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Need Advice On Stones And Prices For Engagement Ring


paulite
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Hi

 

I have done a significant amound of research on diamonds and engagement rings but now have come to the eventual buying decision and am a little unsure of what to do -

 

The choice is between buying a stone from an internet retailer (blue nile) or a reputed store in the DC area (CSS). As expected there is a price difference. I have not yet negotiated but have been told that if I give them my budget they will see what they could do (that is CSS). I have obviously already shared the prices from blue nile with them

 

Also the settings from Blue nile that I like they can get made but again obviously it costs more. I can of course choose regular settings. But what cSS emphasizes is building a long term relationship and being there in case of problems etc. They do have an excellent reputation for service.

 

But since this is my first time in the jewellery market is the premium of 2200 dollars or 1700 dollars worth it? What should I negotiate for to be an acceptable premium or should I just go with blue nile?

 

the details are uploaded in an excel file..advice will be sincerely appreciated

 

Blue Nile I - Price 2803, Carat 0.71, Cut Very Good, Colour E, Clarity VS2, Polish Excellent,Symmetry Very Good,L/W Ratio 1.01, Grading Report GIA, Depth % 59.4,Table % 58,Measurements 5.76 x 5.82 x 3.44 mm, Fluorescence None, Girdle Thin to slightly thick

Blue Nile II - 2297, Carat 0.51, Cut Ideal, Colour D,VVS2, Polish Excellent,Symmetry Very Good, L/W Ratio 1, Grading Report GIA, Depth % 62.6, Table % 56,5.13 x 5.15 x 3.22 mm , Fluorescence None, Girdle Thin to medium

CSS I - 4400, Carat 0.7, Colour F, VS1, Polish Very Good,Symmetry Very Good, Grading Report GIA, Depth % 62, Table % 56, Fluorescence Faint

CSS II - 3420, Carat 0.5, Colour F, VS1, Polish Very Good,Symmetry Very Good, Grading Report GIA, Depth % 62, Table % 59, Fluorescence None

Setting costs - 900 at blue Nile and 1500 at CSS

So the premium on the diamond is 1597 and 1123 dollars respectively and a 600 premium on setting.

So net-net the total premium is 2197 for the 0.7 k and 1723 for the 0.5 k

 

Any advice?

 

Thanks

Paulite

Edited by paulite
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I can't really tell what you are looking at. Did you copy and pasted because it is coming out lots of different numbers and sizes. Can you tell us what you are looking at in size, color, clarity and mounting style as well as shape?

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Hi

 

I have done a significant amound of research on diamonds and engagement rings but now have come to the eventual buying decision and am a little unsure of what to do -

 

The choice is between buying a stone from an internet retailer (blue nile) or a reputed store in the DC area (CSS). As expected there is a price difference. I have not yet negotiated but have been told that if I give them my budget they will see what they could do (that is CSS). I have obviously already shared the prices from blue nile with them

 

Also the settings from Blue nile that I like they can get made but again obviously it costs more. I can of course choose regular settings. But what cSS emphasizes is building a long term relationship and being there in case of problems etc. They do have an excellent reputation for service.

 

But since this is my first time in the jewellery market is the premium of 2200 dollars or 1700 dollars worth it? What should I negotiate for to be an acceptable premium or should I just go with blue nile?

 

the details are below...advice will be sincerely appreciated

 

Blue Nile I Blue Nile II CSS I CSS II Price 2803 2297 4400 3420 Carat 0.71 0.51 0.7 0.5 Cut Very Good Ideal

 

Colour E D F F Clarity VS2 VVS2 VS1 VS1 Polish Excellent Excellent Very Good Very Good Symmetry Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good L/W Ratio 1.01 1

 

Grading Report GIA GIA

 

Depth % 59.4 62.6 62% 62% Table % 58 56 56% 59% Measurements 5.76 x 5.82 x 3.44 mm 5.13 x 5.15 x 3.22 mm

 

Fluorescence None None Faint None Girdle Thin to slightly thick Thin to Medium

 

Cutlet none None

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mounting 900 900 1500 1500

 

 

 

 

Total 3703 3197 5900 4920 Premium on Diamond

 

1597 1123 Premium on Setting

 

600 600 Total Premium

 

2197 1723

Thanks

Paulite

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David,

 

Union definitely carries some inventory and I'm pretty sure James Allen does too. Lately, even Blue Nile does. I don't know a whole lot about Mondera. It's not correct to say that these dealers have never seen the subject stone. They MAY have never seen it but they may own it and have it in inventory. The straightforward way to tell is to ask them.

 

Paulite,

 

Financing is a separate and unrelated transaction to the diamond purchase. There's no compelling reason to bundle them together and, in general, that bundling gets you a worse deal on both. Most of the Internet diamond dealers are prepared to accept payment with a Visa and there are tons of banks falling all over themselves to loan money to creditworthy people through that approach. It's not even really necessary that the merchant accept credit cards although I generally recommend paying this way anyway because of the purchase protection you get from the cc company.

 

www.bankrate.com is a good way to shop them against one another.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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David,

 

Union definitely carries some inventory and I'm pretty sure James Allen does too. Lately, even Blue Nile does. I don't know a whole lot about Mondera. It's not correct to say that these dealers have never seen the subject stone. They MAY have never seen it but they may own it and have it in inventory. The straightforward way to tell is to ask them.

 

 

Neil

If you can say this from personal experience, Neil, I would never question your word.... however the sites in question certainly do not look as if they have a diamond. It's well known that the blue Nile business model does not include them owning any diamonds

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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I’ve asked questions of both of these vendors that could only be answered with the stone in hand so, yes, I have personal experience. Union, by the way, is a retail jewelry store in Atlanta. Their internet site is an expansion to a national audience but they are still fundamentally a jewelry store.

 

My evidence that BN is carrying inventory is from reading the financial press. Their reported inventory has gone from close to zero in 2000 to $9M in 2005 to $22M in 2007. That’s about diamonds. They still like to force their suppliers to carry their inventory for them and most of their listings are still from the virtual database but they are becoming more and more like a traditional jeweler, even as the traditional jewelers are struggling to become more and more like them.

 

Neil

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Stretching the truth in an SEC filing is not the same thing as writing an advertisement or a press release with a bit of fluff. You may be right, that may be something else but $22,000,000 is quite a bit of inventory for an outfit that doesn't carry inventory, wouldn't you say?

 

Neil

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Do they have the stones in stock, on premises, or have they simply committed to them? Maybe the stock they own is the stones they've sold.

Verifying their inventory is totally impossible. Especially since there's no evidence on the site...such as photographs.

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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Photographs aren’t actually very good evidence either way but I agree that inventory can be held in a variety of different ways. I haven’t really looked at their books very carefully since I’m not a stockholder (did you know that I’m a recovering accountant?) and I suppose it may have to do with something different entirely but their ‘signature’ series does have some significant signs of ownership. The biggest is the GCAL documents that show the Blue Nile logo etched on the girdle. I know very few suppliers who would allow this to be done to a virtual stone, even by a large client.

 

Neil

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Very good points, Neil.

Photographs do not necessarily indicate ownership either......however photos do tell at least some of the story. This can be true in a positive, or negative sense.

 

There's no question that BN has a very large footprint, and likely does control some diamonds to a certain extent. But that does not mean they have them on premises

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They’ve got $22,000,000 worth of something that they call inventory. I think this is clearly going to be mostly diamonds. There just aren’t any other reasonable choices given what they sell. They also reported $351M in sales for 2007 so this only represents a little over 3 weeks worth of supply so this is not exactly an unreasonable ratio. How much of that $351m was sold from inventory and how much was drop shipped is, of course, secret. Even though $22M seems like a huge number, in practice this ratio is extremely low. Tiffany & Co., for example, reported $2.6 billion in sales with $1.2 billion in inventory. That’s over 5 months worth. Zale Corp. reported 2007 sales of 2.4B with 1.0B in inventory. Even these are relatively low numbers. Most jewelers are closer to a year when they do this calculation (which is a huge mistake on the part of the jewelers and a large part of the reason they aren’t more profitable businesses by the way).

 

Neil

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Neil

 

Thanks for all your input. It reassures me tremendously.

 

David - In the meanwhile I contacted excel diamonds like you suggested - identifying a comparable stone from their website. I shot them an email and left them a voicemail asking about photos, more details on the diamond and all the other stuff. Barry (and I think that was the name of the person you too had mentioned) did reply with a short email answering my insurance and financing queries but nothing on the stone, alternatives or what they would suggest I do. Basically I was referred back to the website. What I also did was write the same questions to blue nile - they responded at length answering every question I had raised and suggested i look at two other stones cheaper and better that they have in their inventory. Frankly since they are an internet retailer i did not expect much from them while Excel since they have a store - I thought would be more responsive. Sometimes one can be surprised. And if Excel is not interested in my business...after all i wrote to them saying this is what i want and how much i can pay etc then frankly i don't have much of a choice do I?

 

The advantage that excel have where they say they can send a stone to an appraiser and have a customer look at it is strong - but they need to make that sale - and not just by documenting it on the website - but by writing back to a customer who is interested and saying yes we can when do you want to see it give us a call - not please look at the website.

 

I don't buy the photo theory - I have seem lots and lots of them on other sites on the internet and they don't add anything to my purchase. Its not like really looking at it live...

 

Well I am still looking at making a decision. I have also been contacted by whiteflash so anything furtehr both of you or anybody else can add would be great.

 

Thanks

Ankur

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Cool!

 

Ankur, sounds like you've made up your mind, which is good. Many people do feel that photographs add a lot, especially hi res digital photos.

I would be interested in seeing the type of photos you saw that you felt were meaningless.

 

If BN has earned your business , good for them!

 

I am not a big believer in the sales and inventory reports published by companies.

There are so many ways to interpret numbers.

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Glad I could be of help.

 

Don't neglect to get it appraised. Despite the hairsplitting discussion above, I agree with David that it's highly likely that you are the first person to actually have the opportunity to look at the stone since it left the lab and you're definitely the first one who doesn't have a vested interest in selling it. One of the bright things at BN is that they give you 30 days to do with it as you wish. Don't waste it. Assuming it meets with your approval, get it checked out by a pro who is working for you, not for the seller.

 

Neil

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Ankur;

 

We are interested in earning the business of anyone who contacts us.

 

Your question to me was regarding my opinion of a "Virtual Diamond" that is listed on our website, listed by a manufacturer that sends the data directly to our website. The diamond is not owned by us and not physically in house so we have no way of giving you our evaluation/opinion.

 

These "Virtual Diamond" product pages contain an excellent Video by Judah and accompanying text which clearly details how we handle these kinds of diamonds. There is also a clearly marked "Request More Info" button prominently displayed in the center of the page which can be filled out and submitted to us. We then contact the mfg and have the diamond sent to us for evaluation on your behalf. There is no charge to you. We do not drop-ship and do not blindly recommend stones sight unseen and just based off the data on the lab report.

 

You can certainly avail yourself of this service and we look forward to hearing from you.

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They’ve got $22,000,000 worth of something that they call inventory. I

 

Neil

 

It's probably mostly mountings that they put the virtual diamond listing into.

 

Some of it is surely that but actually a fair amount of those are ‘virtual’ as well. When someone buys a stone and requests it be set into a particular mounting, they have the stone supplier send the stone to the manufacturer or importer of the mounting who sets it up, ships it out and bills them for the mounting and the service. The result is that they don’t actually have to buy it until it sells, just like with the diamonds. Rather like the diamonds, the photograph you see on their website isn’t of the actual ring you’re buying, it’s a sample. I’m sure they do have an inventory somewhere with a few bench workers attached to it for setting, sizing, repairing and the like but $22M is quite a lot of inventory for this sort of thing, even for a big outfit like that. Most of the mountings they sell just aren’t all that expensive. Maybe one of these days I’ll dig through their filings and see what I can find for a breakdown of their inventory. I’ll bet it’s in there. The SEC mandates remarkably detailed filings by public companies like this if anyone is just inclined to read them.

 

Neil

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