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Los Angeles Jewelry District

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rbjd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
154
My search for an engagement stone has brought me to the Jewelry District in L.A. on a few occasions. For those of you who don''t know, it''s a several block area of Downtown Los Angeles around 6th and Hill Street comprised of numerous old multi-story buildings. There are literally hundreds of jewelry vendors in the immediate area.

Most of the action seems to take place on the ground floor of many of the buildings, where separate vendors have booths or stalls and a large variety of goods for sale. There are gold dealers, diamond dealers, finished jewelry houses, jewelry supply shops, repair, setting and polishing stations. You can find anything, make anything, all in an afternoon. The number of loose diamond dealers is more than a little daunting for the first time diamond buyer.

Having done a great deal of research, I now know that several of the diamond dealers in the Jewelry District are less than scrupulous about information and pricing. For instance, I went to one dealer and asked for an E color ideal cut diamond. I was shown a stone that turned out to be GIA certified and it was GOOD symmetry and GOOD polish, E, VS2 and I was quoted a price "28% below Rap" and told it was an ideal cut (no Sarin analysis, no crown or pavilion angle info). Right across the street, another vendor showed me a similar stone at "20% below Rap". I was also told it was an ideal cut (no Sarin analysis, no angle info, etc.) and told "it doesn''t get any better than this". It was not an EXCELLENT/EXCELLENT stone and the guy didn''t have it at his booth, he had to run somewhere else to get it (undoubtedly factoring into my Rapaport discount).

I went to yet another dealer who asked if I was looking for Hearts and Arrows and I said "YES!" and she sent her daughter running off down Hill Street. The daughter returned 10 minutes later and explained the person who had the stone was "at lunch" and I should come back in 30 minutes.

I know that GIA Excellent/Excellent or AGS 000 stones reside in Downtown Los Angeles at places that don''t have to send runners to find them. I know they exist at prices similar to or better than the prices on Pricescope. So here''s my question: does anybody know which vendors in the L.A. Jewelry District have a good reputation for dealing in high quality stones at fair prices?

Where in Downtown L.A. can I bring my Ideal-Scope, my 10x loupe, and my H&A viewer and sit down for a couple of hours in one place and look at a bunch of truly ideal cut rocks? Any help would be appreciated.
 

Lugus

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
213
You'll have to forgive me, but I had to laugh a bit when I read your post. So many similarities to my own search.


The reason I decided to buy off the internet was because I couldn't find stones that were perfectly cut with the other C's that I wanted in the stores around my area. If you refuse to buy over the internet, I would suggest calling Robbins Brothers (surprisingly). Set up an appointment, tell then you only want to see ideal stones, and see what they come up with. They offered to beat the prices I found off the internet too, which was an added bonus. Even so, I feel I got a much better stone from superbcert.
 

shaunco

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2003
Messages
5
I recently had a very good experience with "Adler & Company". They are on the 8th floor of the building at 607 Hill St. (corner of 6th and Hill). Herman (the owner) is a very nice guy and he had a great selection of stones... no running elsewhere. Still waiting on a verdict about what I paid (20% over his cost)... but he didn't give the feeling of used car salesmen, like to shops on the first floor do... seriously, I hate having to look at the ground while I walk to keep the leaches from thinking I'm interested in their garbage!

-Shaun
 

jccmwood

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
1
I am new to this site, so this was at the LA Jewelry District your bought the stone and so far are happy.........and still are? We were thinking of going down for a 10th anniversary (now 12th) upgrade and were wondering about the deals. We do not want to go overboard but I do want a carat this time around. Any helpful hints to offer?
 

rbjd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
154
I actually wound up buying my stone from Jonathan at Good Old Gold because I couldn't find any decent diamonds in L.A. and the vendors in the Jewelry District that I met were less than honest about their wares.

As for Good Old Gold, I couldn't be happier. Jonathan is awesome and so are his diamonds. I would never have gotten a better diamond locally for less money. I would never have gotten a better diamond locally.
 

hoorray

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2003
Messages
2,798
We used to buy from the LA Jewelry district years ago, but after having many of the pieces independently appraised, found that some were legitimately what they said they were, and some were not. One stone REALLY was not what is was sold to be. (Pre-internet education
).

We just bought an great upgrade stone from USA Certed Diamonds, and had it shipped to an appraiser on S. Hill St, who then had it set by a jeweler he works with there.

When I went to pick up the finished ring, both asked what I had paid. They are trying to figure out how to be competitive with the Internet dealers. They said they have the same sources as where my stone came from, and some of the diamond suppliers are there on S. Hill, so they have good relationships with them. Their problem is the sales tax. They can compete on price if they are just looking to broker a stone, but have to charge sales tax. On high priced stones, that is a big difference.

We had a similar "running down the street" experience in the NY 47th st district. The bottom line is that most of these guys broker the stones. Holding large diamonds in their own inventory is very expensive, so they don't do it a lot. I don't think that is unusual. I think the hard part is knowing who to trust.

If anyone wants the jeweler or appraiser's name that we used, I think I posted it previously, and can look it up again if you PM me. I trusted both of them, and had some good references before we went there.
 

dancingmelimel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
187
Hooray,

As you may recall, you gave me the info on your appraisor, who I went to and liked. If I'm correct, you used the jeweler he normally uses to set your stone? What sort of setting did you get, and was it custom made? Did he set your stone in your presence? If it was custom, are you happy with it?

I think I need a custom setting, but I want something antiquey, and I'm concerned about quality of detail and engraving, having had some bad experiences in the past.

Thanks for any help!

-Melissa
 

elmo

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2003
Messages
1,160
Has anyone talked with Ariel Friedman at IceStore? I think he's in the LA diamond district, and knows what demanding internet shoppers expect.
 

hoorray

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2003
Messages
2,798
Hi Melissa,

Glad you liked Charles. I used his jeweler Dan at Navalty(sp?) Jewelery to set my stone in a setting that I had custom made in NY. It is a really simple cathedral setting -- not antique at all. He did not set it in my presense, but from what I can tell he did a really nice job, and Charles verified it again after it was set. He seemed like a really good guy, but the jewelery he had on display in his shop was not antique in style, so I don't think he would necessarily be your guy.

My suggestion is to check out some of the threads on here -- it seems I've seen some really nice settings more along the line of what I assume you are looking for. There is a good estate-style jeweler, Old and New, in San Francisco on Union Street, who MIGHT do custom work -- I'm not sure. He does quality work and has some beautiful pieces.

good luck!

 

caratgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
634
Melissa,

I am returning to the LA Jewelry district next week, so I will let you know who does the antique style custom settings. I used to have their card, but decided that I wanted a more modern setting, so lost it. They are very good and create the rings for a major designer (sorry, the name escapes me at the moment - but I will find out).
 

ccr

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 15, 2003
Messages
1
i am also interested in the name of someone in the la jewelry district who does custom antique style work. if you have returned to the area and got the name, i would really appreciate a referral. thank you
 

derekinla

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2003
Messages
467
A few of my friends have purchased diamonds from Oscar's Design Jewelry in the International Jewelry Center off of Hill Street. I ventured downtown to see him one day but his store was closed that day. I ended up getting my stone off of the internet but purchased the setting locally from a jeweler in Santa Monica. I've only heard great things about Oscars.
 

Ashira

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
1
Hi Hoorey,

I have been looking for the address of the jewerly you were talking about but I have not been able to find it on the forum. So, would you please email me or post the addres of the jeweler and appraiser's one more time.

Thank you very much
Ashira
 

hoorray

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2003
Messages
2,798
The appraiser was Charles Carmona of Guild Laboratories. 550 S Hill St Suite #1188. (213) 624-0137. He referred me to Dan at Navalty (sp?) Jewelers, which was in the same building several floors lower. Dan did the stone setting for me. I think Dan can also source good quality stones at competitive prices if you tell him ahead of time what you are looking for.
 

sharonzhere

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
38
OMG that place just overwhelms me.

We've bought some gold there, but I don't think that I could ever trust them enough to drop a fair amount of money there for a diamond unless I had a personal recommendation for somebody or someplace in particular.

My experience has been that the booths downstairs are to be avoided. The little shops upstairs are where to go. My mom had her diamond reset at one of those places but it was years and years ago, but she was quite happy with the results. I remember going with her to pick it up or shop for it or something, I don't remember, and it was a small, quiet shop and we were able to sit down and look at everything at our own pace. The booths downstairs just emits chaos.

But who am I to talk...I don't trust the diamond district (mostly because of diamonds), or online (mostly because of settings), or the malls (mostly because of ripoff prices for ripoff merchandise)...so I wound up at Tiffany. LOL

Sharon
 

kmatt

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
5
I've had good luck with LA vendor:

Capri Jewelry
601 S. Hill St. #A1
Los Angeles, CA 90014

TEL: (213) 627-0459
SALES: Chris

They have a lot of loose diamond inventory they stock; no running up and down the street brokering. They were rated number one in LA by Alan Mendelson, local consumer reporter for KCAL, for best diamond buys in Los Angeles. Call before going for an appointment. Be specific; size, color, type of cert.

I've also used Charles Carmona for appraisal work. He's also terrific.

Good luck!

 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
----------------
On 8/2/2003 2:03:23 PM elmo wrote:

Has anyone talked with Ariel Friedman at IceStore? I think he's in the LA diamond district, and knows what demanding internet shoppers expect.----------------

He would be my first choice, as well. And I'm pretty sure his newish shop is in the diamond district. Last time I talked to him, though, he said it was on the 2nd floor so I think you need to make an appt first. He's always been a gentleman when I've talked to him.
 

katrina_33

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Messages
445
I know this is an old thread, but for custom antique style mountings in the LAJD, as well as a huge selection of estate rings, omc's, etc, go to Single Stone. You will need an appointment.

www.singlestone.com

Also, I was down at the jewelry district yesterday, and stopped by Oscars. He and his asst were great and really helpful and patient, and the store has really high quality stuff. Good selection of mountings.
 

Cushion Fan

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Messages
6
This is a question for Derek, Hooray, or anyone who's worked with Charles Carmona or Geoffrey Nelson (they are both L.A. area appraisers recommended here).

I called both of them, and Charles didn't seem to like the idea of him appraising my ering blind- he said something like "if you want to play that little game, then fine, nobody trusts anybody anymore." I tried to explain to him that I DO trust him, that's why I'd like his opinion. Anyway, I also talked to Geoffrey, who seemed less short and nicer on the phone. Those two things aside, Charles seems to have more experience as he seems to have written books on the topic and is conveniently located in downtown L.A. Their prices are about the same too. Any thoughts on which person might be a better one to go with? I bought my ring from a relative/friend and haven't even seen it in person but got a nice price break on both the stone and on the setting.

Thanks for any input!
 

love rocks

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2004
Messages
45
For antique stones and antique/vintage settings, check out www.singlestone.com; they have an awesome selection of asschers, cushions, and OEC's at their store, as well. They're on Hill Street.

They're great to work with, too, not car-salesman-y at all.

Good luck!

ETA: Whoops, just read the post above, great minds think alike, Katrina!
 
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