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Gia Certified Vs Non Certified


vagabond
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Hi All,

 

I am buying en engagement ring for the first time and I need some desperate help.

 

After looking at lots of jewellers, I found 2 diamonds that I liked

 

1. Shane Co (VVS1, .53ct, G color)

 

2. Tiffany's (IF, G color, .37ct)

 

I want as much clarity as possible and I am willing to sacrifice on the carat wt so the Tiffany;s diamond looks ideal. But they don't have the GIA certification for it. They say they don't get their diamonds GIA certified and they will only issue their own Tiffany's certificate. The Shane Co Diamond comes GIA certified.

 

So I am confused which one to choose? Can I trust Tiffany's? Why would they not have GIA certification?

 

Also, I noticed that Shane Co does not have ANY IF diamonds in the < .50 ct range while Tiffany had atleast 10 pieces that they found for me. When I asked the sales person at Shane, she said it is because Tiffany's grades theor diamonds more leniently than Shane and hence a IF at Tiffany can be a VVS1 somewhere else, but a VVS1 at Shane will be EQUAL OR BETTER anywhere else .. Am I being ripped off at Tiffany's then??

 

So I am confused on whom to trust. Please help ..

 

Thanks,

vagabond

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Yeah, Tiffany has their own grading lab certified by the International Diamond Council (which oversees grading labs) and they only use their own lab for smaller diamonds (some larger diamonds will come with certs from both Tiffany and GIA.) It sounds from posts I've read that they grade as strictly as GIA and with a similar system. It sounds like discrepencies between the two systems are uncommon. There doesn't seem to be any complaints about the quality of Tiffany, just the price. But I'm sure Neil knows better than I do about this.

 

Just looking at the stats of the diamond you posted it appears you're overpaying a bit for clarity you don't need. Have you taken a look at VS and eye-clean SI stones? IF, VVS1, and VS2 will all look exactly the same looking through the top with an unaided eye. Personally, I'd skimp on the clarity some and just get an eye-clean stone (all that matters to me is that you can't see any inclusions with the naked eye, which is true of many SI1 and some SI2 stones). Then you can get a little bigger diamond and with an ideal cut (preferably AGS-0 graded). The cut is what brings out the beauty in a stone. The clarity above VS2 is mostly unnoticeable (except maybe when viewing from the side.) The color above F is unnoticeable too. But since D color and VVS or IF stones are more rare, they cost a whole lot more. Your future fiance will probably appreciate you spending that extra money to make it a .75 carat eye-clean diamond, rather than a .50 carat IF diamond. The first thing her friends will ask her is "How big is it?" not "How clear is it?"

 

Shane Company isn't big on educating their customers about diamond cut quality in my experience. And from what I saw they mostly have inferior cut diamonds in stock (notice they don't even list the cut quality of the diamonds listed on their website.) In my experience they tried to sell you on the carat, color, and clarity, and left out the cut quality so they could sell you what looked like a comparable stone in numbers for a lower price when in fact the reason it is competitive is because lower quality cut stones cost less. Cut quality is the one thing you don't want to sacrifice too. Take a look at the size of the culet on some of their diamonds!

 

My advice: check out a few more places, learn more online, and don't settle on anything yet. This isn't something to be rushed. Stay away from the mall store types and find a specialty store with experienced people who know what they are talking about. Check out some Superideal diamonds like the Eightstar, Hearts on Fire, A Cut Above, or Superbcert diamonds if you can get a chance. You will find that they sparkle a lot more and look a lot nicer than most diamonds, you can use those as a benchmark to find what you want.

Edited by H and A
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Thanks for your suggestions H and A.

 

Well it may sound ridiculous, but I am going for higher clarity only for superstitious reasons. For some reason (which I never understood) our family buys only clear diamonds. So I guess I don't have much of a choice there. And I am lucky that my girlfriend thinks small is cute :)

 

The diamond I saw at Tiffany's has a cut rating of Excellent cut, Excellent polish and Excellent symmetry (or XXX as they call it). I don't know if this is the best I can hope for. But it looked awesome in the store.

 

Also, how do I make sure the cut is AGS-0 graded? Tiffany's doesn't give any other certificate other than their own certificate ..

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Thanks for your suggestions H and A.

 

Well it may sound ridiculous, but I am going for higher clarity only for superstitious reasons. For some reason (which I never understood) our family buys only clear diamonds. So I guess I don't have much of a choice there. And I am lucky that my girlfriend thinks small is cute :)

 

The diamond I saw at Tiffany's has a cut rating of Excellent cut, Excellent polish and Excellent symmetry (or XXX as they call it). I don't know if this is the best I can hope for. But it looked awesome in the store.

 

Also, how do I make sure the cut is AGS-0 graded? Tiffany's doesn't give any other certificate other than their own certificate ..

AGS-0 diamonds are graded to be ideal by AGSL, their cut grading is a bit stricter than the others. Although the others all have perfectly intuitive systems as well. The XXX is probably the best you can get at Tiffany, which I have little experience with other than browsing their store at Rodeo Dr in Beverly Hills just for fun this summer on vacation. There's a certain prestige that comes with buying from Tiffany, you just don't get as much for what you pay. I read in a Forbes article that the whole reason the massive online store Blue Nile was created is because it's CEO was snubbed by Tiffany 10 years ago when he was trying to buy an engagement ring. And there's a certain prestige that comes with buying an IF diamond, you just have to settle for a small stone if you're on a budget. If you can find a store that sells Eightstar branded diamonds in your area I suggest checking it out and seeing what a perfect cut diamond looks like. It's pretty amazing, but their prices are comparable to Tiffany and they only make about 2000 per year. Sounds like you're going for the best quality, just make sure your lady is really OK with a wearing a smaller ring.

Edited by H and A
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Yes, the price difference is significant:

 

Tiffany's: .37ct, IF, F color, XXX = $3580 with platinum ring

 

Shane Co: .53pt, VVS1, G color = $3300 with platinum ring

 

 

The advantage with Shane Co is that I will get a Gia certificate; with Tiffany's the advantage is that I get an IF diamond. I am still surprised that Shane Co does not have any IF diamonds in their inventory .. Also I still have to check the quality of the cut on Shane Co's diamond.

 

 

Hope someone who has experience with Tiffany's helps ..

 

Thanks,

vagabond

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Tiffany's diamond grading system is strict and accurate. You have no worries there. They only sell superior cut quality stones. True, you are paying a Premium for the Tiffany Brand Name, but Tiffany did not get their well deserved reputation by selling crap.

 

The shpiel fed you by the Shane SA about Tiffany is pure premium BS.

 

Shane Co. is not known for selling Cut Quality. The GIA report on their diamond insures that it has been accurately graded for color and clarity and appears to be a pre Cut Grade January 2006 report. There is no way you can make a valid Cut Quality stone-to-stone comparison without more information on the Shane diamond.

 

You might want to consider stretching your budget and getting a larger diamond in the .50 - .65 carat range by looking for Very Good to Excellent Cut Quality diamonds in the VS-1/SI range.

 

Stick with GIA or AGS lab graded diamonds.

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I agree with Barry. Tiffany lab is a reputable source. The criticism of Tiff’s generally has to do with the prices and the attitude, not the quality of the products. If you buy there, you can be confident that you are getting excellent merchandise.

 

If you’re shopping for a flawless for symbolic reasons, I’m a little confused over why you are even considering a VVS. Super high clarity is something of a specialty market and I’m not all that surprised that Shane doesn’t carry a big inventory in it. That’s just sensible inventory management. Stores want to inventory the kind of goods that sell fast for them and Shane customers generally aren’t looking for this. If they don’t have, and won’t get what you want, that’s a reason to shop somewhere else, not a reason to compromise on your standards. Find a jeweler who has a better understanding of the whole IF marketplace. After all, the only reason anyone buys one is for symbolic reasons and symbolism is the whole point of diamonds anyway. ‘Flawless’ is a great word!

 

What you’re shopping for isn’t really all that tough a call and although most jewelers won’t carry it in inventory, most should be able to order it in for you.

 

For example. Here’s a GIA graded 0.50cts. F/IF/xxx that Barry has listed for $2384. (he’s too polite to point to his own advertisement)

 

http://www.exceldiamonds.com/diamond/49499.html

 

You can find other similar offers by clicking the link at the top of the page titled ‘find online jeweler’ and entering a few parameters. Stick with GIA & AGS grading. Even if you have no intention of buying from an online dealer it’s a useful tool for seeing how the various elements relate to one another. Most local stores are a bit more expensive than this and it will depend on where and how you shop but beating Tiffany prices while staying with the GIA flawless quality spec is generally pretty easy.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Thanks for replying Barry and Neil. I read some really good suggestions from you in other posts and I was hoping you would comment on my topic :)

 

I am a little confused though. Barry says to stick with GIA or AGS graded diamonds but Tiffany does not provide that .. But then everyone says Tiffany is reputable .. so does that mean that Tiffany's is an exception to the cert rule?

 

Yes Neil, I agree that I should just be looking for IF diamonds. But I had great difficulty finding trustworthy jewellers in my area (san francisco bay area). And I agree that Shane diamonds generally do not have XXX cut rating. The ones they showed me were all rated very good to good. The only good thing about them is that they give a lifetime gurantee on their product. Tiffany does not.

 

Another jeweller I looked at was simayof jewellers .. Has anyone heard of them? I will also look online as Neil suggested.

 

Thanks,

vagabond

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Yes, the price difference is significant:

 

Tiffany's: .37ct, IF, F color, XXX = $3580 with platinum ring

 

Shane Co: .53pt, VVS1, G color = $3300 with platinum ring

 

And from looking at their site, Shaneco has a .72 ct, VS2, G color diamond for $2800 (probably crappy cut though.) And remember, you can't see VS2 inclusions with the naked eye when looked through the top.

 

Of course for internet price comparison, Barry over at Excel Diamonds has an ideal cut .83 carat G, VS1 going for $3500:

http://www.exceldiamonds.com/diamond/60938.html

 

So there's much more out there than just these two places. And yeah, as Neil said, there aren't many IF diamonds out there so it's not suurprising to see Shane didn't have any in the size you want.

Edited by H and A
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So there's much more out there than just these two places. And yeah, as Neil said, there aren't many IF diamonds out there so it's not suurprising to see Shane didn't have any in the size you want.

 

 

Well, Shane doesn't have IF diamonds in ANY size, which to me was very surprising because Tiffany has quite a few in .50 ct range and also blue nile has a few too.

 

The problem with blue nile (or any online site) is the hassle with the setting. If the setting is not perfect, or if the size is not perfect, or if something needs repair .. THe ONLY thing i like about Shane Co is their lifetime gurantee and free repair/cleaning ..

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Good point about BN's settings which are outsourced and then shipped directly to you by the factory.

 

There are internet vendors that provide Lifetime Guarantees on their settings.

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ShaneCo will be happy to set a stone that you buy elsewhere into one of their mountings. . They would love to be your jeweler for your repair needs both for this and any other items that you may have. Most jewelers would love to have your business and most jewelers are prepared to offer the routine maintenance and repair services associated with owning jewelry. Shane and pretty much every other jeweler will offer free cleaning and inspection no matter where you bought it. (Tiffany will NOT set an outside purchased stone into one of their mountings by the way).

 

Assuming that you are going to buy an insurance policy to cover problems like loss, theft, fire, etc., the guarantee is of marginal value since damage and loss of the stone itself will be better covered elsewhere anyway.

 

The question then becomes what is the ‘free’ repair that comes with buying things there really worth and how much does it really cost? To a large extent, this depends on what mounting you select. In some cases, this is worth a decent amount and in others it’s really worth very little. If you are buying a mounting that will only cost a few hundred dollars to replace in it’s entirety, I wouldn’t recommend that the repair program to be worth a heck of a lot but this will depend on your tolerance for such things. There are maintenance costs associated with owning and wearing jewelry and there’s something to be said for prepaying some of this. Do the math and I suspect you will find that you’re better off going for a dealer with cheaper prices and simply paying for your repairs as you need them.

 

Again I point out the obvious. ShaneCo doesn’t seem to sell what you want. A great deal on the wrong thing is no bargain.

 

Neil

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The question then becomes what is the ‘free’ repair that comes with buying things there really worth and how much does it really cost? To a large extent, this depends on what mounting you select. In some cases, this is worth a decent amount and in others it’s really worth very little. If you are buying a mounting that will only cost a few hundred dollars to replace in it’s entirety, I wouldn’t recommend that the repair program to be worth a heck of a lot but this will depend on your tolerance for such things. There are maintenance costs associated with owning and wearing jewelry and there’s something to be said for prepaying some of this. Do the math and I suspect you will find that you’re better off going for a dealer with cheaper prices and simply paying for your repairs as you need them.

 

Again I point out the obvious. ShaneCo doesn’t seem to sell what you want. A great deal on the wrong thing is no bargain.

 

Neil

 

I couldn't agree more Neil. Thanks a lot!

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