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Need Help On Picking The Right Stone


protel
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hi all,

 

i'm a newbie when it comes into diamond as well as on this forum and excited to learn more about diamond. I've done my little homework on the basic 4c's and all available certs out there even though i haven't fully understand it yet.

 

Way before I read the basic tutorial from this site or any other site i've had no idea that diamond could have many different cuts, colors and clarity, thus i'm so grateful that i can learn something new from this forum.

 

Straight to the point I need advices from all of you on deciding which stone should i go for my engagement ring.

 

I've been trying to get the right diamond from the local store but it seems they have a limited range of diamonds in house. Since then i've been trying to search it from the online stores.

 

Before I list my shortlisted diamond that i get from an online store, i'd like to ask about this online store called jamesallen, has anyone out there ever bought a diamond from that store recently? do you mind to share your experience when you purchased your diamond from that site please.

 

By the way currently i live in Singapore so if anyone in Singapore has ever bought an item from this store your comment will be highly appreciated

 

Here comes the shortlisted diamonds that i picked from jamesallen.

 

1. Item no: 1060503

2. Item no: 1060506

3. Item no: 1060509

4. Item no: 1060510

5. Item no: 1060511

 

When I asked for a suggestion on picking two diamonds out of five from the person who has been contacting me, she told me that she'd pick item no. 1060510 as her fav after she compared it with item no. 1060506 and 1060509 because it has a better crown angle than 1060506 and is cheaper than 1060509. i wonder if this is true since i'm not quite understand about this crown angle thing and also she told me 34.5 for crown angle is preferred.

 

In addition, a new magnified image of 1060510 will be captured for me since the current magnified image that they put on the site wasn't clean properly (existence of dust) this also applies to item #1060506 but I haven't requested for a new image for this item yet.

 

What do you think guys? comments and suggestions are most welcome as they will be taken for my perusal.

 

I apologize if my explanation is not clear enough. Thanks in advance :lol:

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hi hermann,

 

thx for your info, i've browsed around the site and found many reviews on this store as well as any other store.

 

if you are free do you mind to comment on my other question regarding the stone please and for all of you out there your assistance would be appreciated by me.

 

thx and have a good one :lol:

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if you are free do you mind to comment on my other question regarding the stone

 

For that, I will defer to the others on here. They are much, much better qualified to offer that type of critique than I am or ever will be! :-)

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hi all,

 

Here comes the shortlisted diamonds that i picked from jamesallen.

 

1. Item no: 1060503

2. Item no: 1060506

3. Item no: 1060509

4. Item no: 1060510

5. Item no: 1060511

 

When I asked for a suggestion on picking two diamonds out of five from the person who has been contacting me, she told me that she'd pick item no. 1060510 as her fav after she compared it with item no. 1060506 and 1060509 because it has a better crown angle than 1060506 and is cheaper than 1060509. i wonder if this is true since i'm not quite understand about this crown angle thing and also she told me 34.5 for crown angle is preferred.

 

In addition, a new magnified image of 1060510 will be captured for me since the current magnified image that they put on the site wasn't clean properly (existence of dust) this also applies to item #1060506 but I haven't requested for a new image for this item yet.

 

What do you think guys? comments and suggestions are most welcome as they will be taken for my perusal.

 

I apologize if my explanation is not clear enough. Thanks in advance :lol:

 

The crown angle advice is insignificant. If the sales rep is going by the 40.75/34.50 axiom to think 34.5 is a "better" number it's unnecessary at these proportions. In fact, coupled with a 40.6 pavilion angle I prefer the 34.9 from a numbers standpoint as it maintains the Tolkowsky relationship (PA<40.75...CA>34.5)...but honestly, it really is insignificant. A diamond's measurements must be considered together. In this case, with the given measurements, 34.5 is not "better." If what I've said is not clear :) the bottom line is that there is no disadvantage to the 34.9 CA.

 

Any reason for VVS clarity? Being from Singapore it may be a "mental" thing, which we all respect. Just be advised that you can drop to VS clarity with no visible difference and get a slightly larger size.

 

The ideal-scope images look good. I see these are being sold as "Hearts & Arrows" diamonds. Where are the hearts photos?

Edited by JohnQuixote
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The crown angle advice is insignificant. If the sales rep is going by the 40.75/34.50 axiom to think 34.5 is a "better" number it's unnecessary at these proportions. In fact, coupled with a 40.6 pavilion angle I prefer the 34.9 from a numbers standpoint as it maintains the Tolkowsky relationship (PA<40.75...CA>34.5)...but honestly, it really is insignificant. A diamond's measurements must be considered together. In this case, with the given measurements, 34.5 is not "better." If what I've said is not clear :) the bottom line is that there is no disadvantage to the 34.9 CA.

 

Any reason for VVS clarity? Being from Singapore it may be a "mental" thing, which we all respect. Just be advised that you can drop to VS clarity with no visible difference and get a slightly larger size.

 

The ideal-scope images look good. I see these are being sold as "Hearts & Arrows" diamonds. Where are the hearts photos?

 

Hi John, thanks for your comments i really appreaciate it. I think the sales rep was referring to 40.75/34.50 axiom and thinks 34.5 angle is a better angle for the crown. I've been looking for more info in regards of Tolkowsky ideal cut as well as the range, thanks to you i've learn something new again :lol:

 

Well, the reason why i prefer VVS clarity is mainly because this will be the first stone I've ever bought in mylife and is for the special person. Also I think when a stone has a good clarity then its gonna look better because it might contains a minimal number of inclusions, since I'm still in learning process i may sound a little bit naive on this.

 

I have thought about dropping to VS1 clarity so i can get a larger size stone but till now I haven't seen any VS stone that is eye-clean, perhaps I must have missed it when I browsed around the local stores and online store. Btw with a VS clarity some ppl said its good to balance it with a right color grade, what do you think about this, will VS clarity stone will look great with D-F color grade?

 

Anyway, the sales rep told me they don't have the camera equipment to take the hearts images.

 

Have a pleasant day.

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Hi protel,

 

may I suggest skipping the retail stores, and go straight to a wholesaler. They can get you almost any stone you want. Saves you time and money (they are approximately half the price of main street stores). I managed to get the stone I was looking for at 45% of retail price, which is about on-par with online retailer Blue Nile's prices.

 

Try facetsingapore.com and arrange an appointment with them. The proprietor, Suresh, used to be the president of the Singapore Diamond Exchange and is very helpful. I'm certain he will be happy to assist you in your search. He did spend an hour with me discussing the pros and cons of the stones within my budget, and I also managed to view them under natural lighting. You can also request to view stones with GIA and AGS certification only, if you require the added reassurance that comes with documentation.

 

They also do custom setting, and you can choose the design and material (ie: white gold, platinium, etc...) you wish to mount the stone in.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

Bernard

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may I suggest skipping the retail stores, and go straight to a wholesaler.

 

Back when I went to business school, selling things one at a time to the end consumer was called retail. As far as I can tell this definition hasn’t changed a bit although people put all kinds of creative things on their advertising to the contrary. A dealer calling themselves a ‘wholesaler’ does not make it so. What they print on their business cards, website or their signs has no affect on the prices or quality. If they will sell to you, they are a retail store.

 

Who cares? It’s a matter of integrity. Much of the diamond business has to do with trust and they’ve already misled you before you even walk in the door. This doesn’t mean that other things are lies as well, or even that this one necessarily is but the most important things are harder to spot and this one is a red warning flag. If they lie about the little things it makes me more inclined to question the big ones.

 

A second lie is often paired with this. They claim to report the prices of their competitors and lump all ‘retail’ stores into a single high priced category. Saying that they are half the price of a local store in your neighborhood is almost certainly not supported by the facts. Have they researched that store? Do they even know who it is that they’re disparaging or the details of the deal they are supposedly comparing to? All stores are not the same. They don’t all sell the same merchandise, they don’t offer the same addons and they don’t all charge the same prices.

 

Here’s #3. IF they actually do some wholesale business, meaning that they sell to other dealers for resale, what are the chances that they’ve told thier dealer network that they are direct competitors? It is possible to offer both retail and wholesale business, and it’s even possible for it to be at the same prices (Costco does this), but the majority of the ‘wholesale to the public’ diamond folks are either undermining their own customers out the back door (which requires lying to their dealers who, presumably, are far better customers than you) or simply have no wholesale business at all and they’re just a retailer in drag.

 

Special note: I've never heard of facetsingapore and I'm not singling them out. They may be a fantastic store. I've never seen their marketing, never spoken to them and, as far as I know, I've never seen anything sold by them. The above applies to many jewelers in pretty much every market and is in response to the term 'wholesaler'. In my home marketplace (Denver) there are more jewelers who call themselves 'wholesale' and who operate out of offices and bank vaults than there are traditional looking jewelry stores. On the web there are literally tens of thousands of these.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Hi Neil,

 

just to clear up some points....

 

First, nobody is disparaging anybody else. I was posting as a consumer, who, yes, did the necessary legwork required to make an informed decision on my purchase. I was fortunate to locate an establishment that could secure the product I required at a markup that I was comfortable with.

 

I have been to, suffice to say, quite a few B&M stores. It's easy to do that here as they are all clustered together, more or less in the same vicinity. Luxury goods shopping is somewhat concentrated within a small area in Singapore.

 

If anybody is interested in my personal shopping experience, read on. Otherwise, please skip this post as I would rather not bore anyone with the details.

 

First, determine a budget. Then attempt to realistically reconcile the budget with a product of your choice. Price comparison is rather easy with the use of the 'Net. Punching in the parameters of the stone (ie: the different Cs) into Blue Nile's sorting programme is one example. This will give an estimate of the price one is likely to be confronted with. Given that Internet merchants have low overheads (compared to B&M stores), it is a fair assumption that their prices should be more competitive than B&Ms (Bricks & Mortar). Collect prices from different Internet merchants on products within the set of parameters you have determined. Now it's time to hit the B&M stores to get a feel of their prices for the same product. This allows one to get an idea of the difference between the two types of merchants (Internet vs B&M) offering similar products. Finally, decide which one you're comfortable with.

 

One of the potential pitfalls for a consumer (especially an inexperienced one) is, of course, not knowing if one is really getting a product as promised. This is where Neil's point of "integrity" comes in. Fortunately, there exists a system of standardization (GIA, AGS certification, or equivalent), for what it's worth. I understand that there will be a measure of variation between GIA and AGS methods of evaluation. In addition, the individual performing the evaluation for the labs is human, and thus subject to personal bias (eg: is it an F or a G colour?). Nonetheless, these reports (I think) offer some level of assurance in a world full of uncertainties.

 

My personal findings conclude that here, in Singapore, the prices in established B&M stores are usually about twice what the stone is going for on Internet sites. Both products are either GIA or AGS certified, and roughly within the parameters specified.

 

Sure, there are some people who would willingly pay the markup for emotional reasons. Tiffany's "Little Blue Box" is an example. As many posters have stated in the past, buying diamonds is basically an emotional exercise, so if they are happy to do it, hey, it's a free country. I realize that B&M stores have overheads (eg: rent, staff, etc..), but personally, I'm not comfortable with that sort of markup as I do not perceive any value added. Others may, of course, differ.

 

I managed to secure a stone I wanted within my budget. The price I got was so near to the ones offered on the Internet, you could say they were similar, after currency conversion. In addition, I had the added advantage of viewing the stones in person, which would not have been possible with an Internet store. The proprietor discussed the pros & cons of each stone, and there was no pressure to make a purchase.

 

The purpose of my last post was not to promote any merchant in particular. protel lives in the same city as I do. I just figured that this was an option he should at least explore before making a decision. Perhaps he's also a maximum "bang for the buck" sort of shopper like myself. Plus, I'm not certain if he has to pay an import duty should he order from the Internet.

 

I am in no way affliated to the merchant mentioned, except as a satisfied customer.

 

Hope this clears things up.

 

Regards.

 

 

Bernard

Edited by Bernard Y
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Happy customers who refer others to their preferred vendors is a good thing and I hope I didn’t come across as attacking you for it. ‘Wholesalers’ are often a trap and had you just referred Protel to your favorite store rather than generalize that they should visit a wholesaler as a way to save money I would have had no problem.

 

If all of the retailers in Singapore are charging and getting Tiffany’s prices, you need some more competition. In most markets Tif’s is one of the most expensive alternatives, often by a wide margin.

 

My understanding is that there is a considerable import duty for diamonds there but is on the order of 25%, not double, so although this accounts for some of the price differential you’re seeing it’s not the majority of it.

 

I’m a big fan customers of demanding stones with GIA and AGS documentation but this is not at all what I meant by integrity on the part of the jeweler. There is far more to a diamond than what appears on these reports and there is a tremendous reliance on the jeweler to accurately describe the stones. Do a quick search here using the link at the top of the page titled ‘find online jeweler’. Look for 1.0 – 1.1 G/VS2 and ignore everything that isn’t GIA graded. There are hundreds available and this is a pretty popular category. The cheapest at the moment is $4398 and the most expensive is $17354 and they’re all from the same dozen or so suppliers. That’s a price range of a factor of 4 in one of the most price competitive marketplaces on earth! To be sure the stones are different and I would be the last to say that the cheapest is going to be the best deal although it may be just the right one for some people but it’s cheaper for reasons that go way beyond the dealer markup. The same is true for the expensive ones. If all you’ve got is the GIA ‘certificate’ or are working from a list of 3 or 4 of the 4c’s, how are you going to decide between them if you can’t rely on the advice of the jeweler? That’s where the integrity comes in. There's quite a bit of money at stake. $10k would be a steal on some of those stones and a ripoff for others.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Neil;

 

Excellent points.

 

Price is important but is just one factor. Price won't tell you anything about the size, color, or location of inclusions and whether they affect the structural integrity of the stone. Cut Quality and face up appearance is very important and since the majority of Internet websites drop ship diamonds directly from the manufacturer to the Customer, said Customer won't know what they're getting until they see it.

 

The integrity Neil speaks of for the Internet vendor is, IMO, to evaluate and personally examine the diamond on the Customers behalf, supply them with data and information beyond the lab grading report, and evaluate whether the diamond meets the specifications set forth by the Customer. This is no different from what B&M jewelers currently do with the obvious differences being that you can physically visit with the B&M and see the diamond(s).

 

Bridging this gap means that the Internet vendor has to invest in bringing in the diamond(s) and setting up a fully equipped diamond lab to work up the stone(s). There are a number of reasons you don't see this:

 

1. The majority of Diamond internet vendors are not Diamond people, don't know how to evaluate a diamond since they come to our industry from other professions.

 

2. Investing in diamond evaluation equipment, calling in diamonds, working them up costs money and time; not considered to be feasible by many of these vendors working on single digit mark ups.

Edited by barry
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Hi All!

I believe Neil hit the nail on the head discussing the perception of "wholesale" being abused to mislead the consumer.

 

 

Bernard, I disagree with a bit of the logic you're using.

Please allow me to give you an example:

First, determine a budget. Then attempt to realistically reconcile the budget with a product of your choice. Price comparison is rather easy with the use of the 'Net. Punching in the parameters of the stone (ie: the different Cs) into Blue Nile's sorting programme is one example.

 

In addition to the facts brought up by my esteemed colleague Barry, here's yet another problem consumers face using these "database selling systems"- they never seem to be completely up to date. What this means is that a consumer searching for, say a hypothetical 1.00 F/VS1 will find some stones at or around $7000, and a few might pop up for say...$6000.

Which price do we use?

In fact, there are many cases of folks buying the less expensive stone only to find out that it had been sold, now they're encouraged to spend for the more expensive ( and ultimately more realistically priced) stone.

 

Now it's time to hit the B&M stores to get a feel of their prices for the same product.

Here again, I feel you're missing a very important point.

Walk into the store, and they have the stone. This certainly gives them the right to charge more, but more importantly- if you are under the impression that the GIA report gives you all you need to know, it's simply NOT the case. So, how do we know it's "the same product"?

The internet "Database" site might give you numbers, while the store has actual diamonds. We ( diamond dealers) can't judge diamonds by numbers, how can a consumer?

Therefore, it's not possible to make a valid comparison between a diamond off a list identified only by measurements, and an actual diamond.

The assumption would follow that we can reliably ascertain prices by checking websites...but that is simply not true.

 

 

in any case, great news that you've found a diamond locally that you love- congratulations!!!

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Hi everybody,

 

thanks for all the feedback.

 

This forum, I think, is by far the best one out there. Friendly advice from exprienced people. No bashing or egos at work here.

 

Hey Neil, I think you're right. We definitely need more competition here :)

 

Jewellers can be divided in 3 main groups here. The main street ones (ie: Tiffany's, Bulgari, etc...), chain store cookie cutter types, and Mom & Pop stores in the suburbs.

 

The main street ones offer the largest variety (mostly up-market stuff).

 

The chain stores usually do mass marketing. They generally offer diamond bracelets, ear-rings, and the like for the mass market. No certification usually.

 

Mom & Pop stores can be haggled with, but their selection is limited (diamonds wise). Perhaps that's due to inventory/cash flow issues? protel has found this out during his shopping trips.

 

I have had a hard time sourcing for single, graded, brillant diamonds here. I don't know why that is the case, but I suspect that Asian populations prefer to buy gold, thus most shops tend to stock lots of gold, and little of anything else. Gold is usually above 18K in Asian countries. 22K products are very common.

 

That leaves the big boys on main street as the best bet of having what you're looking for in stock. Big markups there.... :lol:

 

Regards.

 

 

 

Bernard

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Hi everybody,

 

thanks for all the feedback.

 

This forum, I think, is by far the best one out there. Friendly advice from exprienced people. No bashing or egos at work here.

 

Bernard

 

100% true. And no shilling by "consumers".

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I agree- this is an excellent forum- with balanced advice given by a very nice selection of professionals.

Barry- you mentioned shilling- could you please clarify?

Specifically, I know of no professionals that post here that participate in shilling.

 

I agree with Bernard- this forum is not about "bashing" anyone.

 

And no shilling by "consumers".

 

I am simply asking that Barry makes sure he clarifies that he is NOT talking about any of the participants of this conversation. Shilling is a very serious offense for any seller- this is especially true when it comes to the internet.

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I agree- this is an excellent forum- with balanced advice given by a very nice selection of professionals.

Barry- you mentioned shilling- could you please clarify?

Specifically, I know of no professionals that post here that participate in shilling.

 

I agree with Bernard- this forum is not about "bashing" anyone.

 

And no shilling by "consumers".

 

I am simply asking that Barry makes sure he clarifies that he is NOT talking about any of the participants of this conversation. Shilling is a very serious offense for any seller- this is especially true when it comes to the internet.

 

I am referring to another forum, not this one.

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Great Barry- make a veiled accusation, then make sure it stays ambiguous.

I am sorry if you think I'm being sensitive, but you've called me a Nazi on a another board- on the very same thread where Brad accused me- and clients of ours- of participating in shilling.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

NOW, since you've made ambiguous statements about shilling, I'm simply asking you to clarify that you were not referring to me, my clients, or the forum we run.

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