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Feb
06

Update to Diamond Video Challenge

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Earlier this week I posted this story with a video showing reactions to 2 diamonds of different quality and clarity grades. The point of the video was to show that the average person can’t tell the difference between most color and clarity grades as long as they are reasonable. This, I said,  backs the advice that I give so many readers to focus on cut and then go with the lowest quality diamond that will be eye-clean.  As I say on my diamond clarity page – once a diamond is eye-clean it can’t be more eye-clean. By “upgrading” from a clean SI1 clarity to a VVS2 clarity you are literally spending thousands of dollars on something that will never be appreciated.

Several readers wrote in asking if I know what the diamonds that were used in the video were – as a matter of fact here are the links ot the 2 diamonds used in this video demo:

1) A 1.01 carat H-SI2 diamond – http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-SI2-Good-Cut-Round-Diamond-1451126.asp which sold for $5770

2) A 1.06 G -VVS2 diamond – http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VVS2-Premium-Cut-Round-Diamond-1395875.asp which sold for $13,500


Can you see the difference? Is it worth almost $8,000? You tell me.

(courtesy of  Ira at TAD)

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Q:
Hi there I am after a 1.5 round diamond to have set as a solitaire in
a petite pave setting band. Where do you recommend I purchase it and
what are the 4 c’s I should focus on

Regards,
L

A:
Thanks for writing in.

As you may have guessed from reading some of my articles online I am a big fan on buying diamonds online. In general you will save a lot of money of retail.
In your case I would suggest you take a look at this diamond:
http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1397788.asp?a_aid=4d4527e041e66
This is an eye clean H-VS2 with an excellent cut and comes in under your budget.
Randy

 

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If you have read any of the pages on this blog you know that my mantra is “bang for the buck”. When it comes to diamond buying this means not paying for things you won’t actually benefit from.  Why pay thousands of dollars for F diamond color when no one will ever be able to tell it apart form a G or H color? Why “upgrade” to a VVS1 diamond clarity when an SI2 that costs half the price is just as clean to 99% of people?

Over the years some readers have questioned me on this. While seeing actual diamond photos on a site like James Allen is an extremely valuable tool to select a diamond, it can also have a negative effect. Because the photos are so large one can forget that the actual diamond size will be much smaller and much harder to see any inclusions.

Ira Weismann of TAD recently took to the streets of NYC to prove just this point. Using 2 diamond rings – the first with a G-VS2 diamond and the second with an H-SI2, Ira asks a number of  ”average Joes” to select which diamond they prefer.   The results are great and really strengthen my message of bang for the buck. Remember, once a diamond is eye-clean it can’t be “more” eye clean!

Need assistance picking out a diamond? Contact me at here and I will be happy to help!

 

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The Diamonds.net web site run by Rapaport Diamonds (see my diamond pricing page for more info) released an interesting report summarizing diamond price activity for 2011.  According to the report overall diamond prices (for a 1.00 carat diamond) rose by 19%. A closer look at the data shows that the increase was really in the first half of the year and the year where prices rose by a whopping 34% and in fact the second half of the year saw a considerable decline (11%). The report further stresses that there is a lot of uncertainty in diamond prices heading into 2012 as the overall mood toward the economy remains negative.

The truth is that while these reports are interesting to read they have little impact to the day to day buyer. In my experience people buying diamonds are buying on an as needed basis- be it for engagement or other holiday. Most people are not hedging prices and buying diamonds in advance (or postponing a purchase) because of a possible price change one way or the other.

When prices do drop it is generally a great opportunity to buy diamonds online vs. retail. The reason for this is that most online shops such as James Allen or Blue Nile are carrying a “virtual inventory” and are not locked in at a certain price. Retailers on the other hand who purchased diamonds say in March when prices were high have much less leeway to bring prices down now that prices have fallen.

 Are you in the market for a diamond? Drop me a line and I will be happy to help you find a great diamond at a great price!

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Randy,
Looking for 1 to 2 ct. round diamond. My lady says quality is most important not
size. She has picked out a classic Tiffany setting six prong. My budget is $6000


J,

Its going to be pretty tight finding a 1 to 2 carat diamond in that budget that the quality you are looking for. Here are 2 diamonds just under a carat that you should
look at. Both are excellent quality in terms of cut and are eye clean:
http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1418809.asp?a_aid=4d4527e041e66
http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1437853.asp?a_aid=4d4527e041e66

Let me know what you think.
Randy
Read More→

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The amazing thing about the Internet is that you never know where your readers will be coming from.
I have learned of literally hundreds of cities across the US from all questions readers send in.

This time I was honored to have been of assistance to J, who while hailing from Arkansas City was serving
his country in Afghanistan and wanted to surprise his wife with a ring upon his return states side. With a little
help from the guys over at James Allen I am proud to have helped make this happen.

Randy,

Hello, I’m currently serving in the US Army on tour in Afghanistan. My
5 year anniversary is on September 2nd and I will not be there for the
special day. I will be home in November for mid tour leave. I am
writing because I never bought my wife a proper diamond engagement
ring. I bought a cheaper solitaire sapphire. I want to surprise her
with a beautiful diamond solitaire but I’m on a budget constraint. I
really don’t want to spend $1500 but that would be my absolute limit. I
don’t want to get scammed and I want the most bang for my buck. Any
suggestions?
Read More→

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While I am a big fan of of James Allen on the site I am always looking for other reliable and honest vendors I feel comfortable recommending to my readers, one such company is DiamondWave.  DiamondWave is a smaller family run business that  prides itself on the individual attention they provide their customers.

Recently I had the chance to chat with Pam Scott from DiamondWave and wanted to share with you some f the topics we spoke about.

Randy:
Can you tell me a little about your background before coming to DiamondWave?

Pam: 
I worked for Costco Wholesale for 18 years and was in the buying dept. I started the Special Order Diamond Program and purchased all high end GIA diamonds and set the standards for diamond clarity, quality and cut that they are still using today.

I have been taught by the best in the industry on what characteristics of the diamond are, what is important.

I left Costco in 2005 for Amazon.com to be the Senior diamond buyer but the fit was not a good fit for me, I like quality merchandise and had a hard time buying cubic zirconium and 10k so we had a parting of the ways.

2006 I took a position with a top diamond site holder in NY and with the crash of the economy I left in 2007

2007 I was hired as the diamond buyer for DiamondWave which had not yet launched. I did all the diamond jewelry buying for the site as I still do today.

2008 The site sold, the new owners made me CEO and I continue to do all the diamond buying and the consulting. We are a small family owned company and take pride in our personal attention we can give each customer.

We launched in April of 2008 and have been building the business ever since.

We have access to many castings that are not seen on the site and we have our own designer for one of kinds, if we are able to do it.

Read More→

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For all you guys who write in asking for the ultimate diamond for the one you love, here is a great opportunity. Rappaport has reported that Ritchies Auction house in Toronto will be putting up an amazing 50.24 Carat round brilliant cut diamond. The diamond is a VS1 clarity (amazing for a stone this size) and is expected to sell for at least 10 Million!

If this is a just a bit too rich for you blood they have many other items up for sale including a 78 carat Fancy Yellow diamond necklace and an 18 carat Fancy Yellow diamond which was appraised at “only” million!

For those of you looking for diamonds at a slightly lower price point check out my Deals section on the right sidebar or browse for yourself at James Allen

See more of what’s going up for sale here.

 

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I am sometimes asked why I recommend James Allen over other vendors, is it because I am an affiliate of theirs? Of course not. I work with many quality, honest, and reliable companies and depending on the needs of a particular person I will always send them to who I feel is the best match. The reason I promote James Allen so much on this site is because for someone who is not an expert in diamonds there is no better place to start looking then James Allen. Why? Actual diamond photos!

To understand why photos are so important take a look at my diamond clarity page and then head over to the diamond clarity chart page. After reading those pages you will understand that diamond grading is not an exact science and often a diamond will be certified at an I1 or SI2 and still be a great value. On the other hand, the diamond may have a nasty black dot smack center of the table and should be avoided. Without diamond photos there is no way of knowing!

Here is a great example.  This 0.80 carat E-I1 is a great find-  http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-I1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1406117.asp . Take a close look at the diamond as it appears on this page. Can you see any problems? Now use the James Allen virtual loupe and get an even closer look at the diamond clarity. Can you see any problems now? Even I had a hard time finding the inclusion (between 6 and 7 o’clock) using the virtual loupe.  What this means is that even under 20X magnification the diamond appears very clean. To the naked eye this will be a clean diamond at an I1 price! This diamond was listed at $3290. Compare to this 0.79 Carat E-SI1 diamond which is listed at $4640 http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1396509.asp and this 0.80  E-VS1 diamond  listed at $6210 http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS1-Premium-Cut-Round-Diamond-1378789.asp . In other words the guy who bought that I1 clarity diamond saved himself between 30% and 48% for a diamond that nobody will be able to distinguish from the higher priced diamonds! This type of sale would not have been possible without being able to see the actual diamond photos as provided by James Allen. This is what bang for the buck is all about.

If you want a recommendation for a diamond that meets your needs at a great price – feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help.

 

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Aug
12

Diamonds As An Investment

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Seems every year or so someone (usually Rapaport of Rap List fame) tries to introduce an way that diamonds can be traded as a commodity. Once again Martin Rapaport has announced his intention of publishing a daily diamond price list aimed at investors. The price list will highlight current prices for diamonds being offered for trade on the B2B Rapnet diamond trading network.

The problem with this approach is that each diamond is unique and while the 4Cs try and standardize the grading there is still way too much leeway in what the actual diamond looks like. For example (and as I point out in my diamond clarity page) you can have an SI1 diamond that is eye clean and an SI1 diamond that has a nasty black inclusion on the table. Depending on the size of the stones there could be a several hundred dollar difference in price between them. If all you have to go by is the diamond certification and not the actual diamond photographs you can’t commoditize the prices.

In my opinion this is bound to fail as it has done many times in the past.

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