, 12:20 AM
My search for an engagement stone has brought me to the Jewelry District in L.A. on a few occasions. For those of you who don't know, it's a several block area of Downtown Los Angeles around 6th and Hill Street comprised of numerous old multi-story buildings. There are literally hundreds of jewelry vendors in the immediate area.
Most of the action seems to take place on the ground floor of many of the buildings, where separate vendors have booths or stalls and a large variety of goods for sale. There are gold dealers, diamond dealers, finished jewelry houses, jewelry supply shops, repair, setting and polishing stations. You can find anything, make anything, all in an afternoon. The number of loose diamond dealers is more than a little daunting for the first time diamond buyer.
Having done a great deal of research, I now know that several of the diamond dealers in the Jewelry District are less than scrupulous about information and pricing. For instance, I went to one dealer and asked for an E color ideal cut diamond. I was shown a stone that turned out to be GIA certified and it was GOOD symmetry and GOOD polish, E, VS2 and I was quoted a price "28% below Rap" and told it was an ideal cut (no Sarin analysis, no crown or pavilion angle info). Right across the street, another vendor showed me a similar stone at "20% below Rap". I was also told it was an ideal cut (no Sarin analysis, no angle info, etc.) and told "it doesn't get any better than this". It was not an EXCELLENT/EXCELLENT stone and the guy didn't have it at his booth, he had to run somewhere else to get it (undoubtedly factoring into my Rapaport discount).
I went to yet another dealer who asked if I was looking for Hearts and Arrows and I said "YES!" and she sent her daughter running off down Hill Street. The daughter returned 10 minutes later and explained the person who had the stone was "at lunch" and I should come back in 30 minutes.
I know that GIA Excellent/Excellent or AGS 000 stones reside in Downtown Los Angeles at places that don't have to send runners to find them. I know they exist at prices similar to or better than the prices on the internet. So here's my question: does anybody know which vendors in the L.A. Jewelry District have a good reputation for dealing in high quality stones at fair prices?
Where in Downtown L.A. can I bring my Ideal-Scope, my 10x loupe, and my H&A viewer and sit down for a couple of hours in one place and look at a bunch of truly ideal cut rocks? Any help would be appreciated.