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Rookie - Ready For First Major Purchase


tebok
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Hello everyone. I’m ready to make my first major purchase and feel like I’m studying for a major exam. It’s one I’m really looking into and although I’m gaining confidence it’s a decision I don’t want to make alone. I have found the setting I’m looking for so now it’s time to find the rock. Here are a few details to help anyone who is nice enough to help:

 

Shape: Round

Carat: 1.75 or larger

Color: G or better

Clarity: SI1 or better

Cut: Excellent

Certification: GIA

 

Blue Nile and Adiamor have a few diamonds that meet these requirements that are in the ball park of 13 grand. Is that a reasonable price range with local dealers? I have a friend in the industry that told me when you’re working in this range there is a lot of mark-up and with that room to work the price down.

 

Also, does anyone have a place in the Denver area that they would refer?

 

Thank you for your time and feel free to share any input you may have.

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Um. I would flatly disagree with your friend. Mark up for stones below 5 carats is fairly constant as a %, and it is more a function of business model (pure internet vs. local; large vs. small; service levels; ...) and supply chain relationships than of colour/clarity/size/price.

 

You can get a stone that (just) fits your minimum criteria for about $13k. There are about 160 GIA/AGS graded 1.70-1.80 G/SI1 advertised here on the Diamond Finder, at prices ranging from about $10k to about $20k. Bear in mind that stones at the bottom of the price range will tend to be there for a reason, usually one of the following:

 

1) Inclusions are somewhat visible. With an SI1 it's unlikely to be a big aesthetic bother, but it may well be there.

 

2) Cut variability. Some of the lower price stones don't make it into excellent, and others aren't the "best" excellent, though none will look bad.

 

3) Fluorescence. Rightly or wrongly, the market discounts strongly fluorescent stones. To me, that's a plus, but other people don't like it (and there is the odd one that turns out to be milky or oily).

 

4) Service and/or T&C - while "cash" prices are available and are lower than credit card prices, they may tie you in with no refund and in any case you get to hang on to your cash for longer with a credit card. Same for cash-in/trade-up/warranties etc.

 

The value or desirability of any of the above is a very personal thing; many people will happily accept a so-so clarity as long as the stone is sparkly and white; others will more readily give up on colour or size, and others still will want a top flight cut and trade-off other aspects. What has led you to pick that particular set of characteristics?

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That's great input. Thank you.

 

I was hesitant to buy into my friend’s opinion after my research and appreciate your opinion as it reinforces my disbelief.

 

The first three of your points are what I expected, so that's good. Luckily, I am in a position where I will be paying cash, so that is good news for the fourth point.

 

The characteristics I chose started with a budget the I added the size and went from there. I do know that after looking at rings with my girlfriend that I'm lucky that she can't see the difference from a J-SI2 and a D-FL. I on the other hand, can.

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Dealers live in a competitive world and your specs are pretty mainstream. This means that nearly every dealer out there can get it and if they want to actually make the sale they need to be competitive. Markup is irrelevant. They can pay whatever they must but it doesn't mean they can pass it on to you and whatever discount they get probably won't be passed on anyway. Don't be shy about showing them what you're considering buying from the competition and see what they have as a counteroffer. Come at the price from that end and let the 'markup' be a matter between them and their accountant. BlueNile makes a fine benchmark for this purpose. Flat out ask each jeweler why you should buy from THEM and then decide for yourself if what they've got to offer is worth the price.

 

I won't recommend specific jewelers in Denver becaue I think it's a terrible conflict of interest to be doing that, but I CAN recommend a first rate appraiser. :lol:

Edited by denverappraiser
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The better the cut, the higher the price will be. Keep in mind to stick with stones with legitimate lab reports so you can compare, like GIA or AGS graded diamonds. Then look for an ideal or excellent cut grade.

 

Also there are reasons why one diamond will run less than another in the same grade. It can be fluorescence, they type of inlcusions, whether or not it has milky haze, a poor crown angle or pavilion angle.

 

Keep your prices realistic for the size, color and clarity of the stones with a legit lab report and you won't be disappointed.

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Thanks Jan. I have found that fluorescence has a significant impact on the price to the tune of like 3 grand in a 1.75 carat.

 

Here are some of my findings after looking at some diamonds at Hyde Park yesterday:

-Hyde Park is pricey.

-The size increase from 1.5 to 1.75 is hard to notice. Typical diameters of 7.4mm to 7.8mm helped me understand that.

-I can’t see a difference from I-E

-I can’t see a difference from SI1-FL

-Excellent cut or ideal is a must.

-Fluorescence should be faint or better.

 

Today I visit two local "Mom and Pop" shops that come highly recommended.

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Fluorescence has a big effect on price only at the high end, that is to say very strong and strong. 'Medium' makes a stone hard to sell, and that sometimes brings down the price but it shouldn't be $3k on a $15k stone. Something else is going on.

 

Just out of curiosity, given your observation that fluro drops the price, why are you opposed to it?

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Good to know.

 

It's not that I'm opposed to fluorescence. Honestly, I cant see a difference, but the last couple jewelers I have talked to have quite negative opinions on strong and very strong fluorescence.

 

It seems that 'medium' would make for a bargain since it's a hard sale.

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I doubt you would see anything to notice in a medium fluorescence unless you look under an ultraviolet light of course. I have even had stones with strong blue that were nice and not hazy or oily.

You can get a 1.69 ct. VS2 I ideal cut in your range with a legitimate AGS report. as an example. G-H color grade with a legitimate lab report will throw it out of you $13,000 price range for a stone with a legit report and ideal or excellent cut grade with the same polish and symmetry.

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Thanks again everyone for the input.

 

I finally got to go out to a couple jewelers and it was a blast. Here are the top two diamonds I have found thus far (both are GIA certified):

 

1.82, G, SI2, Excellent cut, No fluorescence, $15k

2.26, M, VVS1, Excellent cut, Strong Blue fluorescence, $14k

 

Any thoughts?

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In which way are they "the top 2"? You are comparing apples with pears... other than the fact that both are fruit and they both may taste (look) nice:

 

SI2 - may or may not show inclusions. VVS1 is overkill in terms of clarity (it comes at a significant premium but it will look no different than VS2 or even SI1).

 

G will look white under any circumstances. M will show yellow through the side and sometimes from the top except in strong sunlight (because of the fluoresecence).

 

2.26 comes at a significant premium per carat over 1.82 because it goes over 2.00. It will also look bigger (though perhaps not so hugely different to a casual observer who sees one diamond at a time).

 

Cut: excellent covers a lot of ground. It may be the "same" look or they may look quite different.

 

If you have come to the conclusion that they are the best you have found so far because you really like the looks of that M/VVS1 and that G/SI2, that's fine. If they are "the best you can find locally", perhaps it may be worthwhile to go around a couple of other places. What are your to-be-fiancée's views? Would she rather go for size knowing that it may show some tint every now and then? Or would she play it safe on colour to the expense of some size and perhaps the risk of seeing some inclusions?

 

BTW - if it helps, here are photos of a very nicely cut M, so you can see how "different" it can look under different lighting conditions http://www.diamondsb...halo-ring-r4578

Edited by davidelevi
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I have been to two family owned jewelers and two chains. The chains seem to have higher prices (especially the mall chain) and less educated sales staff. One local family owned shop was extremely impressive with their knowledge and pride in product. They did an excellent job in giving me, the customer, the confidence in the value and quality the provided.

 

The two diamonds I mentioned are the two that I'm the most interested at this time. There were many others that would be considered "better" but they were either out of my budget, had visible inclusions, or were smaller than 1.75 carats. The 1.82 looked really good for a G/SI2.

 

My to-be-fiancée's and I looked at diamonds a few months back and luckily she doesn’t have an eye for different colors and inclusions. She would be happy with anything over 1.25 carats as long as it doesn’t have highly visible inclusions.

 

I am going to another family shop this week and am also looking for some diamond brokers (is that correct?). I have been told of guys that deal just with the stones and will come to your office and show you their stock. That sounds like a good route to go. It's going to be a long search but it has become quite fun.

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Good feedback. Thanks. I'm glad you're having fun.

 

Jewelers, brokers, dealers, jobbers, websites, 'wholesalers' et.al. are all the same thing. They buy stuff, they sell stuff, they make a buck on the flip. Not that there's anything wrong with that but the answer to where the best 'deal' can be found isn't in the name. It is, in general, less expensive to operate a business without a showroom and lots of advertising and this savings MAY be passed on to you but don't bet on it. They ALL can sell whatever they want and they can charge whatever they want. Keep your eye on the deal at hand. There are sharks out there and the pitch is always that they'll give you a better deal because of some great advantage they have. Maybe. Maybe not. Keep your antenae up.

Edited by denverappraiser
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"Keep your antennae up." is right. I have met with two more excellent jewelers and was equally impressed. Now I have it narrowed down to three out of six jewelers.

 

I found a great deal and even put down a small fully refundable deposit but it's such a great deal that I'm having second thoughts. It's for a 2.02 ct G SI2 with a great cut that looks amazing. The only substantial blemish is on the edge where a prong can easily cover it up. I looked at it with a loop, then placed it against my skin, then put it in a setting and took it outside under natural light. It looked great. My hesitation is that the jeweler got it two days ago as a trade-in so there is no cert to go with it and all I have is his word and my amateur eye to go by the quality.

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Danger.

 

If you love it and you got a little bit of time, offer him this. He sends it to GIA for grading. If it comes back at least G, at least SI2 and at least VG in cut (unless he's claiming better than that), you'll buy it at the agreed price PLUS the GIA fees and all shipping and insurance charges. If not, the deals off and he pays the bill. He can make a new offer if he wants but there's no obligation on either one of you. If you're in a hurry and you want to 'double down', include the rush charge.

 

Minor grade variations are a big deal in this business. For example, the difference between G/SI2 and H/I1 is nearly double. The difference between 'excellent' cutting and 'fair' cutting is nearly as much, etc. GIA lists their prices and current turnaround time on their website. It's worth the trouble if you're seriously considering this stone.

Edited by denverappraiser
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As always, great input Neil! I called the jeweler and did exactly as you suggested. He said we would be wasting our time because it's not a GIA stone. He agreed to release the deposit and would like to set up an appointment to show me some of his GIA stones. I declined.

 

At this point I have narrowed it down to two. This is based on their price, service, and ease to work with. Neither of these two "mom and pop" shops have been pushy in any way and I have been nothing short of impressed. Both of which have the same ring prices and will be creating them with CAD. I am having a second meeting with one on Thursday and will touch base with my findings after that. Hopefully he can make the decision easy on me.

 

Thanks to your help I believe I have become an educated tough customer that's remaining pleasant to work with.

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He said we would be wasting our time because it's not a GIA stone.

What this means is that he doesn't trust his grader, even when there's a big sale and no cost hanging on it. If GIA graded it it would become a 'GIA stone', but it would be at a lower grade than he's trying to claim. HE ALREADY KNEW THIS, which begs the question: Why didn't he tell you this earlier?

 

You're right to move on.

Edited by denverappraiser
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As always, great input Neil! I called the jeweler and did exactly as you suggested. He said we would be wasting our time because it's not a GIA stone. He agreed to release the deposit and would like to set up an appointment to show me some of his GIA stones. I declined.

[snip]

At least he's honest enough to recognise that he would be wasting your time. It's a shame he wasn't honest enough to recognise that there is no such thing as a "GIA stone". They will grade anything as long as it is paid for. ;)

 

Good luck for your next appointments.

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Exactly.

 

On a side note, below is a picture of the ring we're going to CAD up. It has a couple tapered baguettes on each side and I think the total weight of the ring will be around a half a carat. White gold estimates are at or below $2000.

 

569017427a9146189cd3822a59469e3e-450x440.png

Edited by tebok
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Yesterday was a good day. I saw two very nice stones that fall in my budget. They also seem to do well with the diamond finder prices. I'm leaning towarg the AGS stone in this situation due to the fire it shows which I think has a lot to do with it grading ideal in all four categories. Any thoughts?

 

1.70 H SI2 AGS $12,475

http://www.agslab.com/reportTypes/pldqr.php?StoneID=01040363950005&Weight=1.70&D=1

 

1.70 J VS2 GIA $13,400

https://myapps.gia.edu/ReportCheckPortal/getReportData.do?&reportno=17248115&weight=1.70

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If you are happy with the eye-cleanness of the AGS, that would be my choice too. Partly because of the cut (the GIA's crown is a bit steep and the table a little large for my liking), and partly because of the colour.

 

And $1000 less is not to be thrown away either!

Edited by davidelevi
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