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£4,000 To Spend, 1Ct + Pears Possible? Also Gia/egl Issues. London Or India Purchase?


RlondonUK
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Hi All,

 

I'm new to the forum, naive in the world of buying diamond rings, and with a lovely girlfriend who I hope to make my wife in November.

 

I'm from London UK, and having looked around this forum, I note that it is US based. I'm hoping that you will still be able to help/advise, but if you think that there is a more appropriate UK based forum please let me know.

 

Country to Purchase UK / India?

 

I plan to propose in Goa, India in November. We fly into Mumbai and have a short 2 day stop-over. Some have said to do the ring shopping there as it will be cheaper. However, I'm most nervous about buying such a costly item abroad.

 

My concern is that I would not be able to spot a fake diamond with an accompanying fake certifiate. And being from the UK I think I might be the sort of customer who could be taken advantage of. Also, there is no chance of after-sales etc. I would also want the ring for collection so i would be ordering via the internet, and designing via the internet and would not have much chance to view the diamonds. Further, the proposal is meant to be a surprise, so in all likelyhood I would not be able to go to the jeweller itself. I would instead probably get them to come to the hotel, or something.

 

Ring: Round brilliant with 2 pears for £4,000

 

Assuming it's a UK purchase, I will be purchasing from Hatton Garden, seen as the diamond center of the UK.

 

What I am after is a round brilliant, as a good a cut and carat as possible - ideally 0.9 or 1.00ct. I really want it to sparkle. With a 0.2 pear either side.

 

My budget is £4,000 and for that I've so far been offered 0.8 to 0.85 round brilliants with the pears. In a G colour, VS1 or VS2. Do you guys think I could achieve better?

 

I'm prepared to sacrifice a bit on colour and clarity for cut and carat.

 

The Design

 

Round brilliant, pear either side. Mounted in platinum, to maximise the fire. With a rose gold band.

The round brillaint will be mounted using 4 claws, without a bar across the diamon, to maximise the light and visibility of the diamond. Also my GF is most against bulky settings, including the Tiffany setting.

 

The Jeweller - Hatton Garden

The Hatton Garden jeweller I'm dealing with is helping me design the ring, and it is all being done in-house. A friend bought an engagement ring from the same place, the ring is great and he recommended me to the place.

 

EGL v GIA / non-certified

 

In my budget the 0.80 and 0.85ct rounds have all been EGL. I have read up a fair bit on this, and the general consensus is that GIA certified diamonds are generally worth the extra cost as they are a better diamond than their EGL equivalent. However, a price is also effected by GIA's costing more to certify and taking longer to certify, consequently you can get equivalent EGL's that are lower priced than GIA's, but you need to be able/ need a good jeweller to spot them. - Is that last bit wrong?

 

If anyone has any other general thoughts on all of this, I'd really appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

R

Edited by RlondonUK
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Congratulations on your upcoming engagement.

 

I'll pick an choose a few answers since I'm first out of the gate

 

 

Here's GIA's pricing structure:

http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/fees_payment/lab_fees/index.html

 

It's the same for every customer everywhere. I point it out because you'll notice that for most stones it's between $100-200. That's it. They're quoting 5 weeks right now, which is annoyingly slow but it's not like dimaonds are perishable. EGL is about half their price and twice their speed. I point this out because if you're seeing that EGL or dealer graded stone are cheaper, it's not because of the lab fees. You're doing good to save $100 attributed to that. The difference is in the grading. Sometimes G means G, but sometimes it means J. SI1 might be SI1, or SI2, or I1. These differences are huge and THAT'S the reason that EGL's with similar names appear less expensive.

 

FedEx service from India to UK costs about $50 tops. Less if they ship many stones together. They're easy to pack, they last forever and again, they're not perishable. The market for diamonds is global and has been for decades. It's correct that most diamonds are cut in India but that simply does NOT mean that dealers there are less expensive. They might be, but the location accounts for $50 of a $8000 purchase. That's not even 1%! If you think those guys in India aren't clever enough to figure this out and work out a way of getting them to UK, US, Japan or wherever they can command the highest prices then you are seriously underestimating them and you're right, you would be an easy mark. What makes genuinely comparable diamonds less expensive in one place over another are the dealer and the taxman. Everything else is in the fluff. Shop for your dealer first and the diammond second and you'll find it goes much more smoothly. The taxman is going to get you anyway so it doesn't help much to worry about them. You're Hatton Garden guys probably have some high rent and high labour costs so it's likely that they're more than some of their competitors and it's up to you to decide if they're worth it. Your reasons for buying near home are good and so now you're just haggling over the price. Talk to them about it. If they're not willing to make a competitive enough deal for you, walk away.

 

The cheapest place to buy diamonds from dealers these days is the US internet although some, like Blue Nile, have EU branches that are nearly seamless so you barely recognize them as a US company any more. Others, like diamondsbylauren and Exceldiamonds, both of which are regulars here, are experienced enough with the whole international business thing that it's pretty painless.

 

The ring itself is likely to be more expensive in UK although this also will depend on the dealer. This is especially true with custom work. The reason for the difference is labour. If you cost out most rings, labour is easilly 50% or more of the cost and, as I'm sure you know, downtown London isn't the cheapest labour market in the world. Whether or not the added convenience is worth it to you is up to you. For many it is. There's a lot to be said for being able to work directly with the jeweler, in person, and in a language you both understand.

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Thanks very much for the quick response, and you congratulations. It was very helpful.

 

You pose many questions and issues, but may I ask what you would do if you were me (you'll have to minus your knowledge from the equation!)?

 

 

The dealer is recommended and seems very good and honest. He was used and recommended by a friend, which always helps. Saying that, the friend has as much knoweldge of the diamond industry as I do!

 

The dealer is going to get a 5-7 diamonds in my range in for me to look at and choose which i like, if any. I think that's positive as other places seem less willing to do this.

 

The other dealers in Hatton Garden had suggested I could only get a 0.6 to a 0.7 round brilliant, along with the pears for my budget. The dealer I am looking at suggested a 0.80 or 0.85.

 

The dealer I am considering using does have a high street store. The store itself is not one of the huge luxurious stores, nor is it a dodgy looking establishment. I did note that the luxury shops, as expected, were more expensive. I also noted that the dodgy looking shops the price seemed to jump around all over the place. The dealer I am considering using did not do that at all. They sat down with me, asked my budget, asked what I wanted, took out the trade price sheet (Rapaport?) and worked out the price from that. It seemed honest.

 

On that basis, i have chosen the dealer/maker of the ring prior to the diamond.

 

 

 

The EGL vs GIA issue.

Is the answer never to buy an EGL diamond? Or can you rely on a decent jeweller.

Say the EGL and GIA diamonds have the same specification on paper, the EGL diamond is only £150 less. Yet when i look at the EGL in the flesh, it seems to have more fire, or hearts and arrows, than the GIA.

 

What would you do in that circumstance?

 

Many thanks again.

R

Edited by RlondonUK
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Ordering in 5-7 diamonds for you to look at is not without cost to the jeweler. They have to pay shipping and insurance, it takes time and overhead, and it requires using their connections in the trade that need to be maintained. That’s why the others are less interested in doing it and it’s definitely a good sign that your chosen guy will do what it takes to earn your business.

 

I’m all for choosing a jeweler, trusting their expertise and relying on it. I would NOT rely on EGL and, frankly, I would hold it against the jeweler if they insist that you do. It’s not the lab that makes beautiful diamonds beautiful but they play a big role in the pricing. That doesn’t mean that you should never buy an EGL stone but do so based on the dealer and your own observations, not the lab. The purpose of the lab is to reinforce the faith you’re placing in your dealer, not as a substitute for it. If you don’t know jewelry, know your jeweler. I would make a specific warning here. The color scale, in particular, is very tiny steps. Telling the difference between an H and an I, for example, is remarkably difficult, even for an expert and even under optimum conditions. It makes a big difference in the price and that sort of question is where the lab comes in.

 

How then, do you shop for a jeweler? There’s a thread in the FAQ section of this site that may be helpful at this but you seem to have a pretty good feel for it already and you seem to be happy with the folks you chose. How to proceed? I would see them as an ally in the search rather than as an opponent. Flat out show them what you’ve found online and elsewhere and what you are considering as an alternative. If you think they’re too expensive, discuss it with them, show them why and let them respond. They DO deserve to be paid for their ‘free’ work and what you’re doing is haggling over the price. If you can’t come to an agreement, walk. Otherwise, proceed and follow their advice.

 

At the endgame, get it appraised by an independent 3rd party appraiser. Document what you have, ask questions about what the dealer has told you that you didn’t fully understand. Confirm that everything you’ve been told is correct and confirm that no important details have been omitted. Trust but verify. If there’s a problem, go back to the jeweler and address it. In the worst case you return it and find a new jeweler. It’s not like there’s a shortage of competitors. In the best case they address the issue and you go on. Somewhere in between is if you decide the appraiser (or lab) is a problem and then you address that. It’s all a bit of a chore but it’s not that hard, it’s not that time consuming, and it’s not all that expensive. There’s quite a bit of money involved and a certain amount of due diligence is called for.

 

If the price of an EGL is substantially different, it’s not because of the lab, it’s because of the grading. If it’s NOT substantially different, why are you considering EGL at all?

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Thanks very much again. Your advice is very much appreciated.

 

I will let you know how it goes when it comes to viewing the diamonds, next week, but at present he has not pushed EGL at all. But has singled out GIA as being the best grading house.

 

In terms of Cost for the Band and Pear Diamonds he has said that is likely to cost approx £1200 and the rest of the cost will be spent on the round brilliant.

 

You make a good point re the EGL and GIA, but my point was: If they are the same diamonds on paper, in terms of the 4c's, but in person I prefer the EGL's fire and brilliance - why should I not go for the EGL over the GIA?

 

Thanks for the advice re taking the internet research I have done to the jeweller. I think it's important to see how he deals with this, and you are right and I agree that I should treat the jeweller as an ally.

 

In terms of an appraiser recommendation (and jewellers as well) how can I find someone recommended in London? Or, is there anyone you would personally recommend. I have read the complete articles Diamonds 101 and Jewellers 101 on this website, and used the Find My Jeweller, but it is restricted to the US.

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You make a good point re the EGL and GIA, but my point was: If they are the same diamonds on paper, in terms of the 4c's, but in person I prefer the EGL's fire and brilliance - why should I not go for the EGL over the GIA?

 

Thanks for the advice re taking the internet research I have done to the jeweller. I think it's important to see how he deals with this, and you are right and I agree that I should treat the jeweller as an ally.

 

In terms of an appraiser recommendation (and jewellers as well) how can I find someone recommended in London? Or, is there anyone you would personally recommend. I have read the complete articles Diamonds 101 and Jewellers 101 on this website, and used the Find My Jeweller, but it is restricted to the US.

The issue is not so much on fire and brilliance (particularly with a pear, and therefore with no GIA cut grade to help) - the issue is fair pricing. Between a G/VS1 and an I/VS2 there is a 30-50% difference in price. You may be looking at a so-so cut G/VS1 and a well cut I/VS2 but without being able to tell the difference in colour and clarity, which are not necessarily obvious. Still, the well cut I/VS2 will be 20-30% cheaper... SO, are you being charged the price of a G/VS1 when the "fair price" should be $1000 lower?

 

Appraiser recommendation: I don't know if he still does appraising, but Eric Emms (also in Hatton Gardens) is somebody I feel comfortable recommending as an expert on diamonds and other gemstones.

Edited by davidelevi
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Between a G/VS1 and an I/VS2 there is a 30-50% difference in price. You may be looking at a so-so cut G/VS1 and a well cut I/VS2 but without being able to tell the difference in colour and clarity, which are not necessarily obvious. Still, the well cut I/VS2 will be 20-30% cheaper... SO, are you being charged the price of a G/VS1 when the "fair price" should be $1000 lower?

 

Appraiser recommendation: I don't know if he still does appraising, but Eric Emms (also in Hatton Gardens) is somebody I feel comfortable recommending as an expert on diamonds and other gemstones.

 

Thanks both good points, and appreciated.

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From continued reading around many suggestions to a an inexperienced buyer of diamonds is to seek out a good and trustwrthy jeweller, yet the second part of that solution is the missing link for me. As it seems that unfortunately no-one is able to recommend a jeweller in London.

 

This is quite disappointing, but also suggests that there is some reason for this? Are people unwilling to provide such recommendations because of a potential loss of business, or because they cannot trust another jeweller?

 

 

 

 

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I think there are two issues:

 

1. Most of the regulars and experts on this forum are US-based either physically or from a network point of view. I lived in the UK for a long time, and I can recommend estate jewellers, but unfortunately no-one for a new ring beyond the obvious and expensive names (Hirsch, Garrards, Asprey + the "international brands" of Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef). These have great quality, but not great value, in my view - just plain too expensive.

 

2. There is no barrier - and I say that from personal experience as a consumer/collector with many dealers, both estate and new - to work with someone remotely. The someone has to be vetted carefully, and local, physical presence has advantages, but the "virtual" business can and does provide as good a service as the "local".

 

The UK jewellery market seems to me - as the UK is in many other markets - extremely polarised: it's either Ratners (Signet), or Graff, with very little in between. The US/worldwide online market is full of precisely the middle ground that is sorely lacking in the UK, so that's where I shop. It's also a lot more price competitive.

Edited by davidelevi
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The UK jewellery market seems to me - as the UK is in many other markets - extremely polarised: it's either Ratners (Signet), or Graff, with very little in between. The US/worldwide online market is full of precisely the middle ground that is sorely lacking in the UK, so that's where I shop. It's also a lot more price competitive.

 

Thanks very much David.

 

With that in mind who could you recommend in Europe, both in terms of quality and price?

 

The one thing about buying from the internet/abroad, is that there should be a sufficent saving in terms of price to take account of the fact that you cannot view the diamond in person, you cannot return it so easliy, you cannot make changes to the design of the ring itself too easily, and things like ring re-sizing will come at an additional cost. So far from what I've seen there has been little to no cost saving from the internet companies, but maybe I have not looked abroad properly.

 

Shopping in Europe would be preferable to elsewhere due to taxes. Otherwise import duty would need to be paid, which would not neccessarily be refundable even if you were to returnm the ring.

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I can recommend a couple of people in Italy for jewellery work - but they would not be my choice in terms of sourcing diamonds, so we are back to square one...

 

Import duty into the EU is not an issue: it's 2.5% on mounted jewellery and 0% on loose stones. VAT is potentially a bigger issue, but only in terms of cash-flow. HMRC will refund VAT on re-export if you set things up properly. And you have to pay VAT regardless on the stone you eventually settle on.

 

On the price - the question is what are you comparing to? It is possible that you have found someone that is competitive, but an EGL-Israel "Very Good cut" H/VS2 is not the same thing as a GIA "Excellent cut" G/VS1, even if at a first glance they may seem rather similar. Is the price difference "worth it"? Not for everybody. But the price is definitely different.

 

Changes to design - as easy as sending email with photos and sketches and calling people on the phone. Is it easier face-to-face? Yes, but if you start looking outside London, you may as well go to the place with the best prices and the broadest choice...

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I can recommend a couple of people in Italy for jewellery work - but they would not be my choice in terms of sourcing diamonds, so we are back to square one...

 

Import duty into the EU is not an issue: it's 2.5% on mounted jewellery and 0% on loose stones. VAT is potentially a bigger issue, but only in terms of cash-flow. HMRC will refund VAT on re-export if you set things up properly. And you have to pay VAT regardless on the stone you eventually settle on.

 

On the price - the question is what are you comparing to? It is possible that you have found someone that is competitive, but an EGL-Israel "Very Good cut" H/VS2 is not the same thing as a GIA "Excellent cut" G/VS1, even if at a first glance they may seem rather similar. Is the price difference "worth it"? Not for everybody. But the price is definitely different.

 

Changes to design - as easy as sending email with photos and sketches and calling people on the phone. Is it easier face-to-face? Yes, but if you start looking outside London, you may as well go to the place with the best prices and the broadest choice...

 

Many thanks David.

 

I intend to get GIA prices when i go and see a London jeweller next week - with that in mind I have emailed you in the hope that you might be able to provide a quote - I am not sure if you have receievd my email?

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

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