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Kandi Burruss' Engagement Ring Is Not What It Appears to Be

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It's already been reported widely since US Magazine broke the story that Kandi Burruss, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star, is now engaged to Todd Tucker, line producer on the show. The proposal certainly came as no surprise to fans of the show, who have watched their relationship blossom over the past season.

According to the US Magazine report, Tucker proposed to Burruss with a "a gorgeous two-carat white diamond sparkler by ring designer Gregg Ruth." They report that she actually picked out the ring from a Las Vegas jewelry store about four months ago. She had told him about it, and he had it shipped to him in Atlanta.

At first glance, the ring looks like a stunning (and HUGE!) two-carat oval diamond. In a fine pave setting like this from a high-end designer like Gregg Ruth, one would expect the diamond quality to be rather high. In my professional estimation, a large oval in a setting like this would need to be at least a G color. A diamond like this would likely cost at least $25,000 for the diamond alone. A designer setting like hers could easily add another $4,000 to $5,000. At full retail from a high-end Las Vegas jewelry store, this ring would likely cost well over $40,000.

But at closer inspection, this is clearly not what we're dealing with here. A quick look at Gregg Ruth's website brings us to this ring's specific page.

The MSRP listed there is about $11,000. When I saw that, it didn't make sense to me. If that price is for a complete ring with a two-carat oval center stone, then the price is far too low to make any kind of sense. If the price is for the setting without the center stone, the price is far too high.

So I started to dig a bit deeper and found this promotional video created by Gregg Ruth:

As you can see for yourself in the video, Kandi Burruss' "gorgeous two-carat white diamond sparkler" is really from the "Karina Collection" which is a "diamond cluster" collection.

US Magazine is perhaps deliberately misleading us. The ring is not a "two-carat diamond sparkler" -- it is a two-carat total weight diamond sparkler. The face of her ring, which is in the shape of an oval, is filled with much smaller round diamonds that when clustered together give the illusion of a much larger diamond.

Now I am the last one to disparage creative ways to save money when buying diamonds. Diamond clustering is a fantastic way to get a stunning ring at a fraction of the price of a single large diamond. Her ring, for example, costs $11,000 instead of approximately $40,000 for the same ring with one large oval-cut diamond.

What I am greatly disappointed by, however, is that she didn't share this fact. She had a great opportunity to make a difference by explaining what her ring was really all about and telling the world she didn't care -- that this ring made her extremely happy because of how much her man loves her, not because of how much he spent on it. US Magazine's reporting unfortunately just perpetuates the unreasonable expectations held by many women, and the sense of obligation their men feel in fulfilling them.

This article was corrected on 2/2/13 to reflect the fact that Kandi Burruss herself had not actively tried to hide the truth about her ring. As the author of this article, I extend my sincerest apologies to Ms. Burruss for the misrepresentation of the facts.

Ira Weissman is a diamond industry veteran with a decade of experience at one of the world's largest diamond polishers. He has traveled the world buying and selling diamonds and now dedicates his time to helping consumers make the most of their diamond buying decisions. He has been featured on Anderson Cooper, CNBC, and has been quoted by MarketWatch, The Village Voice, and BankRate. Visit Truth About Diamonds to educate yourself about diamonds.