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Feedback on USACertedDiamonds / Martin Sheffield

AndrewN

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
6
Morning all,
Wanted to provide my experience in sourcing a diamond through Martin Sheffield aka USACertedDiamonds. I would definitely work with Martin again in the future, as his pricing is unbeatable compared to everyone else.

Overall, Martin was very helpful in both sourcing a stone and making me feel comfortable with regards to the buying process. I initiated a conversation with him through his website and called a couple days later to followup. From there, he sent me a list of diamonds that he had available in virtual inventory. (I found that the listings on his website aren't as updated as his private listing).

I eventually settled on a diamond in Maryland, and asked him to provide feedback and then place the order. From there, I paid him for the stone, and it was shipped to Los Angeles roughly 1 week later for me to pickup. He was very patient with me as I called him everyday after payment to check on status as well!



Notes below are tips for anyone looking to use him in the future:
  • It is highly advised that you reach out to Martin and communicate with him through phone. He picked up 100% of the time I called him, but was more hit/miss on email (I assume the volume he's dealing with is not conducive to email)
  • I split my payment to him with 30% being put on a credit card, with the rest wired to him. If you are comfortable, wiring money is significantly cheaper than charging on a credit card. For credit cards, Martin simply passes through the merchant fee to you (in my case, it was 3% additional). In addition, because Martin is based out of Canada, his credit card purchases are received in CAD, which he then converts back to USD. As a result, you have currency conversion costs going both ways, going from USD -> CAD -> USD. This combined with the merchant charge ended up coming in at around 6% more expensive than had I just wired. I was able to use this to get a credit card sign up bonus, which offset the additional cost, but I can't see it being worth it in any other scenario.

Below are additional notes to my whole diamond buying process for anyone interested as well:

  • I had initially targeted to buy a diamond from Whiteflash, who seems to be the recommended vendor on this forum, but looking at the premium that they charge for their Super Ideals, I couldn't justify the additional cost.
    • Comparing pricing, there didn't seem to be a large markup going from GIA 3EX to AGS ideal (maybe +5% at most), whereas going to Whiteflash's ACAs came in at 30% more expensive. In my case, it would have translated to ~$7.5K additional cost going to an ACA.
  • I instead figured I would go for an AGS Ideal 0 stone, or a GIA stone that would fall within AGS Ideal proportions.
    • Going through the list of available diamonds, I pulled all the GIA 3Ex stones available and ran them through the HCA to confirm they were <2
    • From there, I would then drop the Table, Crown Angle, and Pavillion Angle specifications into diamondscreener's cut estimator website to check where the stone's proportions fall in the AGS grading systems. I looked for a stone that fell smack dab in the middle of the AGS proportions. Below is where my stone ended up falling.


      Cut Estimator.png

Shot of the diamond taken on a not so good cellphone..

Diamond.png
 

J_502

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
19
Great Post!

@AndrewN

Question: How did you get the exact angles / depth CA / PA When they are averaged or rounded off on the GIA certificates?
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,891
Great Post!

@AndrewN

Question: How did you get the exact angles / depth CA / PA When they are averaged or rounded off on the GIA certificates?
SARIN scanner will give you some more exact information - this example report has been taken from beyond4c's website for convenience, as I know we have similar on here somewhere but I don't know where!

 

J_502

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
19
@OoohShiny

Thanks for joining the thread!

I have seen the SARIN scan information on the premium ideal cut vendors sites. However,I am curious if this information is easily accessible and available through other dealers sites — so one could do a lot of digging In hopes to find a bigger selection of really well cut stones...
Just like the OP @AndrewN was talking about, although he was specifically talking about US Certed diamonds which when I look at certain stones some information pops up in a blue box. Some of this looks like part of a SARIN report but it doesn’t say. I guess I’m just eager to analyze the true numbers (not rounded or averaged etc) on a much larger population than the very small amounts of stock at the Premium vendors. I don’t mind paying more for these brands but I just need more of a selection.

Thanks for your input and help:)
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,891
@OoohShiny

Thanks for joining the thread!

I have seen the SARIN scan information on the premium ideal cut vendors sites. However,I am curious if this information is easily accessible and available through other dealers sites — so one could do a lot of digging In hopes to find a bigger selection of really well cut stones...
Just like the OP @AndrewN was talking about, although he was specifically talking about US Certed diamonds which when I look at certain stones some information pops up in a blue box. Some of this looks like part of a SARIN report but it doesn’t say. I guess I’m just eager to analyze the true numbers (not rounded or averaged etc) on a much larger population than the very small amounts of stock at the Premium vendors. I don’t mind paying more for these brands but I just need more of a selection.

Thanks for your input and help:)
You could get in touch with Martin and see if he offers SARIN scans as part of his process :)

Don't forget that scanning stones does add additional work for a vendor, of course, and if you want a lot of stones scanned, you may need to offer some compensation for their time if they don't automatically do it as part of their standard processes!

Getting SuperIdeal without paying the SuperIdeal premium is not easy, as you know :) lol, but you can (hopefully) get very close.


I guess one question I have to ask would be: Have you considered just going for SuperIdeal? ;-) :D

Brian Gavin offers reductions in pricing for stones that are still being cut and are coming down the chain (Advance Selection, I think it's called?) so you might be able to pick up a bit of a bargain there!
 

J_502

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
19
I have considered "just going for super ideal"

That's the plan going forward with future purchases. In the end, i's just worth it to pay the premium rather than pestering online dealers about handfuls of SARIN numbers, ASET, Ideal scope etc. when they (IMO) should have most of this easily available if they want to sell more inventory - and for more money too!

cheers

And thanks again for weighing in:)
 
Last edited:

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,891
I have considered "just going for super ideal"

That's the plan going forward with future purchases. In the end, i's just worth it to pay the premium rather than pestering online dealers about handfuls of SARIN numbers, ASET, Ideal scope etc. when they (IMO) should have most of this easily available if they want to sell more inventory - and for more money too!

cheers

And thanks again for weighing in:)
Us PSers are definitely in the 1%...


... of the most demanding buyers... :D LoL :lol:


As you say, time- and effort-wise it might well just be easier to aim for SuperIdeal vendors! :))
 

AndrewN

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
6
Great Post!

@AndrewN

Question: How did you get the exact angles / depth CA / PA When they are averaged or rounded off on the GIA certificates?
@J_502, I didn't get exact angles or request a SARIN report from Martin. That is part of the reason I was looking for a stone that was in the middle of the AGS Ideal rating, as any variation +/1 of the angles would still land me in ideal territory (This was my made up reasoning, have no facts or expertise to base if this is a sound strategy)

My personal goal wasn't really to get a Superideal stone, as it's not clear to me if there are 1) hard rules / quantifiable measurements that qualify as superideal and 2) if the difference between an Ideal and Superideal is enough to see the difference.

I did ask for an idealscope / ASET on these, and it didn't seem like this is something he would be able to source from the wholesaler. I actually ended up calling the wholesaler myself, but they also did not have ASETS / Idealscopes on the stone I picked up. From my experience, it seems that Martin is drop shipping these from wholesalers, and as a result, the information you have on the diamonds is random / dependent on what the wholesaler has available on hand.


To wrap up my experience, just finished having the stone set in a ring by David Klass and his team yesterday. They were a pleasure to work with-- Amy on DK's team went through multiple revisions of the design with me and got it turned around in ~1.5 weeks from my final sign off.

Video of the final ring for reference =)2
 

J_502

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
19
@AndrewN

Thanks so much for the follow up!

Very interesting...I suspected Sheffield was a drop shipper due to the low prices.

Buying from one source and then possibly having to call the actual "holder" of the diamond for details / questions / videos sounds like a huge ordeal. :rolleyes:

HPD & Whiteflash may have a nice premium, but worth it when you need the details, images -- everything -- it's all right there without the runaround.

One thing I have noticed is that HPD lacks many videos & images of the actual diamonds listed for sale (not future), whereas WF has everything right on the spot.

I know I can just call or email for this stuff from HPD but I really hope they improve their website soon.

Would LOVE to hear from the CBI folks about this:razz:

@Wink @John P @Paul-Antwerp
 
Last edited:

AndrewN

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
6
@AndrewN

Thanks so much for the follow up!

Very interesting...I suspected Sheffield was a drop shipper due to the low prices.

Buying from one source and then possibly having to call the actual "holder" of the diamond for details / questions / videos sounds like a huge ordeal. :rolleyes:

HPD & Whiteflash may have a nice premium, but worth it when you need the details, images -- everything -- it's all right there without the runaround.

One thing I have noticed is that HPD lacks many videos & images of the actual diamonds listed for sale (not future), whereas WF has everything right on the spot.

I know I can just call or email for this stuff from HPD but I really hope they improve their website soon.

Would LOVE to hear from the CBI folks about this:razz:

@Wink @John P @Paul-Antwerp
Working with Martin is definitely not as white-glove as other providers, but what he lacks in service, he definitely makes up in pricing. To the point where I'm pretty sure Amex made more on my credit card charge than Martin made on the stone.
 
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