Virtual Purchase: 3-Stone Diamond Ring

What:  For this Virtual Purchase, I am focusing on a ring with 3 round diamonds: a center diamond that is larger, with proportionally smaller round diamonds on the sides, in white gold or platinum in several total weights (adding all the carat weights of the stones together, abbreviated as TW):  1/2 ct TW, 1 ct TW, and 2 ct TW.  I didn’t look at total carat weights less than 1/2 carat–spread across 3 stones, the individual carat weights are just too small, you are better off putting your whole budget into one diamond.

A little background on the design and significance:  3-stone rings have actually been around for a long time, they just didn’t have a name and specific jewelry category until De Beers decided to brand them a few years ago.  Some other jewelry items that people didn’t know they needed before De Beers told them they did are engagement rings (the 1948 campaign “A Diamond Is Forever” that lauched the modern-day concept of a diamond engagement ring), right-hand rings, “Journey” jewelry, anniversary bands.  I do think the 3-stone ring is beautiful and enduring.  The 3 stones represent your past, present, and future.  With this symbolism, a 3-stone could be presented as an engagement ring, or for a significant anniversary. 

Classic 3-Stone Round Diamond Ring from Costco.com

Classic 3-Stone Round Diamond Ring from Costco.com

Where:  I looked for 3-stone rings anywhere I could find them at major retailers online:  Blue Nile, Costco.com, Amazon.com, Diamond.com, plus some others in the table below.  I had kind of a hard time finding very many already mounted options in my target quality range of G-H color, SI1-SI2 clarity, especially in 1/2 ct TW.

Here are the results of my research in table format and my picks for best quality/value/style highlighted, with more specific notes down below (if you need a 4 C’s diamond quality refresher, click here).  You can click on the retailer name to go directly to the ring featured:

1/2 carat TW 3-Stone Diamond Ring:
Company: Mounting Metal: Min Color: Min Clarity: Cut:  Price:   Price after discount:  Comments:
Jewelrycentral.com 14kt w and y H-I I1 Not spec  $    595.00   Best value for H/I1 quality, I1 clarity not great
Ice.com 14kt w and y G I1 Not spec  $    795.00   I1 clarity not great, there are better quality options
Classicjewelry.com 14kt w and y H SI2 Not spec  $ 1,014.00  $    861.90 My pick for H/SI2 quality. Good value with 15% off
Amazon.com 14kt w and y H SI2 Very Good  $    999.00  $    699.00 Was $699, best quality, but now not on sale
Blue Nile 18kt w I SI2 Not Spec  $ 1,200.00   Beautiful ring, price not great even with 18kt mtg
Diamond.com 14kt w and y H I1 Not Spec  $    795.00   Not competitive on price, especially for I1

 

1 ct TW 3-Stone Diamond Ring:
Company: Mounting Metal: Min Color: Min Clarity: Cut:  Price:   Price after discount:  Comments:
Jewelrycentral.com 18kt w H-I SI2 Not spec  $ 2,200.00   Nice design, best everyday price
Mondera Platinum G-H VS1-VS2 Not spec  $ 3,500.00   Nice style, higher quality
Blue Nile 18kt w H SI2 Not spec  $ 2,450.00   Beautiful ring, good reviews on site
Amazon.com 14kt w and y H SI2 Very Good  $ 2,999.00  $ 1,609.99 Was 30% off of $2299, terrible price w/o sale
Diamond.com 14kt w and y H I1 Not Spec  $ 1,995.00   Lowest price option, but I1 lower quality
Costco.com 14kt w I VS2 Very Good  $ 2,499.00   Absolutely beautiful mounting, great value
Classicjewelry.com 14kt w and y H SI2 Not spec  $ 2,547.00  $ 2,164.95 My pick for H/SI2 quality, good value with 15% off

 

2 ct TW 3-Stone Diamond Ring:
Company: Mounting Metal: Min Color: Min Clarity: Cut:  Price:   Price after discount:  Comments:
Diamond.com 14kt w and y H I1 Not Spec  $ 5,495.00   Low price but it’s lower I1 clarity and 14kt
Costco.com Platinum I VS2 VG  $ 7,499.00   Absolutely gorgeous, great value for quality
Costco.com Platinum I VS2 VG  $ 8,499.99  $ 7,999.99 Good sale offer, fancy vintage-style setting

 

My favorite 1 ct TW 3-Stone Ring from Costco.com

My favorite 1 ct TW 3-Stone Ring from Costco.com

Jewelrycentral.com:  This company comes up high in google search results, so I checked them out.  Prong basket settings for their 3-stone rings.  Not crazy about I1, better quality is out there for good value.  No specifics on the break-down of carat weight.

Ice.com:  Not totally sure about this site, I would have to order something from them to be able to completely endorse.  Ok value on a G/I1 clarity. 

Classicjewelry.com:  New site discovery for me, they say they are a NYC manufacturer in business for 25 years.  They have the usual 30 day return policy and a customer service 877#. They also have live chat and list their address on the site, which is a pretty good sign (some no-name sites you can barely find an “about us”). Can enter email for coupon code for 15% off anything over $500 http://www.classicjewelry.com/diamonds/jewelry/coupon.php

Amazon.com:  Sigh.  Amazon jewelry buyers, please read this and listen up: your price messaging is terrible.  This item was 30% off of $999 for Valentine’s Day, but not marked anywhere obvious on the detail page, I had to go through entire check-out to get final price.  The sale prices for the 1/2 ct and 1 ct TW rings were amazing, but the regular prices are NOT competitive, and that is usually where Amazon wins (price).  I like this style, with the square-edge clean band and stylish baskets.  Site navigation for this category is pretty good: from Jewelry category page, 3-stone left nav category takes you to page where the rings are grouped by mounting type/diamond quality and you can choose your carat total weight. 

Blue Nile:  Beautiful ring, probably worth buying if you want the 18kt mounting, but I think their prices should come down a bit in this economy (if they want to survive).  Great site navigation as usual, 3-stone rings have their own category in left nav.  Could build your own from their loose diamond collection if you want.  Carat TWs from .25 ct TW to 3.63 ct TW.  No break-down of carat weights of center vs. sides, which surprised me from this company.

Diamond.com:  Arrgghh!  This is a jewelry-specific site, but navigating is terrible: no 3-stone category and the refinements are not useful (how about refining by carat TW, maybe?).  I had to wade through pages of totally random rings to find the 3-stones.  Also, I don’t like that they don’t offer qualities higher than I1 for mounted rings: at I1 clarity you can see the inclusions, and unless your budget is really tight, SI2 is a better bet. 

Costco.com:  Really lovely mountings, different from the rest of the offerings here.  For someone who wants classic, but with a little twist.  For the higher clarity and relatively large center at .40, I think the 1 carat TW version is an excellent value.

Mondera.com:  I had to look really hard on site to find 3-stones.  Nice style and quality, but could only find a 1 ct TW option.  Not as extensive a selection as I thought this jewelry-specific site would have.

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