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Maul Jeweler Experience

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canadiangrrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
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787
My better half and I are in the beginning stages of looking for an engagement ring. I began this process by seeking out information on diamonds via the internet. I visited numerous sites and have lurked here for awhile. I''ve researched Hearts and Arrows (branded and non), EightStar, AGS000, etc. etc. I now consider myself to be a fairly well-educated diamond consumer.

Most of my friends who''ve become engaged have begun their respective searches at jewelry stores. I chose not to go this route, as we have definitely decided to purchase from an internet jeweler once we''ve made our decision, for reasons having to do with quality, detailed information, and cost. However, I was at the mall today, and I visited a couple of well-known chains (I''m in Toronto) just for fun. It was actually not fun - in fact I would classify the experience as disheartening, to say the least.

I was approached several times by salespeople, looking to sell their wares. No problem with that - but the rings they produced were sad. Sad pieces of dull, lifeless rock, being marketed as quality diamonds. I asked to see detailed specs on several rings - not all were available - but when they were, some of the rounds I looked at had tables of up to 70% and depths in the ranges of 65-70%. One merchant attempted to "talk up" an I2 stone by telling me that the inclusion was small and barely noticeable - it was a giant-looking chip/gouge that made me wonder if the stone was structurally sound. Another merchant told me that the stones being sold on the internet were all "crap that no one else will buy." He went on to say that his chain would never sell "rejects" like that.

These chains stay in business because people keep buying from them. This would be easier for me to swallow if their prices were in line with the junk they are selling. I witnessed one anxious young couple in the throes of purchasing a 1 carat diamond e-ring that clearly represented a major purchase. He proposed the night before (Saturday) and wanted his fiancee to have a beautiful ring. I wanted to grab them both and point them in the direction of pricescope, whiteflash, goodoldgold, dirtcheapdiamonds - and after getting a reasonable diamond education, if they chose to purchase the crappy maul ring, so be it.

As someone who has been in consumer marketing for a couple of years now, I find the sales approach/disinformation by these chains to be unconscionable. I know the difference between leading the consumer and lying to them, and to me, what I saw today amounted to pure snake-oil selling. I am so glad I found this site, and the sites I mentioned above -we can now make an informed, un-pressured choice about how to spend our hard-earned dollars. My uneducated guess is that as consumers become increasingly internet-savvy, chains will either be forced to lower their prices or bring in better quality diamonds. Or - call a spade a spade - an I2 an I2 - and sell it like it is.
For the sake of consumers who still believe that chain=quality, I hope this happens sooner rather than later.

Thanks to you all for your good works.
 

lucy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 2, 2002
Messages
55
I totally agree! i have never heard so many different stories in my life from different non-online jewelers! if they had a G sI1 to show then they told me my H VS1 was too low a color grade for platinum and it would look yellow. if they had a I VS1 they said "its the same price, and bigger-so better!!" I knew one guy was full of poop when i told him how much i paid for mine, he had 3 diamonds to show that he told me were all EXACTLY priced at what i bought mine for-not even a dollar off!! interesting -what a coincidence!! I have to say after lurking here so long it was so great to visually see off the bat that some of these stones tables were way too big and be able to point that out-or to ask for sarin reports and see them shuffle. yes, i probably could have dropped a grade in clarity to a VS2 and went up to a G in color for about the same price (maybe??) but i have to say-there isnt much out there to choose from especially with my cut and I fell in love the minute i saw it on GOG's site. just ask Jonathan-I was practically begging him to HOLD it for me until my husband could get it. As far as I'm concerned, these mall jewelers will do anything for a sale except give you real info on the diamond. Its not worth my time for them to "get back to me" with sarin reports that will probably never come and I have only found one place that actually had any kind of fire scope to look thru. GOG had so much info on their site-i knew it was my diamond before i even saw it in person. thanks so much to Jonathan for all his never ending help and immediacy in answering emails and questions. BOYCOTT THE MALL STORES!!
 

69gm

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Messages
287
maul jewelry stores do have a purpose though. one that i actually found useful was seeing settings. you can actually see what settings look nice on your finger (hard to see something like that any other way). then when you see something you like, you can ask someone you trust, like the pricescope vendors, if they can get you that setting.

it also helps if you bring a digital camera to take pictures to help the PS vendors find what you need.
 

Dukegirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
21
For me, I used the mall stores solely to see what ring size I was. I asked to see a ring of a certain carat, then tried it on and asked them what ring size it was. That way I was able to figure out what size I was for when I ordered online. It was also useful in determining what a 1-carat solitaire looked like on my hand.
 

69gm

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Messages
287
----------------
On 7/8/2003 10:58:37 AM Dukegirl wrote:

For me, I used the mall stores solely to see what ring size I was. I asked to see a ring of a certain carat, then tried it on and asked them what ring size it was. That way I was able to figure out what size I was for when I ordered online. It was also useful in determining what a 1-carat solitaire looked like on my hand.
----------------
another good example of a maul's usefulness. i've done that too.
 

Kamuelamom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Messages
1,810
In a recent visit to Portland I was recently in a large mall and couldn't stop myself from browsing into 2 very "fine" jewelry stores. One of them was Baileys Biddle Something and carried the designer settings like Scott Kay, etc. Anyway I found 2 young couples in there looking for erings...I was soo tempted to slip them a note to check out the diamond forums online before buying. One young man even had a nervous "oh no" look in his eye as the salesperson did her thing.

But alas, I didn't have enough courage to do so.
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
----------------
On 7/9/2003 3
4:45 AM Kamuelamom wrote:

One of them was Baileys Biddle Something and carried the designer settings like Scott Kay, etc
Bailey Banks & Biddle. They are a turn of the century jewelry store that originated in (I think) Philly. They are now part of some huge conglomerate w/ one of the "maul" stores - Zales, I think. They carry high end stuff; but, they are very expensive.
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,806
Hello,
I'm in Toronto too. Funny, when I was at Damiani Jewelers last week I was standing beside a young couple looking at a diamond. The guy was talking about "good cut" & the colour was "good". I wanted to ask him just what "good" meant. hahaha Then I thought I would corner the couple in the parking lot & tell them about all the sites I could. haha Damiani actually has some good & fair pricing. The only thing is that most of their stones are GemScan appraised & they have no Sarins on them. They also get GIA stones, but again, no further info re:cut. Perhaps you should be looking to buy online.
I know where the Fed. Express depot is in Buffalo.

As for the retail jewelery stores in Toronto. Forget it, they will try to belittle your knowledge at any degree to make you second guess what you know & what you want. Damiani actually complimented me on my diamond & said I had "purchased wisely".


Judy
:)
 

nextinline

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
12
My boyfriend and I just started looking at rings last week, and have been doing online research at the same time.

Our first stop [for no particular reason other than it was in the mall] was Bailey Banks & Biddle. The guy we dealt with there was actually super. He really took the time to go over all the diamond education with us, and I tried on a great number of rings [even after I fell in love with the eternity style ring from the Ritani endless love collection]. The only pressure we got was to open a charge account to check credit, which we did, but it can theoretically be cancelled within a month and not show up on a credit report.

Then last night we went to a different mall and checked out some other stores for comparison, and what a joke! We went to the standard shlocky stores, and it was like a sitcom with those salespeople! The first woman was way too chipper and tried to sell us the most horrid, huge [but miraculously cheap] rings without speaking at all of the specifics of the diamonds. The next store had a nice salesewoman, but their selection was incredibly limited and she turned us over to her boss/the owner who went on and on about how we're getting a great price, and he buys and certifies the diamond himself, and he takes the loss selling them this way, and we can't get a better deal or warrantee, etc. etc. It was horrible!
There's more, but I'll spare you.


Although we're still researching online and checking into all options, since we really loved a particular ring on that first day we may just buy it there through that salesman; it seems easiest, and I think we're getting a decent value [GIA cert. 1/2CT Princess G S1 and 1/3CT total of pave G VS for $3,900, and the matching .23CT GH/VS wedding band for $1,300]. Plus, I don't know where else I'd find that ring or how crazy it would be to get the stone separately from the setting.

Does anyone know what the BB&B markup is? We are still wondering if we could purchase the setting from them and the diamond somewhere else maybe (if they allow us to)...

Cheers,
us.
 

gilmore

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
3
If you are looking online, check out ultimatediamond.com. I found them to be very direct with information about diamonds and were able to custom make the ring I wanted.
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Thank you all for your true words.

The Pricescope vendors cannot write what you are writing so thank you.
 

spicolicpa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Messages
243
Man this is so right on with my experiences I can not believe it.
 

nextinline

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
12
----------------
On 10/23/2003 1:24:46 PM dimonbob wrote:

Thank you all for your true words.

The Pricescope vendors cannot write what you are writing so thank you.
----------------
Um, what exactly do you mean by that Dimonbob?
 

mike04456

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
1,441


----------------
On 10/23/2003 12:23:20 PM nextinline wrote:





Does anyone know what the BB&B markup is? We are still wondering if we could purchase the setting from them and the diamond somewhere else maybe (if they allow us to)...

----------------

Mall markup is typically pretty high--a lot higher than an internet vendor and usually more than an independent store.



BB&B might have designed that ring themselves, but I doubt it. More likely, it's a design they got from a wholesale manufacturer, which means it's out there other places if you look for it.



Note that plenty of internet vendors sell complete ring sets. You don't need to put it all together yourself.

 

nextinline

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
12
Much thanks, LawGem. We just called Ritani directly and they said that they only sell the rings via retail, and that the rings come fully assembled.

So, I guess we'll just go to BB&B, it makes the decision easier. I think the boyfriend is going to see if he can get the best diamond he can for the smaller size we're getting [the 1CT was rather awkward looking on my finger]. And, they're having a sale in two weeks too...

We'll check out Ritani prices at other retailers first, if we can find them.
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
"Um, what exactly do you mean by that Dimonbob?"

If any of us wrote what we know about B&M experiences it would look like we were bad mouthing the B&M mall stores and it would make us look bad. Most of us try to walk a higher path and not sling mud like a bunch of politicians.
It makes for better business.
 

canadiangrrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
787
To the poster who asked about Birks...I checked out Birks a few months ago (around the time that I wrote my initial rant I mean post) and found that they have some engagement rings of excellent quality. However....(and it's a big "however")...their prices are exhorbitant. No big surprise. I found their price points on engagement rings to be on par with Tiffany's in Toronto (less than two blocks away from Birks on Bloor.) And the staff I dealt with at Birks ranged from helpful and semi-knowledgeable to aggressive and incompetent. I saw no reason to pay their mark up, and still don't.
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,806
I agree with Canadiangrrls evalutaion of Birks. If you want to pay a HUGE markup, go there. If not, shop around. I found mine at Damiani in Wopridge, oops, Woodbridge.
Please, no Italians trash me, I'm one of you! I went looking at a lot of family/independent places including Dundas Square downtown but found nothing. I thought Damiani had a pretty good selection, plus they carry Scott Kay. If I hadnt of gone with SK, I did find a couple other styles I would have been happy with.

Now go shopping & stay out of Peoples/Mappins/Koby Jewelers! LOL You want SOME kind of quality dont you?!!

Judy
:)

Canadiangrrl, did you get your ring after all? I dont remember if you did or not. If yes, where did you get it eventually?
 

canadiangrrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
787
Hi Judy,

We recently purchased our stone and setting through DCD. The completed ring is currently being appraised by Rich Sherwood, and will then be sent to my better half. He's in the DC area, I'm in Toronto...but I'll be down for a weekend visit in one week's time...all being well, I should have my ring by then.
I am too excited to wait much longer, I can't wait to see & wear my ring!!!


Thanks for asking.
 
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