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In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/ASET?

ghostm42

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
56
Yesterday, I accompanied my future mother-in-law and her friends to go diamond shopping. My gf wants a surprise, so she knows nothing about this process. The friends know more about diamonds because of past experience and is friends with a store owner, but are by no means experts. In any case, I hit a brick wall during my buying experience.

Based on my criteria (1.5-1.7ct, GIA3x/AGS0, H+ color, VS2+ clarity, Ex cut, Med- fluoro, price<$13K if NY-based or <$14K if non-NY), they had a somewhat limited inventory in-house, but did have the GIA reports of a few diamonds located at their other locations. This was my strategy:

1. Calculate the HCA score - reject those over 2. The store owner heard of HCA from another customer, but doesn't use it in practice.
2. Check dimensions to see if it's within the following:
Table: 53-58
Depth: 60-62.3
Crown Angle: 34-35
Pavilion Angle: 40.6-41.0
3. Use Enchanted Diamond's cut score calculator based on GIA certificate number to see if it's above 90.

By this point, I ended up rejecting all the diamonds. There weren't a lot to choose from - maybe 10. Only two passed step 1. Lots of GIA3X were HCA good or fair, but not excellent. One didn't fit the dimensions and one had a low ED cut score. But what if I made it pass step 3? What's next in-store? I'm guessing (in no particular order):

4. ASET/IdealScope viewing. The store does not have this on hand, so it'll cost me $110 to buy a set. But is the handheld version good enough to get accurate readings? I'm not even so sure I know how to fully read it, despite having read up on it. For example, I thought this diamond (no longer available) had significant light leakage under the table owing to the white areas, but was told that is not the case (due to backlight?):
https://enchanteddiamonds.com/diamonds/view/R150-CE48P9?a_aid=pd
This store visit was impromptu, so I couldn't get an ASET scope in time. Not sure I trust my own reading anyway.

5. Heart and Arrows viewing. Most stores have a H&A scope. It costs less than $20 off ebay, so that's a minor investment. From what I understand, hearts is the important view. Most of the images I see online are not true H&A, but near H&A - they have some yaw in the Vs. Some non-H&A diamonds exhibit clefts or blend the hearts with the V's. On a limited budget, get a near-H&A.

How are the experienced diamond shoppers and experts doing it? Will you only buy it in-store after you verify with your own IS/ASET scope?

And what about online shops that can't get additional views at all (H&A, ASET, IdealScope), like many on the virtual selection group? Many of the PriceScope listings don't have any pictures at all. Do you outright reject these?

Sorry for the long post. The more I learn, the harder it gets and my criteria keeps changing. :wall: As always, if anyone can make recommendations on diamonds, I'd be happy to take them.
 

sarahb

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Messages
1,903
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

I'd save yourself all the brain damage & buy online. Thats what I did, and the results speak for themselves. You'll get a a far better product for less, than B&M. Stick to AGS stones, & venders who provide ASET & all the other images. A huge investment IMHO, a ring costing thousands, which demands no less. I am not a cut expert, so I went with a vender who built a product line based on Ideal cut diamonds, 'A Cut Above', by Whiteflash. ACA's diamonds must meet stringent guidelines in order the achieve this label. Best of luck!
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,271
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

Also check out Brian Gavin Diamonds signature line. They are having some sort of sale which lasts through next week if my memory serves me well. Also, try reaching out to Yekutiel at IDJ - he's great at finding what you want and gives great customer service. If you speak to him, let him know you were recommended by price scope. It's nice to have a person like him to help you out. He will always answer your questions and educate you along the way. Whiteflash, Brian Gavin and IDJ will provide all of the images you want and do not charge you for them - it's part of their services. Good luck, I hope you find the stone you are looking for. And don't forget to show us what you end up with! :wavey:
 

ghostm42

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
56
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

Queenie60|1459704153|4014920 said:
Also check out Brian Gavin Diamonds signature line. They are having some sort of sale which lasts through next week if my memory serves me well. Also, try reaching out to Yekutiel at IDJ - he's great at finding what you want and gives great customer service. If you speak to him, let him know you were recommended by price scope. It's nice to have a person like him to help you out. He will always answer your questions and educate you along the way. Whiteflash, Brian Gavin and IDJ will provide all of the images you want and do not charge you for them - it's part of their services. Good luck, I hope you find the stone you are looking for. And don't forget to show us what you end up with! :wavey:
Thanks.

Brian Gavin Diamonds is out of my price range. I get no results with my criteria.

IDJ is a site I've never visited before. They look promising, but they don't have a lot of pictures of the actual diamond. They have a search option for H&A, but the results don't actually have a picture of the H&A. Some of their diamonds can be found on other sites, so I assume these are from a virtual inventory. If so, how do they declare them as H&A? By dimensions alone? I can give them a call to see what they can find me.
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,271
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

Give them a call - Yekutiel can help you to find a stone within your budget. Tell him what you're looking for. He has much more than you see on the search engine. He finds stones that are located in NYC.
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,171
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

I have owned and seen many ideal cut diamonds. My family members also have stones with different cut quality, which serve as "reference". So, I am comfortable with buying a stone in person without the ASET as long as price is right, because I reasonably know how a well cut diamond performs under different lighting conditions and from different viewing distance.

But for a complete newbie who does not have much experience and reference, it is not easy. Most diamonds look pretty, especially GIA Xs, even some GIA Very Good.
I recommend you buy a stone with the IS/ASET, especially considering your budget of 10k plus.

Many listings dont show pictures, but they often provide you upon request.
 

girlmom

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
76
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

Ah this is stressing me out too. I'm having the same dilemma! I feel like I don't know enough to buy at B&M but those websites like brian gavin and whiteflash ACA seem to charge a premium, which makes sense since they're doing all the work for you!
 

ghostm42

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
56
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

Thanks for the replies. I notice no one mentioned buying their own ASET/IdealScope and using it to go B&M diamond shopping. Does anyone actually do this? If not, is it because of the difficulty of getting the handheld IS/ASET just right to make a proper evaluation?
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,271
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

ghostm42|1459880673|4015786 said:
Thanks for the replies. I notice no one mentioned buying their own ASET/IdealScope and using it to go B&M diamond shopping. Does anyone actually do this? If not, is it because of the difficulty of getting the handheld IS/ASET just right to make a proper evaluation?
Don't know much about this - I am not knowledgable enough to say. I'm sure that some of the experts will chime in. However, I caution you on buying from a B&M as they can only show you stones that they have in their inventory. I am sure that some will have wonderful stones to choose from however you will still pay a premium. I still suggest that you reach out to one of the recommended vendors here and have them help you to find a stone. You will be pleasantly surprised. Also, check out Whiteflash expert selection, they are well cut stones. And BG Diamonds blue selection which are also well cut stones with a bit of a price break due to the florescence. And again, I would give Yekutiel at ID Jewelry a call. Good luck to you. Hope you find a wonderful stone. :wavey:
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,171
Re: In-store diamond buying strategy? Or online without IS/A

ghostm42|1459880673|4015786 said:
Thanks for the replies. I notice no one mentioned buying their own ASET/IdealScope and using it to go B&M diamond shopping. Does anyone actually do this? If not, is it because of the difficulty of getting the handheld IS/ASET just right to make a proper evaluation?
I have seen a post where a member took a IS/ASET scope to Tiffany. They were accomodating. You can search for this particular thread.

But be aware. Many B&M tend to avoid any conversation on specifics such as proportions and HCA. If you pull out a IS scope, I am not certain how they would react to it. Be nice and ask for permission to use any tool you bring.
Not many do this because many online vendors offer this service for free as long as they have physical access to the diamond you are interested in.
 
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