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Rounds -- Most Bang For The Buck?


pfq1982
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Okay, real-life scenario for the experts out there... understanding there is no right answer for everybody, where do you think consumers get the most "bang" for the buck after balancing all the factors?

 

I've heard being a little below the "cut-offs" is good.

 

I've heard many people say sacrificng clarity down to SI1 doesn't compromise much.

 

Color I can see being most subjective, particularly if you have looked at a lot of diamonds... but any steps in color where px change more so than other steps in color?

 

I've heard getting a VG cut vs. an EXC cut can be good if you can't tell the difference in brilliance.

 

If all I want is the sparkliest thing at the cheapest price (leave color alone for now), any suggestions how to proceed? I know this may be a sensitive question for people that sell diamonds, but I hope I can get some honest answers. Thanks a ton. I've visited jewellers every weekend for the past month and can't bring myself to drop that kind of money without having 100% confidence I'm getting the most for it.

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LOL -- thanks Denver. Replace "thing" with diamond!

 

A second thought -- I'm willing to pay a resonable premium to buy in person vs. BN, but not an unreaonably one. As such, what do you think about asking a dealer how the price compares to Rap, bargain that I'm only willing to pay 5-10% discount to Rap, then ask them to prove whatever they say the px is relative to rap as a way to see if I can trust them? I don't want to get ripped off just because I'm not using Blue Nile or Union Diamond. Thoughts on that approach?

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Everyone wants that, and only you get to decide what’s a ‘reasonable’ price for their additional value. I don’t recommend using Rap as a baseline because there are too many zingers in terms of cutting and grading accuracy and because a reasonable discount is not consistent across all grades. You’re just not comparing apples to apples this way ant the result is far too often a crappy stone with good looking papers that can be sold at a steep discount. You are far better off using the online dealers like you’ve mentioned as a source for comparable offers. Pick some specific stones that you feel are comparable and that are available for sale rather than some general concept of what a stone ‘should’ cost. Your jeweler may or may not be willing to match the prices but it’ll nail down quickly what their premium is and they’ll need to get right to the issue of what it is about their offer that makes it better than their competition, in this case BN, Union or whoever.

 

Neil

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Thanks Neil, that makes a lot of sense. Any tips on looking at the GIA reports to try and weed out which ones might not be "comparable"? I see significant price differences for stones that have similar Cut grade, color, clairty, etc. But depth, tables, crown angles, pav angles, pav %, etc. differ. Is this the likely source of price differences? Or do some placements / flaws on the symbol diagram tend to warrant more of a discount than another. What are some of those zingers you mentioned?

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The biggest zinger is that a diamond is a complex object which a report describes only in part, and with considerable inaccuracy as far as optical performance is concerned.

 

I think you have basically three routes:

 

1. You can trust GIA or AGSL with their cut grades - which is a reasonable start, but not a guarantee

 

2. You can trust "technological" results (from ASET to ISEE2/Gemex in complexity) to come up with a standardized - if relatively limited - view of optical performance. Limited in the sense that because it is standardized it only looks at the amount of light returned under certain conditions (e.g. angles, light spectra, sensitivity to differences), although some of the measured differences may well be beyond the discriminating ability of the human eye, and not everybody likes the same sort of pattern/brilliance.

 

3. Use your eyes, and start from the assumption that largely you will get what you pay for (as long as you choose reputable sellers) in terms of the "absolute" beauty of the stone

 

In terms of clarity, using the plots is worse than useless. They are a 2D view using symbols and conventional colours of a 3D object where relatively small changes in colour, shape and placement can make a lot of difference.

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Thanks Neil, that makes a lot of sense. Any tips on looking at the GIA reports to try and weed out which ones might not be "comparable"? I see significant price differences for stones that have similar Cut grade, color, clairty, etc. But depth, tables, crown angles, pav angles, pav %, etc. differ. Is this the likely source of price differences? Or do some placements / flaws on the symbol diagram tend to warrant more of a discount than another. What are some of those zingers you mentioned?

As long as you don’t go over one of the important weight boundaries like 1.00cts, I think you’ll find that GIA/Ex/Ex/Ex of the same clarity and color will be within about a 15% range of one another in the same market segment (like the online dealers who compete with one another) and most will be even closer than that. Internal to this the difference mostly has to do with the additional services that some dealers offer over others, the amount that they are charging you for their services, and a certain amount of luck where they got a good deal and are passing it along (or they are overpaying and passing THAT along).

 

Fluorescence trades at a discount. Branding trades at a premium. Extra things like more and better information, tradeup programs, 'free' setting services and the like tend to drive the prices up. By the way, this is one of the benefits of the approach I'm suggesting. If you give your chosen jeweler a firm offer on a real stone to beat, they are now in the position of telling you specifically what it is about theirs that's better or what about the other is deficient rather than making a theoretical argument.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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