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AZ Rover

Cushion Cut Diamond Shopping

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I am shopping for a cushion cut diamond with a Carat weight of 1.25 to 1.75 as they fall in the budget i am trying to keep, but having never done this before i am wondering where do i begin? Any advice is greatly appreciated as i am new to this game and haven't a clue as to what i should be looking for or the questions i should be asking. Also, I am seeing many great prices online, but what are the pitfalls of going this route versus a brick and mortar shop?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

John

 

Edit: Without setting I'd like to be in the 5K to 7.5K Range for the stone.

Edited by AZ Rover

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The first thing you need to know--which you may already--is that Cushions are *the* most varied cut of all. There are not only two cutting types (Cushion Brilliant and Cushion Modified Brilliant), but they can vary greatly in outline as well. Some are more square, some more rectangular; you can have squarer shoulders or more rounded ones. But this kind of information does NOT translate to a plot--so you need to work with someone who can actually call in the stones and see them for themselves and, hopefully, be able to provide you images of the ACTUAL diamonds. So it's certainly not impossible to shop for a Cushion with an e-tailer, but you need to make sure to ask the right questions and know what they are able and willing to do for you to help you with your search. The good thing is that Cushions are often a fairly "busy" cut, so you can often find eye-clean SI1s, which will allow you to potentially get more bang for your buck. Good luck and we'll all be happy to help you with your search--I know I'm not the only one here who *loves* Cushion cuts :)


Diamonds Graduate, Pearls Graduate, AJP GIA

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The first thing you need to know--which you may already--is that Cushions are *the* most varied cut of all. There are not only two cutting types (Cushion Brilliant and Cushion Modified Brilliant), but they can vary greatly in outline as well. Some are more square, some more rectangular; you can have squarer shoulders or more rounded ones. But this kind of information does NOT translate to a plot--so you need to work with someone who can actually call in the stones and see them for themselves and, hopefully, be able to provide you images of the ACTUAL diamonds. So it's certainly not impossible to shop for a Cushion with an e-tailer, but you need to make sure to ask the right questions and know what they are able and willing to do for you to help you with your search. The good thing is that Cushions are often a fairly "busy" cut, so you can often find eye-clean SI1s, which will allow you to potentially get more bang for your buck. Good luck and we'll all be happy to help you with your search--I know I'm not the only one here who *loves* Cushion cuts :)

 

Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it. I know this site isn't for sales, but are there any Net retailers that are better than others one would suggest? As of yet i have only looked on ebay and then at the oneline stores that ebay has, but am unsure of the quality or trustworthiness even with them having stellar ratings from thousands of buyers. I only sk becasue for the same money online i get a 1/3 less diamond at some of the local shops here in the Phoenix metro area.

 

Many thanks,

 

John

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As a rule, since I'm a moderator here and formerly worked for an e-tailer, I will (almost) never recommend for or against any legitimate retailer (ie, company that is a known name and has a good reputation--if we've never heard of it or know of it to be a fly-by-night or something, that's another story) because I see it as a conflict of interest and my "job" here is to provide general information and assistance w/o any bias.

 

That said, Diamond Review HAS vetted a number of diamond e-tailers as trustworthy (you're going to get what you pay for and good service), reliable (you're going to get it in a reasonable amount of time, barring any crazy problems with a custom order once in a blue moon) and with a fair return policy (you should have a reasonable amount of time to view your item and return it for full refund--maybe minus shipping, but no restocking--if you're not happy with it). You will find their stones listed in the Diamond Finder tool at the top of the page. Again, we're not selling or even outright recommending them, or anything, but it is a good resource if nothing else. We're happy if you do toss them your business, but we never pressure or say "here's a stone like what you're looking for--buy it!" or anything like that. Also, some of the e-tailers we've vetted offer some discounts (see the Coupons tab @ top of page) if you DO happen to find a stone in their inventory that you like.

 

Everyone is going to have a different experience with any e-tailer, same as they would with any brick-and-mortar store. You just need to find a company and/or salesperson that you are comfortable with and trust them to be able to answer your questions to your satisfaction. I'll say though, of course, everyone is going to have one area of technical knowledge different from another, so try to talk to someone who is pretty familiar with selling Cushions (as opposed to someone/some company that really only sells Rounds or Princess cuts all day long and can't tell you much about Cushions), so that they can better understand what you're looking for, the look you're going for, and can better act as your advocate in your search.

 

And, just b/c you mentioned that you're also looking on ebay--I know they have buyer protections and so does paypal if you pay for things that route--just be sure to check out any seller's reputation (and google them, etc. DUE DILIGENCE!) and be careful. Make sure you're only buying certified stones so that you know that you're actually getting what you're supposed to be getting, not just what some Tom, Dick, or Harry wants to call something, ya know?

 

Anyway...I know that was a bit of a roundabout answer, but hopefully that helps a little! When you do find a diamond (or ring, if you find a finished piece or whatever), you're more than welcome to come back, ask questions about it/them, post pictures, copies of certs, etc, and we'll be happy to give you unbiased info and opinions on them to help you get the best thing you can :)


Diamonds Graduate, Pearls Graduate, AJP GIA

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"1/3 less diamond" is an interesting expression. I assume you mean a smaller diamond - but that doesn't necessarily mean it's less valuable or (perhaps more important) less nice. Diamonds (and gemstones in general) are unusual in that small details will cause huge variations in price.

 

While what matters is what you can see and appreciate, the issue of fair pricing is not necessarily straightforward, and there are quite a few "traps" for the unwary buyer.

 

Given your situation - and Laurie's good comments on it - I would suggest you focus on the following three things in this order:

 

1. find a dealer

2. find a diamond

3. find a ring

 

Finding a dealer means looking at reviews and opinions, making a long list and turning it into a short list by calling people and noting who you like and think you could work with.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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"1/3 less diamond" is an interesting expression. I assume you mean a smaller diamond - but that doesn't necessarily mean it's less valuable or (perhaps more important) less nice. Diamonds (and gemstones in general) are unusual in that small details will cause huge variations in price.

 

While what matters is what you can see and appreciate, the issue of fair pricing is not necessarily straightforward, and there are quite a few "traps" for the unwary buyer.

 

Given your situation - and Laurie's good comments on it - I would suggest you focus on the following three things in this order:

 

1. find a dealer

2. find a diamond

3. find a ring

 

Finding a dealer means looking at reviews and opinions, making a long list and turning it into a short list by calling people and noting who you like and think you could work with.

 

Thank you all for the tips and suggestions; I feel more confident now in my search and what i should be aware of. Given my Budget for the stone only of 5K-7.5K , we have a setting in mind already, what should i be looking for in size and clarity etc for that money that i can trust?

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what are the pitfalls of going this route versus a brick and mortar shop?

The worry people have about buying online is that you might not get what you paid for, returns might be difficult if you decide you’re unhappy, quality control can be a pain. Additional problems are that it’s hard to compare several items in a fair way, it’s hard to know what a piece of jewelry is going to look like from a photograph and it’s hard to get a ‘feel’ for a legitimate dealer as opposed to a hack who has slick web design skills.

 

MOST of these issues are actually problems with B&M stores as well by the way. People aren’t nearly as good at recognizing a quality piece as they think they are. Misrepresentation is a serious problem and they play all sorts of games with 'certifications', 'appraisals' and other forms of paperwork. Returns can be tough and there’s an important difference between being a good jeweler and being a good decorator or good advertiser. I would add to this that a significant number of the online jewelers are no more or less than a jewelry located in someone else’s neighborhood who is expanding to a global marketplace through the Internet. What I'm saying is that they aren’t nearly as different as you think. Yes, there are sharks out there and yes, it will benefit you to be careful.

 

The way to navigate it either way is exactly as Davide suggested. FIRST choose your jeweler and then use them as an ally in the hunt for the diamond, not the other way around. There’s a discussion in the FAQ here about this but start by finding personal recommendations. Show up at their store or carefully peruse their website and pay careful attention to the ‘terms and conditions’ sorts of information. Google their name and the names of their owners to see what comes up. Talk to them, in person, on the phone and/or by email to get a feel for whether they are people you want to do business with.


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thank you all for the tips and suggestions; I feel more confident now in my search and what i should be aware of. Given my Budget for the stone only of 5K-7.5K , we have a setting in mind already, what should i be looking for in size and clarity etc for that money that i can trust?

Start with the place that's selling you the ring. Most also sell diamonds. You can use the 'diamond finder' utililty at the top of the page to get competitive offers from the folks who advertise here. Even if you have no intention of buying from any of these people, they're very price competitive and it'll help you to get a feel for what you can get at what price. Special not on this. Ignore all stones that aren't graded by GIA.


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thank you all for the tips and suggestions; I feel more confident now in my search and what i should be aware of. Given my Budget for the stone only of 5K-7.5K , we have a setting in mind already, what should i be looking for in size and clarity etc for that money that i can trust?

Start with the place that's selling you the ring. Most also sell diamonds. You can use the 'diamond finder' utililty at the top of the page to get competitive offers from the folks who advertise here. Even if you have no intention of buying from any of these people, they're very price competitive and it'll help you to get a feel for what you can get at what price. Special not on this. Ignore all stones that aren't graded by GIA.

 

Thanks for the quick reply. I will certainly avoid anything not graded by GIA, as this has been something I have heard from everyone I've spoken with.

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Thank you all for the tips and suggestions; I feel more confident now in my search and what i should be aware of. Given my Budget for the stone only of 5K-7.5K , we have a setting in mind already, what should i be looking for in size and clarity etc for that money that i can trust?

 

You have two strategies:

 

1. "Play it safe" by sticking to a stone that's smaller than 1.50 - that will give you some latitude in finding diamonds that definitely look white (H) and definitely are eye-clean (VS2), while at the same time not sacrificing the all important cut quality.

 

2. "Go adventurous" - look at relatively unusual stones: lower colours (L/M) can be beautiful without necessarily looking "yellow", and the occasional I1 stone that is eye-clean does exist. This will enable you to push on size - not quite to over 2.00 carats, but pretty close.

 

Which one is best for you depends on your priorities (and to some extent on the ability of your chosen supplier to find attractive stones at your budget).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Thank you all for the tips and suggestions; I feel more confident now in my search and what i should be aware of. Given my Budget for the stone only of 5K-7.5K , we have a setting in mind already, what should i be looking for in size and clarity etc for that money that i can trust?

 

You have two strategies:

 

1. "Play it safe" by sticking to a stone that's smaller than 1.50 - that will give you some latitude in finding diamonds that definitely look white (H) and definitely are eye-clean (VS2), while at the same time not sacrificing the all important cut quality.

 

2. "Go adventurous" - look at relatively unusual stones: lower colours (L/M) can be beautiful without necessarily looking "yellow", and the occasional I1 stone that is eye-clean does exist. This will enable you to push on size - not quite to over 2.00 carats, but pretty close.

 

Which one is best for you depends on your priorities (and to some extent on the ability of your chosen supplier to find attractive stones at your budget).

 

I am looking at a local dealer and saw a stone this afternoon that look beautiful and was not "enhanced" per the agent, but it was 1.50 carat SI1 / I Cushion cut with a price of $4899.00. The diamond looks amazing, but again being a novice I wouldn't know the difference between amazing and junk, but it was beautiful. I will post more finds as i hunt.

 

Thanks again

 

Edit:

 

Depth was 60

Table 66

 

and everything else was "very Good" per associate.

 

 

 

Edited by AZ Rover

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If it's a legitimately certified diamond, any enhancements would be disclosed on the certification. Did the salesperson allow you to see the accompanying cert for that diamond? It really does come down to what you like, because you wear the diamond, not the cert, but certainly you want to know exactly what it is to know if you're being offered a fair price.


Diamonds Graduate, Pearls Graduate, AJP GIA

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What sets the prices of diamonds is sellers. They’re trying to get as much as possible for what they have. That may seem obvious but it’s worth remembering that this is the bottom line.

 

How sellers generally do it is based on the famous 4 C’s, and how they get those 4 C’s is by relying on individual graders. Again, this may seem obvious but it’s an important concept because in EVERY single case, somebody called it 1.50/Si1/I/xxx/VG and what not. Who? They are NOT all the same. Diamonds are all about tiny details and what seems irrelevant can have a big effect on the prices. You are relying heavilly on this grader, don't just assume that they're valid.

 

Along with vetting your dealer, vet your grader. This has become MORE important than ever in the internet age. You have access to thousands of dealers and THEY have access to thousands of graders. I don’t mean to pick on your deal, I know nothing about it. We don’t know the dealer, we don’t know the grader, we’ve never seen the stone and we don’t know of anyone who has. You’ve assumed as ‘fact’ the very issues that make the difference. Even if these ‘facts’ are correct, there are variables but without a good benchmark you know nothing.

 

Is it a deal? Maybe, maybe not. It’s going to be about this grading. If you’re worried, hire a grader who’s working for YOU, not the seller and ask them. If you’re happy relying on the jeweler and their chosen grader then rely on them and be happy. There’s an industry of independent appraisers out there for exactly this reason and if you tell us where you are I’ll try to recommend someone in your neighborhood.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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What sets the prices of diamonds is sellers. They’re trying to get as much as possible for what they have. That may seem obvious but it’s worth remembering that this is the bottom line.

 

How sellers generally do it is based on the famous 4 C’s, and how they get those 4 C’s is by relying on individual graders. Again, this may seem obvious but it’s an important concept because in EVERY single case, somebody called it 1.50/Si1/I/xxx/VG and what not. Who? They are NOT all the same. Diamonds are all about tiny details and what seems irrelevant can have a big effect on the prices. You are relying heavilly on this grader, don't just assume that they're valid.

 

Along with vetting your dealer, vet your grader. This has become MORE important than ever in the internet age. You have access to thousands of dealers and THEY have access to thousands of graders. I don’t mean to pick on your deal, I know nothing about it. We don’t know the dealer, we don’t know the grader, we’ve never seen the stone and we don’t know of anyone who has. You’ve assumed as ‘fact’ the very issues that make the difference. Even if these ‘facts’ are correct, there are variables but without a good benchmark you know nothing.

 

Is it a deal? Maybe, maybe not. It’s going to be about this grading. If you’re worried, hire a grader who’s working for YOU, not the seller and ask them. If you’re happy relying on the jeweler and their chosen grader then rely on them and be happy. There’s an industry of independent appraisers out there for exactly this reason and if you tell us where you are I’ll try to recommend someone in your neighborhood.

 

I'm in the Phoenix metro area if you could suggest someone that would be great.

 

Thank you

Edited by AZ Rover

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