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Cdn Looking For Cushion Cut Advice


NeO-AZN
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Hello there,

 

I've been going through this wonderful forum for the past week, and have learned a great deal. I live in Canada, and I am looking to buy from an online retailer from the US (or US based). Somewhere in the forum stated, that I would only be responsible for paying GST (goods and services tax) + PST (provincial services tax), brokerage fees, and shipping and handling. "Blue Nile" confirmed this over the phone (roughly $700 for S/H + tax for a $13000 purchase), however "Adiamor.com" listed the S/H + tax to be around $2300 for the same $13000 purchase (their customer service could not verify the number either). Can someone with experience please confirm who is correct? I read somewhere that some Canadian excise tax was removed in 2006.

 

Now on to the more difficult matter of choosing a cushion cut diamond. The gf has her mind set on this particular cut (in between the round and princess), but from my understanding the only real way to guage the diamond is by viewing. Unfortunately, it appears I won't have that luxury, so I'll have to go with what's provided in the online literature. Ideally, I'd like the "crushed ice" look, as opposed to the step cut (seems to have more sparkle from what I can tell from online pictures). Is there any way to find out which type of cushion it is? I've narrowed my selections down to 4 choices. They are as follows:

 

Selection 1

Carat: 1.91

Color: E

Cut: Very Good

Clarity: VS1

Grade: GIA

Depth: 65.2% Table: 57%

Measurements: 7.87 x 7.76 x 4.41

Fluorescence: Strong (does this matter???)

Price: $15,000

 

Selection 2

Carat: 1.86

Color: E

Cut: Premium

Clarity: VS2

Grade: GIA

Depth: 68.2% Table: 57%

Measurements: 7.19 x 6.66 x 4.54

Fluorescence: Faint

Price: $13,000

 

Selection 3 (Cushion Modified Brilliant...is this different than other cushions?)

This one has a picture (looks like a princess): http://www.exceldiamonds.com/diamond/179544.html

Carat: 1.8

Color: F

Cut: N/A

Clarity: VS1

Grade: GIA

Depth: 66.8% Table: 64%

Measurements: 7.14 x 7.02 x 4.69

Fluorescence: None

Price: $15,000

 

Selection 4

Carat: 1.77

Color: F

Cut: N/A

Clarity: VVS1

Grade: GIA (Canadian Diamond)

Depth: 69% Table: 62%

Measurements: 6.91 x 6.78 x 4.68

Fluorescence: None

Price: 16,000

 

The chosen diamond would end up with a halo setting similar to the image here: http://www.dbof.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=58949

(I believe they said a radiant cut was used in the above example).

 

Speaking of radiant cuts, is similar to a cushion? In general, does it have more brilliance and fire? Can this be more easily purchased without viewing? The gf may like this as an alternative.

 

Thanks in advance for any insights you may have. I look forward to being further educated.

 

Regards,

 

J

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Yikes that’s a lot of questions.

 

I’ll do a few and leave a few for others:

 

There was an additional excise tax on diamonds imported into Canada prior to 2006 that was in addition to the taxes you’ve listed. You still owe the GST and the PST. Ring up the customs office and they can tell you exactly what the rates are based on your address.

 

The vendor can, of course, charge whatever they want for ‘handling’ but the shipping fee is going to be based on whatever FedEx charges for shipping and insurance and taxes will be whatever Her Majesty wants to charge. The seller doesn’t get to choose. Many Canadians who are near the border find it more convenient to pick it up at a FedEx station on the US side of a border town and hand carry it through customs rather than deal with the brokers.

 

Most cushion cuts are modified brilliants. ‘Cushion’ refers to the outside shape of the finished stone. ‘Brilliant’ refers to the facet arrangement on the pavilion side where the facets radiate out from a central point or culet. ‘Modified’ means that it is at least slightly different from what the lab has decided is the standard for that particular cut. Step cuts are VERY different. I don’t recall ever seeing a cushion step cut but I suppose it probably exists. To be sure, it would need to be 'modified'.

 

Radiants have an elongated octahedral girdle with a brilliant cut pavilion. ‘Radiant’ is a brand name and the generic versions are usually called cut cornered rectangular modified brilliant.

 

Princess is another brand name and has a square or rectangular outline with brilliant cut pavilion. The generics are called rectangular modified brilliant cuts or square modified brilliant cuts.

 

Neil

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Hi Neil,

 

Thank you for your response. In all honesty, it seems the more I read, the more convoluted the cushion cut is becoming. Ultimately, I hope to get something that looks like the attachment I've included.

 

post-115554-1211349329.jpg

 

Would this be considered and "antique", "modern", or " crushed ice-modified"? It looks like crushed ice to me. Would that be similar to what bluenile is offering?

http://www.bluenile.ca/certs/444/GIA17155850_zoom.jpeg

Also, is the fluorescence being "strong" for this particular cushion going to be a problem given its clarity and color? I understand there is the potential for it to look oily or cloudy...but how bad is that? Should I avoid this?

 

Thanks again for your comments.

 

Regards

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Just an update :)

 

I've confirmed with Canada Customs regarding the purchasing jewellery from the US (online).

 

 

For jewellery, as long as it is manufactured in North America, you are only responsible for paying the GST and PST (if applicable in your province).

 

If it is manufactured anywhere else, an additional 8.5% duty will be applied.

 

Regards,

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Work with a vendor that can get the diamond and photograph/evaluate the diamond for you.

 

Fancy shapes are impossible to decipher from lab grading reports.

 

Two fancy shape diamonds with the same exact numbers can look dramatically different.

 

If you prefer the "crushed ice" look this can be found and ascertained by the vendor via personal examination.

 

Good luck.

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Hi NeO-AZN,

I think your questions really highlight the fact that trying to buy a fancy shaped diamond, such as a cushion, totally blind , seems to put the buyer in a very weak position.

Sure, a money back guarantee is a very good thing to have when you purchase- essential.

 

BUT, I wouyld think it's very imporant to make every effort to make sure you won't need to use it.....

Having actual photos of the stones helps a ton.

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Hi NeO-AZN,

I think your questions really highlight the fact that trying to buy a fancy shaped diamond, such as a cushion, totally blind , seems to put the buyer in a very weak position.

Sure, a money back guarantee is a very good thing to have when you purchase- essential.

 

BUT, I wouyld think it's very imporant to make every effort to make sure you won't need to use it.....

Having actual photos of the stones helps a ton.

 

For overseas shoppers this is doubly so and thanks to the ever dropping dollar, we are seeing more and more international clients. As I'm sure you've discovered, the US Internet dealers are currently the most competitive diamond market in the world. Even if the jeweler is 100% cooperative with returns, it's decidedly inconvenient and a bit on the expensive side to deal with it because of dealing with customs, brokers, higher shipping fees et.al. Not to be self serving but many international clients find it worthwhile to hire a US side appraiser to inspect the piece, take pictures, do tests and provide a report BEFORE it even leaves the country.

 

Neil

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Thank you for your comments and advice regarding purchasing the diamond blind. To be honest, I've tried to get the the sales rep from Adiamor and BlueNile to provide actual pictures, but they claim that they are unable to do so. Is that just their policy? I've seen some other establishments who provide actual pictures on their website like "jamesallen" (or provide them as per request), which helps a great deal. Although not listed on their site, the rep from Adiamor also said he had access to the same diamond from BlueNile. Do most jewellers have access to the same inventory? If so, is it possible to contact a jeweller who will do the extra leg work to provide images/specifications/testing and purchase through them instead? Secondly, regarding an appraiser, how would I go about doing that? To be honest, I'm not really even sure where the diamond is coming from...as I suspect BlueNile and Adiamor just "drop ship". Ultimately, I think I would need to have an appraiser here locally check the diamond to verify the quality of the rock.

 

However, regarding two stones I've spoken to reps about, I've gotten a little more information about them.

 

Selection 1

Carat: 1.91

Color: E

Cut: Very Good

Clarity: VS1

Grade: GIA

Depth: 65.2% Table: 57%

Measurements: 7.87 x 7.76 x 4.41

Fluorescence: Strong (was told by rep to avoid strong blue fluor, because this can lead to oily/cloudy appearance. However, in reading numerous threads, only 2% of rocks exhibit this negative quality. Conversely, the blue fluor is said to potentially improve the color by a grade, and exhibit desireable blue sparkle in UV light. Any thoughts or comments?)

Polish: Excellent (does this do anything?)

Symmetry: Very Good (how important is this? is it as important as cut?)

Price: $15,000

 

Selection 2

Carat: 1.86

Color: E

Cut: Premium

Clarity: VS2

Grade: GIA

Depth: 68.2% Table: 57%

Measurements: 7.19 x 6.66 x 4.54 (I was informed everything about the diamond looked good, however it is "top heavy" above the girdle. What kind of problem will this entail...improper reflection/refraction of light...less sparkle?)

Fluorescence: Faint

Polish: Very Good (does this do anything?)

Symmetry: Good (how important is this? is it as important as cut?)

Price: $13,000

 

Thanks again for everyone's input. I look forward to learning more from you all.

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I see you used one of the pictures from our website. :) We can get the same diamonds that are listed on Blue Nile etc, if you see one of interest. The difference is that we will actually get the stone in and take photos etc for you so you don't have to buy in the blind. Can maybe offer you some alternatives as well. We also have a very generous upgrade policy in the future. Please contact me if interested in being able to have some knowledge on the diamond you are purchasing rather than buying in the blind with a few numbers.

 

In looking at your choices, the 1.86 has quite a bit of girdle variance and that is why the heavily discounted price. The very thin to extremely thick on the girdle shows that not a lot of time was taken in cutting the stone. You have to be very careful trying to buy on paper only because you can get a stone with a huge bow tie effect on a cushion that will ruin the overall brightness of the stone as per the example below.

 

post-10-1211454646_thumb.jpg

 

 

P.S. There are other possible choices in the range that are not listed on Blue Nile and the other site. :)

Edited by jan
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One of the curses of jewelry stores is the cost of inventory. There are SO many different combinations of weight/shape/quality and each one costs SO much money that it’s easy for a store owner to tie up their entire lifes savings and still only have a selection that you would consider to be pitiful, especially if what you’re looking for is even slightly outside of the ordinary. The solution to this is a system called ‘memorandum’. When you go into a store looking for something that they don’t have in the safe, they’ll tell you to come back in a day or two and they’ll borrow one or more in from their suppliers. They make their presentation and, if you buy it, they take their cut and pay off the seller. If you don’t buy it they return the stone and call it even. It works pretty well and it allows lots of jewelers to effectively share the same inventory in stores that otherwise may be quite different both in location and style of business. At the same time, it gives the suppliers a broader base of potential customers to show their goods to. Car dealers and other merchants of expensive goods will often use a similar system.

 

The Internet had carried this to the next level. Instead of actually delivering stones to the stores for potential sale, the suppliers can just deliver a list of what they have at any particular moment and the stores, instead of showing you actual stones can just pass through this list. This is how a relatively small company can offer a billion dollars worth of stones for sale without being buried in the financial ramifications of holding that sort of inventory.

 

Not every dealer deals with every supplier and visa versa so you find certain stones that will be exclusively on one or two sites and others that seem to be everywhere at the same time. Obviously, if the dealer doesn’t have the stone they have no way of telling you what they really think of it, they can’t take a picture of it, the can’t look at it with a brilliancescope an ASET, a Sarin or anything else. What they have for information is whatever the supplier gave them. It’s worth noting that the smart suppliers are learning fast. They can take pictures and include them in the list as well. This is amplified by the fact that taking good pictures is actually fairly difficult and it these suppliers are in a far better position than most dealers to both buy the equipment and develop the skills to do it well. In some since, this is progress but there’s a trap here as well.

 

You CAN’T grade a stone from a photo, even a good one. It will tell you a bit about the shape, facet design, etc. but, other than really bad cases it won’t tell you which one is the prettiest, which has the best light return, which shows the most fire or any such thing. You have to look at it with an experienced eye and this is what you are relying on the dealer for. A dealer supplied photo is fundamentally an advertisement that is designed to SELL THE STONE. Ads are ok when they are taken in context but they are not impartial information and it’s terribly important to consider the source. If a dealer tells you ‘I inspected the stone, saw something interesting or useful and here’s a photo to help explain what I’m talking about’, you’ve learned something useful. If they tell you ‘here’s a terrific photo, possibly altered, taken by someone somewhere and it looks pretty good to me’, you’ve learned far less. This is true whether or not the photo is skillfully done. If what they show you is a photo of a ‘sample’ stone that might look sort of like the one you are considering, you’ve learned nothing at all other than, perhaps, that the dealer didn’t understand the question.

 

The key is in the dealer. I agree with the above advisors who are telling you that dealers are not interchangeable, even if they’re talking about some of the same stones. You can use the offers from one to beat up another on price, terms or whatever but that’s just a negotiation tactic. In the end, it really does make a difference who you are buying from and some make the process far less painful and far less risky.

 

This also leads to one of the key differences between what a dealer tells you and what you get from an independent appraiser. An appraiser working for you is NOT producing an advertisement. We get paid the same whether you buy the stone or not. As with the dealers, all appraisers are not the same and, in practice, the difference between the good ones and the duds is even more extreme. It's also worth noting that a report from a appraiser working for the seller is decidedly not the same thing.

 

Neil

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I would be glad to place a bet ( if I was a gambling man) that NO 1.91 E/VS1 well cut, with a GIA report, will be possible to buy for $15,000 from amdealer.

We've had so many people looking on these lists- they find two seemingly identical stones- one being as much as 50% more than the other.

Call for the less expensive one, and.... what do you know? It's not there!

 

You might not even find out a diamond is not available till after you purchase it!

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