The Right Diamond at the Right Price.

Since 1994, N D Reiff Company has used the tagline “The Right Diamond at the Right Price” in many of our promotional materials – whether it be a business card or in industry advertising materials.

To me, this is not just a tagline for advertising purposes.  It reflects a commitment in each and every unique diamond that I acquire and that I offer to the jewelry trade/consumer.

This commitment to “The Right Diamond at the Right Price” is more significant today than at any time over the past 25 years.  This is because the industry is flooded with ugly diamonds.

The issue of ugly diamonds has many dimensions. The most common issues are as follows:

1.) Over-Graded GIA Reports. This is particularly obvious within the  “SI”  (Sightly Imperfect) categories where the majority of diamonds contain black carbon or other large inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. It is also a factor in many “VS” graded diamonds.  A diamond with a black inclusion or a major inclusion may be valued at up to 15% – 40% less than a diamond of the same GIA grade without such an inclusion.  The pricing differential is dependent upon the size and placement of the carbon inclusion.  A diamond with a black carbon inclusion is almost always not the right diamond.

2.) Milky Diamonds. These are diamonds that are “cloudy” and “milky”.  Many will say that the diamond looks “sleepy”. Though the diamond may be represented by  a somewhat “clean plot” on the GIA report, a milky or cloudy  diamond will be severely lacking in luster and brilliance –  the characteristic for which a diamond is valued.  This is usually not apparent by looking at the GIA report. Milky diamonds will usually be priced at 20% -50% less than a similar graded diamond that is not “cloudy” or “milky”.  A milky diamond is never the right diamond.

3.) Tinge Diamonds. Some diamonds may exhibit a gray or green or brown color tinge.  While this is sometimes indicated on the GIA grading report it is most often not noted on the GIA report. Diamonds that have a color tinge exhibit shades of color beyond the normal scope of GIA color grading which evaluates the overall whiteness of a diamond in terms of gradations of yellow. For example, a diamond may be a “H” color in terms of the GIA grading scale but may exhibit a shade of grayish or greenish or brownish tint.  This color tinge greatly effects the overall brilliance and lustre of a diamond. Such diamonds may be 20% to 50% less than a diamond that does not exhibit a color tinge.  A tinge diamond is never the right diamond.   

4.) Fluorescent Diamonds.  Fluorescence is perhaps the most misunderstood designation on a GIA grading report.   In most cases, faint or medium fluorescence will not impact the overall beauty of a diamond but will have some impact on pricing.  The designation of Strong or Very Strong fluorescence will, in many cases, effect the lustre and brilliance of a diamond and should will have a significant impact on the price of a diamond usually in the range of 15% to 35%.  A fluorescent diamond must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should be avoided in cases where it effects the lustre and brilliance.

5.) Cut – Round Diamond.  There is perhaps no other GIA grade characteristic that is as misunderstood at the Cut grade. It is my honest opinion that there is very little difference between the GIA cut grades of Excellent and Very Good.  For this reason the price differential between these two grades is minimal. There is, however, a significant difference in beauty and pricing for a diamond that is grade as good (or fair or poor). This may be in the overall cut grade or in the polish or symmetry characteristics noted on the report.  A good cut grade may be 10% to 40% less than a similar diamond that is Excellent.  A cut grade that is below Very Good cut should be avoided in most cases.  

6.) Cut – Fancy Shape Diamonds. There is nothing more important to the beauty of a fancy shape diamond than the cut.  There is also nothing more significant to the pricing of a fancy shape diamond than its cut. Many consumers are of the mistaken belief that the polish and symmetry attributes that are noted on a GIA grading report are an indication of the overall cut and appearance of a fancy shape diamond. This is absolutely a fallacy.  The cut has more to do with the beauty of a fancy shape diamond than anything else.  A poorly cut fancy shape diamond may be 50% less expensive than a beautifully cut fancy shape diamond.

7.) Proportion Ratio.  This issue of proportion ratios is particularly significant with regard to fancy shape diamonds.  It is applicable to all fancy shapes as it refers to proportion ratios.  These ratios affect the overall dimensions of the diamond as well as the optimal light refraction of a fancy shape diamond.  For instance, the ideal proportion ratio of an Oval diamond is 1.35 to 1.45. A diamond that is 1.30 or 1.50 is still a “nice” diamond in most cases although the price of such a diamond should be slightly less expensive.   With regard to a diamond that is significantly outside of the preferred ratio, the Rapaport Diamond Report notes this comment with regard to fancy shape diamonds:  “Prices for fancy shapes are highly dependent on the cut (meaning proportions, ratios, etc.).  .  . Off-make, poorly cut fancies often trade at large (price reductions) and are (not desirable) .”   A poorly proportioned diamond is never the right diamond.

8.) Etcetera,  Etcetera,  Etcetera .  .  . There are many other issues that affect the beauty and the price of a diamond.  Many of these issues go beyond the specifications or attributes noted on a GIA grading report.  Every diamond is a unique creation of nature as well as the diamond cutting process.  Some diamonds just have a “WOW” factor and others do not.  A “WOW” diamond is always more beautiful and more expensive than a diamond that is lacking in brilliance and scintillation and fire.

There is not a day that goes by in my office in which my discussions with retail jewelry store managers/owners/diamond sellers do not touch upon the relationships of diamond qualities and diamond prices.  These conversations usually go three different  ways:

For instance, today a retail jeweler was in my office looking for a diamond for his consumer customer who previously purchased a diamond from another retailer. His customer wants to upgrade the previously purchased diamond because it has “no life and no brilliance”.

I had the opportunity to see the diamond and I agree with the customer.  The customer purchased  a “Milky” diamond and now has regret.  Unfortunately the customer will now be paying more money to have a “nice” diamond.  Even worse, not only is the customer purchasing a new diamond in place of their earlier mis-taken purchase, the customer is now stuck with the diamond that was previously purchased as the disreputable retailer will not allow their customer to “upgrade” the diamond!

An additional conversation that I often have with diamond retailers goes like this:
“What is more salable in your store?. . . Low price OR a nice diamond??”.

To be perfectly honest with the reader (You), the typical answer to this question depends on the respect and integrity of the person that I ask. The diamond seller/retailer who is highly regarded whether on Yelp! or by community reputation will almost universally tell me that when given a choice and actually viewing diamonds, the buyer will choose the nicer and more expensive diamond.  Unfortunately, many mass market sellers tend to believe that low price is more important than quality.

The third conversation deals with the impact of the Internet on the diamond business.  Sure, the internet has impacted the diamond business at every level of the industry. Many people believe in Internet nirvana and believe that there is no reason to leave their computer screens.  These buyers never take the time to understand that a diamond can truly be something that is the essence of natural beauty.  These buyers look to the internet in which people are in search of lowest price – without understanding the meaning of value!

As one who has been art of the “diamond trade” for a lifetime, I understand that my industry serves many different “markets’ within the market.

On one hand there are diamond sellers/retailers/consumers who only believe in selling/buying cheap diamonds.  Whether this is because selling cheap (ugly) diamonds allows them to make a larger profit or because they believe that their clientele only understands low price, it is these such buyers who end up in the first category which I have described above.

On the other hand, the bottom line is this: The diamond buyer should buy “The Right Diamond at the Right Price”.

So, a diamond consumer will ask: “How do I know if it is the right diamond?”.
To that question I do not have an easy answer.

But I do know that it is my mission and my commitment to make “The Right Diamond at the Right Price” available to the market.

 

The Right Diamond at the Right Price.

 

 

Neil Reiff

 

One thought on “The Right Diamond at the Right Price.

  1. Joel Goldberg

    Right on. I am only a second generation retailer andI try to buy what the GIA called ideal cut diamonds. Because cutters “cheat” and make deeper stones, the GIA is calling this excellent cut. My daughter who did her GG 30 years after me was taught to push the cut grade up.Thus a diamond judged to be very good becomes excellent.
    This is similar to using a microscope at 45 power instead of 10 power to view inclusions. Its all a scam and always has been.

    Reply

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