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Valution of stones cetificated by different labs


Starshine_Tara
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Hi,

 

I have a few questions for you diamond professionals:

 

1) I have a 0.44 D/IF emerald cut diamond with medium girdle thickness, very good finish grade, and no photoluminescence as certificated by EGL. The diamond is set in a platinum ring. What is the approximate value of this stone?

 

2) I have a 0.35 VS1 marquise cut natural fancy grey-blue diamond with no fluorescence, a thick faceted girdle and good/good finish as certificated by IGI. Again, the diamond is set in a platinum ring. This time with small white diamond shoulders. What is the approximate value of this (the fancy coloured) stone?

 

3) I have a custom made white gold ring with a 0.31 G/VS1 ideal brilliant cut 'Sirius' Canadian diamond (certificated by Sirius and with polar bear and diamond number laser engraved on the girdle) and an IGI certificated 0.32 F/VVS1 oval brilliant cut diamond, with a small (perhaps 10-15 point) 'pigeons blood' ruby (not certificated). I have somehow managed to misplace the certifications of the two diamonds. What would the approximate value of this ring be, with and without the certifications?

 

4) If GIA is truly 'the best' - a description indicating a variation in standards - does it mean that the other labs are technically lying about the quality of stones? Surely a VS1 stone, for example, is visibly VS1 regardless of which qualified gemologist views it??

 

5) I nearly forgot! I have a few pave set 1 carat wt diamond rings. Do uncertificated - but very sparkly and presumably high quality - designer paveset diamond rings hold their value?

 

Thanks :-)

 

Tara

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Tara,

 

What do you mean by ‘value’? Here’s a few choices. There are quite a few more.

 

1) The estimated cost to replace the piece with another of like kind and quality at a retail jeweler in your community.

 

2) The amount that you should expect the item to cost in a particular marketplace (or even in a particular store)

 

3) The amount that you could reasonably expect to resell an item for in a particular marketplace.

 

4) The resale value of the various materials in a particular marketplace, like to salvage dealers.

 

Obviously these can produce wildly different numbers for exactly the same piece. I wrote an article here about how to zero in on sales prices yourself.

 

Neil

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Hi Neil,

 

I was meaning cold hard cash specifically (apologies for the vague and ambiguous term 'value') so I guess that I mean number 3 on your list - with the market place being 'the world'.

 

I love my diamonds (my main reason for purchasing) and I know what I paid, but I am keen to understand their 'true' financial value. Thanks for the link to your article.

 

Tara

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I don't mean to be difficult, but 'the world' is not enough (didn't James Bond say something like that?). The highest prices paid for most jewelry items is at fancy jewelry stores in Paris and Beverly Hills. This may be academically interesting, but for people who don’t happen to own jewelry stores that are good at selling what you have, this isn’t very useful information. For most consumers reselling, the available markets are friend to friend, ebay and the like, salvage dealers, and consignment stores. I’m not going to answer your valuation question on pieces I’ve never seen but the issues of market definition are terribly important if you’re going to do it yourself.

 

Let’s take your 0.44 D/IF for example. No salvage dealer will put any value at all on an EGL document presented by a consumer that says this. They’re going to grade it themselves and bid on what they think it is, estimating on the low side. If it’s mounted, expect a bid based on something like F/VS1. A consignment dealer may be a little more interested in the paper but it depends on the style of store. An accurately graded D/IF will sell much better in most stores with GIA paperwork but a poorly graded EGL D/IF might be better in some than an accurate GIA F/VVS2. Ebay buyers like paper, but they don’t like individual sellers so it has a lot to do with your feedback and your ability to make a good ad. Not everyone has the right sorts of friends for this kind of deal and, those that do, often prefer to avoid entering into it because it’s a way to lose friends if it turns out to be misgraded (which is pretty likely). This has to do with your relationships with your friends and relatives so the 'friend to friend' style may not be relevant either.

 

To answer your question in #4, no, every gemologist does not use the same scale and even when they do, they don’t apply them equally. VS1 means very different things to different people. That’s why shoppers are interested in what lab did the grading.

 

By the way, origin of color, is going to be a big deal for almost everyone on your fancy colored diamond. Last I checked, IGI didn’t discuss this on most of their reports and it makes a huge difference. Is your stone irradiated or are they claiming natural color?

 

Neil

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Hi Neil,

 

Thanks again for such a helpful response with regard to resale.

 

I have to admit that, from what I am hearing, I am becoming pretty disillusioned with the industry and frankly a little angry with people who are effectively misselling me dimonds - if what you say is true.

 

I ordered the D flawless stone on the basis of its alleged perfection and to be honest I feel robbed if it is anything less. I did not want 'nearly perfect', I wanted PERFECT. I chose the size to suit my budget based on that perceived perfection in quality. I was actually slightly underwhelmed when I saw it as, being an emerald cut, it was not quite as impressive as my slightly lesser quality brilliant cut stones. Although it is white as can be and absolutely without imperfection as far as I can tell (with a x10 magnification), it just doesn't sparkle like a brilliant.

 

To my mind, my stone is either D/IF or it isn't. Likewise, the other stone is either a VS1 natural fancy - as stated - or it isn't! I am really concerned by your statement that misgrading by EGL is 'pretty likely' and that IGI would be 'claiming' natural colour. You guys really don't rate anyone other than GIA do you? I do not mean to offend, but is this an American patriot thing? I do not have a GIA graded stone to compare, unfortunately. I am in NY for a couple of weeks from this time next week. Can I take my stones to GIA in NY and get them graded in person?

 

Of course I wasn't looking for anything other than 'ballpark figures'. I guess there is no point giving a figure based on a quoted lab report though - if you don't believe the lab reports.

 

Thanks again for such comprehensive responses to my questions.

 

Tara

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Tara,

 

I don’t mean to offend, and I certainly understand the problem. Sales people can be very deceptive sometimes and there’s certainly a possibility that you were misled about the resale market when you purchased your jewelry. If it makes you feel any better, jewelery has better resale potential than almost everything else you buy with the exception of your home. If you're hoping for investments, you should be talking to your accountant, not your jeweler.

 

What sells D/IF stones is exactly as you describe. ‘Flawless’ is a terrific word. The big lab in Europe for this is HRD and the big labs in the USA for this are GIA and AGS. Japan has CGS. Both GIA and AGS are growing fast worldwide. Note that EGL and IGI don’t make any of these lists dispite the fact that they are both high volume producers. Pound for pound, IGI produces more grading reports than anyone on earth. This doesn’t make them wrong, but it begs the question: Why would a dealer send their stone to EGL or IGI when they could get significantly more money for it with paperwork from GIA?

 

Here’s an experiment. Read through the database at the top of the page titled ‘find online jeweler’ and search for a stone with easy specs. Try 1.00-1.05 VS2 G Round. Then use the label at the top of the column to sort by price. What you’re looking at is the prices being asked by professional dealers in a large and highly competitive international marketplace. I picked this spec because it’s a very popular stone and you’ll probably get a hundred or more offers. Notice the labs that grade the expensive ones vs. the cheaper ones. The span is more than a factor of 2 on supposedly identical stones. In light of this, why would anyone send a stone to EGL if they could get so much more money with different paper or, alternatively, why does anyone actually buy GIA and AGS? The answer is obvious. This is not a fair comparison. The EGL stones would have received a different grade if they had been sent to GIA. Do a search for 0.25-4.00 D/IF Round. Dozens of stones, right? That’s pretty much every D/IF Round in the database. How many EGL’s? Why do you suppose that is?

 

My comment about the IGI report really was a question. Some of their reports claim origin of color and some say nothing about it. Treated natural stones are still natural after all (as opposed to synthetic). Does the report claim ‘untreated’ or ‘natural color’ on it?

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Hi Neil,

 

I do get what you are saying. I am not as emotional as I must sound either.

 

:)

 

"They trickses me Master! Nasty diamond sellers!" *giggles*

 

I guess the bottom line is that the diamonds that I have purchased make me happy and do what I require them to do - which is meet my personal standards regarding quality/affordability. They were expensive (for me) and I see peoples' eyes drawn to them - indicating that they are attractive in the real world. Having said that, I got them at good prices as far as I can tell and my favourite store treat me very well and always give me at least a 10 percent discount - as I find it hard to resist popping in fairly frequently for a new piece (I buy a lot of gold designer rings/bangles/chains and Faberge egg pendants etc. also).

 

It is a shame that my diamonds may not be quite what I thought they were 'on paper' but, at the end of day, I did not buy them as a profit making exercise anyway. I am satisfied that I got a fair amount of 'bang for my buck'. Maybe I will take the GIA distance learning qualifications and make my own decision as to exactly what they are!

 

:D

 

Tara

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<snip>

I guess the bottom line is that the diamonds that I have purchased make me happy <snip>

That's the whole point, you got your money's worth. I'm sure your stones are lovely and you can be proud to own them.

 

As a consumer, you'll find a far less expensive course at International School of Gemology that may be worth considering. Spend the money saved on your next wonderful purchase. :D

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