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The story of my ring's grading issue

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
Regarding feedback we receive pertaining to returns, we are open to learning any actionable information we can, while being sensitive to the 'no questions asked' aspect of our refund policy. However, many of our diamonds are destined for engagement rings, and there is a proposal and a second party involved. Sometimes customers are more comfortable stating some qualitative reason for the return, when it may actually be that the proposal did not go according to plan. So we have to bear that in mind when assessing the feedback. Sometimes multiple reasons are given and sometimes they may seem to be in conflict with each other. I believe the prior return July mentioned in this case falls into that category.

We do have customers that are interested to know the history of a stone they are purchasing, particularly if it is a trade-up that has been worn before. It is our practice to share whatever information we can with customers.
 

KristyDarling

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
3,667
To add on to Mrs-B's post...

The blurry stone in my avatar was an AGS H 3.56 carat stone that I purchased in 2005 from a very reputable PS vendor. I found out years later that it was the equivalent of a GIA J. I was shocked, but that's when I learned about the differences in color grading between the two labs. I loved that stone but ended up selling it to help fund my cushion. But not because of the color issue - I just I wanted a cushion cut. :geek2:
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
Ditto this. Lots of posts wanting to hang the appraiser - inappropriately, IMO. As @Texas Leaguer already explained much more eloquently than I was about to... withholding critical information from the expert one has hired to evaluate a purchase is neither fair nor fruitful: if the appraiser 'gets it wrong' either he's judged to be incompetent or his client leaves confused and concerned. Or, occasionally, both, as has happened here.

In @Julyisjuly's defense - this sort of "test" does seem like a reasonable ask, and the appraiser should have asked for all documentation outright instead of letting himself be led into it :(sad


A general question for this thread - if a stone has two reports, one from AGSL proclaiming it to be a G and another from GIA stating H... how would people feel? Does the presence of one report negate the other? Or must both agree to be "mind clean"?
Good question @yssie , and what about a stone that has two GIA reports, one G and one H? This scenario is rare because GIA has sophisticated process in place to determine if a diamond has previously been submitted, but it is certainly possible.

How do people feel when an AGS stone is graded lower than GIA? Do people tend to post concern about that? We see in this thread that all the focus is on the appraiser calling a diamond an H instead of a G, but not much commentary on the clarity upgrade.

This is a dynamic that is played out many times online and is one reason why there tends to be a perception that AGS is 'softer' than GIA. GIA is the BIG dog- they invented the grading system. As the lab that set the standard, they are in many ways seen as infallible. When folks get an 'upgrade' from GIA (or from a GIA graduate gemologist) they tend to quietly keep their good fortune to themselves. If GIA grades the stone lower than AGS, people tend to voice concerns.

And when you consider the number of AGS stones that are sent to GIA vs the number of GIA stones in the market that get sent to AGS, you can see how the numbers would be greatly skewed, and therefore the perception in the marketplace.
 

Blingalingaling

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
521
@Menlikediamondstoo ,
This is an excellent point. I am not sure if this was a factor in July's case but this is a fairly common scenario. Much unnecessary confusion is caused by consumers withholding available information from appraisers, in particular an existing lab report. This stems from an understandable desire to get an 'unbiased' expert opinion. Unfortunately, most appraisers are at a disadvantage to the labs in the ways already discussed (experience, volume, lighting, masters, etc). Most good appraisers are skilled at identification, evaluation, verification, and documentation. Grading precision is not usually the core strength of most appraisers because it is not a core element of their daily practice.

And if you think about it, there is an understandable tendency for appraisers to err on the side of being 'strict' on the grading of an unknown stone in order to try to best protect the client. This introduces an element of bias of a different kind. To a large extent it is self defeating to 'test' the appraiser in this way, and a little unfair (particularly if the diamond is mounted).

If you avail the appraiser to the report upfront, he/she can properly consider that information in the workup. If there is disagreement with the some aspect of a lab report, the appraiser will make that known in their evaluation and/or consultation.

Then as a consumer you can properly weigh any differences based upon the size of any deviation and the overall credentials, experience, and infrastructure that the appraiser has versus the reputation of the lab issuing the report. This approach will generally lead to a better, more rational outcome.
I went to a highly regarded independent appraiser in the NYC Metropolitan area, who asked me NOT TO tell him anything about the stone in advance of his inspection of the stones I had him appraise for me. In fact, after he did his entire appraisal, he then shared his findings with me and showed me the plots he did on each stone. Then we compared his findings with the GIA Certs. HE WAS DEAD-ON EACH TIME. A good appraiser, one who is worth his salt, will know what he or she is looking at. Maybe this appraiser felt so badly that his findings were different from the OP's Cert and felt so badly for her (based on HER body language) that he tried in vain to make the experience less upsetting for her. Who knows? None of us were there.
I do agree that you can't compare small stones to large stones for color but the stone in question does not look like "G"-color, in my opinion, based on these photos and video.
I think the OP might be right to question the correctness of this AGS Cert, but in any event, her confidence in this transaction has been shaken, so I think starting over and looking for another stone is the best way to proceed.
We could argue all day about the validity of the appraisal or the Cert - whatever - this OP needs to find a stone that she truly loves and feels confident that she got what she paid for.
Let's just leave it at that. :)
 

blueMA

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
1,257
A general question for this thread - if a stone has two reports, one from AGSL proclaiming it to be a G and another from GIA stating H... how would people feel? Does the presence of one report negate the other? Or must both agree to be "mind clean"?
I've seen countless posts on AGS being softer on color over GIA, and some people also have sent their AGS stones over to GIA where they often come back with higher color and clarity.

However, I've seen many recent AGS stones compare spot-on G compared to my GIA and AGS G stones in person, so I don't think it's necessarily that AGS is always softer in color, but the range/grading may be more generous based on anecdotal evidences.

For me, I see the color differences very clearly, so it really doesn't matter what the cert says. If I find a rare H that looks like a G, I wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the bargain, but that never happened.
 

Jimmianne

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
5,232
Has the AGS stone been cleaned?!?!?! That stone is incredibly dark for a G. The first solitaire I bought for my wife as an anniversary ring was a GIA G and on side profile it is definitely not that dark (nor is it that dark face up).
It looks as though it needs to be cleaned for sure. Wiping is not cleaning.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
19,882
A good appraiser, one who is worth his salt, will know what he or she is looking at. Maybe this appraiser felt so badly that his findings were different from the OP's Cert and felt so badly for her (based on HER body language) that he tried in vain to make the experience less upsetting for her. Who knows? None of us were there.
I strongly disagree with this sentiment. An appraiser who worked as a grader, and who has a lighting setup that mimics GIA’s, might well be in excellent position to judge colour and clarity the way GIA judges colour and clarity.

Is an appraiser who has not worked as a grader “not worth his salt”? Is an appraisal setup that does not mimic GIA’s grading setup evidence of “an appraiser who is not worth his salt”?

Well, that rather depends on what you’re getting an appraisal for. If you want your appraiser to parrot your GIA or AGS report - sure, just be sure to check that your appraiser is qualified and set up to perform this specific task. Appraisals - appraisers - serve valuable purposes beyond this: they evaluate condition of both stones and settings, they estimate retail value of gems and pieces new and old, they do optical analyses beyond what the labs (both the labs) provide. Some of these tasks will require different expertise and different setups from GIA’s labs.

@denverappraiser I would value your thoughts on expectations, if you’d be willing to share... But first - I’m reporting my post to ask the mods if a trade member would be permitted to comment directly.
 
Last edited:

Julyisjuly

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
125
The guy was referred by a large diamond store in Dallas, Robbins Brothers. I called them and they don't do appraisal and give me the guy's name. Later, we contacted this guy independently. We can't say this guy is absolutely right or wrong, but he should have a reasonable jugement for most cases, otherwise the local retail store is asking for a lot of hassle when referring customers to him. I didn't tell him the 4C until he finished his assessment.

The pictures and videos I took last night was in the room under normal house lighting which has some yellow tint. Let's see how it compares to other stones at WF store.
 

kipari

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 9, 2015
Messages
1,331
The guy was referred by a large diamond store in Dallas, Robbins Brothers. I called them and they don't do appraisal and give me the guy's name. Later, we contacted this guy independently. We can't say this guy is absolutely right or wrong, but he should have a reasonable jugement for most cases, otherwise the local retail store is asking for a lot of hassle when referring customers to him. I didn't tell him the 4C until he finished his assessment.

The pictures and videos I took last night was in the room under normal house lighting which has some yellow tint. Let's see how it compares to other stones at WF store.
Please keep us posted. It will be very interesting to see comparison pictures!!!
 

Stephan

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
2,890
I once bought a 1.3 I-AGS0.
The lab report mentioned a GIA inscription, so I found the GIA report and it was a J.
The diamond was not yellow at all, but GREY.
None of both reports mentioned it.
 

Blingalingaling

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
521
I strongly disagree with this sentiment. An appraiser who worked as a grader, and who has a lighting setup that mimics GIA’s, might well be in excellent position to judge colour and clarity the way GIA judges colour and clarity.

Is an appraiser who has not worked as a grader “not worth his salt”? Is an appraisal setup that does not mimic GIA’s grading setup evidence of “an appraiser who is not worth his salt”?

Well, that rather depends on what you’re getting an appraisal for. If you want your appraiser to parrot your GIA or AGS report - sure, just be sure to check that your appraiser is qualified and set up to perform this specific task. Appraisals - appraisers - serve valuable purposes beyond this: they evaluate condition of both stones and settings, they estimate retail value of gems and pieces new and old, they do optical analyses beyond what the labs (both the labs) provide. Some of these tasks will require different expertise and different setups from GIA’s labs.

@denverappraiser I would value your thoughts on expectations, if you’d be willing to share... But first - I’m reporting my post to ask the mods if a trade member would be permitted to comment directly.
By using the expression,"worth his (or her) salt", I mean someone who has built a reputation for being reliable, trustworthy and accurate. As we have "recommended jewelers" here, in other walks of life there are recommended professionals with whom you might put your trust, such as doctors, investment counselors, etc. We need to have some basis for choosing one person to do a job over another. Reputations aren't the be-all, end-all, but they're a good place to start.

My purpose for taking my stones to an independent appraiser is to confirm that I got exactly what I thought I'd bought, so that I would be sure to purchase the proper amount of insurance based on the value he'd placed on the stone (this particular appraiser isn't one of those who inflates the value). I also wanted his opinion on whether to buy a particular stone. In one instance, he advised me not to- and I'm glad that he gave me an honest answer. I didn't buy it and I'm glad I didn't.

That's what I mean by "worth his salt"-maybe that's a subjective statement to make. I don't know what his lighting set-up is or how it compares to the ones at GIA. I do know he has had GIA training (I'm not near his card right now or my appraisal with his credentials listed on it-for all I know, I could be understating his creds). I do know his comparison set is GIA.
On more than one occasion he was completely and totally accurate in his assessment of my stones. That is what I look for when I go to an appraiser.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
19,882
I once bought a 1.3 I-AGS0.
The lab report mentioned a GIA inscription, so I found the GIA report and it was a J.
The diamond was not yellow at all, but GREY.
None of both reports mentioned it.
AGS wouldn't note grey on the report, period -
I did not know either since we handle so few stones past J color. But I checked with AGSL and they do not follow the GIA practice of reporting hue in the normal range (D-Z).
https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/why-doesnt-ags-gia-put-a-comment-on-their-reports-if-the-stone.245523/

And GIA will only note grey if the stone is K or below:
https://www.victorcanera.com/blog/diamond-color-undertones

Therefore your observation that neither report noted the grey you saw is, apparently, exactly as expected...
 

crbl999

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
447
The guy was referred by a large diamond store in Dallas, Robbins Brothers. I called them and they don't do appraisal and give me the guy's name. Later, we contacted this guy independently. We can't say this guy is absolutely right or wrong, but he should have a reasonable jugement for most cases, otherwise the local retail store is asking for a lot of hassle when referring customers to him. I didn't tell him the 4C until he finished his assessment.

The pictures and videos I took last night was in the room under normal house lighting which has some yellow tint. Let's see how it compares to other stones at WF store.
I live in DFW and there are not many true independent appraisers in the metroplex. I've always used Neil Beaty @denverappraiser as he is truly independent and well respected. Does the appraiser that you used sell jewelry or diamonds?
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
1,906
The guy was referred by a large diamond store in Dallas, Robbins Brothers. I called them and they don't do appraisal and give me the guy's name. Later, we contacted this guy independently. We can't say this guy is absolutely right or wrong, but he should have a reasonable jugement for most cases, otherwise the local retail store is asking for a lot of hassle when referring customers to him. I didn't tell him the 4C until he finished his assessment.

The pictures and videos I took last night was in the room under normal house lighting which has some yellow tint. Let's see how it compares to other stones at WF store.
Did you use Steve Jarvis?
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
As an inexperienced first time buyer, we are very confused and lost at this point. I don't know shall I look for GIA certified diamond? With $24200 for diamond alone, I believe I can get a 2ct, a very stunning cut, Color G, VS2, GIA diamond. There are more GIA diamonds on the market and they are cheaper.
As all said, the appraiser guy may not as professional as the AGS lab. However, he was very surprised when I told him this is a G. He told me this is a very very rare case that he graded almost 1~2 grades lower than the certificate.
Also, this diamond could be a AGS G color, maybe at the lower range.
@Julyisjuly , You are certainly not alone as a first time diamond buyer perplexed by lab grades and appraisals! It may be of some comfort to know that you have started a lively and worthwhile discussion here that will benefit other first time buyers that come after you!
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
23,070
OP, I will be interested to hear what you liked in person at WF.

IMO, I’d rather have an AGS graded RB than GIA. From the few I’ve owned or observed over the years the AGS perform better in all light than the GIA. As noted by another poster the branded super ideal cut stones are AGS.
 

Doctor Jack

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
2
Regarding feedback we receive pertaining to returns, we are open to learning any actionable information we can, while being sensitive to the 'no questions asked' aspect of our refund policy. However, many of our diamonds are destined for engagement rings, and there is a proposal and a second party involved. Sometimes customers are more comfortable stating some qualitative reason for the return, when it may actually be that the proposal did not go according to plan. So we have to bear that in mind when assessing the feedback. Sometimes multiple reasons are given and sometimes they may seem to be in conflict with each other. I believe the prior return July mentioned in this case falls into that category.

We do have customers that are interested to know the history of a stone they are purchasing, particularly if it is a trade-up that has been worn before. It is our practice to share whatever information we can with customers.
Mr. Boyne @TexasLeaguer,

I am the buyer who returned the diamond in question. When I returned the diamond, I clearly stated the reasons for the return:

1.The diamond had a yellow tint
2.The overall size of the diamond was too small

I was told by a WF representative that the yellow tint observed in the diamond was due to the setting we chose. Please see the attached correspondence with your company regarding the aforementioned reasons. I must say that up until this point I have been very happy with WF. However, I am quite disappointed with your statements in this thread. I do believe that you have omitted certain information, as well as, publicly speculated on information that seems quite personal in nature to your customer.

You stated "and the previous customer returned the diamond because they decided to go bigger.” While this is partly true, you withheld reason number 1- the yellow tint. Then you went on to speculate/make assumptions regarding whether or not the “proposal” went as planned. I clearly stated to your team that this is an upgrade for my wife (as we have been married for 3 years). I find speculating in this manner on a public forum to be both unprofessional and unethical. There is a delicate balance, should you choose to share "the history of a stone...[and] whatever information [you] can with customers," between being forthcoming with a new customer and respecting the privacy of the old customer. Ultimately, the information you speculated on here is quite personal and I would expect that as the VP of WF you would know better than to share (incorrect) assumptions regarding customers on a public forum. I do believe the line was crossed here.

I do not think that the reason I returned the stone should affect the next customer’s decision. However, I felt compelled to respond given the information shared by WF here.

IMG_6900.jpg image1.jpeg
 

Attachments

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
Has the AGS stone been cleaned?!?!?! That stone is incredibly dark for a G. The first solitaire I bought for my wife as an anniversary ring was a GIA G and on side profile it is definitely not that dark (nor is it that dark face up).
I agree. Just judging from the picture nobody would suspect this diamond of being anywhere in the near colorless range! It certainly looks nothing like the images of the stone on the website. I am looking forward to inspecting it later today.
 

TreeScientist

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
1,248
Mr. Boyne @TexasLeaguer,

I am the buyer who returned the diamond in question. When I returned the diamond, I clearly stated the reasons for the return:

1.The diamond had a yellow tint
2.The overall size of the diamond was too small

I was told by a WF representative that the yellow tint observed in the diamond was due to the setting we chose. Please see the attached correspondence with your company regarding the aforementioned reasons. I must say that up until this point I have been very happy with WF. However, I am quite disappointed with your statements in this thread. I do believe that you have omitted certain information, as well as, publicly speculated on information that seems quite personal in nature to your customer.

You stated "and the previous customer returned the diamond because they decided to go bigger.” While this is partly true, you withheld reason number 1- the yellow tint. Then you went on to speculate/make assumptions regarding whether or not the “proposal” went as planned. I clearly stated to your team that this is an upgrade for my wife (as we have been married for 3 years). I find speculating in this manner on a public forum to be both unprofessional and unethical. There is a delicate balance, should you choose to share "the history of a stone...[and] whatever information [you] can with customers," between being forthcoming with a new customer and respecting the privacy of the old customer. Ultimately, the information you speculated on here is quite personal and I would expect that as the VP of WF you would know better than to share (incorrect) assumptions regarding customers on a public forum. I do believe the line was crossed here.

I do not think that the reason I returned the stone should affect the next customer’s decision. However, I felt compelled to respond given the information shared by WF here.

IMG_6900.jpg image1.jpeg
https://media.giphy.com/media/pUeXcg80cO8I8/giphy.gif
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
@Doctor Jack,
My sincere apologies Sir. In re-reading my comments I can see where you took offense.

I was only trying to describe how it is not possible to know for certain what actually prompts a return. There are many factors and sometimes we get conflicting messages. I did review some of the correspondence related to your return and saw that the customer had indicated a preference for bigger, and also that they might not want a diamond of any kind afterall. I did not see any discussion related to the color grade of the stone and felt that the comment about the yellow tint was in context of the all yellow gold ring.

But I do understand why you felt a duty to post these details. Please accept my apology. My comments were unnecessary and unwise.
 

Doctor Jack

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
2
@Doctor Jack,
My sincere apologies Sir. In re-reading my comments I can see where you took offense.

I was only trying to describe how it is not possible to know for certain what actually prompts a return. There are many factors and sometimes we get conflicting messages. I did review some of the correspondence related to your return and saw that the customer had indicated a preference for bigger, and also that they might not want a diamond of any kind afterall. I did not see any discussion related to the color grade of the stone and felt that the comment about the yellow tint was in context of the all yellow gold ring.

But I do understand why you felt a duty to post these details. Please accept my apology. My comments were unnecessary and unwise.
Thank you for your response and I do accept your apology.
 

lovedogs

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
9,364
I have to say that threads like this are why I trust WF so much. @Texas Leaguer could have ignored this, or been defensive (as we have certainly seen from other vendors on PS in similar situations!) But instead he is thoughtful, apologetic when needed, and willing to look into this further to make the customer happy. Just wanted to say that I admire that in a VP!
 

CareBear

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Messages
1,298
Vendors such as WF need not disclose anything regarding the sales/return history of any of their stones. They do it out of courtesy. Try calling up Blue Nile or walking into Tiffany asking for the same!
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,993
I have to say that threads like this are why I trust WF so much. @Texas Leaguer could have ignored this, or been defensive (as we have certainly seen from other vendors on PS in similar situations!) But instead he is thoughtful, apologetic when needed, and willing to look into this further to make the customer happy. Just wanted to say that I admire that in a VP!
I appreciate that @lovedogs. But I have to say it is easy to apologize when you know you are out of line. But it is not every day that you see someone who accepts an apology as graciously as @Doctor Jack .
 

blueMA

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
1,257
I've turned a fan of Whiteflash because of @Texas Leaguer contribution to PS.
Senior execs don't always get the complete detail reported up, and I doubt anyone was intentionally mislead. I wouldn't necessarily consider sharing some asked information of a transaction "private in nature" and inappropriate, as long as the person is kept anonymous.
 

EncikG

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2018
Messages
105
Sorry but I really dun mind to highjack the thread but as the topic surrounds color grading..

CBI diamonds are said to “As a general rule we observe that our Crafted by Infinity diamonds face-up 2 or more grades higher than their AGS color grade”

Is that just marketing hype? On a side profile, face down, I’m sure the true color grade would still be observed right?
 
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