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B&M shopping tactics??

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enbcfsobe

Brilliant_Rock
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Any thoughts on the best way to communicate to a B&M salesperson what exactly we are looking for?
This weekend we saw a few GIA "Excellent" cut stones (in the 1.2-1.3 ct range), and a few AGS0 stones, including a smaller Lazare Kaplan branded stone.
The only one that seemed interesting based on my own vision only scored a "Good" overall rating on the HCA, which wasn''t surprising because it seemed a bit deep and crown-heavy just from a rather inexperienced look at the measurements. The one AGS0 was "Very Good" on HCA, but I didn''t love it in person. That one we got an Isee2 reading on and it was about a 7.5. The L-K was just too expensive, and was only an 8 on the Isee2 (not enough at the premium being asked).

How do I ask for something better? The salespeople, of course, insisted that this was as good as cut gets, since it was "Excellent" or "Ideal," and they kept saying that the ideal is really a range (which I understand, but I also understand that there are some that just don''t work.) . I really want something that is fabulously sparkly, as I am looking to set it in an all-metal solitaire setting (yet to be decided exactly what that will be).
Is there a good way to ask for great cuts without entirely relying on the AGS/GIA cut ratings or gettings sucked into overpriced brands??
I plan to get an idealscope, which I hope will help weed out some choices.
Any thoughts on what to look for on sight? I''m having a lot of trouble, even in varied lighting, understanding whether what I''m seeing is good or bad. Some have been obvious -- one had what I guessed to be fish-eye, which made a VS1 look like an I from the top -- but in terms of brilliance and fire, I don''t know how to tell, especially not being able to compare them side-by-side (if they are from different stores). Do I just keep trying, or are there questions/requests that will help me narrow the field more easily??
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Where are you located maybe someone knows of a good place to get super-ideals?
The easiest way is just to go online from one of the PS vendors that specialise in super-ideals.
The vendor with the the isee2 should be able to get some isee2 brand diamonds in which are usually pretty good and don't carry a huge premium.
Or you can get a isee2 branded diamond from gog at a nice discount over most b&m's.
www.goodoldgold.com
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
2,398
Your idea to get an idealscope is probably the best plan, short of buying your diamond from one of the vendors here. If you get the IS, get the backlight too - it''s totally worth it.

I suggest that if you find a great stone at a B&M, check with the price search here before committing to buying the stone, just to make sure you aren''t overpaying.
 

:)

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 25, 2006
Messages
1,864
Date: 1/22/2007 4:19:21 PM
Author:enbcfsobe
Any thoughts on the best way to communicate to a B&M salesperson what exactly we are looking for?
This weekend we saw a few GIA ''Excellent'' cut stones (in the 1.2-1.3 ct range), and a few AGS0 stones, including a smaller Lazare Kaplan branded stone.
The only one that seemed interesting based on my own vision only scored a ''Good'' overall rating on the HCA, which wasn''t surprising because it seemed a bit deep and crown-heavy just from a rather inexperienced look at the measurements. The one AGS0 was ''Very Good'' on HCA, but I didn''t love it in person. That one we got an Isee2 reading on and it was about a 7.5. The L-K was just too expensive, and was only an 8 on the Isee2 (not enough at the premium being asked).

How do I ask for something better? The salespeople, of course, insisted that this was as good as cut gets, since it was ''Excellent'' or ''Ideal,'' and they kept saying that the ideal is really a range (which I understand, but I also understand that there are some that just don''t work.) . I really want something that is fabulously sparkly, as I am looking to set it in an all-metal solitaire setting (yet to be decided exactly what that will be).
Is there a good way to ask for great cuts without entirely relying on the AGS/GIA cut ratings or gettings sucked into overpriced brands??
I plan to get an idealscope, which I hope will help weed out some choices.
Any thoughts on what to look for on sight? I''m having a lot of trouble, even in varied lighting, understanding whether what I''m seeing is good or bad. Some have been obvious -- one had what I guessed to be fish-eye, which made a VS1 look like an I from the top -- but in terms of brilliance and fire, I don''t know how to tell, especially not being able to compare them side-by-side (if they are from different stores). Do I just keep trying, or are there questions/requests that will help me narrow the field more easily??
The ''AGS0'' that got a ''very good'' on the HCA - did you actually see the report - was it the newer light based report, and if so, did it truly get a zero for light performance? I ask because I have seen this term misused in the B&Ms.

take a look at this thread - do you recognize the style of report that came with the stone?
https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/ags-dqd-grading-reports-old-and-new.45611/
You would be looking for a stone with the 2nd document posted in the thread.


I will be honest, I need to think about this, but I don''t think it is possible for a true AGS0 for light performance to get a ''very good'' on the HCA - maybe Storm or Garry will chime in here. The newer AGS criteria is fairly strict - you can see the AGS block outlined on each of the cut advisor results.

Are you adverse to buying on the internet?
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
It would have to be one of the edge combos in the new ags0 range to get a 2 but there are a few that will.
For example 34.7/41 with a 56 table which can be a killer stone if everything else is right and its tight but scores in the 2.0 range and will get AGS0, If its not tight or one of the other measurements isnt optimal it might get ags1.
same for 34.7 and 41.1 with around a 56 table.

The HCA is rather harsh at the 41 degree point with good reason sometimes but there are some combos that can go both ways depending on how tight they are cut.
 

:)

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 25, 2006
Messages
1,864
Date: 1/22/2007 4:36:36 PM
Author: strmrdr
It would have to be one of the edge combos in the new ags0 range to get a 2 but there are a few that will.
For example 34.7/41 with a 56 table which can be a killer stone if everything else is right and its tight but scores in the 2.0 range and will get AGS0, If its not tight or one of the other measurements isnt optimal it might get ags1.
same for 34.7 and 41.1 with around a 56 table.

The HCA is rather harsh at the 41 degree point with good reason sometimes but there are some combos that can go both ways depending on how tight they are cut.
Thanks Storm, I knew I could count on you!
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
Good idea to get the Ideal Scope. And don''t forget the calibration CZ so you can practice what to look for.

There''s really no way to physically describe the visual difference between a well cut diamond and an OK cut. You have to see them side by side, in person to know. An OK cut will be pretty, maybe even fairly sparkly. But the well cut diamond will knock your socks off.

We have a couple of B&M''s locally who are very saavy. They know their competition is the Net. They will gladly bring in stones for you. But they say they have to limit it to 2-3 due to shipping costs. They have a range of diamonds to show. From trade-in duds all the way to H&A''s. Maybe you can find a B&M like that where you live. Here, they were in the phone book as "Diamond Brokers".
 

enbcfsobe

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
1,154
As to the AGS cert, I think it was the older version.

The BF is warming to the idea of buying online, but isn''t crazy about it. I''m also interested in getting an idea of what diamonds can and should look like -- I''m a tactile/visual sort of person, so at least looking at B&Ms seemed like a good idea, at least until I get a sense of what I like/dislike.

Is the consensus, then, that B&M shopping is really hit or miss? Do I just need to look at a whole bunch and use the IdealScope and cross my fingers in the hopes that I''ll at least get to see something good??

Any tips on how to evaluate visually?

Oh, and I am in Philadelphia, in case anyone has recommendations.
 

:)

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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1,864
Date: 1/22/2007 4:52:33 PM
Author: enbcfsobe
As to the AGS cert, I think it was the older version.

The BF is warming to the idea of buying online, but isn''t crazy about it. I''m also interested in getting an idea of what diamonds can and should look like -- I''m a tactile/visual sort of person, so at least looking at B&Ms seemed like a good idea, at least until I get a sense of what I like/dislike.

Is the consensus, then, that B&M shopping is really hit or miss? Do I just need to look at a whole bunch and use the IdealScope and cross my fingers in the hopes that I''ll at least get to see something good??

Any tips on how to evaluate visually?

Oh, and I am in Philadelphia, in case anyone has recommendations.
Usually a miss.. LOL!

The prices are just so incredibly higher in a b&m it is unbelievable. Take your time, you are being smart figuring out what you like/don''t like - I took my internet diamond to compare to HOF and Lazare Kaplan after purchasing, and they were absolutely no better than my diamond - you are smart to figure out what you like first! Check your color tolerance (on AGS and GIA graded diamonds) too!
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
It can be hit and miss. One here, the Lady is nice. She has a good eye and feel for her market, but she''s never gone to gemology school or taken classes. She doesn''t know much about diamonds at all. She inherited the shop from her Dad and she has excellent people skills. Makes you feel like you''re the only client she has.

Then we have the father/son duo who are both Graduate Gemologists. They really know their stuff. They can show you duds and great diamonds and explain why each is the way it is.

In Philadelphia??!!

I''d go here:

http://www.gemappraisers.com/

Dave Atlas knows his stuff!!
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
804
Date: 1/22/2007 4:52:33 PM
Author: enbcfsobe
As to the AGS cert, I think it was the older version.


The BF is warming to the idea of buying online, but isn''t crazy about it. I''m also interested in getting an idea of what diamonds can and should look like -- I''m a tactile/visual sort of person, so at least looking at B&Ms seemed like a good idea, at least until I get a sense of what I like/dislike.


Is the consensus, then, that B&M shopping is really hit or miss? Do I just need to look at a whole bunch and use the IdealScope and cross my fingers in the hopes that I''ll at least get to see something good??


Any tips on how to evaluate visually?


Oh, and I am in Philadelphia, in case anyone has recommendations.
We spent a lot of time at local jewelers looking and actually found a place that had about 50% of their diamonds in the range of ideal cut based on the charts and calculators on PS, but in the end I was able to convince my BF to take a leap of faith and order online saving us approximately $750 and getting a better cut diamond. So, keep looking . . . I think you could find a well-cut diamond at a B&M, it is just easier and more efficient to shop online and will likely save you a little money as well. That is my personal take on the matter, you have to find your own personal comfort level . . . however, take it from someone who had to do a lot of convincing . . . my BF is now thrilled we made the decision to buy online.
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
The admin of this list has set up under "Resources" at the upper right references to local or "net friendly" jewelers. I saw Marks Jewelers is listed there, and pretty close, but after searching the board, I couldn''t find a specific recommendation for them. On the other hand...


Date: 1/22/2007 4:24:10 PM
Author: strmrdr
Where are you located maybe someone knows of a good place to get super-ideals?
The easiest way is just to go online from one of the PS vendors that specialise in super-ideals.
The vendor with the the isee2 should be able to get some isee2 brand diamonds in which are usually pretty good and don''t carry a huge premium.
Or you can get a isee2 branded diamond from gog at a nice discount over most b&m''s.
www.goodoldgold.com
Philadelphia is not very far from Long Island. Consider taking a trip over there, after making an appointment, to do your shopping. Do searches here on them, and you''ll read of many happy customers.

There''s likely to be other viable B&M alternatives...but regarding Pricescope as a heck of a Consumer''s Reports, you''ll get a lot of reliability testing uniquely here, that''s difficult to replicate. And...they''re represent a combo B&M & internet resource, giving you much of the best of both worlds. So...before going, you can use the "Pricescope your diamond" feature here above, and shop there, before ever showing up. Then, look and see what you scoped out, in person.

I''d consider it, anyway.

Warm regards,
 

enbcfsobe

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
1,154
Thanks for all the input. Both of us are aware that the B&M shopping may simply highlight that online is a good idea, but I still think it is worthwhile to spend at least some time trying.

Neverland, I am going to try to get my IdealScope from Dave Atlas, but it is my understanding that he does appraisals and grading only, not sales.

Ira -- thanks for the thoughts on Long Island. I considered that option, but I figure that a big reason for buying from a B&M is for later service (cleaning, replating/polishing, trade-ups, etc.), so I''m not sure the often 4-hour drive is worth it -- I''d just as soon buy online and save the gas! Maybe the BF will disagree and we''ll end up there if we can''t find anything here that is both pleasing and reasonable...we''ve still got some time (gotta do those taxes before we commit to buying anything!!).
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Buying local is absolutely a nice trifecta...with service at hand, options you can see in person...with both only possible if the options available are choice enough to buy. If you can find those, and then a 4th factor...get the additional benefit of pricing that is conscionable, you're gold. Buying on the web is great...though this will only typically get you two of those 4...though, yes, you'd save gas. Hard to get all 4. See which you and your partner can do without.
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
As far as I know, they don''t sell jewelry out right. But, they are located in Jeweler''s Row. Mr. Atlas is the President of the Jeweler''s Row Association. And, they do take in jewelry to sell for people, business to business. Never know what they may have on hand.
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Feeling on a roll...

factors 5 & 6...a jeweler/salesperson you can trust, and with technologies in house to help you evaluate. These 2 you can also find on the web, of course.

and...


Date: 1/22/2007 7:24:06 PM
Author: Finding_Neverland
As far as I know, they don''t sell jewelry out right. But, they are located in Jeweler''s Row. Mr. Atlas is the President of the Jeweler''s Row Association. And, they do take in jewelry to sell for people, business to business. Never know what they may have on hand.
...probably the conflict of selling to consumers is actually something Dave doesn''t engage in...unless it''s pre-purchase, and then, who knows? I could be wrong.
 

enbcfsobe

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
1,154
It also seems like it might actually be harder to find a good appraiser than to find a good diamond at a decent price without having to mail the thing all over the country, so I'd rather keep that resource in reserve for the next step. Based on his posts here, Mr. Atlas hesitates to recommend jewelry stores in the area, although he will answer questions about them. I think thats a good thing, given the potential conflicts.

Any thoughts on buying a stone online and having a custom setting done by a local bench jeweler? What do you do about who sets the stone in that case? The jeweler my family uses does lovely custom work in gold and platinum, but I'm not sure he has the kind of volume I'm looking for in terms of choosing a stone. Do I ask him to look for some stones first? Is it a bad idea to have him set the stone if I buy online, even if he doesn't have what I want in terms of diamonds?

Thanks again for all the input!! When I'm done, I'll post all about my experience so people can have it for reference. I'm reserving judgment so far on the B&M experience...
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
5,951
Date: 1/22/2007 9:54:31 PM
Author: enbcfsobe

Any thoughts on buying a stone online and having a custom setting done by a local bench jeweler? What do you do about who sets the stone in that case? The jeweler my family uses does lovely custom work in gold and platinum, but I''m not sure he has the kind of volume I''m looking for in terms of choosing a stone. Do I ask him to look for some stones first? Is it a bad idea to have him set the stone if I buy online, even if he doesn''t have what I want in terms of diamonds?
Although, procedurally, having the same guy who you buy the diamond from, also provide the setting and do the work of setting the diamond into the setting...having your local guy has other advantages. Finessing the details can be challenging, from what I read here.

One simple formula...but read other threads here on getting Jeweler''s Mutual to provide insurance during the setting.

a) Lie to your jeweler, tell them it''s a family heirloom your diamond (that you actually buy elsewhere)
b) have him craft the ring
c) bring ring & diamond to Dave
d) insure with jewelers Mutual
e) have your jeweler set it
f) have Dave appraise the finished piece (I think Dave will only actually charge you the first time ,but check)
e) reconnect with JM on an any necessary updating to your insurance
 

enbcfsobe

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
1,154
Sounds like a good plan, Ira, except for a), since I''ve already looked at a few stones there! I''m not sure he''d be so upset about not selling a stone, though -- he told me he usually makes a much better profit on the setting b/c of internet pricing on diamonds! We''ll see..

I''ll check out the JM thing, too, might be convenient until its all appraised...
 

Finding_Neverland

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
412
Some of the appraisers work with Master Jewelers. I''ve read where Rich Sherwood will receive the loose stone and the setting. Mr. Sherwood appraises the diamond, then his master jeweler will set the stone and Mr. Sherwood does and insurance appraisal on the final piece. Maybe AGA has a similar type of program where they could work with you that way.

Just a thought.
 

kcoursolle

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
10,589
Are you set on buying from a B&M? It just seems sooo much easier and less expensive to get a really nice diamond online.
 

diamondfan

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
11,016
enbc, there are lots of Philly PS''ers! We hope to have a get together soon...

I do not know much about the stores here, but someone like Kaleigh might...good luck, and definitely look on line at least to compare...
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
Date: 1/23/2007 12:22:10 AM
Author: diamondfan
enbc, there are lots of Philly PS''ers! We hope to have a get together soon...

I do not know much about the stores here, but someone like Kaleigh might...good luck, and definitely look on line at least to compare...
Buy online, have the stone sent to David Atlas for your approval. Honestly that''s the very best advice I have. Most stores don''t deal in super ideals, it''s dissapointing to me. But rarely do I see a stone that could compete with the high caliber of stones offered through PS vendors. I highly recommend WF and GOG. You have David in your back pocket to go over the stone. He is rated as one of the best appraisers in the US If I am not mistaken. Good luck!!!
 
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