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Newbie: Poor diamond retail browsing experience

big10fan

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
10
Hello All,

I am new here, but anticipate leveraging your nice space here for future questions and assistance.

I ventured out over the past week for my first time ever looking at settings and loose diamonds. I was deeply disappointed in the loose stones that I came across. I visited about a dozen jewelers looking at rounds .8-.9 VGS2-SI1 H-I, Excellent cut. All of the retailers played their stones up, as expected, but when I secretly pulled in to HCA, I didn't come across one stone less than 3. I mentioned to them I was interested only in stones with certain advanced (table, depth, etc.) parameters, and for the most part they all chuckled and insisted their stones were great based on the 4C's and naked eye. Another comment I reguarlaly received was "look at that sparkle, it's beautiful, she won't even notice"...frankly I couldn't even tell it wasn't ideal with my untrained eyes, but I'm a numbers guy so it just didn't feel right agreeing purely on naked eye.

Is this attitude to be expected from local diamond sellers? I'm a bit disappointed they scoffed at my wants and only care about the 4 C's. How do you navigate the local retail market with people like this?

I'm in New Hampshire and willing to travel to Boston area if anyone has suggestions. Bang for the buck is important to me, i'd rather save $400 doing some footwork to find the quality rather than going to someone who sells quality at a premium.
 

soxfan

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
4,797
Hi, I'm from NH too! I don't even go to local jewelers any more. I use PS vendors and buy online. Not only higher quality, but more affordable as well. Can you give us more info on what you are looking for? The cut experts here can find you much better stones.....
 

big10fan

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
10
I'm definitely not 100% opposed to buying online, my biggest concern was the setting, so I shopped locally for settings and asked about loose diamonds while I was there. I figured it'd be a good idea to find a place where I like their settings and their stones, but this is proving difficult.

As for stones, I'm looking for:

~$3,000
something above 3/4ct (preferably closer to 0.85)
G/H Color - Originally I started looking at I for value, IDK how I got to G/H, open to thoughts
VGS2/SI1 Quality - Originally only looking at SI1, got annoyed with the inclusions I saw in person with those SI1's, so opened up to VGS2 as well
HCA <2
Excellent+ on Cut/Polish/Symmetry
Flouresence I think I want none, I'm still unsure on the influence of this as much as I read about it, I think I'd need to see a side by side to really decide.
Preferably a table on the larger side (57%) for the best top-down view
 

ac117

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
3,696
Hello! Here are a few suggestions...G/H, VS/SI1 is doable for a .75 stone but to get closer to .85 it looks like you might have to drop to an I color (which many people here have and love! but do you know HER color tolerance?). Florescence is personal preference but not a bad thing at all as long as there is no hazy/milky effect - they are also a great value. I have a G with SBF and :love: her so much!

https://enchanteddiamonds.com/diamonds/view/R75-346974865

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3667379.htm

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.81-carat-i-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1908666

I'm still looking...
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
21,683
What kind of setting are you looking for? That might help us narrow down where to find you a stone on-line. The nice thing
about shopping on-line is that you have access to way more stones than you'll find at any store.

So, type of setting and budget for setting?

Is this attitude to be expected from local diamond sellers? I'm a bit disappointed they scoffed at my wants and only care about the 4 C's. How do you navigate the local retail market with people like this?
Unfortunately, yes, this is what you will get at a lot of maul stores and some family owned stores however, I do think if you hunt
around enough you will find a jeweler who is willing to bring in what you want. I think most jewelers are going to try to sell you
what they have in store which probably is not going to meet your needs. The point of getting a well rounded tolkowsky cut stone is
to get one that will perform well in different lighting conditions and not just under the jeweler's lights. The parameters we use
(including the HCA) narrow specs down enough to eliminate most bad performers at the cost of eliminating a few decent performers.
 

WillyDiamond

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 7, 2004
Messages
1,273
soxfan|1468938563|4057095 said:
Hi, I'm from NH too! I don't even go to local jewelers any more. I use PS vendors and buy online. Not only higher quality, but more affordable as well. Can you give us more info on what you are looking for? The cut experts here can find you much better stones.....
+1.......OP reread Soxfan post, she hit the nail on the head for you.
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,298
WillyDiamond|1468942195|4057127 said:
soxfan|1468938563|4057095 said:
Hi, I'm from NH too! I don't even go to local jewelers any more. I use PS vendors and buy online. Not only higher quality, but more affordable as well. Can you give us more info on what you are looking for? The cut experts here can find you much better stones.....
+1.......OP reread Soxfan post, she hit the nail on the head for you.
+++1
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,750
big10fan|1468937746|4057092 said:
I'm in New Hampshire and willing to travel to Boston area if anyone has suggestions. Bang for the buck is important to me, i'd rather save $400 doing some footwork to find the quality rather than going to someone who sells quality at a premium.
A local showroom is unlikely to result in what you want. Their 'value add' isn't something you seem to value. I sort of doubt a showroom in Boston is going to work much better, for the same reasons, but at the very least call them up first and see if they're what you're looking for (retail store with inventory, discount prices competitive to internet sellers, HCA selection criteria, possibly other things).
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,750
ETA. Not all dealers use the HCA. In fact, most don't. You will not just happen to find a stone that is cut to optimize it. This is the result of a cutter deliberately aiming for that, and they sell it to dealers who are deliberately shopping for it.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,199
Cutting for better light performance means grinding away more expensive diamond material and sending it down the drain.
Since most of the diamond shopping public is cut-ignorant (and want the largest diamond possible) why should they cut a rough stone down to 0.8 ct if they can squeeze 1 carat out of it?
Everything sparkels like crazy under those jewelry store lights. :angryfire:

So really, the whole system is set up to give the cut-ignorant masses what they want.
And they want what they want because they don't know any better ... unless they come to Pricescope. ;))

Though disappointing, your brick and mortar jewelry store shopping experience is totally understandable.
That is why I will only buy a diamond online from the tried and tested vendors.
Personally, I love Whiteflash, Good Old Gold, High Performance Diamonds and Brian Gavin Diamonds.

Though reputable I avoid Bluenile because they refuse to offer pics and Idealscope images.
James Allen has nice pics, but I believe they no longer upload an Idealscope image with every listing; their competitors do.
I'd never buy a round that scores over 2.0 on the HCA, and one without an Idealscope image.
 

big10fan

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
10
I appreciate the insights, one other question. I've seen strict parameters suggested, for example a table between 55-57, depth between xx-xx.

When looking at the pricescope tool and sorting only on excellent HCA's, I see some that have a 59 table, or other parameters outside those guidelines given across the internet. What is the significance of adhering to those guidelines if the HCA is under 2.0 regardless?
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,177
big10fan|1468956592|4057270 said:
I appreciate the insights, one other question. I've seen strict parameters suggested, for example a table between 55-57, depth between xx-xx.

When looking at the pricescope tool and sorting only on excellent HCA's, I see some that have a 59 table, or other parameters outside those guidelines given across the internet. What is the significance of adhering to those guidelines if the HCA is under 2.0 regardless?
The numbers can be slightly off as long as HCA is under 2.0 and/or the "X" is situated within the solid line border on the graph, which represents AGS Ideal Proportions.

Crown 34-35 (but can be 33.5~35.5, or even 36.0 if you can get the idealscope image)
Pavilion 40.6-40.9 (But can be 40.5~41.0, again as long as the IS image is provided)
Table 54-58 (can be 54-60, if you do not mind a large table with smaller arrows and slight decrease in fire/sparkle)
Depth less than 62.3 (can be 62.5, as long as diameter is not greatly affected)
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,188
Hi Big10fan,
I feel your pain:)

Seriously, it is a minefield for many consumers.
Most stores would have ZERO idea about the type of details routinely discussed here on Pricescope- and it's truly a shame, because the knowledge of cut could help them in this very competitive marketplace. HCA has it's uses- but it's not a be all \end all- and many stones scoring above 2 on HCA are desirable and well worth buying. But if the seller has no idea what HCA is they won't be able to show you why.

So I agree that walking into your "typical jewelry store" is not going to net very good results.
But not all stores are like that. There's a few that will be able to discuss these issues in a relevant manner.
My best suggestion would be to post a thread asking for good jewelers in Boston. For sure there's a few on Washington St.



You've been given guidelines- and they are very nice guidelines, however by no means does that mean a stone outside one or more of the parameters can't be a winner. It would be in your interest to see more stones to help you decide what you love.

We do have some very skeptical members, who seem to feel that if a diamond is not cut exactly they way they think it should be cut ( heaven forbid a 59% table!!!), then a cutter somewhere is making a ton of extra money. This is generalizing and not accurate.
There's surely a lot of badly cut stones on the market- but overall technology has really improved, and there's less really bad stones out there. Hopefully you can find someplace to look at a number of well cut stones to see what you love.
 

big10fan

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
10
If you do work with a local jeweler and they are willing to find an HCA stone, then what? I'm assuming then these jewelers probably don't know what ideal-scope and ASET is? If they are buying from a wholesaler, should the jeweler have access to those images from the wholesaler, or does the jeweler themselves have to bring the diamond in to get those images? I don't want to set expectations with these jewelers to get me an HCA <2, and all these images, for it to turn out they have no clue nor the resources/equipment to show me. Do typical PS consumers buy and bring their own scopes?
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,188
Any stone can be run through HCA as long as you have the measurements.
In terms of IS/ASET- as I mentioned, most sellers have no idea what these tools are, but you will find some that do.
 

Tourmaline

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,795
big10fan|1468967287|4057332 said:
If you do work with a local jeweler and they are willing to find an HCA stone, then what? I'm assuming then these jewelers probably don't know what ideal-scope and ASET is? If they are buying from a wholesaler, should the jeweler have access to those images from the wholesaler, or does the jeweler themselves have to bring the diamond in to get those images? I don't want to set expectations with these jewelers to get me an HCA <2, and all these images, for it to turn out they have no clue nor the resources/equipment to show me. Do typical PS consumers buy and bring their own scopes?
Typical PS consumers do not buy diamonds at brick and mortar stores. They shop online. People here can find you an excellent diamond.
 

rockysalamander

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
5,022
If you don't mind the drive. The owner of Northampton Jewelers in Northampton MA is a real rock nerd. He does not have a huge inventory, but can get what you want. He's also a great goldsmith and can make a setting if you want custom oe semi custom. He sized up my platinum etoile wedding band, which 5 other jewellers said was impossible. It went from 8.75 to 10.75 and you can't see any sign, other than in the diamond pattern. He also replaced one melee stone that was aweful looking.

Also in Noho is Family Jewels...if you are into vintage and preloved. Call ahead for an appointment.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,750
big10fan|1468967287|4057332 said:
If you do work with a local jeweler and they are willing to find an HCA stone, then what? I'm assuming then these jewelers probably don't know what ideal-scope and ASET is? If they are buying from a wholesaler, should the jeweler have access to those images from the wholesaler, or does the jeweler themselves have to bring the diamond in to get those images? I don't want to set expectations with these jewelers to get me an HCA <2, and all these images, for it to turn out they have no clue nor the resources/equipment to show me. Do typical PS consumers buy and bring their own scopes?
The tools are cheap and easy to buy if you want. Taking images is a bit of a pain and takes both time and some practice (and the tools used by the people who take those really good images are really pricey). Most wholesalers don't do it, and most retailers who can, aren't interested in doing it if their margins are cut to the bone. The AGS member stores will often have an ASET scope that you can use 'real time' but that doesn't provide you with photos. They will also often have people on staff who have some practice at interpreting the things (or not). If you're interested, ask. Most AGS Lab graded stones will have the ASET image on the lab report.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,084
Here are the rosters of MA and NH jewelers who are members of AGS; I'm thinking those that are convenient to you & have an in-store lab accredited by AGS, could be good bricks-and-mortar jewelers to contact.
https://www.americangemsociety.org/en/massachusetts-jewelers
https://www.americangemsociety.org/en/newhampshire-jewelers

The AGS-accredited, in-store labs won't blow you away & they don't have to have the equipment and software necessary to generate Sarin reports (that's a very pricey set-up)
https://www.americangemsociety.org/en/accreditedgemlaborat-1
But it shows an interest and willingness to make an investment. So, hopefully, more likely to be conversant with IdealScopes and ASET & not blow off your interest in a stone's cut and performance.

A few of those also have an AGS-Certified Gemologist Appraiser on staff, as indicated by CGA following their name. Unlike AGS's Independent Certified Gemologist Appraisers (ICGA),
https://www.americangemsociety.org/en/titlesconfirmingmemb
working in a jewelry-diamond retail establishment does not disqualify you from the CGA credential. But AGS isn't a "diploma mill", and someone who has pursued and maintained the CGA accreditation, should be more "into" diamonds than the typical, B&M sales reps.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,633
I would stick within the numbers that ideal cut stones are most often found. You have to have some parameters, and I always buy my own stones within these parameters.

table: 54-58

depth: 60-62.3 (I'd never go deeper because it usually DOES affect diameter. I prefer 62 or less.)

crown angle: 34-35.0 (up to 35.5 crown angle can sometimes work with a 40.6 pav angle)

pavilion angle: 40.6-40.9 (sometimes 41.0 if the crown angle is close to 34)

That said, when I came here 10 years ago when my husband said we could get a new diamond ring for an anniversary, I looked locally, too. I found that the diamonds were not as well cut, and they cost more, and these were well regarded jewelers. So ever since then, every single diamond I have bought has been through jewelers I found here (specifically Good Old Gold and Whiteflash), and I only buy settings through them or have had them custom made by Victor Canera or Caysie van Bebber.

So, my best recommendation is to use the vendors above or other well regarded ones here and skip the frustration of trying to find something that really doesn't exist locally or if it does, it is overpriced. It's easiest when you can buy a stone and setting through the same jeweler, but sometimes custom is best for certain settings.
 

ChristineRose

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
926
It's a trade off, like so many other things. If you shop online you have to rely on the numbers and the vendor and it's much easier if you stick to the tightest possible parameters. If you shop in person you might find an attractive stone that out performs its numbers, but you have to deal with the fact that you'll mostly be shown bad stones.

At the very least find a dealer that sells truly premium cut stones and look at them and a variety of other stones in many possible lighting conditions. To say she won't notice the difference--that's just a lie. There may not be a difference between every premium cut stone and every HCA 3 stone, but don't kid yourself--there is a difference. If you are considering an I color, also look at that and a higher colored stone that is otherwise as similar as you can find. If your jeweler won't help you, move on. Buying online may not be a good fit for everyone, but if the alternative is a stone you're not happy with, you need to consider other options.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
My parameters are a little looser than DS. Alterations are: table 60 or less; depth I will allow 59-62.3.
 
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