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Another For Neil Or David - Rapnet Vs All Other Price Search Sites


jaewang
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Hi, I have learned more than I need to know about loose diamonds in recent months. I also have used diamondse.info, pricescope.com, diamondpriceguru.com and whatever I can find on google. One site that I don't have access to yet is RapNet.com (Diamond Trading Network).

 

If you're familiar to RapNet.com or have access to it. I have a few questions for you.

 

1. Can I buy just one loose diamond from the suppliers on RapNet network?

2. What is the typical discount on RapNet vs retailers?

 

I also visited retail stores in Philadephia (Samson St & 8th St). With no access to RapNet, the cheapest price I can find is www.enchanteddiamonds.com. I can also drive up to NYC to visit their retail store.

 

For David - I'm from Northern Va (DC Metro area).

 

My specs are Round, GIA, 1.25, F, VS1, no Flr, Triple E. I think I have a good idea of the price range. I'm trying to get the best price.

 

Your advise/suggestion is very much appreicated.

 

 

-jaewang

Edited by jaewang
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Rapnet is meant for trade only, not for consumers. Although companies advertising there will sell one diamond at a time, they would most likely not do so to consumers (and for that matter, even as a trade member it's often not that easy unless you know the seller). "Discounts" (or margin, from my point of view) vary - as little as 5% on something, as much as 50% on something else, depending on a lot of things: who is selling, who is buying, what is being sold/bought, at what terms.

 

Be careful about the assumption that all F/VS1/XXX will look the same. The cheapest is often the cheapest for a reason; with that sort of specs you will not get a dog, but you may not get a corker either.

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Yes, I’m familiar with Rapnet. Actually, I’m a subscriber.

 

The site works basically like the database here. Independent vendors pay to list stones for sale at whatever prices and with whatever terms they want. They are not all the same and the site gets no vote beyond whether or not to accept them as an advertiser. Users can search the database with a variety of tools and find an ad for whatever they want and they then call up the supplier and make a deal or not as they both wish.

 

There are a few salient points that I think you may be overlooking in your quest for low low prices.

 

You are doing business with an individual seller, not with Rapnet, Diamond.info, Pricescope or any other advertising venue. Each dealer sets their own prices and terms, and they choose their own customers. It can be a serious trap to view them as an aggregate.

 

The dealers advertising on Rapnet are trying to sell to other dealers. The reason is that dealers are a LOT easier to work with and they become repeat customers. Some of those same sellers DO have retail divisions where they will sell directly to consumers through them but Rapnet has nothing to do with it. If they want to sell to you they’ll advertise somewhere else and if they don’t want to sell to you they are under no obligation to do so regardless of your access to the dealer site.

 

Concentrate on specific offers from specific dealers. The best ‘deals’ don’t actually originate on Rapnet, they originate on the secondary market, meaning someone sold the stone to the dealer who repaired it, recerted it and is now trying to sell it from their own inventory. They too can sell to whoever they want and charge whatever they want but it’s no longer an issue of taking someone elses price and applying a markup. The price is set based on how much THEY think they can get for it. The problem with these is that they don’t necessarily have what you want on hand, especially if you’re very picky and you are competing with other buyers who may be willing to pay more than you. That’s when the big databases come in handy and, for most people worth the cost. You can use the online advertisments to beat up the dealers because most will match the prices of their competitors. It doesn’t make a bit of difference if they would sell it to a dealer under different circumstances for a lower price. The issue is what will they offer YOU. Similarly, you are under no obligation to accept any dealers offer. If they want too much, you don’t like their terms and conditions, you don’t’ like their attitude, or they simply don’t have what you want, click away and find someone else. There’s a ton of competition out there.

Edited by denverappraiser
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David/Neil,

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and giving me an insight into the RapNet world. You guys are the best!

 

Be careful about the assumption that all F/VS1/XXX will look the same. The cheapest is often the cheapest for a reason; with that sort of specs you will not get a dog, but you may not get a corker either.

  • I understand no two diamonds are the same. But what I don't understand is how price per carat can fluctuate so much, given most (not all) specs are the same GIA/F/VS1/XXX/No Flr. The other differences are measurement, table % and depth %.

There’s a ton of competition out there.

  • Do you have anyone you would recommend on the east coast?

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In your first question you were shopping for online dealers, who DO tend to have more aggressive prices. Now it sounds like you're looking for a local store. That's a significant shift. A lot of the Internet houses are based in NYC, including the one that Davide works for but, in practice, it makes little difference where the dealer offices unless they're in your hometown. FedEx is more convenient than a 200 mile drive anyway. A Google 'discount certified diamonds' produces hundreds of thousands of hits. There's half a dozen or so who advertise here, one who you specifically asked to give you advice. I would start there. FWIW, I think they're in NYC.

Edited by denverappraiser
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What you call the "other" differences (not so much table and depth) are cut quality. When GIA developed its cut grading system in the early 2000s, probably about 10% of diamonds retailed would have been graded "Excellent" for cut, another 20% or so VG, and the remaining 70% G, F, P. Now, cutters have figured out how to cut to GIA specs, so about 45% are Ex, 45% are VG and the rest covers the other three grades. The issue is that the GIA "excellent" grade covers a rather broad range - which is good in one sense, but bad in another: it allows for different looks which different people may prefer (more spread, more brilliance, more fire, more sparkle), but it does not eliminate the fact that commercially speaking certain combinations are more in demand than others, and so get prices some times considerably higher.

 

In addition, there are other, not graded aspects of a diamond that will contribute to its price - the main one being transparency (not clarity). A transparent, "pure" diamond will look much better than one with the same grade but a murky, dull appearance. They may be cut the same and be both VS1 - the murkyness may have nothing to do with inclusions, but it may be caused by lattice defects or distortions (get enough of those in a certain way, and the diamond turns pink...). It may feel like it's getting into connoisseurship, and it is to some extent, but it does drive price.

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I know asking you this queston without letting you examining the diamonds is not fair. Assuming an average Joe looking to buy online and all he has is the GIA certs.

 

These two diamonds have very similar specs and pricing. Yet the VS1 is about $100 more than the VVS2. Is it becuase the proportions of the VS1 is better than the VVS2?

 

VS1 GIA Cert

VVS2 GIA Cert

 

-jaewang

Edited by jaewang
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The problem here isn't what's 'fair', it's just not possible. I can give a few general comments.

 

VVS2 doesn't actually trade for that much more than VS1 in most stores. VS1's are a LOT ore popular so the sellers of VVS tend to 'discount' in order to get a sale.

 

Proportions aren't what drives the price. GIAxxx is what's driving the prices. You may LIKE one better than the other but that's not the price issue.

 

The first one is a little bit bigger. That'll drive up the price by a few percent.

 

Different dealers have different business models and they or their suppliers may simply be charging more. They may not both be coming through the channels and one may simply be charging a little more than the other. $100 difference is usually a pretty small number in this business and can easilly be ofsett by differences with things like shipping charges, credit card fees, sales taxes, etc.

Edited by denverappraiser
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On $100 of difference, it could be a lot of things. As Neil points out, there are many other factors that can move prices by that small an amount, and VVS2 and VS1 are close enough in price to start with.

 

Where I disagree with Neil is that there are limited price differences between GIA xxx (i.e. that more detailed information on a diamond's cut does not drive price). It is true that it will be very difficult if not impossible to find a VG cut priced more than an EX, but there are significant differences between "marginal" EX and the better cut ones. For example:

 

http://www.diamondreview.com/clk.cgi?http://www.jamesallen.com/diamond.asp?b=20&a=16&c=79&cid=131&item=1493095

http://www.diamondreview.com/clk.cgi?http://www.jamesallen.com/diamond.asp?b=20&a=16&c=79&cid=131&item=1389956

 

Some of the difference is due to the branding, but the branding is not random (i.e. you could not market the second diamond in the same category as the first, even though they are both AGS "ideal"). And the price difference is not insignificant.

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I think that's nearly all about the branding but possibly also about the sourcing. The true hearts brand is promoting their hearts and arrows symmetry as the selling point and the other is not. As you point out, the branding isn't random but I suspect the TH stones are all coming from the same cutting house and they're charging a premium for it. Whether 'hearts and arrows' is important is different sort of decision and whether or not that brand is sufficient evidence of the h&a-ness is yet another. There are quite a few dealers who compete on this issue.

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  • 6 months later...

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