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"the Cut" And Online Searching


amj
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Could someone help me - Im brosing through online retailers and using the search tool on this site. Im also using Amazon.com to compare pricing. Whilst amazon.com have a "Cut" category one can alter this is not present on the online search tool on this site. I assume that the cut is somehow related to depth, table, Flr, sym, measurements, etc but how is it that amazon can classify it into 4 categories whereas it is not offered here? Are there guidelines to correlate the "cut" with these measurements and if so, where do I find them?

thanks

AJ

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Cut grading is a huge can ‘o worms to try to do online. There are several critical problems. For starters, most of the stones posted in the database are posted by people who don’t have possession of the stones. This means that they have no information beyond what’s on the grading report. Logistically, they may not even have all of that because whoever did the data entry may have omitted certain things.

 

They are entirely reliant on the lab and each lab does it differently. In the case of round brilliant cut stones recently graded by GIA, there is a ‘cut grade’ provided on the report (this started Jan 1 2006) and in the case of AGS, stones with a ‘Diamond Quality Report’ come with a cut grade while stones with a ‘Diamond Grading Report’ do not. Other labs, like EGL-USA, use a completely different grading system looking at completely different parameters. On non-round stones it’s even more of a free-for-all. Since you’re objective as a shopper is to compare prices on supposedly similar stones, this all completely undermines your ability to do this. A search engine that purports to sort by cut is already treading on thin ice and the first question you should ALWAYS ask is, ‘what do they mean by that?’

 

Here’s the extract from the Amazon tutorial on what they mean by cut:

 

The cut of a diamond determines how it reflects light, which is responsible for its sparkle or brilliance. A well-cut diamond is cut by a skilled professional to the best proportions possible so that light will be reflected from each of its mirrorlike facets and disperse through its top. Too shallow a cut will let light escape through a diamond's bottom, causing it to appear dull, while too deep a cut will allow light to be lost through a diamond's sides, making it appear dark.

Because a diamond with perfect color and clarity could nevertheless have poor brilliance if it is not well cut, many gemologists consider this to be the most important property to note when choosing a diamond. Diamonds can carry cut grades of Excellent, Ideal, Very Good, Good, or Fair.

 

This is decent although incomplete advice but I want to direct your attention to the last line. What’s the difference between ‘Excellent’ and ‘Good’? How is this measured and by whom? What is being measured? The scale they are using is NOT the one used by either GIA, AGS, EGL-USA or IGI, all of whom are used for grading of other attributes of stones they sell so where did this come from and what does it mean? They don’t say.

 

It’s like sending your date at the theater to buy a large buttered popcorn.

 

In a general sense, you have a pretty good idea of what you're expecting but what has your date really learned by that description? Is ‘large’ 2 liters or 6? Is that the biggest size they offer or is there also an ‘extra large’ and ‘family’ size available? How does it compare to the one at your regular theater? How much butter will be applied and is it really butter or is it some unknown butter flavored chemical? Is ‘light’ butter an option? How much salt should he expect since you didn’t actually specify a salt content? A lot of people don’t really care. Your poor date probably doesn't know the answers to these questions anyway and a detailed interrogation about these things is likely to affect your chances of getting a second date. It might even undermine this one so, for most people, it’s just not worth the trouble. They’ll take whatever they get and it's likely to work out ok. Others around you are possibly regulars at that particular theater and have learned the scales used through experience. They know what to expect because they’ve been there before. They may have even chosen this particular theater because they like the offerings at the concessions stand. Perhaps they could offer an expert opinion ...

 

I digress. Let’s get back to diamonds.

 

In the Amazon database, a diamond is assigned a cut grade by the selling dealer, which may or may not be Amazon. They can use whatever criteria they wish. They can use whatever scale they wish and they can apply it however they wish. You’ll notice that they have diamonds that are graded ‘premium’, which isn’t even one of the choices!

 

There are a few things I would change about the database here and I do think it should contain a dealer reported cut grade and I agree tha scans and photographs are handy. I have no idea if it’s technically feasible within the limits of the back office system by which the data is uploaded and maintained. That said, as a shopper I recommend you take this kind of thing with a huge grain of salt. It’s useful for what it is, a claim by the dealers, but it’s not the answer to the cut grading question. One graders idea of ‘ideal’ is another graders idea of ‘premium’ and a third grader may say nothing at all. You simply must know more or you have learned nothing.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Thanks for your comments. To get to the bottom of this lets look at the actual page on amazon that allows searching

http://www.amazon.com/gp/gsl/search/finder...oose%5fdiamonds

I have a few things I need clarified

1- the cuts there ARE ideal, very good, good, fair which I believe are the GIA grades. I could not see any "premium" as you suggested

2- When I have clicked through to a few diamonds, they so far at least, all carry GIA cut grades AND you can view the GIA certificate if you wish

So then given all that, perhaps the amazon database is a very good comparator of GIA graded diamonds and as good a "baseline" for comparison that one is every likely to find? Just trying to make the biggest impact on that special day :)

Comments, criticism, abuse?

Thanks

AJ

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Thanks for your comments. To get to the bottom of this lets look at the actual page on amazon that allows searching

http://www.amazon.com/gp/gsl/search/finder...oose%5fdiamonds

I have a few things I need clarified

1- the cuts there ARE ideal, very good, good, fair which I believe are the GIA grades. I could not see any "premium" as you suggested

2- When I have clicked through to a few diamonds, they so far at least, all carry GIA cut grades AND you can view the GIA certificate if you wish

So then given all that, perhaps the amazon database is a very good comparator of GIA graded diamonds and as good a "baseline" for comparison that one is every likely to find? Just trying to make the biggest impact on that special day :)

Comments, criticism, abuse?

Thanks

AJ

 

amj;

 

Neil answered your question very clearly. You might want to re-read it.

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The GIA scale has 5 grades that go excellent, very good, good, fair, poor.

GIA doesn’t have an ‘ideal’ grade at all.

 

The dealer can, of course, use anything they want for their own definition of ideal, I’m just pointing out that what Amazon is using is not consistent with the rest of the industry or even from one stone to the next within their own offerings. EGL ‘Tolkowski ideal’, ‘Excellent Ideal’ and ‘Ideal’ are 3 different things although the details of the difference is a trade secret. GIA ‘excellent’ and AGS-0 ‘Ideal’ are measuring very different things. Amazon is calling them all ideal in their own grading scale.

 

They make it very difficult to link to a search results page but here’s one I found in a quick search that claims to be ideal but has no details at all. Apparently it meets their standards of idealness dispite the girdle of 'none', which, if accurate, would kick it all the way down to good or worse on the GIA scale. Whoever graded this also seem to have a non-standard way of calculating depth percentage that doesn't seem to have affected it's eligibility and their result of 62.5% is curiously large, especially in light of the girdle statement.

 

Here's one out of the list at the bottom that they call similar to the above where Amazon grades it Ideal and GIA calls it very good.

 

It's a fairly useful comparison tool for comparing recently examined GIA graded round brilliant stones to one another. The Amazon scale seems to consider GIA-excellent to be a subset of Amazon-ideal. That is to say, not all A-I are GIA-E but all GIA-E would get A-I. This would, of course, not be helpful when comparing non-GIA or non-round brilliant stones nor does it tell you anything beyond the limits of the parameters included in the GIA cut grade.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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There are a few things I would change about the database here and I do think it should contain a dealer reported cut grade and I agree tha scans and photographs are handy. I have no idea if it’s technically feasible within the limits of the back office system by which the data is uploaded and maintained.

 

Neil, wouldn't a dealer-reported cut grade likely result in a race among dealers to over-inflate the grade in order to attract more attention to their respective diamonds?

 

I did consider this when designing the database several years ago. In order to eliminate the above issue and create some level of consistency among dealers, I experimented briefly with creating a "Diamond Review Cut Grade" based on supplied parameters, but quickly realized that this would result in more controversy than I cared to create. I think about systems such as the HCA in that vein.

 

As for scans & photographs, they are technically feasible, but I suspect that such info is not available for many of the virtual stones. I am however thinking about a separate database for non-virtual stones that would contain this type of info, provided of course that the individual dealers were willing to provide it.

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There are a few things I would change about the database here and I do think it should contain a dealer reported cut grade and I agree tha scans and photographs are handy. I have no idea if it’s technically feasible within the limits of the back office system by which the data is uploaded and maintained.

 

Neil, wouldn't a dealer-reported cut grade likely result in a race among dealers to over-inflate the grade in order to attract more attention to their respective diamonds?

 

I did consider this when designing the database several years ago. In order to eliminate the above issue and create some level of consistency among dealers, I experimented briefly with creating a "Diamond Review Cut Grade" based on supplied parameters, but quickly realized that this would result in more controversy than I cared to create. I think about systems such as the HCA in that vein.

 

As for scans & photographs, they are technically feasible, but I suspect that such info is not available for many of the virtual stones. I am however thinking about a separate database for non-virtual stones that would contain this type of info, provided of course that the individual dealers were willing to provide it.

 

 

Hermann;

 

Good points.

 

Consumers are rightfully confused by the differing definitions of "Ideal" cuts pushed by various vendors, especially on diamonds that they do not own and do not have in-house.

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There are a few things I would change about the database here and I do think it should contain a dealer reported cut grade and I agree tha scans and photographs are handy. I have no idea if it’s technically feasible within the limits of the back office system by which the data is uploaded and maintained.

 

Neil, wouldn't a dealer-reported cut grade likely result in a race among dealers to over-inflate the grade in order to attract more attention to their respective diamonds?

 

I did consider this when designing the database several years ago. In order to eliminate the above issue and create some level of consistency among dealers, I experimented briefly with creating a "Diamond Review Cut Grade" based on supplied parameters, but quickly realized that this would result in more controversy than I cared to create. I think about systems such as the HCA in that vein.

 

As for scans & photographs, they are technically feasible, but I suspect that such info is not available for many of the virtual stones. I am however thinking about a separate database for non-virtual stones that would contain this type of info, provided of course that the individual dealers were willing to provide it.

 

It’s a touchy problem. You’re quite right that there’s an issue both of what the dealers know and are willing to provide and how reliable they are in their reporting.

 

The first thing I would allow is to sort by the grading lab. People are constantly being advised to search for stones with GIA or AGS documentation but then aren’t given the tools to do exactly this. This is surely easy to arrange.

 

I would eliminate the depth range and table range as part of the search criteria. I’m not sure if you’ve got an easy way to see how much usage this feature has but I rather suspect that it’s quite low.

 

I would add a column for cut grade on round brilliant and princess cut stones despite the political ramifications of using them. I think you are safe in simply having a field that parrots what the cert says and allow users to search using that field. I agree that there is a problem with producing results for a search of a particular cut grade that means different things from different sources (like ’excellent’) and that doesn’t also ask for a particular lab that issues it but maybe you can solve this by simply making it impossible in the query unless they include a selection for both fields. They MUST specify GIA-excellent, which would preclude stones graded excellent by AGS, EGL and other labs. This would also mean that it wouldn’t be possible to look for a GIA-ideal princess cut, something that lots of users will try to do. Don’t accept a cut grade from any other than a rather short list of labs. I think you’re wise to try to avoid issuing a DI stamp of approval beyond that.

 

I would add a searchable filed for ‘in house’ diamonds. I don’t see the need for this to be a separate database, just a separate query although it requires an additional field. This is also kind of a touchy area. There are dealers who have exclusive control over particular stones that they may not have physical possession of while there are other dealers who may have physical possession of a particular stone that is available through others as a virtual offering. Would either or both of these qualify as ‘in house’. It’s a little messy and you need to carefully define what you mean both for the benefit of the dealers and the users.

 

Pictures and scans are an interesting problem. It makes the site a whole lot more entertaining to surf through and it prevents the users from leaving and going on to the vendors sites but, that’s sort of the point of a portal like this so there’s a mixed objective. I’m not sure where the balance is. The vendors can put as many pictures as they want in their own advertising but it’s common for a user to want to look at the scans of several different stones from different suppliers. It would be convenient for them to be able to get this in one place.

 

I would change the name ‘find online jeweler’. ‘Diamond search’ comes to mind.

 

Neil

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Consumers are rightfully confused by the differing definitions of "Ideal" cuts pushed by various vendors, especially on diamonds that they do not own and do not have in-house.

 

I wholeheartedly agree, Barry.

 

I also like that this board is neutral. I think that might appear biased to try and assign a cut grade sight unseen.

 

If I were a consumer and not familiar with diamonds, I would want someone like Barry or Neil or David or JohnQ to evaluate my diamond to see that I was getting a fair value and a good cut.

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Im glad my confusion has given rise to some useful discussion!

The cut clearly is a confusing issue - especially when searching across labs. As I have now found out amazon use 3 "certificates" hence their need to grade cut according to their scale, which I now appreciate they should really make clearer on their website.

Lesson learnt, no harm done though

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As you can tell, cut is a hot issue. But I really feel that an experienced dealer who has seen lots of diamonds and evaluated lots of diamonds knows a good cut when they see it. Although I've seen thousands but not hundreds of thousands, I do have an eye for it.

 

I simply don't think you can evaluate cut from paper particularly when I don't know who is evaluating it. I've seen a diamond with a great GIA report, only to be disappointed when I look at the actual diamond. Finding a diamond that really speaks to you, is just one of those things. Some cutters just know how to bring out the best in a particular piece of rough.

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Thanks for the comments & feedback.

 

The diamond database is due for an upgrade within the next 2-3 months, and I will definitely add the ability to filter by cert, as well as changing the name of the function. For the cut, I suppose I could require that the grade come from the cert. However I don't know if this information is available from virtual inventories.

 

As for 'in-house' diamonds, you raised the key issue, which is how to make sure an 'in-house' diamond is truly in-house. I don't want to play policeman any more than I have to. I imagine requiring information that is not readily available from virtual inventories, or perhaps creating a 'scratch pad' that jewelers can fill with whatever info they have about their own in-house diamonds. This one requires more thought.

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Webgal;

 

Could not agree with you MORE.

 

Lost count of how many times Judah and I have called in "Virtual Diamonds" listed on our website on behalf of customer requests that had just great 'numbers' on the lab report but were visual dud clunkers.

 

Customers were disappointed and puzzled. "How could this be"?, they ask. But the fact is, it is. The Table-Depth percentages, Polish and Symmetry speak to external symmetry, not optical symmetry/performance.

 

The fact that GIA and AGS now provide Cut Grades for the Round Brilliant shape is a step in the right direction but definitely not an absolute guarantee that the diamond is a top-notch light performer. This is especially true of Fancy Shapes where "numbers" are totally not predictive of visual beauty. The irregular architecture of the fancy shape makes the harnessing of light and its maximum refraction up through the Table and Crown facets to your eye exceedingly difficult. A skilled diamond cutter will know how to manipulate and combine all of the facets so that even though the "numbers" don't look appetizing, but the visual bling-bling is stellar.

 

Demonstrating this to the customer demands more work and effort on our part by providing photographs and measurements of light performance.

 

This dichotomy between what the consumer thinks the "numbers" are saying and the actual diamonds optical performance is a conundrum that has been created by several in the trade who put out charts, formulas, and home-baked definitions of "Ideal", "Premium", Cuts that may not jibe with visual and optical reality.

 

Categorization and pigeonholing may work for certain products being sold on the Internet, but definitely NOT for diamonds. The Cut Quality and light performance of a diamond has a tremendous effect and impact on the face-up beauty of the stone. Remember, she is wearing the diamond on her hand, not the lab report.

 

I have attached two examples:

 

The first graphic is of a "Virtual Princess Cut Diamond" that was listed on our website and that we had shipped in to us per a Customer request. Take a look at the Table and depth percentages. Clearly opposite to what the diamond pundits would recommend. Many consumers would pass on this one in spite of the fact that the Polish and Symmetry are Excellent/Very Good. But as you can clearly see, the light performance on this diamond is superb and the the contrast brilliance pointed to by the arrows is excellent.

 

On the other hand, the graphic on the right is of a GIA EX-EX with great "numbers", a HCA score of .4, a "0" Cut Grade Proportion Analysis on the Megascope, but displays mediocre light performance.

 

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

post-5339-1168339903_thumb.jpg

post-5339-1168340216_thumb.jpg

Edited by barry
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Thanks for the comments & feedback.

 

The diamond database is due for an upgrade within the next 2-3 months, and I will definitely add the ability to filter by cert, as well as changing the name of the function. For the cut, I suppose I could require that the grade come from the cert. However I don't know if this information is available from virtual inventories.

 

As for 'in-house' diamonds, you raised the key issue, which is how to make sure an 'in-house' diamond is truly in-house. I don't want to play policeman any more than I have to. I imagine requiring information that is not readily available from virtual inventories, or perhaps creating a 'scratch pad' that jewelers can fill with whatever info they have about their own in-house diamonds. This one requires more thought.

Hermann,

 

Virtual inventories are getting increasingly sophisticated. When you first wrote the database, the only credible lab issuing a cut grade was AGS and they only issued them on round brilliants. I would be surprised if AGS graded stones represented more than a single percent of the data available. Since then, GIA has started with rounds and AGS has started with princess and emerald cuts. Cutters are increasingly targeting their production towards getting these grades and consumers are increasingly relying on these reports to make their purchasing decisions. This is clearly the trend and I would expect the percentage of stones in the database that have a lab issued cut grade to be up perhaps 10% or even 20%. Photographs, sarin/ogi scans, reflector images and other supplemental data are all also becoming available on virtual stones and I fully expect this trend to continue as this evolves. If it were available, I think this would be one of the most used features in the database. Would it help people to find their perfect diamond easier? Maybe, maybe not. I agree with the above that it’s not really the answer to the cut question and that it’s especially dangerous for people whose taste lies outside of what the labs think is most popular but for many customers it’s a good place to start. It is there, it is used by both dealers and consumers, and it’s likely to increase in demand and usage as time goes on. This industry is evolving quickly and this site is part of the cutting edge. Remaining unchanged for 3 years is a LONG time.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Im glad my confusion has given rise to some useful discussion!

The cut clearly is a confusing issue - especially when searching across labs. As I have now found out amazon use 3 "certificates" hence their need to grade cut according to their scale, which I now appreciate they should really make clearer on their website.

Lesson learnt, no harm done though

 

Thank you for asking the question.

 

This whole mess is confusing to everyone, including those of us who deal with it on a daily basis. Your original question was remarkably on point. In effect, you asked if the Amazon search engine is a more useful shopping tool than the one here. That's a perfectly fair question although it very rarely gets asked because it feels like it's picking on people who are offering a free service. Everybody here has a pretty thick skin and the only way for it improve is to put some thought into what's actually an improvement and what's windowdressing or merely a distraction. It's good to think about such things and your input as a consumer is very helpful.

 

Given what you've learned, what to you think? Should cut grades be used as a sort criteria? Should dealers be allowed to assign whatever grade they wish? Should Hermann assign something?

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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I guess my take on it is - combining what I have read is that it shoudl be easy to include the grading labs in the searachable form (Gia, etc). That way consumers can restrict to lab or labs (important to make more than 1 lab searchable at once). As for cuts, well as you said its all a bit of mess apparently. I think some objectivity is essential in assigning the cut. With amazon we just have to believe them and they have thier reputation at risk. You are, however in a different position and I think you should stay away to maintian your role as impartial observers. If you can report cuts associated with particular labs or pictures then that is fine, as long as it is objective ( preferably the consumer can click through to the report), but individual dealers and Herman should stay out of it becuase it might start introducing bias in this setting

amj

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There's confusion even within the existing cut grading systems. Adding another layer could muddy the waters more for new shoppers. I support as much transparency in the listings as we can get, but have another angle:

 

Ultimately the buyer is sending his/her money to a seller...maybe the sellers should be put under the microscope as much (or more) than the diamonds.

 

The reliability and reputability of internet sellers varies just as it does "live:" There are internet versions of dedicated neighborhood jewelers, thrifty pawn shops, high-end boutiques, high volume chains and...here & there...street-corner sharks with trench coats open. Determining what lies behind any internet store-front (read that as landing page) currently takes some research, but the learning curve is likely more straightforward than cut grading. :) Fortunately, sellers of good repute, whether live or on the 'net, are typically, simply, those who stand behind their products now and in the long-term with value-adds.

 

What specifically for DR readers? My short list (arguable and not exhaustive) includes sellers who select, purchase and hold an in-house inventory at their fingertips, have experienced gemological experts on staff, deal goods supported by grading labs of top pedigree, offer good short-term inpection periods and long-term trade-in policies, give support to learning organizations (like this forum), have a demonstratable track-record of strong customer testimonials and are members of the JBT in good standing with the BBB and JVC. My colleagues here may have insight as well.

 

I don't know if those things can be quantified, or if others think they should be, but I suggest the practices above are as much in the interest of consumer protection as cut grading. It's scary that anyone can put up a website, festoon it with 'claims,' sell from a thorny list and be suddenly gone tomorrow without warning...Such tomfoolery hurts all of us.

 

Hermann, I think your verified jeweler requirement is a good one, as jewelers participating here have cleared some of the hurdles above. 2 cents.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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The dealers who advertise here are, of course, hardly impartial observers. They are direct competitors of the dealers that Amazon is pushing. They pay Hermann to be in that database very much the same as the Amazon's dealers pay to be in theirs. For all I know, they may be some of the very same dealers. Most of the stones (and other products) listed at Amazon are actually being sold and supplied by 3rd party dealers. Amazon runs the website and processes the money. The dealers pay Amazon for this and they must apply for and meet Amazon’s standards for what constitutes an acceptable dealer. Amazon, for their part, has to deliver some sales in the form of customers who buy things, don’t return them, pay their bills, etc. It’s not really so different from what you see here. If a dealer behaves badly, the admin will kick them out, it the site doesn’t produce customers, they’ll stop paying and go looking somewhere else.

 

John, I couldn’t agree more that choosing the right dealer needs more attention than it generally gets granted and the general idea that all Internet dealers are the same except for price is a serious misconception. This is actually a common problem with infrequent and unfamiliar purchases and most consumers severely underestimate the value of a good dealer. Fine art comes to mind as an example. They don’t really notice when they’ve got a bad one until it’s too late, if even then.

 

That said, it’s very difficult to have a dealer rating system for many of the same reasons that it’s difficult to have a cut rating system. Not everyone looks for the same things. The ebay feedback is something of an attempt at grading system for dealers that I would basically describe as a well intended failure. The referral system where cruise ships send customers to port jewelers is another. I’m not sure I would call that one well intentioned. A better system is clearly called for but I’m not sure what to recommend. Do you have something in mind?

 

Neil

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One approach to "consumer reports" for jewelers is to simply have a lot of testimonials from former customers. To that end, here's a shameless plug for diamond.info's sister site www.diamondreview.com's review section:

 

http://www.diamondreview.com/vend/vend2.cgi?cmd=welcome

 

If anyone here would like to participate, please PM me and I will be glad to set you up. Eventually, these reviews will also appear here on diamond.info.

 

And Neil, I can also setup a separate category for appraisers if you're interested.

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Hermann;

 

Tough nut to crack.

 

Most diamond websites listing Virtual Diamonds, do so with little if any information and have the diamond drop-shipped to you direct from the manufacturer.

 

It's no wonder Consumers are confused:

 

1. Reliability and Integrity of the Diamond Website vendor.

 

2. Defining Cut Quality of the listed Diamond. Home-cooked definitions such as "Signature", Ideal", "Premium", are not backed up by any sort of data and may not jibe with defined cut-grade systems of the two best diamond grading Labs; GIA and AGS on round brilliants. Fancy shapes are a murky abyss and impossible to assess on lab report numbers alone. AGS Cut Grade system on Princess Cuts and soon to be released Cut Grade on Emerald Cuts is a step in the right direction.

 

3. Diamond Information availability is a supply-demand situation. There are vendors out there that are transparent and have taken the lead in supplying information on their diamonds without being prompted. OTOH, Consumers' demand for this type of information will spur more disclosure.

Edited by barry
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One approach to "consumer reports" for jewelers is to simply have a lot of testimonials from former customers. To that end, here's a shameless plug for diamond.info's sister site www.diamondreview.com's review section:

 

http://www.diamondreview.com/vend/vend2.cgi?cmd=welcome

 

If anyone here would like to participate, please PM me and I will be glad to set you up. Eventually, these reviews will also appear here on diamond.info.

 

And Neil, I can also setup a separate category for appraisers if you're interested.

Shopping for a capable appraiser is even more of a problem than shopping for a jeweler. I would be happy to be involved in any rational system you can come up with. I would even be willing to help design it.

 

I think a link on the search right next to the link to the vendors site in the search results page to see the list of reviews of that vendor would be a helpful addition to the database.

 

That said, I’m a little nervous about this sort of thing as well. It tends to be full of shill comments, both good and bad, and the ability of anonymous posters to say anything they want to can create a very skewed perspective.

 

For example:

http://www.diamondreview.com/vend/vendone.shtml?t=110

 

At the risk of commenting on a particular store, something that I normally don't do, I’m reasonably familiar with these folks. They’re not bad. For the most part they sell what they say the sell (everyone screws up occasionally), they do decent work in the shop, they have reasonable trade in and warranty programs, they offer financing and similar programs that seem to interest people, they’re a large and attractive store in a nice location that’s convenient for lots of folks and although their pricing is a tad high when compared to the listings in the database here, it’s basically in line with most of their local competitors.

 

The reviews here suggest that they are the gates of hell. In fact, one of the reviewers actually says that. The complaints seem to be about aggressive salespeople and, in particular, pressure to leave a deposit (which is fully refundable by the way) before they will special order a stone or before they will pull a stone from the sales inventory and reserve it for a customer while they shop elsewhere. I find pushy salespeople sort of annoying too, but these folks aren’t that bad. Pay a visit to NYC to get a real taste for how it’s done. The deposit thing is a bit unusual but not entirely unreasonable either. 25 reviews, and 21 of them are slamming them for this. The other 4 think they're the best store ever to open. That’s why I think there’s a problem with shills. There doesn’t seem to be a single store with a single review in the entire state of Colorado and the most reviewed store in New York has 3 comments but one store in Symrna GA can get that kind of response? Something is out of whack.

 

I’m not sure what the solution is. The BBB has a heavily moderated approach to this where complaints are held in an invisible negotiated purgatory while they try to work it out before it appears in the company’s record and the final record is, to say the least, sanitized. "Member" firms seem to have an advantage. There is no venue at all to post a testimonial. The ebay system limits the comments to confirmed customers and allows a response from the vendor, which again has some merit. There are other tactics that I've seen as well although none that I would describe as entirely satisfactory.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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