the Kimberly Process  to prevent blood diamonds from entering the market. I did check into a recommendation from a friend : http://www.greenkarat.com/ but honestly, I don’t want to buy a synthetic diamond. I promise my next car will be a Prius…)
[update: Here is an article from the nytimes (Dec. 2006) about Hollywood’s recent interest in conflict diamonds. The article has links to other sites with more information.]