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Estate Diamond Advice?

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ceph84

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
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2
Hi everyone,

I have an opportunity to buy an estate diamond for about $8,000 through an upscale auction house.

It is a platinum ring with one radiant cut diamond of 2.60 carats and two trilliant cut diamonds flanking the center weighing approxiamtely 1.00 carat total.

Center diamond is H - I / VS, "nice" cut. Measurements are 8.42 x 7.36 x 5.08mm. Faint blue fluorescence.

From the description, obviously there is no GIA certification - is this a no go? It seems like an unbelieveable deal. I''m new to all this, so any advice would be much appreciated.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
If it sound too good to be true it probably is. I would make the sale contingent upon an *independent* appraisal coming back verifying what the seller claims.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,813
It’s not necessarily a no-go, especially if you otherwise love the piece, but you have a few hard questions remaining. Who provided that grade? Why do you believe them? The difference between 2.60/H-I/VS and 2.25/K/SI2 is tremendous and not immediately obvious, especially in an auction type environment. Many auction houses have a ‘preview’ period where you can inspect the piece and if you’re serious about trying to get it you might want to contact a local appraiser to go down there with you and inspect it.

Also it’s worth noting that presale estimates are often wildly different from the actual sale price. When you say you have an opportunity to buy at $8k, what do you mean by that? Usually in an auction environment the actual price is set with rather short notice and at the very last minute.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

ceph84

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2
Thanks for your help. It sounds like I absolutely need to get an independent appraisal on the piece before considering purchase.

The item did not sell at auction, so I have an opportunity to do a private purchase through the seller, rather than in an auction environment, because of a friend at the auction house.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Date: 4/21/2009 10:23:44 AM
Author: ceph84
Thanks for your help. It sounds like I absolutely need to get an independent appraisal on the piece before considering purchase.


The item did not sell at auction, so I have an opportunity to do a private purchase through the seller, rather than in an auction environment, because of a friend at the auction house.
If it was priced the same at auction and it didn''t sell it either means the auction was poorly publicized or people in the know didn''t think it was a good deal. If it really was a reputable auction house my fear is that it is the latter...
 

Rockit

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
261
It could be that the item was being offered with a reserve price by the consignor and that number wasn''t met. Also, perhaps the estimated price for the lot combined with the seller''s commission (which could be as much as an additional 20 percent of the sale price) was more than buyers wanted to pay. Of course there is usually a seller fee for unsold lots as well. At this point, it does sound like the seller may be willing to get SOME money for the piece, even if it is not what he/she originally wanted, as opposed to nothing at all now that the auction is over.

Neil''s point regarding the presale estimates and actual sale prices is key in many circumstances. Hard to judge this one without knowing the details. Even harder without seeing the piece.

Anyway, if you can, try to see the piece or have an independent appraiser take a peek. Also, be sure to discuss ALL fees owed before purchase... will you owe your friend or the auction house compensation for making the connection?
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,813
So the seller is the auction house or the private individual? Auction houses often will add a fee or ‘buyer premium’ at the end so make sure to know if this applies.

The solution is straightforward enough. Have it inspected and graded by your own independent expert. Choose someone who is working for you, not for them and make sure that it’s NOT the same place that did the grading for them. Most while-you-wait type appraisers will allow both the seller and the buyer to sit and watch the inspection so the seller doesn’t have to worry about it getting out of their sight. They can take the piece and you can have a private and frank conversation with the appraiser about the merits and demerits of the piece and can make a decision about what it’s worth to you. As pointed out above, it apparently already went through the auction process and failed to realize the proposed $8k figure so you may be able to drive it down a bit if you decide you want it.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 
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