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Lower Clarity - Is It Really That Bad?


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#1 christy

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 07:11 AM

On the saearch for an engagement ring price has become an issue. However in a jewellers i saw the following ring;

1.38 carat natural diamond solitaire ring
colour F
clarity i3

7.06 - 7.11x 4.38

It had an Anchorcert certificate with it (uk certification service). I have read that diamonds of this clarity are best avoided, but looks wise it was very white and sparkly. Oclusions were pointed out to me but i could barely see them.

Would I be silly to buy this? I was shown uncertified diamonds elsewhere and could see straight away the diamonds were yellow tinter and some were cloudy and no sparkle. But this ring looks very nice and retails at £3300 (pounds) in a jewelers /pawnbrokers.

Any comments? Thank you!
Christy
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#2 davidelevi

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:51 AM

The issue with a clarity lower than I1 is not just the visibility of the inclusions, but whether they would be a risk to integrity of the stone when setting or if it is hit (and in a ring it will get hit, sooner rather than later). The price is expensive for an I3 - assuming that Anchorcert is reliable and GIA-like in grading. You can find an I1 stone of similar size and colour for the same price.

Regardless of looks and price, I would not buy it unless the seller is ready to guarantee it against breakage or you can have an expert gemmologist look at it and ensure you that there is no danger.
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#3 denverappraiser

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:52 AM

Hi Christy,

GBP3300 is crazy expensive for something like this, even in the UK unless that mounting is something terribly special. It makes me wonder about your source of this datapoint. Surely you're not paying that. I'm going to guess that this is something your jeweler told you as evidence that they are a bargain, right? I'm going to further guess that it's part of what Anchor told them and that your jeweler is pointing at their report to justify it. It's an 'independent' 3rd party after all. Their offer is less than that because they're your buddies. Balderdash. It's a lie, they know it's a lie, and they're saying it for purposes of being deceptive. Equally importantly, if you KNOW that they're lying to you, why are you believing the other things they have to say?
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#4 christy

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Diamond close up.PNG diamond.PNG

Thanks guys for your replies. I do appreciate this site and I have heeded both of your words. I was probably getting desperate in my search. My partner wan't prepared to view this especially after your advice.
My partner now is willing to look at an online site now, one where arrangements can be made to view the stone before purchase.
I have attached a EGL diamond they have. The occlusions don't appear very clear on the certificate. It ticks the boxes for me though in budget and potential whiteness and sparke and size. Can I get your opinion again please? The price is £2700 english pounds. I have attached the certificate and a close up of the clarity representation on the certificate.

Thank you

#5 denverappraiser

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:49 AM

The trick here is twofold. First is EGL. There's been lots of discussion here about the merits of relying on them and I'll leave the final decision up to you but do take with a grain of salt what they have to say about grading. The second is with online shopping in general and online shopping for an EGL in particular. We don't know if the seller has ever seen the stone. If they have it, ask THEM to grade it, not EGL. What's the REAL grade?

For online shopping it is an absolute requirement that you get a 100% refund for some reasonable amount of time while you inspect the stone, compare it to others, consult with an expert if you want, show it to your mother, your friends or your astrologer. You should have the right to return it for any reason for some limited amount of time. This is usually about 15-30 days depending on the dealers terms and the distance. Without it, no deal. Frankly I would require this of the storefront jewelers as well although I might bring down the acceptable time a little bit. Next, vet the dealer. Don't just assume that because they can put up a website they are a good merchant. I don't know the resources in the UK but check out the equivalent of the BBB, check out their licenses, check with the chamber of commerce in their town. Are these people you want to be doing business with? That comes ahead of 'Is this particular diamond one you want to buy?' Get this part right and you'll be amazed how much easier the other stuff gets.
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#6 christy

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

Hello,

Thanks for your reply

You have given me some good points to take away with me;
  • Time to inspect the stone with a refund option
  • Check out the seller!
Certainly the latter point is something I need to do and may not have done!

I understand that EGL's grading is loose that's why I am hoping that even if the colour if a few grades lower it will still appear white.

If we do view it I will keep you informed.
Kind regards

#7 davidelevi

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:16 PM

Christy - pardon my bluntness, but why are you trying to second guess things like colour by buying something that "someone" (EGL) calls E but you know it is not E. Are you not better off getting a diamond that is graded properly in the first place?

Bear in mind that GIA or AGS graded stones are NOT more expensive. They are simply competitively priced for what they are. Getting a diamond graded by a second rate lab means in most cases you are paying a premium compared to the price the same stone would get if marketed with a GIA or AGS report...

BTW, the issue on this particular stone is unlikely to be colour - much more likely that someone is trying to avoid having the stone called I1 or even I2 (which it could be, if there is a fracture all around the crown, as there seems to be on the plot).

Pardon my bluntness again, but I think you are trying to square a circle. A decent - never mind excellent - untreated, (near) colourless round diamond of 1.30 carats does not come for much less than $6500/£4000 for a "new" stone. Colour is the least of your worries at that price point; clarity and cut are far more important to the looks. I honestly believe you should revise your budget, or go for a smaller diamond. Another option is to shop the second-hand/estate/antique market - which would cost far less, but requires a lot of patience to find what you want.
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#8 barry

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:02 AM

We don't know of any Seller that will guarantee a diamond against future breakage. Every diamond, including VS clarity and higher has sensitive areas that can potentially fracture upon strong impact. Therefore a suitable review period with the Vendors 100% Refund Policy is important and your post-deal purchasing an insurance policy against loss, theft, and damage
is highly recommended.

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#9 Always learning

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:07 AM

Hi Christy,

First off you should know that I am not an expert like the rest of the guys on this thread, I am just some bloke who recently went through what you are going through - buying an engagement ring. Your questions interested me because I am in the UK too.

In my opinion our high streets are a complete rip-off when it comes to jewelry, especially precious stones and more especially diamonds. If you walk into H Samuels, F Hinds, Fraser Hart or - God forbid - Elizabeth Duke, you will just not come back out with a diamond certificate worth the paper it's printed on, if you get a certificate at all. As a consumer who has been through this I would always insist on GIA (maybe AGS as well) for diamond certification.

I have learned that there is no such thing as a discount diamond, or a 'wholesale price' from a retailer. If a diamond is cheaper to buy in the UK then that is because it is a cheaper diamond. So what to do?

Well, the closer you get to the source i.e. the diamond cutter, the less you will pay for the diamond. Drop shippers like the ones you will find on the Diamond Finder tab above will sell GIA certified diamonds for much less than our high street prices, or you could go even further and join RapNet for a month ($60), I didn't do this but I wish I'd had a look at least.

[url="http://www.diamonds.net/cms/products/rapnet-trading-network.aspx"]http://www.diamonds.net/cms/products/rapnet-trading-network.aspx[/url]

Rapnet are a source of the diamonds the drop shippers use in the diamond finder above. The retailers in the diamond finder just list from the RapNet inventory so you will avoid paying the margin (I don't know what the margin is - I would love to know if you ever find out btw)

And just because there aren't really any decent jewelry retailers on our high streets, doesn't mean to say there aren't any decent Jewelers (Jeweler = someone who makes rather than just sells jewelry). I would certainly consider buying the diamond as cheaply as possible, after all it is more or less a commodity - the diamond doesn't change whoever you buy it from, then get it set by a jeweler in the UK. It's the setting that has the expertise and the artistry I would be prepared to pay for. You get the best of both worlds then in my opinion.

If you want to buy the diamond and the ring together from someone you can talk to, who will show you the ring and answer your questions then why not go the whole hog and go somewhere really nice?

[url="http://www.tiffany.co.uk/Engagement/"]http://www.tiffany.co.uk/Engagement/[/url]

"Of all gem-quality diamonds, only a fraction ever meet Tiffany’s
strict quality requirements. Tiffany diamond engagement rings are offered from just over £650 to over £649,500. A Tiffany & Co. sales professional will be pleased to work within your budget
."

I was in Tiffanys London with my fiance a few weeks ago and we saw a couple with a salesman. It looked a really nice experience for them, he was obviously a good salesman, there was no pressure, the surroundings were nice (Well, it was Tiffanys!), they had a glass of champagne etc etc if you are going to buy a diamond as jewelry then I think these things are worth paying for. I imagine she will always be happy, and her friends will always be jealous, because she has a Tiffanys ring. ;)

Aside from staying away from the high street chains, that frankly offer poor quality jewelry at high prices, I would also stay away from Hatton Garden. At Hatton Garden they are a lot better at making sales than making jewelry I'm afraid. If you want to go retail then find an independant in your nearest sizeable local town or city, or go to the area around Burlington Arcade (off Picadilly road) in London - that's close to Tiffanys, Cartier Maplin & Webb etc. At least they are - mostly - quality jewelers there. There are still some pitfalls though, tread carefully, they are more expert than us and they are trying to make sales...

Anyway, these are just some views and thoughts from my search for a ring. Like I say, I'm just some bloke so make of this what you will. B)

Best Regards,

AL

#10 denverappraiser

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:25 AM

Hi Al,

Thanks for the well thought out post. I would like to comment on Rapnet. For starters, they won’t allow you to join for just a month and they won’t allow you to join at all unless you can demonstrate credentials that you’re in the jewelry trade. Those aren’t all that hard to arrange but it can be a chore and take time. More importantly, Rapnet is no more or less than an advertising venue just like the diamond finder here. Dealers list stones they want to sell and other dealers go there looking to buy. The vast majority won’t agree to sell to you anyway if you're just looking for one or two stones and you don't already have an established relationship with them.. Subscribing to Rapnet gets you access to the ads, it doesn’t mean that the sellers want to talk to you. Retail customers can be a serious pain in the form of time to educate them, returns, oddball requirements etc. Retailing isn’t for everyone and the REASON that these folks choose to be selling the way they are is precisely because they don’t want to do it. A few of them ARE interested in retailing, and the way they do it is to set up a retail outlet ranging from a website all the way up to a chain of jewelry stores. That’s their choice. In no way does it mean they have better prices or better merchandise. They might, but it’s up to them. As a consumer I don’t think you would gain much of anything by signing up, even if Rap would let you do it. FWIW, I'm a Rap subscriber and have been for decades. I'm not slamming the service, it's just not good for what you wish it was.



The same holds for your comment about buying straight from cutters. The task of cutting is decidedly different from the task of retailing and the reason they don’t have a retail operation is because they don’t want to take the time and commit the skills and resources to do it. That’s why they sell through a network of dealers. Add to this that the VAST majority of diamonds these days are cut by large factories in India because of the tooling and labor costs and you find that nearly all of the people who will work with you and who call themselves cutters are no more or less than any other retailer, They’re buying from one source and selling to another. I see nothing wrong with that but it boils down to décor, not prices. Like everyone else, they can sell to whoever they want, they can charge whatever they want, and they can offer whatever value-add they want. You as a shopper get to negotiate with any retailer as you wish and, in the end, decide to buy or not as you wish. That gives you enormous power. It’s a wickedly competitive business and it makes no difference at all if they call themselves a cutter, a ‘wholesaler’, an importer or even if they actually DO some of these things. Pay attention to the deal at hand, not some conceptual deal that they may or may not be giving someone else.

Edited by denverappraiser, 26 February 2012 - 06:56 PM.

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#11 Always learning

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:40 AM

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the points you made in the post above. I was careful to caveat my post at the start and end with my lack of expertise, but even so I should have been more careful when talking about things I know little about.

RapNet is behind a wall to me as I am not a member, so I really appreciate your insights. I guess I'm just a new breed of internet consumer, always wanting to cut out as much 'baggage' from the retail chain as possible if buying online. As I say I am happy to pay more for personal service and skills - it's just the automatic mark-ups from another link in the supply chain I seek to circumvent - hence my interest in RapNet.

I hope my misunderstanding of RapNet will not put Christy off my views on large chain jewelry retailers and Hatton Garden stores as I assure you from my own experience they are very valid in the main.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend, and thanks again for putting my post straight :)

Best Regards

AL

#12 christy

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

Hi All,

Wow lots of info to digest. I appreciate your bluntness David and yes I possibly am trying to square a circle- for all kinds of reasons. The budget can raise up toaround £4500. I wondered what that circular mark in the stone was. Would it still be worth seeing the stone if taking precautions such as checking out refund insuring the stone as suggested in the replies - (Thanks guys). Also if I ordered a stone from USA we have duty to pay of around £1000 on a £5K stone / ring wouldn't we.? Saying this my partner wants to physically see any stone before purchase?
I feel as though I am going round in circles.
I agree with your comments Al on the high st uk jewelers. I found that out very quick! Tiffanys sounds lovely but tooo expensive! Sounds like you had a good experience there though and your fiancee tres happy!
I dont want to comprimise on size around 7mm across the table, colour.white to the eye and sparkly. Again for many reasons.
This gets me down when I think I have found something and then it turns out not to be the case. Its putting strain on in all areas and wonder sometimes why its so important to me at my age and so does everyone else :(
Anyway guys. I appreciate all your comments
Kindest regards
Christy

#13 denverappraiser

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:03 PM

Al,

No worries and I really do welcome your participation. Cutting out the 'middleman' has been part of sales patter forever and it definitely has it's appeal. Theres nothing new about this with the Internet age although it's a little easier to shop hundreds or thousands of stores at once. The traps are still the same but they too get amplified by the Internet. Always vet your dealer. At the end of the day you aren't buying from the 'Internet' or even 'High street', you're buying from one particular merchant who advertises that way. As a rule, commercial rents in the UK are psycho expensive and this drives up the price of everything they have. I don't blame you a bit for looking for lower cost alternatives. There are plenty out there and, thanks to the Internet, they're awfully easy to find.
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#14 davidelevi

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:00 AM

Hi All, Wow lots of info to digest. I appreciate your bluntness David and yes I possibly am trying to square a circle- for all kinds of reasons. The budget can raise up toaround £4500. I wondered what that circular mark in the stone was.

I don't know what it is because the resolution on the scan is what it is; it seems indicative of a circular fracture/feather, which would make me drop the telephone (not the stone - it may break) right away. Ask the vendor - they are the only ones who can answer...

Would it still be worth seeing the stone if taking precautions such as checking out refund insuring the stone as suggested in the replies - (Thanks guys).

That particular one I would leave alone. Too much fuss, too much risk and nothing "good" in favour. JMHO.

Also if I ordered a stone from USA we have duty to pay of around £1000 on a £5K stone / ring wouldn't we.? Saying this my partner wants to physically see any stone before purchase?

Duty is 0% (nil) on loose stones, and 2.5% on mounted pieces of jewellery. That is hardly a problem. The killer is VAT at 20% on the price + duty. In theory you can get the VAT reimbursed (or even not pay it at all to begin with) if the stone is re-exported within a short time, but it is not for the faint of heart, and you need to talk to HMRC about how to do it, since procedures change all the time.

A more viable option is to use someone (like Blue Nile) who has a UK affiliate that deals with the import side of things, so you can inspect diamonds and return if you don't like what you see. There's a couple of other UK-based diamond dealers with a Blue Nile-like business model, but I don't know them and would not recommend them over BN. The issue with Blue Nile (or similar) is that since they don't handle the diamond physically, they are unable to talk to topics like clarity issues in any level of detail or provide photos - considering your budget/other requirements, this is a significant stumbling block, though not necessarily a deal killer: it takes patience and the willingness and organisation to send things back well within the return terms (one of the reasons why I would not recommend other UK based internet dealers is that they seem to have pretty short return periods, like a week).

I feel as though I am going round in circles. I agree with your comments Al on the high st uk jewelers. I found that out very quick! Tiffanys sounds lovely but tooo expensive! Sounds like you had a good experience there though and your fiancee tres happy! I dont want to comprimise on size around 7mm across the table, colour.white to the eye and sparkly. Again for many reasons. This gets me down when I think I have found something and then it turns out not to be the case. Its putting strain on in all areas and wonder sometimes why its so important to me at my age and so does everyone else :( Anyway guys. I appreciate all your comments Kindest regards Christy

I think you have set for yourself a tough task, not made any easier by location, but it is feasible. It will just take a little more patience than usual... My strong recommendation is to pick a few dealers that you want to work with - it matters little where they are located, the main thing is that you get along with them, they are prepared to do some work on your behalf, and ideally can take and send you good quality photos of the diamonds they find.
Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
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#15 denverappraiser

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:21 AM

Usually there's a key to symbols on there somewhere that will tell you what the polt is about. Maybe on the other side?
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