Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

New member shopping for e-ring

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
Hi everyone. I've been shopping for a good diamond for a few months now, and I have read plenty of the literature and messages on this site and others. I feel like I'm on my way to having a pretty good understanding of what I'm purchasing. But I thought this community might be useful in helping me avoid potential mistakes along the way. It's a lot of money, after all, and an important purchase.

This could also serve as a sort of journal to track my process, as some of you seem interested in hearing the whole story around a particular purchase and proposal and such. I must warn you now that I'm not succinct. Try as I might, I don't write short posts. I apologize if I ramble from time to time.

Anyway, here's where I'm at now. Early, I acknowledged my neurosis. I want the best. Based on my price range, I want the best available. Doesn't matter what it is. Cars, TVs, shoes, jewelry. Immediately I committed to getting a 1.10ct, D/E, IF/VVS, ideal cut stone. I could do that, but I now realize it's just not the right way to do this. Not the right use of my money. The truth is that my gf has very little concern for the size of the diamond (no, really). She's still wavering between yellow gold and platinum. Anyway, I've reluctantly lowered my standards over time.

In the search engines, I'm currently looking for:
Round brilliant
0.94-1.09ct
F-G color
VVS2-VS2 clarity
Excellent - Ideal cut

I feel like that will give me some reasonable options. I've lowered my budget to $6500, but unless it's a remarkable cut, I'm expecting to find plenty of stones in the $5000-$5500 range. I've seen a few SI1 stones, and they just weren't clean enough for me. And I can't really say whether an H color is ok yet because I need to compare them in person.
----
Given 10-200 matching search results, I pick a few that look interesting, and I run proportions of each possible stone through the HCA. I expect a well cut diamond to show me a score there of, say, 1.3-2.5 or so, and I've noticed that much better results (or rather, better scores) are achieved when you do have the crown angle (and not just a percentage).
I then plug everything into the AGA/NAJA cut class grader just to see what it comes up with. I expect that to fairly confirm the cert's cut grade and the HCA score. If everything is adding up, then the stone stays in my pile of potentials, and I put it in my spreadsheet.

I like sellers who provide other imaging results (IdealScope, or various other reflectors and scanners). I will gladly take those into consideration and appreciate not having to ask to get them. If I'm interested in a stone, I will ask the seller for a better 10x or 30x photo so I can confirm the symmetry and the inclusions that are on the certificate.

So that's pretty much my strategy. Now I just wait for the right deal. I'll go look at some diamonds in person around town just to get an idea of grade comparisons that's not just online. And I have some personal contacts in the trade I need to get a hold of to see what they can do for me. I realize prices went up pretty significantly recently, so I'm hoping they will ease back down over the coming weeks. I really just want to get the perfect stone I'm looking for and get on to the more important proposal part of this whole thing.

I'm open to any tips, recommendations, or critiques. Remember, I don't know what I'm talking about; I just think I do based on what I've read. But I do appreciate any help you can offer.
 

nfowife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
544
For a well-cut stone, I think your budget is too low. I just plugged in your specs in the PS search function and the cheapest with an HCA under 2 is almost $8400. Online dealers sell diamonds at very slim margins, so even if they are making 20% (and they are definitely not!) then that brings the lowest price down to about $6700- which is still above your current budget. And even if you have contacts in the biz, no one is going to give you a diamond without making something off the deal. I bought my diamond from a reputable vendor used often here on PS. When I took it to the appraiser he was able to tell me what the dealer's price was and I actually paid about 6% above that.
There are no real "steals" in diamonds- you just have to look for a fair price. Just my opinion. Best of luck!
 

nfowife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
544
Yes, as cluless showed, you can get to around a carat, but you are going to have to compromise somewhere on color and/or clarity to get there. F-G and up to VS2 and you're not going to get that (again, in a well-cut stone) for $6500. The ones he posted are J/SI stones.
 

IbrahimSS

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
71
Let me start by saying I'm no expert.... just a man who recently bought a diamond.

What I learned is that most people will tell you the value is in the G-I colors and that you can't tell the difference basically with anything SI1 or over if the inclusions are in the right place.

I'm not 100% sure what your goal is however. There seems to be good reason to buy very good stones ie colorless (D-G) nearly flawless (FL-VVS) but none of them seem to be so the stone simply looks pretty. From what I can tell, people who are buying these high quality stones are looking for investments or are connoisseurs of diamonds. For general day to day wear these types of quality don't seem to be detectable or in any way advantageous in appearance to the normal eye. You may be able to get a larger stone which she may appreciate more for your budget if you modify your specs to a more visually appealing set of criteria.

Check this guy out for info on how each of the four C affects the fifth and most important C: https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/what-diamond-to-buy
 

GoldieATX

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
35
Thanks for the excellent quick replies, folks. This was probably one of the most accurate and helpful statements one could make about this whole business:

IbrahimSS|1311004538|2971428 said:
From what I can tell, people who are buying these high quality stones are looking for investments or are connoisseurs of diamonds. For general day to day wear these types of quality don't seem to be detectable or in any way advantageous in appearance to the normal eye.
I have trouble keeping that in mind while shopping. Marketing is a bitch, I tell you.

Anyway, you're all right. The market is what it is, and I'm not going to find some magic deal that compromises nothing. I will continue to whittle away at my standards if price really does end up being a key factor. That said, I have some questions about the certifying labs. Beyond the biggest retailers (Bluenile) and those regularly praised and recommended here (e.g., GoodOldGold), there are many online diamond houses that offer EGL reports. I realize that standards differ from one grader to another. But it seems like the difference in price of the diamonds is far greater than [I can only assume must be] the difference in price of the grading services. I’m sure you industry guys have been through this countless times on these boards, but bear with me.

So, say I'm willing to acknowledge that an EGL F/G stone may be an H on the GIA scale, and that it's possible a VS1 could be a VS2 or lower in a stricter lab. If I find an Ex/Ideal EGL stone rated G VS1, and it is cheaper than a similar H SI1 stone with a GIA cert, and I confirm the expected clarity with microscope photos from the seller, I'm better off buying the cheaper diamond--right? If the proportions are correct, the color/clarity are within acceptable ranges, it seems very well cut, and the imagery looks good, then why pay more? This is for a ring, not a museum or an investment trust.

Here are some examples to illustrate my...theory. Granted, with such tight search params, the results are limited, but this is just an exercise.

I search multiple sites for GIA/AGS-graded diamonds .93-.95ct, H-I, SI1-SI2, Ex-Ideal cut.

Blue Nile - .94ct Ideal H SI2 - GIA - http://www.bluenile.com/diamond-search?track=head#diamonds_pid=LD02159816
HCA 1.3, AGA 1B
$5408 ($5753 per carat)

B2C Jewels - .94ct Excellent H SI1 - GIA - http://www.b2cjewels.com/dd-2115070-0.94-carat-Round-diamond-H-color-SI1-Clarity.aspx
HCA 1.8, AGA 1B
$4680 ($4979 per carat)

WhiteFlash - .93ct Excellent I SI1 - GIA - http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-2656450.htm
HCA 4.1 (!), AGA 1B
$4604 ($4950 per carat)

James Allen - .94ct Ideal I SI2 - AGS - http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/I-SI2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1392286.asp
HCA 1.9, AGA 1B
$4360 ($4638 per carat)



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

Next, I search for EGL-graded stones .93-.95ct, F-G, VS1-VS2, Ex-Ideal:

Union Diamond - .95ct Ideal G VS1 - EGL - http://www.uniondiamond.com/AE0149676
HCA 0.8, AGA 1A*
$4292 ($4517 per carat)

Brilliance.com - .93ct Ideal G VS1 - EGL - http://www.brilliance.com/diamonds/0.93-carat-round-g-color-vs1-clarity-super-ideal-cut-egl-certified-loose-diamond-D12200985
HCA 1.3, AGA 1A*
$3506 ($3769 per carat)

Diamondsafe.com - .94ct Excellent G VS2 - EGL - http://www.diamondsafe.com/jewelry/certified/diamonds/looseitem.aspx?diamonds=st8982742&shape=ROUND
HCA 0.8, AGA 1B*
$4125 ($4388 per carat)

Diamondsafe.com - .93ct Excellent G VS2 - EGL - http://www.diamondsafe.com/jewelry/certified/diamonds/looseitem.aspx?diamonds=st8722915&shape=ROUND
HCA 1.2, AGA 1B*
$4628 ($4976 per carat)



--------

Ok, so it took a lot longer than I expected to find examples (with certs) within such a small range of specs. And again, it’s a super small sample. That said, here’s the summary:

GIA/AGS
4 items ranging from I/SI2 to H/SI1
Price per carat ranging $4638-5753 (avg $5080)

EGL
4 items ranging from G/VS2 to G/VS1
Price per carat ranging $3769-4976 (avg $4412)


So, even if you consider an average variance of 1-2 color grades and 1-2 clarity grades, a stone with an EGL cert still offers an average discount of about 13% off the GIA/AGS-graded price.

-------

Ok, we all know there’s little real statistical meaning here. But anecdotally, it’s interesting. If I found a stone with an EGL USA report that offers more points, 2 grades higher color, and 2 grades higher clarity than a comparably priced stone with a GIA cert, I think I would consider buying it over the GIA option. Certainly, I would have to see supporting imagery to ensure it’s not way off in terms of cut or clarity. But all I’m saying is every EGL diamond isn’t worth ignoring outright.

Think of this way. Say I buy that Brilliance.com stone. EGL says it’s .93ct Ideal cut, G color, VS1 clarity. Actually I just noticed Solomon has the same diamond for $3354 cash. Now say I throw out the EGL cert and send it to GIA, and I pay them approximately $100 for a diamond grading report. A fair estimate suggests they’ll come back and tell me I have an Excellent cut, I color, SI1 stone on my hands. If I’m, say, the owner of WhiteFlash.com, I look at my inventory, and I bet I can sell that stone with the GIA cert (and much better HCA proportions) for over $4600. I paid under $3500 for the rock and the report (retail!). That reads easy money to me, does it not? Even if the color ends up being J, I'm still making profit.

Ok I’ve been working on this little experiment for too long. What do you think? I’m new here; am I just way off base? Of the 8 diamonds I listed above, which is the best value to you, based on the numbers and any info on the website? Me, I think I’d be asking for more info on the Union Diamond .95ct piece and pursuing that, notwitstanding any idealscope tragedy.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,498
That union stone is graded by EGL Israel which is one of th looser EGL labs...you may want to go up higher in color/clarity.
You can always order it and have it apprasied locally by a GIA person to see what you really have.

If you want to go EGL, EGL USA is more realistic in its grading (at least thats the word).
 

noobiediamond

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
38
Puting color an clarity aside.... EGL Israel ex, ex, ex is generally not going to be the same as AGS000. If the diamond would yield great cut measurements from GIA and AGS than odds are the stone would have been graded by those labs. This is what I have found out when buying my stone. I first purchased a EGL ex, ex, ex according to their grading and the certified GIA appraiser said it was a "good" cut at best. You get what you pay for..... In my opinion.
 

thbmok

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2010
Messages
891
GoldieATX|1311061148|2972012 said:
Think of this way. Say I buy that Brilliance.com stone. EGL says it’s .93ct Ideal cut, G color, VS1 clarity. Actually I just noticed Solomon has the same diamond for $3354 cash. Now say I throw out the EGL cert and send it to GIA, and I pay them approximately $100 for a diamond grading report. A fair estimate suggests they’ll come back and tell me I have an Excellent cut, I color, SI1 stone on my hands. If I’m, say, the owner of WhiteFlash.com, I look at my inventory, and I bet I can sell that stone with the GIA cert (and much better HCA proportions) for over $4600. I paid under $3500 for the rock and the report (retail!). That reads easy money to me, does it not? Even if the color ends up being J, I'm still making profit.
Unless you know how to grade diamonds yourself, don't expect to be able to outsmart sellers. Sellers are free to sell diamonds with whichever lab report they like, and in all likelihood will choose to sell with the reports that are most profitable for them. "Under-priced deals" may exist, but they will not be from sellers who sell diamonds for a living. Please read [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/gia-vs-egl-usa-vs-egl-international-which-is-the-best-deal.162154/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/gia-vs-egl-usa-vs-egl-international-which-is-the-best-deal.162154/[/URL]
 

IbrahimSS

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
71
GoldieATX|1311061148|2972012 said:
Thanks for the excellent quick replies, folks. This was probably one of the most accurate and helpful statements one could make about this whole business:

IbrahimSS|1311004538|2971428 said:
From what I can tell, people who are buying these high quality stones are looking for investments or are connoisseurs of diamonds. For general day to day wear these types of quality don't seem to be detectable or in any way advantageous in appearance to the normal eye.
Thanks... I'm glad the statement helps. Stick to these forums and the folks around here will help you get away from the marketing hype and get you a really nice stone. I'm just an idiot dude who has to buy one of these darn things for his girlfriend to make her happy. I think a lot of the guys who swing by these forums are in the same shoes. The most interesting article there is on this site and others in my humble opinion is the one about price vs appearance relative to the four Cs. I think that's really much more insightful than anything I can say and will help you keep focused on what matters to you.
 

MissGotRocks

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
12,672
If you are after the best cut, then you can reasonably step down on color and clarity - particularly from the D/E, VVS range. Most folks do have to make some compromise in some area but most people here that have had the pleasure of seeing very well ideal cut stones will not sacrifice cut.

The EGL graded stones are sent to EGL for a reason. If they would garner top cut grades, they would have been sent to GIA/AGS for grading reports as they would then fetch more money. The EGL graded stones are generally not top of the line cuts and the color and clarity can be greatly misrepresented. If you are accustomed to having the best, don't skimp on this purchase. I fear you will be greatly disappointed. This is hopefully a once in a lifetime purchase so try to get the best specs on color, clarity and especially cut you can stretch to afford. The difference is great and with diamonds, like most other things, you will definitely only get what you pay for. You wouldn't be the first poster to try to rationalize some of this out with EGL vs. GIA/AGS ideal cut stones but experience has shown that people usually end up not so enthralled with what they get.

I say this not to be preachy but you preface your post with the fact that you only buy the best. If that is your mindset - and I certainly appreciate that - do it this time as well. There truly are no deals or bargains in this business. I too learned this the hard way but primarily because this information was not available to me at the time I was purchasing. If you want a top of the line cut, stick with some of the branded stones that you will find through vendors here on PS. You'll end up with a mind blowing stone and a very happy fiancee!
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    Style File: Julia Roberts
    Style File: Julia Roberts

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top