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Buying An Engagement Ring, Please Help


loverboy28
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Hello, 

 

I am sure this forum received many similar requests as mine, but I would be extremely grateful for any advice or guidance from members of this forum on which diamond ring to purchase for an engagement ring. 

 

(1) Colour D, Cut is excellent, Clarity is VS2, 1.2 Carats, No fluorescence and platinum setting (EGL certified) - $8,000.

 

(2) Colour E, Cut is Very Good, Clarity is SI1, 1.01 Carats, No fluorescence and platinum setting (GIA certified) - $9,500

 

(3) Colour E, Cut is Good, Clarity is SI1, 1.01 Carats, No florescence and platinum setting - $8,900

 

(4) Colour D, Cut is Fair, Clarity is VS2, 1.01 Carats, No florescence and platinum setting - $9,300.

 

All my girlfriend wants is something with brilliance, she does not mind if the diamond has inclusions that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

 

Thank you very much for any help! Please let me know if you need any more information. Prices are in Australian dollars.  

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Since you've only listed one with GIA certification, there isn't a choice here.

 

Try looking at stones just under 1.00 carats (to save on the big price jump  at 1 carat).  And with GIA, AGS, or even HRD certification.  Then you've at least got some comparables.

 

Also -- find the stone first; add the ring metal/setting later. Otherwise you're conflating steak AND potatoes, rather than focusing on the meat part. :)

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Scratch 3 & 4, i wouldn't recommend anything with Good or Fair cut, the manufacture of those diamonds went for size and not quality so you might have a deep stone on your hands that it not as spready (diameter mm) as a diamond with better cut, but smaller carat weight.

 

You're left with choices 1 and 2. With both diamonds being two different certs (GIA / EGL), I would have the retailer where you're buying it from compare them for you and tell you his professional opinion on the grade of the EGL. Once you have an idea of what the true grade is you can better compare the two diamonds. We sell both EGL and GIA diamonds on our site. And that is what we do to help our customers decide.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Ethan | Certified Gemologist & Jewelry Consultant

Edited by Ethan
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>>  (...) We sell both EGL and GIA diamonds on our site. And that is what we do to help our customers decide. 
 
Hi Ethan!
 
Haven't seen you on this website before, so "Welcome" or "Welcome Back", as the case may be. :)
 
Since you've got a voice here, perhaps I can ask what you feel the advantage is in carrying EGL-graded stones?  Do you feel educated customers are satisfied with these rankings?  Is there a middle grade or cut of stone, perhaps, that is better suited for presentation with an EGL grading report?  Or does this tend to confuse customers, rather than help them?
 
The general consensus on this forum is that EGL may be one or two grades lower compared to a GIA stone with respect to color, clarity, etc. -- the usual 4C's.  I assume by your comment, you agree with this.  So, if I'm offered an EGL "E" stone, am I being psychologically manipulated into pretending that it's not much different from a GIA (or AGS) "E" stone, except for the price?
 
Or, as a customer, would I say "spare me the details -- it's an "E" if that's what's on the report? --?
 
This also applies to various in-house grading systems.  I think your fresh voice on this could help open up the non-GIA world to buyers like myself (who are not always interested in the highest-quality stones, for various reasons).
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The general consensus on this forum is that EGL may be one or two grades lower compared to a GIA stone with respect to color, clarity, etc. -- the usual 4C's.

Actually, I'd say that the consensus among the "regulars" on this forum is that there is a lot of variation, not least among EGL labs. "Average deviation" is useless in any one particular case, particularly if the purchase is a one-off, as is the case with most consumers.
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Actually, I'd say that the consensus among the "regulars" on this forum is that there is a lot of variation, not least among EGL labs. "Average deviation" is useless in any one particular case, particularly if the purchase is a one-off, as is the case with most consumers.

 

Interesting!  In your usual effort to be extremely precise... you've managed to complicate this issue tremendously.

 

All this time I've been completely excluding EGL stones from consideration, because I've mentally associated the word RIPOFF with them.  And then, I've essentially gone for lower-graded GIA stones, because I'm not looking for "perfect" stones in each instance.  (That may change with the 4th and final acquisition.)

 

But by saying EGL stones _could_, in occasional cases, be sufficient -- then at this late date, I'm discovering I've needlessly limited myself from looking at perhaps 50% of stones meeting my other criteria.  It's just that I wouldn't know what my target GIA "G/SI1" might translate into with EGL grading ... perhaps "E-F-G / VS1-VS2-SI1" --?  (There's also the matter of cut.) 

 

IOW, I'd have twice as many stones to look at, but no idea of how an EGL rating could equate to the GIA candidate I like, except indirectly by what the jeweler set as his selling price.  Hmm... since I don't have an apartment within walking distance of 47th Street, I might be better off just doing it the way I've been doing.

Edited by jginnane
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There's two separate issues/underlying questions here:

 

1) Can an EGL-graded diamond be "nice"? And the answer is yes; there is no reason why not - and the report does not change the physical characteristics of the stone.

 

2) Can an EGL-grade diamond be graded correctly (i.e. consistently with what GIA would grade it)? The answer again is yes, albeit rarely. The problem is that grading drives price... and you have no guarantee that the price you are being charged (usually but not always a discount from "GIA" prices) is correct, since you cannot trust the grading to be accurate.

 

The issue is not the 1, 2 or 23 grades more or less. The issue is the lack of repeatability/accuracy of those grades. If a stone is 4 grades off and the other is spot on, the average is 2 off, but it is useless to evaluate either stone individually (one is 0 and the other is 4). As a merchant, you can afford (perhaps) to trade on averages. As a consumer, buying typically one stone, you are not in the same situation. Lose one, lose all (or - very rarely - gain one, gain all).

 

Yes, you are better off doing what you are doing, particularly given the absence of a pied-á-terre on 47th; there is no shortage of "discounted" (compared to an average stone for whatever reason; one of the few sensible applications of Rap prices for comparison purposes) GIA-graded stones. EGL are even more plentiful, but you need to see them to make sure you are comparing them to the appropriate reference (grades/prices).

 

This said, I'm doing all the talking here, and Ethan - to whom you asked the question - hasn't had the opportunity to put his point of view across...

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It's quite alright Davide, the floor is yours.  I commend you for the time you take to guide consumers on this fantastic forum. Regretfully, I will probably not be able to keep up with you, although it sounds like you're doing just fine and you're on the right track with everything you've outlined above. To help with some input, I will attempt to shed some light as to why people buy EGL diamonds.  

 

The short response, Rudy, is that EGL graded diamonds might not be for you so you haven't wasted your time.  Just by judging from the type of diamond criteria you're looking at and the price point you have you should continue to search GIA diamonds and find the right stone that fits your budget. 

 

Over 90% of what we sell is GIA graded diamonds, but the fact is that there are many people who are actively looking for EGL diamonds while completely aware that it is using an entirely different grading standard. Afterall, they are diamonds too. What they're doing is kind of what Davide has mentioned where they're gaging the EGL specs (for color and clarity) to GIA's standards and trying to compare the prices where the rule of thumb is to pay accordingly. 

 

On one hand many people choose to refrain from this altogether and stick to GIA graded diamonds, while on the other, there are people who simply can't find what they're looking for at the price they want. This is when many consumers turn to EGL graded diamonds.

 

Bare with me as I try to give you one solid example; there was a person who bought an EGL certified diamond; 2.06 Carat, Round Diamond, H, Color, VS2 Clarity, Ideal Cut (Ex, EX, EX), None Fluor. The price for this diamond was $6,000 USD.  The grading according to an in-house GIA certified gemologist was K Color, SI1 Clarity, None Fluor, and Excellent Cut. Face value the diamond was full of life and 100% eye clean. For this particular consumer the decision was easy. Even when he compared this diamond against GIA grades; 2 Carat, L-M Colors, SI1 even SI2, Very Good or Good cut, he found the average pricing for those diamonds to be substantially higher in the $7,000-8,000+ range (at that time).

 

To give you some origin history and hopefully provide some logic behind the whole ordeal... the diamond came from a diamond manufacturer that decided to submit the diamond to EGL to get the higher H color VS2 clarity grade. The dealer could have just as easy received a GIA certification but felt that the K color grade would not be as marketable for the simple reason that some of his retailers advertise D through J colors only and cut out diamonds graded K or lower. So instead of waiting a year to turn his inventory with a GIA 2.06 K, SI1, he was able to sell the above diamond in a month with the EGL grade and a very small single digit profit margin. 

 

Therefore, the dealer / manufacture was able to "advertise" his diamond in the first place through the EGL cert.  The retailer got another diamond to display / sell, and the consumer was able to find the perfect diamond within their (uncompromising specs) according to both labs and within their (uncompromising) budget.  A diamond they would have otherwise not been able to find. It looks like everyone walked away a winner. 

 

So there are situations where a dealer has a diamond that falls outside the scope of his retailers program and would simply get no visibility without the EGL certs. All things being equal, some of these stones could be "good" buys at the "right" price. 

 

Going back to your search, unlike the above example, I believe you'll be able to find plenty of GIA diamonds that fit your criteria without having to worry about the "occasional" cases that come around with certain EGL diamonds.  

 

I hope this helps, and good luck! 

 

Ethan

Edited by DreamStone
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The short response, Rudy, is that EGL graded diamonds might not be for you so you haven't wasted your time.  Just by judging from the type of diamond criteria you're looking at and the price point you have you should continue to search GIA diamonds and find the right stone that fits your budget. 

 

Over 90% of what we sell is GIA graded diamonds, but the fact is that there are many people who are actively looking for EGL diamonds while completely aware that it is using an entirely different grading standard. Afterall, they are diamonds too. What they're doing is kind of what Davide has mentioned where they're gaging the EGL specs (for color and clarity) to GIA's standards and trying to compare the prices where the rule of thumb is to pay accordingly. 

 

Hi Ethan,

 

I was afraid I'd scared you off with my first pitch being a high-inside fastball. :)

 

This sounds like the people who do this are either extremely knowledgeable... or think they are.  Perhaps acquiring a stone with a surface blemish on the table, they think a simple repolishing could improve the grading?  Or maybe a little laser drilling and filling, after the grading report?  I'm definitely not accusing anything underhanded, but trying to conceptualize how people think they can improve a stone's value simply by grade comparisons.

 

Ethan >> ... there are people who simply can't find what they're looking for at the price they want. This is when many consumers turn to EGL graded diamonds.

 

My first half-dozen attempts to reply to this included the meme "trailer park", which is extremely unfortunate.  But I understand what you are saying.  These are people who buy "Louis Vuitton" on Craigslist or Canal Street, instead of Madison Ave.

 

Ethan >> (your 2-carat H/VS2/XXX EGL example, above)

 

However, the K/SI1 grading estimate was from a GIA-trained gemologist, not GIA.  Actual results from GIA could have been lower still (as you acknowledge).  If I was involved in this, I would have paid for the GIA report, and expected the jeweler to indemnify me if it came up lower than his estimate.

 

I didn't write up all my shopping experiences in Hong Kong and Asia in March.  I remember several shop windows in Tsim Sha Tsui with dozens of diamonds on display, all claiming to be "D / IF" without a single indication of the grading report's provenance.  We steered clear of going in those shops, particularly because the "special advertised price" in the window was a good 10-20% higher than averages in pricescope or here, for legitimate GIA stones.

 

In another circumstance, in a back bazaar stall in Ho Chi Minh City, we actually got to see a couple real GIA-graded stones (because we saw the paperwork), which the vendor had sunk her life savings into.  She was expecting to quickly turn them for a hoped 20% profit.  Trouble was ... she overpaid, hugely, for stones with >84% depth and ~47% tables.  I felt badly for her.  (Hope she found some nice rich German tourists by now!)

 

Ethan >> ...a diamond manufacturer that decided to submit the diamond to EGL to get the higher H color VS2 clarity grade. The dealer could have just as easy received a GIA certification but felt that the K color grade would not be as marketable for the simple reason that some of his retailers advertise D through J colors only and cut out diamonds graded K or lower.

 

So, at least three color grades and (at least) one clarity grade.  And they knew from their own grading estimate this is what they'd get before submitting to EGL.  Gee, I think most people think the average discrepancy between EGL and GIA is less than that, so the H color is almost deliberately misrepresenting the stone.  Do you agree?

 

Ethan >> ... the consumer was able to find the perfect diamond within their (uncompromising specs) according to both labs and within their (uncompromising) budget.  A diamond they would have otherwise not been able to find. It looks like everyone walked away a winner.

 

Except that Reality lost out, because the consumer had to compromise with what was in front of his eyes versus what was in his head.  (And his wallet.)  Well, wait til they go try to resell it, ha-ha.  Ha.

 

Yes, a certain part of this is about spinning and selling dreams.  And it happens everywhere -- a Cadillac in the 1960s cost $300 more to make than a Chevy Impala, but sold for $3000 more.  (You can update to today's pricing by adding a zero to each figure.)

 

But is it ethical?  I think I have to come down on your side, very reluctantly.  "Everyone walked away a winner."  The Cowardly Lion got courage (a Medal), the Scarecrow a Diploma, and the Tin Woodsman a ticking clock (to prove he had a heart), as I recall.  The buyer got a slightly ersatz something they could accept.

 

Or, as in the ending to the movie "WarGames" ... the computer concludes that nuclear warfare is "a strange game" in which "the only winning move is not to play."

 

Ethan >> Going back to your search, unlike the above example, I believe you'll be able to find plenty of GIA diamonds that fit your criteria without having to worry about the "occasional" cases that come around with certain EGL diamonds.

 

I've been looking for these cases just with GIA stones, because we're choosing custom earrings, and the lighting, mounting, sparkle, etc, are all somewhat different from what most people want in rings.  Plus, unfortunately, the likelihood of loss.  This week, it seems we're turning in to the home stretch.

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So, at least three color grades and (at least) one clarity grade.  And they knew from their own grading estimate this is what they'd get before submitting to EGL.  Gee, I think most people think the average discrepancy between EGL and GIA is less than that, so the H color is almost deliberately misrepresenting the stone.  Do you agree?

Not Ethan, but since no-one has yet kicked me out of this thread... I'll add another 2 cents to the pot:

 

Misrepresentation? It depends on how things have been represented in the first place. We occasionally sell stones with non-GIA (usually EGL) reports, but when we do so we tell the would-be buyers "We grade this stone K/SI1; it also comes with an XYZ report grading it as H/VS2". Nothing has been misrepresented. We are also rather unique in that we don't sort the stones we have by grade... so if people find something they like it's not primarily because they were looking for H instead of K.

 

Nothing has also been misrepresented - though the vendor is being (usually quite deliberately) unhelpful - if the vendor says "EGL calls it H/VS2" and refuses to be drawn on what GIA would grade it, quoting the fact that (s)he is not GIA and cannot possibly know what they would do. (S)he is perfectly entitled to call it "H/VS2" - there is no agreed/enforceable standard on colour and clarity.

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The EGL game gets explained like this.  Diamonds are rocks and they’re world commodities.  It is what it is and  the brand doesn’t change that.  EGL graded stones are cheaper than GIA because EGL has a bad reputation for loose grading but you can discount the EGL grade by some conversion factor, say a grade or two, and then shop against GIA graded goods.  Bargains abound because of this.
 

Here’s how it really works.  Diamonds are rocks and they’re world commodities.  It is what it is and the grade assigned doesn’t change that.  EGL is both faster and cheaper than GIA.  Here's the part they miss. The reason a particular lab is chosen is strategic.  The dealer submitting the stone CHOSE to send it to the lab they did because they thought it would bring more money or sell faster with that pedigree.   Mistakes happen, but this choice was made with the stone in hand, by an expert who does this both for a living and on a daily basis, and they had unlimited do-overs.  That is to say, they could send it to multiple labs and choose the paperwork the works the best for them.  The other documents hit the shredder and there is no way of knowing that they ever existed.  That’s the opponent in this ‘game’, and it’s probably not the jeweler sitting in front of you.   Bargains do exist, but they are few and far between and mostly they exist on some of the outliers. 

Outliers?  Few dealers will send an L color to GIA when they can get another lab to call it an H, even if they are going to eventually sell it for the same price.  The problem is that few shoppers go to these search engines and look for L’s.  The same holds for ‘fair’ cut grades and I2 clarities.  Those simply sell better with off-branded paperwork .  A GIA/K/I1/fair won’t sell well, in part, because no one will ever even look at it and those few who do will kick it out because of the cut grade.  The same stone with EGL/I/SI2/nothing will get discounted because of the lab, but with the right price, some bargain shopper will grab it.  Look at that discount!  Is it misrepresentation?  As Davide points out, that depends on how it's been represented. 

The reverse happens with a GIA/F/VS1/xxx in a popular size like 1.50.  That’s a hot stone, and you can bet the dealer knows it.  Having EGL call it D/VVS2/uber-ideal won’t help and probably will actually hurt.  They know that too. 

Edited by denverappraiser
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Most reputable online retailers have full disclosure as to what the difference between EGL and GIA diamonds are.  I couldn't say the same for storefront retailers. There are multibillion dollar jewelry chains out there that don't even provide any documentation, let alone a certification for that matter. 

 

After even the lightest research online, most people are aware of the different grading policies from different labs.  While the majority end up going to GIA by default, still there are those who seek EGL's.  Where does someone turn to if they want a 2.30-2.7 Carat eye clean natural diamond for 10K?  How many GIA L-M color diamonds are out there in that size (VS-SI1). Those diamonds do exist, but they are in jewelry or are accompanied by other labs. So the trusted dealers are about marketability of their diamonds because so much advertising is focused on such a small quality segment of diamonds.  

 

No one is trying to re-engineer anything here.  I wouldn't get into shopper IQ or style.  You'd open up a whole new thread for that.  Are you a genius or have a better sense of style if you go have breakfast on 5th Ave (hint hint) and pay double for a diamond graded by that retailer's own lab?  That demographic is surely doing something right. 

 

At the end of day, its about finding the right jeweler first, then finding the right diamond.  How many people do all the research in the world - put the diamond's criteria in fancy online calculators in hopes of getting the magic result that the diamond they are considering is the best cut in the world - they get caught up in all kinds of terms that give creative names to GIA's excellent cut and then think they found the perfect one with the 60 depth, 57 table, medium girdle, etc... and completely overlook that it has strong blue or a black crystal in the dead center. 

 

I'd recommend GIA all the way, after all they invented the whole system and that is the majority of requests we come by, but for those who can't find the right combination there, I wouldn't ignore other labs if the retailer is helpful. 

 

P.S. i'd buy back the 2.06 H VS2 Round stone for more money if I had the opportunity. 

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Here’s how it really works. ...  EGL is both faster and cheaper than GIA.  Here's the part they miss. The reason a particular lab is chosen is strategic.  The dealer submitting the stone CHOSE to send it to the lab they did because they thought it would bring more money or sell faster with that pedigree.   Mistakes happen, but this choice was made with the stone in hand, by an expert who does this both for a living and on a daily basis, and they had unlimited do-overs. (...)

 

Fantastic reply -- all of it.  You could make this a sticky, but it might not stick between the ears as well as on the page.

 

In essence, you're repeating that EGL stones are for EGL customers, a subcategory of humanity I wasn't aware of, but might have something to do with shopping on Canal Street. Which, in certain times and circumstances, could be all of us. :)

 

Denverappraiser >> Outliers? ...The problem is that few shoppers go to these search engines and look for L’s.  The same holds for ‘fair’ cut grades and I2 clarities.  Those simply sell better with off-branded paperwork .  A GIA/K/I1/fair won’t sell well, in part, because no one will ever even look at it and those few who do will kick it out because of the cut grade.  The same stone with EGL/I/SI2/nothing will get discounted because of the lab, but with the right price, some bargain shopper will grab it. ...

 

So, #1, I'm not going to find a pearl if I go looking on the beach,  and #2, I wouldn't recognize it if I saw it peeking out from under a bottlecap.  But ... if OTOH I went looking for bottlecaps, I might find a pearl.  OK, got it!

 

It seems EGL isn't worth dumpster-dving online because of the lengthy delay in selection, acquisition, and then the return, if necessary.  There aren't enough bargains.  If you do have a genuine find, the vendor still has one last chance to pull it off the market before you get your mitts on it.

 

HOWEVER, for some people, all this isn't going to matter anyways.  They want a 1 or 2 carat ring, period.  They buy because "the setting is nice".  Or they buy because the wedding is 2-3 weeks and they're just getting around to it.

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Small addendum ...

 

I was looking again to find an Asscher, .85-.88ct, F color, VS2 quality.  F to match the marquise on that side, since we can tell the difference in color unmounted; VS2 bwecause Asschers have flat step cuts.  Even for such a small stone, you still want it to be eye-clean.

 

So I tried the Zoara website, which doesn't separate their grading reports.  Asschers like I'm looking for range from ~3200 to 4400, depending on cut mostly, and also the vendor, in the case of multiple listings of the same stone.  But the Zoare website has one at $2950!  Oh... it's an EGL.  Won't even bother asking about that one.

 

In fact... I'll drop the Zoara website from my hotlinks, because it doesn't cull out the EGLs.  That they even comingle EGL stones with GIAs is indicative to me of the type of clientele they're looking for, and so it's a waste of my time.  Not that I'm bigoted or anything. :)

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In fact... I'll drop the Zoara website from my hotlinks, because it doesn't cull out the EGLs.  That they even comingle EGL stones with GIAs is indicative to me of the type of clientele they're looking for, and so it's a waste of my time.  Not that I'm bigoted or anything. :)

 

Purely factual and not because I'm a fan (My purchase is coming from Excel ;) ).

 

Zoara do offer the functionality to select grading reports in the right hand drop down column.So you can remove all EGL stones from your criteria.

Edited by 1animal1
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Zoara do offer the functionality to select grading reports in the right hand drop down column.So you can remove all EGL stones from your criteria.

 

Hadn't seen this, but thanks.  I've got other reasons for not using specific vendor websites, usually having to do with how much or little information they furnish.  Another reason?  Some vendors only want to offer 1ct+ diamonds, or they "specialize" in rounds.  They're welcome to do that, but since I'm not shopping that way, I'll pass on their website offering.

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I completely agree with all my colleagues above.  Great response Neil! 

 

Price is the first parameter most consumers consider when starting their search.  Regardless of the education that is available online and which they may or may not have accessed, price may remain the most important driving force in their purchase.

 

We have spent enormous amounts of time with customers showing them the differences between GIA and EGL, side by side and yet some clients still purchase EGL graded stones on the perception of better value.  As professionals we can only make the information available.  Ultimately each individual consumer will decide which stone is best for them.

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  • 5 months later...

Undoubtedly, the first one is the best since it has the excellent cut. All the brilliance and appearance of a diamond more or less depends upon its cut. Moreover, the price is also appropriate as per all its features. However, the certification by GIA is always much better than EGL, so in this matter, take advice from an authentic and witty professional. Do not even give a thought to third and fourth.

 

 
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