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10 posts from March 2007

Online Jewelry Sales Up 20% in 2006

Ec_430_ct_135_ratio_w_203_tcw_stept Based on research by IDEX Online Research, online sales of jewelry in the United States gained 20% in 2006, growing from $2.05 billion to $2.45 billion.

While the total jewelry industry growth rate was about 7% in 2006, the online sales growth rate was higher (20%) as consumers realized the ease of shopping and exceptional values available online.

The online jewelry sales in the U.S. now account for about 4% of the total jewelry industry sales of $63.0 billion in 2006. By 2010, online jewelry sales will probably capture a 6% share of the total industry revenues.

66-Carat Diamond Discovered at Schmidtsdrift Mine

Nare66ctdiamondThe Schmidtsdrift mine in South Africa, has recovered a 66.60-carat diamond with I color and a octahedron shape.  The Schmidtsdrift mine has produced over 7,600 carats of diamonds since operations recommenced in April of 2006.  These include 206 diamonds greater than 5 carats, highlighted by a rare 235.03-carat in April of 2006, two 66-carat diamonds, and twenty-four diamonds between 15 and 40 carats in size.

SchmidtsdriftmineoperationsNare Diamonds, an Australian based diamond exploration company owns 80% of the Schmidtsdrift mine with the other 20% owned by Schmidtsdrift Communal Property Association.  Situated some 80 km to the west of the city of Kimberley, in the Northern Cape Province of the RSA, Schmidtsdrift mine is an alluvial diamond mine comprised of six mining areas found along the western bank of the Vaal River.

Check out other articles concerning Schmidtsdrift diamonds:

235 Carat Diamond Found in South Africa

What is a Reputable Jeweler?

JewelrycounterShopping for a diamond or expensive jewelry item has always been a daunting task.  However, shoppers now have a wealth of shopping advice available online.  While not all online shopping guides are accurate or necessarily agree, one common recommendation is to find a reputable jewelry retailer.

So how does the typical diamond or jewelry shopper determine which retailer is reputable and trustworthy? 

You cannot assume that longevity means a jeweler is reputable.  Just because the same family has owned their jewelry store for over fifty years does not equate to trustworthy.  Bad advice, inflated prices, low quality diamonds and switching diamonds have made many jewelers wealthy for many years so years in business is not a reliable measure.

A big expensive store or recognized business name does not mean the person you are dealing with is giving you advice that is best for you.  Likewise, a GIA Graduate Gemologist or an AGS Certified Gemologist diploma on the wall means the person knows about diamonds and gemstones, but does not guarantee they are giving you the best advice, the best diamonds or the best value.

There is no single sure way to identify a trustworthy and reputable jewelry retailer but there are some excellent indicators. 

1) Does the retailer truly listen to you and work to find what you want, which might be different from what they have in their display case?  A reputable jeweler is more of a consultant than a sales person.  Diamonds and jewelry are not an exact science but you should be able to verify the advice you receive with other expert opinions you find online.  Be wary of “tag readers” who know little more about the product they sell than what they read on the tag attached to the jewelry item.

2) Does the jeweler sell diamonds graded by the GIA or AGS, which are the industry leading independent grading laboratories?  A reputable jeweler should be stressing the importance of a top level grading report, often called a certification.  While very small diamonds typically do not have certifications, any significant diamonds you consider should have a grading report from one of the top laboratories.  While reputable jewelers do sell diamonds without certifications, their first recommendations should be diamonds that have grading reports.  Not all grading reports are equal in accuracy and consistency so insist on the industry leading certifications for your diamond.

3) Appraisals should not be something used as a selling tactic.  Appraised value is usually for establishing estimated retail replacement values for insurance purposes and often bares little relevance to the low retail price you deserve.  An appraisal is not the same as a certification, which has no dollar value and is prepared by an independent laboratory.

4) Beware of the “lifetime guarantee” sales scheme.  Most of the services promised are already available to you or are of little value to begin with.  Insurance is a smart investment for expensive jewelry because it protects your investment from loss, theft and damage.  The store guarantees are typically tactics to get you back in the store on a regular basis and tend to draw attention away from the quality of the diamond or the price you are paying.

Buying a diamond is an expensive purchase that warrants doing your homework and research so you can make the best decisions possible.  If you enter the diamond buying process with some diamond knowledge and a strategy for determining a reputable, low price retailer, your reward will be years of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Diamond Certification: Shoppers Buying Guide

Gia_new_certsmA certification is a diamond industry term for a diamond grading report, which documents the diamond’s credentials. The certification describes the physical characteristics of a diamond and is usually prepared by an independent grading laboratory.  It is a valuable tool for wholesalers, retailers and consumers because it states the diamond’s shape, exact measurements and weight, cut parameters, color grade, clarity grade, level of fluorescence, and finish grades.

A diamond certification is only useful if it is reliable and accurate so needs to be issued by a reputable and independent grading laboratory.  Not all grading laboratories are created equal so do not expect the grading reports from different laboratories to agree.  Some grading laboratories are notorious for being generous in their grading so are very popular with jewelry stores because the reported quality of the diamonds is inflated.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) are recognized in the diamond industry as the most accurate and consistent of the grading laboratories.

A diamond grading report (certification) is very different from an appraisal or other document prepared by someone other than a reputable, independent grading laboratory.  For example, there is a big difference between a Diamond Grading Report issued by the GIA and an appraisal or some other documentation signed by a GIA Graduate Gemologist.  A GIA Graduate Gemologist is simply someone who has passed a series of diamond and colored gemstone grading courses prepared by the GIA.  A GIA Diamond Grading Report is prepared in an unbiased environment, with highly trained GIA Laboratory graders following exacting procedures and using state of the art equipment.

Some unscrupulous jewelers print their own documentation and use names and formats that make them appear similar to GIA documents.  These documents can be exaggerated by as much as three color or clarity grades and you can be sure they are off in favor of the jeweler, not the consumer.  There is only one reason why a jeweler would use one of these “copy cat” documents and that is make undeserved profits at the consumer’s expense. Inaccurate documentation could affect the value of the diamond by hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars so it is important to have a diamond grading report from one of the top grading laboratories when making a diamond purchase decision. 

Authentic diamond grading reports never have a value stated.  If the document has a dollar value or a range of color or clarity grades (i.e. G-H color, or VS1-VS2 clarity), it is an appraisal not a diamond grading report.  It is simply the opinion of the person preparing the document. 

Diamond shoppers seeking to purchase a significant diamond, should be sure they have a diamond grading report from one of the major grading laboratories.  That is the only way they can be sure of the characteristics of the diamond they are purchasing.  It also becomes a valuable document if they ever have to file an insurance claim or sell the diamond in the future.  The certification documents the quality of their diamond and provides a way to identify their diamond.

Diamond Cut: Shoppers Buying Guide

DiamondfacetsdiagramThe cut of a diamond is the physical measurement and relative proportion of a polished diamond and is the most important characteristic in producing a diamond’s beauty.  A single number does not define cut.  Instead, it is a myriad of measurements, relative percentages, angles, finish, and performance of light within the diamond.

The brilliance and sparkle of a diamond is the result of the reflection and refraction of light within a diamond and is the cumulative effect of the many facets on the surface of the three-dimensional diamond shape.  What makes judging cut difficult is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Different people perceive the beauty of a diamond differently in terms of what they perceive as beautiful.

In recent years, major diamond grading laboratories like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) have established cut grades to help the consumer make better decisions for purchasing diamonds based on cut characteristics.  However, the cut grading systems are different from each other and constantly changing.  As a result, there is no single official cut grade but the current systems are a giant leap ahead of the past with no cut grades.

The quality of the cut is most visible in terms of how light performs in a diamond to produce Brightness, Fire, and Scintillation.

Brightness is the visual effect of all the internal and external reflections of white light.  This brightness (also known as brilliance) results primarily from the angles of the facets and the relative size of the top facet called the table.

Fire is the visual effect of rainbow colored flashes of light caused by the separation of white light into various colors when the diamond acts as a prism.

Scintillation is the visual effect of sparkle and patterns of light and darkness.  Sparkle is the points of light that flash as the diamond, the light source or the observer moves.  The arrangement and contrast between the bright and dark areas is important to what the eye perceives as beautiful.  An all-bright diamond or an all-dark diamond is less attractive than a diamond with a balanced, symmetrical and contrasting pattern of reflection.

Some of the more important diamond measurements influencing the cut grade are depth percentage, table percentage, crown angle, and pavilion angle.  The initial cut grade research focused on round brilliant diamond shapes but the grading laboratories are slowly introducing cut grades for the fancy shapes like the princess, emerald, oval, radiant, cushion and others.  Each diamond shape has its own set of cut parameters that produce the optimal light performance and beauty for that particular diamond shape.

If the cut of the diamond is the key to its beauty, why would anyone purchase a diamond without great cut?  Probably the main reason is lack of knowledge by the consumer.  Until recent years, it has been difficult for the consumer to assess the cut of the diamond because jewelers focused on color, clarity and carat weight.  The jeweler used the bright lights in the showroom to mask the light performance of the diamond.  As the diamond shopper becomes more aware of what constitutes cut and has access to the GIA or AGS cut grades on the diamond grading reports, they will be able to filter out the average and poor cut diamonds in their purchase decisions.

Sometimes budget is a factor in purchasing something less than the best cut.  However, cut is typically a real bargain since there is little visual difference between the top echelons of diamond cut and the price difference between average and exceptional cut is often minimal.  Perhaps the real cost of getting better cut in a diamond, is the time and effort to learn about cut and to find a retailer who can provide diamonds with exceptional cut at reasonable prices.

Once a diamond shopper has determined what shape of diamond they want to purchase, they need to research what cut parameters contribute to desirable appearance. Some diamond shoppers fall into a trap of narrowly defining their acceptable range for every diamond measurement, not realizing that the beauty of the diamond results from the interrelationships of all the facets.  Simply picking the middle of the range for each parameter can lead to a mediocre result.  The cut grades are an attempt to rate how a combination of factors work together in the diamond.

Regardless of the cut grade systems today or in the future, only the diamond shopper can determine what is most appealing to their eye.  Cut is critical to the beauty of the diamond so making the best diamond purchase decision means understanding the importance of cut and finding that special diamond that is beautiful to behold.

Diamond Clarity: Shoppers Buying Guide

Diamond shoppers typically want a diamond that is big, bright and has lots of sparkle.  Yet when they go to the jewelry store, the attention seems to be on carat weight, color and clarity.  What is diamond clarity and how does it influence the beauty of the diamond?

All diamonds have inclusions in them because nature forms diamonds in the high temperature, high-pressure regions deep below the earth’s surface.  Diamonds are crystals of carbon and the crystals formed in this harsh environment are never perfect.  Inclusions are the tiny identifying characteristics inside a diamond.  Some of the more common types of inclusions are feathers, crystals, pinpoints, clouds, needles, and twinning wisps.  Diamonds also have characteristics on the surface, called blemishes.  Clarity affects a diamond purchase when inclusions and blemishes are visible to the eye, when they adversely influence the path of light through the diamond, or when they negatively affect the durability of the diamond. 

Microscopegem2 The diamond industry has established clarity grades to identify various levels of clarity in terms of visibility.  The visibility of a particular inclusion or blemish is dependent on its location within the diamond, its physical size and the affect it has when viewed under different lighting conditions.  The clarity grades rate diamonds on the visibility of inclusions and blemishes under 10-power magnification.

Flawless and Internally Flawless (IF) are the highest clarity grades and indicate no inclusions are visible under 10-power magnification, with the Internally Flawless allowing only very minor blemishes. Even Internally Flawless diamonds have visible inclusions when viewed under higher magnification.

VVS1 and VVS2 grades indicate very, very small inclusions, which might take 30 minutes to find with a microscope.

VS1 and VS2 grades have very small inclusions that are visible under the microscope but seldom every visible to the unaided eye.

SI1 and SI2 grades have small inclusions under the microscope and are sometimes visible with the aided eye.

I1, I2 and I3 grades have inclusions that are obvious with the unaided eye.

It is important to have the clarity grade designated by one of the top diamond grading laboratories such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society).  Clarity grades on other documentation can be exaggerated and inaccurate relative to industry standards.

What do these clarity grades mean for the diamond shopper?  There are many clarity grades and often a big price difference between Flawless clarity and clean to the eye clarity.  Most diamond shoppers want a diamond that has no visible inclusions.  For brilliant shapes like rounds, ovals, princess, and radiant cuts, that usually means at least SI1 clarity.  For step-cut shapes like the emerald and Asscher that have fewer facets to hide the inclusions, at least VS2 clarity is generally preferred.

If these are the target clarity grades, why do shoppers buy diamond with higher or lower clarity?  Sometimes shoppers are under the false impression that higher clarity will make a diamond more beautiful.  This is a myth promoted by jewelers who have high clarity diamonds they need to sell or want to sell because they require higher prices and therefore more profit.  Some men feel only a perfect diamond (flawless) is good enough for a perfect woman.  Some shoppers simply want to buy higher clarity, just because they can.

Shoppers who purchase lower clarity diamonds with eye visible inclusions often do so because lower clarity is the only way they can achieve bigger size within their budget.  Sometimes diamond shoppers are swept up in the excitement of the purchase and end up with a diamond that looked great in the store lighting but has visible inclusions in normal lighting with closer examination.  The bright lights in a jewelry store often make it hard to see inclusions that are easy to see at home or in office lighting.

The purchase decision of a diamond is a mix of logic, emotion and convenience.  The shoppers who are happiest with their purchase long term are those who understand their own shopping priorities and then find a diamond that best meets those requirements.  For diamond clarity, the shoppers need to determine how important it is to them not to see any inclusions with the unaided eye.  Then they have to decide how important the higher clarity grades are regardless of whether they influence the beauty of the diamond or not. 

Of course, the price of the diamond ultimately comes into play; even for those shoppers who claim price is not an issue.  Most shoppers are seeking their own personalized mix of size, color, clarity, cut, and price when making the purchase decision for their special diamond.

215-Carat Diamond Sold

A 2.15-carat white diamond, discovered in January at the Letseng mine in Lesotho, sold recently at a tender in Antwerp for $8.26 million to Omega Diamonds.

As reported in earlier articles, the Letseng mine has a reputation for producing large, high quality diamonds.  Last year the fifteenth largest diamond ever found, the 603-carat Lesotho Promise, sold for $12.4 million.  Gem Diamonds (70%) and the Lesotho Government (30%) own the mine jointly. The large diamonds from the mine offered at monthly at the Letseng Tenders in Antwerp hosted by WWW International Diamonds Consultants.

The white, D-color diamond, sold for $38,000 per carat.  The tender package also included two white D-color stones of 66 and 54 carats, which sold for $1.2 million and $1.4 million respectively.  This recent tender totaled 7,092 carats that sold for $18.4 million, the highest average price ever tendered for the Letseng mine.

Other Letseng mine articles include:

216-Carat Discovered

Lestotho Promise Sells

Lesotho Promise Discovered

Four Giant Diamonds

Diamond Color: Shoppers Buying Guide

Diamonds can be found in every color of the rainbow from clear, colorless (white) to black as coal.  Some colors like blue, red, and green are extremely rare and very valuable.  Brown is the most common color of diamond with about 80% of diamonds used for industrial purposes like drill bits and saw blades.  For most diamond shoppers, their goal is to find a diamond as white (colorless) as their budget will allow. 

Most diamonds suitable for gem use have trace elements of nitrogen that causes some level of yellow tint.  The diamond industry uses a color grading system developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that ranges from D (completely colorless) to Z (fancy yellow color).  Each letter grade corresponds to a small range of color and the color grade of a diamond is determined by comparing it to a set of master stones whose color grade has been determined by a grading laboratory like the GIA.

The top three color-grades D, E and F are considered Colorless.  Color-grades G, H, I, and J are known as the Near Colorless and color grades K, L and M are labeled Faint Yellow.  It is important to have the color grade designated by one of the top diamond grading laboratories such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society).  Color grades on other documentation can be exaggerated and not accurate relative to industry standards.


The bigger the diamond, the more obvious its color will be, just as a carafe of wine shows more color than a glassful.  Some shapes of diamonds show more color than others do. Shapes like the princess cut are relatively bottom heavy and have more diamond material to look through.  Individuals see shades of yellow differently and some shoppers prefer the warm look of the Near Colorless range rather than the cold, whiteness of the Colorless grades.

Another factor that influences diamond color is fluorescence.  About a fourth of diamonds have a characteristic that when exposed to ultraviolet light, they glow a color, usually blue.  The fluorescence is no longer visible once the light source is removed.  The intensity of the fluorescence can vary from Faint, which is barely visible to Very Strong, which is easily visible in a brightly lighted room.  A little blue fluorescence can sometimes make Near Colorless diamonds appear even whiter than their true color.  Some very strong fluorescent diamonds appear milky or oily in appearance and thus not as clear.  The presence of fluorescence in a diamond generally reduces its value with higher levels of fluorescence reducing the value the greatest.

There are some processes, like High Pressure/High Temperature (HPHT) or irradiation, which can alter the color of a diamond.  With certain types of brown diamonds, the HPHT process can produce Colorless or Near Colorless color.  With HPHT, other types of brown diamonds can be converted to fancy colors like yellowish-green, greenish-yellow, and even shades of pink or blue.  Irradiation can result in a variety of fancy colors, even though they are often visibly different shades than natural colored diamonds.

Yellow is the most common and affordable of the colored gem diamonds.  There are four color-grades of yellow diamonds with enough saturation to be rated Fancy Yellow; Fancy Light Yellow, Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow and Fancy Vivid Yellow. Each deeper shade brings a higher price.

What do these color grades, fluorescence, and color treatments mean to the diamond shopper?  There are many color grades between the top D color and J, which is the bottom of the Near Colorless range, with the price of a D being about double that of J color.  Most of the difference in price is at the lower color grades where there is also the most visible difference to the eye.  The price increase from a J to I can be about 20% while from an E to D is closer to 2%.  Diamond shoppers need to examine diamonds with their own eyes so they can determine what color they will be happy with relative to the price. 

Most shoppers find that for well cut round diamonds, I color provides a nice, white color and a good value.  Fancy shaped diamonds tend not to be as brightly faceted as the round brilliant cut so H color is an excellent choice for value and beauty.  However, some shoppers will prefer and can afford higher colors and other shoppers will choose lower colors based on what they find appealing to their eye and their budget.

Avoid diamonds with high levels of fluorescence or any kind of color enhancement unless you specifically want that, have been properly advised, and are paying the lower corresponding price.  Beware of jewelry stores who stock larger number of diamonds with fluorescence or will not show you the GIA grading report before you purchase.  A merchant who is hiding these factors from you is certainly not someone you want to trust with your important diamond purchase.

Diamond Carat Weight: Shoppers Buying Guide

ScalesThe weight of a diamond is usually expressed in carats.  The term carat originated in ancient times when gemstones were weighted compared to the carob bean, where one bean weighed about one carat.  The term was standardized and converted to the metric system in 1913 so that the current carat equals 0.2 grams, which is a little more than 0.007 ounce.

Knowing the technical definition of a carat is one thing, but the diamond shopper needs to understand carat weight so they can make the best purchase decision for their diamond.  The carat weight of a diamond influences several key factors that should be part of the diamond decision.

Sometimes in the jewelry trade, the term carat weight is used synonymously with size.  The implication is that all diamonds that weight one carat are the same size and those that weight two carats are the same size.  This is not accurate and an astute diamond shopper will work to understand the difference between size and weight.

The size of diamonds can vary with the same weight because the shape of the diamond can be different.  A one carat round diamond has a very different length and width than marquise shaped diamond weighing one carat. 

The diamond industry has developed its pricing structure based on the carat weights that consumers request when they go into a jewelry store.  Even carat weights have taken on a social importance far above their simple weight so consumers typically ask for whole carat weights or simple fractions of a carat.  For example, a diamond shopper might ask for a half-carat, one carat, a carat and a half, or a two-carat so the diamond industry sets the price increases at these weights.  A diamond weighing 1.00 carats has a significant higher price per carat than one that weighs 0.99 carats so diamond cutters to get the finished diamond weight at or over these requested carat weights. As a result, there are many more diamonds cut just over 1.00 carat than just under.  Knowledgeable shoppers know there are some great values at just under the even carat weights but with few diamonds cut, the demand is greater than the supply.

The weight also affects the price in that the larger the carat weight, the fewer diamonds are available.  Diamonds loose approximately 40-60% of their rough weight in the cutting and polishing process.  Therefore, it can take over a two-carat rough diamond to produce a 1.00 carat finished diamond.  Most diamonds mined are very small with larger stones relative rare.  It can take many thousands of rough diamonds mined to yield one that results in a 1.00 carat finished diamond.  The price of larger carat weights increases with the rarity.  For example, a two-carat diamond can be almost four times the price of a one-carat diamond with the same quality.

Even with the same shape of diamond, the carat weight does not tell you the size.  It is similar to asking how tall a 200-pound man is. Just as the height of a man can vary with the same weight, a diamond’s length and width can vary for the same carat weight.  The challenge is to find diamonds that have the right depth parameters to give them beautiful brilliance and sparkle in addition to big size for the carat weight. 

The weight of a diamond also affects the size, as diamonds get heavier the length and width do not go up as fast as the weight.  For example, a two carat round diamond weighs 100% more than a one-carat diamond but the surface area you see only increases 64%. 

Note that as the carat weight goes up, the price per carat goes up faster and the size goes up slower.  The result is that as the carat weight goes up it takes a lot more weight and even more money to make the diamond noticeably bigger to the eye.

Perhaps the biggest question a diamond shopper has is what carat weight of diamond they should purchase.  Of course, their budget is going to be limiting factor in determining what carat weight to buy but the target carat weight is influenced by several factors including the size of the finger, type of mounting, and the carat weight of friends and family diamonds.

Buying the right diamond requires consideration of many factors and understanding the impact of carat weight is one of the keys to making the best purchase decision possible.

Diamond Budget: Shoppers Buying Guide

DollarsHow much money should you budget for an engagement diamond ring?  There is no single answer to that question because everyone’s situation is different.  For some shoppers, $500 is the maximum they can spend and of course, there are celebrities who can and do spend millions on an engagement diamond ring.  The diamond industry has set a guideline of two months salary for what to spend on the engagement ring.  Interestingly, this is the guideline for the United States.  In the United Kingdom, the guideline is one month’s salary and in Japan, it is three months salary. 

The budget that is right for the diamond shopper depends on a variety of issues and the wise shopper assesses budget considerations before making their purchase decision.  In fact, carefully evaluating the budget before starting shopping will help ensure that an impulse purchase does not become a financial nightmare.

Here are some of the questions diamond shoppers should ask themselves before starting the diamond shopping process.

How much money do you have saved now and what can you expect to save before your target purchase date?

If you are going to finance part of the purchase price, where are you going to get the financing and what monthly payments can you afford?  Do you have a job and is your job secure?

What other new expenses are you planning in the near future?  Do you need to buy another car, how much and how soon is the wedding and honeymoon, are you planning to move to more expensive housing, do you have student loans or credit cards that need to be paid off?  These major financial events often occur soon after a marriage proposal

A key for a successful marriage is for a couple to work together in setting financial objectives and budget.  However, often the engagement ring is a surprise and therefore is a big budget decision made without consulting the girlfriend.

Once the diamond shopper has determined their budget, some other considerations might influence what they actually spend on the diamond engagement ring.  A man in love often has a desire to show the extent of his affection by spending more than he can really afford.  While spending more money does not ensure a stronger relationship or commitment, the romantic impulse often overwhelms logic for the man who has decided on who he wants to take as his partner in life.

Pressure on the diamond budget can also result from feeling guilty if the woman has indicated that a large and therefore expensive diamond ring is important to her.  If family, friends, or associates have large diamonds, there is intense peer pressure to compete on diamond size even when there might be great disparities in disposable income or age.  The pressure to prove his love with a more expensive diamond than he can afford can lead to not only financial hardship but also friction in the relationship.

Once the target budget has been set, the shopping challenge is to find the best diamond that meets the diamond shopper’s requirements while staying within the budget.  While the diamond is usually the biggest portion of the ring’s price, shoppers need to remember the mounting cost and applicable sales tax.

There are many ways to reduce the price of the diamond engagement ring in order to stay within the budget.  Education and research can help determine the optimal combination of size, quality, beauty and convenience for just the right diamond ring.  Shoppers who walk into a jewelry store and purchase based on impulse and do not do their due diligence in advance, will likely pay a high price premium and run the risk of making an expensive mistake in terms of quality and beauty.