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Why is James Allen is hiding/deleting GIA Certificate numbers?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by lamouse, Feb 18, 2019.

Is it okay to buy a diamond without the GIA number?

  1. Yes

    15 vote(s)
    21.4%
  2. No

    55 vote(s)
    78.6%
  1. lamouse
    Rough_Rock

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    by lamouse » Feb 18, 2019
    Hi all, been shopping for a for while and noticed that many of James Allen diamonds have the GIA number cut out of the certificate for lack of a better explanation.

    Is this normal? I havent seen other websites doing this and a jeweler told me that it's something to be concerned about.

    How can we verify the authenticity of the diamond and know which stone we will receive if this is the case? Is it okay to buy the diamond without seeing the number?

    Here are some examples, but there are many of them. Any insight would be appreciated.

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6601915
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6587313
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6586248
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6616295
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6579131
    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6582153

    Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 8.32.17 AM.png
     
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  2. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Feb 18, 2019
    My guess is they don't want you to search for the # and find the same stone for a lower price elsewhere.
     
  3. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    Wow sneaky! I agree with @bludiva and that has to be the only explanation. Especially because they tend to post more photo/video than other virtual stone sites.
     
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  4. rockysalamander
    Ideal_Rock

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    by rockysalamander » Feb 18, 2019
    My thoughts exactly. To avoid competition.
     
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  5. sstephensid
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    by sstephensid » Feb 18, 2019
    I kind of understand it. They are spending money to video and photograph these diamonds. But you can use their images to verify it is eyeclean or whatever, then buy it cheaper from another site. This will make it harder to do that...
     
  6. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    I bet the many of the stones missing GIA are the ones they posted videos on.
     
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  7. blueMA
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    You posted while I was replying! yes exactly.
    Though searching at Enchanted diamonds for the exact specs will still probably allow you to find the stone for the determined.
     
  8. tjkswift
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    by tjkswift » Feb 18, 2019
    I agree that's probably the reason. I purchased a stone from them not long ago and then was going to buy a second stone from them but ran across the same stone for less money, with another vendor while I was perusing other vendor sites during my hunt. When I decided to go ahead with the purchase of that particular stone that both vendors had access to, I asked the JA CS rep I was working with, if they'd price match. Answer was a flat no so I bought it from the other vendor. I was surprised they chose to lose my sale entirely.
     
  9. TreeScientist
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    by TreeScientist » Feb 18, 2019
    You can label this the RareCarat effect. Seeing as James Allen's prices are usually 10-20% more than the smaller online retailers for the exact same diamond, I'm sure that JA was getting sick of people using their videos to find a diamond, searching for the diamond on RareCarat with the GIA number, and then purchasing it elsewhere for cheaper.

    But as @blueMA mentioned, it's still not all that difficult to find the diamond elsewhere with a bit of searching. If you narrow a rarecarat search using the exact specs of the diamond you're interested in (Carat, color, clarity, fluorescence, table%, crown angle and pavilion angle) then you'll get maybe 2 or 3 diamonds total that pop up in the RareCarat search. Then it's just a quick process of elimination to find the diamond you're interested in.

    So erasing the GIA numbers maybe adds a minute or two to the process. Still not too bad. :)
     
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  10. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    oops, I meant Rarecarats not Enchanted as @TreeScientist mentioned! :bigsmile: Rarecarats is the only one that I found allows you to search with pavilion and crown along with other details. Great search capability, but not all exhaustive.
     
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  11. yssie
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    by yssie » Feb 18, 2019
    This.
    And I honestly don't begrudge them this decision at all.
     
  12. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    If James Allen dug up videos for virtual stones (not the in-house), others can do the same for you through the supplier but it's a bit more pain and delay having to ask for em individually. I'm surprised that JA wouldn't honor price match though since they somewhat imply they would below.

    https://www.jamesallen.com/diamond-price-match-terms/
     
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  13. mrs-b
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    by mrs-b » Feb 18, 2019
    I don't like it. To me, it's a case of 'if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen'. They are not the only vendor to sell an identical product. The same shoes I buy on Zappos I can also buy on Nordstrom. Le Creuset, for example, can be bought at many, many different places. Cars can come from numerous dealers, for the exact same car.

    The GIA cert is meant to be a form of verification. If they can't risk verifying what they're selling due to potential competition, they need to look to their prices and ask themselves some hard questions.

    I hate an unfair playing ground and being held over a barrel as a consumer. I know not everyone feels the same as me about this issue, but this is a bugbear for me. A big one.
     
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  14. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    Yes I agree. For a while, I noticed similar practice by certain eCommerce sites where they'd hide the manufacturer's model number or even change the title of the product to hide from competition. That's why I said "sneaky" to even bother crossing out the GIA number.
     
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  15. partgypsy
    Ideal_Rock

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    by partgypsy » Feb 18, 2019
    I understand why they do it, so I'm not going to begrudge them. And as others said if you want to do a little more work you could probably find the diamond on other sites. I'm assuming if you buy the diamond you will have the full gia certificate, so it's not like they are misinforming customers. And if you are begrudging this, you might ask yourself why you are searching and browsing at James Allen, versus the vendors that may have diamond cheaper? Most likely James Allen is providing some value, either in a better search engine, bigger inventory, additional photos, videos, other information that the other vendors are not. And I'm sure that costs money.
     
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  16. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Feb 18, 2019
    off topic but mattress stores are notorious for this! you can't price shop b/c they get the same goods from a small set of manufacturers but each chain brands them differently. on top of that, pushy/manipulative sales tactics which make people hate shopping for these items no surprise that the online options (caspar, leesa, etc.) are doing well. threadjack over.

    shopping for diamonds should be fun and exciting but i found it stressful more than anything. the stone we bought for my ER was listed elsewhere for significantly more, luckily i found the lower-priced listing first or who knows...?
     
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  17. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 18, 2019
    Very stressful indeed, because the difference often amount to thousands if not more!
     
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  18. mrs-b
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mrs-b » Feb 18, 2019
    Yes. I'm sure it does. And that extra mile is why they get more business than other vendors with the same product. If they start eradicating their 'extras' that give them their edge, they can expect a commensurate drop in business.

    I don't feel like I am a 'begrudger'. I'm a good shopper. It's a skill, not a personality flaw.
     
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  19. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » Feb 19, 2019
    Didn't JA get taken over recently?

    If so (and I'm not losing my mind :razz: ) perhaps the new owners are looking to increase the speed they recoup their investment.
     
  20. the_mother_thing
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  21. YoungPapa
    Shiny_Rock
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    by YoungPapa » Feb 19, 2019
    Hi folks,

    I wanted to jump in here and respond to a few of the comments. I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but I’m still an avid daily reader.

    As many of you have rightly guessed, we’re currently running a test of blocking out the report numbers to see if this has any impact on sales. It's a reaction to advice that we see posted around here more often than ever: 'Shop James Allen, then go buy the diamond somewhere else cheaper.' While I completely understand this from a consumer's perspective, our photography offices in Hong Kong, Tel-Aviv, New York and Mumbai employ over 200 people and will capture over 2M videos this year alone. This results in a much better customer experience, but forces a higher retail. If blocking out the report numbers helps keep people at JA, it’s probably the right business decision. If not, we’ll roll it back. At this point we just need to test waters and see what levers we can pull to keep driving growth, while still leaving ourselves enough margin to invest in new technologies.

    I also want to point out that the Price Match policy mentioned by BlueMA is a new addition to the website. This is another way for us to try and protect margin, but still serve all our customers – including the ‘good shoppers’ likes mrs-b.

    tjkswift
    – I’m sorry that Price Match wasn’t in place when you came back to us for the second purchase, but I’m hopeful you’ll consider us for the third.

    Finally, I’ll say that while James Allen was acquired in late 2017, Signet has been a fantastic parent company and really left myself, Oded, and the rest of the team here at JA to continue to grow the company in the ways we see best. I’m hopeful that in the future we can leverage our online pricing and expertise with Signet’s massive B&M footprint, but that’s probably best suited for a different thread.

    I hope this information is helpful, and I will stick around in case you guys have any other questions, concerns, or feedback on how we can best serve our customers (like you).
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
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  22. blueMA
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    by blueMA » Feb 19, 2019
    We appreciate you providing your insight here. JA is a popular site referred here for the better bargain + upgrade policy.

    I do have a question though - do you hire your team to capture videos of off-site virtual stones carried and yet to be shipped by suppliers that are still accessible by other vendors? Or are those photos/videos provided by the supplier as in the case of other virtual vendors?
     
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  23. 2Neezers
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    by 2Neezers » Feb 20, 2019
    This question is off the original topic, but I am curious if you have considered an upgrade policy closer to what your top PS competitors offer? I for one have a James Allen diamond I would love to trade up, but don’t want or need a diamond in the 2X price range. While having any type of upgrade policy is a positive, I have seen your more restrictive upgrade policy mentioned many times when people are weighing their options of which vendor to choose from. I would think that many people trading up would also purchase a new setting and/or band. I know I would =)2.
     
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  24. mrs-b
    Ideal_Rock

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    by mrs-b » Feb 20, 2019
    "This results in a much better customer experience, but forces a higher retail. If blocking out the report numbers helps keep people at JA, it’s probably the right business decision. If not, we’ll roll it back. At this point we just need to test waters and see what levers we can pull to keep driving growth, while still leaving ourselves enough margin to invest in new technologies."

    As I read this - you want to protect yourself from competition so you can grow your business and increase profit.

    This is the typical business template, so there's nothing surprising or unusual about that. But there's less in this for the consumer - which is also the typical business template.

    I've dropped you an email, YoungPapa - I hope it reaches you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  25. flyingpig
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    by flyingpig » Feb 20, 2019
    I would like to comment that taking a good photo of a diamond is PITA. Doing it for all their 200,000 diamonds and maintaining the database is simply remarkable. Their camera and lighting settings are reasonably consistent considering the volume they do. Their ASET/IS images are one of the best. Diamonds are rarely tilted. I can sense good quality control happening behind the scene. In contrast, so many vendors provide poorly taken IS/ASET images, that, sometimes, do not even match the diamond.

    Regarding upgrading policy, the 2X policy can be restrictive. However, you cannot compare JA to WF, BG, and CBI. They are not exactly in the same category.
    Some other PS and online vendors have restocking fee. Some have changed their upgrade policy over years and outright refused any upgrade. Some vendors cannot offer diamonds that satisfy your requirements, especially in the high-price range. Some vendors go out of business.
    At least, JA is reliable and has not changed their upgrade policy for years. In addition, their upgrade policy also applies to IGI diamonds, which nobody else does.
    My complaint about JA's upgrade policy is they need to be more flexible with JA True Hearts, because at the price range, JA is competing with WF ACA/ES, CBI and BG.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  26. YoungPapa
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    by YoungPapa » Feb 20, 2019
    Hi folks,

    Really appreciate the replies, and glad to answer the follow-up up questions.

    blueMA - The photography operation is pretty complicated, but at the highest level it works like this:

    First, understand that James Allen doesn't work with every supplier. Companies that want to be part of our network have to go through an application and vetting process, sign an agreement, and in the overwhelming number of cases, integrate their inventory system with ours. That last step is important, because it's what allows us to have the most current, accurate 'virtual' database in the world. Within an hour of any supplier removing a diamond from their inventory, it comes off our website. We still have the occasional 'diamond not available' issues, but it's a fraction of one percent of all requests.

    Knowing that a supplier is part of our network, they have the ability to reserve time at the photography center. Generally this involves them bringing in hundreds of diamonds at a time, which we'll then process and have ready for them to pick up within 24 hours. The process itself is quite rigorous. As flyingpig commented, achieving consistency 2M times a year is a huge undertaking. Just cleaning and verifying the diamonds against the lab reports is hard work, yet the teams do it consistently day after day, 52 weeks of the year.

    Once the diamonds are photographed and returned to the supplier, our system integrations match the images to the inventory and list the goods on JA. The images we produce are prohibited for use on any retail website (other than JA), although we do allow their use in the B2B market. Lastly, I'll add that this entire service is free to our suppliers.

    mrs-b - I haven't seen your message as of yet, but if you want to resend my address is pretty simple. It's just my name (James) at JamesAllen.com.

    2Neezers - Flyingpig gave a great answer, but let me add this. I fought for a less restrictive policy years ago, but one of my partners (who is a professor of economics) convinced me it would be dangerous and unsustainable. Diamonds do not always go up in value, and we ultimately decided on a policy that we can honor regardless of market conditions.
     
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  27. Combinatrix
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    by Combinatrix » Feb 21, 2019
    Thank you @mrs-b :clap: Goodness, created an account to have a whinge.

    James, in the same breath you say James Allen offers a price match policy to help smart shoppers AND that James Allen is intentionally blocking out critical information to prevent shoppers from finding a lower price on the same diamond.

    You are blocking a verification number that is a customer's right meant for consumer confidence so that James Allen can preserve profit. I don't blame you especially now that you answer to Wall Street as part of a multi billion dollar company, but please don't portray it as benefitting consumers, because a better image alone is not worth charging 20% more for a diamond.
     
  28. Jimmianne
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    by Jimmianne » Feb 21, 2019
    Is it 20%? In any event JA provides more than wonderful informative images. They provide customer service as well. I am loyal to JA because they have been good to me over the years.
     
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  29. sstephensid
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    by sstephensid » Feb 21, 2019
    Is the average difference 20%?
     
  30. YoungPapa
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    by YoungPapa » Feb 21, 2019
    Combinatrix - Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. Mea culpa on my part. With that said - it's more like 'throw things against a wall and see what sticks'. Maybe blocking GIA report numbers is a bad idea - I don't know. Maybe offering a Price Match policy is a good idea - I don't know. The only way we can find out is to test and solicit opinion - just as I'm doing here today.

    I never said a better image was worth 20%, but are you sure that isn't true? When I started selling diamonds way back in 1998, we had nothing more than a GIA report. Then we developed static images, and from there developed the 360 technology that has become ubiquitous today. If a diamond video (or ASET or Idealscope or Sarin) help customers pick a better diamond, is that worth any premium at all?
     

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