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luckyguy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
37
I just wanted to tell you guys what recently happenned to me. I went around to many of the local jewelry shops in my area to get an idea of what I wanted. I then went to see the "family jeweler." My father has done business with this man for years and they have a good business relationship going. Also, my brother had bought his engagement ring from this jeweler and was quite pleased. From checking around the internet web pages, I knew that as a novice diamond purchaser I should only be buying GIA or AGS certified diamonds and should get EVERYTHING in writing on the bill of sale. However, this was my family jeweler who my father said to trust for he would treat me "right."

Well, I got treated "right." I walked in to the store and told the jeweler that I was interested in "Ideal" cut stones (whatever that means), in the F color range, blah...blah. He had a stone that he claimed was ideal cut; however, it was in the G-H color range. I looked at it, and it did look great. He also informed me that it was an SI stone and that it was "eye clean." He made me an excellent price and informed me that it was based on a "family discount." He told me that he "wasn't really trying to make money off of me; he already did enough business with my father and was trying to do me a favor." Hook line and sinker, I dove for it. Cut me a little slack; my father told me that he had already called and spoke with the jeweler and that I would be treated right, so I thought this deal was all part of it.

Anyway, I was told to come back in two days to pay for the ring and to pick it up. As I was picking the ring up, the jeweler kept telling me how pretty the ring was, and kept holding the ring up and smiling at me. Remember, this is a man that, on my father's word, I trusted. I paid the man cash without having much more than "1.27 carat...platinum...0.66 TCW sides" on the sales slip.

On the way home, I put the ring on my little finger as I was driving so that I could look at it some more. It did look nice, but then...

Did I mention that this was a three stone ring. Thankfully it was. Without those two sidestones, I may have never noticed a thing and would have just kept on trusting away. As I looked at the ring from the side, I noticed that the center stone looked a nice mudy yellow color compared to the white looking .33 sidestones. I immediately went to the nearest jewelry store and asked them if they thought the center stone was a "G-H" stone. No one wanted to talk to me about the issue. They were polite, but, as the jeweler in the store said, "He did not want to get involved." All I had to do was look at his face to tell that my centerstone was not anywhere near a G-H color. I went to another jewelry store just to make sure, and I got the same treatment where people did not want to get involved with my "issue."

Back to the origional "family jeweler." I entered the store smiling, because I did not want to raise a stink with someone who had treated my family so well in the past. I politely said, "When I was driving home, I noticed that the centerstone looked a bit off compared to the sidestones." The jeweler immediately went to the back and pulled out another stone that he claimed was a G, SI2 color diamond. We pulled the stone that was in the ring out of the setting. Damn it looked yellow compared to this new centerstone the jeweler had just brought out to me. The thing I wondered (but never said) was why did the stone that we pulled out look so yellow (face up yellow) compared to this new stone. Wasn't the stone in my ring supposed to be a G-H stone. How could they both look sooooo different.

The new stone did look white. The jeweler told me to come back tomorrow and he would have the ring set. I ended up coming to pick up the ring the next day before it was set and asked if I could have the loose stone along with the mounting to show to my father. The jeweler kept saying, "Why don't you let me go ahead and set it for you; it won't take but a minute." I politely insisted that the stone be left loose. I took the stone to get it graded by a GIA certified GG.

The GIA GG grader told me that my stone was an H, I1 stone, which, of course, is not a G, SI2. Knowing that the stone in front of me was an H meant that the other stone that was removed from my ring must have been in the K,L,M range. I just didn't like the whole situation. I ended up going back to my "family jeweler" and telling him that I had had my ring appraised and simply was not happy and that I would like my money back. Thankfully, he returned my money to me (Remember, I didn't have anything worth arguing about on the sales receipt).

I ended up spending the next several days going around looking at certified diamonds in various colors so that I wouldn't be taken on color again. I also quickly learned to use a loop. If you don't know how to use a loop, go to a store and get the jeweler to stand there until you can figure it out. You may not be able to tell VVS2 from VS1, but you won't be handed an I1 stone and told it's in the VS range. I also decided that I would not buy a diamond if it wasn't certed. Furthermore, even if it was certed, I would ask the person selling the stone to put it in a scope so that I could find the inclusions mentioned on the plot. This was more a peace of mind thing than a mistrust thing; furthermore, it's just good to get to know your stone if you think you will be purchasing it.

Now, I'm in the process of purchasing a stone from a new jeweler. I've done my research, I'm dealing with certed stones, I know good prices from pricescope, and I ask for everything in writing. The jeweler has taken no offense to writing things down for me; in fact, he was doing it before I asked. He recorded the GIA cert # on the tentative bill of sale and wrote down all the specifics. This is how diamond sales should be done. It is so pleasant and straight forward. If someone is selling uncerted stones and you want to buy one (as a novice, I would not, but I've been burned once, so my reasons are my own), I would make sure to have in writing that the sale is contigent on your being satisfied by an independant apraisal of the stone. I don't think you will offend any honest jeweler out there by making this request.

Have fun, and keep the basics in mind, and you will enjoy the experience.
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
When buying my stone, my mother first wanted me to use a family stone which she said was 1 carat and a "flawless diamond" because her friend that has worked at a jewelry store for 20 years said so. I later determined it was a 0.82 carat SI2/J. When I met up with her friend I discovered she knew much less than I did after learning for a few days.

She then said all this stuff I was doing on the internet was not the way to go about it -- that she will have my uncle-Julian drive to NYC with me and bring a jeweler friend and we can go buy one. I just laughed and said that is how you get ripped off, trusting someone in the family.

It was like the time when she said her friend would get me a great deal on a new Toyota. I ended up buying from him, but he never offered me a price that I could not have easily gotten anywhere off the street, and yet I would have felt bad by backing out of the deal so I had no leverage.

So I learned that trust might keep someone from getting completely ripped off, but will not get you the best stone for the money.
 

PoopEater

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 17, 2002
Messages
84
Anytime anyone offers me a 'family deal', or some other 'special discount', red alarms go off in my head. I always politely decline and mention that the journey is half of the fun of making new purchases. I'd rather not go down the 'special discount' path and risk the mess that comes with turning down someone who is seemingly going out of their way to help.
 

pricescope

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 1999
Messages
8,266
--------
Have fun, and keep the basics in mind, and you will enjoy the experience.
-------------

Thanks for the post, Luckyguy, although it is rather sad.
 

luckyguy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
37
Glad you all apreciated the post; I know it was a bit long.

All's well that ends well. Heck, I wouldn't have learned squat compared to what I now know about diamonds had I not had the previous bad experience.

I feel like I'm that much more prepaired for the next time I go diamond hunting .
 

rsilvers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
251
A beginner can eliminate so much risk by only buying GIA and AGS certs. If they buy a GIA cert, they have to learn about cut.

If they buy an AGS cert, they can just stick to a cut grade of 0,1,2. Now this is not the whole story as some people think the AGS cut grades are not based on the most up to date theory. I agree with all this, and I elected to learn more. But I am saying, if a total novice bought only an AGS 0 stone they will eliminate 90% of the pitfalls to getting ripped off and will not be overpaying my more than 10% if they learn nothing else. And if you decide to go with that, don't let anyone talk you out of it for any reason. Just go to another dealer. No exceptions (unless you learn enough on your own to make a real decision based on your own knowledge). Because if you make an exception, you immediatly increase your chances of getting a bad deal by 10 times.
 

enibas

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
58
yes, thank you so much for your story...though i'm sorry that it happened! :((
 
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