Tag Archives: Reiff

The most important thing in buying a diamond engagement ring -TRUST.

In everything in life, whether it be a visit to the Doctor or Dentist, or a significant purchase of one thing or another, we often face the dilemma of whether the service provider or seller is looking out for himself/herself or for the patient/customer in making their recommendation(s) for the fulfillment of the patient’s/customer’s needs or desires. This is only natural in that the seller is most often concerned with getting well compensated for his/her services while the patient/consumer is motivated by the quality of the provided service or product and receiving such service/product at a “fair” price.

I recently had an experience with regard to a needed plaster repair in my beautiful older home. The fast talking great salesman who came to me through an internet referral service quoted me $1750.00 for a job that I knew he was not going to correctly repair – since he really had no idea how to do it right! In the end, a trustworthy old timer with lots of experience in plaster repair did a remarkable job on the repair for the cost of $360.00!!

So . . . you ask, “What the heck does any of this have to do with the purchase of a diamond engagement ring?” The answer should be somewhat obvious. You need to deal with someone who has the required experience and understanding of your needs as well as of the industry and the product – in this case, a diamond.

You also need to navigate through the minefield of fast talking salespeople (Beware of the Internet!!) and find someone who you feel comfortable dealing with in terms of their personality and their knowledge and their reputation for trust and integrity. Granted, this is not an easy task!

But there are many jewelry professionals whose mission in their work is to provide you with the necessary information, and more importantly, the right advice – to assist you in making the right educated choice in your selection of the “right” engagement diamond and/or diamond engagement ring. The most important thing to remember during this process is that you should not be looking for the best price. Price is not the same as “value” – and those who think otherwise will almost always buy an inferior (read: ugly!) diamond!

When you find such a person, I urge you to give him the level of respect and trust that he deserves. In the end, that trust and respect will serve you well.

The end result should be an experience that is mutually beneficial to both sides of the transaction. The buyer will be grateful for the knowledge and advice that has been obtained. The seller, or jewelry professional, will be happy that he has provided you with something that will be worn and appreciated and admired for many years to come!!

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This above comment – “the “right” diamond engagement ring” – is even more important than one might initially think!!

A diamond is just a diamond – beautiful as it may be. A diamond engagement ring, on the other hand, is a very significant piece of jewelry that is, in addition to symbolizing that the wearer is “engaged” or “married”, a very personal statement of one’s style and/or taste and personality. It is a work of jewelry art that will be worn for many years and will be appreciated by the wearer as well as many friends, family members, associates and many others.

Just as in the process of purchasing a loose diamond, it is essential to deal with a knowledgeable and experienced and trustworthy jewelry professional in turning a diamond into the finished engagement ring.

Some diamond shapes or qualities work well in certain styles of settings and not so much in other styles. While you may have a general idea of where you would like to end up in terms of an engagement ring style, I urge you – as in the diamond buying process itself – to find that trusted jewelry professional whose knowledge of materials, diamond shapes and qualities and cuts, and sense of style will assist you in ending up with something that will be beautiful to you as well as to everyone else!

Find someone who you can and will trust. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith. But it is the most aspect of getting to where you want to be. This is true regardless of the fact that you may be purchasing a $1,000.00 or a $50,000.00 diamond ring!!

FOLLOW UP . . .

In the course of my daily business I am sometimes the buyer of diamonds from one who has previously purchased a diamond.

Today I was presented with such a diamond. The owner/seller had acquired this diamond from a retailer in Philadelphia where my office is located. The owner/seller provided me with the opportunity to look at the diamond as well as the grading report that they were given at the time of purchase.

According to the paperwork, I assume that the purchaser thought that they were getting a good deal at the time of purchase. Upon looking at the diamond and grading it to “fair” and “proper” standards, the diamond was actually six grades lower than what the buyer/seller/owner thought she had acquired. The diamond was not a GIA certified diamond and was graded by a “fraudulent” grading lab.  The diamond was, in fact, worth only 32% of the value of what they thought they were buying!!

This true story is stated here just to reiterate the subject matter of the above post. Obviously, as should be learned from this brief story, there are those in the world who think that low price is all that matters – and who later ind out that they have been cheated.  More importantly, this brief story should reiterate the necessity of dealing with someone with a reputation for trust and integrity.

Sea Shells and Diamonds

ConchShell

As I was packing up my house recently, preparing to move, my daughter came across a beautiful Conch shell that she found on the beach in Captiva, Florida when she was young. Captiva is known for its beautiful shells.

She was admiring her beautiful shell when it occurred to me that finding a beautiful sea shell in a place that is known for its shells is much like finding a beautiful diamond.

In the world of diamonds, there are thousands of diamonds available on the Internet.  If there is one thing that I know after a lifetime of 40+ years in the wholesale diamond business, it is this: Finding a beautiful diamond is much harder than finding a beautiful Conch shell!

5.00CusionHVS2small

Recently I was evaluating the diamonds that I purchase for my “wholesale diamond stock”. I realized that for every thousand diamonds that I look at –  99% of which are certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America),  –  there are perhaps 20 that I purchase.

It is not a question of what the GIA report might say in terms f the diamond quality. It is a question of finding that rare diamond that you just look at and say, “WOW!’

A “WOW!” diamond is something that is truly amazing. You just want to look at it because its facets and its scintillation draw you in.  It is a work of nature and a very talented diamond cutter. It is one of the most spectacular things in the world. It is something incredibly beautiful.

It is very rare – even in a world filled with databases of many thousands of diamonds.

So, you might ask, “What is my point?”  In the sea of many thousands of diamonds (Internet diamond databases), one must understand that there are diamonds that are truly exceptional and the other 99%. Buying a diamond from an internet database – particularly the lowest priced diamond – is cheating yourself of the beauty of what an engagement diamonds supposed to be.

Maybe you think that an engagement diamond is just something that you “have to do” because it is an “expected” part of the engagement process.  This may be true to some extent. But it is something that will look at every day for many years. It should also be an investment in something that is truly spectacular.

 

 

NEIL REIFF

A Good Deal on a Ugly Diamond is not a Good Deal.

I have written several posts over time regarding the diamond purchase process and the Internet.

Those who do not know me may think my repeated postings on the subject are a case of sour grapes in that the internet has changed the diamond business.  Though the internet has changed the diamond business in a few significant ways, my posts are my way of dealing with my frustrations of seeing the detrimental effects that the internet has on the consumer/diamond buyer.

I did a diamond appraisal this week for a Millennial.  He was obviously proud of the wonderful deal he got after I can’t even imagine how many hours or days of research. When I asked him how he got to the internet vendor company (one that I never heard of and which must take many hours or days to get to!), he proudly told me that he found this company after much research and that this company had the best prices.

As requested I evaluated his diamond and assured him that he got a great deal on his diamond with regard to the underlying GIA specifications.  He smiled as if I confirmed to him that he “beat” the system.

It is my honest professional opinion that this Millennial has just spent in excess of $10,000.00 on something that is not beautiful at all – unless, of course, one considers that specifications as set out on a piece of paper (the GIA grading report) to be the underlying beauty of a diamond.

This is a photo of the diamond that he purchased  .  . 

Though it may be somewhat difficult to see in the photo, this diamond looks somewhat dull as it severely lacking the scintillation and fire that makes a diamond beautiful.  This is despite the fact that the G/VVS2 color/clarity grade on the GIA report denotes a diamond that is truly fine.

 

The photo on the right is a different diamond that I photographed under the exact same lighting conditions.

This diamond jumps out at you. It draws you in as you look at the faceting and it’s scintillation and brilliance.   This is what a beautiful Cushion Cut diamond is supposed to look like.

To be honest with the reader it is the rare Cushion Cut diamond that looks like the diamond on the right.  It is also true that the cut on this diamond commands a premium price in the wholesale market when compared to the majority of Cushion Cut diamonds.

The Millennial who purchased the above diamond (in the ring) could have purchased the more beautiful diamond for a similar price to the diamond he purchased.  The reason he did not purchase the nicer diamond is twofold:  Firstly, he was only shopping for the best “deal” in terms of low price.  Secondly, he never had the opportunity to see the diamonds with his eyes as he was simply comparing the paper specifications of diamonds on the internet as opposed to actually having the opportunity to evaluate the underlying beauty of a diamond.

Most importantly, what is important for the reader to understand is that both of these two diamonds will someday be an engagement ring that someone will wear for many years.  The differences in the two diamonds, though seen somewhat significantly in these photos, will be much more apparent when the ring is worn.

One of these diamonds will be dull and somewhat lifeless, despite the fact that the buyer has a beautiful GIA grading report.  The other diamond (which also has a nice GIA grading report) will be appreciated by the owner/wearer and many others for a lifetime!

With regard to this author, I have once again temporarily relieved my frustrations that are inherent with the new age diamond buying process. More importantly, perhaps I have given a potential diamond buyer some food for thought as he contemplates making the right choices in the diamond buying process.

 

Neil Reiff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Recommended GIA Diamond Quality Grade Has Changed.

For as long as I can remember, my “go to diamond“ has always been a GIA graded “HI/SI” diamond. For those not overly familiar with the terminology of diamond grading, this refers to a GIA color grade of “H” to “I” color and a GIA clarity grade range of “SI1” to “SI2”.  In my professional opinion, with a lifetime career of analyzing diamonds with respect to their beauty and brilliance, the diamonds that were within this GIA grade range “offered” the best balance of beauty and price.

I use the past tense because my opinion and recommendation has changed. This is the result of a change in GIA grading standards.  When I was in school there was talk of “grade inflation” which referred to the fact that “A”s and “B”s had become more of the average as teachers pushed up their grading curve. Well, the same thing has happened over the past few years at the GIA. Whether the result of an intentional shift in standards or an occurrence resulting from multiple GIA laboratory locations where standards became more relaxed, today’s GIA reports are inflated when compared to the old GIA standard.

One reason for the change in GIA grading standards is the rise of diamond production in India and the fact that many diamonds are graded of the GIA laboratory in Mumbai, India.  This is often discussed among diamond dealers with regard to whether there is corruption within the GIA system in India or just weak oversight of GIA standards.  It should me noted that the majority of diamonds are now being produced (cut, polished and certified) in India even though many diamond sellers might misrepresent this fact.

it used to be true that a “SI” grade diamond was a “nice” diamond in the majority of cases. By definition, a “SI” clarity grade is defined as a diamond with “minor inclusions somewhat easily seen under 10x power magnification but not apparent to the naked eye”.  Within the SI grade there is a distinction between “SI1” and “SI2” grades. This referred to the size and nature and location of the inclusions.  A “SI1” clarity grade was almost always a nice diamond. The pricing differential between a “SI1” and “SI2” is significant.  It was possible to locate a beautiful diamond was graded “SI2”.  This latter category of beautiful “SI2”s were my mission.

The idea of a beautiful “SI2” has become a rarity.  Many diamonds with black carbon center inclusions that previously fell within the “I1” (Imperfect) grade are now being certified by GIA as “SI” clarity.  Additionally, many diamonds that contain multiple inclusions or  “more than minor inclusions” that would have been classified as “I1” are also falling within the “SI” grades today.  This is most definitely true of recently graded “SI2” graded diamonds and many “SI1” graded diamonds as well.

While it is still possible to find a pleasing and nice “SI2” graded diamond, this is a much more difficult task than it was just a few years ago.  I would guess that it is the rare one or two percent of “SI2” graded diamonds that I could recommend.

So where does that leave us today?

Firstly, with regard to my opinion of color, it is still my opinion that a GIA color grade of “H” or “I” is sufficient. This is particularly true with regard to round diamonds.  A fancy shape diamond may sometimes require stepping up the color.  A round diamond that falls within the “H” or “I” color grade will almost always face up as a beautiful white diamond. Honestly, in a round diamond with a GIA “Excellent” cut grade, I have seen many GIA “J” and “K” color diamonds that I would recommend.

With regard to my current clarity recommendations, I now advise staying away from “SI2” graded diamonds.  I advise purchasing a  GIA “VS2” and “SI1″ clarity diamond. This recommendation is made with a cautionary note that even a ‘VS2” graded diamond, as true with any diamond,  must be looked at on an individual basis as not all “VS2″s should be purchased simply based on the grading report.

With regard to current GIA grading standards,  a diamond that is graded as “SI1” is usually a much nicer diamond than that which is graded “SI2”.  Although one may think that the pricing differential is greater between a “VS” grade and a “SI” grade, the largest pricing differential between any two GIA clarity grades is actually that between “SI1” and “SI2”.  As market pricing is based on the beauty of a diamond as well as market demand, it is fair to say that the “SI1” grade is significantly nicer and is more desirable than a “SI2” clarity diamond and this is the reason for the pricing differential.

This does not mean that I would advise against buying a better quality diamond.  I certainly respect any one who has an appreciation of quality and is willing to purchase a very fine diamond.  After all, there are reasons why a more expensive diamond is more expensive! Conversely, this does not mean that a “SI2” clarity diamond is never a beautiful diamond. However, one must be aware that such a “SI2” diamond is rare and understand that a “top SI2” diamond comes with a “premium price” as compared to the others.

My offered opinion and recommendation is made with regard to a proper balance of quality and price – in an effort to help the buyer get what I view as “the best bang for the buck” without making a “wrong” choice and ending up with a diamond that fails to achieve the scintillation and sparkle and brilliance for which a diamond is valued.

No matter the price range or the size range, the buyer must never lose sight of the fact that it is the beauty of a diamond that makes it cherished and precious.

In many of my previous blog posts, I have discussed the “price” vs. “quality” issues of purchasing a diamond.  It is my strong opinion that any diamond buyer who purchases a diamond simply based on lowest price is cheating himself.  There are reasons why there are significant price differentials in diamonds of the same GIA grade. This is true whether you are considering “SI” graded diamonds or “VS” graded diamonds.

Although I offer you my advice as to my recommended GIA diamond grades, I urge you to use your eyes to see what the diamond truly looks like – to the naked eye and under magnification.  Every diamond is unique and should be examined and evaluated and should not be purchased just by referencing a diamond grading report.

And as I have stated many times before, I urge you to put your trust in a someone who understands diamonds more than you ever will and wants to help you to acquire a beautiful diamond.

 

 

Neil Reiff

Lowest price – GIA certified diamonds.

Lowest Price – GIA Diamonds.

Many internet shoppers are under the mistaken belief that buying a GIA certified diamond on the internet is similar to purchasing a flat screen TV. Simple,  You just find the model number that you want. Then you go to the internet and you buy it for less.

In the case of a diamond, one might figure out the size, the shape and the GIA parameters that they want.  Let’s say in this case, a 2.00 carat round diamond, GIA “H” color, “SI1” clarity.  Simple. We go to the internet and buy it at the lowest price.

Stop right there.

A diamond is not a flat screen TV.  The GIA diamond certification report is not the same as a model number.  The specifications of a TV are identical.  There are thousands if not millions of the same TV made to factory specifications.  Diamonds are different.  A diamond is a creation of nature.  Each one is unique.  A GIA grading report attempts to describe a diamond like I may attempt to describe a beautiful woman.  It is very hard to do without seeing the woman – or the diamond.

Pictured below are six diamonds listed for sale on a leading internet diamond site. Each of the six diamonds weighs approximately 2.00 carats (Actual weights range from 2.01 to 2.09 carats).  Each of the diamonds is graded by GIA as “H” color, “SI1” clarity.  The prices for these diamonds ranges from $13,247.00 to $26,131.00.  YES!  One diamond is 50% “cheaper” than another.  Inversely, one diamond is 100% more than the other!

And you are on the internet in search of the best price.   Or is it the lowest price?  Best price for what?  Lowest price for what?

As a diamond merchant with more than 40 years of experience  (and two generations before me!),  I understand what a diamond is.  It is about something beautiful.  Beauty is about the brilliance and sparkle and scintillation.  Low price is about a price point.

In recent years there has been a divergence within the diamond industry – sort of a “fork in the road”.  There are many diamond companies that are marketing diamonds specifically for the internet. The diamonds that they sell via the internet are inferior to those that are sold in the traditional manner – to be sold via retail jewelry stores.  It is the difference between the beautiful GIA H/SI1 diamond and that of the diamond that is marketed solely based on “price-point” for the internet buyer who believes he has figured out the world.

The difference is, in the “old” days, people looked at diamonds in a jewelry store with their eyes and a jewelers magnifying loupe.  They were truly buying a diamond and not just a diamond grading report!.

Take a look at the info for the six diamonds featured below.  These are just a random sample of different price ranges that I found.

                                                                                         .    .    .    .    continued below

Document (1)

 

Document (2)

Document (2A)

Document (3)

 

Document (4)

Document (5)

When looking at each of the diamonds described above,  one must recognize that the pictures are fake and are all identical.  These  photos are not representative of the diamond in any way and, in fact, give the illusion that the diamonds are gem quality which they are not!

With regard to the diamonds listed above I know for a fact that it is not possible to purchase a “nice” 2 carat round diamond with these GIA specifications on the wholesale market within the price of the first three listings.

If I was buying a diamond for my wholesale business it would most likely be one of the three more expensive diamonds.  I believe that a diamond is supposed to be something beautiful. These diamonds may be beautiful diamonds – although, even with the info provided on the GIA report, it is still necessary to SEE the diamond.  The listed specifications of these diamonds provides no information with regard to the nature and location of the inclusions and, in reality, provides little insight to the overall beauty of the diamond.

One thing that I do know is that there are reasons why the cheap diamonds are cheap.  It may be the make. It may be the type and location of the inclusion. Perhaps there is a color tinge.  Perhaps there is a “cloud”.  There are many factors that effects the overall sparkle and scintillation that makes a diamond special!

Low price is just that. It is low price.  It is not a factor of value.  Value, on the other hand, is a reasonable price for a Renoir – despite the fact that it may be tens of millions of dollars.

 

 

Neil Reiff

The Truth about Blue Nile and Internet Diamond Companies.

There is no doubt within the jewelry industry that online sellers such as Blue Nile have revolutionized the ways that many consumers purchase their engagement diamond.  Blue Nile, as well as a multitude of other online sellers, offers a virtual database of diamonds to internet shoppers at prices that were once considered to be below traditional retail prices. I add the phrase “once considered” in the previous statement in an acknowledgement to the shifts in pricing structure that have transpired through the retail jewelry landscape as a result of Blue Nile and other internet sellers.

The problem with Blue Nile and other internet diamond sellers is the process itself.

Internet diamond companies, unlike traditional retail jewelers, have no eyes-on knowledge of any diamond that they sell.  These companies are simply online brokers between diamond wholesalers and consumers.  No one in the “process” between Blue Nile and the ultimate diamond consumer has any real knowledge of what the diamond looks like.

There are two inherent deficiencies in buying a diamond in this manner.

Firstly, the process itself is based on the diamond grading report – usually a GIA report.  It is wrong to assume that a GIA diamond grading report conveys the most important aspect of what a diamond is all about – what the diamond really looks like.  In reality, this is a very significant misperception amongst diamond buying consumers.

To illustrate my point, here are two actual un-retouched photos of two different diamonds:

The diamond below is typical of what the internet shopper buys based on the GIA report. This diamond is a 1.70 carat Cushion Cut.

The GIA report looks great as this diamond meets the proper depth and table proportions. Additionally, it is graded by GIA as “Excellent” Polish and “Excellent” Symmetry.

Despite these “paper” qualities, the diamond is severely lacking the “fire” and “brilliance”and”scintillation” that makes a diamond beautiful. This diamond is actually dead and dark in the center.

The diamond pictured on the right is a 1.72 carat Cushion Cut diamond in which the depth and table proportions are also within the “proper” range. This diamond has a Symmetry grade of “Good” and a Polish grade of “Excellent”.

Though it is somewhat difficult to tell in the two photos, I can assure you that this diamond is much more beautiful than the other.  The “faceting” of this diamond creates much more “life” and “brilliance” and “scintillation”.  This diamond appears much whiter and brighter than the other diamond despite the fact that is graded as “I” color and the diamond above is graded as “G” color.

in this example, I guarantee you that the lower graded diamond is much nicer and more beautiful than the better graded diamond.  I know this for a fact.  I have seen both of these diamonds with my eyes.  It is why I am writing this article.

A GIA certificate does not describe the beauty of a diamond on even what a diamond looks like to the human eye.  The GIA certificate is essentially a document of scientific characteristics and terminology that measure minute differences in gradations that, in most cases, are beyond the limitations of what a consumer using his/her human eyes can ascertain without proper conditions and equipment.

While it is true that a “D / Flawless” diamond will undoubtedly be more beautiful than a “M / I2” diamond, It is often the case that a diamond of a lesser grade in terms of it’s GIA grading may be as beautiful or perhaps more beautiful than a diamond that has a “better” GIA grade.  This is particularly true in the case of fancy shape diamonds where the color and clarity grades have little significance to the overall appearance of the diamond.

The second deficiency of the online buying process is that the internet consumer is often searching for the lowest price as opposed to understanding that a diamond is supposed to be about the beauty and scintillation of something that is extraordinary and exceptional.

Whether searching Blue Nile or another online diamond site, without the ability to see and understand the subtle differentiations that make one diamond more magnificent than another diamond, it is easy to fall into the trap of searching only for low price with no understanding that “Value” is something different from low price.

Buying a diamond simply based on lowest price is similar to buying a $5.99 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!  This is not to say that one must pay $50.00 or $150.00 for a bottle of wine.  I do know, from experience, that there are very good bottles of wine that can be purchased for $15.00 to $25.00.  I also know that the $5.99 are, for the most part, going to taste bad and will not be enjoyed nearly as much!

In my  wholesale business I often ask this question to retail jewelry store operators: “What sells better in your store?  .  . The low price diamond?  .  . Or the nice diamond?”   The answer is almost universally  “The nicer diamond!”.  I agree with this answer.

I know from experience that a diamond consumer –  when given the opportunity to learn about diamonds and see diamonds with his/her eyes –  will almost never purchase the lowest price diamond and will, in many cases, choose the most expensive diamond!

Getting back to the subject title of this post, I do not have a problem with Blue Nile or other internet diamond sites.  Honestly, I was a supplier to the company that grew to be Blue Nile. I have also supplied James Allen and other internet diamond companies.

On the subject of internet diamond companies, I have a story that my mind will never let me forget.  I was in the process of “getting into” an internet diamond company when the person on the operating end of the internet business asked me the following question:  “How good are you at playing the game?”  I knew what he meant but I asked him to clarify.  He made it clear to me that the internet shopper only looks at the first page or two of diamond data.  These are the diamonds that are the lowest price diamonds.

He and I both understood that the “game” was all about giving these buyers diamonds with “issues” that make them inexpensive. With a wink and a nod, the conversation was an affirmation that the internet shopper does not understand any more than that of low price  and that the idea was to give such a shopper what they are looking for.

Whether it is Blue Nile or any other internet site, a consumer must understand that Blue Nile is simply providing a list of diamonds and diamond data that the consumer will never fully understand. The consumer must understand that Blue Nile is simply an intermediary web operation company that, in most cases, doesn’t know or care what any particular diamond looks like. They simply showcase a database of diamonds, collect your money and then arrange for the diamond to be shipped to you. Their interest is in making an additional internet sale and not in making sure that the consumer/buyer is acquiring a beautiful diamond.

It is possible to buy a beautiful diamond from Blue Nile or any other web diamond seller.  Most importantly, the consumer should question why similarly graded diamonds on Blue Nile are priced 20% or 30% or more than 50% higher others of the same GIA grade.  After all, it is the same seller who is selling the diamonds!  The consumer must understand that low price usually means a diamond that is not as beautiful as another diamond – and, in some cases, a diamond that is not beautiful at all.

Perhaps you are happy drinking that $5.99 bottle of wine!  Or perhaps you understand that low prices are just that and there are reasons why the price is low.

I offer these two bits of advice.  Go to a jewelry store and see what I am talking about. Buy with your eyes and not with your mouse.  And if you insist on buying with your mouse, understand that low price usually means a trade-off in terms of beauty.  Understand that “value” is a matter of quality and beauty in relation to price.

The purchase of a diamond is one of the most significant purchases of a lifetime – and one that you will enjoy for many years and  hopefully a lifetime!  Make it the right diamond.

 

 

 

NEIL REIFF

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.  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.)  PROPORTION RATIOS.  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.

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

 

GIA Diamond Grading – SIMPLIFIED

GIA Diamond Grading – SIMPLIFIED.

As I have stated in my previous posts, it is my opinion that the GIA grading system is ridiculous. This opinion is based on the fact that there are nearly 200 possible grade combinations of color and clarity.  To the human eye, under “normal life” conditions, the differentiations within the GIA grading system are like trying to characterize a woman’s beauty into 200 categories.

Most importantly, with regard to the GIA grading system one must recognize several things:

1)  Just because one diamond has a “higher” GIA grade combination than another does not mean that it is a more beautiful diamond.  

2) The difference between one or two grades is almost nothing at all in the overall beauty of a diamond.  Think of it this way . . .there are nearly 200 possible grade combinations; therefore the difference between F/VS1 to G/VS2 is just a slight incremental difference of two grades within a universe of 200!

3) Two diamonds may be of the same grade but one may be significantly more beautiful than the other- even within the same grade!

After more than 40 years in the diamond trade in which I have dealt with many thousands of diamonds and diamond grading reports, I have established my own diamond grading system which I believe makes more sense. This grading chart is seen below:

NDR DiamondGrading Chart REV2

As you can see, this grading chart contains FIVE grade parameters.  They are INVESTMENT, FINE, NICE, COMMERCIAL and GARBAGE.

Any diamond that falls within the top three grades is a diamond that will be very pleasing to look at in terms of a beautiful engagement ring.  It will not look yellow.  It should not look cloudy or imperfect.  It should have beautiful brilliance and scintillation.

It should be noted by the potential diamond buyer that, in most cases, a diamond should be evaluated on the chart above by looking at the average of the parameters.  For instance, a diamond that is graded F/SI2 should be considered at the upper end of the “nice” category.  Conversely, a diamond graded at F/VS2 but with a “Good” cut grade should be considered to fall within the “nice” category.

The Commercial and Garbage categories are a different story.  Diamonds that fall within these categories are not nearly as beautiful – and, in some cases, are UGLY!

Click here for detailed information with regard to the meanings of the above grading designations,

Is there a difference between a 1.50 carat D/Flawless round diamond that costs $45,000.00 and the 1.50 carat H/SI1 round diamond that costs $15,000.00?  Yes, there is,  But I can assure you that – as far as your eyes can tell when this diamond is set into a mounting, the $15,000.00 diamond should be nearly as beautiful as the $45,000.00 diamond.  On the other hand, the 1.50 carat L/I2 – (which in many cases is the mall store standard!) will not be beautiful when compared to the others !

My advice to a diamond buyer is simple.  Take a look at the chart above. Buy a diamond within the top three grades of the chart above.  Do not make yourself crazy distinguishing between ridiculous GIA grades.  It should not be that complicated.  You want a beautiful diamond. You don’t need a Rolls Royce.  Just avoid the junker!