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Need To Find A Reputable Dealer In So. California.


stereo19
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Don't know Readers. My general impression of large(ish) retaIl chains is that they rarely provide good value, but again value is in the eyes of the beholder, and given their business success they must provide value to a lot of people. Just the fact that they are a chain is a value provider for some people who like the idea of having access to service if they move. Tiffany's name, reputation for quality and impeccable service are enough reason for many people to pay a significant premium.

 

Let me rephrase the above as a question: how do you define "value"? What are you looking for (in general terms, not "a 1.26 G/VS2 round brilliant)?

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I don't know them but I'm a thousand miles away so I'm not all that surprised. They seem to be popular on Yelp. That's a good place to start. The've been around a long time and they seem to be free of BBB complaints. Another good sign. Google doesn't produce anything bad on the first page or 2 (I didn't look any further). Check. That's all a pretty good beginning for 'reputable'. Are they what YOU are looking for? It's hard to tell. Tell us a bit more about what you want in a store.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Well David, I'm looking for a 1ct, VS1, round, ideal cut. I know what I want, but there are a million jewelry stores and a lot of them are part of AGS and the list goes on, but what I define as value is of course price, but also the after service. And that I think you just don't get with a smaller store a lot of times. larger stores seem to have the trade up policies, the lifetime maintenance (usually a 6 month check-up and polish (or rhodium if it's on a white gold)). So, not sure which way is the better way. As far as prices, I've seen the market prices, and I know I can go to a downtown jewelry mart and get cheaper prices, but I want to balance out getting a quality certified GIA or AGS certified diamond handled by goldsmiths that know what they're doing with a decent selection of designer settings.

 

Settings at this point is a bit of an afterthought, but who doesn't shop for both when putting together a ring? You can't truly appreciate the diamond without the setting.

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Thanks for the clarification. I don't think I can help much with direct recommendations - I'm in Switzerland and my company is in New York, so rather far from SoCa... but perhaps just talking through things may help.

 

There was another poster from Orange county (South enough? Too far South?) that had a good experience with a local jeweller there: here's the thread http://www.diamondreview.com/forum/topic/5922-new-diamond-advice/page__p__26917

 

Couple of thoughts on your observations: it depends on where you look at "smaller" and "larger". The highest levels of service for online dealers in my experience come from the smaller players. The larger internet-based dealers tend to concentrate on lowest cost, and that unavoidably means lower service levels (not "bad service", just less). Most online retailers - large or small, pure online or "brick and click" - offer very good upgrade and service programmes, BTW, though of course it does mean shipping back and forth.

 

If you are not comfortable with dealing remotely, I would say that the mid-size (many of which also deal online with remote customers) is the best hunting ground. Small stores can be chancy, and they may not afford some of the things you value, but the larger chains have to contend with large overheads because of advertising and location, and corporate rules and policies that hamper flexibility.

 

Whatever you do - don't be distracted from one very important thing: stick to AGS or GIA graded stones, unless you are very confident of the honesty and grading skills of the vendor(s) you are dealing with. If someone tries to "pass" a non GIA/AGS-grade as reliable, don't hold it against the lab, hold it against the dealer.

 

As I said - don't know to what extent this helps, but if it does, feel free to continue the conversation and/or to bring here questions that come up during the process and where you want a second (or first) opinion.

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Thanks for your insights. I think I know the setting that i want. But unfortunately, the closet dealer to me is up in the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area. D. Vatche is the designer for the platinum solitaire that I'm looking to get. Simple yet elegant. I just hope their diamond prices will be fair.

 

I thought about A. Jaffe or Jeff Cooper. I don't know why, but outside of Vatche, I tend to like New York designers for some reason. Not really a Scott Kay fan, but I do like Jeff Cooper's designs alot, but the alloys that he mixes with his platinum seems to be a mystery to some goldsmiths and they don't readily have the alloy on hand. One jeweler's thought was that Jeff Cooper may be using cobalt as the alloy. The only reason I bring this up is, if and when the ring needs to be cut to be sized or anything like that, without the similar alloy on hand, it leaves a noticeable line where the ring was cut. I used to work for Robbin's Brothers for a short time when I was in college as a Sales guy, but I don't have a GIA cert or anything like that. So, I would rely on your expert opinions.But that was the case when I saw Jeff Cooper rings being worked on there. Things may have changes over the years, but I did stop into a Robbin's Brothers yesterday and saw that they do still carry his stuff.

 

As far as store policies at larger brick and mortar dealers (I prefer to see and purchase my diamond), I don't care about the upgrade policy, but more so the upkeep and maintenance policies for polishing and making sure that the prongs are tightly holding onto the diamond.

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Platinum-cobalt alloy tend to have a distinctive dark grey colour, but that's neither here nor there - platinum is far less easy than gold to work with.

 

If you main concern is maintenance and repolishing/plating, I'd say that the vast majority of stores/dealers now offer that as a matter of course - though issues like reliability and business permanence may play a part.

 

One last thought on the remote vs. local: it may help to look at the "remote" purchase process as a two stage affair: first you inspect the goods (for the price of a return shipping), then once you are happy that everything is OK you actually buy.

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I love jewelers who stand behind their work but cleaning and checking is usually free at any store with sense, whether you bought the item from them or not. It gets you in the door, it keeps you in the showroom and within reach of the sales staff for a while, and it results in happy customers at zero cost. Repairs is a different issue. That has to do with the skills of the back shop staff and some are most definitely better than others. In most cases it's not terribly difficult or expensive and although there's something to be said for a prepaid maintenance program, I'm not sure I would have it to be a overwhelming issue on the purchase. You want the work to be done by the best goldsmiths you can find. This may or may not be at the store where you bought it and it may or may not be the same in a few years. I wouldn't pay much extra up front to avoid a few dozen dollars in ala-carte charges every couple of years. The typical maintainance required in the first, say, 10 years is the initial sizing, possibly a retipping job a few years into it and possibly a resizing if she gains or loses a bunch of weight or damages her fingers somehow. That's like $200 worth of work in a decade. Possibly less. The tipping, by the way, isn't always covered under the fine print of the warranty because it falls under the category of ordinary wear and tear. Read the rules carefully if this issue is important to you.

 

This is one of the major reasons I suggest an independent and professional inspection immediately after purchase by the way, regardless of where you buy it. Nearly every jeweler guarantees the initial quality, and you should refuse to buy from anyone who doesn't, but coming back a year or three later with a complaint is a very different set of questions.

Edited by denverappraiser
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