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Tiffany's? The Same Price...


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Im sure this question has been brought here a million times...


I have been searching and searching... doing my research and homework... etc...

Here's the prices I have received...

Diamond Specs: ~1.5 , F , Excellents, VVS2

Solitare Setting


The prices below are rounded slightly to make it easier to look at... Also, the diamonds selected were the very best vvs2's they could find, with the fewest imperfections...


Mom and Pop - $23000 + Tax

Radcliffe - $ 24000 + Tax

Jared - $ 23000 + Tax

Tiffany's - $23000 + Tax

BlueNile - $22000


Can someone please tell me why, everyone says Tiffanys is overpriced, and to stay away? I love the quality I get from Tiffany's (from all the other items I purchased from there), and the customer service.. I will be moving alot in my career and want to feel 100% confident that when I she hands them the ring, my diamond isnt going to be jacked. But the more research I find the more I see people say to go somewhere else to get a bigger diamond for a cheaper price...Maybe im missing something? or is it when you buy a 1.5 diamond everyone is going to come in around the same? Maybe its my area (DC/Baltimore)? Maybe the threads im reading are old... It's gotta be something... Please give any advice you can...

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"Overpriced" is a relative concept, and as you point out, Tiffany's (like any jewellers) have different sources of value to exploit - brand strength and service being two where T are significantly stronger than those you compared them to. Not everybody finds value in the same things, though, and that may well be one cause of people perceiving Tiffany's prices as "over".


For what it's worth, I found a 1.50 F/VVS2/XXX (with medium blue fluorescence) for about $16k on the Diamond Finder in about 30 seconds and one without fluorescence for $17500 just next to it, so it is possible to get similar stones significantly cheaper.


There are a few potential zingers in the comparison, though:


1. The idea of "best" VVS2 is - pardon my expression - total bullshit. A trained grader will have significant difficulty in locating VVS grade inclusions with a 10x loupe in any correctly graded VVS. The amount of inclusions is only going to have a minor impact on price and none whatsoever on appearance.


2. Cut quality is a different question - and even online merchants are quoting prices varying between $27k and $17k for stones of apparently the same specs - one of the issues with GIA's cut grading system is that it is not discriminating enough. We (and possibly you) have no information further to "Excellent cut".


3. A diamond described as "about one and a half carat" could be a 1.43 or a 1.57. The difference in market price is not less than 10%, but over 40%... just because one goes over the 1.50 threshold.


4. Tiffany used to use GIA for grading of larger (over 1 carat) diamonds. They no longer do, as far as I know, and there are rumours of their in-house lab being relatively more lenient. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it may be a cause of significant differences in price - F to G is a relatively large jump, and so is VVS to VS.


Hope this helps...

Edited by davidelevi
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I'm not one to call Tiffany overpriced either. That's not a cheap place to buy stuf but they never claim it is, few people go there looking for that, and their customers consistently go away happy with their purchases. I have had very little problem with the grading i've seen by the Tiffany lab being consistent with GIA. Beating them on price is not especially difficult but that's not the only component to a deal. By all means, if you value the Tiffany experience and the ongoing relationship with them, shop there. It's a quality operation.


It's worth noting that rather few bargain shoppers are looking for 1.5+/F/VV2's. A 'typical' sort of stone at most of the places you've listed has some important differences. That's not slamming the stores, they sell what customers want to buy, but a 1.4x/H/SI1 would be a MUCH better seller, at least in part because it's less than half the price and would be visually similar. Can you get a bigger stone elsewhere for cheaper? Yes. Easily. Is that what you want? Maybe. It depends on what you want.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Thanks for the responses...


When I say ~1.5, I should have stated, atleast 1.5... Looking back I notice that when comparing the lower quality stones, i.e. 1.5 H VS2 XXX, it was about the same price at tiffany's so I guess that's where maybe the pricing comes in...


(Skip this next part if you don't want to read rambling)

I have been having a tough time with diamond selection for two reasons... I can see the "imperfections" in definitely VS1, and I could swear VVS2. Im not exaggerating, I have no reason to lie, my near vision is just good. I have had two different people showing me diamonds hand me different stones to identify color from F to G and G to H, which I was able to do, which of course they called bull shit on and tried me again... and had me try and identify imperfections from VVS1 to VVS2 and VVS2 to VS1.. which I was able to 'guess' again... Now, I thought I seen the difference in VV1 and VV2, but i only did it twice and there is a 50/50 chance so not that impressive... and Same with VVS2 to VS1... the VS1 really bothered me as I could make out most of the imperfections, just with my eyes... Im not saying I could make out every little detail, but it wasn't hard to see a couple of 'dots'... Now that I am done describing my oh so amazing abilities... ... I couldnt see the imperfections in a VS1 once it was in the setting... BUT I KNEW THEY WERE THERE...


Maybe I am going to much into this? I just dont want my gf to be stuck with a diamond that has flaws? But buying IF at this size is hard...


And buying from BlueNile doesn't seem to be my thing, I have heard to many bad rumors of them using old GIA certificates for newer diamonds that are a grade worse... But how come there is no complaints about them on the internet? Possibly just a jeweler telling stories? I need to physically see the diamond. It freaks me out buying something online for $1500, let alone 25k$...


I need someone to hold my hand.

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OK, so buy from a jeweler. I like jewelers. You're the one who brought up BlueNile.


I flatly disbelieve that you can see the difference between a VVS1 and a VVS2 with the unaided eye. The vast majority of people, including professional diamond graders, are hard pressed to do it with a microscope. That said, buy what you like. You are the one that needs to be happy with this deal. 'Eye clean' is one standard but it's not the only standard or even the most important. 'Mind clean' is where it's at. This is the reason people buy IF's, and it's a fine reason. The reason people buy things other than D/IF is the price. That's a balancing act that only you can make based on what's important to YOU. I'm not trying to talk you out of a F/VVS, I'm just pinning you down to defend the logic that led you there.


Like Tiffany, BlueNile is a credible outfit. They're not for everyone but I think some jeweler is slamming for invalid reasons. These aren't the only options. There are LOT'S of jewelers out there, lots of Internet merchants and lots of quasi-jewelers like Costco or Sacs 5th that will be happy to do this deal for you. Pick someone you like and work with them. Handholding is most of what these people do for a living.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Just a comment on the online vs. in the store "Purchasing". Most online dealers (and all of the good ones bar none) will give you an adequate period in which to see the diamond, assess it, have it appraised etc. and return it if you don't like it for any reason whatsoever. The way I think of it is that I am putting down some security and getting an option to inspect the diamond for the cost of return shipping (which in some cases they even pay). I only buy when I decide I like the item.


On the other hand, if you are blessed (or cursed) with extreme visual acuity, you may be better off in terms of time by asking a jeweller to get you a selection of stones and looking at things directly, but I would not discard "online purchasing" purely on the grounds of financial security, scamming etc.


Final point: you may be able to grade and see the difference (and like Neil I don't believe even you can without a loupe at the very least). Is she? Does she care? Would she prefer a larger stone instead? A more elaborate setting? Always bear in mind that the ring is for her, at the end of the day.

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One more point - which is a particular irritant for me. The concept of "flawless" is - how to put it - severely flawed.


Diamonds are the only stones that are graded for clarity using magnification (10x); everything else is graded with the unaided eye. The fundamental reason for this is that grading using magnification underscores the rarity (and enhances prices) of the "flawless" stones. However, a "flawless" diamond at 10x will NOT be flawless at 30x or 100x, and no diamond will be flawless at an arbitrary degree of magnification. 10x was chosen for a number of practical reasons, but there's nothing magical about it, and it's as arbitrary as 30x or 753x.


So, don't get too hung up about definitions, and buy something that she will like and you will feel happy about - but only based on what either of you can see, not a classification which is based on a totally arbitrary choice.

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You haven't irritated at all. I'm irritated by the diamond industry's practices!!! :)


Glad to have been of help - do come back with more questions if you have them, and as and when the time is right, please post a photo of the ring. We always love seeing them, whether they come in a blue box or otherwise.

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Diamond industry practices are pretty odd. Our definition of 'flawless' is laughable to people in industries like optics and our usage of the word 'color' is completely out of synch with what the rest of the world means by that. Such is life. That sort of thing comes from being a 200 year old industry. At least you're not looking for a 'Burma pigeon blood ruby', whatever that means.

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