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Internet Jeweler Return Costs?


andmib
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Hello everyone!

 

I am in the process of purchasing an engagement ring. I know I would like my local jeweler to make the 14k white gold, two 1/4 carat sapphire ring, but I'm currently looking at diamonds for the center stone. The jeweler has told me he will call his wholesaler and he will try and get the best 1/2 carat diamond for $1000 (my budget for a diamond), and let me look at it, with no obligation on my part to purchase it. I told him I might try out an internet vendor and compare.

 

I've found a diamond online, at whiteflash.com (A Cut Above Princess, 1/2 carat, G color, SI1), for $1000, that looks beautiful. I asked for photos other than the top-down photo they display on their website, and they sent me photos of the diamond sitting in a center mount and it looks great. My local jeweler has no qualms at all about me bringing diamonds in and comparing, etc. - so I am thinking about purchasing this diamond from the internet vendor, comparing it to the jewelers best diamond for the money, and then making the decision from there. The whiteflash sales people are very nice, and they seem pretty sure that I will want to keep their diamond over my local jewelers offer. Their prices do seem much cheaper.

 

To get to the question: if I decide I like the jeweler's diamond better, how much does it generally cost to ship & insure a diamond via USPS (from GA to TX)? Whiteflash.com doesn't charge for shipping to send to you, but requires you pay for shipping and insurance when you return it. I don't want to pay an exorbitant amount of money to return it, if I end up not liking it. Do they charge a restocking fee? Though my question pertains to a specific online vendor, I'm assuming I could generalize to other online vendors as well?

 

Thanks everyone!

Edited by andmib
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USPS has an online utility for calculating shipping and insurance costs at www.USPS.gov. Look up registered mail service. A $1000 insured package to Texas won’t be more than $20. This is a very secure service although if you’re far away it can be a little slow. Shipping across country can take a week or so via registered mail.

 

I’ve no idea what the whiteflash policy on restocking fees is but one of their guys is a regular here on the forum and he may be able to answer. If you don’t want to wait or you can't find it on their website, I’m sure their telephone staff is prepared to answer if you but call and ask.

 

No, I definitely would not generalize their policies to all other online vendors. Each dealer will set their own rules and you should not buy from any of them until you fully understand and agree to whatever terms they have. Some will be very reasonable while for others this will be a reason to avoid shopping there entirely.

 

Neil

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Welcome andmib.

 

If for some reason it does not work out there is no re-stocking fee and we refund you the full purchase price less original shipping. Your sales rep can give you the figure; inside North America it's based on the price of the diamond. We make no money on this, it's what the carrier charges us. The reason we extend this return period is so you can do precisely what you're planning: Take it on a mini-world tour, compare it, have it appraised, introduce it to your parents etc. :lol:Here is a link to the policy.

 

I'm interested in how the comparison goes. Our ACA Princess cuts are constructed with 3-chevron pavilions. If you're looking at comparable size, color & clarity, (and GIA or AGS reports - the ACA princess will be an AGS0) see how many chevrons you're looking at with the others. 2 chevron pavilions tend to have fewer, larger flashes in the scintillation and 4-5 chevrons have smaller, faster flashes. Princess cuts can also come with different crown faceting and overall configuration - look for a balance of brightness, fire and colorful sparkle. Here is some info on the princess cut. The different qualities are actually best-seen in jewelry-store type lights. Be sure to make side-by-side comparisons in several lighting conditions including spotlights, fluorescent lighting, natural daylight and indirect light (soft light reflected off walls, for instance).

 

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have other questions, or feel free to call in.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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I appreciate everybody sending me prompt replies! I’ll certainly post how it goes.

 

John, I was told over the phone that I am shipped the diamond via FedEX next-day, which costs roughly $45, though I don't pay for that when they send it. Does that mean if I return the diamond, I will (in the big picture) be paying $45 + the cost to send the diamond back?

 

I don't think I'll end up returning the stone, it looks beautiful in pictures. My jeweler had already given me a rough range on how much diamonds from his wholesaler would cost, and they certainly seem way up there, though he did assure me he has been working with them for years and they do very good cuts. He's the one who mentioned that I could bring diamonds in and compare them, and even showed me how to look at the diamond under 10X, etc. I need to make sure I get both diamonds in at the same time, as his wholesaler only has a 3-day return policy.

 

I didn't know anything about chevron pavilions - that's fascinating to read. Maybe that is what my jeweler was telling me when he said you can actually purchase a diamond that sparkles so much that it almost looks fake, just as you can purchase a diamond with little sparkle at all - each to his own I guess. He brought that up when I asked him about how many facets can be cut into a princess cut diamond as compared to a round one, or something along those lines.

 

What is the difference between 'sparkle' and 'fire'? I noticed a lady before I began my diamond search that had a relatively small looking diamond on an engagement ring, but out of the corner of my eye I could see it sparkling brilliantly - I thought that was amazing, and was what I wanted for my girlfriend.

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Andmib,

 

Correct, if you decided to return it you'd send it back USPS registered/insured and when you were refunded we'd deduct our original expense. Our focus on cut quality makes returns almost non-existent (unless she says no - but our sage advice is to be sure you know the answer before asking that question :wacko: ). It's also how we can support a lifetime trade-up...diamonds with premium performance will always be in-demand. There are different models for internet diamond sellers but I suspect if you asked the handful of dealers who do not drop-ship sight-unseen and place special emphasis on cut you'll find the exam/return period to be a trust-building formality more than an option that gets exercised.

 

The construction of the diamond contributes to its overall appearance, and a single diamond can look radically different depending on lighting. Fire, or dispersion, is the breaking of white light into its spectral colors. Diamond naturally disperses light, but certain geometric relationships in the faceting enhance this quality more than others. A well-cut diamond, regardless of shape, should have a healthy balance of colored sparkle in its performance - especially in direct spotlighting. Scintillation - the trade term for sparkle - is "sparkle associated with movement." The other qualities you should look for are brightness and contrast pattern.

 

Try looking at the diamond under diffused fluorescent lights, holding it very still. If it's well cut you will see brightness and the diamond's contrast pattern (distinct areas of light and dark that compliment each other) but very little fire and scintillation. Diffused light is good for judging color and clarity; inclusions that are masked by performance will be seen here. If you're analyzing color be sure to keep a white wall in front of you and wear a neutral colored shirt (white, grey or black) since a diamond picks up and reflects the colors around it. This is also the best environment in which to "loupe" the diamond (the jeweler's magnifying tool).

 

Fire is best-produced by small directional spotlights. At the turn of the century many diamonds were cut with fire as a selling point, so showrooms were dim, with low-hanging electric lights to maximize dispersion. Our world's lighting has changed in the last 100 years and some aspects of diamond cutting have shifted to reflect this. Modern round brilliant and princess cuts are well-suited for today's indoor environments, especially when it comes to scintillation. The best lighting to see scintillation is a mixture of overhead diffused (fluorescent) and spotlights. High-end jewelry stores like Cartier often have bright lights reflecting from walls, small directional spots and even pinpoint leds inside the case. You can see sparkle just by changing your position relative to the diamond, and if you rock it back and forth in your hand a well-cut stone will put on a fireworks display of colored and white sparkles. This kind of lighting scheme is great for oohs and aahs. If you have a bright room at home with recessed canned lighting a diamond will often look this way, but the number of places outside a jewelry store with such bling-friendly lighting are few.

 

I like to mention three other environments. These are not found in jewelry stores but I consider them timeless. Rough sorters still use northern natural daylight to sort diamonds. Don't expect high dispersion or scintillation in diffused daylight, but the brightness and contrast seen in a well cut diamond on a bright day with cloud cover is beautiful. Similarly, on a sunny day with no clouds try standing under a leafy tree with the wind blowing slightly. The brightness, fire and scintillation seen under such filtered daylight is incredible. Something that surprises people: Well-cut diamonds don't look their best in direct sunlight. You may see crazy surface sparkle but the inside of the diamond looks dark. My favorite place to view a well-cut diamond is in soft, reflected lighting. A room with 100 candles placed at all levels - the floor, tables, mantle - brings out the most unique character in a stone. If you want to save on the candle budget or avoid lighting the cat on fire, a restaurant with wall sconces and candles at the table works too. Sometimes such restaurants have small recessed spotlights. If so, plan to stay for dessert; it's hard to pull away from "sweet spots" as you explore your world with a new diamond.

 

Okay, this became longer than I intended, but I hope it's helpful. Please let us know how things go - and most of all enjoy the process.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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Wow, thanks for the information. I didn't realize there was so much to the sparkle of a diamond – I would have assumed the greater the clarity and color, the better the sparkle – but now, being a lot more educated on diamonds, I’ve realized it’s not that simple J.

 

I received the diamond today in the mail, and brought it to my jeweler right away. Now, I looked at it only in the jewelry store light and daylight because I had to rush to school - but it was absolutely –gorgeous-. It had all the fire that I had been looking for and I certainly won't be returning it. The jeweler was extremely impressed as well, and even said the stone is likely better in clarity than what it was rated by AGS (SI1). He said because I'm happy with the stone and because he would not likely be able to get one of better quality, I won't bother with waiting on him to order any to compare to.

 

I went ahead and told him to get the setting (14k white gold, three stone), and call around for sapphires (princess cut, if within my budget). I realize I could get the setting online, possibly for cheaper, but the jeweler has been extremely helpful and his rough quote for the setting didn't seem terribly high either (between $300-$450 for the setting alone, and from $30-130 for each of the 1/4 carat sapphires, depending on quality) so I'd like to give him my business.

 

I really appreciate all the help of this forum, and I think I’ll post some pictures once the engagement ring is complete!

 

Maybe one last question – what does everybody here think about darker blue topaz as opposed to sapphires for side stones if you are on a budget?

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Fantastic news. Glad to help andmib. Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you are extending the opportunity to your local jeweler to assist with the setting. He sounds like a straight shooter and we appreciate his endorsement of the diamond.

 

Once you have the setting you may want to find out who's covering the diamond in case of a (rare) accident while mounting the stone. In some cases you may need to seek insurance during the setting process yourself, in which case there are practical recommendations we or your jeweler can make. With the project you've got going I trust he has a capable bench man in mind: The most important part of mounting a princess is a skilled stonesetter (because of the vulnerable corners).

Edited by JohnQuixote
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I asked the jeweler about what happens if the diamond is damaged in their care, and he pretty clearly stated that they assume responsibility for it. He then proceeded to tell me of situation in the past where a gemstone (alexandrite) had accidentally been broken during some process, and how they promptly replaced it with a stone of the same quality for the customer at no cost.

 

Now, I still have the diamond until the jeweler finds sapphires and gets the setting taken care of. He wrote down all the diamond dimensions, but I don't know if that was so he could give me an exact price on the 14k white gold setting, or if he's going to go ahead and have the setting made (I don't really know how the process works).

 

Should I expect (or insist) that some sort of paperwork for liability be signed/present during the setting process? I don't know how it works, I'd just assume take the jeweler at his word since he has been very helpful so far, but I tend to be rather naive.

 

Fantastic news. Glad to help andmib. Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you are extending the opportunity to your local jeweler to assist with the setting. He sounds like a straight shooter and we appreciate his endorsement of the diamond.

 

Once you have the setting you may want to find out who's covering the diamond in case of a (rare) accident while mounting the stone. In some cases you may need to seek insurance during the setting process yourself, in which case there are practical recommendations we or your jeweler can make. With the project you've got going I trust he has a capable bench man in mind: The most important part of mounting a princess is a skilled stonesetter (because of the vulnerable corners).

Edited by andmib
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I asked the jeweler about what happens if the diamond is damaged in their care, and he pretty clearly stated that they assume responsibility for it. He then proceeded to tell me of situation in the past where a gemstone (alexandrite) had accidentally been broken during some process, and how they promptly replaced it with a stone of the same quality for the customer at no cost.

 

Now, I still have the diamond until the jeweler finds sapphires and gets the setting taken care of. He wrote down all the diamond dimensions, but I don't know if that was so he could give me an exact price on the 14k white gold setting, or if he's going to go ahead and have the setting made (I don't really know how the process works).

 

Should I expect (or insist) that some sort of paperwork for liability be signed/present during the setting process? I don't know how it works, I'd just assume take the jeweler at his word since he has been very helpful so far, but I tend to be rather naive.

 

If you have a sales order with the rest of the setting details and mounting charge perhaps it will be included there? If not he probably won't mind a request to provide it for your peace of mind.

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Most jewelry stores, especially small stores that are run by one or two people are remarkably light on paperwork. They take pride in their work and it’s actually fairly new that this issue comes up. Not the breakage thing, this has been true forever, but the whole question of who is responsible. Back when I was doing it we just assumed that we were responsible for our work and in the rare case when it was a problem you would suck it up and pay. What’s changed is the increasing number of people who buy a diamond from one source and have it set at another. The profit goes with the seller, the risk goes with the setter. This leads to unhappy setters and this new phenomena of some simply refusing to take the liability while others simply charge enough that they can afford the occasional bite.

 

The risk is quite low by the way. Well under 1% with most jobs.

 

My advice to the jeweler is this. It sounds like a high quality store that does work that he’s proud of and he shouldn’t take this as an offence. It’s a marketing opportunity. A written statement that he takes breakage responsibility for what is in his shop should be proudly posted on a sign for all to see. It really is a competitive advantage and if he’s bearing all the costs in the form of absorbing the occasional broken stone anyway, he might as well get the benefit of it.

 

Yes, I would ask, but insist is a bit strong of a word. Encourage. It benefits him to do this at least as much as it benefits you.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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My advice to the jeweler is this. It sounds like a high quality store that does work that he’s proud of and he shouldn’t take this as an offence. It’s a marketing opportunity. A written statement that he takes breakage responsibility for what is in his shop should be proudly posted on a sign for all to see. It really is a competitive advantage and if he’s bearing all the costs in the form of absorbing the occasional broken stone anyway, he might as well get the benefit of it.

 

Agreed. I see it as something to advertise as well.

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