Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does a custom engagement ring take to create?
A: Custom rings are completed within 4-6 weeks. **Rush orders can definitely be accommodated depending on the design. Simply let us know your planned proposal date.**
All rings from Vanessa Nicole Jewels are uniquely designed and fabricated on premises.
Q: Does VNJ supply the diamond for the ring?
A: We provide diamonds for nearly 100% of the rings we create. If you happen to already have a diamond, such as an heirloom stone, we can certainly create a custom setting for it. Vanessa Nicole Jewels doesn’t keep an inventory of diamonds because this allows us to seek out the best possible diamond based on your desires rather than be forced to just sell what we own. Fire & brilliance are absolutely #1 when it comes to searching for the perfect selection, yet there is no grade for “Fire” or “Brilliance” on a certificate, so you can rely on our trained eyes to keep those factors in mind when putting together your Diamond Selection.
Based on your answers in the Questionnaire, we select gorgeous diamonds for you to choose from. Vanessa will show you a selection of diamonds within a range below and up to your ideal budget, then you get to choose the one that stands out the most. All will be gorgeous quality.
***Vanessa approaches clients about diamonds in the most upfront manner possible because she doesn’t agree with the BS that a lot of salespeople say when showing diamonds. It either has fire & brilliance or it doesn’t. Period. It’s either gorgeous or it’s not. Period.
Q: I don’t know a lot about diamonds. Can you easily guide me to choose the best one?
A: Of course! 99.9% of our clients aren’t diamond experts. You are great at YOUR job and we are great at ours. We would not expect you to know everything there is to know about diamond rings, just like you would not expect us to know much about what you do for a living. Our clients are Engineers, Lawyers, Techies, Majors in the US Army, Geologists, etc., etc. We are experts when it comes to diamonds, so rest assured we’ll help you select an amazing diamond and create an absolutely spectacular setting for it. Our reputation is built on happy clients and we intend to keep our reviews 5 stars. If you would like to learn more about diamonds, you can view a Diamond Education page HERE.
“When I first went looking for engagement rings, I didn’t know where to start. I had gotten pictures of a few rings from my fiance’s sister, and some advice, but I didn’t know the first thing about jewelry shopping.
Vanessa was fantastic! She gave me a crash course on how to evaluate diamonds. In the end, I got a custom, one-of-a-kind ring that was perfect for my fiancé. She absolutely loves it. The customer service and craftsmanship are top notch.”
~ Evan & Kate
Q: I’ve had only so-so experiences with other jewelry stores and am admittedly dreading the idea of doing this all wrong. How is your company different?
A. VERY different, actually. It is quite rare to have the opportunity to work directly with the artist who will be creating your ring. There will be zero miscommunication because nothing goes through a “salesperson”. We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into creating each ring and this is why we have a perfect 100% rating of happy clients (we’ve literally never had a client dislike their ring… EVER).
Plus, we offer the ‘Making of Your Ring’ DVD service, which is the only one of its kind in the world (we’ve checked). This DVD documents the creation of her engagement ring. We briefly interview you saying wonderful things about your girlfriend and then layer that voiceover onto the footage of creating her one-of-a-kind ring, exclusively for her. Women LOVE it. Our whole purpose as a jeweler is to make the moment where you present her with the engagement ring the most amazing memory ever. Based on how women react to the film, it really makes each piece a cherished work of art. This film will make you look VERY romantic. It’s not a requirement to do the film as a client of VNJ, but it’s a service that is offered if you’re interested. Look here for more information about it, as well as watch examples of Client Films: CLICK HERE
“ I LOVE how she also provides the service of ‘The Making of Your Ring’ DVD. It made it that much more special and it brought me to tears. Such an amazing, beautiful experience we’ve had with Vanessa!!!
I had so many questions, but she guided me clearly along the way steering me in the right direction without being overbearing, opinionated or pushy, like most other places.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!
~Marie & Josh
Q: What is the investment for the Making Of The Ring™ Film?
A: This priceless film service is $500. It highlights the entire creation of her custom engagement ring. Based on how women react to the films, it really makes each piece a cherished work of art. This film will make you look VERY romantic and women love it! Look here for more information about this service, as well as watch examples of Client Films: CLICK HERE
Q: I may be tempted to purchase an “internet diamond”…
A. A diamond from Vanessa Nicole Jewels is not considered an “internet diamond”. Purchasing an “internet diamond” is a risky proposition. In that case, you simply “scroll, click & buy” the diamond and cross your fingers it looks good in person. Typically, the diamonds on virtual inventory lists are not actually seen by the company selling them – it is simply a large database. The problem with this is you can’t rely 100% on the certificate to determine a diamond’s beauty & brilliance.
At Vanessa Nicole Jewels, we are your trained eyes. We personally sift through dozens of diamonds based on your Questionnaire answers to seek out an elite selection that will all be *gorgeous* options. Our #1 factor in finding a diamond is the fire/brilliance.
Internet sites selling diamonds won’t create customized HD videos, detailed emails, point out the pros/cons, & invest time into researching multiple diamond dealers in order to put together a selection that will have a careful balance of what you’re looking for while still staying within budget.
Some consider Vanessa Nicole Jewels like a concierge that goes above and beyond for clients, but honestly, we simply treat each client like a friend (being real & upfront, with no gimmicks). This is exactly why we’ve never had a ring returned, and why we receive dozens of Christmas cards from clients. When was the last time you put a retail store on your personal Christmas Card list? This is because we really get to know each client, and actually care about making this an amazing experience for you.
As you can see from all our Reviews, each client has been ecstatic 100% of the time with their experience and final result
“I picked a diamond from an online store and brought it with me to Vanessa Nicole Jewels. So she brought 3 other diamonds that were similar to the one I picked online to compare against. We did fire/color comparisons between them, and low and behold after all that pre-work I did, I actually chose one of hers!
I sent the other diamond back the next day to the online company.”
~Dan & Colbi
Q. I’m still looking around at other jewelry stores… I’m not sure if I am ready to commit yet. Can we still do a Diamond Selection?
A: If you are looking around at various stores, we are happy to discuss design options so you can see how *AMAZING* your experience will be with Vanessa Nicole Jewels. Simply let us know upfront you plan to still look at other stores and that way we will know to focus on the design rather than picking a specific diamond. The fun Diamond Selection process is for clients excited to work directly with Vanessa to create their one-of-a-kind custom engagement ring.
Q: After we finalize the design and do the Diamond Selection, how long do I have to make a decision?
A: Once you’ve selected your diamond from the Diamond Selection, as a courtesy, we offer a 5 day hold period for the diamond before payment is required. Typically with any type of item for sale anywhere, it’s first come first serve, but our holding period is a courtesy so no one else can have it while you make a confident decision – we never want anyone to feel pressured!
(If you plan to do a bank transfer or send a check to save 1.5%, we understand the Post Office or bank transfer lag times may hold it up for a few days. No worries, we’re real people, not a computer so we’re reasonable when it comes to that sort of thing
Q: I live out of town. How does that work with the design process?
A: More than 50% of VNJ clients are located outside San Diego. Vanessa communicates via phone and/or email (your preference). It’s a a lot easier than you might think! We do your Diamond Selection with an HD video uploaded onto a private youtube link and we’ve never had a client dislike their diamond once they see it in person. In fact, they actually say it looks better in person! Information specifically for out-of-town clients: CLICK HERE
“My process of buying an engagement ring started with going to a local, family-owned jewelry store here in Michigan. Even though it was local and family-owned, I was still disappointed.
I found Vanessa Nicole Jewels after seeing one of her videos on YouTube. Right away, Vanessa was very accommodating. Rather than just trying to sell a ring, she took time to find out more about what I was looking for.
Even though we were communicating via email, I had better communication with her than with the owner of the local jewelry store. Through the entire process Vanessa was quick to respond to my questions, she kept me updated on every step, and went above and beyond with her service.”
~Luke & Ali , Ann Arbor, MI
Q: What is your return policy for the ring setting?
A. Each custom ring is created from scratch upon order and every effort will be made to ensure that the jewelry is exactly what you requested. You will have the opportunity to see your ring from various 3-D views in the CAD model before actually creating the ring, so you know exactly what to expect with the final product. In the event that you are less than completely satisfied, we will make every effort to resolve the issue to your approval. We want you to LOVE your jewelry for a lifetime.
All custom settings are non-refundable, however, if for some reason your new fiancé isn’t thrilled with her ring, we’ll make a new setting to her specifications if returned within 15 days of receiving the original engagement ring. The original cost of the ring setting materials will be put toward the new one, less a $400 CAD design fee.
Vanessa Nicole Jewels understands that some men might not be sure of whether or not their girlfriend will like their design choice. We have never had a situation occur where the girl is not completely thrilled with the ring. The #1 reason women say they love their VNJ ring is because of the thought he put into it. When one buys a ring from an inventory at an overstocked retail store, it’s like “shopping.” This, rather, is being involved in creating a piece of art for her finger. While there is a price tag on the ring, the connection your girl will make with her custom ring is priceless. One client’s fiancé said she would be more devastated if she lost her VNJ ring versus one from a traditional store simply because “this ring means more”.
Q. What is your Warranty for the ring setting?
A. We build all of our rings to last, instead of using the thinnest metal possible such as mass-manufactured jewelry companies. While thinner metal helps to keep the cost down, it makes the ring structurally weaker and we want to keep your ring wearable for your lifetime and beyond.
While it’s never happened to us before, should a small diamond we set fall out of your custom ring (.03ctw or less), we will replace it up to a stone value of $200.00 USD at No Charge for one full year from your pickup date. After one year, it is considered more of a maintenance repair so we would simply charge for the stone & labor.
It is important that your ring is insured under an insurance policy, since the maximum liability we can accept is $200.00. We do not guarantee against gemstones breaking or chipping. All Gemstones can crack, break or chip, even diamonds! You should add all fine jewelry to an insurance policy, which typically protect against loss, damage or theft.
“I was so excited to find out that my fiancé arranged to have my engagement ring custom made. WOW!! That meant so much to me and it also meant that no one would have the same ring in the world!! How sweet is that?! Definitely different than going to a jewelry store and picking one out.
Of course, I had my reservations because I live so far away (across the country) from Vanessa, BUT she was unbelievable!!! I cannot begin to tell you how easy it was from beginning to end. She worked with me on every detail. I had a lot of questions, and she happily answered all of them.”
~Vanessa & Robert
Q: What is the difference between GIA & EGL certifications??
A. A diamond’s certification process is when a grading company determine the color, cut, clarity, carat weight & measurements using modern measuring techniques. EGL has an additional clarity grade (SI3) and has a few extra cut grades such as Ideal Cut or Premium Cut. GIA is the most strict with grading. The trick about finding the best EGL diamond is to grade it against a GIA diamond and when we find the one that matches, we have a winner. GIA graded diamonds are often more expensive than EGL graded diamonds, so if a client is trying to achieve a certain size within a strict budget, we look at beautiful EGL diamonds.
Q: What if I don’t know what ring style is perfect for her?
A: We understand that some men might not be sure what she’ll want, especially if it’s a total surprise without any hints. If you prefer, you may choose a diamond, propose with a solitaire diamond ring, and then design her ring style afterward, together. Vanessa will write a personalized note to your new fiancé describing how amazing you are that you wanted her to have the opportunity to design her *dream* ring.
“My fiancé wanted to give me a solitaire so we could design the setting together. Vanessa helped him pick out the most beautiful diamond!!
She made the whole experience so personal by writing a note to “The Bride To Be” congratulating me & letting me know how much thought my fiancé had put into our special day. She also let me know that we were going to come in and design the ring together.
Vanessa has made the whole process so enjoyable & personal. I honestly would not trust anyone else to do it!!!!”
~Kelli & Daniel
Q: How do I find out her ring size?
A: If you are surprising her, email us a photo of her and Vanessa will make an educated size estimate. (We’re usually spot on!!) The most accurate way to find out a ring size is to have her finger sized locally. (Be sure to have it sized for the correct width of the band since the size increases the wider the band is. Also, a right hand ring will be slightly bigger than a left hand ring.)
Q: Is it weird that my girlfriend will be involved in picking out her ring?
A. Not at all! In fact, a lot of our clients work with us as “a couple.” Typically what happens is she will let us know the design she loves, as well as the shape of diamond she desires. Then we work with you to pick out the best diamond. Plus, we have fun ways of adding in surprises for her that she won’t be expecting.
Q: Can we have the ring resized if necessary?
A: Absolutely – and it’s complimentary! If you’re out of town, you may either take your ring to a local jeweler or ship it back to us. Ring sizing takes up to 3 business days depending on the volume in our jewelry studio. (Sometimes the same day, if possible) Please note that full eternity rings cannot be resized.
Q: What do custom engagement rings typically cost?
A: Complete engagement rings from Vanessa Nicole Jewels start at $7,000. Your ring setting is a flat fee. This includes: a CAD model (computer rendering), precious metal of your choice, pavé diamonds & labor. The main variable that makes the final price fluctuate is the center stone. It’s important to know your budget upfront. This will determine your options for the setting style, as well as determine how much we can use for the center stone. The purpose for knowing your budget is so Vanessa has a max # to approach her trusted diamond dealers with when making the selection.
The price of a diamond is based on many factors and she will source the best/largest diamond that fits within your desired number. Vanessa Nicole Jewels doesn’t keep an inventory of diamonds because this allows us to seek out the best possible diamond based on your desires rather than be forced to just sell what we own. Fire & brilliance are absolutely #1 when it comes to searching for the perfect selection, yet there is no grade for “Fire” or “Brilliance” on a certificate, so you can rely on our trained eyes to keep those factors in mind when putting together your Diamond Selection.
We have relationships with the top diamond dealers in the country who only sell ethical diamonds that abide by the Kimberley Process. Based on your answers in the Questionnaire, we select gorgeous diamonds for you to choose from. Vanessa will show you a selection of diamonds within a range up to your max # and let you choose the one that stands out the most. All will be gorgeous quality.
***Vanessa approaches clients about diamonds in the most upfront manner possible because she doesn’t agree with the BS that a lot of salespeople say when showing diamonds. It either has fire & brilliance or it doesn’t. Period. It’s either gorgeous or it’s not. Period.
Q: What Methods of Payment do you accept?
A. We accept Visa, Discover, Mastercard, Cash, Check & Bank Wire. If you pay by check, cash or bank wire, you will receive a 1.5% discount on the subtotal. Since most Credit Rewards Cards only offer 1% cash back, our offer of 1.5% is a great way to save even more!
Q: What goes into the price of a diamond?
A: There are many factors to consider when trying to pinpoint the price of a diamond such as Color, Clarity, etc.
Here are a few more factors that come into play.
1. SHAPE: Round diamonds are generally more expensive than other shapes simply because 92% of people choose round diamonds – there is a high demand for them.
2. DIAMOND MARKET: The diamond market fluctuates (most often quarterly, sometimes monthly). It is based on demand for specific carat weights, stone shapes, desired color, etc. So if someone bought a round 1ct diamond a year ago, that price may be lower or higher now based on what the world market is dictating.
3. WHERE YOU BUY FROM: If someone purchases a diamond from a brand like Tiffany or Harry Winston, one would spend considerably more for the same diamond than they would from an independent jeweler. And once it’s out of that blue box, no one would even know that it’s a diamond bought from Tiffany. Similarly, if you purchase a diamond from a discount online retailer, there are numerous horror stories about getting a poor quality diamond since they just chose based on the certificate. It’s very easy for an online “shop” to close at their own convenience, thus eliminating the option to return it. A smart option would be to discuss your ring with an independent jeweler such as Vanessa Nicole Jewels.
“I stumbled upon Vanessa’s website when I was looking for a jeweler to make my custom wedding band. I only wish I found her to make my engagement ring! She is incredible.
My ring’s center stone makes it so I couldn’t just get a straight band. Vanessa was able to match my rings band exactly including all of the micro diamonds and made a gap in it so it sits flush with my engagement ring. We were also able to pick out my fiance’s band the same day. I would recommend Vanessa to everyone.”
~ Sam & Dallas
Q: How much time on my part do I need to invest?
A. Clients can be as involved or uninvolved as they’d like. Some people simply want to sign off on the design and stay out of the picture until their ring is ready to be shipped. Others want to keep in contact every week to know where we’re at in the process. Unless you specifically say you don’t want updates, we’ll email you about once every 7-10 days to let you know the status of your ring.
Q: Do you sell clarity enhanced or laser drilled diamonds?
A: Vanessa Nicole Jewels does NOT sell clarity enhanced or laser drilled diamonds. (Click For More Info)
Q: Are your diamonds Conflict-Free?
A. Our diamonds are produced in accordance with the United Nations Kimberley Process in cooperation with legitimate sources NOT involved in funding conflict. Our diamonds are guaranteed to be conflict-free based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees with partners who are known to us and share a kindred commitment to humanitarian rights.
The Kimberley Process is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. The trade in these illicit stones has fueled decades of devastating conflicts in countries such as Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
(UN Compliance Statement Regarding the Kimberly Process: For any product fabricated from rough diamonds mined from January 1, 2003 onward, our vendors certify that the diamonds provided have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. They guarantee that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by their supplier of these diamonds.)
Q: How can I judge clarity?
A. During the process of a diamond’s growth there are several factors, such as pressure, temperature, and cooling, that may alter or may change the diamond’s structure. When these changes occur it may cause inclusions in the diamond; in fact, creating the diamond’s own unique fingerprint.
Clarity is graded upon a multitude of factors: the number of inclusions, the intensity of the inclusion, the position of the inclusion, the color of the inclusion, the structural integrity of the inclusion, etc. These imperfections may range from barely perceptible growth lines which may not even be visible under a 10 x microscope, to major dark spots that are visible to the naked eye. Clarity is graded upon a multitude of factors: the number of inclusions, the intensity of the inclusion, the position of the inclusion, the color of the inclusion, the structural integrity of the inclusion, etc.
As in the grading of color, there are no natural divisions along these grades, but organizations like the GIA and EGL have attempted to provide a set of standards to be used when grading the clarity of diamonds. The grades may vary from one diamond dealer to the next. For instance, an inclusion under the table should be graded lower than a spot near the edge. Or if it’s a black inclusion vs. a white inclusion. It is important for the customer to understand that the process of grading for clarity is not an exact science, but there are guidelines which determine the grade.
Q: Why are there no A, B,or C color grades???
A. In order to avoid confusion with a multitude of differing, previously existing grading systems, the GIA / EGL system was created. “D” was designated as the highest color grade. This system is now recognized worldwide.
Q: What’s a Certified Diamond?
A. A certified diamond is a diamond that has been weighed, measured, color graded. Its cut is determined at a major laboratory by individuals trained only in diamonds. Many of them hold degrees in appropriate areas. These individuals grade and certify diamonds daily as a profession.
Q: What’s an Appraisal?
A. The Appraisal is necessary for Insurance purposes. An appraisal gives the diamond a replacement value. We don’t personally do Appraisals in order to ensure there is no bias on the ring’s value, but we have someone locally who provides them and we simply pass on their wholesale rate to you, so it can all be taken care of when the ring is complete.
Q: Will I be charged Sales Tax?
A. Sales tax of 8% is charged to clients residing within the State of California. No Sales Tax will be charged to orders shipped outside the State of California.
Q: Do you offer a payment plan?
A. We do not offer any type of payment plan at this time. While most people pay upfront, only a 50% deposit is required to begin creating your ring and the remaining balance is due once the ring has been completed. All rings that are less than $5,000 (such as wedding bands) must be paid in full upfront.
Q: How do I insure my diamond or diamond jewelry?
A. We always recommend insurance for your engagement ring and/or wedding bands. It is the ONE material item you wear that literally takes a beating every day. Like a car, it will need a “tune up” every so often to make sure the diamonds are tight.
All our appraisals are done from an outside source so there is no bias towards the value of the ring. If this is something you need for insurance purposes, we can have it ready when you receive the completed ring. You could get it appraised elsewhere later, or we can have it done now if you prefer to take care of everything at once. We recommend a company for insurance that only deals with jewelry, such as Jewelers Mutual, which Vanessa personally uses. They can supply a free quote for insurance, which you can compare to any other quotes you may receive.
Further Reading: www.JewelersMutual.com
Q: How will my order be shipped?
A: All orders are shipped via UPS ‘Fully Insured’ and ‘Signature Required’. This means that your order will be delivered safely and will be fully insured until you have opened your package.
All shipments are packaged discreetly with NO indication that your package contains any type of jewelry item. Our name, “Vanessa Nicole Jewels”, will not appear on your package either. Instead the company acronym, VNJ, is printed on the package. We can also send it to your work place if that is more convenient. We have never had an issue sending packages via UPS, which is why we happily use them as our shipping method.
Q. What if the package is damaged upon arrival?
A. Insurance coverage on shipped packages ends upon delivery. When you accept the package, examine it thoroughly to ensure the security of your package has not been violated. Do this BEFORE SIGNING for it. If you suspect tampering or damage REFUSE DELIVERY and call us immediately at 619-800-0134. All orders are shipped double-boxed to maintain the integrity of packaging in the inner box. If you receive a box with damage showing on the outer box or you suspect tampering, open the outer box IN FRONT OF THE DELIVERY PERSON and MAKE SURE THE INNER BOX IS INTACT. If there is damage, file a report with the driver, get a written confirmation and call us immediately.
Q: Do you make matching wedding bands?
A: Definitely! You can either choose a straight band or one that is sculpted to rest flat against your engagement ring.
Q: Do you also offer men’s wedding bands?
A: We sure do! We can make custom men’s bands out of stainless steel, 14k/18k gold, or platinum. Men’s custom 14k gold bands start at $1,100 (prices depend on metal choice, thickness & style).