108 posts categorized "Diamond Shopping Advice"

Diamond Earrings for Valentines or Your Special Anniversary

RB 2.24 tcw-3If you are looking for an exceptional gift for Valentine’s Day or a Special Anniversary, consider diamond earrings.  We find that our clients who have round diamond stud earrings wear them every day as they look great in the office, at a party, shopping and running errands, or when wearing jeans at home.

 

RB 2.11 tcw 3-prong-2The secret to beautiful diamond earrings is to get diamonds with the best cut possible to maximize their brilliance, fire and sparkle.  We seek round GIA graded diamonds with Excellent GIA cut grade and Excellent HCA (Holloway Cut Advisor) ratings to provide dazzling diamonds seldom every seen in a jewelry store.

 

To keep the focus on the diamond we recommend three-prong “Martini (cocktail) style” mountings and for security we recommend Versa posts and Guardian™ clutch backs.  Most lost earrings are due to faulty friction or screw backs so the clutch style of backs is superior.

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Beautiful Round Diamond Earrings

RB 2.24 tcw-3smWe provide stunning round diamond earrings because we sell GIA graded diamonds with Excellent GIA cut grade.  It is the brilliance, fire and sparkle of diamond earrings that produces their beauty and sets them apart from the low quality, poorly cut diamond typically sold in jewelry stores.

For round diamond earring mountings, we recommend 14-karat white gold three-prong Martini style mountings with Versa posts and Guardian™ clutch backs.  We find these to be the best looking, most comfortable and most secure types of mounting and backs.

If you are thinking of shopping for diamond earrings, give us a call and we will find the best diamonds meeting your budget or carat weight requirements.

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TV Station Criticizes Store for Using EGL Int’l Reports - JCK

Diamond ring being held by fingersNashville jeweler Genesis Diamonds has come under fire from a local TV news station for using grading reports from EGL International, a lab that it says exaggerates diamond quality. 

While other stations have run stories on grading discrepancies, this may be the first time a store has been slammed for the reports it uses.

The story, which ran on local station WSMV, noted that Genesis frequently boasts about its low prices. But on the initial segment, which aired May 5, on-air experts charged that by using a lab with “lower standards,” consumers who buy the store’s stones think they are getting a better deal than they actually are. 

One competing jeweler, Bob Forster, said he sent a Genesis stone graded G by EGL to GIA, where it got a K. Another stone graded D received a G. (EGL International did not return a request for comment.)

“[Consumers] think they’re comparing apples to apples,” Forster said. “They think they’re getting a great deal. But it’s not the same thing.… If you went into a steak house and they said, ‘We’ve got the rib eye on sale for $10.’ [You say] ‘Wow, I’ll get the rib eye.’ And a few minutes later, your food comes out, and it’s a big hamburger.”

In response, Genesis owner Boaz Ramon told the show that even the same diamond lab sometimes produces varying results.

“Keep in mind, diamonds are subjective,” he told the program. “There is no argument when you take a diamond from a certain lab, and you send this same diamond to a different lab, you’ll get different results. But, in the end, its all reflected in the price for the consumer.”

Ramon later told JCK that his three-store chain will “make some changes,” including reducing the amount of EGL International reports it carries. But he says that 78 percent of its diamonds carry GIA reports. 

“We are not here to promote one lab over another,” he says. “We all know most jewelers carry all reports. We are not doing anything different than any other jeweler.” 

The second installment tracked an unhappy customer who, it claimed, “paid nearly $5,000 [for a diamond at Genesis] less than six months ago, but two trained gemologists have since told him it’s realistically worth around $1,200.” 

After the engagement went sour, the man returned to the store to ask for a refund, claiming the diamond wasn’t the quality he thought. With the news team’s hidden cameras rolling, a store employee told him in response: “The problem is that, you see, there are two different grading systems. One is the EGL, and one is the GIA.”

Genesis declined to give him a full refund, since Ramon said once a ring is worn, he can’t sell it again.

“Most people, for them, getting engaged is something very pure,” he said. “They want to start it right. They don’t want to wear a ring that somebody said ‘no.'"

In the end, the customer was offered $2,500, plus a $500 trade-in credit.

Ramon tells JCK that the ring was custom made for that customer, and the store’s policy is to offer a full refund after 30 days and trade-in credit after that. 

“The problem is, when someone tries to sell their diamond, it doesn’t matter if it’s from Tiffany or Harry Winston, the jeweler or pawnbroker will give you all the reasons the ring is not good, because they want to give you the lowest amount possible,” he says. “There is no industry where you buy something retail, and then you get retail back.” 

He says he offered the consumer a generous deal, which he was happy with. “I don’t know any other jewelry store that will give him 65 percent back for his ring including the setting,” he says.

Ramon adds the store will now make its return policy clearer on its invoices.

Overall, he blamed the story on fellow jewelers.

“Since we came to Nashville, we have been always attacked by the competition,” he says. “Before us, you couldn’t find a store in Nashville that carried Tacori, Martin Flyer, Jeff Cooper. We brought all that to town. Do the competitors like it? They don’t. Do the customers like it? So far, so good.”

Reporter Demetria Kalodimos told JCK she got interested in the issue because of a customer complaint “and it grew from there.”

“I’ve had a lot of email and phone calls from customers wanting to know what to do,” she says, adding she recommends they get their stone appraised by a graduate gemologist.

At the end of the second segment, the news anchor says that the show has been contacted by the Tennessee attorney general’s office, which recommends consumers take any complaints to the state division of consumer affairs. 

 

via www.jckonline.com

 


Diamond Source of Virginia - Your source for diamond earrings

RB 2.11 tcw 3-prong-1smFor round diamond earring mountings, we recommend 14-karat white gold three-prong Martini style mountings with Versa posts and Guardian™  clutch backs.  We find these to be the best looking, most comfortable and most secure types of mounting and backs.
 
The three-prong head keeps the round appearance more than then four-prong heads often used for earrings.
 
 


GIA Versus EGL Diamond Grading Differences

GIA-logo Whenever we have a client say they found a diamond priced much less somewhere else, the first question we ask is if they are comparing similar quality and GIA graded diamonds.  We try to point out to clients that EGL, IGI, HRD and other grading reports tend to be off 1 to 3 color grades and often a clarity grade compared to GIA grading.  I wrote a blog article about this several years ago at http://diamonds.blogs.com/diamonds_update/2008/09/learn-to-play-the-certification-game.html and we encounter these types of discrepancies everyday between the grading reports.

However, some clients just do not want to believe the truth and hope they will somehow find a diamond priced for 25% to 50% less than its actual value.  We have even had clients argue with us saying that they have found online opinions that the EGL and GIA grading is the same.  We can only say that our experience has been that every diamond we have seen that was graded by both laboratories has come back with the EGL grading significantly higher ratings.

We recently had a client who requested a search for a round diamond about 1.4-carat weight with at least G color and VVS2 clarity.  After providing him several lists of recommendations for GIA graded diamonds meeting his requirements, he asked if we had any non-certified diamonds that we would recommend.  We explained that we usually only recommend GIA graded diamonds and explained about the inaccurate grading that is common with other laboratories and referenced the blog article mentioned above.  A month later, he emailed saying he had purchased a diamond from another retailer and was sending it to the GIA Laboratory in Carlsbad, CA.  He said he was able to find a higher quality stone at a lower price than we had recommended to him.

Here are the specifications for the diamond he purchased:

Round, 1.50 carat, EGL-Intl cert, H color, VS2 clarity, depth 60.4%, table 57%, measurements 7.38 x 7.33 x 4.44 mm, Excellent polish, Excellent symmetry, Premium EGL cut grade, Slightly Thick girdle, Slight Blue fluorescence

I never did understand why he thought H VS2 was higher quality than the G VVS2 he required for our recommendations.

Here are the specifications for the same diamond when graded by the GIA:

Round, 1.50 carat, GIA cert, K color, SI1 clarity, depth 60.3%, table 58%, measurements 7.39 x 7.34 x 4.44 mm, Very Good polish, Fair symmetry, Good GIA cut grade, Very Thin to Thick girdle, Strong Blue fluorescence

In other words, the same diamond graded by both laboratories came with very different grading even though the laboratories claim to use the same grading standards.

 

EGL-International

GIA

Difference

Color

H

K

3 grades

Clarity

VS2

SI1

1 grade

Polish

Excellent

Very Good

1 grade

Symmetry

Excellent

Fair

3 grades

Girdle

Slightly Thick

Very Thin to Thick

3 grades

Cut Grade

Premium

Good

3 grades

Fluorescence

Slight Blue

Strong Blue

2 grades

The bottom line is that when you are making a significant investment, you should want to know what you are purchasing.  The GIA is the most accurate and consistent of the diamond grading laboratories so is the best way to ensure the quality of your diamond purchase.  With other grading laboratories, you do not know what you are getting as evidenced in the example above.


Mickey Mouse Rules of Diamond Shopping

DSCN7093 Anne brought home this cute figurine this weekend and we commented how much Mickey and Minnie reflect the emotions that occur when diamond shopping.  I thought this was a good opportunity to mention some of the diamond shopping rules that are illustrated by Mickey and Minnie.

1) Get input from the one who is going to be wearing the diamond ring.  Shopping together like Mickey and Minnie is a good way to communicate.  The most important piece of information is what shape she wants.  If a girl thinks she might have a proposal in her future, she should do some shopping and determine what shape she likes best on her finger.  A subtle comment when shopping can tell the guy what shape and save him a lot of worry and a possible expensive mistake.

2) If the guy is trying to keep the purchase a surprise, they might not know what type of mounting their girlfriend wants.  The reality is that she probably does not know yet.  Buying a mounting that she does not like or is not comfortable on her finger, can be a very expensive mistake so a good strategy when in doubt is to put the diamond in a simple mounting, propose, and let her help shop for the mounting.

3) A word of caution to guys and gals when shopping.  Guys, be careful and understand that just because a girl says something looks nice, does not mean she wants that on her finger.  Girls like to shop and often provide a commentary on their “sport.”  Not every comment about a ring or diamond should be taken as their ultimate decision.  Girls, be careful and understand that your boyfriend is looking for every clue he can get and will take you comments as fact.  If you say you really do not need a big diamond, he just might take you at your word.

4) While the beads of sweat on Mickey’s brow might be from apprehension of having to buy a diamond, the usual worry we see in shoppers is the fear of making a mistake.  The solution is to do some homework and learn about diamonds and ring.  Diamond source of Virginia has excellent education information and shopping advice on their website.  You do not have become a gemologist but you should learn the basics.

5) There is something between Mickey and Minnie that you should be wary of and that is the SALE sign.  Just because a jewelry store has a sale or the price shows a big discount, does not mean the item is a good value.  If you start with inflated prices, the amount of discount is meaningless.  Research online retailers to find out what the prices should be and do not pay more than you need to for a beautiful diamond.  This advice is especially pertinent if you are shopping out of town while on vacation, on a cruise, or at some “gem show.”  Impulse buying is the way shops get tourists to buy something without doing the research they normally would and then are stuck with their purchase when they go home.

6) While there is no way to know what documentation goes with the diamond ring Minnie is pointing to, it is unlikely they will find a GIA graded diamond in a jewelry store.  Do not confuse GIA grading, which means it has a Diamond Grading Report from the GIA Laboratory, with someone in the store having taken some classes at the GIA and writing an appraisal or giving an opinion on the quality.  Not all grading laboratories are as accurate as the GIA so if a retailer is trying to sell you EGL, IGI, or some other documented diamond, learn about the Certification Game they play.

7) When I see Mickey holding shopping bags, it reminds me that buying an engagement ring often comes at one of the most financially difficult times for a couple.  Often the couple is still paying off school loans, has been working but not that many years, and they have to start planning for a wedding and honeymoon as soon as they engaged.  Good financial planning and decision making means knowing your budget and seeking the best values possible.  The lowest price might not always be the best value, sometimes the cheap price is due to cheap quality.

8) Mickey and Minnie ended up in the office of Diamond Source of Virginia and if you are reading this article, you might be lucky to do the same.  If you have any questions, give us a call at 888-477-8385 and we will be happy to assist you.  We help clients all over the country every day, many of them who have already purchase somewhere else or are just starting shopping.  Since we do not own inventory and search for the best diamonds in the country for our clients, we can tell you the truth and give you unbiased advice.  Discover the better way to buy diamonds.


Learn to Play the Certification Game

GIA New Cert-sm It is hard to play the game if you do not know the rules and that is what most jewelry stores are counting on when they sell diamonds with EGL, IGI, HRD, or other “off brand” grading reports.  What is this game being played every day in jewelry stores across the country?

Within the industry, it is common knowledge that EGL, IGI, HRD and other laboratories are more generous in their grading than the GIA.  Unless a diamond shopper does extensive research, they probably have no clue that there are significant differences in grading accuracy between the diamond grading laboratories and you can be sure that the local jeweler is not telling them.  The shopper thinks that just because the official looking document says a diamond is H color, it must really be H color.  Wrong!

It is our experience that EGL-USA graded diamonds tend to be off one color grade compared to GIA grading and EGL-Israel grading is often off two color grades compared to GIA grading.  Other grading aspects like clarity, polish, symmetry and fluorescence can vary too but it is the color that impacts the value of the diamond and it is a factor that is hard for the consumer to see.

The basic fact is that the type of grading report should not affect the price of the diamond.  After all, the fees charged for grading only differ a few dollars between the laboratories.  Why then do wholesale prices vary greatly for diamonds with the same grading but different laboratories?  It is because the grading is not the same. 

How different can the grading be?  Look at the real life example we discovered recently.  Compare the two diamonds with the same weight below and tell me, which one do you think is more valuable?

Pear, 2.73 carat, EGL cert, D color, VS1 clarity, depth 66.1%, table 59%, measurements 11.92 x 7.38 x 4.88 mm, VG polish, VG symmetry, No fluorescence

Pear, 2.73 carat, GIA cert, F color, VS2 clarity, depth 66.0%, table 59%, measurements 11.92 x 7.41 x 4.89 mm, VG polish, G symmetry, No fluorescence

At first glance, it is obvious that the top diamond with two color grades higher and one clarity grade higher must be the more valuable diamond.  This is part right and part wrong.  The top diamond was priced more than $4000 higher on the wholesale market.  However, closer examination of the specifications plus the fact that both diamonds are owned by the same wholesaler, reveals that these are the same diamond.  As is often the case with larger diamonds, the diamond is sent to the GIA first to see what grading it will get.  Then it is sent to the EGL in the hopes of getting a higher call on the grading.  How can the same diamond have different values?  The answer is that prices are based on “perceived” value and the higher grades on the report imply greater value. 

Sometimes the shopper has to share some of the blame.  Some shoppers want a “deal” so bad, they throw logic out the door.  For example, may shoppers know an EGL graded diamond will be less expensive than a GIA graded diamond and suspect they are not the same quality, but want the “deal” and will overpay to get the higher letters on the grading report even though they suspect the diamond is not that quality.  For example, if the same diamond is color graded G by the EGL and color graded I by the GIA, the consumer can probably purchase the GIA I color for less than the EGL G color price.  However, jewelers are counting on shoppers wanting the “deal” and paying more for the EGL G because they want to believe they are getting more for less.

A local client recently purchase her 1.5 carat round I color, SI1 clarity diamond at a local jewelry store because their price was about the same as our price and they had been buying from that store for many years.  However, she purchased an EGL graded diamond instead of the GIA graded recommendations we provided.  While the price might have been about the same, the value was certainly different.

Here is a diamond we recommended:
RD, 1.53 carat, GIA cert, I color, SI1 clarity, price $9323, depth 61.5%, table 58%, measurements 7.35 x 7.42 x 4.54 mm, VG VG N
[Excellent GIA cut grade, Excellent HCA rating (1.2)]

Here is an EGL diamond with almost the same specifications and our price:
RD, 1.53 carat, EGL cert, I color, SI1 clarity, price $7763, depth 62.5%, table 59%, measurements 7.31 x 7.35 x 4.60 mm, EX EX N

This $1560 price difference means that the shopper actually paid much more than they needed to.  Since the EGL diamond is priced less than a GIA J color, you can expect it to be less than a J color.

Are all EGL graded diamonds off compared to GIA grading?  Not all of them but the ones your jeweler is showing you probably are.  If the prices are different than the GIA graded diamonds, you can expect the color grading is different. 

What about AGS graded diamonds?  We had an AGS I color diamond that was damaged so had it recut and sent it to the GIA for grading, where it came back with a J color grade.  Then consider that many AGS graded diamonds are priced on the wholesale market at about one color grade lower than similar GIA graded diamonds.  If the AGS graded diamonds are priced less than similar GIA diamonds, you should assume they are lower in color than their grading report indicates.

If diamonds with certifications are off this much in grading, you can only imagine what the uncertified diamonds are like that are being sold every day, especially when they are already set in a mounting.

Okay, now that you know more about the game that is being played, what are you and other shoppers going to do?  I would suggest you take the same strategy that we recommend to our clients.  Since the GIA is the most accurate in grading, stick with GIA graded diamonds when you are purchasing.  The price of the GIA graded diamond is going to reflect the quality you are buying, why take a chance with the other grading laboratories that can be off 1 to 3 color grades and maybe a clarity grade or two.  Consumers just do not have the tools or the training to accurately grade the stones themselves so it makes the most sense to rely on the most accurate grading laboratory for important diamond decision making.


RELATED ARTICLES

http://grading.pricescope.com/

http://www.diamondsourceva.com/Education/Certification/egl-certification.asp


Hearts On Fire Lawsuit Against Blue Nile

Hearts On Fire, the Boston based diamond jewelry company, filed a lawsuit against Blue Nile asserting that the Seattle based online retailer infringes the Hearts On Fire® trademark.  Blue Nile is accused of using “Hearts On Fire” as a search term in its pay-for-click and sponsored link advertising on search engines.  Moreover, Blue Nile is alleged to also use the “Hearts On Fire” phrase in the text of those links implying it sells Hearts On Fire® diamonds.

One of many companies in the 1990s who created brands based on the Hearts and Arrows patterns, Glenn Rothman renamed his company after his trademarked “Hearts On Fire” brand.  Within the diamond industry, Glenn is known for his marketing success as he has promoted the Hearts On Fire® name to be one of the top brand names.

Jewelers are desperate for ways to differentiate their diamonds from the price competition of online retailers and the Hearts On Fire brand has benefited.  The power of Rothman’s marketing skill is evident in that consumers are willing to pay more than double for the brand.  Ironically, the Hearts and Arrows pattern not a requirement for brilliance and sparkle, but is more of a by-product.

HA Viewer The Hearts and Arrows pattern is a result of diamond cut with great optical symmetry when viewed under a Hearts and Arrows scope.  Many of the exceptionally cut round diamonds display the Hearts and Arrows pattern so there is nothing unique about the brands, other than the marketing.  In fact, cubic zirconia can be cut to display the Hearts and Arrows pattern so there is nothing intrinsically valuable about the pattern other than the consumer perceptions from the marketing.

RB 1.84 ct-1sm Clients of Diamond Source of Virginia are happy to find the majority of round diamonds sold by the company display the Hearts and Arrows pattern.  This is a result of only recommending round diamonds with at least Very Good GIA grades, Excellent Holloway Cut Adviser ratings, and at least Very Good proportional symmetry.  What makes Diamond Source of Virginia client even happier is that they do not have to pay extra for the Hearts and Arrows pattern.  They can get exceptional beauty for less than half the price of the brand name diamonds.

No doubt, the Hearts On Fire lawsuit against Blue Nile will generate considerable publicity for both companies.  Only time will tell how much diamond buyers will hear and learn about Hearts and Arrows patterns and if the increased awareness of generic Hearts and Arrows alternatives will lead to greater sales for Blue Nile and Diamond Source of Virginia.


Leo Ingwer Jewelry Designer

Leo-Ingwer-logo Online jewelry catalogs are a great place to get ring ideas when shopping for your engagement ring.  This is especially true if you have limited styles to view in local jewelry stores or just do not have the time to drive from store to store.

One of our favorite diamond ring and jewelry manufacturers, Leo Ingwer Inc., has an extensive selection of diamond engagement rings, anniversary rings, wedding bands, pendants, and necklaces displayed online.  Leo Ingwer is known for its workmanship, excellent quality and exceptional value.
 
While Leo Ingwer is a wholesale manufacturer and does not sell to the public, Diamond Source of Virginia can get you price quotes on item you see in online catalog.

Ladies Platinum Mountings
Ladies Engagement Rings
Ladies Remounts (ring except for center diamond)
Three Stone Rings
Diamond Wedding Rings
Antique Reproductions
Wedding Bands and Sets

You can also check out photos of some of the beautiful Leo Ingwer rings that clients have recently ordered from Diamond Source of Virginia.


Are Non-Certified Diamonds Cheaper?

 This week a local client told us that she was shopping at a jewelry store for diamond stud earrings.  She asked for certified diamonds and the jewelry storeowner told her not to get certified diamonds because they were so much more expensive.  He said it was his job to save her money and non-certified diamonds were the way to do that.

Gia-logo-box Here is what the jeweler forgot to tell the shopper.  The price difference between GIA graded diamonds and non-certified diamonds should only be the cost of getting the diamonds graded.  This is only about $50 to $100 for most diamonds and depends on the carat weight of the diamond.  Any remaining price difference can usually be attributed to the non-certified diamond being a different quality than the corresponding GIA graded diamond.  In other words, the true quality is not as advertised or there are attributes such as poor cut, laser drilling, fracture filling, or fluorescence that have not been disclosed.  Typically, it is the color and cut of the diamond that are lower because those tend to be harder for shoppers to identify under the intense jewelry store spotlights. 

Look at it from the jeweler’s perspective.  If they could price the diamonds a thousand dollars higher with a GIA grading report, they would.  Instead, they buy cheaper, lower quality diamonds and advertise them as being something better, or neglect to disclose all the characteristics of the diamond that impact value.  The jeweler is counting on the shopper wanting a “deal” rather than the truth.

If a client really wants to know the quality of the diamonds they are purchasing, we recommend they purchase a GIA grade diamond, which provides the most accurate description of color, clarity, cut, carat weight, measurements, fluorescence, and any treatments.