February 01, 2005

Curious George: Chicago Jeweler? Know a good Chicago-area (accessible on public transport) jeweler?

I have a diamond (currently set in a family ring) that I want reset in a new engagement ring setting. The internets are full of shady shill sites and really unprofessional websites. Have any recommendations for a good, trustworthy Chicago jeweler with a wide selection of settings? I'm really looking to do the job for less than $1000.

  • I can't give any specific recommendations on shops, but there should be some trustworthy companies on Jeweller's Row (that's Wabash between Washington and Monroe). And you can't beat the access, 3 L lines stop right in the middle, and the other two pass within a block or two.
  • Oh, and a bit of googling brought up this page, which mentions some jewellers in the loop, and a couple on Clark in Lincoln Park. This was all pointed towards buying a new ring, but if one of them can't do it for you, I'm sure they could recommend someone else
  • And in the back of the first floor of the Wabash jeweler's building is a rather good Middle-Eastern restaurant too. Odd location, totally an insiders place, and really tasty. It was one of the places I'd eat at when attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a special treat.
  • there you go, rust, shop *and* restaurant recommendations. hurray! oh BTW, congrats on the engagement. details please!
  • Sorry, the engagement ring for my bride to be was bought on www.faycullen.com, which I would suggest to any nervous up and coming question-popper. Great antique rings at awesome prices, and the service is simply phenomenal (sp?).
  • Don't know any Chicago places, but here's what wisdom I can give: Go with local, established places that have been there for a long time. Avoid chain stores like the plague, even those with fashionable brand names. Ask around for recommendations from people who have had custom work or repair done in the past (which is, of course, what you're doing here). Make sure they do the work on site. And trust your gut. If you've got a bad feeling about the place, don't leave your jewelry there. Or drive down to Missouri. My dad'll hook you up. ;) Since you've already got the center stone, you should be able to get away paying less than a grand, easy, unless you go for platinum.
  • Watch out, though: If you are bringing in an heirloom diamond and the place tries to convince you that old diamonds are in any way, shape, or form inferior to new ones, walk out. Just walk out. De beers is running into problems lately -- as the diamond engagement ring was not incredibly common until the 40's, heirloom rings are only now beginning to rear their heads. Jewelers, of course, would rather sell you new ones. The usual schtick is that heirloom diamonds are not cut with the brand-new-scientific-OMG methods of today and don't have as many facets/as much fire/etc....but while this may be technically true, the differences are near-meaningless. But a lot of places will try to make you feel like a bad person for refusing to shell out more money for a bit of carbon. Any jeweler that tries this crap on you (my favorite: "we'll remount the heirloom diamond on a necklace but you'll want to give her a new one with more sparkle for the ring, won't you?") is not worth your time. Tell them so, and leave. A good store knows better than to pressure you into that.
  • The usual schtick is that heirloom diamonds are not cut with the brand-new-scientific-OMG methods of today and don't have as many facets/as much fire/etc....but while this may be technically true, the differences are near-meaningless. "Near-meaningless" is a pretty big overstatement. There's a quite noticeable difference in brilliance between an old European cut and a modern round brilliant. Big difference. But yeah, I agree that you shouldn't let anyone give you the old "new is better" line. Heirloom diamonds have a lot more history and personal value. And don't shop with anyone who tries to pressure you into anything at all.
  • Right. do they have more facets? Yeah. Are they more sparkly? Oh hell yes. But are they inherently BETTER? No. Not at all. And I don't know of any woman who would give a fuck one way or the other. If one does, she's probably not worth a diamond in the first place.
  • Hey everybody. I just wanted to fill you guys in on the rest of the story. I did have the diamond appraised and reset, by the very helpful and wonderful folks at H. Horwitz. Stephanie and I have been going to the same school together since kindergarten, our first class together was fourth grade, and we became best friends in high school. Our senior year, finally, we started dating. But very soon it was time for her to go to Yale and me to Chicago and we didn't really think we were going to keep things going. But we did, and four years of long distance later, here we are. The clincher was our trip through Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey last summer, and having survived that, we decided we could do anything. She knew it was coming, but wasn't sure if I could pull off a romantic plan or the whole ring thing (she thinks it's beautiful and I'm really satisfied with it). If y'all are into gory details you can read about the whole proposal thing at my blog.
  • Cheers, rustcellar, all the best.
  • Felicity to ye both!
  • Congratulations to you both!
  • Awwwwww .... Congrats to the happy couple. Cyprus, Turkey, AND Greece? I am so envious
  • That's so romantic! Congrats to you both.
  • ok, that was classy. congrats to you and the lovely lady!