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Is Ignorance Bliss?


stars133
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Hi all!

 

My pre-fiance and I put a deposit on this diamond at a local jeweler. Its currently being custom cast due to sizing and mounted.

 

EGL#:EGL3101426522

 

Weight: 1.01 Cts.

Shape: Cushion shape

6.40 x 5.21 x 3.64

Total Depth: 69.9% .

Table Width: 68%

Crown Height: 8%

Pavilion Depth: 59%

Girdle: MED -FAC

Polish: Very Good

Symm: Very Good

Culet : None

Clarity: S11

Grain: Nil

Color: D

Fluor: None

 

Before we made our purchase, I knew about the four C's... but not so much about the 5th. After we came home I researched EGL certified diamonds and read everything I could find in the internet about it. Now I'm going crazy worrying that we paid too much for this stone or that we made too quick of a decision. I'm also regretting not getting the stone appraised before sending it out to get mounted. We didn't look at the stone under loupes (another regret) but to us non-experts, it looked eye-clean. I love cushion cut and the length ratio of the stone. I also think the size of the diamond is perfect for me.

 

$5355 for the stone, $788 for the mounting. Budget-wise - my fiance is happy with this price range.

Mounting is a halo setting with micropave (halfway around) on the band. Metal will be Palladium. Size 3.5.

I have no information for the stones on the setting.

 

Attached is a not so great photo of the stone sitting on top of the setting.

 

What questions should I be ready to ask when we go to pick the ring up? What is the typical pricing for getting a ring appraised and who should we take it to? Should we NOT buy this ring?

 

Please let me know what you think! Thanks!!

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post-128660-0-82435600-1316378534_thumb.jpg

Edited by stars133
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That's a lovely ring. It's certainly possible that you could have bought something similar elsewhere for less but it's unlikely that this would fall into the category of a ripoff unless there's some serious problems with the craftsmanship. There's a database here under the 'diamond finder' link at the top of the page and you can probably find similar EGL graded stones being offered by some highly competitive dealers. That'll give you a benchmark to decide if your price is in line with similar things elsewhere. The ring is a little harder to shop, especially in palladium, but it doesn't sound out of line so far. Do you know anything about the weights or grades of the other stones?

 

Appraisals vary in cost from one appraiser to the next and actually, the second question is where to start. What are you hoping to learn from the appraiser? The simplest documents from the least qualified appraisers seem to be about $50 and highly detailed report from certified experts can run a couple of hundred. The jeweler who is selling it will usually write up something for 'free'.

 

I'll write a few things about what you can (and possibly can't) learn from an appraisal but lets start with you. If your appraiser could tell you ANYTHING you want, what would you ask?

Edited by denverappraiser
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Maybe I don't understand what an appraisal is for but here are some thoughts

 

- I work a lot with my hands and tend to be clumsy, so my fiance is worried about losing the center stone. He would like the appraiser to give the highest worth possible to this ring so he can insure it and have peace of mind. What is the maximum amount that we can have this ring insured for?

 

- My thoughts are more focused about the current transaction we're dealing with here... Is this stone really a D, SI1? Is it worth the amount we paid? Is palladium worth the same as white gold (since the charge is the same)? Is the cut of the stone good, fair, or poor? How much is this ring really worth? Is the EGL certificate accurate? Does having an EGL certification vs GIA decrease the value of the stone? I guess I would be asking what is the minimum amount that this ring is worth? (I can't believe I'm being so pessimistic and negative!!)

 

Here's an additional question -- If I go to pick the ring up and have a change of heart regarding the diamond, is it difficult to find a stone to fit an existing setting? I'm not sure of the return policies of this store (and there's nothing written on the website or the receipt), but since the setting was custom made because of sizing, what is the usual scenario in these cases for returns?

 

Sorry for so many questions!! I just feel very uneducated about the diamond market... Its hard to be confident about a purchase if I feel like I'm in the dark.

 

Thanks again!

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Those are all terrific questions to ask your appraiser. I'll dive in and answer the first one because it's a biggie.

 

Insurance value.

 

The way insurance works is that the company is agreeing to replace with another ring of 'like kind and quality' in the case of a loss. What they're NOT agreeing to do is cut you a check for the value conclusion of the appraisal. They are going to go shopping and find the cheapest EGL/D/SI1/1.01 they can find and they'll call it good as long as this is cheaper than your declared value. This concept is important. If you have a value that's higher than the actual replacement cost, this doesn't change their behavior in the case of a loss one bit. What it DOES do is increase your insurance premiums.

 

Is it a D/SI1 on the GIA grading scale? Almost certainly not. That's why EGL grades stones are less expensive. Most appraisers are trained graders in their own right and they should be including an opinion on the actual grading as part of their report. Is it worth what you paid? Maybe. That's another one for the appraiser.

 

Some other things to ask your appraiser:

Is it the same stone as the one described in the lab report?

Is it in the same condition as it was when the lab saw it?

Do you agree with the contents of the report (you touched on this one)? If not, explain in detail.

Is it set securely and finished properly?

Does it contain proper hallmarks?

Are there any craftsmanship concern with the mounting or other stones?

Are the report and accompanying photographs sufficient to replace the piece accurately and in total in the case of a loss? Remember that the replacement jeweler won't have the piece to look at so this is effectively the 'purchase order' for replacement.

If there's anyting the dealer told you that you don't fully understand, ask about it.

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I'll give you some clues as to some of the other questions, but you may be really better off asking them to someone who can see the item.

 

[snip]

- My thoughts are more focused about the current transaction we're dealing with here... Is this stone really a D, SI1?

Very unlikely that GIA would call it D/SI1. There is a reason why this stone is marketed with EGL papers, and the reason is that the vendor believes it could make more money and/or sell faster this way than with GIA papers. The difference in cost between a GIA report and an EGL one for this stone is about $50, or $100 if the GIA report has to be ordered in addition to a pre-existing EGL report.

 

Is it worth the amount we paid?
The problem is that the fair price of the stone depends on its (real, objective) colour and clarity, but also on how easy it is to see the inclusions and how well it is cut - and we have little or no information on that. The most expensive GIA-graded cushions of comparable size, clarity and colour listed for sale on the Diamond Finder are only about 10% more expensive than yours, so I'd say you have paid too much (the most expensive EGL stone is $4600, and it has an EGL-US report which is generally better than EGL-International ones). On the other hand, you are getting a fair price on the setting and higher service levels than by buying from many online vendors.

 

Would I buy it at that price? No, I would not.

 

Is palladium worth the same as white gold (since the charge is the same)?
Pure Palladium is currently worth about 40% of fine gold, or about 70% of 14K gold. However the majority of the cost in your ring is not the metal but the diamonds and the labour to produce the ring and set the stones. From that point of view, assuming it's well made, it is a very fair price.

 

Is the cut of the stone good, fair, or poor?
No way of telling without more information. Do you like it? Does it have any dark, dull spots when you look at it in diffused lighting? Can you see "through" the stone? If the answer to the two last questions is "no", chances are it's cut relatively well.

 

How much is this ring really worth?
To whom, and under what conditions? To you and the seller, it's worth $6143, since that's what you agreed to pay. If you were to sell it back to the jeweller, it may be 30-40% of that, and if you were to sell it privately it may be a little more.

 

Is the EGL certificate accurate?
Only in terms of the weight. The rest may be correct or may not be.

 

Does having an EGL certification vs GIA decrease the value of the stone?
By about $50 - the difference in cost between an EGL and a GIA report. The value of the stone is determined by its real, objective colour, clarity and cut. These don't change based on what report you sell the stone with. A GIA report may make resale easier, and certainly will make comparisons for fair pricing easier.

 

I guess I would be asking what is the minimum amount that this ring is worth? (I can't believe I'm being so pessimistic and negative!!)
Again, to whom and under what conditions? To a pawnbroker, it's probably not more than $1000. Retail, assuming worst case, you are looking at about $3300 (price of the lowest 1.0x D/SI1 cushion on the Diamond Finder + $800 for the setting)

 

Here's an additional question -- If I go to pick the ring up and have a change of heart regarding the diamond, is it difficult to find a stone to fit an existing setting?
With that type of setting, it won't be easy. The halo has been sized for a stone 6.40 x 5.20 x 3.60 and anything which is more than ~0.2 mm apart on any dimension will require adaptation.

 

I'm not sure of the return policies of this store (and there's nothing written on the website or the receipt), but since the setting was custom made because of sizing, what is the usual scenario in these cases for returns?

[snip]

Usual condition for returns on custom-made items is "none allowed", so the setting is yours - at worst to scrap but more hopefully to recycle. The stone is a different question, but the fact that return terms aren't specified anywhere is not a good sign. The store has not described the diamond incorrectly (as far as we know, at least), and is not obliged to take it back. You, on the other hand, are contractually obliged to pay for it at the agreed price.

 

From best to worst, the possibilities are:

 

1. They take it back and give you your money back (plus possibly an allowance for the ring, in cash or store vouchers)

2. They take it back and refund your money less a modest restocking fee (5-10%)

3. They take it back for full credit against another stone you like better

4. They offer to keep it for you on consignment, and will give you your money less their commission (20%+) when it's sold

5. They will take it back at "normal" buy-in prices

6. You are stuck with it, because they won't take it back

 

It would be unusual if they didn't offer you one of the first three options, but it may happen. If after reading this you have changed your mind about keeping the ring, don't pay them the rest of the transaction. You have to, legally, but it gives you much greater leverage. Not nice, I know, but this is life.

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Thank you both for your responses. I have a much better understanding about appraisals and the value of the ring.

 

But since neither of you can look at the actual diamond, its up to me to judge how nice the cut of the diamond is to me, and how well the finished product looks. I've visited quite a few jewelry stores and I've definitely noticed a difference between the sparkle of a Tiffany's diamond compared to a similar diamond with the same grading say at a Kay's, or at small local jewelry store. Is it just the light? The cut? Both? if I take a diamond put it under different lighting conditions (spotlights, halogen) would i be able to see more "fire" or bigger brighter flashes? I only ask because the store I was it had no windows and even dimmer hallway lighting outside of the store so I never saw it under natural light. It has sparkles here and shimmers there. Its really pretty, in a sparkly glassy crushed ice sort of way, but I'm not sure what else to look for? How I look for dull spots? What did you mean by "see through the diamond"? Diffused lighting? How do I judge the lighting in a jewelry store?

 

I found this on their website "We agree to accept the said diamond at its full purchase price in trade on any higher priced diamond in our stock. We also guarantee that the carat weight, clarity and color grade are true to what is stated in your appraisal." I spoke to the salesman and he said that they are all GIA trained, and they look at their stones and make sure what they see agrees with the report before purchasing them for the inventory. He also assured me that if I'm not happy for any reason, that he will work with me to find a new stone or new setting.

 

Its supposed to come in this week! I'm very excited and anxious at the same time...

Edited by stars133
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It *IS* an EGL graded D/SI1, which is what they're guaranteeing. They are not guaranteeing that every other lab, or even any particular lab, will call it that.

 

That's a very reasonable trade in offer. The only zinger I see at the moment is 'in their stock'. Most of the diamonds being offered by most jewelers are not, in fact, from stock.

 

Tiffany's sells pretty good stuff although there are lots of competitors who sell good stuff too. Kays and Jareds tend to specialize in low to middle grade things but they both carry a line of AGS graded stones called 'peerless' that can be pretty nice. It's worth your trouble to take a look. You may find you don't like their prices and decide to shop elsewhere but it's a good opportunity to see what a well cut stone looks like. Looking is free.

 

Any jeweler who doesn't have good lighting in their showroom is a fool. Yes, it makes a difference in how the diamonds and other things they sell will look. How could it not?

 

A random story:

There’s a store in my city that advertises heavily that they guarantee your purchase will appraise for double the purchase price or your money back within 30 days. This has always irritated me for the simple reason that I don’t work for these people. What are they doing guaranteeing what I am going to say? I get a few customers a month who come in with this issue, sometimes they appraise well and sometimes they don’t, but somehow it’s up to me to have to explain what that ‘guarantee’ means.

 

Here’s the two catches:

 

1) They aren’t guaranteeing that it will appraise for double by any appraiser you can find. They're saying that THEIR GUY will appraise it for double. Indeed he will, and he doesn't even need to look at the merchandise to do it. :wacko:

 

2) They offer a 30 day refund for any reason anyway. You’ll get a refund if you come back and complain within that time for ANY reason whatsoever, including if it didn’t appraise as you wanted. It's a decent enough policy but it has nothing at all to do with me, my report or my value conclusions.

Edited by denverappraiser
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[snip]I've visited quite a few jewelry stores and I've definitely noticed a difference between the sparkle of a Tiffany's diamond compared to a similar diamond with the same grading say at a Kay's, or at small local jewelry store. Is it just the light? The cut? Both?

Most likely to be the cut - as Neil points out, any jeweller is very careful with store lighting, and large chains more than most.

 

if I take a diamond put it under different lighting conditions (spotlights, halogen) would i be able to see more "fire" or bigger brighter flashes? I only ask because the store I was it had no windows and even dimmer hallway lighting outside of the store so I never saw it under natural light. It has sparkles here and shimmers there. Its really pretty, in a sparkly glassy crushed ice sort of way, but I'm not sure what else to look for?
That is a good start, but you should ask them to see the diamond in (for example) a back room or corridor where there are no halogens and there are overhead fluorescents. And again "out" in natural lighting, and see if you keep liking it. Look at it in as many lighting environments as you can.

 

How I look for dull spots? What did you mean by "see through the diamond"? Diffused lighting? How do I judge the lighting in a jewelry store?
Dull spots or dark areas you would see. If you have seen some decently cut diamonds to compare, and you don't know what I'm talking of, this stone doesn't have them. ;)

 

"See through" is non-technical term for "window", this is an area of the stone that rather than acting as a mirror and reflecting back the light, acts as a window and lets you see what is underneath the stone.

 

I found this on their website "We agree to accept the said diamond at its full purchase price in trade on any higher priced diamond in our stock. We also guarantee that the carat weight, clarity and color grade are true to what is stated in your appraisal." I spoke to the salesman and he said that they are all GIA trained, and they look at their stones and make sure what they see agrees with the report before purchasing them for the inventory. He also assured me that if I'm not happy for any reason, that he will work with me to find a new stone or new setting.

 

Its supposed to come in this week! I'm very excited and anxious at the same time...

The other zinger - less Machiavellian than what Neil is thinking about is again referring to the words "in our stock": if all "stock" is of a comparable (and unsatisfactory) level of quality, then... Edited by davidelevi
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