Dear PoPville – Jewelers

Photo by PoPville flickr user Glyn Lowe Photoworks.

“Dear PoPville,

Long time/second time. I’ve got a question that I could use PoPville’s help answering (plus it dovetails nicely with my last question from Aug 2010, on first date locations):

I’m planning on proposing to my girlfriend. I have some family diamonds but I would like to make my own setting for them. Does anyone have any recommendations for jewelers that can help?”

Ed. Note: Awesome. Congrats!

70 Comment

  • My experience at I. Gorman Jewelers on 20th Street was excellent. Highly recommended.

    • +1 to i.gorman. they are really lovely to work with, unlike the snobby folks at tiny jewel box. great follow up, personal email from the owner, and a quality product. 2 thumbs up for i.gorman!!

      • IGorman is the best! We went to many other jewelers and was consistently underwhelmed. IGorman had a beautiful selection and their customer service was excellent!

    • Another +1 for I.gorman. Amazing service, especially working with us on finding just the right stone (free of judgment) to fit the non-diamond ring vision I had. We enjoyed the experience so much we both got our wedding bands there as well. If you are looking for modern or unique settings, they specialize in that, along with offering the more classical options.

  • iGorman helped with my custom engagement ring, I was very happy with the service and end result.

  • This is timely because I’ve been researching places to get my antique diamond ring resized. Does anyone have any recommendations for that too? I’m very nervous about leaving a 100+ year old ring with a jeweler I don’t know- especially since it has an extremely intricate setting that could easily be messed up.

    • I’ve had great experiences with Tiny Jewel Box on Connecticut Ave. My 100-year-old engagement ring is from there and they have done resizing, cleaning, and maintenance.

  • jim_ed

    I don’t know what your time frame is, but you will save an absolute fortune if you wait and attend the International Gem and Jewelry Expo at the Chantilly Expo Center in August. There will be thousands of setting to choose from at steep discounts, and the cost of having the diamond set is like $40 bucks.

    • There’s one near Baltimore this month.

    • I have to second this. My mom and I have been going to these shows since I was a little kid. There is a TON of crap, but if you go through all of the stalls, you will soon be able to find a reputable looking person with good inventory. I personally wouldn’t buy a ring or diamond there, meaning I wouldn’t spend like 5 or 10 grand at a place like that, but Jim is right its a great place to see what you like and have things set.

      • jim_ed

        Its funny you mention making big purchases there – I bought my wife’s diamond, setting, and wedding band there, and also had the stone set as well. You definitely need to do some research beforehand so you know what to look for, but in the end my wife’s engagement ring appraised for nearly 4 times what I paid for it from an independent appraiser for insurance value.

  • epric002

    we did a custom ring using family stones at boone & sons. (you do mean that you want to design it yourself, right? you’re not looking to actually fabricate it are you?)

    • I also had a great experience with Boone and Sons on Connecticut and L NW. Worked hand in hand with one of the owners, he was great, and their prices were significantly lower than the others places we looked into (I Gorman and Mervis).

    • Another vote for Boone & Sons–but this time for the Chevy Chase store! We’ve been to the store twice now and have worked with Octavia both times.

      My fiance bought my engagement ring overseas and we brought it to Boone for an appraisal–completed same day–and we recently returned to shop for wedding bands. I was gifted two thin diamond bands and was initially interested in having a new ring created with the materials. Although she had an opportunity to upsell here, Octavia actually suggested that we just resize the current bands since they are beautiful and compliment my engagement ring as they are and–more importantly–it wouldn’t be cost effective to have a new ring made.

      Octavia then sat down with us to review the selection of men’s bands. She was really upbeat and conversational with us the entire time and, again, we never got the impression that she was looking to upsell or even pressure us into buying that day. We ended up selecting a really nice yellow gold ring and opted to have it texturized and refinished at no additional cost.

      Contrast this experience with the one we had at Chas. Schwartz (Mazza Gallerie)–total bargain basement vibe! The sales guy had a slick approach and although he didn’t pressure us to buy he seemed to be under the (wrong) impression that we couldn’t afford anything but basic palladium bands. He also looked at me and asked if my fiance should get a ring that said “kinda married” or “very married” – ha!

    • Horrible experience at Boone. They “cleaned” my engagement ring and got black stuff under all the diamonds. They still charged me $250 and gave me a container of ring cleaner. Went to my regular jeweler and he had to remove each stone to clean their mess.

      • Huh…that’s unfortunate! I had my engagement ring cleaned while we shopped for wedding bands and it was not only totally free but the ring came out looking bright and sparkly!

  • We went to Treasure Trove. It’s family owned and they are so amazing. Fantastic customer service. Congrats!

  • Try Pampillonia. they custom made our rings. Very pleased.

    • +1 Pampillonia custom made my engagement ring, which I adore. They also have a lot of awesome art deco jewelry, which makes for fun window shopping.

    • PDleftMtP

      +2 We did the same. They did a great job, were engaged and helpful as we figured out what we wanted, and didn’t make us feel like we were being steamrollered by the wedding-industrial complex.

  • I highly recommend Town Jewelers, over in Cleveland Park. They have been in the game for a decent amount of time and are really good. My wife and I bought our wedding rings there and I wish I had bought her engagement ring there. My wife has also had other work done on other jewelry and she’s always been happy with their work. Hamid, the son, seems to run the front of the shop and he’s been really helpful, kind, and funny. We both go to them with any jewelry needs.

  • I had an excellent experience with Dominion Jewelers in Falls Church. I believe they will let you design your own ring/setting; I chose one of their great off-the-shelf options for my wife, but I have friends who took the design-your-own option, and they were also pleased.

  • I’ve had great experiences with Boone and Sons at Connecticut and L. Their prices were also lower than Gorman, Mervis, and other jewelers downtown.

    • +1 for Boone and Sons. I have been to both their bethesda and downtown locations. We used my grandmother’s ring as my engagement ring and it was badly in need of repair and reinforcement. I was very scared to leave such a precious piece of family jewelry with strangers, but they did a great job of resetting the ring. They also helped with the appraisal for our insurance.

      FWIW, I basically had the ring completely rebuilt in platinum (but we reused all my grandmother’s stones – one main stone in the middle and two small baguettes, so not that intricate/complicated) and they charged us $2,000. I have no idea how that rates against other places, but I felt very good about the craftmanship and service and I was happy to pay that amount to have the ring basically new again.

  • I had my husband and my wedding bands custom made at Goldworks in Alexandria ( It was a pretty smooth process and really affordable.

  • Solovey Jewelers in McClean! My husband and I got my engagement ring (we brought in a diamond from his family and had it set in an antique bad from the 20s) and both of our wedding bands (also antique) there. We were combining family pieces/stones with vintage bands and they did an amazing job with everything from design to craftsmanship. Highly recommend!

  • I have used Charles Schwartz & Sons for years for repair and purchases. They are excellent and have done a great deal of work for me. They have wonderful estate jewelry. They are at Mazza Gallerie and also have a shop at the Willard.

  • pave jewelers –
    Based in Arlington, Vishal (who runs the business) was incredibly thoughtful and helpful.

    they’re great and yelp will back me up!

  • Market Street Diamonds on M Street NW in Georgetown is quite competitive and their service is fantastic. Highly recommended.

    • +1 for Market Street. They did an amazing job with the engagement ring – unique and beautiful, and within our budget. Loved them so much we went back for the wedding bands (and her wedding earrings!)

    • Absolutely second MSD. We went everywhere to try to find somewhere unique (including lots of places in this thread) and couldn’t find anything that we liked. Everything looked the same, or cheesy. But MSD had a great design, then worked with us to custom design our take on it. Dino Lorenzo then hand-made that ring in a matter of weeks. I proposed on New Year’s Day after flying back into DC on New Year’s Eve, and he was so responsive that I was texting him at 9 pm on New Year’s Eve. And the final product was absolutely incredible- everyone who sees the ring says its 1-unique 2-so her and 3-gorgeous.

      Finally, he gave us an incredibly fair price. The other day we went back for our wedding bands, and he mistakenly quoted the price for a ring 400 dollars lower. He agreed to split the difference and give it to us for 200 off.

    • Another +1 for MSD. DIno and his team were incredible helpful, down to earth, happy to talk and walk you through the process. Actually did a comic for them about my experience buying an engagement ring if anyone’s interested:

    • I would write a loooong post about how absolutely amazing everything is at MSD, but just take my word. Custom made jewelry at a GREAT price in Georgetown. I still can’t believe the ring they made… I’m waiting for them to call me back and ask for more money!! And same deal – we used a family center stone and 9 other diamonds. Flawless and professional. 10/10

      • Another one for MSD. I’ve had them re-work a few necklaces to make other pieces and the result is always beautiful and creative and unique. The people there are really nice, and their prices are much more competitive than some other places. We are actually about to order our wedding bands from there–when we went to look we arrived just before closing (my bad) and they were so nice, and didn’t rush us at all. Really great.

    • Another +1 for MSD. I went to about 10 places when looking for a custom engagement ring. Excellent service (after working with one of the sales associates, I ended up spending more than an hour with Dino discussing the design) and very reasonable pricing. They came in thousands of dollars below some of the other shops mentioned here (just for the setting!). And they offer free resizing and free cleanings for life. A+ experience there.

  • I was in a similar situation, but ultimately ended up purchasing a great setting at Charleston Alexander in Bethesda because I couldn’t make my mind up a

    Just an FYI, I went to a bunch of places in the area with my family diamond and a majority of the jewelers wanted to cut it down to a smaller size (it’s 1.25ct) so it would look more like the way diamonds are cut today. They said it would look so sparkly if I would let them cut it. I like that it’s an older, imperfect cut and to my untrained eyes, it looks absolutely perfect and crazy sparkly. Just a heads up in case you get some of the same advice…

    Good luck to you!

  • washington diamond in falls church made a beautiful new setting for a family diamond, very helpful folks!

  • I. Gorman. They are a family run business and were fantastic. Very personable, accommodating and helpful. Very highly recommend!

  • Great question that I’ve also been meaning to ask PoPville! I have some stones I bought overseas that I want to get set into a ring & earrings.
    Somewhat related, anyone have experience with a jeweler fabricating silver (part of a silver earring went missing) and reworking silver?

  • Anyone know of a jeweler experienced in incorporating unconventional materials? We’d like to take a carbon fiber band and add a setting and diamonds to it but aren’t sure if that is even possible.

  • Tiny Jewel Box has always done right by me.

  • Try Shah & Shah, Have used them on and off for repairs and cleaning. It’s a small family owned boutique jeweler that works with all budgets. One of my friends picked out a stone and setting for a reasonable price. Good peeps.

    • I came here to recommend Shah and Shah. My fiance went there and worked with the younger Shah to design my engagement ring, and it’s amazing. He got a really great deal and they were overall just really great to work with.

      • I third Shah and Shah. I got my wedding band from them and my husband also took a pair of diamond studs here to have some stones added. They are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, reasonable with regards to price and they work quickly due to the fact that they work with a goldsmith, rather than sending stuff to a factory.

        They are by appointment only, in an office building in Farragut Square. You’d never know they’re there if you didn’t seek them out, and it’s a lot of word of mouth advertising.

  • Anyone know where to sell, or preferably consign, an engagement ring?

  • I proposed to my fiance last august in dc. I scoured the DC market for a ring and stone – then looked in other states (OH,VA, MD). Like most expensive items, they are much more inexpensive outside of the city. I highly recommend you windowshop in DC, and then take a trip elsewhere to make the purchase. Same quality ring and stone cost me $2k less in mark-up and sales tax outside of DC

  • Shah & Shah did a nice job helping to design / craft my engagement ring with a stone I brought them. Small store, requires an appointment, but price and knowledge were very good.

  • Quinn’s Goldsmith in Woodbridge is just great. I took my engagement band there because there were two loose diamonds and that day Mr. Quinn secured both diamonds (for only $30) and buffed my ring for free. The service at Quinn’s was great. They are one of the only jewelry stores around DC that actually has a goldsmith working in the shop. My fiance and I will definitely be going back for our wedding bands!

  • I can’t believe no one else has asked – is it the same girl from your first date question?

    • Any where did you take her?

      • I too can’t believe no one else asked. It’s a different girl, and we went to Hogo on our first date, where I learned that (1) she doesn’t like rum and (2) Hogo makes a great pisco sour.

  • Go see Paul at Ascot Jewelers in NoVA. All custom work, excellent customer service, and a happy now-fiance of someone who recently bought there.

    • Agreed! My fiancee just proposed last weekend and she got the ring at Ascot. She worked with Paul as well and we both could not be happier with the ring. It’s beautiful and it was a little right so they resized it on Tuesday in under an hour!

  • Hammer and Gem is a great website/blog for all things jewelry. The jeweler who runs it, Jess, is an amazing designer and metal smith. She is from Jersey City but will work through email too. If you want something unique and of excellent quality and value she would be a great choice.

  • I had a family ring my husband had reset as my engagement ring at Greenan and Sons in Silver Spring. They did a FANTASTIC job and the ring is beautiful!

  • Lawrence Miller & Co. in Old Town, Alexandria created a custom setting using my husband’s grandmother’s diamond. Tim worked closely with us to design the setting, sent over many proofs and was extremely knowledgeable and professional. He made my husband’s band as well as a number of friend’s bands. The finished product was truly stunning and it has an old world feel with an updated look. I can’t say enough about them – it is a small, wonderful shop!

  • There’s a fabulous artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria. He does fabulous custom work, is really patient and so creative. He’s also incredibly well priced. His specialty is wedding and engagement rings and everything is designed and made by him. His name is Dejan in studio 15 and he is highly recommended.

  • I Gorman is fantastic. Had engagement band made their using 2 stones from my great grandmother which they matched and my wife and I purchased our wedding bands there as well. Been back for my mother’s 70th, my mother-in-law’s 70th and each of my wife’s “push presents.” Always great, personalized service.

  • Benson’s Jewelers by Metro Center! Family owned shop. Great service.

  • Zsuzsi wolf is amazing! She has a shop in the Torpedo factory. she made our rings, which are elegant and unique,using heirloom pieces. I can’t say enough about how fantastic her work and attention to detail is.

  • Eric Margry at the Torpedo Factory is great, he also does hand engraving.

  • Lawrence Miller & Co in Old Town Alexandria!

  • Sacramento Jewelers in Arlington. Don’t let the store front fool you. Incredible band replacement on a family ring, and for a great price. Ask for Teddy!

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