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futures

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
16
Like most on this forum I prefer value over brand. Does anyone know if Birk''s prices are negotiable? I was at a local Toronto Birks and it seems that you can''t even get a GOOD .50 carat diamiond (set on a Platinum ring) for under $10K Can (roughly my budget) or $6K us. I have a feeling that though I will shop around I might just end up getting it at birks and absorb the extra costs so that my gf can get the perceived value of a Birks ring. My girlfriend enjoys simple things and am sure she would enjoy even a $1,000 ring. I am leaning on buying locally because I want to surprise my girlfriend and I might need the ring sized or exchanged for a better fit. Now lets say if I were to get just the stone. Could I bring it into Spence and have it set on their rings? I know that is not possible with Birks. Thanks!
 

DiamondOptics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Messages
380
Pricescope is a plethora of diamond research and knowledge. You should go through their vast inventory
and do some comparisons. Once you find a diamond that may interest you, than you bring any questions you may have back to the forum, and let the experts answer them.

Kirk Konst
 

futures

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
16
Yuppers, this site is just wonderful and I am probably more informed about diamonds then I want to be. However, I find it tough to decide on going for non branded or perceived value of a brand, in particular Birks. Ultimately I believe all diamonds regardless of brand is purely perceived value which can widely fluctuate. I will probably try and negotiate a minor price break with Birks but all good sales reps should automatically say price is not negotiatable. I wonder if anyone is familiar with what major diamond retailers if any negotiate their ring prices or know if Birks gives honest valuations/reports on their diamonds. If I was getting a ring for myself, I would automatically just go for the best value and disregard the brand, but Some female friends have said that I shouldn't think like a "Man" when buying an engagement ring.
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Hi Futures,
I can't say much about the retailers you have mentioned but they both are high end stores. Spence is advertizing as diamond wholesaler , however
the prices are wholesale X 2.2,... I love the joke advertizements stating that diamonds should not me such xSpence,...
Try to get Platinum at Birks for anywhere else for less than $150/gram CND.
However there are Canadian "wholesalers" that sell at reasonable markup
and also make Platimun jewelry at 1/2 of the cost of retail.
Importing Platimum from US is a great idea, however the drade of the metal is lower than the Canadian Standard allowes .

Best George
GLE Gem Imports
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,143
Futures, the best thing I can tell you is this:

COMPLETELY disregard what the "female friends" are saying. They are implying that women by nature always choose "the name" over everything else. It's patently not true. You know your girl, and you've remarked that she is pleased by simple things.

Believe me.....a gorgeous rock is a gorgeous rock, and if it is well-cut and sparkly beyond belief, she will NOT care about the "name" whether it's Binks or Flintstone!

You aren't "thinking like a man", you're thinking like a smart consumer. If you doubt me, consider that most of the women who post to this forum could give a rat's butt about the name....they all say the same thing. Don't care if it's "branded", don't care who makes it.......they all care only about how the diamond performs.

That said, select a stone that is so well-cut it nearly blinds you, and you cannot go wrong.
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,143
Futures, the best thing I can tell you is this:

COMPLETELY disregard what the "female friends" are saying. They are implying that women by nature always choose "the name" over everything else. It's patently not true. You know your girl, and you've remarked that she is pleased by simple things.

Believe me.....a gorgeous rock is a gorgeous rock, and if it is well-cut and sparkly beyond belief, she will NOT care about the "name" whether it's Binks or Flintstone!

You aren't "thinking like a man", you're thinking like a smart consumer. If you doubt me, consider that most of the women who post to this forum could give a rat's butt about the name....they all say the same thing. Don't care if it's "branded", don't care who makes it.......they all care only about how the diamond performs.

That said, select a stone that is so well-cut it nearly blinds you, and you cannot go wrong.

Good luck!
 

futures

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
16
----------------
On 2/4/2003 11:45:51 AM aljdewey wrote:

Believe me.....a gorgeous rock is a gorgeous rock, and if it is well-cut and sparkly beyond belief, she will NOT care about the "name" whether it's Binks or Flintstone!
----------------
aljdewey.. where might I find a Flintstone rock?
 

divergrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,224
For 6k US you can buy a very nice one carat ring in platinum, so if you were looking in the half carat, I am sure for less you'd be able to buy a really high quality stone.

Being from the US, this Birks store sounds like an expensive version of Tiffany or Cartier. Even the half carat Lucida at Tiffany is less that what they are quoting you.

Depending on the setting, (if she likes simple) from this site a lot of people have liked the simplicity of the Vatche X prong setting,(platinum) and you can buy a diamond either online or from a broker in your hometown and have it set locally and put it in a lovely box for her. If you want the site addresses for that setting let me know, i'll post it for you.

I hate to see nice people spend too much money just to buy a name. Unless you really like the name, and have the kind of bank roll to float it. The whole Harry Winston thing for me would depend on my luck with the lottery. Sure it'd be GREAT to have a diamond from there, but why? I can't really tell you for sure. Has something to do with marketing and my being susceptible to the pressure..(oh the pressure...THE PRESSURE) Like the Tiffany blue box..it's addictive. Hubby bought me a sterling silver necklace from there, and was walking around some shops in our downtown, and all the sales girls were "ooooohing" and "aaaaaahing" his little blue bag and commenting that he had a "lucky someone". Go figure.

Its not the same thing as driving a Hyundai vs. driving a Mercedes though. While some people can recognize a setting from Tiffany, Birk, Cartier etc...a very nice diamond is a very nice diamond, and place of purchase ceases to be of importance. The only thing that is important is that you get a quality stone that is beautiful and pleasing to you and your girl. Then watch her CRY for days after you pop the question. And 99% of the crying is over YOU, not the ring.
But we do love our rings. They make us think of you fellas....

Cheers!

D-grrl
 

divergrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,224
Picture of Vatche X prong setting in Platinum.

vatche.jpg
 

futures

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
16
Wow, that Vatche X prong setting in Platinum looks great. They all look great!! Yes Birk's is a Canadian Tiffany and they too have a "Blue Box". Before shopping for a ring I always thought a Blue Box was for recycling unwanted stuff.

Are Tiffany's pricing negotiable?
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
I don't think that Tiffany's negotiates, or if they do its very slightly. They really don't have to. People who have money or who want to buy the brand will always buy from them, regardless of whatever they sell or how overpriced it is. You are paying for that little blue box (which btw you can get on eBay for like $1 by itself! Some value!).

Smarter consumers will learn what they can, build their own stone and ring, and then end up with something about 1/2 the price and probably alot better quality. That is the sad reality of it. If you want to buy the brand, and your girl wants that Tiffany or Cartier or Birk's ring, great! Drop a big load on an okay stone for the etching in the band that says 'Tiffany'. I love Tiffany and buy their silver jewelry...they have some designs you can't get elsewhere. But for anything else, I would never shop there, unless we were RICH that is. Which we're not!

Look around on Pricescope. For $6k you could get an amazing 1c or slightly smaller stone, one that will really have fire and brilliance. For amazing closeups of stones, look at GoodOldGold and SuperbCert...SC in particular has some beautiful closeups of stones that you will not see in a Tiffanys or Cartiers or Birks. They just show you a stone, stamp your check, give you a letter saying 'Thanks for giving us your money and you now have a certified Tiffany ring' and send you on your way. No reports, appraisals, or even a GIA cert or similar necessary for 'branded' name stones such as those!

Also I agree with AlJDewey on disregarding what other women say. But since I am a girl,I'll give my two cents...which is exactly opposite from what your female friends said! I adore my ring knowing that we got the best deal we could and my ring quality shows that. People think we spent alot more money on my ring than we did, always nice!! Only one of my friends out of 20 or so have a Tiffany ring and while it's pretty, it just looks like a regular solitaire, big deal. The only way I know it's from Tiffany is because that was what she wanted and she got it. By the way, my ring looks just as nice for 1/2 the price...and I even have little diamonds around the band!
Women (even simple women) appreciate the finer things in life, and those finer things often do not include brand marketing and/or advertising. Best quality for the money is my motto!! Good luck whatever you decide.

For other threads on Tiffany and Cartier, run a search, it is often debated on the forum how useful a brand is such as Tiffany or even Hearts and Arrows when buying a stone. It really is all about preference and perceived value in that name.
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,143

----------------
On 2/4/2003 1
4:46 PM futures wrote:

aljdewey.. where might I find a Flintstone rock?
----------------

Why.........in BED-ROCK, of course!

 

divergrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,224
Futures,

You can pick up the Vatche setting for like 900 US & Dirtcheapdiamonds.com has one like it in plat for 650US. I found one like it in my jewelers catalog today for 850US and he only charges me his cost (a little more than a half to 2/3 the price).

that Vatche setting looks exactly like the Tiffany Lucida, and the only way you know is if you take off the ring and look at the stamp in the band.

Its amazing what you learn here.

D-grrl
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,733
Futures,
I checked out Birks & let me tell you, rip off. I dont care if my ring comes in a bright pink or neon pink box, the diamond in it better knock my socks off not the wrapper.
I went to the Bay & Bloor Birks & they had a 1.52 Si-1, G, in a simple platinum setting from some designer guy out in Vancouver & the price......$34K!!! The ring was about 7gr of plat. so really, not that big.
What I did, the stone came from a vendor in the U.S. & ordered my Scott Kay ring (yes designer & yes there is a premium but for a hell of a lot less). I actually got the ring for $1,000 less buying it at Damiani in Woodbridge than getting it from the U.S. Shop around. If you like Vatche, buy it, there is no one local that carries it. There is someone in Ottawa but do you really want to drive 4-4.5 hrs to get the ring?? Not likely. Plus at Damiani, they use Platinum Unlimited, a huge platinum manufacturer in Richmond Hill for their custom peices. Worth a look.

Good luck to you,
Judy
:)
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Judy,
I would not think that Birks would qualify as to be diamond wholesaler that is the truth,... Rip off? Don't think so,... They are simply in different type of business than any other hardworking jeweler or diamond merchant,.. They create hundrets of jobs, and own buildings in the most desirable retail areas in all over Canada and expanding to Europe and US,... It'a designer store and they actually do offer great inventory not just diamonds,... I have seen the most beautiful collection of natural Blue Sapphire displayed at Birks . It is also a great place to buy a good ruby and pearls,... I bet their high end inventory can compete with anybody in quality and sellection of rare items,... BUT it is a bad place to look for a well priced diamond,... Tiffany's or Cartier? same story,...

The 1.5 carat G/si1 stone you have mentioned has exactly retail value of $34000 CDN, devided by 2.2 you will come up with a wholesale price,...
Wholesale meaning a price of Diamond merchant selling to the industry not a retail. There are merchants who call them selves a "wholesalers" to the Retail industry. This means that they can keep their overhead low and work at very little mark up let's say 10%. Depending on the size of the stone. If you buy from a Diamond Merchant the 1.52 SI1/G will cost you with the 7gms of Platinum ring approx $16000 Canadian or $10 000 US. Is this unresonable?
You can find the same size stone for less it just won't be as well cut.
But if you think that you can buy diamonds for less in US , you may be suprised what an expert will say to it. Remember most diamonds do come from Canada and prices are controled world wide.
Your saving can actually mean relaxed grading standards. Different standard applies to all aloys of precious metals as well,... True, you can save $1000 but you may be comparing apples wirth oranges,...
Best
George
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,733
George, I understand you're a merchant so I'll be nice. But I have to say, Birks is a ripoff, so is Tiffany's & so is Cartiers down the street as is Royal Deversailles, also down the street. Of course, this is only my opinion. True, they dont sell wholesale but does one have to spend that kind of money retail? Thats nuts. I found my ring for 1/2 of that buying in the U.S. I went to a small time jewelery maker that my bf's brother went to to get his rings made. He knows this guy from church. Well, I too went to see him to see what kind of pricing & what he could come up with. He flat out refused to believe I had found the diamond I did for the price I did. He was insistent there was something wrong with the stone, laser drilled, cz something. He called his supplier while I was sitting there asking them could they find me something like I had found, the suppliers advice.....tell her to get the stone where she found it, she will never buy it for that price here. The jewelery maker, STILL refused to believe that there was nothing wrong with my stone. The price was just too good to be true. Plus, Birks isnt the store it used to be. There have been times of darkness for that company & they almost closed their doors several years ago. They would like you to believe they are high end. Its just their prices would make you think so. They do have GIA certs with their stones so therefor, easy to compare apples to apples & oranges to oranges. As for my setting, I went with Scott Kay. It is the same ring you can buy in California as you could here, it all comes from Scott Kay. So saving $1000 is a good savings dont you think?? I think so. As I've said before, I've spent my bf's money wisely. Also, the appraiser at Damiani was most impressed with my stone & said that that stone plus the ring would go for 3K more than what we paid. Meaning, they are more reasonable than Birks. Like most people that buy Tiffany's for the blue box, then those are the kind that go to Birks.
George, I dont mean to slam you. I just know my stores in Toronto. If you know the Bloor/Bay/Avenue Rd area, then you know the high end stores that make up this section. I live in this neighbourhood. Again, I am very aware of prices but as a consumer, why shouldnt I shop around & indeed buy the an apple from somewhere else?

Ok, sorry, I got on my soapbox. I have one eye open,& one eye closed. Time to go to work.
Heck, I dont even know if what I wrote makes sense. hahaha

Judy
:)
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Judy,
Your post makes somewhat sense. I didn't mean to say you have done a wrong thing,... However I meant to say why buy from US when you can get diamonds at the same price in Canada or cheapper,if you know where to buy,..
No small time or high end jewelry store will be able to compete with your price because neither one will have the high volume buying power as Diamond merchand does,..
Sure there were some exceptional deals on the US retail or wholesale market due to the economic slowdown in the past year,... However I wan you to know I supply to US retail and I know if my prices were higher I would be out of business,...
George
 

stewie

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
Messages
20
I have to say that the Vatche setting isn't exactly the same as the Tiffany Lucida setting. I tried fooling my girlfriend one day by emailing her a picture of the ring she wanted, just to see if she would notice (since she has her heart set on a Lucida), and she picked it out without blinking an eye. "That's not it" she said.

While it is very similar, I would have to say that it's close, but no cigar.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Hey Stewie--not to hijack the post but wanted to say that the picture that Diver posted up above is the round Vatche XProng...not the one for the Lucida style stone. Tiffany's Lucida is a rounded square...if I am not mistake, so the stone in the setting looks quite different than a typical round brilliant in the XProng setting. Not sure if you meant you mailed your girl a rounded square style stone in the XProng against the real Lucida from Tiffany or if you sent a round against the Lucida.

If I am not off-my-rocker, I thought that the Tiffany setting IS the exact same one that Vatche makes, just re-branded? So they should be the exact same setting? Thought I'd read that numerous places on here before.
 

stewie

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2003
Messages
20
Since the hijacking's complete, I'll answer.

No, it was a Lucere diamond in the setting. Looked pretty much identical to the real thing to me, but what do I know? Apparently, not much. She said that she could tell by the way the prongs came up, I think.
 

rockshock

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
13
----------------
On 2/5/2003 9:31:42 AM lacina wrote:

However I meant to say why buy from US when you can get diamonds at the same price in Canada or cheapper,if you know where to buy,..

----------------
George,

How do you get the knowledge of where to buy in Canada? I have found this site only yesterday, thankfully, and am going to go back to the store where I placed a deposit on a ring for my SO. They could not deliver what I wanted when I wanted it, so now I have been afforded the opportunity to spend the time to get this right.

Thanks.
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Hi Rockshock,
How do I know? I am in the business with office in NY an Vancouver. The Diamond industry in Canada is growing fast and the supply is good,...
BTW there dealers listed on this forum
Best
George
GLE Gem Imports
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,733
Hi George,
I didnt take it that I had done something wrong. I believe that we did everything right. ;-) For mths my bf & I looked all over Toronto as he was dead against buying online. I understood it so off we went to the stores. Not ONE place was willing to find what I wanted. And of course, the hemming & hawing was enough to turn me off. I didnt want an opinion about how rare an ideal cut graded stone was, how overkill it was & how a "good" cut stone was good enough. I then got more into looking online & realized that this was the only option I had to find what I wanted without the attitude. I like Birks (to browse in), but really, why do they have to have dozens of employees just standing around. I thought they were in financial distress some yrs ago. I suppose things turned around for them. George, if the merchants here in Toronto were as willing to supply me with what I wanted without the attitude & incredibly high price, then perhaps the stone would have been purchased here locally. Maybe things are different out in Vancouver.
Either way, my stone is almost what most pricescope people are listing their stones at so I dont believe that I got a great deal, I feel I got a fair deal & one I couldnt find here in Toronto. Either way George, I'm happy on all aspects of my stone from price to quality.
The stone will be mine this weekend.


Judy
:)

If you can list some names of some Toronto based vendors that you supply to or that you could recommend with the right prices, that would be great. If not, I suppose then we (the general public) will keep looking out for a great deal.
 

futures

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
16
I've finally decided to go for value over brand and am giving usacerteddiamonds.com a try. Mostly because I hear they're reliable. I considered Birks because I don't mind paying a bit more for reliability. But I've learned the hard way that paying more doesn't always mean you're getting more.

I can't recall the EXACT measurements but it's basically

Cut: Round H&A / AGS0
Carat: 1.01
Colour: H
Clarity: VVS2

It was a tough decision on the Colour, but I can't exceed my budget too much.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Great that you could get a 1c with your budget vs the .50c at Birks!
One other option since you mention your budget and the H color in the same sentence is that you could also up the color by a notch and downgrade clarity a bit--if you are interested. With even the most discrimimating eye you cannot see inclusions on a VS1 stone, and you could get a G color. H is still great though...so if you have your heart set on almost flawless clarity...then it's a good combo. I just am a fan of G VS1's!
That is what my stone is and I have gotten no end of compliments on how icy white and clean it is. I also saw no difference between an E and our G and my fiance concurs heartily on this..he even said 'That was an E?'...but others also may have their own opinions.

Whatever you choose..good luck. There have been good postings about USA Cert on here and again...a great cut 1c H&A over a .50 stone for almost the same price is a great way to get the most for your money! I am sure you will knock her socks off whether it's a G or an H!
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Judy,
I understand the way you think,..
One thing that matters is you love your diamond,... Never mind the price.
Giving out names on this forum is not permited and I am not going to brake the rules. I got in trouble for it a week ago,...
Besides I don't have anybody in Toronto area I can send you to,...

Futures,
Great choice! the only thing you should conside is going "G" in color or if you go for "H" inspect the stone before purchase Great choice is G/VS1 the price difference should be very little. Remember color is more important than Clarity (if it is a VVS2 or VS1 stone)

Best
George
 

RubyBleu

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 10, 2002
Messages
64
At Birks, you can, on some stones, get an additional 5% off of the price. The procedure for this is for the regional manager to be involved (rare) - it may also involve a commission adjustment for the sales person (they might be able to discount you by dipping into their commission to get the sale).

Spence does not work on jewels or stones that are not their own.

Buying at Birks is not a bad thing. Their prices are reasonable in comparision to other B&M's - and the quality is consistant - you will get what you pay for - no funny grades etc... their makes are particularly nice (they feature both class one (excellent) and ideal makes (at a 20% premium). Also note that at Birks there is only a slight premium on Canadian goods (about $100 per stone.... it all depends). Birks lost their way a few years ago.... tried to be all things to all people. They turned it around and are now very solidly positioned. Their signature goods are FG VS1/2... This is their niche.

There IS something in buying from a reputable name - for some it's just peace of mind. That intangible element that makes you reach foir brand x over brand y is what is hard to quantify. Sure you can pay less - you can ALWAYS pay less (at any price). If it all works for you - go for it! If not - keep looking. Sounds like you are sorting it all out.

BTW: Birks Mark-ups range between 1.8 and 3.9 depending on weight of wholesale (higher margin on smaller stones) BTW: wholesale is Antwerp+MAX25%) Mark-ups in relation to Antwerp price (market) are higher - say 2.2 to 4.0 - Their metal prices are reasonable. No surprises. Top price on Plat sol mount is about $1700 Canadian (range 800 to 1700 depending on size and weight).

Good Luck
RubyBleu
 

RubyBleu

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 10, 2002
Messages
64
----------------
On 2/4/2003 11
3:15 AM lacina wrote:

Hi Futures,
I can't say much about the retailers you have mentioned but they both are high end stores. Spence is advertizing as diamond wholesaler , however
the prices are wholesale X 2.2,... I love the joke advertizements stating that diamonds should not me such xSpence,...
Try to get Platinum at Birks for anywhere else for less than $150/gram CND.
However there are Canadian "wholesalers" that sell at reasonable markup
and also make Platimun jewelry at 1/2 of the cost of retail.
Importing Platimum from US is a great idea, however the drade of the metal is lower than the Canadian Standard allowes .

Best George
GLE Gem Imports

----------------

To my knowledge, Spence has never advertised itself as a wholesaler... I believe they say they purchase their stones direct form Antwerp which is 100% true. They are very admittedly a retailer.

RB
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,733
Thank you George,
I had no idea (being on the consumer end) that it is against site rules to list names. My request was more of a curiosity anyway.
Thanks for your input.
Spence, ugh! Dont get me started on them now!
I would go Birks before I go Spence thats for sure. They are slick sellers but too bad I found a few diamond forums before I found them.

haha

Judy
:)
 

lacina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2002
Messages
146
Rubybleu,

It is true that Spence's late advertisement is slightly different but it still says "diamonds at wholesale prices".
I don't care where they get their diamonds from, but the ones they are pushing are very low color,... H and lover,... I had someone told me that he was quoted $5000 CAD for 1/2 carat Ideal cut H/si1. That is maybe less then Birks, but it is approx. 2.2 X wholesale.

Best
George
 
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