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sparklepixie

Amazing Site...but Do You Cover The Uk?

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:DHello everyone :)

 

I'm on a mission to 'upgrade/replace' my engagement ring so I've been hanging around the internet a lot lately & came across this amazing forum.  I've looked around a bit but not been able to establish if you can help me as I'm in England?

 

I'd rather buy from the UK due to additional complications with shipping, returns, tax, foreign exchange, etc.  Having said that I have no wish to spend anymore than necessary.

 

Can anyone guide me on best the best route to success?

 

(PS...In broad terms I'm after a 'eye clean' round cut diamond in a platinum setting, as big as I can afford without compromising on 'sparkle'.  The budget is £20k absolute max ( think that's around $25k'ish) but needless to say I'd like to spend a LOT less.)

 

Any & all help much appreciated!! :D 

 

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You’ve got a couple of topics here.

#1.  Things in the UK cost a lot more than similar things elsewhere.  That has to do with taxes, cost of labor, cost of rents, and the VAT.  If you’re going to buy from a UK merchant, expect higher prices.  Sorry.

 

#2 VAT.  Part of the above, and surely you know this, but it’s a big deal.  You can pay it, they can pay it, or you can evade it, but any way you do it, it’s an important variable.

 

#3 Local stores pay more for rent, utilities, employees and so on.  That means if you expect to have a store to go into, you can expect to pay more.  That’s how it works.  It’s not clear if you’re trying to avoid the internet business entirely or just the international part of it but it matters.

 

Most of the big players, like Blue Nile, have UK subsidiaries these days.  They may still ship to you from overseas, but the taxes are collected by and the return, assuming you’re going to make a return, goes to a local address. That's less of a pain.  Is that acceptable?

Finding a perfectly good ring for $25k is a piece of cake.  The issue is in the details.  Heck, you can get a nice piece for 1/10 of that. 

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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5. Pretty much all US-based dealers will happily ship to the UK. Assuming they declare full price (which they should do, unless they want to become complicit in tax evasion, but then HMRC rarely bothers about the odd £1000 of VAT), you should add import duty (2.75% on mounted stones/jewellery pieces, 0% on loose stones), VAT at 20% on purchase price + shipping costs + duty and a customs processing fee of around £50-100 depending on the shipping company... or considering a quick trip to the US.

 

6. (kind of hinted at by Neil) the advantage of buying from a UK/EU-registered company (or UK/EU-registered branch) is that returns become much simpler, since they take care of the VAT refund (which is a bit of a pain) and provide you with an address to which generally it's simpler to ship to (some dealers, but not all, expect you to insure the package, and you will find that insuring jewellery for international shipping isn't quite as simple as it sounds).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Thanks :-) You're right....I'll try to clarify:

 

#1.  From my limited experience I agree about the UK being more expensive.  Therefore, keen to explore alternatives.

 

#2.  I don't mind how the VAT's paid as long as it's factored into the total cost.

 

#3.  I guess it's a case of weighing up risk v cost?  My husband is risk averse & wants to purchase from a store in Hatton Garden, London.  However, as long as I can be completely reassured it's not a 'dodgy dealer' who disappears with the money I have no major objection to buying online.  Going one step further (US online) - I guess I'm worried about not having seen the ring in advance & the return warranties not being applicable to the UK.

 

It's a huge amount of money to spend so I need to be reassured the US sites are completely risk free.  Can I trust I will get what I'm after, ie genuine 'sparkler' rather than a paper clean GIA cert?  I imagine the savings may be vast so that's why I'm considering this.

 

The US websites seem to be so much more advanced/comprehensive than the UK ones (eg. www.qualitydiamonds.co.uk,  www.77diamonds.com & www.cooldiamonds.com). 

 

I'm visiting Hatton Garden in January to try on lots to attempt to determine what I actually want, ie size, colour, clarity.  At the moment I'm hoping for 2 to 2.5 ct, F, VS2 or preferably SI1.  I seems the smallest reduction in spec makes a huge difference - hence my brief 'as big as possible without compromising on sparkle'  I'm aware I do not want a large dull stone with visible inclusons.

 

Hope this clarifies a bit :D ....and thanks again

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There's different types of risk... and frankly the risk of ending up with an incorrectly described stone is higher in Hatton Gardens than when shopping online with good retailers (many of whom are US based), precisely because the price is very sensitive to minute and difficult-to-detect-for-the-untrained variations. To complicate things, not all reports are created equal, and not all labs grade to the same standard. An EGL "F" may well be a GIA "I", and priced somewhere between GIA F and I, all else being equal.

 

However, you will have seen the (possibly incorrectly described) stone prior to buying it, and if you like it and can afford it, does it really matter? Perhaps not - unless you count "overpaying" as a risk.

 

Make your inquiries into the reputation of the dealers (online or otherwise) you are considering - sources abound. FWIW, all those that advertise on this site's listing engine (see Diamond Finder link at the top of the page) are reputable and would not disappear with your money or send you something that's not as described on their site. All would honour their return policy internationally (however be careful that on some stones there may be restricted return rights - if you are not sure, ask!) and a few offer high quality videos and photos to help with selection.

 

The problem with VAT is not so much paying it - it is getting it refunded or credited if you need to return/exchange the stone/ring. It's not impossible, but it can be a bit of a palaver. Same goes for avoiding it (and US sales tax). It's not impossible, but it requires... taking some risks (with the law, amongst others).

 

Whether you get a sparkler depends on what you order - generally speaking cut is the most important variable in that, not colour or even clarity, but once it is the right time if you post the specs of whatever you are considering on the forum, we are here to help you choose.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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An option is to buy a diamond from overseas and hire some local jeweler to set it.  Most of your money is in the stone.  You’ll still be paying a premium on the work, but it gives you the benefit of being able to see the goods first.
 

Hatton Garden is the most expensive place on the planet to do business.  As long as you’re ok with that it’s fine, but don’t expect it to be a place to find a bargain for the same reason that the hotel gift shop in Aspen isn't a good place to look for bargains.  

 

Terms and conditions vary from dealer to dealer.  Read them carefully before buying.  Mostly the big sites are pretty good but there are some zingers.  Look for the length of time allowed to make a return, what dates count (the date they ship, the date you sign, the date you ship, the date customs gets it, the date they get it, etc.).  Watch out for restocking fees and issue surrounding ‘custom’ work. 
 

I don’t think you’ve going to make it with that budget, at least not at the top end for weight.  Using the diamond finder above, which are all us vendors and tend to be price competitive, 2.40-2.50/round/xxx/F/SI1/gia only, I see 28 stones and only 2 of them are below $24k.  pick the dead bottom one (which likely has issues), add 20% VAT, $2000 for the mounting from a local source and $500 for shipping and general BS, and you’re into it for $28,440.  The median stone is more like $29k for the stone, plus the VAT, plus the mounting, plus shipping. You’re pushing $40k when you finally get it on your finger.   If you go locally with a showroom it’s going to be up from that.
 
http://www.diamondreview.com/diamonds/?sortOrder=price&sortDesc=0&fShape=Rnd&fCaratLo=2.40&fCaratHi=2.50&fColorLo=F&fColorHi=F&fClarityLo=SI1&fClarityHi=SI1&fCutLo=&fCutHi=poor&fDepthLo=50.0&fDepthHi=80.0&fTableLo=40.0&fTableHi=80.0&fSymLo=&fSymHi=poor&fPolLo=&fPolHi=poor&fCulLo=&fCulHi=vlarge&fFlrLo=&fFlrHi=vstrong&fPriceLo=0&fPriceHi=1000000&fLabGIA=

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Here's the bottom end of your range.  380 stones from 2.0-2.1cts. with everything else the same. The median for the stone is about $20k.  At the end, I think you'll still be over budget, even if you go for a 'cheap' one, but especially if you're going to be picky about cutting (which I recommend) or fluorescence (personal choice).  

http://www.diamondreview.com/diamonds/?sortOrder=price&sortDesc=0&fShape=Rnd&fCaratLo=2.00&fCaratHi=2.10&fColorLo=F&fColorHi=F&fClarityLo=SI1&fClarityHi=SI1&fCutLo=exc&fCutHi=exc&fDepthLo=50.0&fDepthHi=80.0&fTableLo=40.0&fTableHi=80.0&fSymLo=&fSymHi=poor&fPolLo=&fPolHi=poor&fCulLo=&fCulHi=vlarge&fFlrLo=&fFlrHi=vstrong&fPriceLo=0&fPriceHi=1000000&fLabGIA=1

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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 Can I trust I will get what I'm after, ie genuine 'sparkler' rather than a paper clean GIA cert?  

This is everyone's worry, and the short answer is no.  

 

The longer answer is yes, if you do your due diligence.

 

You are relying 100% on the lab to tell you what they tell you.  Labs are not fungible. That’s why we're all consistently picky about who the lab is.  It's not everything you need to know, so you’re relying 100% on the dealer to tell you what the lab doesn’t.  That’s why we’re picky about the dealer.  They're not fungible either. Next, you get to look at it yourself, show it to your own chosen independent appraiser, and return it within some reasonable amount of time for a full refund if you’re not happy for any reason.  That’s why we’re so picky about the terms and conditions and particularly the return policy, even though you have no desire to make a return.  Lastly, you're relying that the dealer is actually going to deliver what they say they will after they get your money.  That's why you're using a credit card and why you're going to get it appraised even though the seller gave you a 'free' document titled appraisal that says you got a great bargain.  Trust but verify. 

 

FWIW, all of this applies if you’re buying locally as well.  Be picky about the lab.  Be picky in choosing your dealer.  Read, understand, and be picky about the terms and conditions.  Use a credit card unless you've already got a relationship with them.  Get it appraised by a qualified appraiser who doesn't have a pony in the race (not the seller, not the friend of the seller, not a competitive seller).

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Wow, thanks guys...Loads of great advice!  It's overwhelming for a novice so my first instinct is fear & a desire to crawl back to my Hatton Garden (HG) cave.  However, I know that will be costly so with a bit of disciplined research I'm sure I can fathom my way through the maze.

 

This seems to split into 2 distinct tasks: a) identify 'safe' US suppliers, and B) Spec.

 

a) SUPPIER: Diamond Finder seems like a great starting point. I guess I need to contact each one to clarify T&Cs for taxes, shipping, returns etc.  To save a bit of time is anyone able to identify those most likely to be sympathetic to UK buyers or EU registered, Blue Nile etc.?

 

Apart from VAT I wasn't aware of other duties... :o  It's surprises like this you guys are helping me avoid :)  I need the ring to sit against my wedding band so a loose stone may be a consideration, not something I'd considered before.

 

B) SPEC: The £20k ($25k'ish) must include everything, so I'll need to pull back on spec.  Sparkle is priority so don't want to compromise on XXX cut, GIA lab.  After that & much to my shame size does matter, lol. Can anyone advise where the 'sweet spot' might be on spec?

 

Even trips to HG are expensive (hotels, parking, transport) so I'd like to be fully briefed before I visit in January.  It's intended to be a 'viewing only' experience to finalise the spec.  As long as I understand the cost differential I'm unlikely to get carried away with the credit card.  If I've done my homework properly I should be able to come home & place my order confidently.

 

Thanks again everyone...there's a lot to digest so I need to be logical or I'll end up tying myself up in knots & spending more than needed in HG

 

PS...Not sure on time zones, so I may well be sleeping when you see this :P

Edited by sparklepixie

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Sympathetic - pretty much all of them. T&C are typically on their websites, so while it may take a bit of scouring it can be done at any time and any place where you have access to the internet. Taxes are not dependent on the vendor, and AFAIK they all quote prices net of any tax.

 

With UK registration/branch - I think only Blue Nile.

 

In terms of sweet spot, there is a large component of personal taste and preference. The best thing you can do in terms of size, colour and clarity is to go out and look at different colours, clarities and sizes: you may be surprised by how "colourless" a well cut H or I stone can look, despite being apparently a long way away from F. Or you may even find that you prefer the warmer whites of J and K (which may in turn mean being able to afford a visibly larger stone!).

 

On cut, pretty much the same applies: you like what you like, and there is no "wrong"; however it may be more difficult to define what it is that you actually like since cut is rather multi-dimensional (sparkle, brightness, fire, pattern are all important - the balance of those is where the individual element kicks in). This foundation article by GIA may help you to understand "what to look for" in more precise terms on cut: http://diamondcut.gia.edu/pdf/cut_fall2004.pdfand as mentioned above, if you want a (relatively) objective and more expert look at things, you are welcome to post specs of any stones you may be considering on the forum (a GIA or AGS report number is enough, and in fact is what I would recommend you post!).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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FWIW, Davide above works from Switzerland for a US based internet diamond company. I'd call that pretty Europe friendly.  There's a link to their site at the bottom of every one of his posts. 

That said, Blue Nile is the biggest player in the industry, by far. 

As much as I admire some of the people in the Diamond Finder, it's good to bear in mind that that the DF is a paid advertisement.  Take it for what it's worth.  

Edited by denverappraiser
  • Like 1

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Ok, here's my plan thus far:-

 

1) Draw up a list of questions for suppliers.

2) Eliminate high risk vendors & proceed cautiously with remaining.

3) Price sample specs with both US & UK websites to identify if price differential is significant enough to proceed.

4) Visit HG to try on LOADS of rings (I like this bit). Identify exact spec/what's important to me.  QU: Is there a logical process I should follow...although fun, this seems like the REALLY difficult/confusing bit? I don't have a trained eye so could end up choosing a really duff stone just because it had a nice setting, lighting or salesperson :huh:

5) Revisit online vendors to price my preferred spec.

6) Post details of possible stones here for you good folks to pass comment :D

 

Can anyone confirm the 'big players'?  I've identified BlueNile, B2C, Enchanted & BrianGavin from Diamond Finder (advertisement) but I'm sure there must be a few others, eg James Allen?

 

Also, as I'm clearly new to this - can someone please explain "sparkle, brightness, fire, pattern"?  Silly me just thought a diamond sparkled :unsure:

 

BIG THANKS AGAIN!!

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It's a slightly tricky thing to decide who the big players are, or even if that's desirable.  Blue Nile is the biggest pure internet player by far,  James Allen is next.  Some are tricky to decide.  Costco, for example, is a giant company that sells more jewelry than both of the above combined.  They are happy to do internet business and I'm sure they do millions of dollars that way, but they aren't normally included in the category (and I'd guess they aren't prepared to ship to the UK).  B2C is relatively new name to direct retail sales but they're a tiny division of a huge manufacturer that's been around for decades. Does that make them new or old?  Big or small?  Whiteflash and Union Diamond are large popular ones that have retail stores where you can go visit them.  Others, like diamondsbylauren (Davide's outfit) are by-appointment only sorts of operations that are happy to work with you however you want, but they don't have a lot of inventory that you can just show up and browse through.  It just depends on your style.   

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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I'm trying to answer all your questions, but not quite in the order they have been asked... however 3 points are related to diamond appearance and aesthetics, while the issue of "trusted" vendors is quite independent from that. So, here it goes:

 

Trusted players - the above, plus James Allen, Diamond Ideals, Excel Diamonds, Solomon Brothers, WhiteFlash, Diamond Brokers of Florida, Good Old Gold, Crafted by Infinity (wholesaler - but the retailers they use are good and their stones are fantastically well cut) and a lot of others whose names I don't remember at the moment. And of course the small company that Neil has mentioned above. ;)

 

Plan makes sense, however you may want to postpone steps 1 and 2 until you are clearer about what you want: as well as pure "specs", there are vendors specialising in super-high quality goods (and corresponding premium price), and those that take more of a "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" approach. If you decide that a super-duper extra symmetrically precise cut is the only thing that will do, there is no point in shopping with a perfectly reputable vendor that however does not/cannot help you select for that; conversely, if you find that you cannot see (or appreciate) the difference between different proportion sets, then why pay the premium.

 

Vocabulary:

Sparkle - what it says on the tin. White light being reflected back in relatively small, sparkly "chunks". Technically known as scintillation

Brightness - total amount of light being reflected back by the diamond

Fire - refracted (coloured) light

Pattern - the (ahem) pattern of light and shadow reflected back by the diamond facets. Some cutting styles/proportions are highly symmetrical, other more random; some have larger chunks of contrasting white-and-black flashes, some break the light down into a more diffused "glitter-all-over" appearance. Rounds are relatively standardised in that respect compared to e.g. cushions, but the extent of symmetry is still highly variable, and there is some variability in the amount of on-axis contrast ("arrow width" broadly speaking)

 

One of the problems with diamond optics is that while all four of the above contribute to "beauty" sensu lato, there are physical trade-offs between them (one cannot physically maximise fire and brightness at the same time, for example), and different people prefer different balances/trade-offs among these attributes. To make things really complicated, people's preferences also tend to change depending on the lighting environment - which is one of the reasons why proportions have changed over time: what looks good in dim, relatively yellow light (e.g. candlelight) doesn't necessarily look as appealing under steady, white and very bright lighting.

 

All these descriptions are relatively useless without images; do take a look at the GIA article I linked above, and I will be happy to expand/add to the explanation - including pictures if I can - if you have specific questions.

 

Finally, the process of selection. In a sense, there isn't one. In another sense, and since you seem to enjoy relatively structured thinking, here is what I would do:

 

1. Ignore clarity to start with. While it can have a significant effect on price, you can find I1 that are eye-clean, and you can find VS2 that have a pesky, annoying little black crystal right there where you can see it every time you look at the stone. Its visible effects are so stone-specific that it ain't worth troubling about until you think about specific stones.

 

2. Look at colour. See what you like, what you don't, to what extent you can tolerate tint. Look at diamonds from the top, but also through the side - and look at different colours in isolation and side-by-side. Look at them when they are loose and when they are set (preferably in settings that are similar to what you would like to end with). Look at different sizes within the range and how your perception of colour changes (if it does) based on that. Try things out in different light types and intensities: a stone that looks perfectly white in focused, bright white light may well seem quite tinted in diffused, dim incandescent or LED light. The goal here isn't that of picking, but that of setting boundaries.

 

3. Ask the vendor to demonstrate to you the differences between different proportions and cutting styles. High crowns and low crowns. Steep pavilions and shallow pavilions. Large tables and small tables. Broad arrows and narrow ones. Very symmetrical and "random" patterned stones. Bright stones and fiery stones. Well cut (in general) and poorly cut. Make notes - mentally or otherwise - of what characteristic goes with what appearance, and of your preferences in that respect.

 

4. Bring in budget. Start looking at stones on which you have set limits/indications on colour and cut characteristics and see where your money gets you in terms of size with acceptable clarity.

 

5. Iterate. Take time to look at something else in between: go to the Tate Modern. Or the National Gallery. Or the V&A. Or (window) shop in Bond Street. Go to the theater. Enjoy your day(s) in London. Then go back to diamonds with a fresher mind.

 

Honestly - it's all about what you like, and unless you are a multi-billionaire you will have to make trade offs. The purpose of a diamond purchase by and large is that of pleasing the eye and the soul while causing a tolerable amount of pain in the wallet, and there is no fixed recipe for that - not least because individual preferences differ.

 

One of the most expensive diamonds I have bought for myself (or my wife) is a small 0.27 ct, relatively highly included pear. However it's a pure, uniform, bright and intense pink. For us, it was worth it. For others, the idea of spending well over $10k on something that small, coloured and with inclusions is pure madness, and they would rather buy a 2 ct K/VS round of indifferent cut. Neither preference is wrong.

  • Like 1

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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So much info, thanks again guys!  So now I've drawn up my list of vendors & started on the 'key questions'.

 

Noting the point about market position, I certainly don't need super high quality & will work hard for a the right result.  So the dilemma I have is choosing the spec.  I'm worried I'll upscale through fear & a good sales pitch - While I'm eating, living, breathing diamonds getting the highest possible spec seems all consuming but I guess the reality is once I've owned the ring for a few months the novelty will wear off & unless I've got a diamond expert over my shoulder no-one will have a clue if it's a IF, D or SI1, H.  As you say...if you can't see the difference why pay the premium.

 

I clearly need to take some time out to read about sparkle, brightness, fire, pattern (& the GIA article) but if I had a XXX cut does this not take care of a lot of this, inc pavilions, tables & crowns?  If I had to choose I'd rather the stone looked best during natural daylight rather than bright or dim, again does XXX take care of this to some extent?

 

Great info on selection process...I sincerely hope come January I've had enough time to digest the advice sufficiently & able to proceed methodically, rather than just hyperventilating or dribbling idiotically :lol:

 

And finally, what you say about overpaying makes absolute sense...the highly competitive online market is unlikely to let me down (as long as I can manage the overseas risk element).

 

Gosh I'm exhausted & I've barely started the challenge.  I clearly need to up my stamina for the journey ahead!

 

I don't think I've said it enough but  thank you so much for such good advice :D  :D

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Diamonds have a tendency to shrink (or sublimate - never quite worked out which), absorb impurities and stain yellow over time, but it's something that only seems to affect the holder; everybody else sees them being the same size, colour and clarity as ever. I can also confirm that 99.9999% of people do not travel with a loupe (hey, that makes me one in a million!) and haven't a clue about colour and/or clarity. They can generally tell something that sparkles from something that does not, though. ;)

 

Jokes aside - don't worry too much about coming up with a spec to start with. Explore with an open mind what things look like, and a set of specs will emerge; in terms of resisting temptation, the online shopping part of things has the advantage that upselling is harder - and if you leave the credit cards at home when visiting Hatton Gardens you should be quite OK. FWIW, our website has plenty of good quality photos of a huge variety of diamonds; perhaps it can help in terms of getting you an idea of what the different colours look like. Link in my signature.

 

Finally, while XXX is a good way of ensuring that you don't get a poorly cut diamond, "excellent" proportions as defined by GIA are very broad and include all sorts of different looks. Some of which look better in different lighting environment than others...

 

EDIT: take a look at these threads for an example of this: http://www.diamondreview.com/forum/topic/10196-ive-purchased-a-diamond-with-brillianteering/

http://www.diamondreview.com/forum/topic/10225-photos-of-brillianteered-diamond-and-my-loose-diamond-choice/

 

 

Let us know how you get on with the selection task, and if we can help with other questions or doubts, please post!

Edited by davidelevi

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Buying diamonds is a bit like playing whack-a-mole at the fair.  Push down one thing and something else pops up.  Don’t want to be near the edge on anything and the price is off the scale. 

For example, a I/SI1/1.90/vg/mb will run you about $14k online and it’s easy to find.
A 2.10/VVS1/E/x/none will run 3 times that and is also easy to buy.

Which is better?

 

Local stores tend to be about 25%-50% above the discount Internet players we’re talking about here.  That means the range is $14k to nearly $70k for an eye clean ‘two carat’ depend on the details of exactly what you get and who you buy it from.  That’s a huge span, and if we’re willing to push on exactly what ‘eye clean’ means, the differential gets even bigger.  Who’s eyes and under what viewing conditions?

 

You simply have to zero in on what’s important to you.  Is two carats (or two and a half) important or is it acceptable to come close?  How much work are you willing to put into this?  It’s entirely rational to decide that you’re better off spending your time and mental energies on something else but some people really enjoy the hunt.  Is it sufficient that the imperfections be invisible without tools or are you fishing for something that’s hard to find under a microscope?  The difference is important. Do you like brand names?  Are you willing to flex on your budget or is this a hard limit where you really ought to go down, not up? 

 

Mostly the process involves getting off the internet.  It’s easy to loop on these things.  Go look at some real diamonds.  Go talk to some sales people.  Most don’t bite.  Believe it or not, some people actually PREFER lower colors for example.  Go look at some XXX’s and/or some AGS ideals and see if you can tell the difference.  This exercise isn’t very directly a matter of seeing who has the best ‘deal’ as it is one of calibrating your own eyes.

  • Like 1

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thanks again guys....I've a lot of work to do so trying to fit it in around 'real life' lol.

 

However, I seem to have hit my first snag: I spoke with BNile yesterday thinking they're the most UK friendly.  I was reassured about taxes, shipping, warranty etc .  They even supply a £40 prepaid FedEx label if I need to return item to their distribution hub in Dublin.  In fact all was going swimmingly until - I spoke with FedEx. 

 

To ship the item back to Dublin would cost £51.86...ok so I've an extra £11 to pay, no big deal.  However they only insure up to the value of £1k & will not increase.  They said I could try another courier who might cover insurance (invalidating £40 label) or try obtaining separate insurance.  This sounds like it might be expensive.  I've not yet had the chance to investigate further but does this sound right?  :unsure: 

 

I intend to contact BN again...& possibly DHL but wondered it you'd ever come across similar?

 

Thank you very much

ps...I'm enjoying keeping you busy :D 

pps...Switzerland got me thinking...Antwerp anyone?

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Yes, shipping jewellery internationally is a pain in the neck from an insurance point of view. However, do ask Blue Nile whether they require insurance from you or whether they cover themselves. For example, when we ship (or provide shipping for return goods), the goods travel under our insurance policy.

 

Antwerp is by and large a tourist trap (from a diamonds point of view, at least).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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They get a better deal from FedEx than you do.  I think it's highly likely that the label will not require additional postage.

 

They are the shipper (in this return example we're talking about) because it's their label.  That makes them the insured, not you.  Most of the diamond houses use different insurance than what FedEx is selling at retail and it covers their entire exposure but, really, this is their problem, not yours.  

Antwerp is a fun place, and it probably is a better deal than Hatton Garden but, as mentioned above, that's setting a very low bar.  The reasons for shopping at HG have very little to do with the prices.  

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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I've just come off the phone with them again...spoke to a different lady who followed it up by email:

 

"To return your ring/diamond we recommend sending it back to our facility in Ireland using FedEx and Parcel Pro International insurance.  We offer a reduced price for FedEx of £40 and insurance is £6 per £1000 value the item is insured. If you would prefer, you can use your own carriage option, but please make sure the item is fully insured before shipping."

 

I guess I could try UPS/DHL to see what they charge but I doubt I'll beat the BN preferential rate.  So right now I'm looking at about £160 all in.

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Why do this?  BN is the shipper.  They're the insured.  If FedEx loses it, BN is covered by ParcelPro but it doesn't really matter either way.  YOU aren't the one on the hook, ParcelPro is.  You aren't the shipping client, BN is.   Assuming you pack in accordance with the instructions, you have no liability exposure here. 

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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As a 3rd person observer, I'd seriously consider David.  Following his posts for any length of time, he seems to go over and about what any else would consider a normal conversation with a stranger over the internet.

 

You've probably received more information from him in these few posts than you would (if ever) in 10 visits to most other jewelers. What other person in the industry would go to the effort to volunteer this much information without trying to sell you something? If he's willing to do that - here, think what an experience it would be to conduct a transaction with him.

 

I've never met the man nor done business with him, but when I'm ready he'll be at the top of my "go to" list.

 

Just my observation.

 

Bill Baker

Edited by satbeachbill

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Thanks Bill...appreciate your comment.  Trust me I'm fully aware just how fab these guys have been in helping me....& who knows I just may end up doing that.  However, $25k is a ridiculously large amount of money to me & it's only right I complete my 'due diligence' :)  Until I get to HG & have a 'play' with lots of stones I don't actually know what I even want :unsure:

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