I have to admit that when Raphi asked me to write this Allurez review, my first thought was who is Allurez? Because the fact of the matter is that I hadn't heard of them until a few years ago. Allurez is not one of the dealers who comprises the original 'Rat Pack' of former competitors that I usually write about.
Raphi started Allurez back in 2010 in hopes of making the experience of shopping for an engagement ring special again. While the majority of jewelry stores in America sell jewelry from overseas, Allurez offers engagement rings Made in the USA. Their corporate office and design headquarters is located in the heart of New York City.
The first thing I asked Raphi when we had a chance to speak was "What does Allurez stand for?" I've had several clients ask me about diamonds from Allurez, but up until recently I hadn't had a reason to dig too deep. Raphi explained that the name Allurez is based on the word Allure. He added the letter 'Z' to the end of Allure as a metaphor that suggests that jewelry is meant to be eternal and last a lifetime.
I have to admit that I'm a bit embarrassed that it took me a few more minutes for the full concept to sink in. The word Allure begins with the letter 'A' and the name Allurez ends with a 'Z' which makes them the beginning and end of your engagement ring buying experience.
According to Raphi, the name symbolizes the love from the start and your ring serves to remind you of that love each and every day.
One of the founding principles that Allurez is built upon is to make it possible for you to afford a high-quality engagement ring that is made in the USA. When you buy your engagement ring direct from Allurez, you cut out the mark-up charged throughout each step along the usual path of distribution:
Of course, you get to see and try on an engagement ring when you buy it in a traditional brick and mortar jewelry store. What if you buy an engagement ring from Allurez and you don't like it for some reason? No problem.
Raphi wants you to be 100% Satisfied with your purchase, therefore Allurez offers 30 Day Exchanges or Returns.
It is incredibly easy to build your own ring on Allurez. One of the benefits of buying an engagement ring online is that you can select from a rich variety of styles. I really like the ring builder on Allurez because it is user friendly and easy to use.
Click on the style of engagement ring below that you want to build using the Allurez ring builder:
I'm going to start with this Butterfly setting from Allurez because it is unique and women like their rings to be different. While I think the setting is quite pretty with the purple amethyst accents seen here, I'm going to customize the ring and explore the possibilities.
The basic details of the ring seen here is that it is 14k white gold and the weight of the accent stones is approximately 0.20 carats. The base price on the setting is 870.00 and Allurez suggests a retail price of $1,367.00
Allurez offers financing with three, six, or twelve months terms. Just select Affirm at checkout to complete the application. Financing is subject to credit approval.
Using the custom ring builder on Allurez, I was able to change the metal type from 14k to 18k white gold with a click of my mouse. The rendering of the ring changed immediately to reflect the change. The next step was to click on the icon of a green emerald to substitute those for the amethysts. The price updates automatically at every stage of the process, so there are no unexpected surprises.
While I am not going to demonstrate all of the options that are available, I did take a moment to see how all of the different colored gems look in the setting. As you might imagine, I also clicked on all of the different metal types to see what all the options look like. I did not take the time to calculate the number of different options available for this one ring style, but the possibilities seem endless.
Given the extensive collection of settings available on Allurez, I imagine it will be quite easy to build the engagement ring of her dreams in just a few clicks of your mouse. In fact, the most difficult part of the process (for me anyway) is going to be figuring out what to engrave on the inside of the ring. "What do I want to engrave on the ring?" is the only part of the order process that I found difficult. Imagine me at a loss for words!
It goes without saying that you don't want to pick just any diamond for this engagement ring. You want a diamond that looks amazing, right?
With that in mind, I'm going to suggest that you adhere to the same selection criteria that I've relied on for the past 30+ years that I've worked as a diamond buyer.
Believe it or not, it's pretty easy to search for diamonds and pick out the winners if you know what to look for. The first thing to realize is that it's not as simple as limiting the search to AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent cut diamonds. The reality is that the parameters for those overall cut grades are way too broad. Keep in mind that each cut grade is based on a range or spectrum of proportions.
Which means there is going to be a high-end and a low-end for performance. With that in mind, you want to limit your search to diamonds with proportions within a very tight range. With that in mind, you'll want to click on the "Advanced Search Options" highlighted below in green.
Knowing how to set the advanced search options on Allurez is the difference between buying a diamond that looks phenomenal or on that is just average. Remember that AGS Ideal and GIA Excellent are not good enough!
To set the stage for a stunning performance, set the advanced search options like this:
The other characteristics of the diamond, such as the carat weight, clarity, color, and fluorescence are matters of personal preference. So are things like the origin of the diamond and the price range you are comfortable spending. My goal is to help you fine tune the search parameters to make it easier for you to find diamonds with better light return and sparkle.
The first step to searching for the best diamonds on Allurez like a professional diamond buyer is to set the advanced options using the criteria provided above. The next step is to open up all the diamond detail pages and look at the diamond grading reports.
Don't waste your time opening and closing each page individually. Right click your mouse on the View/Add button under Details and Open Page in New Tab. Be sure to sort the results by Carat weight by left clicking your mouse on the head of that column before opening the diamond details pages.
Once you have all the diamond details pages open in separate tabs of your browser, go to each page and click on the icon for the GIA diamond grading report. In the name of Captain Obvious, the icon for the GIA diamond grading report is highlighted here in green so you know where to look for it.
I don't know whether it was a momentary lapse of consciousness or a legendary case of "sometimers" but I completely missed the button for the GIA diamond grading report the first time I looked for it.
Note that the image provided on the diamond details page for all the diamonds I found are sample images as indicated in red.
No doubt you noticed that I point out in the headline above that the document you're looking at is a "diamond grading report" and not a diamond grading certificate. Gemological laboratories do not "certify diamonds" they grade diamonds and issue a report that reflects the characteristics of the diamond at the time it was graded.
If you're looking for the highest volume of light return and sparkle factor then you will want to eliminate anything with a crown angle beyond 34.3 - 35.0 degrees or a pavilion angle outside 40.6 - 40.9 degrees. Put another way, you only want to consider round brilliant cut diamonds with a crown and pavilion angle within the following range:
It goes without saying that the majority of diamonds you will find are not going to have the ideal measurements. The diamonds we're looking for represent the Top 1% of the annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds. You don't want to propose with a diamond that's just average, do you? Of course not.
So, we're going to quickly flip through the GIA diamond grading reports and just close the tabs on anything that doesn't have this combination of crown/pavilion angle. The crown/pavilion angle measurements are highlighted here in green. The crown angle is the top measurement and the pavilion angle is underneath it.
If you've been paying attention, then you realize that this search for diamonds on Allurez yielded 18 results. It seems like it would take forever to open each page up in a new tab and then wait for the diamond grading report to load. Which is why I don't sit there and wait for each page and report to load individually. Oh no, that's not how professional diamond buyers roll.
Are you seeing a pattern here? Good. When you reach the end of the open tabs in your browser, go back to the first tab. It's time to take a closer look at the diamond grading reports.
Of the eighteen candidates presented by Allurez as a result of my search, two of the diamonds have proportions within my preferred range. This is not surprising because we're looking for diamonds that represent the Top 1% of the annual production of rounds. This 1.16 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Allurez has the right proportions. Unfortunately one of the primary inclusions is a knot and I prefer to avoid those.
As you can see, the crown angle of 34.5 degrees and pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees is within my preferred range. Thus, I have highlighted those measurements in green for your reference. The pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees should produce a high volume of light return. The crown angle of 34.5 degrees should produce a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle).
I highlighted the "Knot" in red because I automatically reject diamonds for this inclusion type. A knot is an included diamond crystal that breaks the surface of the diamond. Think of it in terms of being similar to a knot in a piece of wood. As such, it is technically possible that a knot could loosen or be knocked out of the diamond. Although the reality is that you probably have a higher chance of winning the lottery than this actually occurring.
What can I say? I'm a diamond grading zealot and these types of inclusions just bug me. I also automatically reject for cavities, chips, etch channels, knots (in case you weren't paying attention the first time) and laser drill holes. 99.999% of professional diamond buyers will tell you that I'm nuts (which is not the same as knots).
You know that old adage a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, that concept certainly applies to diamonds. There is absolutely no way that I would consider buying a diamond without a clarity photograph. Not only does a clarity photograph serve as a reference for the inclusions within the diamond, it also shows how evenly light is reflecting throughout the diamond.
While Allurez does not provide clarity photographs or reflector scope images (ASET, Ideal Scope, H&A Scope) on their diamond details pages at this time, it is something that they hope to add in the near future. In the meantime, we can check to see whether images are available on a stone-by-stone basis.
I looked this diamond up by lab report number in the multiple listing services (MLS) that we use to trade diamonds globally. Here is the clarity photograph provided by the supplier:
I have highlighted the cloud of pinpoint size diamond crystals and the clouds and crystals in the middle of the table facet with green arrows for your reference. Some of the other inclusions are not visible from this vantage point. Keep in mind that the plotting diagram on diamond grading reports is one dimensional, while diamonds are three dimensional and thus the inclusions will be located within the diamond at different depths.
I would want to see reflector scope images before purchasing this diamond to determine whether the dark triangle visible in the eleven o'clock region under the table facet is light leakage or just a reflection being caused by the angle the diamond sits on the tray. If you look closely, you will see that the diamond is tilted slightly to the right and this is skewing the direction of light. Unfortunately, this particular supplier does not provide reflector scope images within the listing details.
This 1.20 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut round diamond from Allurez meets my selection criteria by the numbers. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return while the 34.5 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
The inclusions within the diamond consist of crystals, needles, and indented naturals. These inclusion types are generally of no consequence and meet my selection criteria.
There is not a clarity photograph or reflector scope images available for this diamond. The supplier does not provide images within the listing details. Which means that if you're interested in this diamond that you'll have to buy it based on the proportions. That's not necessarily a bad thing, given the fact that the proportions and overall cut rating put this diamond in the Top 1% of the annual production for rounds.
At the same time, I'm the type of guy who likes to have as much information as possible so that I can make an informed decision. Especially when I'm dropping close to $12K on a diamond for an engagement ring. But that's just me, the reality is that thousands of people will buy diamonds sight-unseen off the internet today with nothing more than a diamond grading certificate. That was a test. Did you pass? Did your brain catch when I referred to the diamond grading report as a certificate? I certainly hope so.
On a similar note, did you do a double take when you looked at the issue date on the lab report? You did look at the date of the lab report, right? This diamond was graded by the GIA on May 9, 2012. That's almost six years ago. I have to wonder where this diamond has been for the past five, going on six years. While some would say that this is a diamond and not a loaf of bread, it's not going to go stale, this kind of thing gives me pause.
None of this is a reflection on Allurez by the way. Allurez is simply a jeweler who is offering this diamond via their virtual inventory. It's up to you to know which diamonds to choose and which ones you should pass on from the long list of diamonds. Of course, I know that Raphi and his staff will be happy to help you fine tune the selection process. It goes without saying that I'll be happy to help you search for diamonds on Allurez as well.
At the end of the day, turning the process of buying an engagement ring into a successful venture is all about deciding what level of light performance you seek and finding a diamond that meets those expectations. I'm certain that Raphi views selecting an engagement ring in a more romantic light than I do. As a diamond buyer by trade, I'm more apt to look at the technical details and view diamonds as a commodity.
** Picture Raphi slapping his palm to his forehead and gasping in shock. **
** Oh the horror of that (second to) last sentence. The one before Raphi slaps himself in the face.**
But with 30+ years of diamond buying experience under my belt, that is exactly how I approach selecting diamonds for my clients. The reality is that diamond cut quality (proportions, polish, symmetry, optical precision) can affect the market price of a diamond by up to sixty percent.
With this in mind, when I set out to search Allurez for diamonds, I'm only interested in the best they have to offer. If this approach to buying a diamond appeals to you, then set the search parameters as outlined above. Follow the process of opening the diamond detail pages, eliminate the options that don't have the right offset for crown/pavilion angle, and then look over the other characteristics on the diamond grading report.
Images will be available for some of the diamonds, but not all of the diamonds. Feel free to send me links to any diamonds which you are considering and I'll be happy to check for images and provide you with a review. Take advantage of our free diamond concierge service and get the answers and assistance you need.