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Question about ''beating'' a stone

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uncleezno

Rough_Rock
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Jan 14, 2009
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22
Hi guys,

I''ve picked out a stone for my GF''s ring, and I am happy with it. It''s an AGS000 .96 VS1 K round brilliant, and while I was reluctant to even look at a K stone, the cut is so great that the color isn''t noticeable at all. The price was around $4,200. Then, out of the blue, I get a call from a family friend. She used to own and operate a high-end jewelry store, and while she sold the store a few years back, she still maintains contact with all her suppliers and whatnot. She heard that I was in the market for a stone (her niece is my GF''s best friend), and offered to help me out. I know that she has helped other guys who are getting engaged to her niece''s friends out with stones, and so I told her what I had found already. She said she could do better, and as far as I can tell, she knows her stuff - she agreed that the cut is the most important element, but thinks she can get a stone of similar cut with better color at the same size for less money. I laughed and said I would certainly take a look at such a stone, and agreed to meet with her when I head back home next weekend. On top of that, she told me that she trusted me enough to let me take the stone back with me to where I live now, and compare it to the stone I''ve already got, free of charge.

Now, I''m certainly going to take her up on her offer - it''s not going to cost me anything, and it couldn''t hurt to look. The question I have is whether or not I should prepare to be disappointed. After reading tons of posts and FAQs and viewing numerous stones, the only way I can see her getting a comparable stone at a lower price is by not making any profit off of it. I suppose if she only does this sort of thing as a favor to friends, it''s possible. If it''s not what I expect, I don''t want to be rude and just brush her off. Any comments?
 

soycoffee

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
140
People who wholesale and do not maintain a big fancy storefront can offer you less expensive stones, because they don''t have to mark them up as much. My "diamond guy" is a wholesaler. To sell to regular customers, off wholesale, He only marks his stones up 20% from wholesale (and shows me the whole process as he does it--he beats any price on any stone that you can give him). Most B&M stores mark up much more than that, and those are the prices we''re used to.

So, don''t prepare to be disapointed. Keep being a savvy PS shopper, but she may really be able to help you!
 

uncleezno

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
22
Thanks for the advice, guys. I have idealscope and ASET images for the stone currently in my possession, but I don''t think it will be possible to get them for the new stone, as I am 100% certain that she doesn''t have the equipment. I could order a H&A viewer; maybe that''s the way to go.

Soycoffee - that''s really good to know. Hopefully she''ll find a real winner for me! Now my only hang up will be taking a stone with a GIA cert over my hard-earned AGS cert
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
I think stone-cold means for you to purchase the actual viewing scopes so you can evaluate the diamond yourself. It''s a good idea, and they''re not terribly expensive.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Feb 17, 2007
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14,167
Date: 4/10/2009 3:41:31 PM
Author: jstarfireb
I think stone-cold means for you to purchase the actual viewing scopes so you can evaluate the diamond yourself. It''s a good idea, and they''re not terribly expensive.
Yes. This is what I would do personally...and make SURE to compare them in a ton of different lighting environments.

If you bought your current stone online though (as I assume you did based on the price) unless she is making 0 profit she will be hard pressed to really beat your price with a better stone...but always worth it to try!
 

uncleezno

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
22
You guys are right - I''ll order an IS, and bring it with me when I compare the stones. And yes, I did find the stone through an online dealer. We''ll see if she makes good on her promise!
 

JulieN

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13,324
actually, I have little doubt that she could find a stone with better color, possibly bigger, for less money, that looks, more or less, just as good.

The price of super ideals should be paid by those who value ultra-high precision craftsmanship and that tiny marginal increase in performance.
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
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42,064
Date: 4/10/2009 6:31:30 PM
Author: JulieN
actually, I have little doubt that she could find a stone with better color, possibly bigger, for less money, that looks, more or less, just as good.

The price of super ideals should be paid by those who value ultra-high precision craftsmanship and that tiny marginal increase in performance.
Ditto
 

Stephan

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
2,917
When I visited Brian Gavin in 2005, he showed me 5 diamonds.
On the paper, without seeing the diamonds, I wanted to pick the most expensive.
I was pretty sure I would buy this one.
But in his office, when I asked for a loupe, he told me to choose with my eyes first, without loupe.
And i bought the cheapest diamonds, to my eyes the best looking one.
Of course, after choosing, Brian let me take a look at the diamonds with a loupe, and it didn''t make me change my decision.
;-)
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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May 3, 2001
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Date: 4/10/2009 6:31:30 PM
Author: JulieN
actually, I have little doubt that she could find a stone with better color, possibly bigger, for less money, that looks, more or less, just as good.


The price of super ideals should be paid by those who value ultra-high precision craftsmanship and that tiny marginal increase in performance.
Or perhaps those who are giving a gift of love as a special item and are happy knowing that they have purchased an item that represents less than one percent of all diamonds sold in the perfection of its cutting. The intangible aspects of a gift that will be forever a symbol of love and respect are certainly worth considering.

If you just want a cheap gift, there are many things that are cheaper than diamonds. If you want to give a diamond as the symbol of your love, why not get one that is cut so well that only a true expert can even appreciate it in casual viewing? You will ALWAYS know you got the very best, and so will she!

Wink
 

Stephan

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Date: 4/11/2009 11:55:56 AM
Author: Wink
If you want to give a diamond as the symbol of your love, why not get one that is cut so well that only a true expert can even appreciate it in casual viewing? You will ALWAYS know you got the very best, and so will she!
Wink
Hi Wink! Long time no see!

The very best? Hmm...
Many people pretend they sell the very best: Whiteflash, Bluenile, EightStar, Crafted by Infinity, Excel Diamonds, Good Old Gold and sooo much others. The same people sell a lot of diamonds deeper than 61.5% depth.
Yes, those diamonds are still beautiful.
But is this additional weight necessary?
To my eyes, the depth of the most beautiful diamonds I''ve seen never exceeded 60.5%.

Most ideal diamonds are certed by GIA and AGS, but the scintillation is not taken into account when these two laboratories judge beauty.
Especially GIA tries to glamorize deep diamonds.
Yield...

An example of this "ideal" illusion: years ago, everybody wanted an EightStar because they were the very best; today, nobody wants to buy them anymore because GIA says they are not ideal.
This is just an example, but everyone should learn a lesson.
 

uncleezno

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
22
Thank you all for the advice. It''s heartening to hear that you guys think I''ll be pleasantly surprised, and I certainly hope I will be! After I return from my trip quick up north next weekend, I''ll be sure to let you all know about the stone.


Thanks!
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 3, 2000
Messages
6,378
You might have found the best diamond you''ll get for the money already, but maybe you will be surprised. A dealer with great connections might best an established price. It can happen. However, you might also be fooled into a false belief by good salesmanship or the existing relationship guilt thing. Don''t compare unlike certs to one another. be very careful about non-GIA, non-AGS paperwork. Don''t try to become your own gemologist. There are small things which are very easy to get past a consumer which will have a drastic effect on value.

If you like the diamond this source gets for you better than the one you have, then you are free to consider buying it. Just don''t rtely only on yourself to make anything more than a gut reaction decision. If you are a technically astute type of buyer, you''ll need more data before making an informed choice. Best of luck with the process.
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
Date: 4/11/2009 11:55:56 AM
Author: Wink


Date: 4/10/2009 6:31:30 PM
Author: JulieN
actually, I have little doubt that she could find a stone with better color, possibly bigger, for less money, that looks, more or less, just as good.


The price of super ideals should be paid by those who value ultra-high precision craftsmanship and that tiny marginal increase in performance.
Or perhaps those who are giving a gift of love as a special item and are happy knowing that they have purchased an item that represents less than one percent of all diamonds sold in the perfection of its cutting. The intangible aspects of a gift that will be forever a symbol of love and respect are certainly worth considering.

If you just want a cheap gift, there are many things that are cheaper than diamonds. If you want to give a diamond as the symbol of your love, why not get one that is cut so well that only a true expert can even appreciate it in casual viewing? You will ALWAYS know you got the very best, and so will she!

Wink
I agree with Julie on this one.

Wink- For many, giving the best does not always mean the most super ideal cut. It could mean high color, high clarity or both. Neither of which would be cheap and in fact, much more expensive that a lower color/ clarity super ideal combo.

As far as an expert appreciating it, how often are we surrounded by experts- in perfect lighting, within direct view of their vision that they're able to see that slight difference in performance to be wowed. Not often at all.

I'm more concerned with getting a GREAT cut without having to sacrifice the other C's.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,475
Date: 4/13/2009 1:10:57 PM
Author: elle_chris
Date: 4/11/2009 11:55:56 AM

Author: Wink



Date: 4/10/2009 6:31:30 PM

Author: JulieN

actually, I have little doubt that she could find a stone with better color, possibly bigger, for less money, that looks, more or less, just as good.



The price of super ideals should be paid by those who value ultra-high precision craftsmanship and that tiny marginal increase in performance.

Or perhaps those who are giving a gift of love as a special item and are happy knowing that they have purchased an item that represents less than one percent of all diamonds sold in the perfection of its cutting. The intangible aspects of a gift that will be forever a symbol of love and respect are certainly worth considering.


If you just want a cheap gift, there are many things that are cheaper than diamonds. If you want to give a diamond as the symbol of your love, why not get one that is cut so well that only a true expert can even appreciate it in casual viewing? You will ALWAYS know you got the very best, and so will she!


Wink
I agree with Julie on this one.


Wink- For many, giving the best does not always mean the most super ideal cut. It could mean high color, high clarity or both. Neither of which would be cheap and in fact, much more expensive that a lower color/ clarity super ideal combo.


As far as an expert appreciating it, how often are we surrounded by experts- in perfect lighting, within direct view of their vision that they''re able to see that slight difference in performance to be wowed. Not often at all.


I''m more concerned with getting a GREAT cut without having to sacrifice the other C''s.
When the diamonds are clean it may be difficult to see the difference. When they are even a little bit dirty the difference becomes much more obvious. Most of us wear diamonds that are almost always at least a little bit dirty.

For me, cut is king, with it color and clarity become very unimportant to the beauty of the diamond in the normal range of diamonds used for jewelry. Without good cut, even a D-IF can look like a lifeless lump of crystallized carbon.

Wink
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
You're right. Cut comes first. Not debating that.

What I'm saying is that you can still have a beautiful stone without it having to be a super ideal and "most" people would never know. But what they can see is color and or clarity.

Like Julie said, it's what you place more importance on. But to call anything other than a super ideal cheap, well, I disagree.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
I too agree with Julie and Elle. From what I gather, Uncleezno is trying to find the ''best'' diamond within his budget.He is not attempting to be "cheap." To me, cut trumps, but that may not be the case for all buyers. Look at those who love antique stones. I will buy again from Brian in a heartbeat, provided that the colour and clarity exceed a certain floor. When I was looking for my e-ring, a PS vendor (James Allen, I think) wouldn''t let me look at an SI2 stone, even though it was a H&A.I appreciated their honesty.

Uncleezno,
Wishing you the best of luck!
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,475
Date: 4/13/2009 2:13:51 PM
Author: Harriet
I too agree with Julie and Elle. From what I gather, Uncleezno is trying to find the ''best'' diamond within his budget.He is not attempting to be ''cheap.'' To me, cut trumps, but that may not be the case for all buyers. Look at those who love antique stones. I will buy again from Brian in a heartbeat, provided that the colour and clarity exceed a certain floor. When I was looking for my e-ring, a PS vendor (James Allen, I think) wouldn''t let me look at an SI2 stone, even though it was a H&A.I appreciated their honesty.


Uncleezno,

Wishing you the best of luck!
I do not believe I intimated he was being cheap, I was responding to the comment that buying a super ideal was too much and that a stone could be found that looks more or less as good for less money. To me that is settling for less than what I would want for my wife, but I also realize that many will make that decision for their own reasons and I accept that.

I am curious why the vendor you were speaking to would "not let you look at a SI2". Was this a policy of theirs or was it that they felt this particular SI2 should have been an I1? If it was a policy then I am in total disagreement with them. If it was because it was in their opinion an over graded diamond then I wish to add my kudos.

Wink
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Wink, I stand corrected. May I add that another expression of love is the lengths to which a man goes to find what he deems to be *the* stone?

I don''t know why the vendor dissuaded me from looking at that stone. All they told me was that the inclusions would be eye-visible in a 4+ct. Whatever their motivations were, they were being prima facie honest, which I appreciated.

Wink, I''m curious -- given a super ideal cut, how low can one go in colour and clarity? Thanks!
 

Dancing Fire

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Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
31,606
Date: 4/10/2009 2:52:28 PM
Author: soycoffee
People who wholesale and do not maintain a big fancy storefront can offer you less expensive stones, because they don''t have to mark them up as much. My ''diamond guy'' is a wholesaler. To sell to regular customers, off wholesale, He only marks his stones up 20% from wholesale (and shows me the whole process as he does it--he beats any price on any stone that you can give him). Most B&M stores mark up much more than that, and those are the prices we''re used to.

So, don''t prepare to be disapointed. Keep being a savvy PS shopper, but she may really be able to help you!
i don''t believe a wholesaler would sell to the public,plus i think most internet vendors are making 20%>
 

soycoffee

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
140
Well, you can believe whatever you like Dancing Fire!


However, he goes to his wholesale index with his computer monitor turned so I can see it, shows me the wholesale price, and then lets me calculate my price by adding 20% with the calculator. So, I''m a believer. And, he beats every single online price, which also helps to make me believe! Gotta love him...
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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7,475
Date: 4/13/2009 2:53:48 PM
Author: Harriet
Wink, I stand corrected. May I add that another expression of love is the lengths to which a man goes to find what he deems to be *the* stone?


I don''t know why the vendor dissuaded me from looking at that stone. All they told me was that the inclusions would be eye-visible in a 4+ct. Whatever their motivations were, they were being prima facie honest, which I appreciated.


Wink, I''m curious -- given a super ideal cut, how low can one go in colour and clarity? Thanks!



That depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to pass as a D-IF, then you should be able to go as low as an F or G and an SI1 or SI2 (but not all SI2''s) and even some I1''s, but not very many.

If you are just wanting a gorgeous diamond, then you can go as low as you like in color and many I1''s. I recently sold a pair for earrings that were Q and R in color. Did they show obvious rich warm buttery yellow? You bet! Were they really beautiful? You bet! They were also incredibly inexpensive because they were "lower" colors.

I think one of the things that has changed most about my business since I became a convert to the concept of the super ideal cut is that I now sell diamonds in much lower colors and clarities than I would ever have conceived possible just a few short years ago. These diamonds are both incredibly affordable and incredibly beautiful and I am sure that if you search my older writings you could probably find me disparaging such diamonds.

I have come to realize that my friend Sibilius is correct in his statement that there are three C''s of diamond rarity, color, clarity and carat weight, and only one of quality, cut. I know where I place my loyalty in terms of importance to beauty, and I accept that many others do not. Given the questions asked in this thread, I will always come out in favor of knowing the most possible about the cut, it outweighs the other concerns in my mind. I also know that I am probably in the minority, especially in the trade as I like dealing with those gems in the top few percent of all gems cut, which is good, someone has to sell all the ones that I will not.

Wink
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
I wouldn''t get involved. You already have the one you like. VS1 AGS0, what else do you want? It''s like buying a car from a friend. They say "don''t". I just see trouble.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
31,606
Date: 4/13/2009 8:18:29 PM
Author: soycoffee
Well, you can believe whatever you like Dancing Fire!


However, he goes to his wholesale index with his computer monitor turned so I can see it, shows me the wholesale price, and then lets me calculate my price by adding 20% with the calculator. So, I''m a believer. And, he beats every single online price, which also helps to make me believe! Gotta love him...
i believe you. all i''m saying is....20% is too high of a mark up especally for memo stones. i would be happy to make 7% on somebody else''s money.
 

uncleezno

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
22
Wow, thank you everyone for all the comments! I certainly didn''t expect to hear from two experts - thank you both for your input! I''ll go in to the situation with an open mind, but I''m not going to make a rash decision. The seller is not a friend, she''s not a relative, she''s a relative of my girlfriend''s best friend, she''s originally from Amsterdam and worked in the trade there before she moved to the US, and she''s made it very clear she won''t pressure me in to buying anything (as if I could be after all I''ve learned from these boards
) And again, I promise I''ll let you all know how it goes. And David, I think I''m going to give you a call this afternoon to inquire about ordering an ideal-scope
 

uncleezno

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
22
I promised you guys an update, so here it is! I ordered an expert IS from David Atlas and brought it with me when I went back up North. I met with the woman on Sunday afternoon, at a Starbucks of all places, and we looked at some stones together. She brought four stones with her: three right around a carat, and one 1.2 carat stone. I asked her to show them to me without telling me any of the stats, so that I could see for myself which ones I liked.

The three one-carat stones had GIA certs; one was a VG-D-VS2, one was an X-F-VS1, and one was a X-J-SI1. I could not discern any difference in color between the stones; I never seem to be able to do that, probably because they were all cut well. The D-VS2 was .95 carats, much more expensive than the other two, and didn't have as much life to it. That left the F-VS1 and the J-SI1. They were both nice stones, but the F-VS1 was around 4200, and I've decided that if I'm going to spend that much, it'll be on the AGS000 I've already got. I decided to go with the J stone; it's got excellent cut, polish, and symmetry, and it looks great through the IS. When I got home from the airport back in DC and unpacked, I noticed that I had been slipped an extra diamond - she left me with the 1.2 carat stone as well. It's also nice (H, VS2), and it scores a 1.4 on the HCA, but it actually looks less clean than the SI1 stone. I can only assume that's because it's an EGL cert, but the color and the cut seem right on. And it's more expensive, of course



Lessons learned? There's a few:
1) If you're going to look at diamonds in a public venue, make sure your tweezers are rock solid. The pair my woman brought weren't that great, and I shot off the 1.2 stone when trying to return it to the paper. Fun times digging around a Starbucks floor for a loose diamond.


2) I really cannot make out color differences in well-cut stones. Maybe if I was looking at a D vs. an M, I would notice. Otherwise, if the cut is top-notch, color is really not noticeable (to me).

3) If you flip your IS upside-down, it is magically transformed in to a regular loupe!

4) Jewelers don't know everything - this woman tried to convince me that GIA certs were much better than AGS for resale value. I don't think that's true, and it shouldn't make a difference, anyway - the stone isn't being re-sold. All I care about is accuracy. Also, unsurprisingly, she had never seen an IS before. When I showed it to her, all she had to offer was that it didn't allow you to see the color of the stone. Well, yeah, it's purely for checking out the cut



So I've got this cute little stone staring up at me. I'm going to bring it to the B&M store where we chose a setting this weekend to compare it against some more stones in better lighting. My one concern is that it's listed as having strong blue fluorescence. So far, I haven't noticed it, but it was cloudy in New England, and now it's cloudy in DC, and I'm not going to walk around the neighborhood with a loose stone balanced between my fingers. Under fluorescent and incandescent lighting (and I think I've got LED bulbs in my bathroom
), it's all white with no color. Should I be worried about it turning blue in daylight?

If the fluorescence turns out to be a non-issue, I think I'll keep it. 1.01 carats, J color, eye-clean SI1, triple-excellent GIA for $3850. Sound good?



---EDIT---
Oh, and a question for all you experts - all the IS images you see on JA and GOG are taken with the diamond sitting in some sort of 'frame', with direct lighting immediately underneath, correct? Without light like that you've gotta get real close to the light source to get that bright red!
 

elle_chris

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Messages
3,153
Grats on your stone.


But next time you try to discern color, make sure it''s not at Starbucks
The only other place I can think of that may be worse is Home Depot. It''s almost impossible to tell a D from fancy yellows in the type of lighting :) But they sure make diamonds look pretty.
 
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