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Diamond Newbie. Pls Help


Marco
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I've read all the tutorials and I would feel more comfortable if some of the experts on here would help point me in the right direction on iamdonds. I am looking for a 2 carat diamond and my budget is between 9-12K. Not sure how accurate this is or not, but I was told I could find a 1.75 carat that would look identical side by side with a 2 carat but would be able to get a higher quality stone. Opinions? Any help would be great!

Edited by Marco
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You’re pushing some boundaries pretty hard. At an aggressive dealer, $12k will get you into a 2.0x/J/SI2/GIA/VG cut but it’s tight. $9k is out of the question.

 

There is a considerable premium at 2.0+ and if this isn’t important to you, one of the ways to get a better price or a better grade is to come down a little bit in size. I wouldn't say they are identical but 1.75 is a perfectly respectable size and most people want to move up a bit in the grading.

 

Neil

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You’re pushing some boundaries pretty hard. At an aggressive dealer, $12k will get you into a 2.0x/J/SI2/GIA/VG cut but it’s tight. $9k is out of the question.

 

There is a considerable premium at 2.0+ and if this isn’t important to you, one of the ways to get a better price or a better grade is to come down a little bit in size. I wouldn't say they are identical but 1.75 is a perfectly respectable size and most people want to move up a bit in the grading.

 

Neil

 

Thank you for your reply. When I was searching for 2 carat diamonds on bn and union, there were a few that came in at under 12 with a premium/si1/g gia rating. Where you referring to if I did not buy online?

Edited by Marco
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just copy the code from the address bar and paste it.

 

Neil

 

hehe....u can't copy union diamond links it looks like.

here is the bn

 

http://www.bluenile.com/diamond-search?fil...bmitType=resume

 

put union infront of the diamond in the url.

http://www.diamond.com/diamonds/diamonds.p...e_id=6&form[item_id][]=AB155629&form[item_id][]=AB123987&form[item_id][]=AB145569&form[item_id][]=AB154892&form[item_id][]=AB111865&form[item_id][]=AA525611&form[item_id][]=AB090369

Edited by Marco
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You just linked the BN search engine. For example, here is a stone chosen more or less at random from blue nile. If you click on the ‘view/ select’ button of the stone you’re considering from the page you linked to, it’ll take you to a page about that particular stone. Copy and paste the address bar from the stone that interests you.

 

http://www.bluenile.com/round-diamond-1-ca...amp;filter_id=0

 

Neil

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Your Union links aren’t working for me but it doesn’t really matter and I don't want to mess with them. Unfortunately, GIA doesn’t provide cut information on their reports on princesses and that makes the shopping process based on the GIA information alone something of a crapshoot. You can get a clue to the face up shape based on the l/w ratio but basically all you’ve got weight, color and clarity. BN uses a lab called GCAL for their cut grading and they list those stones under their ‘signature ideal’ brand. These grades are non-standard but they are at least a statement from the vendor that SOMEONE has looked at it and liked it. As far as I can tell, the Good-Very Good toggle that gets assigned to their more ‘generic’ stones is done without anyone actually looking at the stone and without any information beyond the major dimensions so I wouldn't recommend putting much stake in it. The term 'premium' from Union is equally useless.

 

As I recall, Union sells some stones from AGSL, which has a grading scale for princesses that’s pretty good at the top (meaning a stone graded ‘ideal’ is likely to be lovely, but a stone graded, say, 8/10 ,may or may not be a dog. In reality you never see anything from AGSL below a 1/10 anyway because the dealers will use a different lab so the effect is that ‘ideal’ is going to be pretty good and there isn’t anything else in the marketplace with one of their reports).

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Even the L/W ratio is meaningless in terms of assessing face up beauty. You want a square diamond defined as a L/W ratio not exceeding 1.05:1 but this tells you nothing about the face-up optical properties and light performance of the stone.

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Although I don't have any idea what they base it on and therefore give it very little credence, , the Union scale for cut grading princess cuts goes:

 

Fair - Good - Very Good - Premium - Select Ideal

 

As far as I can find, they don't explain it on their site other than to say that SI is the top.

 

The BN scale goes:

 

Good - Very Good, with a separate category for Signature Ideal that seems to be a subset of VG and it's less of a cut grade than a statement that they own the stone. That is to say, the same stone from a 3rd party source would be graded VG. The difference between G and VG seems to be based on the depth percentage, l/w ratio and table size but it looks to me like it might as well be based on a coin flip. As with the above, they provide no details.

 

Neil

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Although I don't have any idea what they base it on and therefore give it very little credence, , the Union scale for cut grading princess cuts goes:

 

Fair - Good - Very Good - Premium - Select Ideal

 

As far as I can find, they don't explain it on their site other than to say that SI is the top.

 

The BN scale goes:

 

Good - Very Good, with a separate category for Signature Ideal that seems to be a subset of VG and it's less of a cut grade than a statement that they own the stone. That is to say, the same stone from a 3rd party source would be graded VG. The difference between G and VG seems to be based on the depth percentage, l/w ratio and table size but it looks to me like it might as well be based on a coin flip. As with the above, they provide no details.

 

Neil

 

thank you guys for your help, but now i'm confused on what to do ;)

any recommendations?

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Go into it with the understanding that you are not choosing a diamond, you are choosing which one(s) are worth taking a further look at and which dealer you would like to be working with. THEN you will choose a diamond. The advantage of the locals is that this process is much faster and the advantage of the long distance people is that prices are usually better and the selection is easy to navigate. Both of the dealers you picked are reputable outfits, the stones look promising, and the prices look reasonable so you really are on the right track. There’s a certain expectation from shoppers that they can choose one from a list and be done with it and although this does indeed often work, it’s a mistake to go into it assuming that this will be the case. Little things that you didn’t think of can turn out to be important and you won’t know it until you or your chosen expert looks at it. One approach (one that I favor for obvious reasons) is to hire your own expert to evaluate the stone and another is to buy from a dealer who includes a personal expert examination as part of the sale. Some will do both. Some will do neither. I sincerely believe that expert assistance by the dealer, your appraiser or both will result in getting more for your money not only in terms of the diamond but also with the mounting and assembly process and the documentation; it will result in a more satisfactory shopping experience and it will result in better value out of your insurance when it’s all over.

 

Neil

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My advice for a shopping strategy:

 

1) Go look at diamonds, in person, at a variety of stores. Get a feel for what’s important to you in terms of size, shapes, color, clarity and cutting. Read up on the Internet tutorials and on the various dealer’s websites to learn the language used to describe diamonds. While you’re at it, look at rings, not just diamonds and get a feel for what you like in terms of design.

 

2) Set a budget and set parameters for what you want. Use the big Internet search engines and the information you learned in step #1 to realistically set your budget for whatever it is you’re looking for.

 

3) Choose a dealer you want to work with who communicates well with you in a style that suits you. Some customers prefer al face-to-face deal and others do well online. Some people like working with a big ‘machine’ while others prefer to work with small boutique type shops. It’s a personal decision. Neither is ‘better’ but it’s important to find the right fit.

 

4) Ask your chosen dealer for their expert advice. Tell them your parameters, including the budget, and see what they recommend.

 

5) Order one in. If it’s local, pick one up.

 

6) Immediately get it inspected appraised by your chosen independent expert. You’re looking for information that wasn’t present in the sales presentation and things that don’t match what you were told. Ask lots of questions and tell them what areas concern you or where you are confused about something the salesperson told you. If it fails this test and you think it was misrepresented, return the stone and go back to step #3. If it fails for reasons other than misrepresentation, go back to step #4.

 

7) Repeat 3-6 as needed to get to the perfect stone.

 

8) Send or hand deliver the stone to your chosen ring designer. This may be back to the same store where you got it (in fact I recommend this if they can do it) or it may be a 3rd party. This decision will be based on your shopping experience way back in step #1. As with the diamond, use the expert advice of your jeweler to your advantage and make sure that you’ve got a design that will work with the stone you’ve chosen. If they agree it will work, commit to the stone and use the report from the first appraisal to bind an insurance policy. If not, rethink either the stone, the design or both until you end up with a combination that works.

 

9) Get it appraised again. This time you’re looking for craftsmanship details about the mounting, damage to the stone(s) and documentation on the finished product. If there’s any problem, it goes back to the jeweler for rework and then again with an inspection. When it passes this quality control step, get the whole thing in writing and with photographs and ‘update’ the appraisal on file with your insurance company to the complete and accurate item.

 

10) Make your presentation. You've covered all your bases, you're fully protected and every step has had two experts (the jeweler and the appraiser) who are independent of each other.

 

Neil

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I agree with some of what Neil says- but there are a few things I disagree with.

Using Neil's plan requires a potential shopper to add the cost of two appraisals to the cost of the ring.

Not that I would discourage anyone from seeking the assistance of a professional appraiser- BUT- for many people, it's not an easy task finding a trustworthy appraiser.

Besides that, picking the dealer is the most important aspect of shopping for a diamond- and where I feel the maximum effort should be applied.

It's crucial to find a dealer who's both trustworthy, as well as knowledgeable.

Bottom line is that a great appraiser might identify a problem, no appraiser is going to "fix" the problem of a bad dealer.

 

I also feel very strongly that buying the diamond and ring from the same seller is also extremely important- especially with a princess cut. A princess cut has 90degree corners which is one of the most touchy setting jobs.

If you are buying both ring and diamond from the same vendor, and they break a corner during setting, it's their problem. Buy a diamond, take it to someone else to set it and the problem is yours. Not that breakage is all that common, but there's also the look of the finished ring.

If you buy the ring and diamond separately, what if you don't like the result? Who's responsible?

 

Picking a dealer is not brain surgery- most people have a pretty good sense of intuition.

Talk to the potential seller- in addition to checking them out thoroughly- and find one you are comfortable with.

 

Barry brought up a good point- buying a princess cut without at least some good digital photos seems risky.

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Blue Nile and Union use only table and depth when they put stones that they never see in their own cut grade parameters.

 

On purchasing a stone of this size, I would want someone to do a visual examination for me if it were my money. Especially in the SI grades to make sure the stone is eye clean first of all and getting some light performance info would be great as well.

 

We actually inspect every diamond that we sell before we even ship it to our consumers as well as run light performance analysis and our clients also get a 100% upgrade in the future.

 

Prices are similar to BN but you get more service and an upgrade in the future. In fact most of the stones that they list are available to us as well and then some that they don't even list too.

Edited by jan
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Cool Jan!

 

Of course we can also offer just about any stone shoppers find on Blue Nile- many other sellers can as well.

 

 

We also have many exclusive stones which we own, and can't be found elsewhere. We have extensive photography, as well as videos on every stone we offer.

 

We also offer trade up privileges, and world class mounting for the diamonds we sell.

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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David,

 

6) Immediately get it inspected appraised by your chosen independent expert. You’re looking for information that wasn’t present in the sales presentation and things that don’t match what you were told. Ask lots of questions and tell them what areas concern you or where you are confused about something the salesperson told you. If it fails this test and you think it was misrepresented, return the stone and go back to step #3. If it fails for reasons other than misrepresentation, go back to step #4.

Neil

I’m not surprised we disagree and this step seems to be the one you consider optional. In an ideal world I would agree with you. The problem is that most jewelry buyers who ask this sort of questions are first time purchasers and have NOT established a relationship with a jeweler they know and trust. Otherwise they would be talking to their jeweler about it. Even worse, many are buyers who have been burned before and are looking for a new dealer to fill the shoes of the one(s) they’re unhappy with. Slick advertising abounds and it’s remarkably difficult to tell the difference between the good and the bad without a bit of experience, something that almost everyone lacks. They ALL say they are fabulous and although there are certainly some clues to go by in choosing one, a shopper doesn’t really know ‘til the deal is done, if even then. The solution, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, is to ‘trust but verify’.

 

High quality appraisers are as close as the Internet and FedEx if there’s not one in the neighborhood. It’s not just diamond dealers who have expanded their territories via the Internet. Rather like diamonds, the appraisal business has changed radically in the last few years and consumers are no longer limited to local suppliers.

 

Neil

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We agree on most points Neil.

The problem is there, no question, some people get ripped off. Some overtly, and some in more subtle ways.

In a huge percentage of cases where consumers want to sell us a diamond they are under the impression their diamond is "certified" when there's no GIA or AGSL report.

 

My point is that just as a percentage of diamond sellers are bad, so are a percentage of appraisers.

If a person is smart enough to pick the dealer well, an appraiser is a secondary concern.

 

Again- not to slight an appraiser's job- which covers a lot of territory.

I just feel that at the time of purchase, the buyer has to make absolutely sure they are comfortable with the seller. Before they send the money.

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My point is that just as a percentage of diamond sellers are bad, so are a percentage of appraisers.

 

I would even go so far as to say that ‘appraisers’ are often worse than jewelers although most of the problem ones are first and foremost something else (jeweler, diamond dealer, pawnshop, etc.) and are doing appraisals either as a sideline or, even worse, as support for their primary business. This raises an important question though. Why would anyone want to pay for information that they can otherwise get for free?

 

The value lies in the reliability of the source as it relates to the client. I can’t tell you how often I’ll have two people come into my lab and ask about the grading on a particular stone. They aren’t interested in my opinion on ‘value’ but are resolving a dispute over grading, say a VS2/SI1 or a G/H call. Often both parties are experts themselves and are trying to make a deal. They usually don't say but it's obvious enough what's going on. If I say VS2, the deal usually happens and if I call it SI1 it’ll go south. If I turn out to agree with the seller, does this mean that my services weren’t valuable? The seller already ‘knew’ this and he/she already gave away the information for free after all. It holds the same value as when you visit your doctor for a checkup even though you’re feeling healthy and she says you’re fine. She’s charging you to tell you something you already knew.

 

What if I call it SI1 and it kills the deal? The buyer will feel like they've dodged a bullet and will be pleased with the visit and the seller will, of course, be annoyed at me, but what next? For starters the seller will become less agreeable to using me as an arbiter in the future and they are likely to send the stone to THEIR chosen expert whom they then pay for information that they presumably already knew. That’s what leads to all of these ‘certified’ stones and it provides ‘evidence’ that I’m wrong. The sellers want you to listen to their guy and they will to hire someone who will say what they want said. The next time they have a buyer for that stone it’s going to come with a pedigree that they had the opportunity to review and possibly bury in advance, before the buyer ever sees it. Does this make the stone any better? It has if it undermines and eliminates the above process it certainly increases the chances of a sale, which is the reason the seller was willing to pay for it, but it hasn’t changed the stone one bit and it certainly hasn't done much good for the buyer, even if the information presented turns out to be correct.

 

What if the appraiser *IS* wrong, or even worse, lying to pursue an outside agenda (like getting you to buy something from THEM instead of your chosen supplier)? That’s the worry of the sellers when a decision is going to be made based on an opinion by unknown appraiser and it's a valid worry. For the buyer, a lot of shopping time has been wasted, possibly some shipping costs and, of course, the appraisers fees are down the drain but that’s about the extent of the buyers risk. As annoying as that is, it pales to the loss associated with a serious misrepresentation by a seller. To be sure this possibility is a reason to choose your advisers carefully, just like you should choose your doctor or your attorney carefully, but it’s not a reason to eliminate them from the process.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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I can’t tell you how often I’ll have two people come into my lab and ask about the grading on a particular stone. They aren’t interested in my opinion on ‘value’ but are resolving a dispute over grading, say a VS2/SI1 or a G/H call. Often both parties are experts themselves and are trying to make a deal.

 

Neil, what it sounds as though you are implying is that two dealers ( you used the word "expert, which is slightly ambiguous) come to you to decide what the grade of a diamond is.

In all my years ( 30+) in the wholesale diamond trade, I've never heard of two dealers relying on the grading of an appraiser- dealers will only accept GIA or AGS to determine if a stone is VS2 or SI2.

There were retail jewelers which I used to sell diamonds to that were not experts by any means- in some cases they would have an on staff gemologist to help in purchasing, but never an outside appraiser.

Of course most of the owners of stores would be more inclined to use their own eyes. Dealers need to be able to asses the diamond on their own if they hope to have any level of success.

It's important to point out that the difference between a VS2 and an SI1 is so close that in borderline cases, it's simply an opinion.

In fact sometimes a stone which is re-submitted to GIA for a re-check it will get a different grade than the first time it was examined.

 

Again, I am not lessening the importance of a professional appraiser, I just don't feel that using an appraiser to help purchase a diamond is necessarily the best way to go.

I would never discourage any of our buyers from seeking a second opinion, but I feel that an important part of the service we ( or any seller) offer is providing complete and transparent info on the diamonds sold. If that is that case, and a buyer is even slightly educated, they can should be able to make their own decision.

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