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Trusting The Jeweler


Locke
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So I'm in the market for a 3 carat diamond, or as close to it as Canadian$30,000 will get me.

Because of my maximum price, I'll have to relax color (I to K) and clarity (SI1) to fit my budget. Or I might shrink the carat a little to get i/VS2 if K/SI1 just don't look good enough.

 

So far one local jeweler I liked has offered to bring in 3 stones for free (ie: I can refuse them all and still pay nothing). Others either won't do it, or require a 20% deposit on each diamond! If I use internet jewelers, I'll have to pay duty/taxes and wait for the government to refund me on any diamonds I refuse.

 

I'll have to see the diamonds in person with my girlfriend since I'm really pushing it the specs, so this means I'll probably need a local jeweler.

 

I don't know any jewelers, so I don't have anyone I can "trust". My question: If a diamond has a GIA certificate, and the price the jeweler quotes is in line with the market, can anything else go wrong? What should I look out for in this case?

 

After I buy the diamond and it's mounted, can an appraiser still evaluate it properly? How does this work, anyways? If the appraiser says "This diamond doesn't match the certificate or it's damaged", how do I know if the jeweler or the appraiser pocketed/damaged it? How would either of them know *I* didn't pocket/damage it?

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If a diamond has a GIA report, you are buying from a reputable dealer, the price is in line with the market and you like it, the only thing that can go wrong is if you drop it in a drain cover once you get out of the store. ;)

 

Kidding aside - the main question is whether you (and you GF) like it, and you know that you are playing trade-offs on colour and clarity (and cut) with tight margins. If it were me, I'd definitely drop below the 3.00 carat and get a better cut, clearer stone - the visual difference between 3.00 and 2.80 is NOT noticeable unless you have the two stones next to each other.

 

post-11046-0-44333600-1314977649_thumb.png

 

The two circles above are a typical 3 carat and a typical 2.75 (average diameters of about 20 real stones each). Cost = -40%...

 

Appraisal: for identification and evaluation/insurance replacement purposes, the appraiser can work on the complete ring. If you want a better diagnosis of cut, then you should get the loose stone to the appraiser.

 

Switching or damaging the diamond is rare. Even with a $30k diamond, it's not enough money to justify the loss of reputation (and business) that will unavoidably follow. Symmetrically, if a vendor/appraiser has a good reputation, he/she is not in the business of damaging or switching stones. The vast, vast, majority of them aren't - despite the horror stories. There are much more profitable ways of making money in jewellery than swapping stones - including some which are perfectly legal although ethically so-so. Damage is most likely to happen at the jeweller while setting, so a joint check when the finished ring is first shown to you is a good practice; diamonds are surprisingly sturdy objects, and the chance of one getting damaged during observation or pre-proposal handling is pretty low, as long as one has a bit of common sense.

 

I know this sounds like "industry guff". All I can tell you is that in nearly 15 years of buying jewellery as a collector - not as a professional - I have been caught out four times (out of hundreds of pieces), and in two of those times I could come to a satisfactory arrangement (exchange or refund). The other two times, I simply overpaid and put the overpayment against increased knowledge.

Edited by davidelevi
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Davide--what do you mean by you got "caught" 4 times? You mean someone got one over on you or what?

 

and :

After I buy the diamond and it's mounted, can an appraiser still evaluate it properly? How does this work, anyways? If the appraiser says "This diamond doesn't match the certificate or it's damaged", how do I know if the jeweler or the appraiser pocketed/damaged it? How would either of them know *I* didn't pocket/damage it?

A mounted diamond is harder to evaluate because some of the information that one needs to gathered is hidden/obscured by the setting. You have to estimate the weight from the measurements, inclusions and possible setting damage (although rare!) can be hidden under prongs, as can a laser inscription (if it has one) on the girdle, if they're not paying attention when they set the stone. The best, most accurate evaluation/appraisal/matching to cert is going to be done when the person doing the looking has been given an un-set stone.

I'll pretty much across-board agree with Davide on the rest :)

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I’m not understanding your objective in the appraisal here. There are several different reasons people seek out appraisals on new purchases and they lead to different answers to your questions. Appraisals are not all the same. Here are some sample reasons to get a new purchase appraisal.

 

1)Did I get what I thought I got? That is to say: Is it the correct diamond for the paperwork and is it undamaged since the lab saw it?

 

2) Do you agree with the lab in every detail?

 

3) Did I pay a reasonable price for the marketplace where I made my purchase?

 

4) What would it be reasonably expected to cost to replace it whit another one of like kind and quality in the case of a loss (note that this is similar but not exactly the same as the above questions)?

 

5) Are there any important details about the stone that are not mentioned on the lab report?

 

6) Are there any craftsmanship or quality concerns about the mounting or setting job that I should be concerned about?

 

7) I need documentation of exactly what it is for purposes of replacement in case of a loss.

 

It’s common that your right to return the stone expires as soon as you have it set so if the appraisal is going to be part of your shopping process, have it done while the stone is unmounted and then AGAIN after the job is completed. That’s the way to get maximum assurance. On the other hand, if you are 100% comfortable with the jeweler and what they’ve told you, you’ve seen and love the merchandise, and they are willing to provide a decent description for your insurance purposes then you don’t need an appraisal at all. Where you land between these two depends on your temperament, what the jeweler has told you and what your criteria are like. Only you can answer that. When and how many inspections and what sorts of reporting you need will depend on your answer.

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Davide--what do you mean by you got "caught" 4 times? You mean someone got one over on you or what?

 

Not to put it too kindly, yes. Once I bought something that had been altered severely, and the alterations were undisclosed. Another time, the seller sold me as platinum something that was made of silver. And another two times I simply paid way too much (fine details of pearls and padparashas are difficult to get right without a lot of experience). From a total of about 200 transactions of which about 50 purely online, I'd say it's not too bad, considering that 2 out of 4 were remedied by the seller (one exchange, one refund).

 

I'm simply mentioning this as an example of the fact that many jewellery traders are honest and describe their wares correctly (or at least correctly enough for a consumer willing to learn something about it).

 

Yes, it is scary out there and yes, there are a lot of scammers, but they aren't that difficult to detect and honest dealers aren't that difficult to find either.

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Yep. eBay. 1920s pocket watch chain. Seller with good feedback but not typically selling jewellery. Priced just high enough, right style, unmarked. Of course, having opened the packet it was pretty obvious what it was. Vendor refunded cost and shipping without too much fuss.

 

Locke: apologies for the threadjack.

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Again, thanks for all the great information!

 

My objective for thinking about getting it appraised is (1) to make sure the stone matches its certificate; (2) (maybe) to set a value to insure it; (3) discover any other issues that I may have missed.

 

So I guess it's everyone's recommendation that I get it appraised no matter what after the purchase. But I think I'll only do this after it's set, since I don't want to waste too much time shipping the stone back and forth. My real goal is just to avoid outright fraud and gross misrepresentations.

 

As for the rest, as long as my girlfriend likes it, it will be fine. We're never selling this, and even if we did, the loss of value would be huge no matter how carefully I shop. So I'll just try my best, and hope for the best. At least, thanks to this board and my research, I think I'm ahead of most!

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(1) to make sure the stone matches its certificate;

This is usually pretty easy. Any appraiser will do this and it's not a problem to do with a mounted stone.

 

 

(2) (maybe) to set a value to insure it;

Again, easy. It's not a problem with a mounted stone and it's a standard procedure with nearly every appraiser.

 

 

(3) discover any other issues that I may have missed.

Depending on your issues, this MAY require examining the stone unmounted. H&A symmetry, for example, would not be mentioned on the report and can only be tested with an unmounted stone. Certain other issues associated with the cutting require examining loose but, for the most part, examining mounted is fine. SOME issues, like craftsmanship problems in the mounting or the setting job, require examining it mounted.

Edited by denverappraiser
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