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Experience at New York Diamond District ???


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Dear Board,


I have never been to the New York Diamond District before. There are lots of sellers from there selling items on eBay. One of them that interests me very much is here: XXXXXXXXXXXX (I removed the eBay link because it may violate the posting rule here, but if you want to see it, just search eBay for 6.92 carat, round cut SI-1, color I then.)


My GF prefers a big-sized stone so this is quite ideal for her.


To summarize, it's 6.92 carat, round cut, SI-1, color I, GAL certified on a white gold ring for around $30k. It's sold already, but I somehow feel that a similar deal can be found. If I were to buy this diamond ring, do you think this is a good deal? Of course, I already looked at the Diamond Price Report, and a diamond of this quality is around $100k on average. But I don't know if the Price Report can be applied to the District, where there are lots of competitions.


Also, for anyone who is familiar with the District, could you please let me know whether or not the $30k figure above is competitive if I go and buy locally there for the same diamond quality? I'm in California so going to New York is not that convenient. :(


My budget is around $30-$31k for a round cut with good depth and table %'s, color I or better, clarity SI-1 or better, and certified. Not enhanced. Do you think I may be able to get better than 6.9 carat at the District?


There is also a local Jewelry Exchange in Burlingame which I heard a lot on TV. I might give it a visit later this week. Any experience there and any recommendations?


Thank you!

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Do a little bit of homework into what 'GAL certified' means. It's probably not what you think. A good rule is to accept NOTHING excpet grading reports by GIA and AGS and even they aren't "certified". The lab grading, by the way, is the start of the selection process, not the end.


Also look into what 'Ideal' cutting means. This too is not what people generally expect and it's used in a huge variety of different, and often deceptive ways. Spend a few hours with the tutorials here, Google, the forums and the tutorials on the various internet dealers. You'll learn a lot.


There are some terrific dealers in NYC and there's plenty of sharks too. It's not the address that makes one dealer better than another. The same is true of the dealers who describe themselves as 'wholesalers', 'direct importers', 'exchanges' and similar language to imply that they have better deals than their competitors. Keep your eye on the deal being offered and don't pay too much attention to the noise around you. A big budget for TV advertising is not a good sign.


I think there is no possibility of finding a correctly graded 6ct.+, SI1, I, even badly cut round brilliant cut natural diamond for anywhere near your budget, in New York or anywhere else, including the one in the advertisement you showed. You must compromise something and, if you don't choose, it will start with the part about being correctly graded and go downhill from there.


In buying any stone of this magnitute, get an independent appraisal immediately and make sure you understand the return policy clearly. Make sure your dealer knows that you intend to do this. You may need to schedule your appointment with the appraiser before the dealer even ships if you're considering dealers with a 7 day return window. That's workable but it's pretty tight, especially if you live in a place where independent appraisers are hard to come by.



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Thank you both Neil and Kevin. Your suggestions may potentially have helped me from buying an inferior stone without realizing it. If I will go to NYC, I will definitely have it independently appraised. I will make sure about the full refund policy if not satisfied as well.


I see that Neil added more info to his original reply. I come to realize that I will have to compromise something. Maybe the first compromise is that we will have to get a smaller carat.


7 day return period is, of course, very tight to have it appraised in my area. I guess this is probably one of the tricks sellers uses to close the deal quickly.


Thank you for the knowledge you are sharing with the board. It really helps me (and other people) a lot. I will research more into everything Neil mentioned. Hopefully at the end, we will get the right, properly-valued diamond within our price range.



Have a good day!

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I just wanted to add that some vendors offer more generous 30 day money back guarantees and also provide the option of a pre-purchase appraisal where you could have the diamond independently appraised prior to purchasing. Also, there is sometimes the option of an upgrade policy, usually on a vendor's best cut stones.


For such a big purchase you should definitely do some homework and explore your options to find vendors that best fit your needs and service expectations.


All the best to you.

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Thank you, Megan, for the added very helpful information. And I will definitely do a lot more HW before making a final commitment to buy any diamond. You all gave me valuable information and make me realize the seriousness of learning about diamonds and sellers very well before making a final commitment to purchase. If I had not consulted with the board and without everyone's information, I would most likely have made a wrong decision.


Best regards as well, :(

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With more search done (and more to do), I have a question. I agree that GIA and AGS certifications are the toughest. For EGL, etc., they are less strict -- like if a diamond has color between H and I, the first two will grade as I while the latter two may grade as H. The same goes for clarity. So would it be conservative, if one is to buy an EGL certified diamond, to internally downgrade the stone by one step? For example, an EGL certified diamond with color G and clarity SI1 would mean color H and clarity SI2 on GIA? I know there is no rule on this but I just want to ask for your opinion.


For the cut, most GIA and AGS reports include this information, but not for most of EGL reports. A huge difference may be found here because a colorless diamond with almost perfect clarity would not appear bright, shiny, and sparkling if not cut right. What do you think?


Thank you! :(

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It’s not the lab that makes a beautiful diamond beautiful. That's a cooperative effort between God and the cutter, both of whom were finished before the lab was even hired. The lab was chosen for an entirely different reason. Money. Lab graded stones sell faster, they sell for better prices and they have lower return rates. All fine reasons to be sure but let’s look one layer deeper. Who chose the lab and why? Who is easy, it's generally the cutter or importer. The dealers will occasionally do it but they prefer to buy pregraded goods because it’s so much lest hassle and the inventory turns faster this way. What do these people all have in common? First, and most importantly, they aren’t YOU. What they are seeking is an advertisement to help them sell their stone. This is not your objective. Second, they are all experienced professionals, they have actually seen the stones and they are almost certainly capable graders themselves who have done this many times before. They know who the various labs are, they know, or at least think they know, what the various strengths and weaknesses of each one are and they are going to choose the one that they believe will result in the most money at the end of the day. Wouldn’t you?


Everybody in the trade knows that all things being equal, stones with GIA paperwork will sell better and sell for more. This trend is easy to spot. Go to the ‘find online jeweler’ section of this site and look up a set of parameters in your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter whether you have any intention of buying online or not. Click on the word “Price” and it’ll sort them by price; then look at the lab column. You’ll see a pattern. None is at the bottom followed by EGL, GIA then AGS with a span of at least 50% from the bottom to the top. This begs the question: “Why would anyone send a stone to EGL-Israel when they could send it to AGS and get 50% more money for it?” The answer is simple, all things are not equal.


The primary reasons to use a second tier lab are:

1) They’re cheaper. Often by several hundred dollars.

2) They’re faster. Sometimes by several weeks.

3) They use different grading scales. EGL does not define SI2 the same way that GIA does for example.

4) Labs do not include all of the same information. Cut details, in particular, are reported differently from different labs and even on different style reports from the same lab.

5) They do not apply the scales equally. A rose may be a rose, but an I/SI2 is not an I/SI2. It just might be a K/I1.


Your strategy is to try and find errors made by the cutters and dealers by sending to the wrong lab. You want a stone that would have been worth more if it had a GIA pedigree but that they either forgot or didn’t know enough to get. These do exist, and it is possible to find one but they are pretty unusual and I wouldn’t recommend betting on your ability to find one. It gets harder for bigger and more expensive stones.


I again suggest that you simply don’t rely on anything but GIA or AGS grading for your initial selection and that you have an independent expert working for you even with that.


By the way, there is more than one company issuing paper under the EGL moniker and they are not generally considered to be equally reliable.



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Thank you very much again for the very detailed information. I also talked to a retailer this morning and she also said quite a similar thing that you wrote -- for a G color graded by an Israel EGL, it may mean I or J on AGS standard. I think I now get a very good sense of the diamond price vs the 4 c's quality. There is no way to "cheat" on this as a buyer. What I need to do is to stick to GIA or AGS grading and find venders who offer diamonds that are appropriately valued for their grades. 7ct for $31k with GIA or AGS grading is out of question. I will convince my GF to go for a few lower ct.


Again, I'm glad that I have consulted this board before I make a potentially wrong decision to buy an inferior stone. Thanks to you all again for the very helpful information. You all have a good day then. :(


ps: for hermann, I'm just too lazy to put the eBay link back on my original post, so I won't add it then. :)

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