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Bad e-ring shopping experience

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Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35

Hello Everyone


I wanted to share my bad e-ring shopping experience and hopefully some of you can provide some advice on how to make things better.


I did a lot of research on this website and even got in touch with an appraiser recommended here to help me select the best diamond that fits my budget. She suggested I go to the NYC diamond district and give her some options of diamonds and settings that I like. This is exactly what I did. If any of you have been to the diamond district lately, you probably noticed that MANY of the stores that used to be there have gone bankrupt and I would say they isn''t so much to choose from nowadays. Anyway, the two stores that I got a good impression from were Michael F Jewelry and Weiser Jewelry. They offered me three diamonds that I thought had pretty good characteristics for the price based on what I have read. However, when I asked for a copy of the GIA certificate they told me that my GIA specialist/appraiser can obtain a copy of that directly from the GIA database where she should have access. I sent her the GIA numbers and details for her to get the certificates and she came back to me saying that 1st if they truly owned the diamonds they should be giving me copies of the certificates and not asking her to get them directly from GIA and 2nd even if she saw the certificates and I gave her all the numbers and details I had she still would probably not be able to form an opinion without actually seeing the diamonds. Now, the second thing bothers me A LOT because if she as a specialist cannot "form an opinion without seeing the stones", how can I decided what to buy. All three diamonds honestly looked the same to me. Also, if a gemologist cannot form an opinion without seeing the diamonds, how to people even buy diamonds on-line. I am very disappointed with the entire experience. I feel like I am been taken advantage of by both sellers and the appraiser at this point. She is offering coming with me to the stores but her rate is $200 an hour and then another $200 for the appraisal which is something we do not want to spend. I thought I had educated myself enough and that with the help of this woman my boyfriend and I would buy the best ring there is for our budget. Now I am completely confused and don''t even know how to proceed.

 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
What type of stone are you looking at? If it's anything other than an RB stone, then she is telling the truth, she can't really form an opinion without seeing it.

But WE would be happy to help you for free! Just tell us what you are looking for and we can hunt it down online.

OR Mark at Engagement Rings Direct is in the diamond district (he's not on street level-so you need to make an appointment) and is a very honest guy with a great eye for diamonds. Do a search for him here-he has a great reputation. I have worked with him a few times and been very happy each time.

Mark can help you pick a winner if you would rather do it in person.

Also, if you can get out to Long Island, Jon at Good Old Gold is also a wonderful honest vendor to deal with.
 

Stone-cold11

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2008
Messages
14,069
Date: 3/23/2009 9:10:14 AM
Author:Bimbi

Hello Everyone



I wanted to share my bad e-ring shopping experience and hopefully some of you can provide some advice on how to make things better.



I did a lot of research on this website and even got in touch with an appraiser recommended here to help me select the best diamond that fits my budget. She suggested I go to the NYC diamond district and give her some options of diamonds and settings that I like. This is exactly what I did. If any of you have been to the diamond district lately, you probably noticed that MANY of the stores that used to be there have gone bankrupt and I would say they isn''t so much to choose from nowadays. Anyway, the two stores that I got a good impression from were Michael F Jewelry and Weiser Jewelry. They offered me three diamonds that I thought had pretty good characteristics for the price based on what I have read. However, when I asked for a copy of the GIA certificate they told me that my GIA specialist/appraiser can obtain a copy of that directly from the GIA database where she should have access. I sent her the GIA numbers and details for her to get the certificates and she came back to me saying that 1st if they truly owned the diamonds they should be giving me copies of the certificates and not asking her to get them directly from GIA and 2nd even if she saw the certificates and I gave her all the numbers and details I had she still would probably not be able to form an opinion without actually seeing the diamonds. Now, the second thing bothers me A LOT because if she as a specialist cannot ''form an opinion without seeing the stones'', how can I decided what to buy. All three diamonds honestly looked the same to me. Also, if a gemologist cannot form an opinion without seeing the diamonds, how to people even buy diamonds on-line. I am very disappointed with the entire experience. I feel like I am been taken advantage of by both sellers and the appraiser at this point. She is offering coming with me to the stores but her rate is $200 an hour and then another $200 for the appraisal which is something we do not want to spend. I thought I had educated myself enough and that with the help of this woman my boyfriend and I would buy the best ring there is for our budget. Now I am completely confused and don''t even know how to proceed.

Sorry, I don''t understand what is your problem with the independent appraiser? What she says is correct as her opinion is her service and how she earns a living and probably has the weight of expert opinion in the court. You are asking her her opinion on a stone without her being able to see it, just basing on report of in the GIA report check, how can she say the stone on the e-report is what you are seeing? The jeweler should be able to present you the certificate on request.

I don''t know what shapes of stone you are looking at, but only with round brilliant cuts can a rough idea of cut performance be drawn from the numbers, the rest will require some sort of images at the least if not personally viewing it. Which is why stones we recommend here ro buy online usually has those, such as from GOG, WF and HPD. Those that do not supply these infomation, you are essentially buying blind.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
That is what pictures are for when buying online.
Anyone who claims to be an expert and says they can evaluate a diamond for selection using a few numbers is a fraud.
Numbers can only be used for rejection.

There is no one piece of information that guarantees a great diamond.
It is a puzzle build up of many pieces to come up with a great diamond.

I like to call them filters.
The first and most important filter is a good vendor skilled in selecting high performance diamonds to verify the chain of information and serve as a check and balance on the puzzle..
Then comes AGS/GIA cut grades to narrow it further.
Then come the HCA and beyond this point numbers are useless.
From there it comes down to images:
ASET
Ideal-scope
Regular pictures.
heart images if h&a is claimed

The PS vendors provide varying degrees of supervision to the process.
Dealers like gog, highperformancediamonds, diamondexpert,wf, Brain Galvin provide a lot of supervision and hand holding.
JA is more do it yourself and requires a lot more work by the PS advisers.
Then you have the vendors who frankly do not provide enough information like blue nile who you just have to roll the dice if you purchase from them.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
I am looking for a round brilliant. What bothers me about the appraiser is her unwillingness to help me narrow down my options. I understand that she needs to see the diamond but obvioulsy I cannot buy all three diamonds for her to look at. I quess I will have to get the GIA reports, even though it seemed logical to me that she would have access to them by giving her the GIA numbers. I do not see why she wouldn''t. Not all the stores and boothes I went to had access to a copier where they can give me a copy but all were willing to give me the GIA number.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
She doesn't have the information to help you narrow it down.
You want a buyers agent which she isn't equipped to do.

Post the GIA report # and exact weight and I will look up the reports and give you an opinion on rejecting them or if they are worth looking into further.
No one can tell you to buy just based on numbers.
edit: fixed bad wording, not enough pepsi yet this morning.
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Date: 3/23/2009 9:56:24 AM
Author: strmrdr
That is what pictures are for when buying online.
Anyone who claims to be an expert and says they can evaluate a diamond for selection using a few numbers is a fraud.
Numbers can only be used for rejection.

There is no one piece of information that guarantees a great diamond.
It is a puzzle build up of many pieces to come up with a great diamond.

I like to call them filters.
The first and most important filter is a good vendor skilled in selecting high performance diamonds to verify the chain of information and serve as a check and balance on the puzzle..
Then comes AGS/GIA cut grades to narrow it further.
Then come the HCA and beyond this point numbers are useless.
From there it comes down to images:
ASET
Ideal-scope
Regular pictures.
heart images if h&a is claimed

The PS vendors provide varying degrees of supervision to the process.
Dealers like gog, highperformancediamonds, diamondexpert,wf, Brain Galvin provide a lot of supervision and hand holding.
JA is more do it yourself and requires a lot more work by the PS advisers.
Then you have the vendors who frankly do not provide enough information like blue nile who you just have to roll the dice if you purchase from them.
Great post!
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
Date: 3/23/2009 10:14:05 AM
Author: Bimbi
What bothers me about the appraiser is her unwillingness to help me narrow down my options.
I''m not sure where on Pricescope you read that appraisers generally help people pick out the best stone to buy?
Are you paying the appraiser a consultancy fee in ADDITION to the post-purchase appraisal? If not, it seems that you''re expecting them to do work for nothing ... looking of GIA #s, analyzing, etc ...

Some online vendors will send a stone to an appraiser for analysis ... but it costs $$ to do this also. For the postage & insurance & then appraisal fees & postage back if the stone isn''t acceptable.

No one ever said e-ring shopping was "easy"! You''ve got to do the leg work to get a beautiful diamond for a great price. Sorry!
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
Date: 3/23/2009 9:56:24 AM
Author: strmrdr
There is no one piece of information that guarantees a great diamond. It is a puzzle build up of many pieces to come up with a great diamond. I like to call them filters.

1) The first and most important filter is a good vendor skilled in selecting high performance diamonds to verify the chain of information and serve as a check and balance on the puzzle..
2) Then comes AGS/GIA cut grades to narrow it further.
3) Then come the HCA and beyond this point numbers are useless.

From there it comes down to images:

4) ASET
5) Ideal-scope
6) Regular pictures.
7) heart images if h&a is claimed

The PS vendors provide varying degrees of supervision to the process. Dealers like gog, highperformancediamonds, diamondexpert,wf, Brain Galvin provide a lot of supervision and hand holding. JA is more do it yourself and requires a lot more work by the PS advisers. Then you have the vendors who frankly do not provide enough information like blue nile who you just have to roll the dice if you purchase from them.
And 99% of the vendors in the Diamond District fall into the "roll-the-dice" category.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
24,426
Date: 3/23/2009 10:14:05 AM
Author: Bimbi
I am looking for a round brilliant. What bothers me about the appraiser is her unwillingness to help me narrow down my options. I understand that she needs to see the diamond but obvioulsy I cannot buy all three diamonds for her to look at. I quess I will have to get the GIA reports, even though it seemed logical to me that she would have access to them by giving her the GIA numbers. I do not see why she wouldn't. Not all the stores and boothes I went to had access to a copier where they can give me a copy but all were willing to give me the GIA number.
I understand what you're saying. We do it all day long, look at stats, reject, or say maybe, more info needed. She insinuated she would do that too, not sure why she's backing off now. She easily could. Surely she didn't expect you to buy a bunch of stones to bring in...

As neat said, we'll be glad to do it, for free!
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
I''m not really understanding what she was willing to do for you? Obviously you''re not going to purchase all three. so if she couldn''t give you an opiion based on the info. you provide like the reports, why agree to anything at all..
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
When I contacted her she told me she will be happy to help me choosing a stone and avoiding mistakes and that I should send her anything that I like in terms of loose stones and settings and she would be able to give me feedback on whether I am getting a fair price. Now that I am trying to choose and finally purchase, she says she cannot form an opinion and she needs to see them. She would be more than happy to come with me to the store, but her fee is $200 an hour plus traveling expenses. I do not think this is fair. And I do understand that there is a lot of reserach and work to be done prior to purchasing an e-ring, I just don''t want it to be such a negative experience and I want to avoid the feeling that i am being taken advantage of. I feel that she as the specialist should be able to provide feedback on specs I give her, I am not saying she needs to choose for me. I guess I am a little disappointed as I thought that I could rely on the gemologist the same way people rely on me in my profession.
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Date: 3/23/2009 10:42:29 AM
Author: Ellen

Date: 3/23/2009 10:14:05 AM
Author: Bimbi
I am looking for a round brilliant. What bothers me about the appraiser is her unwillingness to help me narrow down my options. I understand that she needs to see the diamond but obvioulsy I cannot buy all three diamonds for her to look at. I quess I will have to get the GIA reports, even though it seemed logical to me that she would have access to them by giving her the GIA numbers. I do not see why she wouldn''t. Not all the stores and boothes I went to had access to a copier where they can give me a copy but all were willing to give me the GIA number.
I understand what you''re saying. We do it all day long, look at stats, reject, or say maybe, more info needed. She insinuated she would do that too, not sure why she''s backing off now. She easily could. Surely she didn''t expect you to buy a bunch of stones to bring in...

As neat said, we''ll be glad to do it, for free!
Thritto - thats what we do!
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
Here are the numbers. 17189110 (1 ct, F color, SI2) and 1102394832 (1.01 ct, E color, SI1).

Thanks in advance for your help with this. I am not asking her to tell me that she is positive that I should buy either one, just give me feedback on what she thinks a fair price should be based on the specs and whether these stones are worth negotiating for. I do not understand why this would be hard for her to do.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Date: 3/23/2009 11:06:43 AM
Author: Bimbi
Here are the numbers. 17189110 (1 ct, F color, SI2) and 1102394832 (1.01 ct, E color, SI1).


Thanks in advance for your help with this. I am not asking her to tell me that she is positive that I should buy either one, just give me feedback on what she thinks a fair price should be based on the specs and whether these stones are worth negotiating for. I do not understand why this would be hard for her to do.
Go back and read Storm''s posts again. There are just too many factors for someone to recommend a stone without seeing it. She''s staking her reputation on the line for a stone she hasn''t seen-that isn''t fair to ask of her.
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
The report''s not coming up for me on GIA''s site.

If you wanted her to just give an opinion on price, she could do that based on the info you give. I don''t see why that would be a problem.

Even I, who am not an appraiser can do a search on PS and get an idea of what a "GIA, ex, ex, ex, (with good numbes) D, VVS1" goes for.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,071
A bunch of things occur to me Bimbi.
First of all, the appraiser''s suggestion on how to shop indicates a real lack of familiarity with 47th street.
The chances of walking down 47th street and finding a great deal on a diamond, honestly represented is low IMO.
For example, and legit dealer offering a diamond will gladly give you a copy of the GIA report.
The advice is so bad, I''d question her usefulness at all.

In fact, the act of buying a diamond should not be stressful IMO.
A far better strategy might be to go into Tiffany''s or one of the super expensive Fifth Avenue stores- just to see what you like.
For example, some people are very sensitive to color and won''t like a stone with even a slight bit of tint, like an H I or J color.
Others have no problem at all with a little tint.
If that''s the case, the prices of a J color is about half of a D color. Clearly it makes sense to figure out what you love.

No appraiser can answer those questions.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
Date: 3/23/2009 11:06:43 AM
Author: Bimbi
Here are the numbers. 17189110 (1 ct, F color, SI2)
This one is total crap:
Round Brilliant
Measurements: 6.40 - 6.46 x 3.77 mm

Carat Weight: 1.00 carat
Color Grade: F
Clarity Grade: SI2
Cut Grade: Good

Proportions:
Depth: 58.6%
Table: 59%
Crown Angle: 33.5°
Crown Height: 13.5%
Pavilion Angle: 39.4°
Pavilion Depth: 40.5%
Star length: 50%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Thick to Very Thick, Faceted
Culet: None

Finish:
Polish: Excellent
Symmetry: Very Good
Fluorescence: None
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
42,064
Date: 3/23/2009 11:32:28 AM
Author: strmrdr

Date: 3/23/2009 11:06:43 AM
Author: Bimbi
Here are the numbers. 17189110 (1 ct, F color, SI2)
This one is total crap:
Round Brilliant
Measurements: 6.40 - 6.46 x 3.77 mm

Carat Weight: 1.00 carat
Color Grade: F
Clarity Grade: SI2
Cut Grade: Good

Proportions:
Depth: 58.6%
Table: 59%
Crown Angle: 33.5°
Crown Height: 13.5%
Pavilion Angle: 39.4°
Pavilion Depth: 40.5%
Star length: 50%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Thick to Very Thick, Faceted
Culet: None

Finish:
Polish: Excellent
Symmetry: Very Good
Fluorescence: None
Yikes - yes, this one is pants!!!
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
Date: 3/23/2009 11:06:43 AM
Author: Bimbi
1102394832 (1.01 ct, E color, SI1).
This one has potential, it passes on to the next step which is images or viewing it under an IS or ASET scope in person.

Round Brilliant
Measurements: 6.48 - 6.50 x 3.96 mm

Carat Weight: 1.01 carat
Color Grade: E
Clarity Grade: SI1
Cut Grade: Excellent

Proportions:
Depth: 61.0%
Table: 56%
Crown Angle: 34.5°
Crown Height: 15.0%
Pavilion Angle: 40.6°
Pavilion Depth: 42.5%
Star length: 55%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Thin to Medium
Culet: None
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
Storm- the F, S12 is so shallow that i thought it would have a larger spread?

edite to add: nevermind I see the girdle.
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
I think I do need hand holding. There is just so much information and most of the flaws are not obvious to me unless someone points them out. I contacted Mark at ERD. He will be calling me back later today and send me some stones by email. I will post what I get to get your opinions.
 

mrscushion

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
3,309
Date: 3/23/2009 11:50:56 AM
Author: Bimbi
I think I do need hand holding. There is just so much information and most of the flaws are not obvious to me unless someone points them out. I contacted Mark at ERD. He will be calling me back later today and send me some stones by email. I will post what I get to get your opinions.
That''s great that you contacted him, Bimbi. I think that making sure you get the very best diamond for your money can indeed be a little nerve-wracking. You are in good hands with ERD and this board here.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
24,426
Date: 3/23/2009 11:50:56 AM
Author: Bimbi
I think I do need hand holding. There is just so much information and most of the flaws are not obvious to me unless someone points them out. I contacted Mark at ERD. He will be calling me back later today and send me some stones by email. I will post what I get to get your opinions.
Good deal! We''ll be watching for them.
 

mrssalvo

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
19,132
good decision contacting Mark. Can''t wait to see what he comes up with. You will get a winner of a stone from him, no doubt!
 

Bimbi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
35
Hello All,

I finally heard back from Mark today. We went over what I want and I emailed him pictures of the settings I like. He asked me for my budget and I told him that we would like to spend between 5 and 6 thousand for everything, stone and setting combined. He did not sound excited at all about the budget. I think he was actually a little annoyed that my budget is ver limited. I think 5000 is a lot of money, especially in this economy. Maybe I am wrong. Regardless of how much I spend, I think any good jewelrer would know that if I am happy with my e-ring I would most likely go back there for the wedding bands. I guess that''s not in incentive for them.

Is 5k really that little, I have gotten that same feeling from a few jewlerers. How much do you think I should expect my boyfriend to spend on my ring. I don''t know if I would be able to justify spending 5k on him if tables were turned.
 

atroop711

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
2,844
Hi

Well I know WF has some ACA's that are around . 75ct and within your budget. This one is in your budget and leaves you money left over for a setting

http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/Whiteflash-ACA-cut-diamond-1982398.htm#


they are also having a sale...10% off your setting when you buy your aca diamond from them (something like that). You can get a well cut diamond, nice size and all for your 5k budget. GL. I'm sure other vendors have lots of potential stones

BTW remember...if you are from NY...you won't pay TAX by going with an non NY vendor. That was a HUGE incentive for me
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
You''re absolutely right that 5K is a lot of money ... especially in this economy. But, to be realistic, jewelers deal with enormous budgets all the time and probably don''t even get "excited" by them. Its their *job*, yanno? Some people are better at spinning up "excitement" about people''s projects - some aren''t. If Mark isn''t a good match for you then keep on looking but I wouldn''t say that doesn''t make him a "good jeweler" though. (As you''re implying.)

If you''re looking for E & F 1ct stones & want it to be ideal cut -- then its practically an impossible task to find that plus a setting for 5-6K. Unrealistic. Maybe jewelers are daunted - thinking you''re expecting too much for the budget? Its math not magic, yanno? Something''s got to give.

Shopping for an e-ring SHOULD be fun ... but often isn''t. Planning a wedding SHOULD be awesome, but is often a total pain in the ***. Hopefully both are worth it in the end though!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Hi Bimbi. I have seen your previous posts and have to say that I do think you might be asking a bit too much for your budget. There are fixed costs that do not go down even ''in this economy'' particularly since the price of metals is very high... as a result of this economy. What usually ends up adjusting is a buyer''s expectations honestly. I think that if you look for either a basic solitare with a 1 carat H-I SI diamond, or a .75-.80 H-I SI in a more detailed setting you will be more likely to a favorable response. When a buyers expectations outstrip their ability it is going to be a source of dissatisfaction no matter who you deal with, however wonderful the vendor, because a srupulous vendor will know your request cannot be accomodated at your budget and must risk losing your business by telling you so, and an unscrupulous dealer will tell you whatever you want to hear and give you nothing more than shoddy goods anyway.

I think maybe you need to spend more time understanding what exactly your budget will buy you, and what hard decisions you need to make. I''ll make it easy for you. You are likely not giong to get an eye clean high color ideal cut diamond in an elaborate custom setting for 5-6k. You will likely either need to go with a smaller diamond, or a simple setting. A smaller diamond will give you the ''whole package now'' and larger diamond will give you just that... and the opportunity to re-set in the perfect setting once you have the budget for that.
 
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