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EGL certification - are any of them ok?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by makewayhomer, May 12, 2010.

  1. makewayhomer
    Rough_Rock

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    by makewayhomer » May 12, 2010
    Hi all,

    is there any EGL lab which I should consider trusting / buying from? I found a diamond from a source in a tax free location which seems to grade out great:

    1.71, round brilliant, F, SI2, EGL, for $10,500. but it comes with EGL (not sure which one) certification. cut unknown, I am assuming it is ideal. is this something I should not even consider? (pending cut confirmation)

    the price is perhaps 10- 15% lower than similar GIA diamond from Blue Nile.

    thanks!
     
    


    


  2. slg47
    Ideal_Rock

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    by slg47 » May 12, 2010
    why are you assuming ideal cut?

    cut is the biggest factor in determining how the diamond looks.

    also SI2 may have inclusions visible to the naked eye, have you checked with vendor about this?

    what are you comparing to on blue nile? EGL grades "softer" on color/clarity, so comparing to a GIA F SI2 is not a proper comparison
     
  3. makewayhomer
    Rough_Rock

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    by makewayhomer » May 12, 2010
    assuming ideal cut b/c thats what I told the vendor to look for.

    "also SI2 may have inclusions visible to the naked eye, have you checked with vendor about this?"

    really? I had thought this would be inclusion free. if I want no visible inclusions, should I go with minimum SI1?

    "EGL grades "softer" on color/clarity, so comparing to a GIA F SI2 is not a proper comparison"

    yeah, if I knock it down to H SI2 GIA cert the price becomes...exactly the same as Blue Nile, or even more.
     
  4. slg47
    Ideal_Rock

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    by slg47 » May 12, 2010
    it depends on how much you trust the vendor about the cut quality.

    some SI2s may be eye-clean but they can definitely have visible inclusions, you have to check with the vendor or your own eyes.
     
    


    


  5. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » May 12, 2010
    I love the non GIA reports.
    The lamination is very good, so they work great in the bottom of a birdcage.

    OK- bad joke, but the bottom of a bird cage really one of the best uses for these non GIA reports.
    My advice is not to trust the non GIA grading- furthermore, if a dealer trying to sell you a diamond has not made this clear to you, they have demonstrated some very undesirable characteristics as a seller.
     
  6. cara
    Ideal_Rock

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    by cara » May 12, 2010
    EGL-USA is thought to be more consistent than the other EGL labs, but still they are thought to be consistently laxer than GIA. So don't buy something with an EGL cert an assume it would receive the same color/clarity grades if sent off to GIA. Hence the 10-15% 'discount' relative to a 'similar' GIA stone - the discount compensates for the presumed softer grading.

    SI stones can have eye-visible inclusions. Even SI1s, even GIA graded stones. There are even rare VS2s out there with visible inclusions, though most of the time a VS stone will be eyeclean. If you want an eyeclean SI stone, you either will have to order it and return it if it doesn't meet your specs or find a vendor whose eyes you trust to evaluate the stone to your standards. If the vendor says 'all SI stones are eyeclean,' don't believe them and make sure a good return policy is in place so you can return the stone if it is not eyeclean to your standards. However, returning stones is a hassle and I unless you are really stretching the budget and MUST go with SI2 to get the other characteristics you want, I would go SI1 or VS to have a better chance of eyecleanliness, especially if you are not going with a well respected pricescope vendor that has the diamond in house and can look at it.

    'ideal cut' is meaningless term in the hands of some vendors. Does this vendor have a reputation for stringent cut standards? Some ps vendors have built a business around their cut standards, and thus I would trust their opinion on cut because it is a part of the business's branding and reputation. But many other vendors will have much laxer standards about what ideal cut means, or no standards at all ie. they will just say its ideal cut like a used car salesmen says every car they sell is a great reliable car.
     
  7. SB621
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    by SB621 » May 12, 2010
    I have *gasp* an EGL diamond in my engagment ring. It is a D SI2 diamond. As far as color I would still put it in the colorless category as other GIA graded dimaonds. However, with clarity my diamond is not eye clean. When I look at it right under my nose I can see some inclusions. But 6 inches from my face I can''t see anything. My diamond is also 2.04cts so I think because it is bigger it is also a little more noticable- but no one has ever said anything to me about it. We sourced my diamond from a trusted jewelry in NH- also tax free- and I think it is ridculous to say you can''t trust vendors who sell EGL diamonds. [​IMG]. there are plenty of jewelry stores/ vendors etc that deal with them. it is true that the report is softer then the GIA one so I would look at the diamond first before you rule it out. I have seen many EGL, GIA and whatever the 3rd lab is and ultimately no one is every going to ask you.....well except on pricescope![​IMG]
     
  8. kenny
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    by kenny » May 12, 2010
    True, nobody is ever going to ask which lab graded your diamond.

    The concern is at the point of purchase.
    "Soft grading" is like a car dealer slapping a Lexus badge on a Toyota.
    The buyer drives off the lot feeling wonderful because they think they got a Lexus at a bargain price.

    It's deceptive.
     
  9. SB621
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    by SB621 » May 12, 2010
    I''m not sure I agree with you. The grading reports are just different. I think most people know or should know that. GIA is the best and EGL is not as strict. but to say that it is like trying to buy a lexus at a bargain price sounds pretty far out there to me. I knew what I was getting into when i looked at diamonds. I found the one I liked the best- had nothing to do with price- and it just so happend that it was an EGL cert diamond. It was still very comparable to other diamonds in price from other labs. Online when you buy diamonds i feel there is more pressure on the cert because you can''t see it before you buy it...but when you buy in a store and see the stone I don''t think people care that much for the cet- once again unless they have been "pricescopped"
     
  10. SB621
    Ideal_Rock

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    by SB621 » May 12, 2010
    Sorry and I meant to add that my main point is I don''t think you should rule out a diamond just because it is an EGL. I would see everything in person and then make your choice. Goodluck with everything!
     
    


    


  11. slg47
    Ideal_Rock

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    by slg47 » May 12, 2010
    also you say "pending cut confirmation" is your vendor providing you with ideal-scope images, angles...basically how are you confirming this?

    sorry don''t know how to highlight
     
  12. Lorelei
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    by Lorelei » May 13, 2010
    Hi Homer,

    This page explains how the grading labs rank, also it is very important to know which EGL lab graded the diamond. I would not consider it without making any sale final on an independant appraisal if you are set on buying an EGL graded stone. As for the cut quality, you would need to post all the proportions from the report here so we can get a basic idea.

    The info needed is;

    depth%
    table%
    crown and pavilion percentages
    diameter in MM
    polish and symmetry grades
    girdle thickness

    Are there any GIA graded diamonds you are interested in? If the EGL graded diamond does in fact grade lower than stated, it won''t make it so much of a bargain will it....
     
  13. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » May 13, 2010
    The problem is both simpler and more insidious than you’re imagining.

    Assume that the grading is correct, and by that I mean that it’s the same grade that GIA would give it if submitted to them. Where does that assumption lead? I think it’s fair to assume that whoever is in possession of the stone is a capable grader in their own right and therefore they know this. GIA will apply their pedigree to a 1.71 ct. stone for $110 with about 2 weeks turnaround time. If it were true that this would result in a $1500 price bump, WHY hasn’t it already been done? It’s actually even worse than that. EGL service isn’t free although they’re a little bit cheaper than GIA and they’re easier to get along with. Someone CHOSE to send it to EGL instead of the various competitors, and they did so for a specific reason. Call me cynic but my guess would be that it was about the money. It wasn’t because they didn’t know who GIA was, it wasn’t because of the lab fees, it wasn’t because they wanted to give you a discount, and it probably wasn’t because they screwed up. They thought that particular stone would sell better and/or for more money with EGL paperwork than with something else. This decision is usually made by a highly skilled trader who had the stone in hand at the time, who has an account with every lab in the world, who does this regularly and has for years, and who makes a significant portion of their income by correctly making exactly this sort of decision. That’s who you’re betting against. The only person who’s working blind here is you. Even if it was a screw up, every set of hands it’s passed through since then, and there probably have been several, has had the opportunity to redo it and claim that $1500 ‘profit’. Many of these are also experts in their own rights and these are folks who are working on single digit margins so we’re talking about DOUBLING their income. Bet on a screw up slipping through if you feel lucky, it does happen, but I think it’s an unreasonable long shot to hope that no one before you was looking or that they didn’t know any better.

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
    Professional Appraisals in Denver
     
  14. ChunkyCushionLover
    Ideal_Rock

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    by ChunkyCushionLover » May 13, 2010
    LOL its funny you say that. I know my real lexus ES has a toyota camry engine and it wasn''t a bargain either. [​IMG]

    The underlying problem is as neil pointed out. A GIA report and grading standard is the benchmark for determining the price. Without a GIA certificate the appropriate market price for a diamond is open to interpretation and subjectivity. Experienced traders, vendors and retailors are better at exploiting that interpretation to their advantage, you as a customer are at their mercy. Usually a customer buying an EGL stone thinks they are getting a bargain but 99%+ of the time its is the exact opposite and the stone would be priced lower than what what it is if it had instead a GIA grading report.
     
  15. Black Jade
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    by Black Jade » May 13, 2010
    Maybe you''re in love with this stone. Have you seen it person? I know it can be easier to go with what you''ve seen in person than ''blind'' online with a lot of people you can''t see advising you. The stone is large and it is probably pretty to the eye. But the problem is that diamonds can look the same (to the naked eye) and have very different price points.

    I wouldn''t say, never buy EGL. Especially not EGL-USA, which according to Pricescope''s own notes on grading labs, is somewhat better. In fact, I am buying a stone (on layaway) right now which was appraised by UGL (EGL affiliated). However, I am ASSUMING that the grade is two grades lower than the certificate said (it''s supposed to be I color, but I assume it''s more like a K) and I am ASSUMING that the clarity could be as bad as I2 (it''s supposed to be SI3 clarity, which really means I1). I checked out the prices for a K I1 diamond around that size (I couldn''t find a K I2) for sale and made sure I was paying LESS than those prices (actually a lot less, and the diamond is in a ring, which I''m also getting). It is not my engagement ring, it is a ring for fun and there is no emotional attachment. Also, I have a great return policy, 15 days no questions asked full refund, so when I get it home, I''m going to the appraiser who works for my neighborhood jeweller and asking them if the stone is worth what I am paying, even though it appears to be so much cheaper.

    The ring looks pretty to me but I''m assuming NOTHING and having a return policy. so I wouldn''t say that you shouldn''t buy this stone, maybe you are not so choosy, or knowledgeable or perfectionist as many on Pricescope (which is GOOD, that is why you get great advice here) but DO DO DO make sure that you are not getting cheated, as may well be case. This stone you are buying is extremely expensive, for $10,000+ you really could get something that was assured to be perfect (and large too) if you had some more patience.
     
    


    


  16. kenny
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    by kenny » May 13, 2010
    Neil I want to focus on this sentence of your post.
    Exactly what is it about a particular stone that makes that knowledgeable person send it to EGL instead of GIA?

    Why wouldn't every stone benefit from soft grading?
    ... then again ...
    Why wouldn't every stone benefit from the extra $1500 it would get with a GIA report?

    Which diamonds are good candidates for deception?
     
  17. Stone-cold11
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    by Stone-cold11 » May 13, 2010
    I am guessing the cut grading of EGL, seems like almost every type of proportions can fall into the ideal, 8 hearts and arrows category, with the % crown and pavilion being a bigger fudge factor than angles.
     
  18. Rockdiamond
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    by Rockdiamond » May 13, 2010
    There''s nothing at all inherently "wrong" with a diamond simply because it has a EGL report.

    What''s wrong is when sellers, who understand EGL is softer, use it to try and deceive buyers.
    At the wholesale level, where buyers are generally not taken in by this, it still happens!

    Today we got a stone from another dealer.
    It has BOTH a GIA G/SI2 grade, and an EGL F/SI1 grade.
    Why, I asked, waste the money on the EGL report?
    His answer- he sells to retail jewelers who prefer to have an SI1 graded stone- even though they know it''s not an accurate SI1 grade.
    A shame- and a great reason that we should continue discussing this.
     
  19. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » May 13, 2010
    The reason to choose a particular lab is generally because you want to get, or avoid, a particular grading scale or scales. As is easy to observe, stones with GIA grading will bring more money, and probably sell faster than that same stone with EGL paper if the grades are the same. Nearly everyone has heard of GIA and while people often object to EGL and other branding, no one EVER complains about GIA as a choice so, all things being equal, a dealer will choose GIA every time. As is routinely pointed out, all things are rarely equal. In addition to that, EGL is a way of avoiding the GIA and AGS cut grading scales. The EGL International scale goes something like Tolkowski Ideal – Excellent Ideal – Ideal – Premium – nothing. Since a GIA grade of ‘good’, or even worse 'fair' is a commercial death sentence, it would make sense to send such a stone to EGLI and hope for a ‘premium’ or at least no grade at all. GIA clarity grades of I2 have a similar problem. Who wants to buy a 'certified' I2 and are those who do really likely to be worried about what lab was used? Even at a steep discount, calling it an I1 or an SI3 almost always produces more money. Another common area is in the 'lower' color grades, J-K-L. A GIA-L is a tough thing to sell and if some other lab will call it an H, I or J, it's much more likely to move, even if they have to 'discount' it steeply because of the lab.

    This is not limited to people gaming EGL paperwork by the way. Here's an example where a dealer sent a GIA graded stone to AGS to get an ‘upgrade’. The reverse happens as well. I know people who take AGS stones and resubmit them to GIA because of the greater brand recognition and the occasional upgrade that results.

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
    Professional Appraisals in Denver
     
  20. cara
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    by cara » May 13, 2010
    Not Neil but here is my stab at some of the asnwers
    Take Sarahbear's EGL-graded D SI2 stone. SI2s are a lot easier to sell than I1 or I2 stones. So lets suppose that GIA would have graded this stone as E I1. The person thinks it will be more profitable for them to get the stone a D SI2 grading even from a less reputable lab than to get the GIA cert, as that would mean having to sell a stone with an I clarity grading...

    Yes BUT EGL-graded stones sell at a discount to compensate for the soft grading. Soft grading is most beneficial to the seller of such a stone when the buyer does not recognize that a stone has received such soft grading. Which is why we often get posters touting some 'deal' they are getting on an EGL-graded stone - often, they are assuming that an EGL graded stone would also recieve the same grading from GIA. Or if they discount it for the EGL cert they do not discount it enough. They think maybe my EGL F SI1 would be a GIA-graded G SI1 or F SI2 but don't fully account for it possibly being an H I1. BlackJade, for example, seems to be properly discounting her EGL-certed stone and aware of what she is more of buying but she is also an exception to the norm in being well-educated about what the EGL grading means and cautious in her assumptions. Many new posters or non-ps consumers are just less informed about such things.

    Implicit in your question is that a given stone WOULD actually get the same grade if it were sent to GIA. I think Neil's point is that it is unlikely GIA would give the stone the same grades as the lesser lab. If it would get the same grade if sent to GIA, the vendor would send it to GIA. The vendor is a smart experienced diamond professional. That they do not send it to GIA means that they think they can maximize their profits by selling the stone with a lab report from a different company, and the GIA report would actually not help their bottom line.
    I'm just guessing here but it seems that stones that can stay above certain critical grading cutoffs if sent to the laxer lab are good candidates. For example, getting an EGL SI2 grade rather than a GIA I1 or I2 grade, or getting an EGL I color grade rather than a GIA K, or even getting an F VS2 grade rather than a G SI grade. BUT I'm not an expert or a professional and didn't do any research to make those guesses - the person doing this must have access to detailed pricing information about how the stone would sell with various grading reports, as well as they have the stone in hand so they can evaluate what they grades they think it is likely to get at the various labs.
     
  21. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » May 13, 2010
    I am adding this thread to the helpful threads archive. Better than any thread I have read to date, it spells out why consumers should be wary of buying from EGL.
     
  22. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » May 13, 2010
    And I want to add that of course, many people own and love beautiful diamonds that are graded by EGL. But that should not stop consumers from being aware of the bigger picture and why labs like EGL exist and are used by the diamond industry.
     
  23. oldminer
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    by oldminer » May 13, 2010
    We just got finished with an Antwerp based EGL report that was about three years old on a 4 carat diamond. Interestingly enough this diamond had a GIA inscription from about a year earlier on its girdle.

    EGL color was "H"
    GIA color was "K"

    I suppose most would agree that this makes a VERY material difference well beyond a subjective grading difference of opinion.

    Both labs gave the diamond VS2.

    Sometimes the differences are not that great, but how would a consumer know in advance? Not every retailer is qualified to offer a valid opinion of color and relies on the reports no matter how off it may be. On occasion we see someone who has done extremely well and has beaten the odds by reliance on an EGL report. You never really know what to expect.
     
  24. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » May 13, 2010
    This is a plausible possibility and if we follow it through to its logical conclusion, then buyers should be particularly wary of EGL graded stones that fall into those cutoff grades marking dramatic price shifts -- VS2, SI2 for clarity, F, H, J for color.
     
  25. kenny
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    by kenny » May 13, 2010
    I still think that every diamond could benefit from soft grading, well, except for diamonds that GIA would grade D IF.
    Those stones need no "compassion" from EGL.

    I have read here that EGL's nitch is the deal-seekers, the people who want to feel they found the too-good-to-be-true diamond deal.
    (I don't buy it that all this is their fault and the industry is just giving them what they want - I see them as victims of fraud.)
    I suspect that quality also exists in people who want F VVS stones, not just the J SI2 shoppers.
    Also isn't there a wide range of EGL stones for sale at all color and clarity grades?

    There must be some other characteristic those smart decision makers use when deciding which lab to use.
     
  26. oldminer
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    by oldminer » May 13, 2010
    There are HUGE economic benefits for misgrading of diamonds to the soft side. This benefits the business of the soft grading labs who really can''t compete with GIA on an even playing field and it benefits sellers who say they know nothing abut diamond grading and rely on lab reports. These are the sellers who claim that a "report is a report" and that "all labs are the same". We know better here, but the number of misgraded diamonds is large, the number of labs doing soft grading is larger than strict labs, and there is a large number of sellers who knowlingly pass along soft lab reports as equivalent to GIA. The economic consequences of all this would be a staggering amount of money. In one word, GREED, is the motivation for all of this.

    There is no exempt quality or category of diamonds that cannot be successfully misrepresented for extra profits by misleading reports.
     
  27. kenny
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    by kenny » May 13, 2010
    I wonder if the top brass at EGL, or the employees who grade diamonds, read these threads and are concerned for their jobs.
    I wonder if they feel any remorse.

    Do they show their faces at industry conferences?
    If so are they shunned and excommunicated to bad tables next to the kitchen at luncheons?

    I also wonder the same thing for the many many vendors who carry EGL stones.
    Aren't they ashamed?

    Perhaps they do not know that Pricescope exists.
    If they do they must be really mad that this is being exposed.
     
  28. cara
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    by cara » May 13, 2010
    I'm sure many people see it as strictly a business decision (to send stones to EGL for grading or to sell EGL-graded stones) and feel no need for shame. Heck, its got to be less shame-inducing to deal in soft-graded diamonds than to be the guy deciding when a car flaw warrants a recall and when a problem should be swept under the rug. People don't generally die as a result of wearing a misgraded diamond.

    The EGL employees have no need to fear for their jobs if their business remains economically profitable, as I am sure it does as ps remains a small factor influencing the diamond-buying public.
     
  29. denverappraiser
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    by denverappraiser » May 13, 2010
    Stones with GIA pedigree sell for more and sell faster than otherwise similarly described stones with EGL papers. That’s just a reality and there's no better place to see it in action than by playing with the Pricescope database. How much more and what differences can be expected in the grading of a particular stone are the key questions that drive the lab selection process. Does an EGL/F/SI1 cost more than that same stone with, say, GIA/G/SI1? How about G/SI2? H/I1? There’s not a reasonable conversion chart.

    I know some first rate people at EGL-USA and I’m sure EGL International has some top shelf people as well. They know what they’re doing and they do it because dealers demand it and would take their business elsewhere if they didn’t deliver. The dealers demand it because consumers demand it. That’s the way capitalism works. Yes, they read this forum and I’m sure they’re annoyed by it. That also is how capitalism works. [​IMG] It *IS* just a business decision, as is the decision for consumers to choose or avoid their products.

    An interesting discussion I like to bring up over beers with other appraisers is what is the 'value' of an incorrect GIA report? That is to say; a soft grade but with the GIA branding. It DOES happen. Is a stone that’s ‘certified’ to be G/SI1 with genuine GIA brand paperwork to prove it worth more because of that paperwork, even if a knowledgeable and unbiased observer would call it an H/SI2? It would sell for more and faster with this report than without it, even if the buyer were aware of the facts, so I think it clearly DOES add ‘value’, the question to me is how much although many gemologists will argue that it’s zero.

    Neil Beaty
    GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
    Professional Appraisals in Denver
     
  30. kenny
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    by kenny » May 13, 2010
    If soft color and clarity grading is okay because that's how capitalism works, then I'm starting a lab that adds 20% weight to every diamond we grade.
    Just think of all the ladies who think they got a full one carat for the price of 3/4 carat, and how happy they'll be.
    Think how proud the boyfriends will be that they could afford a full carat.

    If someone objects I'll just say we are meeting customer demand and we should respect diversity of our customers.

    Same thing.
    Deception.

    Yes color and clarity is human judgement but GIA and AGS use humans and have upheld their reputations.
     

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