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Improved value at Tiffany?

Dagger9903

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
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5
Hey everyone,

I'm still sitting a bit on that GOG diamond. The price is a little high and I think it's on the H side of G (albeit it's a big stone), so I'm reconsidering getting a ring from Tiffany. I know the typical stance is that Tiffany is overpriced, but I'm curious with the recent increase in commodity prices and, therefore, diamonds, how much of this price difference has eroded. Looking at a 1.71 carat, F, VVS1 H&A loose diamond at James Allen: http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VVS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1279571.asp,,, it's $32,500. Add in a custom Tiffany-style setting and appraisal, we're probably talking $33,500 - $34,000 and the risk that something goes wrong along the way.

A Tiffany e-ring is essentially "risk free" and, for a comparable diamond (1.7x, VS1, G) it was around $35k. I realize some will point out that VS1 to VVS1 and F to G isn't that comparable, but given AGS's reputed leniency in this area and Tiffany's (reputed) strict policy, I feel like they're at least in range.

I'm not saying Tiffany's isn't more expensive, just that I feel like the difference is sometimes exaggerated and maybe was more pronounced a year or two ago when wholesale prices were lower. I do think brands like Tiffany have less pricing flexibility (in terms of raising prices) than wholesalers and are potentially making less money per solitaire than they used to.

Is this just crazy talk?
 

denverappraiser

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Make sure you're comparing properly. I think Tiff's has raised their prices recently along with everyone else, and largely for the same reasons.

Tiffany uses an in-house grading lab but I think they will get you GIA paperwork if you request it on bigger stones. This seems to vary with what store you're working with. I disagree that the Tiffany lab is harsher on stones than AGSL in terms of clarity and color and they have a completely different approach to cut grading than either GIA or AGSL.
 

0-0-0

Brilliant_Rock
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G VS1 vs F VVS1 is an extremely unfair comparison, not to mention that the Tiffany may not be a well cut H&A.

From what I have read here, GIA and AGS color and clarity are generally comparable. I think Paul (Crafted by Infinity) has stated that GIA tends to be slightly tighter on color and AGS tends to be slightly tighter on clarity, but only on the borderline calls.

If you are really concerned on a borderline call on color, a 1.7 ct F VS1 ACA from Whiteflash still comes in at under $30k. http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2531926.htm

I purchased my diamonds and rings from BGD, and I must say that the quality of the diamonds and workmanship of the rings are way better than comparable ones offered by Tiffany.
 

Dagger9903

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Jul 18, 2011
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Interesting comment on the cut rating, can you please elaborate on that concept?

"they have a completely different approach to cut grading than either GIA or AGSL."
 

denverappraiser

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It's a complicated question and there has been LOTS of discussion about it in this forum, especially with regard to the differences between GIA and AGSL. In a nutshell, AGSL uses a computer model and ray tracing to generate a model that they call 'light performance' and they assign a result on a numeric scale from 0 -10. GIA uses a system that references crown angle, pavilion angle, table and a few other measurements, each of which must be within a certain range and that are related to one another and they assign a grade on a 5 step scale that runs from Excellent - Poor. Tiffany lab doesn't assign a cut grade at all but they use a system of parameters including the table, depth and length/width ratio to decide what stones they will accept at all. They take the position that ALL Tiffany stones are superb or they wouldn't be selling them so there's no point in assiging a grade.
 

RayEarth

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Mar 21, 2011
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Dagger - I was considering exactly the same diamond previously! Here's the .gem file and H&A images. I even had the diamond appraised by David Atlas, who agreed it was a very nice diamond. My only concern was the slight leakeage under the table, but David ensured me that it was fine.

Ended up with a WF 1.77ct/F/VVS1 because they made me an offer that I couldn't refuse (http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-1151317.htm). But I think you will do quite well with this diamond!

JA%201.71.gif

htto://www.i-eye.org/temp/JA1.71.gem
 

TristanC

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I think the OP's post was whether a Tiffany stone in a tiffany ring, at those paper specs, vs the $30K stone (not 32.5K, that's cheating :)) with a custom setting etc coming to say 31.5-32K vs Tiffany's 35K asking price is a deal.

If you ask me? I would say a resounding yes.

Why? Not because I have 3K sitting around doing diddly... just that I feel at 10% price difference, if your budget can absorb it, the little teal box is unbelievable at being an overwhelming experience.

It may not be the best physical diamond, but hey. Think about it. Which is easier to explain?

"Your diamond ring is Lovely!"

Response 1: Thanks! It is a GIA/AGS triple Ex/triple O, eyeclean, HCA 1.5 stone whose colour appears 1-2 grades higher, and with a face up appearance of almost 0.2cts larger than its weight!"

Response 2: Thanks! It is from Tiffany! My darling DH...

If it were like a 7K or 8K difference, it doesn't make sense to me. So does a 3K difference make sense to you? Only you can peg that value to your own set of priorities.
 

RayEarth

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Mar 21, 2011
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TristanC|1311224142|2973582 said:
Why? Not because I have 3K sitting around doing diddly... just that I feel at 10% price difference, if your budget can absorb it, the little teal box is unbelievable at being an overwhelming experience.

This comparison is unfair. You're comparing a H&A F/VVS1 with a non-H&A G/VS1. You might as well comparing the JA diamond to a H/VS2 and say "Hey, Tiffany is cheaper..."

A true comparison would by with an AGS000 (non-H&A) 1.7ct/G/VS1. WF sells one 1.714ct/G/VS1 for $25,760 (http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2275587.htm). Add $1,250 for the platinum Tiffany setting and the total is $27,010. Compare to $35,000 Tiffany, the mark-up is 29.6% or $7,990.

Now, I'm not commenting on whether a 30% mark-up for Tiffany is worth it, but merely putting the right numbers out there. The benefit with Tiffany is that you get their services and brand. The benefit of WF is that you get their Buyback and Upgrade policy (I believe Tiffany you need to spend twice the amount to upgrade). There are cons and benefits of both.

Using your analysis, which is easier to explain:

Tiffany girl: "I have a Tiffany ring, it is slightly smaller in size, lower grade clarity and color, but it is Tiffany they have great services, they do they own internal grading etc..."

or

Other girl: "I have a 2ct ring"
 

TristanC

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995
RayEarth|1311224923|2973585 said:
TristanC|1311224142|2973582 said:
Why? Not because I have 3K sitting around doing diddly... just that I feel at 10% price difference, if your budget can absorb it, the little teal box is unbelievable at being an overwhelming experience.

This comparison is unfair. You're comparing a H&A F/VVS1 with a non-H&A G/VS1. You might as well comparing the JA diamond to a H/VS2 and say "Hey, Tiffany is cheaper..."

A true comparison would by with an AGS000 (non-H&A) 1.7ct/G/VS1. WF sells one 1.714ct/G/VS1 for $25,760 (http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2275587.htm). Add $1,250 for the platinum Tiffany setting and the total is $27,010. Compare to $35,000 Tiffany, the mark-up is 29.6% or $7,990.

Now, I'm not commenting on whether a 30% mark-up for Tiffany is worth it, but merely putting the numbers out there. The benefit with Tiffany is that you get their services and brand. The benefit of WF is that you get their Buyback and Upgrade policy (I believe Tiffany you need to spend twice the amount to upgrade). There are cons and benefits of both.

Using your analysis, which is easier to explain:

Tiffany girl: "I have a Tiffany ring, it is slightly smaller in size, lower grade clarity and color, but it is Tiffany they have great services, they do they own internal grading etc..."

or

Other girl: "I have a 2ct ring"

Ah, good. It seemed too close to be true. I was using the 30K price from the link above (which is an F not a G i now realise).

If you read my last sentence, close to 8K would have been the deal breaker for me. But that is a personal threshold. With an 8K difference, I think its not advisable either. For others, 8K is still fine.

Facepalm @ the use of my analysis. Nobody talks about their rings that way. Smaller than what? Lower clarity than what? Someone would have to be comparing their 2ct rock to my ring and saying "hey look, if you didn't buy from Tiffany you could have got this!" You have friends like that? I don't.

My analysis is there to simply state one fact. The very well cut stones we love on PS will all have amazing cut/fire/sparkle compared to the BULK of the stones out there. Many people always say that when they wear their stones, people stop to compliment how pretty the stones are. Think you that a triple ex Tiffany stone will not have fire or sparkle? It will at least look like a great stone. The other differences in the specs are not going to be largely materially different to the naked eye.

To bring the discussion back to the OP's question, it is more a question of "what is the value of Tiffany". In this case, it looks like it is an additional 8K, for the box, the brand, the smile, and the right to walk in and have your ring cleaned at any Tiffany store over the lifetime of their operation.

Is 8K to much to pay for this 'value'? To me, yes. To him? Not sure. I would have paid 3K though. In a heartbeat.
 

RayEarth

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TristanC|1311225860|2973591 said:
Facepalm @ the use of my analysis. Nobody talks about their rings that way. Smaller than what? Lower clarity than what? Someone would have to be comparing their 2ct rock to my ring and saying "hey look, if you didn't buy from Tiffany you could have got this!" You have friends like that? I don't.

Hehe, I was probably exaggerating a bit. But then again, no one would talk about their rings with HCA scores, 0.2ct higher apparent spread vs weight etc. So let's call it even :)

Anyway, back to the OP's question: for the same price, would I get a F/VVS1 diamond from JA, or G/VS1 diamond from Tiffany? Because I have an asian girlfriend I would go with the VVS1 because that's what her Asian friends will be focused on (rightly or wrongly). But in another world, I will consider the Tiffany G/VS1 but ONLY if I am convinced that I do not compromise on cut quality. Most PS vendors provide you with huge amounts of information on the diamond, IdealScope, ASET, Sarin, HCA, Brilliant Scope etc but with Tiffany you are asked to trust them - "we do not sell badly cut diamonds".

I started off my search thinking I will end up paying the 30% Tiffany premium (see [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/tiffany-vs-tiffany-replica-price-comparison-included.158635/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/tiffany-vs-tiffany-replica-price-comparison-included.158635/,,[/URL], where I compared Tiffany prices with WF) but having asked a number of female friends of hers, they all said that they would rather have the money go to a higher quality diamond than spending it on the brand. So I ended up with a WF ACA diamond...
 

diagem

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Dagger9903|1311199789|2973337 said:
A Tiffany e-ring is essentially "risk free" and, for a comparable diamond (1.7x, VS1, G) it was around $35k. I realize some will point out that VS1 to VVS1 and F to G isn't that comparable, but given AGS's reputed leniency in this area and Tiffany's (reputed) strict policy, I feel like they're at least in range.

I'm not saying Tiffany's isn't more expensive, just that I feel like the difference is sometimes exaggerated and maybe was more pronounced a year or two ago when wholesale prices were lower. I do think brands like Tiffany have less pricing flexibility (in terms of raising prices) than wholesalers and are potentially making less money per solitaire than they used to.

Is this just crazy talk?

I don't think AGS has a reputation of being more lenient than GIA or even Tiffany, I constantly submit Diamonds to both GIA & AGS and IMO notice AGS is more consistent in their color grading than GIA. GIA is inconsistent lately when it comes to slightly tinted grading (especially in the I and lower colors).
AGS is consistently stricter on clarity grading when comparing with GIA's clarity grading.

Back to your initial comparisons..., I agree the Tiffany G-VS1 example you showed looks better value (if it's a true G-VS1), I believe it won't stay this way too long, I was always under assumption that the Tiffany premium is larger than 30%+/- vs online vendors.
Could be wrong though.
IMO, Prices will be corrected by Tiffany's.
 

RayEarth

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
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Here's the price of Tiffany back in March 2011:

1.91, I, VVS2, $28,900
2.03, I, VS1, $33,600
2.11, I, VS1, $35,000

1.71, H, VVS1, $30,400
1.84, H, VVS2, $31.500
2.00, H, VS2, $37,600

1.65, G, VS1, $30,300
1.74, G, VS2, $30,400
1.70, G, VS1, $32,900
1.84, G, VS1, $35,900

I then asked for further details on the 1.84/H/VVS2, here are the cut dimensions to give you some idea on what a Tiffany diamond looks like:

Size: 7.87 - 7.89 x 4.83 mm
GIA ex/ex/ex
Depth: 61.3%
Pavilion Angle: 41.1
Table size: 59%
Crown Height: 14.3%
Crown Angle: 34.2
Start Length: 50%
Lower Half Length: 75%
Pavilion Depth: 43.5%

HCA:

Light Return Very Good
Fire Very Good
Scintillation Very Good
Spread Very Good
Total Visual Performance 2.8 - Very Good - Worth buying if the price is right
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
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RayEarth|1311226762|2973600 said:
But then again, no one would talk about their rings with HCA scores, 0.2ct higher apparent spread vs weight etc.

Hahahahaha you're on PS aren't you? We do this all day long ;-) most days a week :D
 

cutelittlelion

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Jul 17, 2011
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RayEarth|1311226762|2973600 said:
TristanC|1311225860|2973591 said:
Facepalm @ the use of my analysis. Nobody talks about their rings that way. Smaller than what? Lower clarity than what? Someone would have to be comparing their 2ct rock to my ring and saying "hey look, if you didn't buy from Tiffany you could have got this!" You have friends like that? I don't.

I started off my search thinking I will end up paying the 30% Tiffany premium (see [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/tiffany-vs-tiffany-replica-price-comparison-included.158635/,,']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/tiffany-vs-tiffany-replica-price-comparison-included.158635/,,,,[/URL], where I compared Tiffany prices with WF) but having asked a number of female friends of hers, they all said that they would rather have the money go to a higher quality diamond than spending it on the brand. So I ended up with a WF ACA diamond...

I have to agree.

I (a woman) am a huge fan of Tiffany's ever since the movie with Audrey Hepburn. I love the blue box.

However, I am also a woman who works hard for her money and loves researching potential purchases. I'd much rather have a bigger and sparklier diamond than the blue box.

When discussing rings with girlfriends we hardly ever mention specs, except how gorgeous they are and how much thought a fiance/husband put into it.

I do know Tiffany's recently (about 2 weeks or so) upped their prices on the platinum wedding rings with quite a bit (my preferred 2mm milgrain ring went up from 830 to a 1000 euros, ouch!), so their other prices have probably gone up as well.

Gold rings not so much btw, a Paloma Picasso peridot stacking ring that is on my wishlist has only gone up a bit.

So checking current prices could be a good idea.
 

Dagger9903

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Thank you all so much for your thoughts. I think TristanC's point resonated the most with me, which is really the question, "how much is the brand, and all it's accompanying factors of service, quality, etc. worth to you?" While I don't know what that answer is for me personally yet, the main point of the original post was that the concept that this price difference has potentially narrowed a bit in recent months/years due to greater difficulty on Tiffany's part to raise prices commensurate to the market (this is hypothesis).

I am not at all saying that Tiffany is cheaper or equal price to doing all of your own research and buying the diamond yourself, just that the premium has possibly narrowed a bit.

I guess the challenge in making this assessment is how consistent and apples-to-apples is the grading across entities involved. As Denverappraiser pointed out, Tiffany uses their own criteria for acceptable diamond which may be VG or Ex or G to AGS or GIA, but meets the visual look that Tiffany wants.

Which finally brings me to my last, and somewhat off-topic point. Everyone person I've looked at diamonds with, from Tiffany, to an independent appraiser, to a retail-focused wholesaler, has told me to look at the diamond/setting independent of the paper specs to form an opinion of it's sparkle/brilliance/fire etc. At Tiffany, they put 4 rings all around the same size, all within my price band, and told me to force rank them just by eye (which was most appealing to me). There was a variety of VS1/VVS2 and H/G/F within the mix. The most shocking part of this exercise was I was left with the H color VS1 diamond that was the least expensive of the bunch. For some reason, the slightly warm tone coupled with the refractive nature of the diamond appealed to my sense of beauty the most. The G color diamond just looked a bit cold and impersonal to me.

This was eye-opening to me bc, as so many comments imply, the most important thing at the end of the day is, "Does the ring make you go "ahhhh"?" While many of the paper facts might point you in that direction, I think it's fair to say that each diamond is unique and Tiffany does do a good job of picking a look that elicits that kind of response, albeit at a price. Again, a question of value I guess.
 

Lula

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Dagger, I do think that Tiffany's prices seem more reasonable now because the price of diamonds and metals has risen so much in the past year or so. So the "gap" between Tiffany's prices and other vendors' prices may well be narrowing. I have noticed that the price difference between branded cuts (e.g., Infinity; ACA) and non-branded AGS 0 stones has narrowed considerably, making the branded cuts, with their better upgrade and buyback policies, more competitive.

Many retailers have raised the prices on existing stock, too, and it is possible that the rings you are seeing at Tiffany's are existing stock (not new stock purchased at higher prices) and are still being offered at their original prices.

I think I would lean toward the Tiffany's ring if the price difference was negligible, especially if the Tiffany's brand is important to you or your gf.
 

Frenchcut

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Lula|1311277838|2973984 said:
Many retailers have raised the prices on existing stock, too, and it is possible that the rings you are seeing at Tiffany's are existing stock (not new stock purchased at higher prices) and are still being offered at their original prices.

+1 The same thing happened to me back in June. The diamond my fiance bought for me at Cartier was priced last year in December and was still offered at the same price (the GIA is dated 7th December 2010). It saved him more than 2000$ as they have increased their prices by 15-20% this year (we checked the new price and it really increased that much) and made it look like a good deal compared to some other branded/non branded stones currently available.

It may be the same for you and if you like the Tiffany brand you should probably go for it :)
 

TristanC

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Frenchcut|1311280285|2974017 said:
It may be the same for you and if you like the Tiffany brand you should probably go for it :)

Does anyone NOT love the Tiffany brand?

Some prefer others (Harry Winston, Cartier, Bulgari, McTigue & McClelland - I put the last guys in there cos I love their work! as expensive as they are) but which woman doesn't instinctively love Tiffany? I've mentioned before that everyone I knew growing up (talking teenage years here, half a lifetime ago) received silver jewelry and little trinkets from 'admirers' and testosterone charged boys. They also bought some nice danglies etc to wear...

As far as I know, now, some 15-20 years after the event, nobody has any of those items anymore, or is wearing them anymore. Except the Tiffany/Cartier pieces, even if they ARE sterling silver.

So this is my spiel (rant warning):
I think the big name jewellers represent the quintessential purpose of jewelry. (Outside of custom artisan made pieces using rare precious metals and stones). They fulfill the greatest objective of buying jewelry to begin with: to adorn yourself with an object of beauty and desire; to enhance the wearer's mood, looks, confidence; or for self luxuriant indulgence. In all these ways, having that massive branding and heritage behind you just ticks all the boxes.

Yes it costs a huge amount, but all wearable jewelry is a matter of status, excess or frivolity anyway.
Jewelry and adornments are not a 'need' nor are they necessarily 'practical' items. Some are commemorative of a momentous event (e-ring, w-band), but by and large they are just beautiful things.

So when it comes to GIVING jewelry, going the route of a big name jeweller is Never wrong in my experience. It sums up everything you intend to do with the gift, with the weight of a jewellers heritage behind you. It is that look, when someone sees the teal box, or the cartier box on hand that just does it. Job done. This is why I prefer to buy from Tiffany et. al. even though I KNOW that for the price I pay I can get 2 or more times over at a small B&M store with no branding.

(rant part 2)
However, with Engagement rings - I don't like going down that route because I feel that an Engagement ring has 3 parts - the diamond, the setting, the brand. And I feel that this is in sequence of their importance.

Since diamonds ARE a commodity - I RESENT that at Tiffany et. al. a massive premium is charged on the commodity that made up 80% of the price of what I was paying for. So I would go a different route.

I can't challenge their settings, workmanship, customer service and brand appeal so I won't. These are worth money. These are also very good as stated above.

At the end of the day, most of the price difference at Tiffany et. al. goes towards all the things that make them better than almost anyone else at being a jeweller (polite, no questions asked service, damn expensive prices yet damn cheap fixes, resizing, polishing, cleaning, repair..., heritage, branding, posh factor, elitist aspirational luxury etc etc) YET you always pay more for a commodity just because it is in their hands.

So... back to point 1, if you don't mind being ripped off a bit, or overpaying fora commodity because that is the only way you will get your hands on the rest of the Tiffany package... If you can afford it and you want to do it, just go for it. :))

Also, maybe 1 in a 1,000 understands the 4cs, 1 in 50,000 of the general public have heard of ASET/Idealscope (could be lower), and maybe one in a million can combine knowledge with application when they see the stones for themselves.

But everyone knows and understands Tiffany.

[end rant]
 

purplesilk

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As Tristan said, diamonds are frivolous...let me dare to say that diamonds are useless, no one really needs them...
Getting engaged is a deep emotional step in everyone's life and getting an e-ring can be really stressful as long as you want to do your best to get your SO satisfied.
You're going to spend a significant amount of money on a carbon spot:
if you want to optimize your "investment", don't buy a Tiffany ring: you can buy a larger/better diamond without paying the Tiffany's premium;
if you and your SO like that charming blue box and if you feel more confident buying a high brand jewel, go for a Tiffany ring.
On Pricescope you can find different opinions, tons of information and wonderful diamond experts, but you have to make up your mind: only you and your girlfriend know what's the best choice for you both...beauty is in the eye of the beholder!!!
My advice: if you're not sure about what to buy, don't buy!
 

MissStepcut

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This same idea had occurred to me. Before their recent price spike, we wandered into T&C's flagship store and tried on some rings. A solitaire with the same stats as the one we settled on (1.5 carat emerald, H VS1) was more than double what we paid. I was really hoping the margin would be lower but that's not how the math shook out. I believe fancy cut prices haven't exploded the way RBs have so maybe you'll find the difference more acceptable than we did.
 
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