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denverappraiser

Shopping for a diamond dealer

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Regular readers here will notice a pattern of advice from the gurus. We like grading reports issued by credible labs and distrust the others, we count cutting as a big deal and we think people are better served by buying from a quality dealer, even when that doesn’t at first seem like the lowest price. This begs a question that rarely seems to be discussed:

 

How can a shopper recognize a high quality dealer, either online or on the street?

 

Neil

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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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For starters:

 

1. Check out vendor policies: Examination Periods, Returns, Upgrades, Affiliations.

 

2. How much information is supplied with each diamond listing? Cut grade analyses, photos, light performance analysis?

 

3. Does the vendor list diamonds from other manufacturers "virtual lists". If yes, is the diamond drop-shipped to the customer, or does the vendor call the diamond in for personal aevaluation and data workup?

 

4. If the vendor sells rings and settings, do they outsource or do they have their own facility? Do they offer a Lifetime Guarantee on the ring?

 

5. Check with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (jvc.org) to see if any complaints have been lodged against the Vendor.


Barry
www.exceldiamonds.com
@Exceldiamonds on Twitter

Excel Diamonds on Facebook

sales@exceldiamonds.com
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Denver, thanks for starting this topic. This sounds like an excellent thread to eventually move into the FAQ section. I'll do that in a few days after all the regulars have had a chance to chime in.


Hermann

Moderator

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One more thing i like to add when buying online please ask for an actual picture of the diamond, as i wrote before with a picture you may not see the color or the clarity that good, but the shape you can see, and that is very important. Lets say with a princess there are two shapes a square and a rectangular so in the picture you will be able to see if that is the one you like.

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Hi everybody!

I think this is an excellent topic!

 

 

In terms of lab reports, there's only one that means anything to dealers- it's not that we "like" GIA- it's just that's the only lab who's reults dealers will use to base prices.

 

In fact, the problem is not the "other" gem labs- the problem is sellers' attempts to make buyers believe that the non GIA labs are in fact , equivalent.

 

Here's a common conversation we have with diamond shoppers:

Shopper: "I am shopping for a diamond, and I saw a D'VS1 for $5000."

"Does it have a GIA report?" I ask

"It was "certified"- that's all I remember. As long as it's certified, than that means it's OK, right?"

 

So- the problem is sellers that know exactly what the value of a non GIA lab report is - yet not sharing that knowledge with the potential buyer. BIG problem.

Of course a seller could use this to push a less than desirable diamond with GIA report.

 

The mere presence of a GIA report does not make the diamond better, or worth the asking price, neccsarily.

 

As has been suggested, photos are very important.

 

Antother potential pitfall I see is sellers that do not clearly identify "Sample Images"

 

One photo, by itself would not give me a great feeling- Multiple photos can really give a far better idea of the diamond's characteristics.

Today, the best photos will give you an idea of color/clarity charachteristics.

 

Barry's point about finding a "full service" seller is important.

If there was a seller of loose diamonds that was 25% below everyone else, yet left the buyer with a loose diamond, looking for a setter.....the savings would not neccesaily be worthwhile. A bad setting job can destroy the enjoyment of even the best diamond. But the fact they are 25% cheaper is a giveaway too.

 

Price: Let's say one seller claims to be 25% below all other competitive sellers on loose diamonds.

They are lying. I hate to call names, but of this one, I'm sure.

How?

The magins in this business are relatively slim. That means if one is shopping compeitive interternet sellers, there won't be huge discrepancies on price for similar diamonds.

If one seller seems a lot cheaper than all the others, it's usually a red flag that something funny is going on.....

 

 

Although it would seem that the internet is murky, it actually allows savvy shoppers to arm themselves with a lot of good info- which will serve them if they want to buy locally.

In the case of B/M retail jewelers, the rules on selection are similar, but there's other aspects which are more obvious.

The way a store looks, it's location- the reputaion earned on a local level...these aspects might make it easier to check out local jewelers.

Local Better Business Bureaus are a great tool in checking out local jewelery stores.

 

 

Great topic....

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Here’s a few thoughts of mine about good jewelers:

 

#1 They tell the truth.

For me this is a biggie. Read through the site or listen to the spiel from the sales people. Compare what you find with what you know to be correct and what you’ve learned from other sources. Ask lots of questions, some of which you know the answer to and listen carefully to what they say. If you find a significant discrepancy and you can demonstrate that they are wrong instead of you, move on. This is especially true for untruths that are a little too convenient for the dealer and that you are convinced aren't just because they're confused but because they're lying. This includes avoiding the use of deceptive advertising.

 

#2 They’re clear about the deal.

The details of the stone, the details of the mounting, the tradeup program (if any), the return privileges, payment terms, shipping arrangements, financing, and whatever else the deal entails are clearly stated, easy to find and easy to understand. You shouldn’t have to guess about what you’re buying, what it will cost, when you’ll get it or when and how you're expected to pay for it.

 

#3 They work at it.

I hate doing important business with amateurs. I like websites where things are spelled correctly and the links all work. I like stores where the glass is clean and the salespeople are well groomed and well trained. I know it’s shallow to suggest that accurate spelling and burned out light bulbs matter but they are clues to how they handle their business. If they are sloppy about how they keep their showroom, I expect them to be sloppy about other things as well. I like to see a décor in a store and a design on a website that doesn’t look like it was slapped together as an afterthought.

 

#4 They know their products and they're willing to tell you about it.

Walmart is an ok place to buy diapers but I would never suggest a shopper to buy a serious diamond there, even though they meet most of my qualifications, they have an awesome return program, their prices are pretty good and they even can get some good merchandise if you know what to ask for. I like stores and websites that are eager to tell you WHY you should shopping with them and exactly what it is that makes their products and their offer better than their competitors. If all they can come up with is ‘low prices’ or 'certified', move on.

 

#5. They’ll put it in writing.

None of this nonsense of ‘approx 1.00cttw VVS-SI, G-K, genuine diamonds’. No blaming it on some 3rd party lab. They must be willing to put their name on the grade and stand behind it.

 

#6 Returns.

No refunds = No sale. This is especially true online but I even use this rule on the street and use it for pretty much everything I buy. I don’t return much but if they don’t believe in their products enough to be willing to take it back, why should I? It’s reasonable to put some restrictions on this, like limiting it to 30 or even 7 days, but it’s mandatory that you have the opportunity to consider the purchase outside the reach of their sales people and you should have the opportunity to consult with an appraiser, their competitor, you mother, or whoever else’s opinion you value. You should have the right to return unaltered merchandise for ANY reason.

 

#7 Credit cards.

They must accept them, even if you decide to go with some other form of payment. If a store that can’t get a merchant credit card account it's because their bank doesn't trust them. You shouldn't either.

 

#8 They must have references.

BBB, JVC, Ebay feedback, forums, blogs, friends, ripoffreport.com, etc. It’s not just a matter of avoiding the stores that have a pattern of horribly upset customers, which you should definitely do, but you should also avoid the ones that don’t seem to have a trail at all. I know, this may be discriminating unfairly against a brand new business but I don’t want to be anyone’s first customer. There are just too many fly-by-night operators. If you find a clue that a store screwed something up, pay careful attention to how they resolved it. Assuming that they’ve been around a while, you won't find a store that’s never had an upset customer but the best ones are skilled at working through problems in a fair and reasonable way.

 

#9 Passion.

I love people who are passionate about what they do and the jewelry trade in particular does better when people who love it are involved. You can see it in their web design, in the store displays, in the advertising and you can hear it in their voices when speaking with them on the phone or in the showroom. They want to make you happy. They want to show you their awesome products. They're proud of thier work and they want to share their passion with you.

 

Neil


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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Agree, excellent topic.

 

I think it's very important for consumers to realize that they can obtain and should request detailed information on the diamonds they're considering for purchase.

 

You do so when you shop for a home or car; diamonds shouldn't be any different.


Barry
www.exceldiamonds.com
@Exceldiamonds on Twitter

Excel Diamonds on Facebook

sales@exceldiamonds.com
1-866-829-8600
1-212-921-0635

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Neel,

What the hlk dos speeling have to do with dimnds?

David,

 

I feel slightly hypocritical with that bit of advice because I often score fairly poorly on that scale but I still think it’s a useful clue in choosing a dealer (or an appraiser for that matter). I'm working on it. I thought about mentioning bad grammar and diction as well but these seem to be lost arts. These can be terrible problems for non-native English speakers and those of us who weren’t paying attention in school, but it’s not that hard for a dealer to hire a proofreader if they don’t have the language skills themselves.

 

Neil


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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Yeah, I was just bustin' chops.

Without spell check, I'd be a goner.

 

If you download the "Google toolbar" it has a spell checker you can use on text entry boxes, such as this one!

 

I do agree- it's important to take the time to have the porper appearance- be it in a store, or on a web site, where, speeling does in fact count. ( couldn't resist)

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Yeah, I was just bustin' chops.

Without spell check, I'd be a goner.

 

If you download the "Google toolbar" it has a spell checker you can use on text entry boxes, such as this one!

 

I do agree- it's important to take the time to have the porper appearance- be it in a store, or on a web site, where, speeling does in fact count. ( couldn't resist)

Yeah?

Bustin'?

Chops?

Goner?

:o

 

Stay after class and clean the erasers.

 

Neil


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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it's important to take the time to have the PORPER appearance

 

:o:D

 

What about all those cutlets and gridles? :P


Hermann

Moderator

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it's important to take the time to have the PORPER appearance

 

:o:D

 

What about all those cutlets and gridles? :P

 

 

Does anyone know who originated the term "cutlets" to describe the culet?

 

You see this erroneous usage popping up very frequently.

post-2-1163638040.gif


Barry
www.exceldiamonds.com
@Exceldiamonds on Twitter

Excel Diamonds on Facebook

sales@exceldiamonds.com
1-866-829-8600
1-212-921-0635

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Without spell check, I'd be a goner.

Are you telling me you USE spell check? I beg to differ!

 

But the passion part, David has that one hands down, over and above, upside down and sideways. I guess I can live with correcting ONE MILLION typos for the website.


http://diamondsbylauren.com - Fancy colored diamonds and colorless diamonds.

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I like Neil's 1-10 list however if you have #1, you probably won't have to worry about 2-9. :)


Jan

For those that want to know the truth about diamonds, just ask.

 

dbof.com

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Hi Guys,

 

This is a great thread so I just wanted to chime in and echo some of what is being said.

 

Neil has some great points and I honestly believe that those should be the basis of any business. It’s not all about picking a diamond based on color, clarity and certificate. It’s the entire package. Sure you can get a good deal just about anywhere these days but a good deal is only as good as the company that stands behind it and it is especially true when there’s a problem. Above all, rule number 1. Any business must stand behind what they do 100%. It can be painful at times for the business but it is the only way to build a future.

 

I was told as a kid that anybody can sell anything to anyone once but it takes something more to create a customer. These days too many people are just thinking about the sale and will practically say or do anything to make it happen. Information is a customer’s best friend regardless of where they buy. If a jeweler is not willing to educate you and answer the questions you have, walk straight out and find someone who will.

 

Scott


www.UnionDiamond.com

"Your trusted online diamond source"

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#10 They have what you want.

A great offer from a fabulous dealer on the wrong thing is no bargain. No one has everything and no one offers every possible service. Make sure to choose one that's offering the kind of things you're looking for.

 

Neil


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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...

How can a shopper recognize a high quality dealer, either online or on the street?

 

Neil

Hi All,

 

Thanks Neil, for this excellent thread and excellent list for consumers.

 

It is a daunting task for a consumer to sift thru the information and misinformation found in B&M's and online

 

It can be very difficult for a consumer to recognize a quality brick & mortar jeweler, most big cities will have "jewelry marketers" that will heavily advertise engagement rings and diamonds but sell mostly off make qualities and second and third tier paper or even no paper.

 

Online is even more of a crapshoot as there are new and SLICK websites almost daily all touting their wares.

 

Given the above difficulties for a consumer to sift thru the facts, I have to say that the answer to your question above is:

 

Consumers should look for a jeweler with a proven track record.

 

Consumers have the power of the internet to google sellers, check out the chatrooms and diamond boards for advice and recommendations.

 

Of course, a consumer should not ignore the other items you list above as the attributes of quality sellers, I feel all the items in your list have significant merit.

 

However, I feel that a jewelers reputation is the single most important attribute, at least from a consumers perspective.


Brian Knox

 

 

www.knoxjewelers.biz

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I actually disagree with #10 if it's too narrowly defined.. We may not have what you want when you want it, but I bet we know someone who does.. I think that you will find that the better jewelers actually have no issues with working with each other on a project to make someone that perfect piece of jewelry..

 

I'm sure that many of us have referred customers to "competitors" or had them referred to us.. You will find that at a certain level these jewelers tend to be a notch above the rest that are more concerned with the "sale".. I know that I have worked with several jewelers on this board to complete a jewelry project and have always been thrilled to work with them.. And I would never have a problem with referring someone that I could not help to any of them..


Steve

Gear Head - Designer - Bench Jeweler - Artist - Web Developer

AnimalCharms.Net

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Good point. Perhaps I should rewrite that. The reason I included it is because each jeweler has their own different approach to things and they don't all carry the same goods. Customers who seek out Tiffany's or a similar branded store because they like the status associated with the name and the shopping experience at the stores are unlikely to be happy with a no-frills dealer, even if the merchandise is comparable. Similarly, a customer looking for a large fancy colored diamond may very well do better seeking out a different source than when they are looking to add a charm to a bracelet or need to have an antique masterpiece repaired. All of these sources could be excellent dealers in their own right but may not be right for the task at hand.

 

Recommendations from dealers to other dealers would fall under #8-references and I agree that it is a good sign for both dealers when this occurs.

 

Neil


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 found myself an excellent jeweler by accident. I walked in there one day sorta kinda looking for a sapphire pendant for my girlfriend. I walked in, and found myself talking to the owner's wife, and the owner was in back. We actually got to talking about cars first, because he's a Corvette enthusiast, and I had just pulled up into the parking lot in my Corvette :) (I suppose that helped a bit).

 

Anyhow, we got to talking about what I was looking for, and he had a few nice pendants in the display, but not quite what I wanted. So he reached under the display case and pulled out a stack of storage/display boxes with dozens of more pendands in there. In about the third box I found exactly what I wanted; it was a nice white gold pendant with a beautiful blue sapphire, and a few baguette diamonds and round diamonds to accent it, and he was willing to sell it to me for a price well within my price range. I probably spent and hour or two in there that first time, just talking to the guy and him getting to know exactly what I wanted (I didn't know what I exactly wanted when I walked in, but I knew what I DIDN'T want). He even offered to make a special trip to his supplier if I didn't see exactly the size / shape / colour stones I was interested in. He just said I'd need to come back in a couple days in that event.

 

My girlfriend absolutely loved the pendant (it was an anniversary present, 1 year together), and she wears it often. She later had it appraised independently for insurance purposes, and the appraisal value is about 3x what I actually paid for it. I've bought a couple of other pieces from him since, and every time he's treated me very fairly, patiently, and helped me find exactly what I wanted. The problem is he has so much high quality, reasonably-priced merchandise that I can't AFFORD to visit him often.

 

In any case, I also found out that he's got a jeweler on retainer who does some excellent custom work, so when it does become time to buy her The Ring, he'll be the first place I go back to visit.

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