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Old 20thAnnivRing
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Cut grade differences, should I buy this ring?
Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 09-20-02 , 11:10 AM

This is a bit of a long letter, but thought you would like all the background facts and figures. Main 4 questions:
1. Should I keep the diamond ring in question? (I haven't even gotten it yet)
2. Will I be likely to think it is a dull diamond?
3. How huge is the visual difference to the average consumer between the best make/cut versus my diamond which very likely will fall around 6 or 7 on the AGS scale?
4. Would you buy from a jeweler such as I have described here?

Hello! My husband kindly offered to buy me a diamond ring for our 20th anniversary, especially since I never had an engagement ring, never had a nice diamond of my own, and have wanted one my whole adult life. I did tons of research on diamonds, and narrowed down my choices to color (J), clarity (SI1) , shape (round), carats (.75-1.30, preferring around a carat).

Because I was not paying close attention to the varied ways people write about 'cut', it wasn't until after I put in an order for a ring that I realized how crucial it is when referring to diamond quality rather than diamond shape.

The ring we ordered and which is being made for me even as I type this is a center round diamond with a smaller (.60-.65 carat)ruby on either side. I wear ring size 3.75 (not a typo!). The diamond is J color, SI1 clarity, and 1.01 carats, all set in yellow 14k gold, in a basket setting.

Now the difficult part: within a half an hour of agreeing on a price for it ($2600) from a reputable (I hope!) jeweler in NYC (I'm in Ohio), I began reading more carefully about cut (quality/grade). When I called them back for specifics, they spoke in generalities until really pushed. They said they only wanted me to be happy with it, and that it is returnable within one week if I want to, and that they also have a trade-in/trade up option too. They kept saying “it is a fabulous diamond, very brilliant, and beautiful- your’e gonna love it, just you wait and see!”.

I finally wheedled out of them that it measures 6.31 x 6.35 x 3.92 mm (not 6.5 x6.5!), and that it has a 'medium' girdle, 'no' culet, 'no' fluorescence. They made such excuses as ‘we’re in the showroom and the paperwork is in the office in another place’. They also said that all this information would be on the certificate accompanying the ring, so I should just wait until I got it and saw it for myself. When I asked for crown angle and pavillion angle, in degrees, they said they did not have that for me (although I am guessing they do indeed have it for themselves) and that it would not be included on the certificate either.

They are or have GIA graduate gemologists working there, according to their online information, but a lot of good that is doing me as a consumer right now. I realize that I was probably a real pain to keep calling them, but they could have easily avoided it by being willing to simply answer all my questions right off the bat instead of hemming and hawing and putting me off.

At one point one of them told me that all that technical information is too difficult for the average person to understand. I had been calling them so much to get specifics that I didn't want to argue with them, but 1. I am a college educated person, 2. more importantly, I love reading and research and had spent long hours on this project educating myself, and 3. I am an adult with a brain, so although I have no gemological degree, I felt and feel pretty capable of being an informed consumer. When I tried to pin the guys down to ranking the diamond according to GIA class, one said Class 2, after much avoidance of having to be pinned down, and the other said it is right in the middle between Class 2 and Class 3. When I asked the first guy where it would fall in the ten levels of AGS standards he said between 6 and 7.

As I write about it now it all sounds a bit lame, but I did check their reputation on Ebay, and of 400 customers over 2.5 years, they had only had 4 people write neutral things about them, and 4 write negative things, which averages out to 98% satisfaction rate. Having been in business myself, I know that you cannot please everyone all the time, so that customer approval rating sounded good to me.

It took me calling a lot over 4 business to finally get some of the information I was requesting about the diamond. When I finally ran that info through the Holloway Cut Adviser I was dismayed to find that it fell outside the recommended range of diamonds. According to it, given all the other measurements, the pavillion should be between 43-46.5 (not 40!) in order to receive a good to excellent rating (between .9 to 4.2).

I realize the HCA is only one of many resources which enables consumers to end up with the best diamond. However it is pretty scary to think of spending this money on a diamond ring when I am thinking it will probably not live up to my high standards for brilliance and liveliness. I also realize I have myself to blame for jumping the gun and ordering a ring before I had ALL the facts I ought to have had. I also keep telling myself that if I were to get an antique or vintage ring, I would not be likely to have this much information available to me and would just have to go with my gut instinct in combination with trusting the jeweler who would be selling it to me.

I really wish I could have gotten the jeweler to take the time to walk me through the variety of prices for higher quality alternatives of the same color,clarity, but lower carat size. They were too impatient to do that, despite the fact that I was also willing to spend more if I had to. They just seem determined to send the original diamond in question, rather than working with me on other possibilities.

Here is the information I do have about the diamond:
Table spread- 59%, Crown- 13%, Total depth- 62%, Pavillion depth- 40%, Girdle- "medium", Culet-"none", Fluorescence- "none", Carats- 1.01, Color-J, Clarity-SI1.

I am pretty picky when it comes to quality of things, but I am trying to determine how much better are diamonds in the GIA class 1? How about AGS grades 000-2, or even 3? Knowing what I now know about light return, fire, scintillation should I even bother keeping this ring? Can the average consumer, which I consider myself to be, even see the differences between stones which would rate well on the HCA rating system, versus stones which that system would pan? I would rather have a smaller diamond if it means it will be dazzling, and return the most light, but how much price difference are we talking? If I get a much smaller carat size then I would also be likely to have to get smaller rubies on either side, and essentially start from scratch with the ring. I have found no statistics on the price levels of cut grades. Should I stick with this jeweler or just return the ring to them immediately and buy from somebody who is willing to be more forthright right from the start? I don’t necessarily think the existing jeweler is a bad guy, or dishonest, but I do get the feeling they just want to sell me a ring, and don’t want to have to deal all these pesky questions.

Sorry to be so long, and hope I have provided enough information for you to be able to answer. THank you so very much ahead of time for whatever light you can shed upon this subject ( and please pardon what must surely be an ancient pun).

Thanks again!


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 09-20-02 , 02:38 PM

You need to learn more about EBay satisfaction rates. Of those who were not satisfied, how many filed a feedback rating? Of those who were not satisfied, how many were told by the vendor that they would take it back in exchange for positive feedback or no feedback? Of those who were not satisfied, how many realised that even though they were unsatisfied they would be no better off by returning the item because of unrefundable amounts and/or "within two grades" conditions making it not returnable without fault as misdescribed?

Don't get upset until you've seen it. It may well be fine. I'm not well impressed by their conduct but that doesn't inherently harm the quality of the goods.

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RE : Cut grade differences, should I buy this ring?
Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 09-21-02 , 12:45 AM


I know you said you've done tons of research, but it sounds like your questions will be answered if you do a little more.

Check out some of the vendor sites here on DT, and you should start to gain some further insight into what will or will not be acceptable to you. I won't list the sites, but you'll find them with ease. Just be forewarned - they may turn you into a cut geek.

You said yourself, you have been in business and you've been "an average consumer" so you know full well both sides of this dilemma. I believe your purchase is starting on shaky ground from the information you provided (in relation to the vendor) and I personally would tell them to forget me find another stone or don't send me anything at all. After that, re-double your research efforts (and try to see some more stones in person) and then call them - or another vendor - you feel good dealing with and try again.

Good luck.

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