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Are we too elitist & doing 99% of newbies a disservice?

Are good at helping enough newbie buyers?


  • Total voters
    99

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 4, 2008
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Hi Sledge
I was wondering where we can poll the veterans you speak of. I’ve not heard anything like that.
I completely agree with the fact that the cut grade has done damage By allowing gaming of the system. But we can not extend this to clarity grading.
I am 100% convinced that highly looked for si1 and si2 stones of the past say 10 to 15 years ago are now getting si1 and vs2.
It is a hard fact that AGS has changed their si2/i1 line in the past.
It is a soft fact they has adjusted other grading over the years to re-align with GIA.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 7, 2009
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Just curious Karl- what makes you so sure?
I am an SI lover. I look at quite a few stones on a daily basis.
Without a doubt the pool of SI diamonds in the virtual database has been “ dumbed down” through years and millions of sales and returns. The worst SI goods coming back while the more attractive ones sticking. So the remaining pool of SI diamonds has a higher percentage of non eye clean stones as compared to years back.
But the new goods/ grades coming out of the lab are consistent with the grading over the past 10 years based on what I’m seeing.
Yesterday I saw a newly graded I1 which had me searching for the inclusion for a moment or two. I’d have graded it SI2. Of course I’ve seen others that I felt were graded to loosely. But it’s always been this way. There is opinion involved in clarity grading.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 14, 2009
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20,087
Just curious Karl- what makes you so sure?
I am an SI lover. I look at quite a few stones on a daily basis.
Without a doubt the pool of SI diamonds in the virtual database has been “ dumbed down” through years and millions of sales and returns. The worst SI goods coming back while the more attractive ones sticking. So the remaining pool of SI diamonds has a higher percentage of non eye clean stones as compared to years back.
But the new goods/ grades coming out of the lab are consistent with the grading over the past 10 years based on what I’m seeing.

Yesterday I saw a newly graded I1 which had me searching for the inclusion for a moment or two. I’d have graded it SI2. Of course I’ve seen others that I felt were graded to loosely. But it’s always been this way. There is opinion involved in clarity grading.
Important distinction and interesting observation.
I'm not in the trade so I don't have the experience to judge what's coming fresh out of the labs.
But I've been a consumer for a long time, and when a newcomer posts five stones from a vendor of virtual inventory I can always tell when they've entered their minimum threshold filters and hit "sort by price, lowest first".
Whether or not SIs are graded less rigorously now, it is indisputable that SIs in particular are usually priced the way they are for a reason, and that the "best ones" never make it to any virtual inventory at all.
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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I see the irony of a seller of super ideal diamonds stating vehemently and frequently that this board should only encourage consumers to buy super ideal diamonds!!!

Every consumer has a different budget to purchase a diamond. That consumer may choose to buy a smaller, super ideal diamond, or choose a larger, not quite so ideal cut diamond. That choice is personal preference, and many consumers will choose the bigger diamond. There is absolutely no reason why PS shouldn't help those consumers find a good looking, bigger diamond. For you to brand that help as recommending "good enough" diamonds is IMHO self serving.
It is not ME that is branding that help as recommending 'good enough' diamonds. That is EXACTLY what is said in Garry's original post. Please review.

(And for the record I have never encouraged consumers to 'only' buy super ideal diamonds.)
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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I am 100% convinced that highly looked for si1 and si2 stones of the past say 10 to 15 years ago are now getting si1 and vs2.
It is a hard fact that AGS has changed their si2/i1 line in the past.
It is a soft fact they has adjusted other grading over the years to re-align with GIA.
I'm not certain that I have been able to see any CLEAR trend through the years, but there undoubtedly has been ebb and flow, especially as quantities of 'tricky' rough has hit the market from time to time.

And your point about other labs having to re-align with GIA from time to time is very valid. This is a cause of some grading fluctuation.

I would also say, as @yssie aluded to, a significant factor as e-commerce has developed is online sellers of virtual inventories and the low price effect. The surest way for an Si stone of size to be eye-clean is for the clarity characteristics to be things like clouds, twinning wisps, and graining which tend to be difficult if not impossible to resolve with the naked eye. But these stones can also have reduced transparency and are discounted accordingly by manufacturers. Therefore, they tend to be lower in price compared to other Si's and the first to sell out of virtual inventories.

I personally would much rather have an Si that is not technically eye-clean but has uncompromised transparency.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I see the irony of a seller of super ideal diamonds stating vehemently and frequently that this board should only encourage consumers to buy super ideal diamonds!!!
...
Likewise, I'm certain that vendors here on PS who argue against cut or obfuscate things in cut threads sell poorly cut stones.
Follow the money. :nono:
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I wish branded diamond sellers would grade transparency.
I don't mean color or clarity, but transparency.
Good idea, but I'd prefer the gem labs do it.
Less conflict of interest.
Money sometimes corrupts people.
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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I wish branded diamond sellers would grade transparency.
I don't mean color or clarity, but transparency.
Excellent point. I have had discussions about assessing transparency with people in the labs and various gemological researchers. It seems to me there should be technological solution to analyzing this, such that you could assign a hard number to it. But at the very least, in the comments section of a report there could be a mention of when a diamond has diminished transparency.

There is a sort of code that will alert someone who is well acquainted with reading lab reports to potential transparency issues. But from a consumer education and protection standpoint, I think it is something that should be made more clear to the average consumer.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
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I see the irony of a seller of super ideal diamonds stating vehemently and frequently that this board should only encourage consumers to buy super ideal diamonds!!!

Every consumer has a different budget to purchase a diamond. That consumer may choose to buy a smaller, super ideal diamond, or choose a larger, not quite so ideal cut diamond. That choice is personal preference, and many consumers will choose the bigger diamond. There is absolutely no reason why PS shouldn't help those consumers find a good looking, bigger diamond. For you to brand that help as recommending "good enough" diamonds is IMHO self serving.
The recent push (also obvious to me @Texas Leaguer) isn't just about super ideals, but also about relaxing typical PS recommended proportions for XXX stones.

For simplicity, let's just say that PS recommended proportions align closely with AGS Ideal criteria. Then using a WF graphic I feel this is a decent representation of what is being asked/pushed. The exact edge of the pink line would vary depending on who you ask.

super-ideal-diamond.jpg


Recently I have been helping another user on this forum find a stone. She has a tight budget for the color, size and clarity she seeks. She looked at some 60/60 stones and ordered in a few. They didn't make her world go round. Dare I say these were her "good enough" stones?

I then suggested a slew of different stones, using typical PS parameters. She ordered one of them in and is rather ecstatic.

Looking around tonight, here are some alternate suggestions. None from WF unfortunately, so you won't get that killer upgrade policy but all with great proportions, minimum 1.20 carats and a boost in color. And all show promising ideal proportions which means sparkly!

GIA XXX 1.30 H VVS2 @ $7,709 wire

55 table, 62 depth, 35 crown, 40.6 pavilion & 80 LGF

Great size. Love the proportions. Should produce some nice big bold rainbow flashes. Great size, a color improvement and VVS clarity.

Capture130HVVS2.PNG
@sledge Received images from one of your recommendations. What do you think? 17770892(4).jpg 17770892(3).jpg 17770892(1).jpg 17770892.jpg .
She has arrived! As soon as I opened the box I knew I loved her. The JA IVVS2 from the other thread doesn't stand a chance. I don't know if it's the color upgrade or the better cut. This HVVS2 (thank you @sledge ) is brighter, has more sparkle and fire. I don't know if I notice a color difference between the I and the H, but the H is brighter. Wow. Beautiful! I wasn't sure how I would feel about the small table (55%), but she is so sparkly I don't notice.

The faint fluorescents wouldn't cause the diamond to be blue at all? I thought I noticed a bit of blue compared to the IVVS2. Maybe it's just more fire?

Still waiting on the diamond from the beginning of this thread. She is bigger, but less clarity and color. She's really going to have to shine to beat this one.
 

Stephan

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
2,917
I trust my vendors too ... but not the ones who sell the majority of diamonds. ;))
Labs could also be corrupt.
This is just a fiction, but imagine:
"Hello, send me your diamond, I'll give you a better color/clarity than GIA and I will only mention fluorescence if it's obvious!"
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 25, 2014
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6,850
There is a sort of code that will alert someone who is well acquainted with reading lab reports to potential transparency issues. But from a consumer education and protection standpoint, I think it is something that should be made more clear to the average consumer.
Garry posted a D IF the other day that had been downgraded by the vendor due to transparency issues :D
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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A slight Segway, but I can’t think of any UK legislation on this! The Advertising Standards Agency considers subjective and objective claims of “best”. My understanding is an advertiser can demonstrate that their product or service is objectively “the best” in terms that are clear in terms of the comparison, it may not fall foul of the standards.
I stand corrected!
 

mission1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
141
Garry posted a D IF the other day that had been downgraded by the vendor due to transparency issues :D
Out of interest, how would some of the better known B&M jewellers (such as Tiffany’s) “self certification” compare to GIA, AGS or perhaps EGL, IGI etc.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Labs could also be corrupt.
This is just a fiction, but imagine:
"Hello, send me your diamond, I'll give you a better color/clarity than GIA and I will only mention fluorescence if it's obvious!"
Of course.
IMO scumbag lying labs cheat the customer and should be shut down; their executives belong prison for fraud.

IIRC even GIA was caught in a corruption scandal a few years back.
Anywhere that humans work ... anywhere ... there will be a few bad apples.
But still, exceptions to a generalization do not make the generalization generally true.
GIA and AGS are the most reputable labs in the US.

There are plenty of GIA and AGS diamonds for me to choose from here in the US, so I'd never buy or recommend a diamond graded by any other lab (though I'm sure some labs in Europe are reputable too).
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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Out of interest, how would some of the better known B&M jewellers (such as Tiffany’s) “self certification” compare to GIA, AGS or perhaps EGL, IGI etc.
Tiff used GIA up until they came out with there cut grade then started self certification. What does that tell you?
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Tiff used GIA up until they came out with there cut grade then started self certification. What does that tell you?
That Tiffany know better?



Oh... wait...


:lol:
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
27,460
Tiff used GIA up until they came out with there cut grade then started self certification.
What does that tell you?
That tells me Tiffany has a massive conflict of interest problem.
That this hasn't resulted in Tiffany's bankruptcy tells me their customers care more about image than substance.

Vendors are not independent, gem labs are, well at least that's their job.
I can think of no other product where tiny differences (that the average person can't make out) make such a huge differences in price.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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That is actually what they said, We can do grading better in house.
I think how we define 'better' is the key part of that sentence... lol
 

Fabulous50

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
137
And therein lies the problem. GIA can never have an unbiased opinion about different matters because they are entrenched as the popular lab. They stand to lose face and money so they can't be totally unbiased in their decisions on "theory".

If they change the cut system, they screw over loads of people that have supported them for years. Not to mention they devalue all existing stones, etc.

Same deal with potential color over grading on stones with fluor. They won't create a UV free test zone and completely eliminate the chance of color over grading because their system cannot possibly contradict what they already graded.

Oddly enough, many industry veterans believe clarity grading creep is occuring and you'd think that wouldn't occur as GIA seems to want to keep grading even par. Yet for the dealers supporting GIA and getting SI1 clarity instead of potential SI2 then that represents more profit. Good for dealers, but bad for consumers.

If you step outside the diamond industry and consider the engineering and construction sectors you will see an organization like ASTM is neutral and defines test methods to test all sorts of strengths and characteristics of various materials.

If new technologies or methods are developed that better test that attribute they update the test method and use as reference for defining minimum requirements a material must meet. This system can be fluid and change because they use an organized system of test numbers.

For instance maybe ASTM 941 was the original but 941A and later 941B supersedes them. An engineer would define a minimum value by the most recent test method. So if a material met 320lbs using 941, maybe it only has to meet 300lbs using 941B as the latter test method is more severe and telling of true strength. All fictional examples but you get my point. It's okay for a material to have met an old spec as that was current at time. It's not devalued. But if something new was built 10 years later the new materials would have to be tested to the latest standards and meet those requirements.

Independent qualified labs around the world exist that test per ASTM methods so you are paying a lab to test, not be the authority on what a strength or test method should be.

GIA is stuck because if they get a different end result then they contradict themselves. Effectively they have restricted their own growth.

Enter AGS. Hey we can do cut better. Since you won't listen we will subscribe to our school of thought and offer our own lab services. We will subscribe to things such as color and clarity we think you got right, or help us remain comparable.

Imagine if AGS was the popular lab. Consumers would desire a 0 or 1 stone most likely. This would force the industry as a whole to shift and cut for beauty. Prices would also change. Maybe more 2 and 3 stones would be desirable as they would have a lower cost.

At least that type of a system makes sense....

AGS0 = $1,000
AGS1 = $900
AGS2 = $750

Instead it currently looks like this....

GIA XXX = $750 - 1,000

Consumer believes XXX is the best so the dealer with the $750 stone is the way to go. Then they come to PS and people is like XXX isn't really all the same. Terms like elitist start to fly.
I just want to say, I am a newbie and probably always will be. I love diamonds and other jewelry, and from time to time will make a purchase when I can afford it, and/or for very special occasions. I don't always understand all the technicalities and nuances of these discussions, but I never think it's elitist. I am extremely grateful for this site and the experts, enthusiasts and very knowledgable people, because the information I find here allows me to be able to make better decisions on my purchases. Even if I don't choose to get the most perfectly cut stone(s), I can feel like I make more knowledgable decisions and drastically reduce the risk of getting taken advantage of or making a mistake.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
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I just want to say, I am a newbie and probably always will be. I love diamonds and other jewelry, and from time to time will make a purchase when I can afford it, and/or for very special occasions. I don't always understand all the technicalities and nuances of these discussions, but I never think it's elitist. I am extremely grateful for this site and the experts, enthusiasts and very knowledgable people, because the information I find here allows me to be able to make better decisions on my purchases. Even if I don't choose to get the most perfectly cut stone(s), I can feel like I make more knowledgable decisions and drastically reduce the risk of getting taken advantage of or making a mistake.
This should always be our goal with this site.

We need to push technical discussions, challenge each other and hopefully challenge vendors and cutters as well so the industry continues to grow and adopt to the current needs and demands of the consumer base.

As trivial as it may sound, maybe PS recommending people ask for advanced images helps other vendors begin offering more services like that as they hear online consumers needing that data to make a purchase decision. It only helps them sell a stone if they can offer the data.

If we just said, "nah, the proportions are "good enough" to make a decision", how would the industry know the consumer needs more?
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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This should always be our goal with this site.

We need to push technical discussions, challenge each other and hopefully challenge vendors and cutters as well so the industry continues to grow and adopt to the current needs and demands of the consumer base.

As trivial as it may sound, maybe PS recommending people ask for advanced images helps other vendors begin offering more services like that as they hear online consumers needing that data to make a purchase decision. It only helps them sell a stone if they can offer the data.

If we just said, "nah, the proportions are "good enough" to make a decision", how would the industry know the consumer needs more?
Well said @sledge . I could not agree more. And it's NOT trivial!

What the internet has done in general in arming consumers with actionable information, and what pricescope has done in particular for diamond and jewelry shoppers in terms of pulling the veil off the industry, pricing, the importance of cut quality, etc, has driven fundamental change. B&M jewelers are having to step up their game,become more knowledgeable, and more consumer friendly. GIA finally came out with a cut grade after years of dragging feet. Cutters have now begun to shift their philosophy to cutting more for beauty than weight.

As you say, pricescope would not have been such a driver of this positive change if discussions here focused on 'good enough' rather than pushing the envelope for something more.
 
Last edited:

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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The surest way for an Si stone of size to be eye-clean is for the clarity characteristics to be things like clouds, twinning wisps, and graining which tend to be difficult if not impossible to resolve with the naked eye.
This is 100% true..... till it’s not. Which is frequently. The variety of types of imperfections and their placement in a diamond is endless. On many occasions, an SI stone with a crystal is otherwise totally clean- and not cloudy in any way. Such a stone could easily be preferable to another SI graded diamond with clouds, graining or twining wisps.
The same size carbon spot over a large pavilion facet which is so easy to see becomes invisible if it’s moved closer to the girdle ( sometimes). And in both cases the clarity grade is identical.
I understand why transparency issues come to the fore here based on online purchasing of diamonds- but as a diamond grader, I can tell you that in "original" assortments of polished diamonds, eye cleanliness is based on each individual stone and generalization does far more harm than actually provide information.
For example- so many potential customers we speak to immediately rule out SI clarity diamonds because of ( highly inaccurate and prejudicial) things written online.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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I would also say, as @yssie aluded to, a significant factor as e-commerce has developed is online sellers of virtual inventories and the low price effect. The surest way for an Si stone of size to be eye-clean is for the clarity characteristics to be things like clouds, twinning wisps, and graining which tend to be difficult if not impossible to resolve with the naked eye. But these stones can also have reduced transparency and are discounted accordingly by manufacturers. Therefore, they tend to be lower in price compared to other Si's and the first to sell out of virtual inventories.

I personally would much rather have an Si that is not technically eye-clean but has uncompromised transparency.
They did not have transparency issues.
They are the stones that helped WF build the reputation they have today as well as other vendors.
They were manly off feathers and white crystals with a few twinning wisp stones thrown in that were eye picked by the best PS vendors.
At one point there was so much demand for them that fine make cutters were asking more for the better si1 than nice vs2 stones.
Or more properly they were less willing to discount off Rap on them.
Made for some strange pricing at times.
 

smitcompton

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 11, 2006
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2,556
Hi,

I still do not understand why or what Garry is getting at. Garry, did a group of your peers tell you that you were only reaching 1% of diamond buyers on your website and thus were not helping enough people? After all these years of success for achieving your mission statement goals, you have decided to upend all that and now want prosumers to recommend good enough diamonds. I think you will have to change your title of Premiere Diamond and Jewelry site.

Sledge posted his example of the woman who bought "good enough" diamonds, but was disappointed, until she received ideal cut stones, which she loved. One obstacle, among many, is that the "good enough diamond must be viewed directly by the consumer to view it with their own eyes, but may not know what an ideal cut diamond looks like. Why do they even need Pricescope help? Just send them to a jewelry store and they can see what is good enough for them. Millions do that now. How can a helper here guide a newbie on good enough. The Mother Thing had an idea that would work as guidance, but who would develop it? It seems to me you expect Pricescopers to develop these rules and to now reverse their thinking and say, "Oh Yes, lets do "good enough diamonds"

I do think Tiffany is doing a bit of what you want. They are looking at their diamond stock and saying, "These diamonds are good enough for Tiffany.. I believe they have standards and their gemologists would be trained to look at a diamond and make that determination. It certainly is possible.

This makes almost no sense to me. A complete turn around from years of the opposite

Annette








"
 

prs

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Dec 26, 2017
Messages
929
I know many here have made the decision to buy a branded super ideal diamond, and if they had a fixed budget, they also made the decision to buy a smaller stone in order to pay the premium associated with a super ideal. Having made that decision I definitely get the impression there's a tendency to encourage newbies here to make that same decision. Some seem to want to spread the thought any diamond that isn't a branded super ideal is second rate and just a "good enough" diamond.

I guess the real question is how does a super ideal cut branded diamond compare to a terrific diamond that scores <2.0 on the HCA scale. I have never seen a video comparing two such diamonds, and certainly don't have the opportunity to go into a local jeweler to see them in person. I don't know if a super ideal is so much better than a non-branded HCA top scorer. Is the super ideal so much better that paying the premium is a no-brainer, or are there some consumers who won't be able to tell much difference and would be completely justified putting their money into a bigger diamond?

For the consumers who prefer the bigger diamond would it be a good thing for PS cut experts to get together to modify the HCA tool in order to make it more helpful and user friendly for newbie consumers? Help them find better cut diamonds? Isn't that what PS is here for?

I think this was the purpose of Garry's thread and his other thread HERE and I don't really understand why he's not getting more support.
 
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