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Review of Martin Sheffield @ USA Certed Diamonds (Toronto, ON)

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mintchoco_ykc

Rough_Rock
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Mar 26, 2007
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26
Now that we have our stone, I would write a glowing review of our experience with him.

To start off, we're located in Toronto, ON, Canada, so we don't have as ready access to the online retailers that you folks in the US have. I had been reading this forum for quite some time and read through all the tutorials here before we proceeded to look for our diamond. We were referred by a friend to a local wholesaler which had many stones right then and there for us to see, but overall I found the experience lacking as, maybe due to the inventory at the time, they did not have stones offerring both HIGH color and HIGH clarity - e.g. J VVS2 or E SI2 were the choices I seemed to be left to decide between. The most disappointing of all was that the Canadian diamonds all seem to come with GemScan certs, which really don't go beyond the 4 Cs in grading the stone. In fact, the GemScan cert didn't even have detailed measurements of the stones! We didn't feel comfortable to purchase based on just the 4Cs without being able to run the measurements on the HCA first.

At this point, I had read some excellent reviews of USA Certed Diamonds here on pricescope so we decided to give Martin a call - although I have to say I wasn't expecting much since the website was a little tricky to navigate. We met with him at his home office and told him my specifications (D to F, VS1 to SI1, Ideal Cut H&A), and he proceeded to plug these numbers into his computer. We sorted through the result and narrowed it down to a list of three diamonds with AGS000 rating. Of the three diamonds available at that time - one was on hold for another customer, another was eliminated by HCA, and we were down to the final candidate. Martin immediately emailed me copies of the certification and a maginfied image of the diamond. The stone looked magnificant, but we were still a little hesitant about buying based on a specification before actually visually seeing the stone - especially since this was our first big diamond purchase. We went back to Martin with a few questions, at which time he called the jewellers down in NYC in front of us to verify my further questions about the diamond - i.e. that it did have an H&A pattern, it was indeed eye-clean, etc. I mentioned to Martin I had seen the stone priced online at a competitor for ~$100 cheaper, to which Martin not only price-matched it, but took off an additional $20 - true to his price-match policy stated on his website. At this time, we were comfortable enough with the stone and with Martin's expertise (he mentioned his dad was in the business as well and that's how he got into it) so we put down a 50% deposit in order to have the diamond sent up from NYC here, with the stipulation that if the diamond met the AGS cert, we would buy it (apparently it's a hassle to return a diamond after getting it through customs). The total costs is calculated as follows: price x 1.02 (custom/broker fees) x 1.14 (GST + PST). Thank god the luxury tax got removed last year!

Once the diamond got here, Martin called us right away to let us know it arrived. We proceeded to open the box up together and Martin verified the stone. Martin did everything in front of us and with us, so we felt extremely confident and comfortable to see that we were actually getting what we paid for. We weighed it. We measured it. We viewed it under the H&A viewer. We viewed it under the loupe. We viewed it under the microscope. We viewed it with the GIA color specimens. We're absolutely thrilled with the way everything turned out - the beauty of the stone is indescribable and definitely better than anything I had seen at local jewellers!!!

So now we're off to finally get our ring design custom-made (this will probably take a while)! Note that since Martin is a registered gemmologist, he will also do the final appraisal for us (included), for insurance purposes, once it is all set and done.

So if anyone is local to Toronto or nearby, I totally recommend dealing with Martin if you're tempted with the online pricing and quality seen here on Pricescope but want the comfort of dealing with a local knowledgable jeweller.


 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Based on other previous feedback, I''ve recommended Martin to others in the Toronto area, and I''m glad to see I''ve done it in good conscience. Also, I''m glad you were satisfied by the parameters of the arrangement, but where you say:


Date: 4/1/2007 11:21:07 PM
Author:mintchoco_ykc

.... with the stipulation that if the diamond met the AGS cert, we would buy it (apparently it''s a hassle to return a diamond after getting it through customs).....

weren''t you lead to believe that if the unexpected occurred for you both (you & Martin), you could eat his fees, with respect to his return hassle, and either start over, or call it a day?
 

mintchoco_ykc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 26, 2007
Messages
26
Date: 4/2/2007 1:25:40 AM
Author: Regular Guy
weren''t you lead to believe that if the unexpected occurred for you both (you & Martin), you could eat his fees, with respect to his return hassle, and either start over, or call it a day?
Huh, not sure what you mean here?


The agreement was such that if the diamond did not meet the spec in any way - i.e. if the color was off, the clarity, etc. (as confirmed also by an independent appraiser), we would be able to return the diamond.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
24,426
Congrats on your stone mint, I''m glad it went well for you. Please post pics when you get the ring!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Date: 4/2/2007 7:58:51 AM
Author: mintchoco_ykc


Date: 4/2/2007 1:25:40 AM
Author: Regular Guy
weren't you lead to believe that if the unexpected occurred for you both (you & Martin), you could eat his fees, with respect to his return hassle, and either start over, or call it a day?
Huh, not sure what you mean here?


The agreement was such that if the diamond did not meet the spec in any way - i.e. if the color was off, the clarity, etc. (as confirmed also by an independent appraiser), we would be able to return the diamond.
Not sure how best to clarify...except to say that you can follow a recipe to make a pie, but can't really be fairly promised it will taste good.

When my wife and I went first to see the diamond we'd selected in cooperation with our vendor (not unlike your situation, btw), we actually were very unsure if we liked it at the time, or not. Later, we find we love it. But, I think if we had been told that we would have had to buy it, after our vendor ordered it up...I think that would have negatively colored our experience.

Of course, if Martin deals with a vendor who does not take returns, that will more than complicate things. (But, you said hassle was the issue, vis a vis getting through customs, so this is different). But...it sounds like in your instance, there was no idea of going back to the well, under any circumstances, nor was that raised by you.

Again, there may just be differences in personalities. When we recently sold our house, we needed the real estate agent's buy in to the fact that we could actually just walk away from selling it, and we agreed at the outset that we would only owe them their advertising expenses. But...we didn't suggest what the consequence would need to be (advertising expenses)...we merely proposed that we wanted the option to walk away, and even allowed that we would need to compensate them for their time invested. But, the RE agent freely described our debt, under those circumstances. We wanted that assurance. Although you did not, you did choose to include the mention in your description of your work with Martin, so I also have to imagine it was not an absolutely non-issue for you.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Date: 4/2/2007 9:44:37 AM
Author: Regular Guy
Date: 4/2/2007 7:58:51 AM

Author: mintchoco_ykc



Date: 4/2/2007 1:25:40 AM

Author: Regular Guy

weren''t you lead to believe that if the unexpected occurred for you both (you & Martin), you could eat his fees, with respect to his return hassle, and either start over, or call it a day?
Huh, not sure what you mean here?



The agreement was such that if the diamond did not meet the spec in any way - i.e. if the color was off, the clarity, etc. (as confirmed also by an independent appraiser), we would be able to return the diamond.
Not sure how best to clarify...except to say that you can follow a recipe to make a pie, but can''t really be fairly promised it will taste good.


When my wife and I went first to see the diamond we''d selected in cooperation with our vendor (not unlike your situation, btw), we actually were very unsure if we liked it at the time, or not. Later, we find we love it. But, I think if we had been told that we would have had to buy it, after our vendor ordered it up...I think that would have negatively colored our experience.


Of course, if Martin deals with a vendor who does not take returns, that will more than complicate things. (But, you said hassle was the issue, vis a vis getting through customs, so this is different). But...it sounds like in your instance, there was no idea of going back to the well, under any circumstances, nor was that raised by you.


Again, there may just be differences in personalities. When we recently sold our house, we needed the real estate agent''s buy in to the fact that we could actually just walk away from selling it, and we agreed at the outset that we would only owe them their advertising expenses. But...we didn''t suggest what the consequence would need to be (advertising expenses)...we merely proposed that we wanted the option to walk away, and even allowed that we would need to compensate them for their time invested. But, the RE agent freely described our debt, under those circumstances. We wanted that assurance. Although you did not, you did choose to include the mention in your description of your work with Martin, so I also have to imagine it was not an absolutely non-issue for you.
How do you always manage to make things seem so complicated, RegularGuy?!

mitchoco_ykc, I''m glad you found a beautiful stone! I hope you will post pictures of your ring when it''s done! Congratulations!
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Date: 4/2/2007 10:42:42 AM
Author: thing2of2

How do you always manage to make things seem so complicated, RegularGuy?!
I don''t know, Thing, maybe we''re more alike than different. Sometimes, like you, I confirm the writer''s intention (as you do here), and other times, I deny them their intentions (again, as you do, here).

Helping here is a mix of listening & telling. It takes all kinds.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Date: 4/2/2007 1:00:14 PM
Author: Regular Guy
Date: 4/2/2007 10:42:42 AM

Author: thing2of2


How do you always manage to make things seem so complicated, RegularGuy?!
I don''t know, Thing, maybe we''re more alike than different. Sometimes, like you, I confirm the writer''s intention (as you do here), and other times, I deny them their intentions (again, as you do, here).


Helping here is a mix of listening & telling. It takes all kinds.
I agree, RegularGuy. I was just teasing b/c your clarification was a long story-I hope you didn''t take offense! (Perhaps I should have added a smiley face!)
 

Regular Guy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
5,951
Date: 4/2/2007 2:36:42 PM
Author: thing2of2


I agree, RegularGuy. I was just teasing b/c your clarification was a long story....


Well, no, but this is a long story:



The Amazing 3-Legged Pig


This farmer had a rather large three-legged pig. It was brought to the attention of the local newspaper, and a reporter was sent out to interview the farmer.




Tell me, said the reporter, how do you come to have a three-legged pig? Well, said the farmer, this is a valuable pig. One day my four year old son, fell in the pond over there, and this pig went running as fast as could be, and jumped into the pond and pushed my son up onto dry ground.




Well, said the farmer, this is a valuable pig. one night, we heard this squealing and grunting, and banging on our front door. I got up to see what the ruckus was, and the house was on fire. Thanks to the pig, I was able to save my family.




Truly unbelievable, said the reporter, but how does that relate to the pig only having three legs? well, said the farmer,when you have a valuable pig like that, you just don't eat him all at one time!

 
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