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Diamond Buying Advice


cokewithvanilla
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Hello,

 

I am 24, just out of college, looking for a diamond. I have an idea of what I want and I have been doing research for a while. Obviously, I want the best price on what I am looking for. I want a 1.25-1.35 eye clean stone (to me this means I can see nothing no matter how close I get), that shines like hell. I think this equates to an Ideal cut, D-G color, SI1-SI2 stone. I've been trying to locate this stone locally from an individual to save money. I've not had much luck doing it this way. It seems people ask more than the stones are worth and pawn shops only sell crap (from what I've seen)

 

Anyway, I am now looking online and at dealers. I have read all about EGL and people say bad things, yet I've seen some nice EGL stones. I've also read where someone sampled some stones and the EGL were generally 1 clarity and 1-2 color levels lower than GIA. It seems that any EGL stone is about 60% the price of the same GIA (6 years ago it seems they were 10% difference, has anything changed?). I can get a VS1 Ideal cut, D-E color EGL for the same price (or less) as a SI2, G color, Ideal cut GIA.

 

I understand the GIA is more accurate, and EGL sometimes screws up the color and clairty. However, if I go with a much higher rated EGL USA stone, will I get more stone for my money? Many people say that stones are sent to every lab for grading and the only grading kept is the one that yields the highest profit margin (which means to me that you are getting screwed every way possible).

 

I can probably comfortably throw 6k at a stone right now (already got a setting for 2.3k), but obviously want to save as much as possible.

 

Oh, anywhere I buy from, I will be able to return the stone if it's not what I want.

 

What do you all think?

Edited by cokewithvanilla
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Buying from individuals is a crapshoot. A lot of them overvalue their deals, which is WHY they are trying to make a direct sale to you, but others do offer bargains. 'You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince" comes to mind here.

 

Pawn shops sell what they have. If they get crap, they sell crap. If they get good stuf they sell good stuf. More frogs. The difference is that they often know exactly what they have and price accordingly. I have several good clients who own pawn shops for example and when I went to GIA, there were more pawnbrokers in my class than jewelers.

 

The problem with EGL is not that they're wrong, it's that they're inconsistent. Some are dead on matches to GIA, some are as much as 4 or 5 grades off. Since you're only shopping for one stone it doesn't really matter where the average is. You want to know where a particular stone lies, and there's no way to do that by looking at just the cert. You, or your own chosen expert, have to look at the stone.

 

As a general rule, there are no bargains with EGL and the Internet. EGL didn't make the stone and the person who did chose to send it to them for a reason. That reason was money, and you can be confident that it was NOT because they were trying to give you a bargain.

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In a word, yes. What drives the price is the grading report (that's what certs are called). What drives what you like is, well, what you like. Stick with GIA and AGS grading and go look at some real diamonds. Get a feel for your own taste when it comes to clarity, color and shape. Adjust the size to fit your budget. Give up on the whole EGL idea. You will not find a bargain that way. You asked about D-G for example. That's a big range and it'll affect the price on the order of a factor of 2. If you're price conscious, drop D-F and consider adding H and maybe even I. That's why you need to go look at real diamonds rather than just lists online. That'll teach you the difference between an D and an H in terms of how it looks. You may find an I that EGL calls an F, but that's an illusion. It is what it is. Leave your credit card at home, this is an education process. If you find a fabulous dealer who has what you want, it'll still be there tomorrow. Use the online guys to see the price. Jewelers tend to be annoyingly coy about their prices and the database here is an enormously valuable shopping tool, even if you have no intention of doing business with the advertising dealers. It's annonymous, it's free and it allows you to do a search, make a minor adjustment, and then do another search rather quickly. That'll quickly teach you the difference between a D and a H in terms of pricing.

 

If you see an EGL that you like, ignore the report, you are relying 100% on the dealer. If you don't trust the dealer, find a different dealer, not just a different stone. EGL is not a defect, they didn't make the stone. What it is is a sales tactic. The difference is that GIA is selling documents designed to assist people in buying diamonds. EGL is selling documents designed to assist people in SELLING diamonds. At the margin, GIA has some issues but they are a much reliable source of information.

 

 

You didn't ask but here's an interesting tidbit of data. It's GIA's pricing structure:

http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/fees_payment/lab_fees/LAB_feeschedule_Diamond_07012012_USD.pdf

 

EGL is a little cheaper, they're a lot faster and they're considerably more pleasant to work with, but you'll notice that GIA isn't really all that expensive. If someone tells you that GIA grades stones cost more, you now know what it actually costs to get the GIA branding. If you see a $2000 difference on the price, and the whole lab fee is $110 (and EGL isn't free so the difference is actually less than that), ask yourself WHY this particular stone was selected for EGL branding and WHY it's $2000 cheaper. It's not the lab fees. It's the grading.

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I subscribe entirely to Neil's point of view.

 

One more thought: if your budget is for $6k for the centre stone, something has to give in the equation G+/eye-clean SI/Ex cut round/1.30... You can get a white looking diamond etc. for that price, but it won't be graded (fairly) as G+/SI+/Ex cut+

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Alright, definitely no EGL.

 

 

I subscribe entirely to Neil's point of view.

 

One more thought: if your budget is for $6k for the centre stone, something has to give in the equation G+/eye-clean SI/Ex cut round/1.30... You can get a white looking diamond etc. for that price, but it won't be graded (fairly) as G+/SI+/Ex cut+

 

Interesting. I went to a jewelry store in the nashville area and was told about 6k for what I want. I do not live in that area, so he gave me the name of his wholesaler who is in my area. I talked to him and he said hes got two in hand that would probably fit the bill a 1.33 and a 1.31, he didn't give any more specifics, but he said they'd be just under 6k. By the way, I never told them a price, they both said "does 6k sound about right to you?"

 

I also went into a jewelry store and looked at a 1.26 that had no carbon and hardly any issues under glass. From what he said, the stone was a SI2, excellent cut. He wanted 6.2k

Edited by cokewithvanilla
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Color me suspicious. In the database here a search for 1.25-1.35/G/SI2/GIA produces 239 offers. Exactly 2 of them are under $6200. They're both for the same stone, and that stone has some important cut issues. It ain't 'ideal' by even the broadest definition. You didn't list color or cutting in your last paragraph but if G/SI2/GIA/x is your minimum specs, I'm with Davide in that I don't think you'll find it at a 'wholesaler' who will do it for $6k, or even particularly close to that. I may be wrong but there are red flags here. Make sure you understand the deal before you commit. Something is amiss.

Edited by denverappraiser
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I think the issue lies in those two little words "fairly" and "GIA". Anyone can set up a "gemmological lab" and issue a grading report that says "G/SI2/Excellent". In fact, for the same price, they can issue a report saying "D/VVS1/Ideal". Does the grading report change the actual colour, clarity or cut of the stone? Obviously not.

 

This is not to say you cannot find a "reasonably white", "reasonably eye-clean", "reasonably well cut" stone for $6k. There are plenty of those, but G/SI2/EX they are not, no matter what the paper accompanying them says. Does it matter? Perhaps not - but then what's the point of getting a third party's opinion (the lab's) when the third party cannot be trusted for comparison purposes?

 

Perhaps a small analysis I did about a year ago has some interest/relevance for you: http://www.diamondre...dpost__p__31231

 

The analysis was done for H/VS2 cushion cuts, but much the same pattern (or worse, for a number of reasons) would apply to G/SI2 rounds. Notice how the two populations of GIA/AGS graded stones and "EGL" (short for "anyone else") graded stones are differently priced? Why? It's not for the $100 or so of difference in the lab report price between GIA and EGL...

Edited by davidelevi
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The last EGL stone that I saw in person was suppose to be a SI1 F and in reality was a I1 G. Based as if it were a SI1 F it was cheap, but based on a I1 G you would over pay for the stone as a real GIA I1 G ran alot less than the EGL SI1 F did. In my opinion, the EGL stones are overpriced for the real grade. Being that you are not a Gemologist, you won't have the tools or knowledge to know the real grade of the diamond. For you, you would be better off buying a GIA or AGS graded diamond with accurate color and clarity grades.

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