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Diamond District Trip - Worth it?

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virginian_guy

Rough_Rock
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Nov 29, 2006
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First, thanks to all of you crazy people for hunching over your desks for hours on end while squinting at diamonds (okay, maybe some of you aren''t squinting since your budgets are larger than mine!) and writing about what you see and know--the forum here has been a HUGE help to me in researching how to buy.

I''ve been looking around at some local jewelers and I have a very good relationship with one, but I thought I''d solicit some advice--my first post. Is it worth it to go to New York City to visit the Diamond District and "cut out the middle man" as they say? My budget is limited to $4,000 and I want to stretch it as far as possible. I''ve heard in the Diamond District it''s easy to cut out the sales tax by requesting they "ship" the ring, pay cash/check to cut down another 3-4% from the price and that they offer better guarantees than most retailers. I thought it might be worth it for the selection alone, or that maybe I''d just find the perfect diamond there and get the setting here. Of course, there''s a sucker born every day so I''m sure people are getting fleeced in the Diamond District too. Yeah, guess I''m just nervous and want to do this the right way to maximize my buy.


Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
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Hi Virginian,

Go, but more for the opportunity to visit some uniquely well regarded jewelers that also happen to be there. For example, among them is Good Old Gold in Long Island. Some others, too. Make an appointment before you go. It''s both a shop, and internet vendor, and he''ll probably do the tax thing for you.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
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27,108
You are not cutting out the middle man by traveling to Manhattan to buy.

Rather, you are helping to pay the lease on some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

I'd go to look and get some eyeball experience.
Then buy online.

If you want to cut out all 12,457 of the middlemen travel to South Africa and bring a shovel.
 

ILikeBond

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
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312
Date: 11/29/2006 11:53:59 PM
Author: Regular Guy
Hi Virginian,


Go, but more for the opportunity to visit some uniquely well regarded jewelers that also happen to be there. For example, among them is Good Old Gold in Long Island. Some others, too. Make an appointment before you go. It''s both a shop, and internet vendor, and he''ll probably do the tax thing for you.
Good Old Gold is not in New York''s Diamond District.


I work just blocks from 47th street and have gone there twice, once because I wanted to just see what a 1 carat looked like compared to, say, a 1.5 carat, and also because I had to see the sharks for myself. The second time I went to see Leigh ... um (last name escapes me), who makes antique-style rings and is in a booth in a big sort of dealer flea market (for lack of a better description) on 47th street.

The first time I went to one of the big stores on the corner of 47 and 6th ave with glaring neon red signage and filled up with tourists. I was impressed that all 37 employees managed to offer to "help" me within about 20 seconds. After spending 2 minutes talking to one guy squished in between other patrons, he seemed genuinely surprised when I said I wasn''t going to buy the very ring he pulled out to show me the size of a 1 carat, even though I hadn''t asked about cut, color or clarity. "But its beautiful, she''ll love it!"
I left quickly, but took the guy''s card, because he promised to "help me out on the price."


Leigh, on the other hand, was a pleasure to work with. Although my girlfriend (who came with me) and I ultimately decided it wasn''t her style, it was a fun experience, and Leigh was trustworthy and pressure-free. There are other people on these boards who work in or very close (46th street) to the diamond district who people recommend, too. Maybe someone can list them here.

My advice is go, becuase its crazy seeing all those diamonds, and there are all sorts of different store types and sellers, from the high-pressure tourist trap meat market. Use the trip as a learning experience, and an adventure, but don''t expect to find any good deals, even from the honest/trustworthy stores and brokers, who still must pay the high rents of the area.
 

dtnyc

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
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1,082
Date: 11/30/2006 12:14:00 AM
Author: ILikeBond
Date: 11/29/2006 11:53:59 PM

Author: Regular Guy

Hi Virginian,



Go, but more for the opportunity to visit some uniquely well regarded jewelers that also happen to be there. For example, among them is Good Old Gold in Long Island. Some others, too. Make an appointment before you go. It''s both a shop, and internet vendor, and he''ll probably do the tax thing for you.

Good Old Gold is not in New York''s Diamond District.



I work just blocks from 47th street and have gone there twice, once because I wanted to just see what a 1 carat looked like compared to, say, a 1.5 carat, and also because I had to see the sharks for myself. The second time I went to see Leigh ... um (last name escapes me), who makes antique-style rings and is in a booth in a big sort of dealer flea market (for lack of a better description) on 47th street.


Leigh, on the other hand, was a pleasure to work with. Although my girlfriend (who came with me) and I ultimately decided it wasn''t her style, it was a fun experience, and Leigh was trustworthy and pressure-free. There are other people on these boards who work in or very close (46th street) to the diamond district who people recommend, too. Maybe someone can list them here.

Leigh is of www.antiqueengagementrings.com. We bought our wedding bands from him and had a great experience.
I believe that Facets/Signed Pieces also has a booth in another Jewelry Exchange on 47th Street.
 

supergirl518

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
20
The Diamond District is more than just the jungle on street level. Those stores are really not for the faint of heart. In my opinion, they are fun to look around and get ideas. But when you're really serious about buying diamonds, you need to deal with the businesses that are found in the buildings surrounding the street level.

My #1 pick is

Mark Turnowski (www.engagementringsdirect.com): I purchased my center stone and setting from him. From the very start he was helpful, patient and very sensitive to my budget and needs. He managed to find exactly what my husband and I envisioned my engagement ring should be. He has a great eye for stones and really knows his stuff. I highly recommend him

People also speak highly of Good Old Gold (www.goodoldgold.com) but that is out in Long Island as someone mentioned.

Another person that I've heard good things about is Excel Diamonds/Superbcert (www.exceldiamonds.com)

Good luck!
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
2,398
Hello Virginian Guy and WELCOME to Pricescope!


The Diamond District can be totally overwhelming if you don''t have specific places you want to visit. The DD at street level is comprised of tons of retailers, some honest some questionable. However, what you don''t see are the thousands of offices for diamond importers, cutters, distributors, jewelry manufacturers, etc above street level. GIA''s offices are in a building on the corner of 47th and 5th, but you''d never know it unless you were looking for them.

The supplier for James Allen has offices in NYC, but on 45th - they are an office, not a retail facility, so they were willing to show me just 2 diamonds of my choice. Signed Pieces/Facets has a booth at 15 W. 47th, and offices across the street at 36 W. 47th. I didn''t visit ERD or GOG, so I can''t comment - I''m sure they are great.

You can visit "Bruce Fabrikant" at 1 W. 47th. They have a storefront and are honest people. I called in advance with diamond specs and they procured 5-6 stones for me.

I think you can do your homework locally if you want to see what a D looks like vs. a G, or see how big 1 carat is, etc. You definitely do not have to go to NYC. If you shop online, just be sure to get actual images of the stones, get idealscope images, talk to the vendors, etc.

Good luck!
 
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