Dear Miss A,
I have a cousin who is a gemologist in Phoenix, working at a reputable jeweler. I’ve been working with her to purchase an engagement ring, and she’s found me a “deal” on a diamond. I’m attaching her description of the diamond verbatim:
“This diamond is even nicer than I thought…it is certified by the AGS (American Gem Society) which is one of the most trusted certificates in the world right next to GIA. Diamonds are graded on color, clarity, carat weight and most importantly the cut. This stone is a H (near colorless, 5th from the rarest) on the color scale, SI2 (slightly included can’t see any inclusions with the naked eye) on the clarity scale and this stone is an ideal cut which is the best cut grade a diamond can have. This grades the symmetry of the cut, the color and white light return on the diamond and overall appearance. Weighs exactly .90cts, has a diameter of 6.20mm. Beautiful stone, retails for even more than i told you 8,000! Your price is 4800 for the stone.”
Now I love my cousin and I trust her, and she’s gotten my parents some good deals on jewelry in the past. But out of curiosity I checked out Blue Nile and found many diamonds of similar specifications for lower prices. Also, for $4,800 I found some really good sounding diamonds on Blue nile. Supposedly they are GIA certified. Furthermore, most of the feedback I’ve found regarding Blue Nile is positive.
So I guess my question is this: should I go with my cousin’s recommendation or should I go with a blue nile? Obviously I’d prefer to send the business to my cousin, but if I can save over $1,300 on what appears to be in essence the same diamond I’d be inclined to go that direction. Any thoughts on pro-con of online jewelers such as blue nile vs. a jeweler?
Thank you for asking. Although, I don’t miss the retail hours, I really do miss the diamonds, and helping people like you. Most people know of GIA, and get hung up on a diamond being certified by them. Honestly, I prefer AGS ideal cut diamonds. They are just spectacular in person. I would imagine that the cut on your cousin’s diamond is outstanding.
There is nothing wrong with going with H color – it’s near colorless and only two grades away from F, which is colorless. Most experts can’t tell the difference between two adjacent color grades when viewing the diamonds “face up”. In other words, an F and a G would look exactly alike. So H isn’t far off at all. And you save a great deal of money by not crossing the line into “colorless”.
I am a bit concerned about the clarity grade. I often recommend that buyers give up clarity to get better color, cut and size; however, SI2’s can go either way. Even though I no longer work for a diamond importer, and am therefore no longer biased, I still believe that you should see a diamond in person before purchasing it. This is especially true if you go below a SI1, because the differences can be vast.
I find it hard to believe that a H/SI2/.90 diamond with an AGS certificate would “retail” for $8,000. The store where I worked never marked prices up to then mark them down later, so I’m not sure what sort of game your cousin is playing with you.
I really suggest that you look at stores in the Washington area, or somewhere where you can see them in person. It’s amazing what the eye can see. For instance, due to what Charles Darwin called natural selection, we are attracted to people with favorable heritable traits such as symmetrical faces. It’s not that we are consciously looking for symmetry, and physically measuring. We are just naturally drawn to the more symmetrical. This ability also works in diamonds. Again, it sort of goes back to one of my favorite books, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”. Once I showed clients what to look for in a diamond, my clients were shocked at how good their eyes were, and how much they could see. If you buy online, they are only going to send you that one diamond. You won’t be able to compare.
Again, thank you for your question, because it’s been a few weeks since I helped anyone with diamonds. I’m sure you’ve heard of “fashion consultants” who take you shopping and advice you on what to buy. Well, I am open to being a personal diamond consultant. I’m happy to provide this service, if you are interested. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Miss A