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Sourcing diamonds through appraiser - good idea?

miraj

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
78
Two seemingly-reputable appraisers in the Boston area offered to help me get diamonds at prices not available to the consumer. It seems like there are many positives to taking this approach, but I want to be careful. Is it a good approach? What should I do?

One uses a connection at a wholesaler. He would take a $1000 flat fee for sourcing the diamond in addition to an appraisal fee for the chosen item, and I would pay the wholesaler directly. The other appraiser said he has access to diamonds not available to the general public and charges $90/half-hour for showing me the diamonds and appraising (I'm not sure who I would pay for the diamond).

Both appraisers claim to be independent and reference working for the local government consumer protection bureau, law enforcement, and celebrities.

On the positive side:

  • I provide the specifications and price that I'm looking for to the appraiser, and they get diamonds meeting my criteria. This seems to be faster/easier than trawling through the various online sites for hours and hours.
  • They have tools beyond what I can find online in order to analyze/reject the diamond before even showing it to me. For example, doing an ASET analysis from various angles, not just top/bottom.
  • They can provide help with the human aspect of judging the light performance.
  • They can provide value analysis on whether the price is a reasonable price or not.
  • It still seems objective/independent because they do not mention getting kickbacks for selling a particular vendor's diamonds. It sounds like the second appraiser is brokering rather than selling. The first appraiser, on the other hand, seems to be essentially retailing at a lower markup than B&M or online.
  • Both offered to also receive diamonds from online/retailers and analyze the diamonds and provide recommendations on the value.

On the negative side, it seems shady with potentially conflicting interests.
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 3, 2000
Messages
6,596
If these folks are appraisers, then it might just be best to let them do what they are good at doing. Sourcing a diamond on-line or in a store is something you can do very well alone. You can use an appraiser to make sure you are doing the right thing and making a good choice. Once the appraiser becomes the "retailer" all bets are off in terms of getting unbiased appraisal advice from the seller. Paying a $1,000 flat fee is certainly not necessary. An appraiser needs to wear one hat at a time. You can't mix appraising with retailing without creating, at the very least, an appearance of potential bias. Don't jump in blindly.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
965
I'm hung up on the "trawling for hours" statement. I've never trawled for hours. Once I had a spec and a budget, there usually was not a lot of combing lengthy lists to find it, because I was sticking to the Pricescope "cheat sheet" for RB (that drops a lot of ordinary stones off the list, as does limiting the table size to 55-56, lgf to 76-77, etc.) and vendors either had such a stone or they didn't. Many of the vendors here on PS have already done that sifting, and the stones that met their criteria are stocked as their in-house diamonds. There's a chance that you can find a stellar diamond on the "virtual list," but the odds are if it's still on that list, it is because it hasn't met criteria for say, Whiteflash ACA or whatever, and is a lesser performer. I can recall a few people who found stones in the virtual list that turned out to be great performers, but not very many. If you buy Crafted By Infinity, Good Old Gold Signature (or whatever it's called now), Brian Gavin, Whiteflash ACA, etc. you are getting a great performer but perhaps not a rock-bottom price because there's a premium for services and assurance that what you're buying meets the tighter specs.

A lot of the larger PS vendor work with their own cutters to get diamonds directly. I'd wager that you are better off, assuming you want the best cut, to work with the PS vendors. I think your appraisers would either be selling "estate diamonds" which are often older or just GIA "good" RB mskes not up to today's Pricescope standards. They might have flat crown and huge table, or not have good light performance, or have "traditional" i.e. random symmetry instead of a hearts & arrows pattern. If you like that, there is nothing wrong with buying one of those at a decent price. But they are harder to buy by the numbers or paper than the modern superideal H&A stones that are more standardized.

RBs can be selected by the numbers, at least for the 1st pass. Look at NiceIce.com, 5 and 25 minutes to success, and that will give you the gist.

Cushions, Asschers, and other fancies have to be seen, because there is not really a good standard cut spec for them. Cushions can be deep or shallow, cracked-ice or chunky facets, etc. There is no formula to select those.

State your requirements and your budget, and there are also PS prosumers who like to help people find stones.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
9,015
Jewelry and diamond retailers call themselves all sorts of things. Wholesalers. Cutters. Importers. Brokers. Artists. Consultants. Manufacturers. Even appraisers. In fact most appraisers are associated with jewelry stores. Often they own the place. None of those are bad things and it’s possible to do more than one thing, but what you are describing is a retailer. Can they truly make you an offer that’s better than their competitors? Maybe. They’re welcome to try, but there is no magical advantage gained by calling themselves an appraiser, and it certainly doesn't install with them any since of independence.

In terms of ‘value analysis’, I would take it with a grain of salt just like I would from any other dealer selling me something. They’re welcome to charge whatever they want, but writing up a report that says it’s ‘worth’ more than they’re charging is not evidence of a bargain. If you want an appraisal for this purpose, get it from someone who isn’t involved in the deal. If you want to compare against what other jewelers want for something similar, ask THEM. They’ll make their own pitch. There’s plenty of them out there.

Working from time to time, or even often, for celebrities and government agencies in no way makes someone independent. I'm not even sure how that's supposed to work. Celebrities can hire whoever they want (and I encourage them to hire me), but what does that have to do with YOU?
 

miraj

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
78
Thank you for the replies.

Oldminer and Denverappraiser: If I went this route, I would take the diamond to another appraiser to ensure independence. I would also compare prices to similar items online.

AdaBeta:
I would give the appraiser my requirements (cut, ranges/numbers/angles, ASET, HCA, imperfections), so I don't think I would receive a lesser caliber of diamonds than what I can find online. I would look at the diamonds in person and being able to see the scope images in person from multiple angles seems better to me. And, as mentioned above, I would take the diamond to another appraiser to verify it meets my requirements.

Even though I'm still new at this, I have been using the numbers to narrow down options. Nevertheless my research says that the in-person light performance/human factor can't be captured in the numbers.

As for the time consuming search, it is: go to vendor #1, search for the ranges + table + depth, get back 10-20 results, and for each result: check for eye-clean, check the angles, check the ASET, calculate the HCA, check the certificate for scary imperfections... repeat for vendor #2, #3, etc.

So then I've got a bunch of diamonds worth considering but still no way to determine which to use. Not to mention that I'm no expert in reading ASET, and I keep learning new things which makes me want to search again.

For example I think all of these diamonds have the potential to look amazing in person:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/compare.aspx?idnos=3508606,3430624,3565148,3137124,3496144

But they range $8,300 per carat to $12,300 per carat, and I don't know for sure which will have the best bang for the buck.
 

telephone89

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
3,959
With WF - I believe if you ask them, they can compare the diamonds for you. That gives you the 'in person' advantage. They can also make a video. I would probably rule a few of these out so you aren't asking as much, but a top 3 should be fine for that. Also a lot of the posters here will give you their advice, help you read an aset, etc.

Of your list, I'd personally take out the last 2 - most expensive - ones, unless you are specifically looking to hit 7.6 or have a higher colour (g). 13k-20k is a huge difference, so I'm not totally sure what your budget is.

I think the i ACA would be my choice, but I'm sure if you asked they could compare them for you.
 

gr8leo87

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
381
Can any learned members shed some light on ASET performance from different angles other than top/face up?

Isn't the whole AGS light performance system based on assumptions that diamond is viewed face up and through single eye?
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
3,486
gr8leo87|1442609490|3929329 said:
Can any learned members shed some light on ASET performance from different angles other than top/face up?

Isn't the whole AGS light performance system based on assumptions that diamond is viewed face up and through single eye?
The AGS light performance methodology accounts for tilt views. This article details the science behind the system and includes tilt light maps of ASET, fire, scintilation and even glare maps.
http://www.agslab.com/spie/spie_lo_res.pdf
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
965
There is also modeling software, DiamCalc & Gem Adviser. I used Gem Adviser to study the diamond models. At the time, Good Old Gold was offering a .gem file and a BrillianceScope live report. I actually found both of those useful to "see" how the faceting acted.
 

gr8leo87

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
381
AdaBeta27 said:
There is also modeling software, DiamCalc & Gem Adviser. I used Gem Adviser to study the diamond models. At the time, Good Old Gold was offering a .gem file and a BrillianceScope live report. I actually found both of those useful to "see" how the faceting acted.
Can both of these software read .srn files?
 
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