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Why does it cost more to see a cert.?

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zoebartlett

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I was speaking with a small local jeweler who has been very helpful in explaining gems, etc., and I have enjoyed our conversations. He''s shown me books he has on the trade and he has taken a lot of time to patiently show me several gems. He told me that he''s a GIA graduate gemologist and he grades diamonds himself before looking at the certs. Then he compares what he sees with what the cert says, and if there''s too much of a discrepancy and if he thinks his grading is better, he sends the gems back. He says he''s often more strict than GIA or AGS, but he has kept plenty of stones that have been graded by these labs. He also mentioned that if I wanted a cert. with a diamond that was GIA or AGS graded, it could cost around $250-$500 more. Why? He''s perfectly willing to provide these certs, but he wanted me to understand that they could be more expensive. I don''t understand this. I trust him but wonder about this.
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
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Hi Zoe. To make sure I understand - so he is saying a stone with a GIA cert will be $250-500 more than a stone simply appraised my him?

This makes sense. It costs money to send a stone to GIA for certification. He may be a GIA Graduate Gemologist, but getting an appraisal from him is much different than getting an official cert from the lab.

If you trust him and don't plan on trying to sell the diamond at a later date, getting an uncertified stone may be a good option for you. However, generally if you are spending a chunk of money, getting a cert is the best way to go for a number of reasons - certainty/peace-of-mind, resale, etc.

Personally, I rarely buy uncertified stones, unless it's an estate piece. I think it's the most objective, reliable way to know for sure what you are buying.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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To clarify further... you''re not talking about a stone that ALREADY has a GIA or AGS cert? He''s not charging you solely for the privilege of viewing an existing cert right? Just for what Staryeyed said...???
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Hi Starryeyed,

Yes, what you thought is correct. I don''t think he''s trying to pull the wool over anyone''s eyes, but I think I''d feel like it was more official to have the cert. I also wanted to plug the numbers in here and see how his prices compare with what''s online. We''re going to see him tomorrow and I''ll try to get as much info. as possible on the stones themselves.

How do you know ultimately who to believe? The lab or the jeweler (if there is a discrepancy)? Do you go by the jeweler''s word? If someone is already paying $4-5k on a stone, I''m not sure I''d want to add on to that cost by asking for a cert. But should I? Oh, this is so confusing. Maybe I''m thinking about this way too much.

 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Call me cynical, but I wouldn''t buy a stone of any measurable worth without a GIA or AGS cert.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Well... can''t you get an in person Sarin, IS and a color-ometer reading to verify a sellers representations about a stone? If the 200-300 is meant to scare you or deter you... I wouldn''t let it. Get the cert.
 

decodelighted

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I also wouldn''t buy an e-ring stone without a GIA or AGS cert. Studs? Maybe ... Pendant under .50 ... Maybe .... but NO NO NO NO NO for a lifetime, look-at-it-close-all-the-time-wrapped-up-in-so-many-feelings-and-such-symbolism E-RING stone.
 

jaz464

Ideal_Rock
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$250-$500 more is not a lot to pay for a GIA or AGS graded diamond. I am surprised it is not more money to be honest. Look at the price difference between GIA and IGI or EGL diamonds for instance. Quite a bit more for the GIA. Diamond grading is not free you know. Stick with a diamond with GIA or AGS to be safest.
 

zoebartlett

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Date: 3/2/2007 6:08:54 PM
Author: Gypsy
Well... can''t you get an in person Sarin, IS and a color-ometer reading to verify a sellers representations about a stone? If the 200-300 is meant to scare you or deter you... I wouldn''t let it. Get the cert.
He said he''d show me all around his shop and he''ll show me the instruments he uses. He did mention a colorimeter (colorometer?) but he didn''t mention Sarin or IS. I''ll ask about them tomorrow. I do now remember that he said that sometimes people fudge reports to make the grading higher than they actually are. I''m not sure how GIA or AGS could do that and still be reputable, but that''s just what he said. It''s not that he is against using GIA or AGS, it''s just that sometimes he sees things differently than they do.

I know it''s probably worth it to pay for the cert but I guess I never thought you''d need to. I never considered in-house grading.
 

starryeyed

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Date: 3/2/2007 5:37:51 PM
Author: zoebartlett

How do you know ultimately who to believe? The lab or the jeweler (if there is a discrepancy)? Do you go by the jeweler''s word? If someone is already paying $4-5k on a stone, I''m not sure I''d want to add on to that cost by asking for a cert. But should I? Oh, this is so confusing. Maybe I''m thinking about this way too much.

Hi Zoe. Don''t worry - this is an important decision and you are thinking about it correctly.


If you feel you can trust the jeweler, that''s great. However, GIA is a widely accepted standard, whereas the jeweler is not. Diamond pricing is soooo dependent on the cert. Not all G VS2''s, for example, are priced the same.

Is the jeweler equipped to tell you precise table %, depth %, crown and pavilion angles, girdle thickness, symmetry grading, polish grading, etc.? If not, the price of the diamond you are considering should trade at a considerable discount. It sounds like the jeweler may be trying to maximize his margin by selling uncertified stones at certified prices.

In all honesty, buying an uncertified stone may be "penny wise and pound foolish". Say you were to purchase an uncertified "ideal cut G VS2", subsequently sent it in for certification, and discovered it was a "very-good cut H SI-1". Overall, the grading may seem close, but the price difference would be huge. Why take that chance?

It''s great to have a jeweler you trust, but grading diamonds can be subjective, and the results directly affect the bottom line. Your best bet is a certified stone. Then there''s no question.
 

decodelighted

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It's certainly odd the way he's phrasing it ... I don't know if I "buy" his explaination ... I think it's just his stock rationalization for dealing in UN-certed stones. The "I know better than GIA & AGS" excuse.
Yeah, right dude!

I'd prefer to deal with a vendor who ONLY carries GIA & AGS stones .. or one whose business is PRIMARILY in certed stones. That way the "cost" is built into the price of the stone & not a "weapon" ....

I went to NYC's diamond district .. which can be a ZOO! ... and found that even there most of the places dealt in CERT-ed stones.

What certs and INDEPENDENT appraisals do ... is ensure that an OBJECTIVE person has done the "rating" ... NOT the person who stands to gain financially by "fudging" the ratings higher.


ETA: sometimes we ladies worry about hurting the feelings of people we're dealing with ... and place THAT concern over OUR OWN best interests. On a purchase this substantial I really urge you to stick to your guns ... DON'T worry about being best friends with the guy or worry that you're INSULTING him by asking for a certed stone. It is TOTALLY OKAY to want what you want and to ask for what you want. If he makes you feel "guilty" for "not trusting him" ... RUN!!!!
 

zoebartlett

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Date: 3/2/2007 6:45:51 PM
Author: decodelighted
It''s certainly odd the way he''s phrasing it ... I don''t know if I ''buy'' his explaination ... I think it''s just his stock rationalization for dealing in UN-certed stones. The ''I know better than GIA & AGS'' excuse.
Yeah, right dude!

I''d prefer to deal with a vendor who ONLY carries GIA & AGS stones .. or one whose business is PRIMARILY in certed stones. That way the ''cost'' is built into the price of the stone & not a ''weapon'' ....

I went to NYC''s diamond district .. which can be a ZOO! ... and found that even there most of the places dealt in CERT-ed stones.

What certs and INDEPENDENT appraisals do ... is ensure that an OBJECTIVE person has done the ''rating'' ... NOT the person who stands to gain financially by ''fudging'' the ratings higher.


ETA: sometimes we ladies worry about hurting the feelings of people we''re dealing with ... and place THAT concern over OUR OWN best interests. On a purchase this substantial I really urge you to stick to your guns ... DON''T worry about being best friends with the guy or worry that you''re INSULTING him by asking for a certed stone. It is TOTALLY OKAY to want what you want and to ask for what you want. If he makes you feel ''guilty'' for ''not trusting him'' ... RUN!!!!
Thanks for the advice!

I won''t feel bad at all by asking him for certified stones. I know that what matters most is to be treated fairly and protect our own interests. This jeweler doesn''t come across as being shady. I just hadn''t thought about in house grading. If we do pursue this, I''ll definitely ask for a stone that''s GIA or AGS "certed." If I have time tomorrow, I''ll report back and let you know how the visit went. Any other advice on what to look for/ask for?
 

jaz464

Ideal_Rock
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Don''t be afraid to ask for his loupe, if you don''t have one. When I go into B&Ms I loupe each diamond I look at. Looking at diamonds under a microscope can also be helpful.
 

Adylon

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 14, 2006
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232
Personally I don't see anything wrong with a seller who offers non-GIA or AGS certified diamonds BUT ... here's the big but... he/she should have plenty of diamonds in their showcase that are GIA or AGS certified to show you as well. That way you can compare the non-certified to the certified one. Don't be afraid to ask to use the microscope and compare the colors loose yourself under proper lighting, etc.... maybe even ask them to call in a diamond of the same exact specifications but with a GIA and AGS cert for you to compare. If they're unwilling to do that I'd keep looking.
 

FireGoddess

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Jan 25, 2005
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Unfortunately, his opinion, whether an educated evaluation or not, does not carry the same weight that an AGS or GIA cert will. Not that you would ever want to sell or upgrade the stone, but the fact of the matter is, if it''s not accompanied by a report, any statement of grade or clarity is an educated ''guess''. That doesn''t carry any weight. Getting a stone evaluated by a reputable lab would cost somewhere around $250 or up so the difference in price makes sense.
 

simplysplendid

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Nov 19, 2006
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Date: 3/2/2007 11:38:33 PM
Author: FireGoddess
Unfortunately, his opinion, whether an educated evaluation or not, does not carry the same weight that an AGS or GIA cert will. Not that you would ever want to sell or upgrade the stone, but the fact of the matter is, if it''s not accompanied by a report, any statement of grade or clarity is an educated ''guess''. That doesn''t carry any weight. Getting a stone evaluated by a reputable lab would cost somewhere around $250 or up so the difference in price makes sense.
Yeah, exactly.. get the cert..
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
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Hmm, I think its interesting how he is trumpeting sure, you can get a cert, but you should know I grade more strictly than AGS or GIA. To me if this was true, you would think he would ENCOURAGE people to get a cert, because in essence he is saying he would be selling a stone certed by GIA as G VS2 for the price of a H SI1, which would mean a considerable discount for you, and a loss in income to him. Which makes me kind of doubt that is happening. The reverse could be true as well, where without a cert he could give you a feel good grade in either color, clarity, or cut (and making you pay for that feel good rating) when in fact you are getting a stone that grades lower. In either case the only way to know is to get a reputable cert.
 

JohnQuixote

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At the risk of giving non-essential information, I thought I'd add a public service announcement:

The term 'cert' is a misnomer when applied to AGS and GIA. These labs deliberately call them grading documents or reports and do not encourage use of the word certificate. Although the word cert has fallen into common use the document does not actually certify anything (both the AGS and GIA carefully note this on the report).

Just a FYI folks. There are other labs who call it a ‘certificate,' but AGS & GIA are careful not to.
 
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