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Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance claim

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
This is my first post, but I've learned so much while diamond shopping, I figured I owe it to this group to share my experiences so far.
In December, I cracked the diamond in my engagement ring on my porcelain sink. I had a half bezel set 1 ct. platinum ring that I still liked, and really had not even considered a new ring.

First, the claim:

My insurance company, USAA, asked me to ship the ring to them so they could evaluate the damage, and their intention was to replace the diamond. That scenario made me feel uneasy not being able to see the diamond first, but I shipped them the ring and waited to hear back. (it took them a week to email a Fedex shipping label, and once they received the diamond, another week to locate it in their building). I got a call from an employee reading a script letting me know that they had my ring, but that they couldn't guarantee they wouldn't damage it getting the diamond out, and did I want to deal with my own jeweler? The employee couldn't answer any questions at all as to how the process was going to work. Do they work with the jeweler? Do they write me a check? The kid just reread the script to me. I gave them feedback on that scenario online, and first thing the next morning a manager called me, and let me know I could either try to have a jeweler work with my current setting or I could start from scratch, and they would pay out the entire amount the ring was insured for as long as I got something equal or better than what I had (obviously, decided I might as well upgrade a bit). After finding out that I really couldn't melt the platinum down, I decided to start from scratch. After plenty of strange local jeweler experiences, I opted to purchase my diamond online. USAA has asked me to send them my original ring back with the damaged diamond. They only mentioned this request for the first time yesterday (2 months into the process). For sentimental reasons, I'd like to buy it back, and I'm hoping they can come up with something reasonable. Yesterday the claims agent told me I could keep my setting, and they would refund me $2100 less than the agreed settlement amount (the amount of my new setting). Seeing as I was offered $190 for scrap, that didn't seem too prudent to me, so I'll be sending the setting and the diamond back to them). Still waiting on a final answer there, because the agent really wasn't sure how to handle a buyback. While they seemed somewhat slow (and sometimes uneducated about their own process), I will say USAA seemed to be fair (if they had decided to replace my diamond on their own, I may have not come to the same conclusion). I sent the the receipt for the diamond and the setting this week, and they already have the check in the mail to reimburse me. I am paying out of pocket to go with a slightly larger and better quality diamond.

Now, for Blue Nile:

I ordered a 1.5 ct. diamond and a setting from Blue Nile. Online it said both the diamond and the setting would be available to be shipped in a few days. I called before making the order, and was told the same thing. Once I called and put the order in, all of a sudden it was going to be 4 weeks before I would see the ring because the setting was going to be a special order (Monique Lhuillier halo). Since I was waiting on the setting, I asked if they could ship me the diamond so I could inspect it outside of the ring. They said the only way they could do that is if they cancelled my entire order, and reordered only the diamond separately. Then that would put the production of the ring back to the beginning. I opted to continue with the original plan, in hopes to have a jeweler look at the diamond once I received the entire piece. Well, when I received the ring, I knew immediately it was going to go back. The G colored (GIA xxx) diamond looked yellow (I have since purchased another G colored diamond that looks fantastic. The setting was even worse. The prongs (4) were uneven (not parallel to the ring), and one prong was smaller than the rest. The pave was a disaster (bumpy and uneven on one side), and the diamond was not set evenly in the ring. Also, the ring was advertised to have three rows of pave, and there were only two. I shipped the ring back, and they did reimburse me for the return shipping based on the quality of the ring. The customer service has been a mixed bag-some has been great, and some has been terrible. At one point, I honestly felt like I was making a phone order to Kmart for a $15 purchase rather than a $15k purchase. I'm still waiting on a refund check (for whatever reason, they were unable to refund my credit card). They told me the check was cut and sent last week, and when I followed up today, they told me the check was not cut until Monday. I hope this is not one of those "check is in the mail" cases. Not once did they suggest finding me a better diamond and setting, or even just a diamond so I could set the ring locally. They completely lost the opportunity to sell a diamond because they didn't make any effort. Photo of Blue Nile ring is posted.

James Allen and B2C Jewels:

Next stop, I ordered a diamond from both JA and B2C to compare side by side. Customer service with James Allen was great (although they initially gave me a ship date of 3 days from my order, and then the date changed to more than a week out (diamond was coming from Mumbai), but I ended up receiving the diamond only a day later than the original quote. The diamond was exactly as advertised, but when comparing it to the other diamond from B2C, it was a no brainer that B2C was the better diamond (JA crown angle was just slightly steeper and the B2C diamond was visually more appealing). B2C DID provide photos and 2 videos for each of their diamonds I considered, and were also very responsive. So, even if you don't see photos or videos online, ask them, and they will email you. Pricewise, B2C was also better. Both diamonds were GIA xxx, JA was 1.65 ct G VS2 (slightly steep/deep), and $100 more than B2C which was 1.67 ct. G VS1 with a more appealing cut (while both GIA excellent, HCA was better on the B2C with better crown/pavilion angles, and visually, it was a much more appealing diamond). I brought both diamonds to the jeweler who will be setting my diamond, and they agreed, and also confirmed that the diamond I purchased from B2C is a great diamond. They couldn't come close on price with their inventory, but the jeweler is now trying to find me a diamond with as close as he can get to the exact specs as mine and offer me 5% less than I paid for my B2C diamond. We'll see how that pans out-he needs to find it within the next week, and I'm already pretty excited about the diamond I chose. I just returned the JA diamond yesterday, so no word on how fast they manage a return. Hoping they are more efficient than BN. While I didn't ultimately end up with a JA purchase, I did feel that their customer service was very good, and I received exactly what I ordered.

I have a bezel set Mark Patterson setting on order from my local jeweler (Wixon in Minneapolis) who has gone above and beyond, and will post once I have it in hand.

img_1192_copy.jpg
 

ringo865

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
2,394
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Wow, for a first post you have lots of valuable information to pass along. Great news about your upgrade. And your positive experiences buying a diamond online.

Your poor Monique lhillier … those are so beautiful but that one looked set crooked :(

Let me know how your wixon experience turns out. I live up in isanti county and know wixon has fabulous estate jewelry, but I never made the 'day trip' down there cuz well, I'm lazy ;-) But also sometimes motivated.
 

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Wixon has been great (I have been working with Kim). I chose a fairly unique finish on the setting, and since designer does not have a ring to ship to them that I can see in the finish in platinum, they offered to have the ring made for me, and if I don't like the finish, they will have a new ring done for me in the shiny platinum (it's the florentine finish on the Mark Patterson bezel setting). They are also trying to see if they can beat my price on the B2C diamond by 5%, and they are searching out a diamond for me as close to the one I already have (down to table/depth/pavilion dimensions). When B2C called to follow up today, I let them know my local jeweler is trying to beat their price, and they are also amenable to beating THAT price if the diamond is the same or better.

Very few Minneapolis jewelers carry much for diamond inventory (lots of H-I, good cut, SI2...or else double the price of anything online). Also, had a very odd experience at Lindblom in Wayzata. I went in looking for a setting, and I let the owner know that while I had already ordered something from Blue Nile, I was still interested in looking at settings (little did I know how poorly the BN ring would turn out). The jeweler told me I was going to get a very poor quality diamond online, and I explained that I could return anything within 30 days that did not suit my taste, so I wasn't too worried about it. He told me I might as well stick with what I ordered for the setting (since I was willing to buy a diamond online). Pretty much shooed me out of his store. Won't be returning there. He had the opportunity to get my business for the diamond AND the setting (and some other near term jewelry purchases), but was too worked up that I had made an online purchase to see through that.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,287
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Great review! I honestly hope you keep the B2C diamond because it sounds like they are responsive and want to keep your business! I think for most people who want to buy from BN, I'd recommend buying a diamond only, other than maybe a plain solitaire setting.

I also do not understand not refunding your credit card. I really don't think I like that. It is good to know, though.

I will have to say that I have also experienced a jeweler having a negative reaction to my diamond bought from an online vendor. He said something like my diamond ring vendor was really good at marketing, and I wanted to say, show me diamonds equal to his! But I took the higher ground and didn't argue, and I also didn't buy anything there. They surely are dumb to alienate potential customers!
 

tiger007g

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Messages
159
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Thanks for sharing your experience! I also have USAA insurance for my sparklies, and knock-on-wood, haven't needed to make a claim. I've had their auto insurance for many years and been very pleased with their service...
 

Karl_K

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Aug 4, 2008
Messages
10,624
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

diamondseeker2006|1456978066|3998918 said:
I also do not understand not refunding your credit card. I really don't think I like that. It is good to know, though.
most if not all of the PS dealers will not put a refund back on the card.
It has to do with the way the credit card processors work.
It costs them to do the return and the processors look at it as a negative on their account.
The fee is often a percentage so the higher the purchase price the more it costs them.
Too many and they can get kicked out by their processor and getting signed up with a new one can take a lot of time.
A signed check also gives them a paper trail if there are issues.
 

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

As long as they are reasonably quick about getting the check in the mail, I'm fine with that. It's a sizable amount in miles on my card!
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,711
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Good info aviationgirl! I'm hoping the B2C turns out to be the best buy also. :bigsmile: Pictures once you get it all together!

I also have USAA and had to make a claim for 2 rings I lost a few months ago. It was a so-so ordeal. I eventually got the full
value of the rings but we played a lot of phone tag. They would leave messages then not call back after I left messages. They
called and told me a value which only included 1 ring and not both but failed to tell me that so I thought I was getting a low
ball offer. When I asked about the other ring they were like "Oh", they hadnt even done the investigation on that one. :doh: It all
worked out but I was pretty frustrated along the way. I certainly was not "impressed" with their service. We also have their
car insurance which in the past we have found to be very user friendly. Jewelry...not so much.
 

bfilet

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2016
Messages
7
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Just read that you are purchasing your diamond in Minneapolis! I am looking to purchase an engagement ring for my girlfriend and I was wondering if you have any recommendations on jewelers in the area! Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks so much!
 

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

bfilet said:
Just read that you are purchasing your diamond in Minneapolis! I am looking to purchase an engagement ring for my girlfriend and I was wondering if you have any recommendations on jewelers in the area! Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks so much!
Absolutely!

First piece of advice-do you research here, and shop for diamonds online. Or else call and ask about inventory before you go, but have a very good idea of what you would pay online, because it's a far cry from the initial quotes you will get in a brick and mortar.

My husband purchased my original diamond from Thomas Joseph downtown Mpls, and they did a custom setting for me. Was happy with everything at the time, but I think we probably overpaid for the diamond (and it cracked...but that's after 15 years of wear and tear). The only reason I didn't go back for my replacement/upgrade is that I didn't want to mess with parking downtown during the week, and they also had limited inventory on settings, and I did not want to do a custom ring again. If you go downtown, I would definitely check out JB Hudson for settings. I've purchased a number of items there over the years, and have had great service. They are definitely NOT a bargain. Did a quick check to see what their diamond prices look like...they are $4000 more for the essentially the same diamond I purchased on B2C, and my stone is a VS1, and theirs is a VS2 (size, color, table, depth, cut all very close). Assuming there is some room to negotiate in there.

I purchased a thick pave diamond band that is gorgeous from Evergreen jewelers. I told them what I was looking for, and they looked around for me, and brought in a ring I loved. Great purchase experience. My next experience there was on a custom piece with diamonds I provided. Not a great experience. I wanted to use the diamonds in a thinner band to stack with the band I purchased from them (the diamonds in that piece are E/F). I brought in diamonds that were in earrings and in a yellow gold setting. I let them know I was concerned about the color of the diamonds since they were set in yellow gold, and asked that they look at the diamonds first to decide if it would work with my plan to create a stacking ring (obviously didn't want J/K colored diamonds right next to my E/F). They said the diamonds would be perfect for the ring, and then they got started. My husband picked up the ring on my birthday, and when I opened the box, it was really disappointing. The diamonds looked terrible in the ring. They were definitely yellow. Then they told me they had never looked at the diamonds outside of the earring...(which was specifically what I had asked them to do. I don't blame them for the color of the diamonds-they were mine, but they really should have looked at them outside of the setting before telling me the ring would look great). However, what was even worse was the craftsmanship of the ring. It looked nothing like the ring they had based it on. The prongs were all very clunky and sloppy. They ultimately returned my diamonds and refunded me for the ring, but I felt like it took too long to get to that point, and I felt they were initially reluctant to refund me. Their custom work did not impress me at all, but I do think they have a nice engagement ring and band selection. I did not look there this time around because of my last experience, but I wouldn't completely discount them either. If I had not had the custom experience I would have raved about them.

So here's my experience on my recent hunt. Very few jewelers have much for inventory locally, which means they will try to show you diamonds that are either lower quality than you are looking for, or diamonds beyond your budget, or nothing at all. I did not start to search online for a diamond until I had been to quite a few jewelers. I was looking in the $13-$15k price range for a 1.5 ct. F/G in color, VS2 or better, triple X GIA. My bottom line was that I did not want to go backwards on quality from my original engagement ring. And also I was willing to go slightly smaller than the 1.5 ct. (ultimately I found a 1.67ct G VS1 xxx GIA within my price range).

Graham Jewelers in Wayzata: I did not price out diamonds, but I looked at settings. It was at the very beginning of my search, and the only reason I didn't go back is because I didn't find a setting I loved, and didn't want to go the custom route. They were incredibly helpful, and had I considered a custom ring again, I would have considered going back. They were not pushy at all.

Wayzata Jewelers: This is a custom shop. If I was going to go custom, I think it is the first place I'd go based on what I saw with their work. If I didn't find anything at Wixon, that was going to be my next stop. Stopped in, and their designer started in showing me exactly what he could do for me-had his screen with CAD right out to see, and I think I'd still like to do something there in the future. I could tell he had a great eye.

Continental Diamond:: Great selection for settings. I did not price diamonds there. The setting I found that I liked could not be made for a diamond over 1ct. The sales person who helped me was prompt in returning calls when trying to find out more info on the setting. I think they are worth checking out.

Bergstrom: Now this was strange experience, and I left with a really uncomfortable feeling. I was upfront that this was an insurance claim, and I told the saleswoman that most likely my insurance company would just reimburse me, and she kept insisting that she would need to deal with my insurance company and was very reluctant to help me without talking to my insurance company first (apparently unaware that I could also just pay for the ring on my own with or without an insurance policy). She also showed me a $4700 setting, and when I told her that was a bit more than I wanted to spend on a setting, she told me that those prices are quite a bit lower for people making insurance claims. So I guess if you walk in the door without a claim you get robbed a bit there. That didn't sit well with me at all. I asked if she could show me some diamonds in my price range, and she said they didn't have anything on hand. I asked her to please call me when she did have something to show me, and I never received a call. Their online diamond inventory shows a diamond almost identical to what I purchased at B2C for $5000 more.

RF Moeller (in Edina): I found a setting I really liked, and asked to see a few diamonds. They didn't have anything in stock in my price range (I think the closest thing they had was close to $20k), and the salesman told me he would call me if they got something in. I left my name and number for him, and never heard back. While they had no inventory and did nothing to gain my business in terms of bringing anything in, I do think they are on the right track about educating their customer about cut being the very first thing to consider. And they also have a nice selection of settings. I wouldn't rule them out for settings.

Diamonds Direct in Edina: This is where I sure I was going to get my diamond and setting after my first visit. I spent some time with the owner and his daughter (who are both VERY nice). I was not initially planning on going out of pocket above the insurance payout, so the initial budget I gave the owner is slightly less than what I actually spent. I spoke with the owner and let him know I did not want to go backwards on anything from my first diamond. On my first visit, he told me he was sure I could get something in my price range closer to a 1.5 ct, and while I didn't find an exact setting I liked I was confident they could make something for me. I went back with my husband with an appointment, and they showed me two diamonds. The first was only a "good" cut, and the other was not GIA certified. The diamond that was the "good" cut was slightly over what I had planned to spend initially, but the price was not out of line with what I was willing to spend. I was a bit disappointed in what he had to show me, seeing that I was upfront that I did not want to go backwards on cut or color, and he said he could definitely show me some stones before I made the appointment. The second diamond was an H (not GIA, and was quite yellow). When he called to follow up, I let him let him know I was definitely not interested in anything that was not a GIA excellent cut, and not inclined to spend too much outside of my original budget (I would rather have a smaller diamond than a poorly cut diamond). He asked if he could keep looking for me, and I told him absolutely yes. He did tell me it would easily cost me $5000 more to get what I wanted. That's the day I started to look online. He never did call me back (assuming he was unable to find anything). This is definitely someplace you want to know exactly what you are looking for, because if not, I think you could easily buy something that is not the best (pricescope) quality. It seems like they have more EGL certified diamonds than GIA from what I can see from their online inventory. And if that's what you are looking for, it might be a good place to look. I also want to say I don't think the owner was unresponsive. In terms of spending more, I told him I was going to hold off-my husband works for a startup, and I wanted to make sure their funding was solid before upgrading a ring, so he may have been waiting for me to call him back with a go ahead on finding something that was more expensive than my insurance payout. But after getting an idea of the online prices and his initial quotes, I just didn't feel like we were going to come close to the right diamond or the right price. Which really was too bad, because I really liked the guy!

Knox Jewelers: Great customer service and selection. Stopped in, immediately found something I liked (very similar to what I ordered through BN). I was interested in making a few changes, and the sales girl immediately had a CAD photo and quote emailed to me. Quote seemed a bit high compared to other similar settings I had looked at elsewhere. She also sent me a link to a list of their diamonds, and they also seemed priced on the high end, with most of their inventory in the SI1/2 range, and with a 1.5 ct I didn't want anything in the SI range. They also told me the price I see online is the price, so it didn;t sound like they do much negotiation. So price and lack of diamond selection in the higher clarity range is really what kept me from pursuing anything with them. But they do appear to have a nice selection on settings, and their salesperson was very responsive.

Scheherezade That was my last stop before Wixon. At that point I had a diamond and only was looking for a setting. While they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, they showed me a few things, followed through on sending some photos, but ultimately by the time i got the photos that evening, I had already decided on something at Wixon.

I also would have considered checking out Arthur's and Charlemagne in St. Paul. Have been into both shops on a different hunt, and they both had good selections.

Good luck!!! And start your diamond search online! In my price range, it easily saved me about $5k.
 

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

And an update on Blue Nile. The last two customer service reps who told me that my "check was in the mail" were wrong. Got on the phone with a manager, and they wired the money to my account within 2 hours. Apparently they normally do NOT do a return with a check, but they had some type of system glitch.
 

bfilet

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2016
Messages
7
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

WOW! Thank you so much for your help aviationgirl -- so many places to check out. I have a contact at Arthur Jewelers in Roseville and am able to get a sizeable discount along with no sales tax so I will probably be looking into them first. Cannot wait to check out the rest. Thanks again so much.
 

pfunk

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Dec 2, 2014
Messages
770
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

I have to add one more jeweler in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for you to check out. I HIGHLY recommend you go see Todd at Gold'n Treasures on Grand Ave. in St. Paul. He was incredibly gracious as I put together my wife's engagement ring. He helped me inspect diamonds I had purchased online (twice) and I didn't even ask him to. He just loves diamonds and was happy to go over all the details under a microscope. His excellent customer service was the reason I bought the setting through him, even though the diamond came from an online vendor. A+ for Todd at Gold'n Treasures.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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7,516
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

diamondseeker2006|1456978066|3998918 said:
<Snip>

I also do not understand not refunding your credit card. I really don't think I like that. It is good to know, though.
<Snip>
When taking credit cards on line we have to adhere to many rules and regulations from the credit card companies in order to avoid things like what happened to Target and a few other large companies when their systems are hacked. The penalties for being careless are onerous and could easily put a merchant out of business.

I have to go through an annual audit with my cc processing company. One of the questions I need to answer in the negative is when I am asked if I keep client credit card numbers in my computer. I do not, so they can not be hacked.

Another is do I write the numbers down and keep them where a physical break in can get the numbers. I do not. If I did I would have to keep them locked in my safe with the diamonds. I find it easier to just not keep the numbers in any way or form, then I do not have to worry about them being hacked or stolen.

In the very rare cases where I need to refund a diamond, I just send a wire transfer or a check if the client prefers it.

I do agree with DiamondSeeker that the review is great and very well detailed.

Wink

Wink
 

egemnoel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
132
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Great to see some reviews on B&M's unaffiliated with PS. That was very detailed and a great in-sight! I have a friend based in Minnesota and Continental Diamonds is highly rated by him who are also a Crafted By Infinity re-seller. Definitely worth checking out if you live in the area.
 

aviationgirl

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
10
Re: Recent experience with 3 online retailers & insurance cl

Update: The refund from James Allen hit my card within 2 business days of them receiving the return, so I was impressed with their service all the way around-I just preferred the diamond from B2C (Blue Nile took two weeks, and they finally had to wire the money). I also happened to see that BN had the diamond I purchased (same GIA #) listed for about $600 more than what I purchased it for at B2C. Wixon has already sent my diamond to Mark Patterson to have it set, and did not find anything that matched what I had for less, so unless they find something today, it appears I'll be sticking with the diamond from B2C. Hoping to have this ring in hand SOON!!!
 
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