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Average color/clarity of engagement rings?

dreamingoftacori

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Feb 9, 2011
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I tried to search on this topic and didn't find too much. I saw a few posts on "sweet spots" and average carat size of engagement rings but not too much on color and clarity.

Many previous posts suggest the average size is growing in the US to about .75-1 carats (most likely larger on PS). But does that mean the color/clarity is staying the same and people are able to afford more? Or is there an emphasis on size and stones are decreasing color and clarity to reach a larger carat size?

I know this can be cultural and personal as for preferences but just curious, what do you think is the average color and clarity of engagement ring diamonds?

Edit: there was a post from 2003, and I'm assuming there has been significant changes since.
 

slg47

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I think the average is around 0.40 carat in the US, Pricescope is way higher. As far as color/clarity...I think the 'maul' stores are generally selling non-GIA or AGS certed J SI2/I1s...of course some are better than others...

BlueNile shows what the average person is purchasing from them, I think it is around G/H VS2/SI1. You can punch in different shapes/carat weights to the graph and see what people are buying!

http://www.bluenile.com/recently-purchased-diamonds
 

dreamingoftacori

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Looks like it's most popular to have a round g vs2 stone.

Thank you so much for sharing the poll. I didn't realize there was one! Fascinating to see it all together. And the carat weight mean/median/mode is WOW!
 

dreamer_dachsie

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dreamingoftacori|1304699379|2914003 said:
Looks like it's most popular to have a round g vs2 stone.

Thank you so much for sharing the poll. I didn't realize there was one! Fascinating to see it all together. And the carat weight mean/median/mode is WOW!
Well, it is PS and people like diamonds. The sample is not really represetnative either, since it is mostly the "old timers" and "regulars" who participated 8) , and we are the most diamond obsessed, so likely that skewed the results for larger rocks.
 

kindred

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I recently looked at engagement rings at four different mall jewelry stores, and most of them were I1 and I2 clarity with colors H-I and below. Certs, if available, were from companies like IGI, so actual colors were probably more like J and below and I could often see quite a bit of yellow in them. I think I read a while back that JC Penney was the largest seller of diamonds in the U.S. and their diamonds are probably similar to what I saw in the mall jewelery stores. So the average person is probably owns a pretty low clarity and color diamond.

I was really amazed at the untruths told by the staff at the mall stores. At Kay's I was told that all certs are equal and that IGI actually taught the GIA how to grade diamonds. I was also told that one of their branded diamonds takes 8-12 months to cut. I feel badly for the average consumer who doesn't know about Pricescope.
 

shihtzulover

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I've wondered about this myself.

Does Blue Nile's customer base represent the 'average' consumer in general? From what I have heard, their customers tend to be a bit more knowledgeable about diamonds than average, and they also tend to spend more money on engagement rings than average. That seems to make sense, since it seems that they sell many diamonds in the ~1 carat range, and I'm not sure that the average size is that large.

I think that in some regions, people tend to buy from mall stores - so their stones have certificates from labs like IGI, which are not as strict with grading. I also think that many people buy EGL-graded stones, even if they are shopping in independent jewelry stores.

Like other posters, I have browsed around at the mall stores, just to see what they had. The cards said that most of the stones were H-J in color and SI1-I1 or so in clarity, but they were not graded by the GIA or AGS, so I'm sure that those were not the true grades.

I read somewhere that they average engagement ring center stone is J-colored and has SI1 clarity, but I'm not sure how true that is. Even if a study had been conducted, which labs graded these stones?

Honestly, I don't think that anyone really knows for sure. I also think it really depends upon the area where one lives (much like average carat weight). I'm sure that there are plenty of areas where G, VS2s are the average, but also countless other places with averages in the lower ranges.
 

Dancing Fire

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center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct
 

slg47

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Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct
DF where do you get these numbers
 

Amys Bling

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Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct


this is the one fact that surprises me... Florida? I dont think of it as a big bling location, but maybe the affluence of parts of Miami bring up the average?

I can totally see the NY and CA statistic being true, as is the average US size being .73.... I am alittle shocked about the J SI2 of the average person in the US.
 

Dancing Fire

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Amys Bling|1304732563|2914474 said:
Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct


this is the one fact that surprises me... Florida? I dont think of it as a big bling location, but maybe the affluence of parts of Miami bring up the average?

I can totally see the NY and CA statistic being true, as is the average US size being .73.... I am alittle shocked about the J SI2 of the average person in the US.
thanks to Zales and Kay's $1999 1ct ( IGI graded ) weekend specials... ;))
avg PSer's E-ring is H VS2 graded by GIA/AGS.
 

Amys Bling

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Dancing Fire|1304733641|2914492 said:
Amys Bling|1304732563|2914474 said:
Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct


this is the one fact that surprises me... Florida? I dont think of it as a big bling location, but maybe the affluence of parts of Miami bring up the average?

I can totally see the NY and CA statistic being true, as is the average US size being .73.... I am alittle shocked about the J SI2 of the average person in the US.
thanks to Zales and Kay's $1999 1ct ( IGI graded ) weekend specials... ;))
avg PSer's E-ring is H VS2 graded by GIA/AGS.

very true. I am also curious how many of the 1ct rings are multi-stone rings where it's four princess stones that are set to appear to be one stone...
 

Dancing Fire

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slg47|1304728356|2914426 said:
Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct
DF where do you get these numbers
why? don't you trust me??.. :Up_to_something: :tongue:
 

Eilonwy

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I think I need to move to New York or something!!

The average definitely seems to vary dependent on where you live etc. I'm from Perth Australia. When I got my ering we were living in a smaller town though and I reckon the average there was about .50 ct. The average in Perth seems to be about the same, although I have a couple of friends here with 1 ct or more. Mine is .30 ct.

From the specs that I know of/guessing the average clarity seems to be VS1-VS2 F-G for the centre stone. Mine is D VS2.
 

Black Jade

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Eilonwy|1304830893|2915303 said:
I think I need to move to New York or something!!

The average definitely seems to vary dependent on where you live etc. I'm from Perth Australia. When I got my ering we were living in a smaller town though and I reckon the average there was about .50 ct. The average in Perth seems to be about the same, although I have a couple of friends here with 1 ct or more. Mine is .30 ct.

From the specs that I know of/guessing the average clarity seems to be VS1-VS2 F-G for the centre stone. Mine is D VS2.
Don't trust Dancing Fire--he just makes things up off the top of his head.

I don't know about California but the average in NYC is definitely NOT 3-4carats. I go there all the time. I have lawyers and financial advisors in the family who have parties with friends making the same income. I haven't ever seen a 3carat outside of Pricescope. The family rings there look HUGE in comparison with what I see anywhere else and there is nobody who even has 2 carats. More like in the area of 1.25-1.75 (for center stone).

Pricescope is deceiving (though fun to look at). In most of US a well cut .30 D VS2 would be considered an average sized stone--but way way more beautiful than average. There are a reasonable amount of people with .50's. I don't the average size in the US is actually rising, not with the current economy. Most people's stones are between.25 and .75.
On Pricescope this is also true--only our .25's -.75's are exceptionally gorgeous--go take a look at the 'Under One Carat' thread (by far the biggest thread in the Show me the Bling forums.)
 

Dancing Fire

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Black Jade|1304997077|2916996 said:
Eilonwy|1304830893|2915303 said:
I think I need to move to New York or something!!

The average definitely seems to vary dependent on where you live etc. I'm from Perth Australia. When I got my ering we were living in a smaller town though and I reckon the average there was about .50 ct. The average in Perth seems to be about the same, although I have a couple of friends here with 1 ct or more. Mine is .30 ct.

From the specs that I know of/guessing the average clarity seems to be VS1-VS2 F-G for the centre stone. Mine is D VS2.
Don't trust Dancing Fire--he just makes things up off the top of his head.

I don't know about California but the average in NYC is definitely NOT 3-4carats. I go there all the time. I have lawyers and financial advisors in the family who have parties with friends making the same income. I haven't ever seen a 3carat outside of Pricescope. The family rings there look HUGE in comparison with what I see anywhere else and there is nobody who even has 2 carats. More like in the area of 1.25-1.75 (for center stone).
i didn't say avg.. :Up_to_something: ..i said ..3-4ct are more common in Ca. and N.Y... :tongue:
 

Black Jade

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Dancing Fire|1305003110|2917075 said:
Black Jade|1304997077|2916996 said:
Eilonwy|1304830893|2915303 said:
I think I need to move to New York or something!!

The average definitely seems to vary dependent on where you live etc. I'm from Perth Australia. When I got my ering we were living in a smaller town though and I reckon the average there was about .50 ct. The average in Perth seems to be about the same, although I have a couple of friends here with 1 ct or more. Mine is .30 ct.

From the specs that I know of/guessing the average clarity seems to be VS1-VS2 F-G for the centre stone. Mine is D VS2.
Don't trust Dancing Fire--he just makes things up off the top of his head.

I don't know about California but the average in NYC is definitely NOT 3-4carats. I go there all the time. I have lawyers and financial advisors in the family who have parties with friends making the same income. I haven't ever seen a 3carat outside of Pricescope. The family rings there look HUGE in comparison with what I see anywhere else and there is nobody who even has 2 carats. More like in the area of 1.25-1.75 (for center stone).
i didn't say avg.. :Up_to_something: ..i said ..3-4ct are more common in Ca. and N.Y... :tongue:
And 8 ft tall people are more common in the NBA
 

diamondseeker2006

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I certainly think 3 carat stones are more common in NYC than here, for sure!

I think you'd almost have to do separate surveys for different groups..as in the social circle you are in. I am mostly with college educated people, for example. That group may be more likely to do research on PriceScope and then buy online. They may be less likely to buy the Kay's weekend special, but they may buy less than ideal cut stones from nicer local jewelers, too.

When I was graduating from college (long ago) and girls were getting engaged, .75-1 ct. was the norm in that group (mine was 1 ct.). I knew one girl who was marrying someone from a wealthy family who got a 1.5 ct. ring and it was huge at the time. My sister-in-law got a 1.2 ct. stone which was also above average at the time. My daughter just got her ring last fall, and it was 1.1 cts. None of her friends have over a carat, but they are all still young (25) and wouldn't have had time to accumulate money for larger rings. So I do think age at the time of becoming engaged is another factor. I have wealthy friends who all still wear their original rings they got at age 21 and are less than a carat.
 

Sheherizaad

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Ditto what Diamond Seeker just said. Different social circles is like comparing apples to oranges. I used to live in the "inner city" and the MAJORITY of wedding rings there are heavy on gold and heavy on diamond chips (cluster rings) with very small I2, I1 center stones.

I also work in the Finance/Banking industry and the majority of women I've worked with wear on avg 1.5 carats ranging to 3 carats, easy.

The majority of the women live in Manhattan tend to go for bigger center stones, less melee, side stones, etc while the women who commute from more affluent neighborhoods in say Westchester or Jersey, tend to have big center stones with halos, melees, etc.

This all being said, this is just my "informal" opinion having been raised and living here for most of my life... :mrgreen:
 

Niel

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Dancing Fire|1304733641|2914492 said:
Amys Bling|1304732563|2914474 said:
Dancing Fire|1304727523|2914414 said:
center stone only...

U.S. avg E-ring is J SI2 .73 ct

P.S. avg E-ring is H VS2 1.18 ct

3-4ct E-rings are more common in Ca. and N.Y.

mid-west avg E-ring is .48 ct

the avg E-ring in Texas and Florida is 1.67 ct


this is the one fact that surprises me... Florida? I dont think of it as a big bling location, but maybe the affluence of parts of Miami bring up the average?

I can totally see the NY and CA statistic being true, as is the average US size being .73.... I am alittle shocked about the J SI2 of the average person in the US.
thanks to Zales and Kay's $1999 1ct ( IGI graded ) weekend specials... ;))
avg PSer's E-ring is H VS2 graded by GIA/AGS.
Im not surprised at all. i have a .84K and it doesnt look yellow. So an average individual walks into a store and buys a stone that the jeweler tells them is a good deal, appears white enough, and has inclusions but the jeweler tells them thats normal, and the cert they have tells them its an H or something.... there is nothing wrong with a J, but people just dont like the idea of it. So they go to a place that will sell them one with the facade of a better grading. Everybody is happy.
 

Jumpin_Jacks

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I have no idea who Lumera Diamonds are but they made an infographic off of I think their sales?

http://www.lumeradiamonds.com/buying-diamonds/diamond-guide

Around my circle of friends in Southern California norm is about 1 ct with people getting engaged in late 20's/early 30's, both parties as young working professionals. One friend has a 2 ct, definitely the largest and she has dainty hands and feels uncomfortable wearing it all the time as her hubby picked a blingy band and she's a pediatrician.
 

TC1987

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I think that the average first-time buyer is usually a male, and that they try to hit G color or better, probably many pass up an H or I (see tint in an H unmounted and face down; I color range is where most people can start to see tint from the side or face-up) and they go overboard in clarity, like to the VS1 to VVS2 range. On a later purchase, say an upgrade or a larger diamond purchased for a major anniversary, buyers are more likely to be more "flexible" and look at lower colors and SI or even I-1 clarity to get size. But on a first diamond, probably color and clarity are what most buyers are concentrating on: White + very clean.
 

bunnycat

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I looked at both the links and thought the first seriously underestimated (~$3K) and the second overestimated some (~$8K). If you think of the somewhat random assortment of people that pass through PS in a ring search in the last year and a half I have been on here the average budget seems to be around $5-6K give or take at bit.

I'd agree with TC that most people overshoot on a first time ring with color and clarity and I'd agree with Niel that "average" is relative depending on where the ring came from. It seems most people WANT G/H and VS+ and as long as the paper says that, they are probably happy with it regardless if it came from an unreliable lab.

Maybe it's some of that misinformation which then fuels the color and clarity overkill. You go to a store, try on something that says H or I SI (and EGL graded or something like that) and then not surprisingly see tint in it and think you have to a high color VVS+ stone to not see any tint or inclusions, when in reality, they were probably looking at something that might have been a K/L stone and I1.
 

hawk25

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TC1987|1373034942|3477622 said:
I think that the average first-time buyer is usually a male, and that they try to hit G color or better, probably many pass up an H or I (see tint in an H unmounted and face down; I color range is where most people can start to see tint from the side or face-up) and they go overboard in clarity, like to the VS1 to VVS2 range. On a later purchase, say an upgrade or a larger diamond purchased for a major anniversary, buyers are more likely to be more "flexible" and look at lower colors and SI or even I-1 clarity to get size. But on a first diamond, probably color and clarity are what most buyers are concentrating on: White + very clean.
I would've thought the opposite to be honest. In my mind and personally shopping, the average first time buyer is a male buying an engagement ring who really only knows about ct size, and tries to get the biggest stone they can get (the whole stereotypical 'bigger is better' male mantra). They walk into a chain B&M store and they look at different rings, which of course all look good because of the store lighting. The salesperson makes small comments of the color/clarity, but since most of the rings are the same (low) color/clarity (aka I-J, SI2-I2), they don't go into detail or compare. If you ask for different stones, they ask if you want 'bigger or smaller', not 'higher or lower color/clarity'.
 

Niel

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bastetcat|1373036319|3477630 said:
I looked at both the links and thought the first seriously underestimated (~$3K) and the second overestimated some (~$8K). If you think of the somewhat random assortment of people that pass through PS in a ring search in the last year and a half I have been on here the average budget seems to be around $5-6K give or take at bit.

I'd agree with TC that most people overshoot on a first time ring with color and clarity and I'd agree with Niel that "average" is relative depending on where the ring came from. It seems most people WANT G/H and VS+ and as long as the paper says that, they are probably happy with it regardless if it came from an unreliable lab.

Maybe it's some of that misinformation which then fuels the color and clarity overkill. You go to a store, try on something that says H or I SI (and EGL graded or something like that) and then not surprisingly see tint in it and think you have to a high color VVS+ stone to not see any tint or inclusions, when in reality, they were probably looking at something that might have been a K/L stone and I1.

This.


Plus, I blame de beers and such. The diamond industry as a whole sells the idea that high color and clarity is what makes a diamond pretty.
 

bunnycat

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Niel|1373037214|3477639 said:
bastetcat|1373036319|3477630 said:
I looked at both the links and thought the first seriously underestimated (~$3K) and the second overestimated some (~$8K). If you think of the somewhat random assortment of people that pass through PS in a ring search in the last year and a half I have been on here the average budget seems to be around $5-6K give or take at bit.

I'd agree with TC that most people overshoot on a first time ring with color and clarity and I'd agree with Niel that "average" is relative depending on where the ring came from. It seems most people WANT G/H and VS+ and as long as the paper says that, they are probably happy with it regardless if it came from an unreliable lab.

Maybe it's some of that misinformation which then fuels the color and clarity overkill. You go to a store, try on something that says H or I SI (and EGL graded or something like that) and then not surprisingly see tint in it and think you have to a high color VVS+ stone to not see any tint or inclusions, when in reality, they were probably looking at something that might have been a K/L stone and I1.

This.


Plus, I blame de beers and such. The diamond industry as a whole sells the idea that high color and clarity is what makes a diamond pretty.

For a long time, I'd say this was all they had to work with. This whole idea of cut quality is a fairly new focus (starting from the 80's I think???) and certainly all the fun tools we have now to help evaluate cut quality (IS, ASET) are also fairly new. I think maybe Sarin was all that there was before to evaluate the angles and such (at least, that's what I remember a jeweler I know who used to do appraisals a long time ago said. He was intrigued by my Idealscope), eperience, plus whatever tricks of the trade that are used visually to evaluate a nice stone from a crummy one. And if you think of the VAST number of mediocre stones that are out there being sold, my guess is the idea isn't likely to change soon, as any device making poor cutting evident to someone who can't read a report would kills sales in a BM....JMHO though.
 

TC1987

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hawk25|1373036471|3477632 said:
I would've thought the opposite to be honest. In my mind and personally shopping, the average first time buyer is a male buying an engagement ring who really only knows about ct size, and tries to get the biggest stone they can get (the whole stereotypical 'bigger is better' male mantra). They walk into a chain B&M store and they look at different rings, which of course all look good because of the store lighting. The salesperson makes small comments of the color/clarity, but since most of the rings are the same (low) color/clarity (aka I-J, SI2-I2), they don't go into detail or compare. If you ask for different stones, they ask if you want 'bigger or smaller', not 'higher or lower color/clarity'.
Hhhhmm..., not the "yuppie" ones who bought rings in the '80s and '90s. Or at least not the ones that I know. All of those guys went to one of the top b&m jewelers in town, and bought the pitch for high-color-and-clarity. Nobody focused much on cut then, but probably cut would also be factored into it now. Without making a study of it, it appears that most of the new guys who come here to PS asking for help are picking D-F or G on their first pass, some pick H or I if they've seen in in a store, and the majority don't intentionally look at J color or below or at non-eyeclean stones. I've seen a lot of "what about this VVS_ or VS_ stone" and then PS people talk them into looking at SI1 range but eyeclean. Or say "Go lower in color, like a J, to get that size for your budget."
 

Niel

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TC1987|1373037990|3477650 said:
hawk25|1373036471|3477632 said:
I would've thought the opposite to be honest. In my mind and personally shopping, the average first time buyer is a male buying an engagement ring who really only knows about ct size, and tries to get the biggest stone they can get (the whole stereotypical 'bigger is better' male mantra). They walk into a chain B&M store and they look at different rings, which of course all look good because of the store lighting. The salesperson makes small comments of the color/clarity, but since most of the rings are the same (low) color/clarity (aka I-J, SI2-I2), they don't go into detail or compare. If you ask for different stones, they ask if you want 'bigger or smaller', not 'higher or lower color/clarity'.
Hhhhmm..., not the "yuppie" ones who bought rings in the '80s and '90s. Or at least not the ones that I know. All of those guys went to one of the top b&m jewelers in town, and bought the pitch for high-color-and-clarity. Nobody focused much on cut then, but probably cut would also be factored into it now. Without making a study of it, it appears that most of the new guys who come here to PS asking for help are picking D-F or G on their first pass, some pick H or I if they've seen in in a store, and the majority don't intentionally look at J color or below or at non-eyeclean stones. I've seen a lot of "what about this VVS_ or VS_ stone" and then PS people talk them into looking at SI1 range but eyeclean. Or say "Go lower in color, like a J, to get that size for your budget."
I understand what you're saying and this is probably the case for a b and m store. But the average person who goes to Kays doesn't shop like that. I've gone into both B&M and mall stores for one reason or another. And the mall store sells the stone mounted with a lackluster grading cert. The other store sells the customer a stone by placing it on white paper upside down next to a colorless d and says "see how much color there is. Color is ugly. Right?!"


Neither I agree with. And frankly when it comes to b&m stores I don't understand that tactic. I feel like its out of ignorance. Because a person comes in the store with a budget, so what does the store clerk care if its 5k on a .75 d or a 1 ct I?
 

msop04

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Niel|1372991927|3477471 said:
Dancing Fire|1304733641|2914492 said:
Amys Bling|1304732563|2914474 said:
Im not surprised at all. i have a .84K and it doesnt look yellow. So an average individual walks into a store and buys a stone that the jeweler tells them is a good deal, appears white enough, and has inclusions but the jeweler tells them thats normal, and the cert they have tells them its an H or something.... there is nothing wrong with a J, but people just dont like the idea of it. So they go to a place that will sell them one with the facade of a better grading. Everybody is happy.

Niel is absolutely correct on this!! I know a few chicks (friends and family) that commented about how "white" my diamond is (it's a J, kids...) and they insist it "must be colorless" I'll smile and say thanks. But, if they do ask, the conversation goes something like this:

Chick: I love your ring! It's so sparkly and white! Do you know what color it is? <--- WTF? (I think this is very tacky to ask...) :???:
msop04: Thank you. Yeah, I do... it's a J.
<Chick squints her eyes, cocks her head to the side (clearly confused), and I catch her taking a quick glance at her ring (which is a more tinted - probably due crappy cut and lower than stated color)...>
Chick: Really?? ...yours is even whiter than mine and mine's an H-I! Are you sure that's right??"
msop04: <awkward silence as I search for the words...> Uhhh, yeah, I think that's right... weeiirrd. :???:
<uncomfortable silence ensues>

What I really want to say is, "No, precious... it's because your DH did zero research, ran into the mall, and bought the first ring that was pitched to him as 'pretty'. You have an inferior stone that I'm sure he overpaid for. The reason it says "H-I/SI2" is because that laminated 'certificate' that was sitting behind it in the glass counter was from a lab that is a complete joke. What you really have is more like a L or M/I2... Oh! And by the way, 'H-I' is not an acceptable color on a certificate. It's either H or it's I - your 'lab' needs to pick one."

But then I remember my southern manners. :halo: :lol: ;))
 
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