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Opinions on buying with/without certification

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Hi everyone,

I am looking into purchasing a center stone for a setting for an engagement ring. I do not have the largest budget ($3000-3500) so money is a big factor when finding the right center stone. I am working with my local jeweler who we have used in the past. He is not trying to pressure me into buying something I would not be happy with.

I am looking for a center stone round cut between 0.5-0.75 carat, very good-excellent cut, G-H color, SI1-SI2. Because money is a factor, I am looking at the best combination of the 4 C's to look very nice at the naked eye. The stones I have been looking at with the jeweler have been about $2000 (plus the setting for $1500). He showed me some nice looking stones around 0.75ct and 5.8mm in diameter. They looked very nice, but the drawback is that they are not certified. He will be getting some more in this week that are closer to 0.5ct with similar specs, but they will obviously have a smaller diameter and they will have certifications.

Basically my options through him with my budget will be 0.75ct not certified or 0.5ct certified, H-range color, very good-excellent cut, SI1-SI2 clarity for about $2000. Carat is not a major concern, but rather the diameter of the diamond not looking too small.

I am very comfortable with this jeweler and would like to buy the setting and stone from him, but I was curious what you all think about my options through him compared getting the loose stone from somewhere like James Allen where I could possibly get the larger size AND certification. Is the visual size difference between 0.5ct and 0.75ct worth it? Is a certification seriously important when dealing with smaller stones? Or would I be better off getting the smaller carat stone because it would be certified and doing all of my business locally compared to ordering a diamond I have never seen in person?

Thanks!
 

farrahlyn

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
1,170
Is there a noticeable difference in size between .5 and .75? Yes, absolutely! What kind of setting are you looking at? I definitely think you should be pricing out a stone + setting at JA or the like to see what you can get for your money.

I mean, for the price you're looking at, you could go with a Whiteflash ACA stone (these are super ideal stones) and get around .6ct and have a STUNNING diamond.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3710280.htm

There is a lot to be said for shopping in person but if you buy online, it can almost always be returned, you're not just stuck with it. Buy from a reputable vendor and look at return policies closely.

ETA: as far as smaller stones, yes cut is still important. if not more so!
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,746
I’m a big fan of supporting local jewelers and there’s nothing really ‘certified’ about diamonds anyway. The problem is that you aren’t buying a stone that’s not been graded, you’re buying a stone that’s been graded by HIM. What you’re saving is the GIA grading fees and possibly some shipping. The fee for stones like you’re talking about is under $100 and a single grade variation on either color or clarity changes the price by about $300. That’s not crazy, but it’s definitely betting on his/her grading skills. This gets particularly tricky when you get into cut grading, which is not an especially easy task and doing it to GIA standards takes practice and some decidedly exotic tools.

#2, diamonds are typically priced by weight, and the price per carat goes up as the weight goes up. It’s not linear and there are distinct steps. Importantly for you, one of those steps is at over/under 0.70cts. One of the ways to keep the budget down is to duck right below these steps. In your case, check out 0.6x weights.

#3. $1500 is quite a bit for a mounting unless it’s pretty fancy. Is this just a thumbnail budget or is the price of a particular piece that you’ve got your eye on?
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,495
Rather than getting an uncertified "G/H" "Si1/Si2" with an unknown cut quality I would rather get a certified stone... you can get something like this JA J VS2 ideal cut.
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.74-carat-j-color-vs2-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-2171501

The stones are uncertified because they aren't really G/H color or Si1/Si2 clarity... if they were, they'd be more expensive. That's just all there is to it. You may not realize you're looking at lower colored or lower clarity stones but you are, because that is the price tradeoff you are making. Make it knowingly instead of unknowingly.
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
The setting is a split shank halo design very similar to this one:
http://www.since1910.com/images/products/cushion-halo-split-shank-diamond-engagement-ring-snt313-1-c.png

I understand the value of buying a stone online. I am the type of person who feels more secure seeing something in person and then making a decision. But the fact that I want the largest looking stone and would definitely prefer a GIA certification with it tempts me to order from a site like James Allen. I like that you can see the actual stone, zoom, and 360 view.

I found a few on JA that are within my price range and look pretty good overall. When talking with one of their specialists, it seems the first one is the best option based on the inclusions, angles and proportions.
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.64-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1059615

Two others:
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.70-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2226816

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.65-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2143794

I will be looking at some stones closer to 0.5ct with certifications later this week so I guess that will give me a good comparison between them and the uncertified ones I looked at with him.

@denverappraiser - The specific split shank halo mounting in 14k white gold is $1500. That was the price he got from his vender when he called. I am planning to deal in cash so I could potentially get the pricing down a little bit. I will find the specs on the mounting when I go in on Friday to help get a better idea if it is a good price. I at least wanted to get the mounting in person and he has been the only place I have found the exact style I am looking for
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Also if anyone could tell me about buying loose diamonds online (specifically from James Allen) and what the experience has been like, I would greatly appreciate it. Like I mentioned, there is always something a bit scary about buying online even if they do offer real photos of individual stones. However, I do not want to limit myself just to what is local because I'm sure there actually are some worthy purchases online. Thanks!
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
10,604
I have purchased from WF, blue Nile and James Allen online and had great experiences from all three!
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Do you prefer one site over the other? Or did it just depend on what was available when you were purchasing?
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,633
Ive only bought from Blue Nile and I've had great results, including when buying blind. I'm open to buying from several places mentioned here, but I've had no reason to leave blue nile.

My first engagement ring isn't certified and was bought from a local jeweler. I received plenty of compliments on it and it is a sparkler.

I really like that online places list everything out so that you know what you are getting.
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Messages
6,377
I would recommend reaching out to ID Jewelry. They are known to work miracles with people's budgets and get you the most bang for the buck. If you search PS, you will find lots of threads with happy outcomes.
 

Diamond_Hawk

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
1,221
Another thing you may want to consider before buying a stone that is not lab graded (GIA or AGS preferably) is an upgrade policy. You and your partner may consider upgrading and getting a larger diamond later on. A lab report can makes it much easier to trade in your diamond at a later date. Whoever you buy from, do consider their policy on upgrades.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
10,604
I personally prefer WF diamonds because of their cut but all three were great to work with.
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
So I met with my jeweler again today and he was able to find a 0.71ct stone GIA certified with excellent cut, SI2, H color and the price is $2000 plus the $1500 setting. Also has no florescence. The spread of the stone is about 5.75mm which is nice because to get a GIA stone he thought we would have to be around 0.5ct/5.4ish mm.

I looked at the stone. Looked extremely nice and I could not see any imperfections when trying to find some. I could barely see anything under 4x and finally only saw some imperfections under 10x. The great thing he pointed about about this particular stone is the main imperfection is right on the edge. He told me when it is mounted the prong will cover it up, making it look more like a VS quality stone.

The total weight will be 0.71 (center) and about 0.5 for the halo/split shank stones, so close to 1.25ct for $3500. I will be paying cash and he said he could knock of the tax (about $220). Is this a good price based on the given info or should I try negotiating more? He wants a $1500 deposit to at least get the process going.
 

gm89uk

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
1,449
it sounds like a reasonable price for the stone. Were the imperfections black or white? Have you got the certificate number? It is a bit worrisome he's admitting tax evasion to his customers..

I don't know about the ring.
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
The marks were white and not very noticeable like I mentioned. He's a pretty upfront guy so I think he was probably meaning he could take off the equivalent to what tax would be. I did not ask him for the certificate number, I should probably do that.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,633
I'd delete the part about the tax. I have had furniture companies not charge me the 3% credit card upcharge if I paid cash... maybe that is what he is offering...
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Sorry I am a little confused. Are you suggesting I should edit my post and take those words out? Or do you mean I should negotiate based on the $3500 price
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,495
gm89uk|1480721278|4104418 said:
it sounds like a reasonable price for the stone. Were the imperfections black or white? Have you got the certificate number? It is a bit worrisome he's admitting tax evasion to his customers..

I don't know about the ring.
I have had sooooooo many jewelers say this. WHY?!!?!? If the actual discount is on the credit card surcharge, like PS vendors give, why don't they just say that?

Roesler, we are saying that not paying sales tax is illegal, so if you're not paying it, at the very least you shouldn't be admitting so online.
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Ah, I guess I just took it as he would deduct a similar amount off before actually charging me the tax you know?
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
21,660

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Just received the GIA report from the jeweler. I guess it is actually an I color. Comparable stones on JA with the same specs are around $1500.

GIA # is 2237915903

Personally I thought it was a good looking stone based on where the imperfections were located, but I wasn't comparing it to anything else side by side and I am no expert at all. Let me know what you guys think because I am looking to get the process going asap. Setting the stone in the mounting and sizing will take 10 business days and I need it before January 3. Other than this stone, I would have to setting for something closer to 0.5ct GIA cert.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
906
Run the numbers from the GIA report and see if it's under 2. https://www.pricescope.com/tools/hca
I did a quick check and got a 3.6. You want any score under 2. This is a rejection tool, kind of like pass/fail to see if a stone is probably worth looking into.

search "cheat sheet for rounds" in this forum an read that thread. Also read
http://niceice.com/diamond-buying-secrets/15-seconds-diamond-buying-success/
http://niceice.com/diamond-buying-secrets/5-minutes-diamond-buying-success/

You want to buy a stone with great cut, because that's what gives it the performance. Avoid GIA "steep / deep" as Pricescope calls them. And maybe avoid deeper stones in general because they face up smaller. Sorry, but that's all the time I have to help.
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
I used the tool and came back with a 5.4 which I guess is considered good but not great. Although it looked good in person, I am starting to feel like $2000 for this stone is a little overpriced. Despite the I color it still looked good as far as minor imperfections, but I am wondering if JA is the way to go? The margin of profit is different for a local jeweler compared to online vender, so do you think I should pass on the stone he showed me and go to JA or is the stone he showed me actually quite good and worth it if I could get the price down a little?

I found this comparable JA stone that got a 2.0 with the rating tool ($1840)
https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.71-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2124546

And this JA stone got a 1.6 ($1970)
https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.70-carat-i-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2249854
 

roesler723

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
12
Ahhh this is overwhelming with not much time left haha...

This one may possibly be the winner based on the JA expert's opinion and my own comparison. Also happens to have a 1.3 rating on the HCA tool and is the cheapest at $1790
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.64-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1059615

If anyone could give some insight, specifically on this stone and the one for $1860 I would really appreciate it. These seem pretty similar and when money is a concern, seems like the size between the two based on the spread dimensions would be virtually identical (within 0.1mm)

Also wondering if it is okay as a buyer to ask to negotiate me jeweler's price on the mounting if I choose to go with a stone I get myself?

Please let me know guys! You've all been a great help so far!
 

gm89uk

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
1,449
roesler723|1480856566|4104681 said:
I used the tool and came back with a 5.4 which I guess is considered good but not great. Although it looked good in person, I am starting to feel like $2000 for this stone is a little overpriced. Despite the I color it still looked good as far as minor imperfections, but I am wondering if JA is the way to go? The margin of profit is different for a local jeweler compared to online vender, so do you think I should pass on the stone he showed me and go to JA or is the stone he showed me actually quite good and worth it if I could get the price down a little?

I found this comparable JA stone that got a 2.0 with the rating tool ($1840)
https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.71-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2124546

And this JA stone got a 1.6 ($1970)
https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.70-carat-i-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2249854
I would avoid that JA stone, looks very cloudy.

"https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.70-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2226816" you said you got a 1.1 score, I think you miscalculated. The proportions are not good.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.64-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1059615 looks good, if they can claim it was eye clean. Personally I wouldn't want a back inclusion dead in the centre of the table but if the price is right and it's not visible then why not. Proportion wise it looks nice.
 
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