Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Made in China

After deciding to buy the dress I had selected from a US retailer, this email was a bit of a let down.

Your order has been placed with Maggie Sottero.    They have quoted us an Outside-Delivery-Date of June 14, 2010.   This is the date they expect to receive it (not the date we will receive it or the date you will receive it).

Production will begin immediately.   Literally, within a day or so, the designer will transmit your order details to the factory in China, where 90% of all bridal-related production occurs.   Fabric and components (beads, zippers, embroidery, etc) are ordered immediately, cutting tickets issued and sewing scheduled.

I know everything is made in China. But choosing to buy from the designer instead of an exact knock off leaves you wondering if you should have just bought it from China to save the difference.

For example, let's take Allure Bridals dress 8526.

Cost from an online store? $673 (still cheaper than buying from a local bridal shop).
Cost from Chinese copy cats? $170. There's even a bigger difference for more expensive dresses.

So China rips people off by stealing people's ideas and selling their designs. But then the wedding industry is a big rip off by adding such a high markup for anything that has anything to do with wedding. So everybody is just a big rip off.

Anyways, I went with a US retailer for a few reasons.
1. The dress designer would get some money for their work. 
2. I would know exactly what I was getting...I wanted a certain color from the designer and I knew how the fabric would feel and look. 
3. Gotta support some local economy and not just let China do all the ripping off and profiting.
What can I get that's not made in China?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bridal Dress Discount Coupon used!


Dress bought!! I committed! Too bad that only accounted for one item of the super long theknot.com wedding planning checklist. Maybe I should use something simpler Real Simple's checklist.


TO-DOS ON LIST: 159  | COMPLETED TO-DOS: 31


The dress I picked out looks to be in high demand...nothing on preownedweddingdresses.com and not much on other sites like craigslist.org. Plus they weren't the size or color I was looking for or much savings.

Price at the store?
$1250 + California sales tax (at 9.25% = $115)

Price I paid at Jay's Bridal on the internets?
Subtotal:$1,048.95 (no strap saved $100)
Have a Coupon or Promotional Code?:$150.00
Discounted subtotal:$898.95
Shipping & Insurance:$48.49
TOTAL:$947.44

That's a $400+ savings...deal!

Now this doesn't include the alterations I want to get done...I'm making it into a kind of hybrid dress. More on this later.

one of the contenders...

Friday, February 5, 2010

conflict free diamonds

I wanted to buy a man-made diamond because I would know with certainty that it was not a conflict or blood diamond. I never saw the movie Blood Diamond, but even just reading about conflict diamonds on the internets is disheartening. From what I read about the Kimberly Process, the Kimberly Process had flaws that conflict diamonds could potentially still make their way in.

From my internets research, I found two types of synthetic or man made diamonds that the consumer could buy.  No difference can be seen under a microscope, although the companies are being pressured to etch serial numbers in the diamond, so under inspection it would be known to be man made. Structurally these diamonds are exactly the same as diamonds found in nature. Diamond stimulants, on the other hand act like diamond, look like a diamond, but are not diamonds.


a big fancy diamond!

The two types of methods for making diamonds were high pressure high temperature, HPHT, or chemical vapor disposition, CVD.  HPHT basically uses a lot of heat and pressure to squeeze out a diamond and CVD grows one out of gases. CVD does a better job of controlling the impurities, so they are able to produce flawless, colorless diamonds. Impurities is what gives diamonds color - and is extremely rare in the natural world, hence the high cost for pink, yellow, green, blue, etc. diamonds.

Here are the places I found that sell man-made, cultured, lab-grown, synthetic, whatever you want to call it diamonds. Colored diamonds (using HPHT) were easier to find than colorless (using CVD). Since diamonds are also used industrially, the CVD shop only sold diamonds (at the time) .5 carat or less with a setting :P The colored diamonds (which are vibrant) can be found as loose stones.

Conflict Free Real (man-made) Diamonds!
http://www.gemesis.com (HPHT, range of colors)
http://www.diamondnexuslabs.com (HPHT, yellow stones, look for the pure carbon stones {real} vs. stimulant{fake})
https://www.shopapollo.com (CVD, colorless with settings, .6 carat or smaller)
http://c5company.com/gems/ (colored & colorless, or ethically sourced, recycled metals)
http://www.miadonna.com/t-mddh-cultured-diamonds.aspx (HPHT, yellow, pink, blues, look for man-made vs. stimulant)

Here's a paper on the whole diamond industry shin-dig. Apparently DeBeers had control of all the diamonds in the world at one time.