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OP, why are you focusing on carat weight? If you want a quality diamond and you are on a budget, you should be focusing on quality, not size. I recommend you tell your jeweler what your price point is and let him find you a quality stone. Better a good 1 carat diamond than a low quality 2 carat one. You can get a beautiful 1 carat diamond in the $5,000 range.
My niece eloped two weeks ago. She was from a very wealthy family, and she could have had any wedding she wanted, but they decided that they didn't want the stress of a big wedding, so they went to the NYC Courthouse and were married there. If she had the big wedding, she would have had to worry about all the guests, and with our family drama, she decided to elope. Her choice. She got to do it her way. Otherwise, there would have been lots of pressure from both families. I sent her a card of congratulations.
@MobKatz is right! Once you invite guests, the day is no longer all about you!
How much money are you talking about? Maybe your price point isn't realistic? You are describing a diamond that might easily cost more than $20,000. I just found one on line at $50,000 - perfect.
First, you need to educate yourself about diamonds. You need to learn about grading, cut, color, clarity. GIA certificates reveal this information about any specific stone.
You will get what you pay for. If you want a top quality diamond, you will pay top prices. There will be NOTHING CHEAP about it. Find a reputable jeweler who is AGS certified and have him explain the facts of life to you. Not a chain store jeweler! Most cities will have reputable people who will talk to you. They will have contacts that can find you the stone and send it to them for your inspection. This will take time.
There are many online sites that sell unset stones. Usually, the actual stone is not in their possession, but is available to many sellers until the deal is actually closed. Blue Nile is reputable, but there are others. Keep in mind that you are seeking something very special that you might have to wait for until one is found. It depends on what you want. Ask the jeweler to show you different stones of different qualities so that you can see the differences. While there is a huge difference between an "Imperfect 2" diamond and a flawless stone of perfect cut and color, there isn't as much between a flawless stone and a VVS1, but there will be a price difference.
Don't buy diamonds in the Caribbean! New York is the USA center of the diamond trade. I wouldn't buy a stones that wasn't GIA certified. I have also shopped in Belgium and Amsterdam.
PS. I helped my son-in-law find the 1 carat marquise diamond he gave to my daughter. It was at an online site that was based in NYC. They had what he wanted, and they negotiated the right price. GIA certified, of course!
It sounds to me like your Mom desperately needs attention. I'm guessing that she is in denial that she did anything wrong. I doubt you will ever get an apology, but you can try. Don't be disappointed if it doesn't happen. Your Mom sounds very sad. Sorry you had to deal with this.
Do some research on narcissistic personality disorder. This all sounds very familiar.
As a MOB, I was quite happy to be at my own table with my own family members. (Well, some of them.) I had no desire to sit with my daughter and her new husband. I think his parents felt the same way at their family's table.