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Let's talk loose yellow diamond vendors (and prices)

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
I'm narrowing my search for an engagement ring featuring a halo-set yellow diamond. I have contacted a couple of the vendors who are active and/or advertise here, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. But they'll probably have to stay out of this particular discussion, because I want to talk about the competition. In the end, I want what we all want—the lowest price possible on a GIA stone from a reputable dealer. Great customer service goes a long way when you're designing a setting, to be sure. Personal attention, patience, advice, and downright quality of work are important during that process. But I feel like the loose stone side of the equation is all business.

We're dealing in a quantifiable commodity for the most part. Give me a pile of GIA reports (shape, size, color intensity, clarity, polish/symmetry, fluorescence) from multiple FCD retailers, and I (a complete novice) can pick out a few that should presumably perform well relative to one another. I won't win every time, but I think I'll do all right. Disregard my amateur arrogance for a moment and bear with me. If those GIA reports come with great photos, it makes the comparisons easier. Add in prices, and we start to get a fairly clear picture. I would rank by value those within my subjective and objective criteria range, order the top two or three to inspect in person, and make a decision. I'm an analytical kind of guy. This is the method of selection that makes sense to me.

If only it were that easy. In addition to the dealers who market their wares most effectively (honest photos & video, personal descriptions, excellent website design), there are those that don't. They're selling the same product (i.e., a diamond with a full GIA report), but their prices seem markedly low. My questions to you are:
-Have you dealt with these "discount" vendors?
-Do you "get what you pay for," or do you get the same thing as elsewhere but for a lower price?
-Does the discount justify the "inconvenience" factor of manually searching, calling, emailing, buying, returning, etc?

Certainly the last one is subjective. I want a good diamond for the best price, and I'm willing to spend a little extra time finding it. After all, the more I save, the more I can spend on other colored gemstones, now that I'm feeling that itch!

Ok ok. As those who have followed my other threads have doubtless realized, I ramble. I apologize. Here's what it comes down to. I've found some really nice 1.0-1.2ct GIA graded Y-Z and Fancy Light Yellow stones in the range of $3800-$4200 per carat. These are seemingly good stones with pretty nice reports and photos. I trust that I am going to like what I get from these dealers.

But then there are vendors like thediamond.com and icestore.com.

Icestore.com is a sponsor here at PS, but I don't see a lot of recent discussion regarding FCD experiences with them. My main problem with them as that they have no photos nor viewable reports (so I don't know if GIA did their clarity & cut grades). And they seem to want to charge for FedEx shipping on smaller orders. But their Light Yellow cushions seem to average around $3400-3600 per carat (or less), putting even a Fancy Yellow nearly within reach of my budget. I mean, sight unseen, this one can't be that bad:
http://icestore.com/search/yellow_diamond_detail.asp?ID=28
That's one of their more expensive FLYs in my range, and it's near $3400/ct (full listed price)

I also haven't found much in the way of recent reviews on thediamond.com. They have the typical free shipping and easy returns. My gripe with them is the lack of search filters. And they must have really mastered the use of light in their photos, because every stone looks great (which borders on unrealistic sometimes). I mean, look at these:
http://www.thediamond.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/cgi-local/smpagegen.exe?EU+scstore+abcd12346789+-p+-c+scstore.cfg+fansur-183#...
http://www.thediamond.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/cgi-local/smpagegen.exe?EU+scstore+abcd12346789+-p+-c+scstore.cfg+fansur-12#...
Those are good looking Fancy Yellows for darn near the price of a Y-Z from other fair-priced online retailers. This one is a little more, but it sure makes me consider upping my budget (though I think the photo is generously dark):
http://www.thediamond.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/cgi-local/smpagegen.exe?EU+scstore+abcd12346789+-p+-c+scstore.cfg+fanmsh-9#...

So what do we think? Anyone have recent experience with these guys? Any reason not to give it a try? Am I just missing something that clearly should make me stick to the "friends of pricescope" for my diamond? Teach me, o yellow diamond connoisseurs.
 

Deia

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
735
I don't have time to comment on your whole post but try diamonds by lauren as well. They have some dreamy stuff!
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
Wow that was a long and wordy post :snore:

Is this post even relevant anymore as I see you bought a diamond from Libersh (sp?). I know Kenny who has an amazing diamond collection really loves that particular vendor and returns are quick and easy. I personally just bought a .93ct FLY from Diamonds by Lauren- I called and talked to David and I was really happy with my purchase. I feel his prices are better then most and has a huge selection.

The two websites you mentioned in your orginal post I never really see activity on. Fancydiamond.com I just saw for the first time a few weeks ago and I question their photos as they do look a little too perfect. I have no experience with the other store so I won't comment.
 

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
Just to be clear, I have not purchased any stone yet. I have spoken with David, and he has been great. I've also spent a lot of time on the Leibish website and exchanged some emails with them. They also have been helpful; they just don't have a large selection that meets my criteria and price range. I realize the post is long and bit obnoxious. I'm bad at that. I guess I could have left off the first half. Anyway, the point mostly was to just ask if anyone had experience with those seemingly lesser-known retailers, as their prices for loose stones seem pretty competitive. Thanks!
 

athenaworth

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
3,442
I second Diamonds by Lauren. They have a great selection.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,717
I third Diamonds by Lauren and am a repeat customer of theirs.

I haven't read your whole post above either but with FCDs if you don't have a vast amount of experience you really need to be guided by those that do. I don't know if you're in the US but if so, could you take a trip to meet David (DBL's owner)? Seeing a selection of yellows in real life will really help. Pictures NEVER do them justice! For such a special ring as an e-ring you really need to get some hands on experience as shopping online isn't easy for FCDs or coloured stones (with white diamonds it's much easier).

Just to put the first paragraph of your post into perspective .......... yes, the FCD market is all about business. There's no reason why it shouldn't be - it's irrespective whether you're buying a loose stone or a set piece. You can buy cheap but that doesn't mean it's best. In fact, you typically get what you pay for so PLEASE don't go with something because you may save $100. There's not a great amount of competition with the reputable good FCD dealers. They know their market. DBL and Leibish are the only two I would buy from if I was looking in the US.

Just a suggestion but it may be easier if you want to talk about yellow diamonds to keep everything into one thread otherwise it gets very confusing!!!!
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
GoldieATX|1313594970|2992606 said:
Just to be clear, I have not purchased any stone yet. I have spoken with David, and he has been great. I've also spent a lot of time on the Leibish website and exchanged some emails with them. They also have been helpful; they just don't have a large selection that meets my criteria and price range. I realize the post is long and bit obnoxious. I'm bad at that. I guess I could have left off the first half. Anyway, the point mostly was to just ask if anyone had experience with those seemingly lesser-known retailers, as their prices for loose stones seem pretty competitive. Thanks!
Sorry didn't mean to come off as rude in my first post. I just hate reading long windy posts then never really get to the point.

I think through the responses here it is clear that I would personally stick with trusted vendors already mentioned.

Also I think it would help if you posted your budget- what is your ceiling price for the diamond?
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
From the way you said it, the budget likely won't extend to fancy yellow, and you are after a particular size.

The trusted vendors mentioned tend to carry 'finer' specimens, which come with a higher price point.

If the amount of yellow you are looking for can be satisfied even below the fancy scale, and still in the alphabetized colourless diamond scale, there is a chance you may get something you are looking for from the cheaper vendors.

But it is buyer beware, and also please check your seller's return policies and ensure that they are watertight.

As for that first stone you posted... there is no way that the stone should look like that in real life and get the colour grade that it got from GIA. It looks like the photo was either taken in very flattering light, or just enchanced in some way to me. But I might be wrong and you could be off to the find of the year.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,975
The color in the pics at icestore and thediamond look pumped up in saturation to me.
In recent years I've been looking daily at zillions of online pics of FCDs and what GIA says the color is and those look pumped up.
Photography ethics are important to me when spending thousands of dollars on a little dot of color because the price depends on the nature of that color.

The first one you linked to (my pic below) has so much green in it that GIA could not have given it a pure Yellow grade.
Yes they can have a little green but not THAT much!
It really looks Fancy Intense Greenish Yellow or even Fancy Intense Green Yellow to me, not Light Yellow.
That pic looks THREE steps too saturated compared to the GIA grade. :o :o :o :knockout: :knockout: :knockout:

GIA's FCD color saturation/tone steps are:
Faint
Very Light
Light
Fancy Light
Fancy
Fancy Intense
Fancy Vivid
Fancy Deep
Fancy Dark



You can say it's my monitor and you can't judge color from pics, blah blah blah, but I've been using the same monitor for all my FCD shopping for years.

IMHO Diamondsbylauren uses lighting that conceals windowing and makes every diamond look like a nuclear bomb exploding with light regardless of how well or poorly cut it is.
I'd rather have lighting that does not make every diamond in the inventory look like the best-cut diamond in the universe and better than any diamond pic from any other vendor.

The only FCD vendor pics that I trust are from Leibish.
IMHO their priority is to make the diamond's color and cut to look as accurate as possible in the pic, not as good as possible in the pic.
In the 20 FCDs I've bought from them I have never felt the pics were pumped up in saturation or inaccurate in hue.
If anything some of them have color that is a little stronger in real life than in the pics.

When it comes to comparing prices so you feel you are getting a "good deal" I think people like you and I are wasting our time.
You'd need years of experience viewing FCDs live and pricing them to know what prices "should" be.

There are things that raise and lower an FCD's price that do not show up on the GIA report.
One " GIA Fancy Yellow" can have more brown than another "GIA Fancy Yellow" but not enough for GIA to mention the brown - but you can be sure the vendor will charge more for the one with less brown.
This is why two FCDs with IDENTICAL GIA reports in every spec can vary a great deal from the same vendor on the same day.
I think this makes it impossible to form any sense for which vendor has better or worse prices.

I take some comfort in prices being set and published online, and do not give my business to websites with secret pricing.
I think there is a lot of "you get what you pay for" going on when it comes to FCD pricing.

If you found the exact same stone at two websites (same GIA report #) with different prices THEN you could compare who has the better price.

44444.png
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,975
Hey!
Lookie what I just noticed.

Icestore uses the exact SAME diamond pic for every yellow cushion, even regardless of the Saturation/Tone grade of the yellow.
Shouldn't it say clearly next to the pic, SAMPLE PIC, or NOT ACTUAL DIAMOND ? :angryfire: :angryfire: :angryfire:
Vendors like Whiteflash at least tell you it's a sample pic.

Here are four screen captures side by side.
Notice the four colors are different but all four listings used the same pic.

878787878.png
 

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
Yeah I knew that icestore didn't have photos (that was part of my gripe). I am going to email them to see what the real pics actually look like, just to report back for others if nothing else. But anyway.

Thanks again for just being straight about it and talking sense into me, folks. I'm an engineer. This whole diamond thing (fancy colored or otherwise) is just not what I'm used to, and it's taking time to get my head around that. It's just not something I can think and research my way around. It's not a game to be beaten.

These diamonds are beautiful. I want one. I think everyone here can relate to that. Some are better than others. I know I don't know enough to pick the great from the good, so I get frustrated. I'm not the first to do this, so I'll trust those who have come before me (you all) and those with the reputation for helpful, honest business. No need to waste any more time trying to save a few bucks. It's time to get engaged, after all!

I'll focus all posts from here on the stuff you're here to see: pretty yellow diamonds. I might post a few more photos with requests to help me decide. And then, hopefully soon, I'll have the final [succint, I promise] report with photos of the ring. Thanks all, and wish me luck!
 

stepcutnut

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Messages
2,500
I would also recommend David with DBL, he is very accommodating to work with-I have worked with David on around 2 dozen transactions and have always been very pleased with the service and the goods :) His pictures and videos are very true to life and give a great look at the diamond in different lighting situations. Good luck-come back with pics!!!
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,717
Goldie - the photos that Kenny has reproduced from the link you posted above look highly doctored. Not many yellow diamonds will look like that. They're almost false looking if you know what I mean!

Just a FYI - I have bought a number of diamonds from DBL and have never had an issue with their photography or video representations. Hope that helps.
 

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
Well guys, to be fair (I suppose), those are clearly not photos of the diamonds being offered. I never felt like they were representing the actual product at all. They're just ridiculously yellow stock photos. I mean look. It's the same photo every time. It's just bad eCommerce website design. Like I said originally,

My main problem with [IceStore.com] is that they have no photos nor viewable reports (so I don't know if GIA did their clarity & cut grades).
So far, the GIA report situation has been resolved. I gave them a list of stones, and Ari sent me scans of the corresponding full GIA report for each one today. He says if I'll pick two (of the four) I like, then he'll bring them in and photograph them. I guess it's an off site vault or something like that. Inconvenient, but not yet a dealbreaker. We'll see how they look. They have a standard 30 day guarantee for a refund, though they do charge shipping on orders below $10k.

I've enjoyed working with David at DBL so far; I'm making a call to him tomorrow to discuss different halo setting options. And Aviva at Leibish has promised some comparison photos that I requested on a couple of their stones this weekend. And I'll also be exploring some new FCD options in town that I got a call about today. Hopefully I'll have the center stone nailed down in the next week and can make a decision and get moving on the perfect setting.
 
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