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advice please on getting good value

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jen112

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 31, 2003
Messages
8
Hello all,

First what a great website. Second, I would like some advice as a newcomer to this area.

1) does anyone know of good stores within the toronto area to get really good value for what you pay and that they will be trustworthy.

2) Has anyone had experiences of negotiating with the big stores like spence, birks. I have just seen a diamond with the following characteristics at birks, how much overpriced is it?

1 CARAT,belgium diamond,H Clarity,ideal cut, SI,approx. 10,000

Also if anyone has bought from spence, were you able to bargain with them.

3) For those people who have bought diamonds off the internet... how are you able to trust an over the internet purchase and find out who is trustworthy also what if the diamond that you get is not of the quality promised, how would it be returned?


I would appreciate your input.

Thanx
Jen
 

Keith

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 21, 2003
Messages
3
I've been meaning to do a writeup on my experience over the last few months looking for the best prices and service in the Toronto area. Haven't had time to yet, but I'll give you some quick suggestions here. For loose diamonds, I don't think you could go wrong with USACerteddiamonds.com . Regardless of their name, they are in Thornhill. I found the people at Robere's Jewellers on Yonge just north of Eglinton very nice to deal with (got the setting from there). And they tried to be competitive with diamond pricing. Richard Booth in Yorkville has some great settings, although the price reflects the Yorkville location. My highest recommendation is for Dynes Jewellers in Richmond Hill. Excellent, honest, highly ethical. It was strange looking at the diamond there - they use no "trick" lighting at all. In fact, the lighting is really quite bad! But they'll let you take the diamond outside, so that's not an issue. I found Vern Dynes to be just a great person to deal with.

Mind you, my quest for for a Canadian mined and cut diamond, so that took a lot of people out of the running. You'll have more to choose from. Good luck to ya! And, just as an aside - in my opinion you can do better than the prices you can get from Spence. And Birks. Although, again I should share a good experience talking to Conn Smythe, who is I believe the regional manager for Birks. He's at the Manulife Centre store at Bay and Bloor. Very helpful, knowledgeable, and low-pressure.
 

homer_j

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2003
Messages
234
----------------
On 6/1/2003 2:16:16 AM jen112 wrote:

Hello all,

First what a great website. Second, I would like some advice as a newcomer to this area.

1) does anyone know of good stores within the toronto area to get really good value for what you pay and that they will be trustworthy.

2) Has anyone had experiences of negotiating with the big stores like spence, birks. I have just seen a diamond with the following characteristics at birks, how much overpriced is it?

1 CARAT,belgium diamond,H Clarity,ideal cut, SI,approx. 10,000

Also if anyone has bought from spence, were you able to bargain with them.

3) For those people who have bought diamonds off the internet... how are you able to trust an over the internet purchase and find out who is trustworthy also what if the diamond that you get is not of the quality promised, how would it be returned?


I would appreciate your input.

Thanx
Jen
----------------
Jen112,
Welcome. Not sure exactly what you mean by belgium diamond. Is that a cut or is it the location of the certifying lab (EGL) or is it where they say the stone was cut or where the rough was purchased? Either way 10K for 1ct H,SI is over-priced!!!! Especially without any other information to help you figure out the quality of the cut, table, depth, crown and pavillion angles. As a comparison, for around 9K you can get a 1.08Ct E VVS2 Hearts and Arrows Ideal cut AGS graded diamond with excellent light return and high to very high brilliancescope results (goodoldgold.com). A quick search on pricescope.com for a 0.99-1.02 H VS2-SI1 H&A, AGS 0 resulted in several hits priced from $4700 - $5700. So you can see the difference. The stone from spence is probably not even an ideal cut quality either. So for 10K ypou can get a much higher quality and a little more diamond or you can get what you were looking at in the store for half the price. It is doubtful that the big stores will negotiate to these prices because somebody will walk in the door right behind you and buy it foir what they are asking. Hang around the forum, check out the tutorial, learn as much as you can.

I purchased a diamond over the internet through USAcerted diamonds. Their homebase is in Toronto, the name of their physical establishment in Canada is IGS, I believe they are located in Thornhill, Ontario. I'm in the US and worked through their US internet service USA Certed. They are a broker so their prices are great. The service was also excellent. If you check out their website, don't be immediately turned off, it is horrible, but since you are in their area give Martin Sheffield a call to discuss what you are looking for. The Toronto question comes up a lot here, run a serach on the forum using the keyword "Toronto" and you'll likely find some threads discussing jeweler and diamond dealer recommendations. If you decide to buy through the internet the common advice is to get as much information as possible..certifications, photos, gemscope reports, etc. Most vendors will actually send the diamond you like or two if you need to compare to an independant appraiser. The appraiser can verify the authenticity of the diamond and certificatio information and offer an opinion on quality and price. In most cases they can do this before you pay or make any commitment. You will have to pay the appraiser for their services so do all your homework and narrow down the field before you finally decide. When you do buy, whether on-line or in the store, make sure their is a written return policy that guarantees a full refund for any reason you are not satisfied. These can range from 7 to 30 days, enough time for an independent appraisal and a little time to think about it.
A lot of folks here have purchased on-line without incident and with great satisfaction.
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
Jenn,

Toronto s/$%$ as does Montreal.

You'll find poor quality everywhere.....it's very difficult to find stones cut perfectly ;
also you'll have the 10% excise tax + 15% tax to pay !

If you plan to come here in Montreal, I can recommand some good guys to find
some diamonds. Birks is overly overpriced. The rule of thumb is that you can find
the same diamond for HALF the price Birks will sell it to you. However be prepared
to spend weeks if not months to find it. Also, diamonds at Birks are not
GIA cert unless they are over 1 ct. Over 1 ct, ask for a Sarin report since they
have the machine in-house. Finally, be sure to know before buying what
they call an Ideal Cut...you might be surprised.

Hope this helps,

Trichrome.
 

jen112

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 31, 2003
Messages
8
Hi again,

Thanks a lot for the responses. By the way, the price that I quoted for the diamond was $10,000 canadian.

Question regarding online purchases and I guess usa certed since people have mentioned their office is in thornhill... Do you have to pay the gst, pst +duty tax of bringing it from states to canada and is there a way to bypass that. And how do you send it out to a trustworthy appraiser before paying for it? Finally what kind of certifications whould you get from them.

By the way, Keith you gave a lot of suggestions but where did you end up buying your diamond from?

Would be interested to hear from more people in the Toronto area...

Jen
 

barry

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
441
Jen;

Any diamond you have brought in from the United States,
you are responsible for paying the GST, VAT, Customs,
and Excise tax. I believe this is in the range
of 22-25% of the declared item amount.

As far as the jewellers on Bay & Bloor, they are all high-end and I don't believe the word "hondling" is
in their lexicon. No harm in trying, though.

In the recent past, several Torontonians have posted
of their diamond-shopping experiences in both
TO and the States on this forum. Do a "Search".
Two consumer names that come to mind are "canadianice"
and "Tiger Woods".

Good Luck.

Barry
www.superbcert.com
 

canadianice

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
82
Hi Jen:

Welcome to the forum!

As Barry said, I also live in Toronto. I looked at the "Big Three" on Bloor Street-- Birks, Cartier, Tiffany -- and they simply will not negotiate. The only jeweller on Bloor St. that has any price flexibility is Royal de Versailles; they too are pretty expensive.

I had a terrific experience with SuperbCert and with USA Certed Diamonds. As mentioned earlier in this thread, USA Certed imports US stones but is actually in Thornhill, just north of Toronto, and Martin Sheffield is extremely helpful. I was skeptical about the internet option until I met Martin in person at his office and he showed me a SuperbCert!

Martin also steered me to an excellent craftsman to custom make the engagement ring, and provided an insurance appraisal for the finished product.

Check out various companies here (SuperbCert, GoodOldGold, NiceIce and Whiteflash for example) and you will see that they provide far more detailed information/specs about the diamonds than the vast majority of jewellers in Toronto... that includes Birks at Bay/Bloor!

There are numerous reputable vendors on PriceScope so you are in good hands. Most have generous return policies. I made my choice with SuperbCert/USA Certed for various reasons, including the physical proximity of Martin's company and the rave reviews of Barry's diamonds, but you really cannot go wrong with the companies that are found on this forum.

Good luck!
CI
P.S. The Loonie is doing extremely well against the USD right now... that should cushion you a bit from the 25% import taxes (GST/PST/excise)... sadly only a bit!
 

jen112

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 31, 2003
Messages
8
Hello,

Okay it seems that the internet purchases could still end up to be quite expensive if you live in canada? So I don't understand, the usacerted is based in thornhill but you still pay the excise tax, and what is their affiliation with superbcert?

I did a search on the same diamond that I saw at spence with colour:H, SI2, 1 carat, ideal cut for around $9800 canadian. On the usacerted when I did seach for the same qualifications, it quotes the price as around 4,000 american. 4,000*1.47(echange rate to canadian)*1.10(10% excise tax)=$6470 but I am not sure if this is with the ideal cut or what.

But on pricescope when i did search, it came to around $5000*1.47*1.10(10%excise tax)=$8085.

So although it still ends up a little cheaper, I wonder if it isn't just better to go into some of the smaller stores like Keith suggested where you can get lower price than spence and it'll end up the same price as the internet but it just seems a little less hassle. Any ideas?

Thanks again,
Jen
 

Keith

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 21, 2003
Messages
3
I ended up buying the diamond at Dynes Jewellers in Richmond Hill. It took months to find the right place, but once I did I was very, very happy.
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
Jen,

Diamonds sold by USAcert are bought in the USA, so you'll have
to pay the 25% tax (if I'm right).

Or you might consider buying one on the american soil then cross
the border with it on your finger... why not getting engaged over there?

There's no way you can escape this tax besides buying on the black market.

Price in all stores here in Canada for diamonds & jewellery in general
include (or should) the 10% excise tax. That's the law.

Hope this helps,

Trichrome.
 

jen112

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 31, 2003
Messages
8
Hello again,

I just saw a canadian diamond today actually what they call Ekati diamond at a Toronto Jeweller. I would love to get an opinion on it...

Ekati diamond, 1.136 Carat, G colour, VS2, H&A, AGS triple zero (symmetry,polish,...). He had the AGS certificate with it. I believe the dimensions said 6.79-6.80x4.14mm not sure about it though.

So he quoted $12,500 canadian (which includes the 10% excise tax). I guess that would mean 12,500/1.10(excise tax)/1.47(exchange rate)=$7730 american.

He showed me the H&A pattern and it seemed pretty good as well as a serial number inscribed on it. So I was hoping to get an idea on whether this is worth it and also what kind of a premium am I paying for Canadian diamonds.

He also said he had the same diamond in 1.24 carat, exact same specs for $13,500 canadian or 8348.79 american but he sold that one...

Thanks everyone in advance

Jen
 

jen112

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 31, 2003
Messages
8
i just forgot to mention the following specs:

table:55%
crown angle:34.4%
pavillion angle:40.73%

thanx again
 
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