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Old SeenTheLight
 
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Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 07-15-00 , 03:50 PM


Hello everyone,

I'm new here but have been reading avidly many of the current and past postings on this site. Lots of heated discussion (especially about the Eightstar) but that's good because it show consumers who are looking to this board for information that there is no single right answer when it comes to buying a diamond.

A month ago I was totally clueless about diamonds and now a few weeks later after extensive research, I feel that I am quite knowledgeable on the subject. The funny thing is though, when I set out to buy an engagement ring, I specifically decided that I _wasn't_ going to go learn everything I could about diamonds. I thought I'd just go to a well respected jeweller here in Canada and trust them to anticipate my needs and sell me something for a fair price. More about how that went later! Needless to say, I couldn't help but read about diamonds on the Internet and the more I read the more I wanted to know!

Along the way, I came across a web site for Fred Cuellar and his organization Diamond Cutters International. Initially, I was very impressed! Fred apparently has made the Guiness Book of World Records many times. He has appeared on numerous high-profile television shows and has created many sports team rings and other famous diamond / jewellery pieces.

In case you don't know, Fred is the author of the book "How to Buy a Diamond" which apparently is ranked in the top 1% of all books in print or something like that. His website contains a number of articles adapted from his book and a "Forum" of sorts where consumers can ask Fred and his "Helper" questions.

When I found this I thought "wow!" how great is this? A very famous, well-respected, unbiased jeweller giving his personal advice on the quality and price of diamonds! Even better is that Fred's book and website advertise his "National Diamond Hotline" which is a 1-800 number that you can call as often as you like and Fred or one of his "Helpers" will answer your questions about diamonds and give you an opinion on the price and quality of a diamond given the stats.

After receiving one very beautiful AGS000 unbranded Hearts and Arrows diamond I thought I'd phone the Hotline and ask for their opinion of it. I talked to Fred personally ("wow I thought") and he did all these calculations ("basic trig he said") given the Sarin stats I provided to him. He concluded that the stone was warped and that I had paid $700 more for it than I should have. Essentially, he priced a 77 point AGS000 H&A stone, I-color at $2300. I was skeptical that this was accurate but returned the stone anyway mostly because I decided that I'd like to get a G colored stone.

I then proceeded to print off as many AGS certs for 000 diamonds as I could from NiceIce.com. I spoke with Fred's helper Rick numerous times about a number of these stones. Each one there was always a problem with... Either it was warped, the pavillion angle was not EXACTLY 40.75 degrees or the total depth was over 61%. Each time he'd provide me with a selling price MUCH lower than what niceice.com was asking for their cash price.

Of note is that they say that an AGS cut of 0 means nothing in that it is too broad. They stick to the GIA classes. They prefer the GIA over AGS they say because AGS is "51% controlled by jewellers" and therefore their grading is not as HARD as the GIA.

I finally said to Rick that I was having a hard time finding a diamond that matched all of their expectations. I thought in the back of my mind -- "could something be up with this? No, I thought... it's not like they've tried to sell me anything themselves. They must be legit." So I asked Rick myself if maybe they could sell me a diamond that met their strict cutting requirements AS WELL as the fact that any diamond I buy should be bonded (i.e. lots of different guarantees). Low and behold, Rick tells me he needs to check with Fred if this would "be alright" and comes back with the good news... "YES! Fred will sell me a diamond" he says. He proceeds to tell me that he has a great diamond available and that he'll fax me the GIA cert.

After looking at the cert I realize that Symmetry is Very Good (not excellent) and that the table is 61%. This stone is not an AGS000 diamond. I personally agree that the range of values given by the AGS for an ideal cut is not "ideal" but I thought that the diamond they'd try to sell me would then meet BOTH AGS000 _and_ GIA class 1 specs. But no, the AGS cut for this diamond was AGS class 2 and it didn't even have excellent symmetry.

Of course the diamond cost more than I had paid for the H&A 000 diamond I had purchased previously but that was because it was Bonded I was told. The "Official Diamond Bond" includes the following:

BREAKAGE - For the life of the diamond, the diamond is guaranteed against chips, nicks or breakage.
LIQUIDITY - Your new diamond has a 100% lifetime cash liquidation value.
APPRECIATION - The diamond has a guaranteed 6.25% appreciation value each year towards a trade in.
CRASH - Your diamond's value is protected against any diamond market crash.
KEPT - Your diamond is guaranteed to be kept natural, free from laser drilling, fracture filling, coating or heat treatment.

What was interesting, however, was that they slipped in the fact that they would need to set it for me because of the fact that the diamond was bonded -- "you never know what a jeweller might do to it in the course of setting I was told".

Along with the fax of the GIA cert I was given, there was also an appraisal document with all of the required stats for the diamond. I said that I was uncomfortable buying a mounted diamond especially since Fred's famous book advises always buying a diamond loose! I was then told that he _could_ send it to me loose "let's just hope the jeweller knows what he's doing!". I said that "no they could set it for me" but I asked if they might be able to send me an original copy of the Sarin report (instead of just their typed up appraisal) and a firescope image of the diamond. At this point Rick began getting VERY defensive saying that they were only doing me a favor and that he'd much rather act as an advisor to me than selling me a diamond. He said that the firescope was bullshit and that it's only a marketing tool that can be adjusted to show whatever someone wants you to see! He also said that Hearts and Arrows diamonds were also just a marketing gimmick.

During these conversations (that took place over the period of two days), I decided to do some background checks into Diamond Cutters International and Fred Cuellar. Sure enough I found out that Fred was not the superstar jeweller he made himself out to be. Someone on this board alerted me to the fact that he was neither employed by or certified by the GIA although he made himself appear to be on his website. In addition, he was recently convicted for defrauding investors 1.xx million dollars in a diamond deal. I phoned the Better Business Bureau in Houston Texas and discovered that they are currently working on a report about his company and want to talk with anyone doing business with him. Although, I have yet to get in contact with the individual working on this report (phone tag) I figure it's probably not a good thing. (If anyone wants to find out more info on this BBB report on DCI phone Dan Parsons as (713) 341-6119. Again I have not been able to get a hold of him myself yet).

Additionally, I also read a report on the net about how Fred phoned up the Howard Stern show one day to promote his new book Fredisms. He apparently bragged about how he had a stroke one day, lost all of his memory, but had a thirst for knowledge and is now a genious. His book "Fredisms" contains lots of quotes from him including such pieces of wisdom as "When you make up your mind, make sure it's your mind you're making up." -- Okay, if that's not a kook tell me what is!

After all this, I finally decided NOT to do business with this man and his company despite how great the whole thing sounded to me at first. Afterall, who wouldn't want to buy a bonded diamond! Not from this guy though - things just don't seem right.

Now, since I'm the curious sort, I'm wondering if some of the readers of this forum could phone the diamond hotline and give Fred or Rick some stats on some AGS-000 diamonds and see what they say about them. Remember just pretend you're an average Joe having a really hard time trying to buy a diamond. After getting shot down on a couple of diamonds, ask if perhaps they could sell you one since you are so desparate... Then see what they try to sell you and for what price. Please report back here to see what they say...

Afterall, maybe things at Diamond Cutters International are legit and I'm being too skeptical. I'd just be interested to know what kind of experience others have when using their "services".

The web page address is: http://www.diamondcuttersintl.co m
The hotline phone number is:
1-800-275-4047

I would really appreciate some input on this subject from long time forum members such as rockdoc, brad, jan, Ice, Jonathan, etc.

I look forward to sharing more of my "Adventures in Diamond Purchasing" with you all over the next few weeks. Sorry this was so long!

Diamond Search:

Carat:  to  Color:  to  Clarity:  to  


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 07-15-00 , 04:05 PM


Wow!

I have to read this again to digest it all. Thanks for the post!

------------------
StevL
www.demsjewelers.com
www.eightstar.com




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Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 07-15-00 , 04:06 PM


That's interesting. Jonathan/Rhino mentioned in another post that Fred had the audacity to appraise an AGS000 that he sold to a client as a warped stone. Or was that client you?

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#4 @ 07-15-00 , 04:18 PM


Yes, that was me. I'm leaving the discussion of my experiences with Jonathan for another post though. Let's just say that I think that Jonathan is everything Fred Cuellar pretends to be - honest, caring, objective, informative, knowledgeable and experienced. His diamonds aren't "bonded" but he has the best policies (buyback etc.) that I've seen on the net.

Then again, I hate to knock Fred as I'd like to hear of other people's experiences as well. Maybe my "gut feeling" about this situation isn't accurate.

SeenTheLight

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#5 @ 07-15-00 , 05:14 PM


Then again, I hate to knock Fred as I'd like to hear of other people's experiences as well. Maybe my "gut feeling" about this situation isn't accurate
---------------------------------------------
Oh NO...
On the contrary, your gut is telling you the right thing..
You hit the nail on the head with your observations..
Im glad you took the time to do the research and find yourself a good jeweler like Jonathan...More importantly youve avoided the scam artists who claim to be doing you a favor....Ive met no one in this business who does anyone a favor...well maybe a couple jewelers here on the forum


Didnt someone mention that Fred is going to become the AOL head diamond honcho??

Wouldnt that be just dandy??

Im sure you will be very happy with whatever you decide to purchase..

Good for you..and good luck..

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#6 @ 07-15-00 , 05:16 PM


Broadway..

>>Didnt someone mention that Fred is going to become the AOL head diamond honcho??
Wouldnt that be just dandy??>>

Well, it's fits with my opinion of AOL.


Diamond Lover



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#7 @ 07-15-00 , 05:19 PM


DL...
You mean the blind leading the blind??



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#8 @ 07-15-00 , 05:57 PM


Brodway...

That's one way to put it, I suppose.<g> I *was* referring to the questionable quality, imo, of both services being provided.


Diamond Lover

[Edited by Diamond Lover on 07-15-2000.]

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#9 @ 07-17-00 , 10:04 AM


Seenthelight,

Thank you ever so much for posting your experience!
And because it was such an interesting read, it didn't seem very long at all. Sometimes, like in this situation, the message is in the details.

Wow! First, I think that everyone here is very proud of you for doing your research and, with kindness and discretion, uncovering the rat. This guy definately sounds like a nutcase and I hope that he is dealt with properly!

Please keep us informed with what happens. Also, if you haven't decided on a diamond yet, you may want to post the specs of what you are looking for and your price range so that our resident "good guys" here (and that includes Jan
) can try to help you.

Good luck!





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Quote this post and reply to it Post#10 @ 07-17-00 , 10:21 AM


WARPED DIAMOND? EXPLANATION POR FAVOR?

ELJOHNNYB

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#11 @ 07-17-00 , 11:01 AM


He indicated what he termed a warped diamond was when the crown, girdle and pavillion measurements didn't add up to the total depth. It was 2% off. I think this is common though because of rounding, no? He indicated that what often happens is that cutters will get the measurements right from one angle and then alter other sides so that the diamond retains weight - resulting in a warped diamond.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#12 @ 07-17-00 , 10:24 PM


So is anyone going to phone their "hotline" this week to see what kind of advice they are given? We know their "service" isn't great but I'd really like to know if it's semi-helpful for the diamond-buying public or if they are totally steering everyone in the wrong direction. Whadya say folks... Dig up some stats on a couple of diamonds and give the hotline a call. Report back here about what they had to say.

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#13 @ 07-17-00 , 10:52 PM


"Diamonds For Profit"......

I think this is more appropriate for his line of work.......
Does anyone out there actually stop this type of trash from being distributed to millions of people??
In most industries, his phone consultations would be considered wire fraud...



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#14 @ 08-09-00 , 07:46 PM


I had the exact same experience with Rick and Fred at Diamond Cutters. They are complete baloney. Rick also consistently said things that contradicted what Fred wrote in his book. Fred does have a totally 2-dimensional view of the diamond which is why he says things like "it's basic trig".

I have heard about the case against Fred Cuellar, but have yet to see anything on the web on it.


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#15 @ 08-10-00 , 01:38 PM


Would duck season be arriving in October by any chance, Rock??


DL

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#16 @ 08-14-00 , 04:08 PM


Hey DL! I was thinking the exact same thing when I read Rockdoc's post.

Can't wait to see what is revealed in October.

Waiting with baited breath....



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#17 @ 01-05-01 , 05:49 PM


Bonded ???


Bonded: The best expoxy available has been used.

Bonded: The seller has been in jail and needs to post bond?

Bonded: It was one of the famous rocks used in 007 flick.


Brad


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#18 @ 01-05-01 , 06:36 PM


You guys are having too much fun at poor Fred's expense.


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#19 @ 01-05-01 , 06:48 PM


RA
If Fred was a structural engineer and his buildings fell down...don't you think people should be warned?? He is NOT FUNNY! He makes us all look bad.
dimonbob

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Quote this post and reply to it Post#20 @ 01-05-01 , 06:58 PM


Gee dimonbob
This isn`t Brain surgery. It looks like people are being informed.
As for the buildings falling down now that might be life threating.



Brad


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Quote this post and reply to it Post#21 @ 01-05-01 , 10:23 PM


You guys are having too much fun at poor Fred's expense.


RA...

If i could have fun at Fred's expense, believe me when i tell you it wouldnt be here...


All we are doing is teeling the truth...
People should know what goes on out there and the kind of frauds that exist..

Freds expense?
I wish i can give him an expense like he gave many others.



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#22 @ 01-05-01 , 11:19 PM


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:<HR>Originally posted by Brad:
Bonded ???

Brad
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Diamond is attached to other teeth in the mouth by a skilled dentist.

Babs



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Quote this post and reply to it Post#23 @ 01-05-01 , 11:38 PM


Diamond is attached to other teeth in the mouth by a skilled dentist.

Babs


That`s right. I had a guy that wanted me to set a 1/4 ct. in his gold tooth. He asked me what if it falls out and I swallow it.

Make sure your dentist is bonded


Brad


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Re: Fred Cueller - What to Believe
Quote this post and reply to it Post#24 @ 05-10-12 , 09:47 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeenTheLight
Yes, that was me. I'm leaving the discussion of my experiences with Jonathan for another post though. Let's just say that I think that Jonathan is everything Fred Cuellar pretends to be - honest, caring, objective, informative, knowledgeable and experienced. His diamonds aren't "bonded" but he has the best policies (buyback etc.) that I've seen on the net.

Then again, I hate to knock Fred as I'd like to hear of other people's experiences as well. Maybe my "gut feeling" about this situation isn't accurate.

SeenTheLight


I looked him up on BBB here is their rating. A+
On a scale of A+ to F Reason for Rating BBB Ratings System Overview

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