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...and this is my experience (long)

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carbon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
11

So my search began a few months ago - I looked thru Brick & Mortar shops here (btw I''m in Metro Orlando,FL), then I came to see what I could find online. At first I found the standard big name stores like Blue Nile, Odimo, Mondera etc... and while they all had pretty good deals compared to the B&M stores, I wanted to see what else was out there. I ran into several really good resources inculding this forum and DT and that led me to a few smaller online retailers.


I sent out emails and waited (I had told myself 24hrs max wait time for any one vendor). Some responded quickly and some didn''t at all. Jonathan (Rhino) at Good Old Gold got back to me fairly quickly and was just down right friendly and detailed in his responses and so I choose to look at his inventory further. This is NOT an ad for Good Old Gold though... I looked at several other vendors but there were a few stones that I kept coming back to at GOG... and Jonathan''s attitude was plus.


Ok... a little about what I was looking for. I wanted cut 1st, color 2nd, clarity 3rd and then that leaves carat weight 4th. I know she didn''t like stones that were too big or overpowering and so I decided to start with GIA Excellent cut stones, a G-H range for white color and VS1-VS2 for an eye clean stone and then around the .9 - 1.24 carat range. The whole cut thing for me was just a personal preference based on what I had read here and so I went with a H&A stone. Eightstars were a mild consideration till I saw the price difference

.


So back to GOG... I narrowed everything down to 2 main stones... a 1.09 G VS2, unbranded H&A and a 1.08 G VS2 unbranded H&A.

I chose the 1.09 (HCA 0.7) and had it shipped to to be inspected by Bill (RocDoc) at Consumer Gem Labs in Boca Raton, FL. Jonathan shipped the stone overnight and the very next day I got a call from Bill confirming receipt of the stone and then he told me his initial observations. Bill said the stone looked fine except for one thing... stress and strain. Now even after browsing this forums for quite a while I really didn''t have a good idea of just how important (or not) strain was in a diamond. Bill took time out to explain it to me and then offered to email some pictures of the stone under the filter so that I could see what he was talking about. The photos came and I got back on the horn with Bill who explained to me that those ugly red/brown rust looking streaks were actually the worse kind of strain and if it was blue/green it would be a little more acceptable (at least in his eyes)... now he didn''t pressure me or try to coerce me into believing this (his)strain theory. He said the stone was clean face up and beautiful to look at - however I queried him about the likelihood of a problem and if one did occur how would insurance companies deal with it since it seemed to be a pre-exisiting condition? Bill said that was his point exactly... given the facts I now had a decision to make.

I called GOG and spoke to Jonathan and told him Bill''s initial findings and my concerns. While very pleasant I could tell that Jonathan did not necessarily agree with Bill... however at this point, I didn''t have a good comfort level with this stone anymore and so I asked him if he would ship the 1.08 to Bill for inspection and he said "sure thing, not a problem."


The next day Bill got the new stone and immediately called me to tell me that he thought it was much better than the 1.09. Even a tad bit better visually. So I was now relieved and excited. Bill then invited me to drive down to his lab to see the stone in person... I was intrigued so I drove ( about 3.5 hrs one way) down on a Sat. to Boca R. to see what the stone really looked like. Bill also said he would show m the 2 stones side by side so I could compare for myself.


I arrived at Bill''s and to make this already long story short, I saw the stones and WOW

. They looked far better than anything I had seen in the B&M stores (including Tiffany''s) and evn though they were not under any special lights like in the stores, they just radiated light. Bill is a very, very pleasant person who seems to have various talents (law, pet rocks, music etc.) He showed me the rocks under the filter (UV I think) and I could clearly see the strain.... I think my choice was clear - even if I didn''t know a thing about what strain was, the 1.08 just looked better under the filter.


Bil then proceeded to run through his thorough inspection of the 1.08... Brilliancescope, Sarin, 10X, 20X 40X etc magnification... he had some many devices and tools that he usd to analyze his diamonds... some gadgets I promised not to talk about

here. He mapped every facet and angle and spent time (3 hrs) showing and telling me all he could about this stone and gemology in general. I told him that I had been considering an 8* and he brought on out from his personal collection... impressive packaging but after all the hype not such an impressive stone (at least to me). It was interesting though that it had no light leakage whatsoever. Beautiful stone but I was happy with the one I had chosen... especially since I was hard pressed to see the difference when they were side by side. Anyway, Bill offered to Gem Print my stone and register it which I did... I figure it''s worth it... my stone also is an unbranded H&A and so has no inscription. So after the few hours I paid Bill and left more confident that I knew what I was getting.


Bill shipped the stones back to GOG and Christen confirmed that was going ahead with the 1.08. I had already ordered and paid for the D.vatche X-Prong in platinum and so it was just a matter of GOG sending the stone to be set. In about a week I got an email from Christen saying it was done and she then emailed me a photo and shipped it to me overnight. I had to fly out of town the next day for about 10 days and I was really appreciative of her efforts to get the ring to me before my departure.


The ring came (in GOG''s special white lighted box) and I am most pleased and impressed with both the stone and the Vatche X-Prong. I hope my lady will be also. I plan to give her this weekend in San Fransciso (she knows she flying but she doesn''t know where she''s going yet.... but she''s always wanted to go to SF - unfortunately the forecast tomorrow is rain).


Ok. Bottom line. I have had a very good experience with GOG (both Jonathan and Christen) and Consumer Gem Labs (Bill). I publicly thank you all. Also thanks to all you experts on this forum... I have learned a great deal from you by just browsing.

Anyway... I know you all want the specs. so here goes
1.085 Ct
Diameter 6.64
Crown angle 34.2
Pav angle 40.8
Culet 0.5
Table 56.6
Girdle 1.6% medium
Clarity: VS2
Color: G
Cut External
Polish: GIA ~ Excellent
Symmetry: GIA ~ Excellent
Proportions: MegaScope ~ AGS Ideal "0"
Variances: <=.7%/°
Cut Internal
Symmetry ~ Hearts & Arrows
Light Return ~ Excellent
BrillianceScope
White Light Return ~ High
Colored Light Return ~ Very High
Scintillation ~ Very High
Vatche X-Prong in platinum size 6.5


bothv.jpg
 

kayla17

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Messages
2,083
HI Carbon,
I have to let you know, that is the best picture of an x prong that I have ever seen. The diamond and ring are so sparkly and alive. I am so jealous of your future fiancee! Got a brother???
Good luck with everything!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Great story and amazing ring!!!

Funny story..somewhat related...yesterday I was at my appraiser in Walnut Creek, Nancy Stacy...getting my final ring product and new earrings appraised for the insurance. Nancy is great...an older woman who has been in the industry for 30+ years and is pretty talented...doesn't have Sarin, or Brilliance or Lightscope..but she does have an IdealScope! So finally saw my stone under the IS, but probably wasn't holding it exactly right. Anyway...I am talking to her about the internet forums and how I'm taking the GIA class (she is the one who gave us the idea initially since Greg had told her I was interested in learning more), and we were talking about Sarin and BScope and how she doesn't have those particular tools, etc.

She said that the only appraiser she knew and would recommend who had those 'expensive' kind of tools was Bill Lieberman and then went on to talk about how great he was and how he was her teacher for some classes she took at some point and then she taught him some stuff about appraising, etc. etc. I was kind of half listening as I looked through the paperwork she gave me. I thought hmm that name sounds familiar!
But didn't place it. So then she and I had a discussion on how she felt that the sellers of the stones should have the Sarin and Bscope info and anything else that was nifty and toolish, and the appraisers should just be the ones who confirm what the sellers originally said. I didn't argue as I know the Sarin and Bscope machines are expensive, so not everyone feels obliged to get them, and she is very busy without them...so probably not 1/4 of the buying public is as picky as me...and we talked a bit more, she offered me her assistance on any of the classes should I ever need it or have any questions (very kind!)...and then I was off.

So imagine my surprise as I read this post where it hits me that Bill is actually RockDoc is actually Bill Lieberman! I knew I'd seen his name at the end of some posts before. What a small world I guess. Nancy also knew GoodOldGold so we talked a little about their wealth of info online and she also knows WhiteFlash and surprise...also knows the buyer for BlueNile who handpicks their Signature Ideal stones. Said that the guy is pretty discriminating...which surprised me because in the past I was not a big fan of BN's SI lineup as I felt it was just a way to pick good stones and charge a premium for them when they should be selling those ANYWAY. Her telling me this didn't exactly change my mind (I still think they should choose good stones and not charge such a markup for the brandname..AND give more info on their stones that don't carry the Signature name), but it was interesting to know such details.

Anyway Bill...Nancy only had positive things to say about you!
Small world indeed. She also knows Dave Atlas and just got back from the Tucson Gem Show! She is off to China later this year to teach some appraisal courses...what fun.
 

carbon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
11
Thanks Kayla! You wouldn't want my brother


Mara - firstly - thanks for your many posts, you are one of those people I have learnt from. Yes that's the amazing Bill RocDoc. He is quite something... a wealth of info. and a nice guy on top of that. I would advise anyone, to go meet their appraiser for themselves (even a $500 plane ticket is worth it on a $10,000 stone)... and nothing beats seeing what you are about to purchase, in person.

Here are some more pics of my stone... I know some people have wondered what GOG's lighted box looks like. The second pic is another shot of the diamond under interior lights (i.e.) no sunlight.

Any questions - feel free to ask!

moren.jpg
 

billyb

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Messages
26
Those are some AWESOME pictures of the ring and stone!!

Thanks for sharing your story! :D
 

Rhino

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2001
Messages
6,271
Hey Carbon!!!

Congrats!!! It was a great pleasure to be of service of you during this most special time of your life. YOUR PICTURES ROCK! What camera are you using?

Rhino
 

optimized

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 28, 2002
Messages
306
I agree with the consensus.. Great story, FANTASTIC pictures! I'd be interested in more information about the camera/method used for those shots as well. And, be sure to tell us how the SF trip turns out!

-Tim
 

carbon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
11
Hey folks I'm back. Thanks for all the congratulations and everything. SF was great... she was really surprised... she thought we were going to Dallas until she realized there that we were connecting to SFO. She is still a little shocked (amd so am I
) but she loved the ring and the whole trip.

- Arrived Midnight friday night - got a suite way up high and in front of the large window overlooking the city I went down on bended knee... she took 40 secs to respond because she had no clue what I was doing down there.. especially since I was fumbling trying to get the ring out

- On Sat. We toured the vineyards and wineries of Napa and Sonoma.
- Sunday we went to morning mass at one of the really old historic catherdrals, then had brunch atop the 46 story Hilton, then went to see the touring Broadway version of Contact... then walked aroun Union square for a while (watched the massive anti war protest that was going on) and then had some Thai for dinner.
- Monday, we basically walked all over SF. From Nob Hill to Russian Hill to China Town to North Beach to the Embarcadero then to Pier 39 where we had Dungeness crab (it's the annual Crab & Wine festival week in SF)

That's it. Thanks again for everything


BTW the camera is the Fujifilm s620z, shot with full macro mode at 160 ISO.This camera is awesome... it beat out a lot of the bigger boys in reviews and tests (check any of the digital photography sites). I was a Canon diehard until I saw what this Fuji produced... the Canon D30 is better in some cases but it also cost around $600 more - price to quality ratio was better with the Fuji. More questions? Let me know...
 

justme

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 5, 2002
Messages
184
Carbon -
Great story congrat's to both of you.

I do have a question about the camera - I did a google search on Fujifilm s620z and come up with 2 foreign site (japanese I imagine) can you point me in the direction?

Thanks,
Justme
 

Colored Gemstone Nut

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 21, 2002
Messages
2,324
Carbon-Great Job man. Thanks for sharing your experience. I too purchased a very similiar stone in that very same vatche setting from Jonathan back in December. I am really glad you had a great experience. Jonathan is really a class act.Thumbs up Johhny Boy!!!

Peace-Josh Rioux

Sitka,Alaska
 

carbon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
11
Josh, thanks man! Kudos to Vatche, GOG and the RockDoc.

Hey JustMe, check out this link at dpreview for the FujiFilm FinePix S602Z Pro
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/FujiFilm/fuji_finepixs602zpro.asp

Check the forums etc. - I bought it here in the US... the Japanese models are slightly different so make sure you aren't sold a "grey" market product... you can tell if it shows up with Japanese manuals etc.Hope this helps!
 

ummagumma

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
3
Been a lurking here for a while now. Excellent site.

Just to comment on Digital Camera's there is no way the Fuji S602Z can compare to a D30. Apples and oranges.

Recently on DPReview someone compated a Sony F717 to a Canon D60. Uhmmm no don't think so.

For out of the box macro photography, like taking close-ups of diamonds, jewellery etc., the best series of camera is the coolpix line of camera’s manufactured by Nikon. Namely the CP990, CP995 and now the CP4500.

In particular the latest flavour, the CP4500, has the best out-of-camera macro ability of any other digital camera.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp4500/page19.asp
 

carbon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
11
ummagumma: Just to clear up. I understand that the Fuji is not in the same league as the D30. I am simply saying that (for me) the price difference is not worth it... I rather use the extra $$ to put towards a "Pet Rock"
Can't comment about the Nikon but you have to agree that the above photos aren't too shabby right?

We should take this camera debate up on another forum though
 

ummagumma

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 14, 2003
Messages
3
Photo's are nice. Lighting could be improved as you noted; as well the ring placement could be "cleaner".

Anyway it's a spectacular ring.
 
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