Couple Finance IX - Finding the perfect proposal ring - Luxiee SG
|Click me to visit Luxiee!|
Luxiee began just about 10 months ago. It is an e-commerce marketplace for Diamonds and Ring settings. It operates largely like Bluenile and James Allen, where they allow you to filter for particular diamond settings, very much similar to how you perform excel filter. (Or SGX stocks filter).
The main reason why I am writing this, is to help all the guys out there. If you want the best for your partner, and is not cash-rich, this is very much recommended. Let me run through a few strengths of Luxiee.
Easy navigation of the site
Mr Llama is an online shopping noob, compared to Mrs Llama. Yet, he had no problems using the Luxiee website.
Step 1. First, go to the website, Click on Shop
You will see this Diamond screener that allows you to screen for various important criteria. Shape, Price, Carat, Color, Clarity, Cut and so on. It filters so that you can narrow the search to your desired diamond.
Step 2. Ring Shape
Round is the most conventional and popular shapes. So, round it shall be, for me.
However, I read from TheSmartLocal that certain shops will charge more for other shapes, especially heart shaped ones. I verified this against Luxiee website and found that heart-shaped diamonds are indeed lower priced than round ones. You can verify this for yourself.
Example of a heart shape diamond found on Luxiee:
Example of a round shaped diamond found on Luxiee:
Just a simple comparison, you can see that with about $3900, you can get a 0.92 carat heart-shaped diamond compared to a 0.73 carat round diamond. I know it has different clarity grade, but they only differ by 1 clarity grade only. Its not going to affect the price too much.
I mean, end of day, just choose the shape that you think your partner loves? It is a one-off purchase, do it good.
Step 3. Color
Any color from D to F is good enough. I have seen my friend's G diamond ring , and it does appear a little yellowish to the naked eye.
Hence, this was my top criteria in selecting an engagement ring for Mrs Llama, It has to be the D.
I also noticed varying color grades does affect the price significantly.
|Taken from Luxiee|
Step 4. Clarity
Honestly, you can be relaxed in this aspect. To the naked and untrained eye, it is really not going to be significant. Most shops outside sell diamonds with clarity grades of Si1 or Si2. Personally, I think VS1 to VS 2 works well for me.
Too poor a clarity grade affects the shine of the diamond. So, VS2 for me.
All three criteria are equally important in giving the diamond a good shine. All put to excellent for me.
It depends on your budget. If you would not mind sacrificing some shine, this can significantly lower your ring costs.
|Taken from Luxiee|
Step 6. View the 3D videos of the ring
Because Luxiee is an online shop, you would not be able to touch and feel the diamonds and rings. So, the next best will be to view the 3D videos available on the website.
The videos gives a magnified version of the diamond itself, so you can see the flaws within the diamond. However, all these are really hidden to the naked eye.
Step 7. Click Add to Ring and move on to select Ring setting
On the website, you can choose the prefixed designs they have. They have the following categories shown in the picture below. However, if you wish to customize your ring setting, feel free to contact the shop via email. I believe they will then check and give you a quotation for the workmanship.
Upon selecting the Ring setting, you can then proceed to make payment. Do note that paying via Bank transfer (which can be done easily using any local SG banks) will grant you a 4% discount.
Mr Llama made a mistake to not pay on time
Yes, I have been going through all the websites, playing with all the diamond screeners I can find. Finally, I found one with all the specifications I was looking for. $3,700 - 0.77 carat, great Color, Great clarity.
However, I paid only on the second day after I made the order. Next, I received an SMS from Nicholas (the boss of Luxiee) that the diamond was no longer available.
He gave me time to choose another ring, and reassured me that we can work out the price differences thereafter.
Wanting my order to be smooth, I took another hour and finally settled on the next best choice. He secured the diamond for me immediately. It was about 9pm on a weekday. (Wondering does he ever rest?)
The diamond I chose was not as good as the one I chose originally, with the former being cheaper by $105. Lesson learnt was that, you have to pay asap in order to secure the diamond you want.
And yes, I paid via bank transfer to qualify for the 4% discount. I also enjoyed free delivery charges, the promotion available at the time of my purchase.
One month later...
The ring took about a month to be ready for collection. Throughout the wait, I was constantly kept updated on the progress of the Ring. Even when Nicholas was on reservist, he informed me and gave an alternate contact in case I needed any help.
On a faithful Monday, the wait was over. I made my way down to their office at Thye Hong Centre (5mins walk from Redhill MRT). I was greeted by Nicholas, and we went into the room I call - the 'Diamond Viewing Room'.
Over there, we viewed a few other samples of diamonds, and I realised I was the only one with a solitaire ring design without other mini diamonds surrounding the main diamond. Put it simply, my ring was the most basic and simple, with a ring sitting on a 18K white gold setting.
As a curious baby (好奇宝宝), I asked alot of questions. He was patient and answered the questions calmly. Honestly, some of my questions were really stupid. Like "Will the diamond drop out?", "How do you tell if the ring setting is real gold?"
He was outright honest and straightforward. He mentioned to be careful not to knock the ring against anything hard, and that the ring is carved with a code '7-something-something' that represents that it is 18K gold.
Throughout the process, I could feel that he has passion in what he do.
He has spent 10 years in Taka Jewelry, and decided to strike out on his own. He was appreciative of the trust I (and other customers) have in his business as it has only been 10 months old.
He believes in quality diamonds, and went on to explain to me that in time to come, only GIA certified diamonds will be available on Luxiee. I have also learnt that most diamonds are sourced from India, and the ring setting I purchased was from China. Interestingly, if you see Private partners on his website as a Diamond supplier, it is due to Supplier confidentiality, something I also faced in the financial industry.
He also had in mind, to upgrade his online shop to has more timely feeds, and more complete 3D videos. Simply an inspiring entrepreneur.
In the 'Diamond Viewing Room'
When I first held the ring, it felt way lighter than expected. The diamond looked huge, too huge to my liking. And, it shone in an amazing way.
Well, it was in a way similar to what was shown on the 3D videos, where the diamond I choose was a little wider (or fatter). He guided me to see the GIA certification number on the diamond, only visible with a 20x magnification.
And went on the pass me the GIA certification which came all the way from Belgium. It was well wrapped in a mini plastic folder.
Check out their promotions available
When I purchased my Diamond ring, delivery fees was waived. This is diamond delivery from India to Singapore we are talking about. It generally amounts to about $100+ to delivery the diamond to Singapore. This helped keep the proposal ring affordable.
While I was just browsing the site, they have a new promotion. Check out below! This amounts to about $60-$100+ of savings for you.
Luxiee shop is like a stock exchange
The data you see on the website for the diamonds is updated according to market data feeds from Luxiee's suppliers. In a way, the fastest one to order and make payment gets the diamond.
This is to mean, anyone one else in the world can get the diamond if they buy and secure the diamond before you. In a way, you likely have to pay more for the next diamond with the same qualities. Doesn't this work like a stock exchange?
According to your partner's preferences, and your budget, play around with the diamond screener. For instance, if your budget is around $5,000, you can set it around $5,200 and fix the criteria you are looking for.
You can sort according to size, or price and choose the diamonds one by one.
Personally, I avoided the diamonds that did not provide 3D videos, as I needed that reassurance of how the diamond looked like.
The top criteria I had in mind was:
1. Color - D or E
2. Diamond budget - $4,200
3. Clarity - VS2 and above
4. Cut, Symmerty and Polish - Excellent
5. Fluorescent - Medium to None
6. The other criteria was not of top concern.
What did Mr Llama get?
Personally, the ring is just a part of the marriage. It should not be too expensive, at the same time, not too shabby.
I wanted to do it well as it is once in a life time. Hence, I got a 0.7x carat diamond ring for Mrs Llama. Together with the ring setting, it cost the mid $4s. Picture below is the ring itself.
Well, I have checked against James Allen, and BlueNile, and still decided to go with Luxiee. Not implying anything, you can do your own due diligence.
I have also visited various local Jewelry online shops, and has failed to find anyting close. A rough estimate of the cost of the ring I got, will probably cost $8k in the retail setting? (I am no diamond expert, feel free to correct me if I am wrong)
Once again, the key I was looking for was the simple design that Mrs Llama wishes for. And, the ring should be there to enhance the relationship instead of creating stress.
Mrs Llama loves the ring
Yes, this is the main point. Your partner loves the ring. It doesn't matter what you do and how much you spend. It should be made to her liking.
I proposed to her during the Vietnam Trip, and she said "Yes!"
Motivation behind this article
I believe Luxiee brings about a good cause, similar to what I aim to bring with LlamaFinance. It is which to help people make better financial decisions (save youself from unnecessary expenses).
It not only remove the middlemen fees from customers. The company does not incur any shop rental fees, nor bank interests like traditional retail jewelry shops. As Nicholas explained, companies do take loans to hold diamond inventories and this is itself a form of cost too.
By writing this, I hope to spread the knowledge to young gentlemen out there, who are worrying about their proposal. I wish that people can get the ring they desire, within a good budget, and Luxiee is a good option.
If you can save in the first step towards marriage, it will help in your eventual steps - The marriage itself, and the renovations etc. It is just paying less for a customized diamond ring of better quality in my opinion.