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Diamond shopping in Antwerp vs US

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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Hello everyone,
I need some sound advice on shopping in Antwerp. I have previously lived in the US and made all my jewelry purchases there. I live in the Netherlands at the moment and have a big B day coming, and in a market to get a diamond ring. I would love to buy via trusted online vendor in US but the tax and duty would amount to around 5000 usd extra... When I look on line in Belgium the prices seam triple of what I can find on James Allan or blue Nile ( using that as my price guides... The VAT here is 21 %, which also takes a huge chunk out of the budget I have... Although my hubby is non EU sitizen so we could potentially could forgo that....? I could wait until we go back to US for a week next summer ( long after my b day), or could use some advise on where to go in Antwerp and would I be able to find same pride as in US.
I thought having about 14 000 for the stone and 4000 for the setting . I was looking to perhaps get Sebastian barrier setting, but no one ever heard of him in Paris when I went around few jewelry stores in Paris on my multiple trips this summer. I was could buy it via JBG and maybe pick it up my self, but without the center stone being set... Not sure why he can't set the stone..?
I am not really looking for MRB I am eather trying to recreate asscher girls ring, or do one with marquise.. Looking for a stone with a great cut and spread H I , vs2. I thought too bright would look strange in antique setting.
Any help would be appreciated!!!!!!!
Sorry long post, but the whole story;-)'
 

Acinom

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Hopefully someone chimes in who has more insight in the differences between bying in Antwerp or the US.
I guess if you are planning to make a trip to the US, it's worth it to at least explore some online options.

I Antwerp, Rob van Beurden from Diamond House is a reliable source. I am not sure about price differences though.
If you are interested in Sebastien Barier rings, you may contact Eric Fabery de Jonge in Amsterdam. He can deliver Sebastien Barier rings and I think he works with outside stones as well: [email protected]
 

kb1gra

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Acinom|1445430760|3940601 said:
Hopefully someone chimes in who has more insight in the differences between bying in Antwerp or the US.
I guess if you are planning to make a trip to the US, it's worth it to at least explore some online options.

I Antwerp, Rob van Beurden from Diamond House is a reliable source. I am not sure about price differences though.
If you are interested in Sebastien Barier rings, you may contact Eric Fabery de Jonge in Amsterdam. He can deliver Sebastien Barier rings and I think he works with outside stones as well: [email protected]

Rob van Beurden's business now goes by the name Fortrez. Agree about reliability, though. I dealt with him several years ago.
 

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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Thank you so much for both of your post!
I live in Amsterdam and will look up Eric Fabery and will let you know how that went. I have tried contacting the EU contact with SB with no success, I got through the US, where the gentleman ( forgot his name!) told me I would have to pay for the setting all upfront give the stone measurement and than pick it up and have it set elsewhere... Also I would have to make the payment in US, which puzzled me as it's made of France... I guess I don't like when things get too complicated...
Is Eric Fabery jeweler ?
I did look at fortrez website, but I think they specilaze in round? Also there prices are very high? No marquise...
thank you again!!!!
 

Acinom

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Based on his email address (see my former post) I think he is part of the Sebastien Barier company. I have not worked with him but spoke with him a while ago about a Sebastien Barier setting and he seems to be a nice guy.
 

Callmyname

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Thank you Acinom, can I ask you why did you not end up ordering the SB?
Does anyone know if the setting holds up well? I will try to see in my email if it's him that I have emailed. The person was nice, I guess I just didn't understand the payment in US, versa just paying in EU .
Thank you again
 

kenny

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Callmyname|1445427456|3940575 said:
The VAT here is 21 %, which also takes a huge chunk out of the budget I have.

If you bought when visiting the US don't you have to declare your foreign purchase, and pay that 21%, when you return and go through customs?

Wouldn't adjusting your budget to pay that 21% be better than taking a chance you'll get caught and prosecuted?
Even if you didn't get caught, obeying our country's laws is the moral and ethical thing to do.
(So why do I feel like a jerk, nerd, and an uncool party-pooper for suggesting we do that?)

My apologies if you are allowed to travel and buy in other countries to avoid your country's VAT.
 

craiguk

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Apr 29, 2015
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Good point there Kenny. People from the EU often confuse their purchase / budget values with VAT. You see it often with UK buyers that insist that adding VAT to US stones makes them too expensive when the comparable stones in the UK already have the VAT included.

There's no way round it unless you're willing to knowingly evade customs / duty costs.
 

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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Hi! I'm sorry to offend anyone! I guess I should have said that I am US citizen and my husband is Australian.
We live in Netherlands for my husbands work.
Also I guess it was not clear from my post, my main question was where can I get a stone and setting from reputable store in Antwerp.
I am familiar with US vendors and have bought from them before. We have been living here for about a year and a half.
I use to live in NYC where the choice of purchase is great.
Thank you again everyone!
 

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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Blue Nile has an EU website as well, where the price includes VAT. I just would not like to buy via them ... I rather see three to five stones in person and pick the "one".
 

kb1gra

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exchange rate differences can still make shopping overseas favorable even with VAT added in.

For example, LD06218067 is listed on bluenile.co.uk for L5385.19 exl VAT and $6925.54 in the US with no sales tax.

at current exchange, 5385.19+19%UK VAT is = L6408.38 which is $9883.90 or almost $3000USD more for the same stone.

Even if you paid VAT on the US value - you'd still be coming out way ahead.
 

Callmyname

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I guess I also wanted to add that we are tax payers, we do pay 52%income tax so no stranger to obeying tools!
What I am trying to avoid is ordering from blue Nile which I easily can. I would just like a store recommendation. And a setting maker.
My engagement ring was hand forged and I love it. Never had an issue with it. When I was looking the only brand made here in Europe that does that was the SB. So I went here on pricescope( where I look and admire, but never post until now)
 

Acinom

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Callmyname|1445452262|3940725 said:
Thank you Acinom, can I ask you why did you not end up ordering the SB?
Does anyone know if the setting holds up well? I will try to see in my email if it's him that I have emailed. The person was nice, I guess I just didn't understand the payment in US, versa just paying in EU .
Thank you again
Since having seen the SB ring for Asschergirl I love love love SB settings. But I do find them very expensive and David Klass can make fabulous settings for sharp prices. But I might opt for an SB setting in the future.
 

Callmyname

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I meant to say we obey the rules!!! ( that's what one gets with modern technology!)
Asinom, I got quote for about 4200 for the setting. The David class settings look great too! The only chance to the SB setting I would make is that I would like bezel. My budget for the setting is 4000 euro. I also like the work of Caysie van Bebber.
 

dk168

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Another vote for Rob van Beurden and his team in Antwerp (my purchase from him was back in 2004). I went to him to purchase an EC diamond as I wanted to be able to select my own stone in person at the time.

I have not bought any significant jewellery in UK ever since I discovered the joy of internet shopping back in late 1990s. IMHO, based on personal experiences, the prices for fine jewellery are cheaper even after adding handling and custom charges on top of the purchase prices.

DK :))
 

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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Thank you dk168! I will look in to it. Where on line do you buy the most in EU or in US?
Well, I will be back tomorrow to see if anyone else chimed in!
Good night( good day) to you all!
 

MollyMalone

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kb1gra said:
exchange rate differences can still make shopping overseas favorable even with VAT added in.
For example, LD06218067 is listed on bluenile.co.uk for L5385.19 exl VAT and $6925.54 in the US with no sales tax.
at current exchange, 5385.19+19%UK VAT is = L6408.38 which is $9883.90 or almost $3000USD more for the same stone.
Even if you paid VAT on the US value - you'd still be coming out way ahead.
I realize it doesn't matter to Callmyname, who is not interested in ordering from Blue Nile. But for the benefit of anyone else who reads this thread, the prices shown on BlueNile.com/uk/ include the UK VAT of 20% (standard rate since 2011). £5,385.19 reflects the 1.5% discount BN UK will give -- off the VAT-included price of £5,467.20 for this particular stone -- if you make payment by a bank wire transfer. £5,385 = $8,303, or $1378 (rather than nearly $3000) more than the $6925 bank wire price for BN USA customers. (Can UK or other EU customers order from the USA web site? I don't know.)
 

kb1gra

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MollyMalone|1445463954|3940820 said:
kb1gra said:
exchange rate differences can still make shopping overseas favorable even with VAT added in.
For example, LD06218067 is listed on bluenile.co.uk for L5385.19 exl VAT and $6925.54 in the US with no sales tax.
at current exchange, 5385.19+19%UK VAT is = L6408.38 which is $9883.90 or almost $3000USD more for the same stone.
Even if you paid VAT on the US value - you'd still be coming out way ahead.
I realize it doesn't matter to Callmyname, who is not interested in ordering from Blue Nile. But for the benefit of anyone else who reads this thread, the prices shown on BlueNile.com/uk/ include the UK VAT of 20% (standard rate since 2011). £5,385.19 reflects the 1.5% discount BN UK will give -- off the VAT-included price of £5,467.20 for this particular stone -- if you make payment by a bank wire transfer. £5,385 = $8,303, or $1378 (rather than nearly $3000) more than the $6925 bank wire price for BN USA customers. (Can UK or other EU customers order from the USA web site? I don't know.)

The FAQ on Bluenile.co.uk indicates that it is NOT included until you check out.

"Value Added Tax (VAT)
Value added tax (VAT) will be applied for all orders placed on the UK website where applicable. The VAT amount is calculated based on the shipping destination of your order. Please note that this charge will appear in the shopping basket after you have entered a shipping destination."

But either way, the stone is still cheaper in the US, the original poster is a US citizen and indicated she was thinking it might be cheaper to shop here and it very well might be.

I don't pay VAT because I am importing to the US, so I used the old figure, but it doesn't matter. The stone is still cheaper in the US.
 

apacherose

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I have an SB ring commissioned through Jewels by Grace. She was wonderful to deal with and her prices were significantly better than anywhere else I compared. I have an eternity and a pave type halo. They both seem to be very nice quality, and are holding up beautifully knock on wood!

Good luck on your search- I think you are smart to think through your options and do some number crunching. Forgive me if this is a silly question, but, as a US citizen, should you have to pay the foreign taxes for something you purchased in the US while in the US?
 

MollyMalone

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Callmyname|1445436128|3940623 said:
* * * I did look at fortrez website, but I think they specilaze in round? Also there prices are very high? No marquise...
thank you again!!!!
There are marquise diamonds listed on fortrez.com, but it's not one of the shapes included, by default, when the Diamonds Search page first opens. You need to click the greyish Marquise rectangle, which will then turn blue & prompt the search engine to "capture" their marquise inventory; clicking all the other, currently blue-colored rectangles for, e.g., rounds and cushions, will turn them to the greyish color and delete those stones from the search results, so you will end up seeing just the marquise listings :))

As for prices, it won't be easy to get even a rough idea of how Fotrez's prices compare to marquise diamonds in the PS database because Fortez's prices are in euros while the diamond prices in the PS database are in US dollars; plus, all of the Fotrez marquis diamonds have IGI reports, but PS doesn't include IGI as one of the labs you can designate to filter results. Last, but not least, bare stats don't tell you whether, e.g.,a marquise has a huge honking bow tie or wide cummerbund across its middle. But here are 2 (and the only ones) marquise diamonds currently in the PS database that are between 1.5 - 2.25 cts where the vendor has posted an actual photograph & performance analysis reports; the larger is priced a bit higher than your target budget:
http://www.b2cjewels.com/dd-7118702-1.50-carat-Marquise-diamond-E-color-VS2-Clarity.aspx?sku=7118702&utm_source=pricescope.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pricescope.com

http://www.b2cjewels.com/dd-7118422-2.12-carat-Marquise-diamond-G-color-VS1-Clarity.aspx?sku=7118422&utm_source=pricescope.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pricescope.com
 

MollyMalone

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apacherose|1445467267|3940846 said:
I have an SB ring commissioned through Jewels by Grace. She was wonderful to deal with and her prices were significantly better than anywhere else I compared. I have an eternity and a pave type halo. They both seem to be very nice quality, and are holding up beautifully knock on wood!

Good luck on your search- I think you are smart to think through your options and do some number crunching. Forgive me if this is a silly question, but, as a US citizen, should you have to pay the foreign taxes for something you purchased in the US while in the US?
Unfortunately, yes, because they are living in the Netherlands, they are subject to the VAT regardless. Plus, an additional Dutch duties charge is supposed to be paid as well on U. S. gemstone/jewelry purchases -- in-person or online from a U.S. vendor -- because the U.S. is not a European Union country.

Tourists/other visitors from non-EU countries can get refunds of the VAT paid on most purchases made in the EU (including a diamond purchased in Antwerp), but it doesn't sound as if Callmyname or her husband currently qualify as a "visitor" to the EU under the present provisions.

You may have already seen this, Callmyname, but in case you haven't, here's the link to a Sebastien Barier ring, with a 1.58 antique marquise cut diamond (graded by AGS as I in color, VS2) in clarity) as the center stone, that Jewels by Grace is offering for $12,900:
http://www.jewelsbygrace.com/1-58ct-antique-marquise-cut-diamond-ags-i-vs2-in-sebastien-barier-style-b04#.VihC7oH3arU

P.S. for kb1gra: hot links to Blue Nile web pages expire seemingly within seconds, but if you copy and paste this URL into your browser bar, you'll see, right under the price for that Signature Cushion, Price includes VAT, with the notation that this assumes the stone is being shipped to a UK address and subject to UK's 20% VAT.
http://www.bluenile.com/uk/diamond-details/LD06218067
In light of conversations in real life & on TripAdvisor's NYC forum, I agree that there are more than a few travelers from overseas who have concluded it's worth their while to come here to shop for a diamond, jewelry, clothes and/or shoes. For some, the Statue of Liberty runs a distant second to Tiffany's flagship store, the Diamond District & Woodbury Commons! :)
 

Callmyname

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Oct 20, 2015
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71
Hi Apacherose,
Would you mind posting picture of your rings? Yes I have emailed JBG as well, she is dry nice, but at that point I didn't I just started to look for stones. I do want to look at the stones in person as emerald cut and the marquise can be tricky... As Molly Malone said, the bowtie can be real "downer"!
As for the taxes, I don't get any back while exiting US or EU or Australia! We are currently residents of Europe, so the only time we would get a refund would be when we are finished our residency here and went shopping before that.. Lot of things are lot more here example my Clinique lotion is 50 euro that I can get in Sephora for around 26 usd! J crew basic T will run you 37 euro! ( lol, I think it's only hard to pay that when you know the true value ...).....We paid 1650 euro for three of us this summer to fly back to US,
So it is much cheaper to hop on a plane and probably get the ring in US, but our next trip is in December to go see my husbands family in Australia. I am turning 40 on Christmas Eve and wanted the ring than, but I am running out of time fast, that is why I wanted to try to get the stone here and have it set in Paris... Ideally I would have preferred one vendor for the stone and the setting, as I find it just lot easier, but SB probably just has a work shop, when we searched in Paris we didn't find anything, I though maybe a local jeweler there could have ordered it...
 

apacherose

Brilliant_Rock
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Sorry I didn't see this sooner!

I loved working with Grace but buying the ready made ring will be the best bet to get it before Christmas, unless lead-times have changed at Sebastien Barrier.... but do inquire with Grace she is frank and honest.

I do think SB works through retailers, not directly with clients, so, choosing a good retailer is the best way to obtain an SB ring- some other ps-ers used mint66? I think is the name- and got lovely rings.

I lived in France for years and later was in Germany when they went to the euro- things got quite expensive for ex-pats then! It seemed like the cost of living doubled.

Congrats on your upcomnig b-day, please share your ring when it arrives !!

Here are mine:

20150118_155122-2_0.jpg

20150118_155547-1-1_resized.jpg
 
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