shape
carat
color
clarity

Review of online diamond buying experience – Winfield’s, GOG, WF, ERD

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by TravelingGal, Apr 10, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
  1. TravelingGal
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    17,193
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    by TravelingGal » Apr 10, 2006
    First of all, a heartfelt thanks to all pricescopers. Reading your posts is not only informative, but fun! [​IMG]


    Below is a review of my diamond buying experience. Perhaps not the most exciting toilet reading material, but possibly helpful for the many who are about to take the plunge and think “so many people on pricescope are buying rocks online...how can I be one of them!”


    What I was looking for: Cushion cut, 1 carat, color F-I, SI1. Budget: 4-5K. I initially inquired about Jubilees, Square H&A and radiants too, although I knew my budget might be too low for some of those.


    Review of vendors...rating is out of 4 stars:


    I initially started with two: GOG and Winfields.


    Winfields
    Rating: 4 stars
    In a nutshell: Fast and funny.
    Experience: Let me preface this by saying my 4 stars rating is given with limited experience. I contacted Wink by e-mail and he was extremely prompt. He had posted here awhile back giving me advice on how to contact pricescope dealers and seem pretty gratified that I followed his advice when making my inquiry. Unfortunately, he was very honest about not being able to supply what I was looking for (as I thought Jubilee was the way I was going to go). He can only supply jubilees to existing clientele. He did not offer the other cuts.


    He was very helpful in getting me Jonathan’s email address at GOG since I did not have his direct contact info and even emailed Jonathan letting him know what I was looking for. Wink was humorous and I enjoyed my limited time communicating with him. My gut instinct told me he’d be great to work with, and would not hesitate to do so in the future.


    Good Old Gold
    Rating: 3.5 stars
    In a nutshell: Efficient – boom boom boom!
    Experience: I had started with GOG by contacting them a couple of weeks before my diamond hunt officially began to inquire about a setting. I sent an email to Marie, but did not hear back for one week. I knew she worked limited hours, so I emailed her again after the week passed and heard back from her that day. The setting I was looking for was $1650 if I bought it...and $2400 if I custom made it through them. Now, I was an English major in college (I’m an Asian defect when it comes to math), but even I know that doesn’t make sense to do. [​IMG]


    Still, I was interested in working with them for the diamond, so I emailed Marie and asked her to forward Jonathan my request. I emailed them one day earlier than I had emailed Winfields, but I had not heard anything the next day so I emailed Wink just so I wouldn’t have all my eggs in one basket. After Wink told me he couldn’t work with me and forwarded my email to Jonathan, I heard from Jonathan that same day.


    Jonathan is awesome, and I’d give him 4 stars. If you’ve seen his posts here, you’ll note that he takes your post and answers it section by section. Boom boom boom! is what I call it. He makes sure he answers all your questions in your inquiry, and he does it FAST. It comes through quite obviously that he is passionate about what he does.


    GOG no longer sells Jubilees although they are looking for another supplier. The H&A that Jonathan had in house was a bit over budget, and a little smaller than I wanted. That night my boyfriend found a great cushion by the stats at Whiteflash’s site, so I decided to contact WF the next day. I put the brakes on GOG so they wouldn’t do any further work for me as I didn’t want to waste their time should the cushion work out. I explained this to Jonathan, and he was very gracious and said he would be there if I needed it. No pressure, all class. [​IMG]


    Whiteflash
    Rating: 3.5 stars
    In a nutshell: realistic expectations and good communications will make you a happy customer.
    Experience: Since Whiteflash is the company that I bought my diamond from, I obviously dealt with them the most – and had the most room for any dissatisfaction. They did a fantastic job, and the 3.5 rating I gave them is due mostly with some policies that I don’t love even though I completely understand them. More on that in a second....


    Bob Hoskins is a delight to work with. I emailed their generic email address and made it attn to Lesley or Bob. Bob answered the same day. I inquired about the 3 cushions my boyfriend had found on their site. He responded that two of them had tables bigger than what would be desirable and emailed me 3 more. I asked for more info and he replied late that evening that he would get me the information in the morning, which he did. He also put my boyfriend’s “first cushion” on hold.


    While it’s obvious that Bob has a lot on his plate, he always responded in a timely manner, always did what he said he would, and made me wonder a few times if he actually had any other customers! He seemed to always be laughing and I really liked working with him. He’s also come back from vacation today and still managed to promptly send me a follow up email.


    There have been a few reviews here about communications with Whiteflash. I would say talking on the phone is a great way to work with them, but follow up with stuff in print. In fact, I would say that for any vendor. READ the emails you get from your vendor and ask questions right then and there. Whiteflash has a policy that if they call a diamond in, it passes their inspection and you decide you don’t want it, YOU pay for shipping ($50). This wasn’t a surprise for me since I did my homework on here, but it’s still a bit unnerving. A few $50 boo-boos could add up. I decided to have Bob call a diamond in, and he sent me the wrong invoice. It was partially my fault since he made reference to a cheaper diamond, but I thought he knew that I wanted him to call in the stone he had on hold for me (and said so). I hurriedly emailed him back and said “Wrong stone!”. Also called him and told him, and he quickly made a few calls and remedied the situation.



    As I mentioned, Bob is definitely a 4 star guy in my book. I gave them a total of 3.5 stars because I wish there was a way around the call in thing of $50. I totally understand they are in Texas, and it would be very costly for them to take the expense for all the looky-loos. Also, the appraiser I used did raise an eyebrow at their shipping costs. I am not sure if it’s industry standard, but they quoted me $55 for the second shipping. It only cost me $32 to ship it back via the appraiser.


    Finally, their price for the diamond I ended up buying was about $250 more expensive than the same diamond listed on Engagement Rings Direct. I thought long and hard on whether I was going to ask for a price match, and decided I was happy with Bob enough to pay for the difference. Bob also gave me a discount, which brought the difference down. I also don’t know of ERD’s price is valid with credit card, or only cash. I had heard ERD’s prices were lower than most. So just check around to see which vendors has *your* diamond at the lowest price. As most people here know, they all use the same database.


    And speaking of ERD....


    Engagement Rings Direct
    Rating: 4+++ stars.
    In a nutshell: “Do you have a minute?”
    Mark Turnowski was actually the first one I took the time to call. After I decided cushions were what I was leaning toward, I went to ERD’s site to take a look. On it, I found the diamond that Bob had just told me he had put on hold for me. I also found another diamond that I thought might be interesting. So I gave Mark a call.


    The “boyfriend diamond” (as I call it since it’s the one he picked out personally) was unavailable – my guess it’s because WF put it on hold. Mark and I chatted a couple of minutes as I gave me an idea of what I was looking for. Then he asked me “Do you have a minute?”


    I was actually taken a back for a second because by the time he had asked that, I had already been talking on the phone for several minutes and gave the usual parameters. Of course I had a minute, so he began to ask me questions on exactly what I was looking for, and describe to me the differences between certain cuts of cushions. He even drilled down to girdle width, asking me if thick was OK.


    I really felt that Mark wanted to know what I wanted, and was taking the time out to really consider my preferences. I told him I was considering at the boyfriend diamond at Whiteflash, so not to worry about it too much but see what he could come up with. He said the way he ran his business was to get on things right away.


    Sure enough, the next day he did find a lovely diamond (by the numbers) for me. However by this time I had agreed to have the other diamond called at WF and I said he should probably hold off on doing more work for me.


    When the diamond came in at WF and passed Bob’s inspection, I gave Mark and call that I was having it sent to an independent appraiser. Again, he wanted to take a little more of my time to go over the diamond I was looking at, if I didn’t mind. I had the GIA cert copy and read him the specs. He said, “Mina, as much as I would like the sale, I think that diamond is going to work for you. I would be surprised if it doesn’t.” He told me he thought it would be very pretty, and thought he knew who the supplier was, based the ex/ex for polish and symmetry.


    I was so appreciative that even though I had just told him that I was pretty sure I was going with the other diamond, that he would take the time to help me and give me more information! I knew of his reputation for really knowing cushions, so it helped alleviate my concerns when he gave it a thumbs up. He asked that I keep him posted, and he actually followed up with a call a week later to see how it all went.


    Mark is someone that felt like my own personal jeweler. Truly a step above, an absolute gentleman, and I would without hesitation recommend him based on my experience. And yes, that recommendation would cover shapes other than cushions!!! [​IMG]

    ETA: I should also note that Mark, being in NYC, does not charge to call a diamond in. A big plus if you need to check out a few things.




    Just a side note for anyone looking for Jeff Cooper settings, which is what I decided on. Robbins Brothers here in California carries them, but they charge $1650 for the setting. Robbins Jewelers (no relation) in Philadelphia carries Jeff Cooper, and only charged me 1300, no tax. I worked with Mindy there and she was fantastic!!! She knew a lot about their settings and wanted to make sure that the stone would work. Robbins Brothers said I could put a totally rectangular stone in the setting (which I didn't want anyway), while Mindy wanted to make sure that they could make a setting that would fit my diamond. Even more, Robbins brothers said he could just size down the stock setting they had (1.5 size down). Mindy (and others at PS) said that it’s best to order it in your size. Wait time if I wanted to order it through Robbins Brothers: 8 weeks. Wait time for Mindy/Robbins Jewelers: 3 weeks.


    My “in a nutshell” impression of Robbins Brothers here in L.A. – They suck. [​IMG]


    I used Jennifer Thornton Davis as my appraiser. She is mentioned here on PS and just lovely.


    Again, thanks to all that made this diamond experience fun and informative. The best part is this summer I will be purchasing another diamond! I now have this idea I can’t shake: I am going to buy a (hopefully) one carat RB for my mother. She is a wonderful mom who gave up a lot for her kids and had a hard life. She has never owned a nice diamond...I actually lost the very small diamond ring she got for her engagement. I plan on getting a nice temporary white gold setting - she can pick the final later - and on the eve of my wedding, go over and thank her for being the best mom, and I will always be her daughter and will always take care of her. Then I will give her the ring! I think she’ll love having something like that to mark the occasion.


    The pic of the diamond is below from WF (I’ve posted it before). No hand shots or anything yet, since it will be a 2 more weeks for the setting to come in. I’ll be sure to post in the SMTR forum when it’s all done!

    Copy of di40x_GIA14456171.jpg
     
    


    


  2. Rod
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    4,097
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    by Rod » Apr 10, 2006
    Gosh Golly Miss Molly..........that''s one pretty stone. Thanks for the shopping review too![​IMG]
     
  3. TravelingGal
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    17,193
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
  4. Sundial
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    5,532
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    by Sundial » Apr 10, 2006
    Gorgeous stone and a great review of some of the most popular pricescope vendors! Very helpful post, thanks!
     
    


    


  5. kathleenmv
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    485
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    by kathleenmv » Apr 10, 2006
    Great review! Very thorough comparison. And what a wonderful stone. Oh my golly, it''s gorgeous! [​IMG]'');" alt="Insert smilie [​IMG]" src="http://www.pricescope.com/idealbb/images/smilies/30.gif" border="0"> Yay!
     
  6. jcrow
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    7,395
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    by jcrow » Apr 10, 2006
    very informative and helpful. thanks!!

    congrats on a fab. stone! and the story of the ring for your mom just makes my heart happy. she''s going to love it!
     
  7. Kaleigh
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    29,570
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    by Kaleigh » Apr 10, 2006
    Very thoughtful and helpful review. What a gorgeous stone. Love it!!!![​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. jaz464
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,022
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    by jaz464 » Apr 10, 2006
    I totally agree with WF''s shipping costs being high. I have had to send my ring back twice in the last few months. Both times I sent it to them for about $35 (registered mail, insured for max. USPS allows of $25,000). WF will only send back my ring Fed Ex overnight. They charge me $100 to do this (to insure for the same amount). Honestly, this makes me mad. I asked them to send it back registered mail, which they trust to get the ring there in the first place. No such luck. I actually trust registered mail more than I do fed ex. While fed ex is faster, registered mail is ALWAYS under lock and key.
     
  9. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    5,212
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    by JohnQuixote » Apr 10, 2006
    TG - Thank you so much for the comprehensive review. It's nice to hear all of the stories and good to be in the star-spangled group you named. We appreciate the feedback... Your diamond is gorgeous.

    Jazmine, it may help you to know that we have insurance arrangements that make FedEx as safe for our company as USPS is for the public. The security of station pickup only with photo ID makes it the safest arrangement. That, coupled with fast delivery, makes it the optimum choice (actually some of our clients do not like using USPS because of the time lag). Nevertheless, if something makes you mad, please feel free to call in and discuss it with the sales consultant or someone in management. At the very least you'll get an explanation, and we do appreciate this kind of feedback.
     
  10. Jelly
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,518
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    by Jelly » Apr 10, 2006
    Wow, what a gorgeous stone! Great review of the online dealers! This will definitely help out present and future consumers here on PS.

    Thanks for the explanation John. I know that when I''ve ordered jewelry from WF I couldn''t get it in my hands soon enough! Next day delivery is great!
     
    


    


  11. jaz464
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,022
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    by jaz464 » Apr 10, 2006
    Thanks for the feedback. What I don't get though, is if it is just as safe, as you say, then that makes it sound like they are equal in safety. Yet I must pay 3 times as much. I had discussed this with Bob. I just didn't get a clear answer about the reason why it must be used, especially, if I am willing to incur the risk to have it sent back registered mail.

    In addition, for people like me that are not too far away, (not the other side of the country at least), reg. mail has never taken more than 2 days. The first time I sent from FL to TX, it took 1 day to arrive, if you can believe that. Also, reg. mail can not ever be left on a door step and can also have restricted delivery, which can only be signed for by a specific person with ID.
     
  12. icekid
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    7,470
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    by icekid » Apr 10, 2006
    really nice review, TravelingGal. very useful info for the future. thanks for sharing!
     
  13. ChargerGrrl
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    2,865
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2005
    by ChargerGrrl » Apr 10, 2006
    GORGEOUS stone & informative review- THANKS!
    Can''t wait to see the finished product.
     
  14. MissAva
    Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    8,230
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    by MissAva » Apr 10, 2006
    Great review Traveling Gal![​IMG]
     
  15. SuzyQZ
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    1,420
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    by SuzyQZ » Apr 10, 2006
    Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. What a great post for everyone considering online shopping for their diamond and setting. I really like how you broke everything down step by step and evaluated the good and the not so good. Very practical and straightforward.

    Your diamond is really somethin'' else. [​IMG] I haven''t seen many cushions and that picture is spectacular -- Can''t wait to see the finished product.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
    


    


  16. cymbrie
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    by cymbrie » Apr 10, 2006
    WOW TG thanks so much for your review, we already bought our asscher from GOG and I have to say I must echo your comments about Jonathan he is just a doll! Your review will greatly help so many prospective buyers thanks again!

    Oh goodness and your cushion is just STUNNING one word WOW! [​IMG]
     
  17. Small
    Brilliant_Rock

    Messages:
    958
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    by Small » Apr 10, 2006
    Wow...great story! Totally makes me want to work with Mark at ERD.
    Your cushion looks amazing [​IMG]
    BTW...Wink is 4 stars ++++++ I did buy my RB from him and he''s the best! He''s friendly, honest, and very easy to communicate with not to mention very fast with his replies [​IMG] Right on with Wink [​IMG]
     
  18. TravelingGal
    Super_Ideal_Rock

    Messages:
    17,193
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    by TravelingGal » Apr 11, 2006
    Thanks everyone! I really do think it''s pretty. Won''t be perfect like an ideal round, but it spoke to me and I thought it had great character (if you can even describe a stone that way!).


    Yes, I did want to be honest as possible. When I did my research here, most of the reviews were absolutely rave (and with good reason). But I did want to mention things that I wasn''t thrilled with, or nervous about. Even after lurking here for nearly two years, I was a bit skeptical of buying online...could it really be THAT great of an experience?

    And indeed it was. Whiteflash was a thoroughly great experience (although I reserve final judgment for when I get the ring!) I would recommend online buying for anyone willing to do their homework and be receptive to the opinions of others on this board. Above all, as others say, trust your eyes.

    BTW - the appraiser really liked the diamond and said I got it for substantially under market value. She actually joked it was "boring" because she had nothing bad to say about it.
     
  19. Wink
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

    Messages:
    7,326
    Joined:
    May 3, 2001
    by Wink » Apr 11, 2006
    Thank you very much for the kind words. It was fun talking with you and I am glad that you were able to get what you wanted.

    As for getting you Jonathon''s email etc, I regard it as part of my job to know who has things and to pass on that information when appropriate. There are a LOT of good vendors here at Pricescope and most of us are also friends as well as competitors.

    Wink
     
  20. lil_jay78
    Shiny_Rock

    Messages:
    195
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    by lil_jay78 » Apr 11, 2006
    Great thorough investigation! Thanks for taking the time to do that for all the newbies!

    Your diamond looks awesome!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

Share This Page