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Why "Pre-Cert" diamonds?


#1

My dear Orchidians this is a very true story…about 6 hours old! I
had a client who wanted a batch of diamonds for his new shared-claw
Eternity ring, namely 22 stones of VS, E-F colour. Nothing less!

With this in mind, I went to my favourite diamond dealer and
requested this order…but all I got was SI1 and a few SI2. Unknown
to my dealer, I went downtown to my G.I.A. certified appraisor…He
scanned very carefully these stones and guess what? Some SI1-some
more SI2 and 5-6 lesser grade I-1 to I-2 diamonds. To say I was a bit
surprised, is an understatement, how about being hurt? Where is my
trust now in with this dealer? When I called and informed this
original dealer about ‘the discovery’, he said this appraisor doesn’t
know what he is talking about…good grief! This assistant to this
company said… “I only checked a few stones and thought all would be
the same”…looks like a few more slipped by and I’m returning them
again tomorrow.

Imagine, if I would have bought ‘unseen’ these 22 diamonds and not
checked them until these were in the ring…how was I to explain this
oversight to my client? I originally asked for VS and got in return
only SI to I grading and even a lower colour grade?

I am now buying elsewhere, I had to telephone my client in Edmonton,
Alberta and inform him of the need to “Pre-Cert” any stones in the
future. This same client was one of the two fellows I was teaching
while I was away two weeks ago.

Now you all know why it is very important to “Pre-Certify” any, or
all diamonds for a client you might be involved with. What ever the
final appraising fee will be, its all worth the effort and time.
It’ll save you lots of embarassment in the future, if it ever arises.
My reputation was on the line, and no way was it going to be thrown
away for a few lesser grade stones…

Gerry Lewy!


#2

Gerry’s is a cautionary tale. Once the piece is sent out into the
world, it’s all on us.

My wife is a GG. And when we lived in the CA bay area she provided an
appraisal service for the public.

Say a person wanted to buy a one carat diamond engagement ring G-H
color, VS clarity. Who do you trust? Personally I tend toward the
paranoia end of the psychic spectrum. “Cui bono”.

So my wife would accompany him or her as that person’s personal
advocate. She would examine the stone to ascertain whether it was
indeed a G-H diamond of a certain clarity. Another point, she charged
a flat rate; no percentage of value stuff.

It takes a lot of training to ID a stone, to grade a diamond. People
who retail stones to the public rely, in most cases, on their
suppliers for the grading of the stones they purchase. What is the
supplier’s training? How conscientious is that person in checking the
stones they receive??

And as the price goes up the danger of ‘fiddling’ increases.
Personally, I deal mainly with stones I cut. Diamonds are a much
smaller part of my business.

Is there such a thing as malpractice insurance for jewelers? With
that cheery thought I’ll get back to work.

KPK


#3

Gerry I had something worse actually happen to me. I had purchased
what I thought were VS and I had purchased 50 of these diamonds in
different sizes. They came pre-certified but I felt a little
suspicious and had my own appraisals on them before I even saw them.
It turned out that all were fakes. I tried to contact the seller and
guess what - they have disappeared. Great. Well the stones are
pretty so I will have them set in silver and make some pretty rings
with CZ’s and lab created stones. Got to make good with the lemons.


#4

Hi Gerry,

Just a couple of things…

GIA does not certify appraisers…never has. Holding a GG or any
other “title” does NOT qualify one for the appraisal business, not
even close. GIA did at one time, and still may offer an introductory
course to appraising methodology, but I don’t think they would make
the claim that it makes a graduate of the course qualified.

Regarding your experience with the diamond dealer, well we’ve all
had it, but hopefully not more than oce. There are many ethical
diamond dealers who take great pride in delivering exactly what is
called for,each and evry time. I have a short list of
recommendations, but they are in the US, which may be problematic.

I don’t think I would pay an appraiser a fee to check color/clarity
on a parcel of smalls, or any thing else for that matter, as I
consider my self a cometent, if conservative, grader. A quick glance
would insure high color and clarity, what is the need for an
appraiser? I disagree that it is worth either the time OR the
effort. Find a reliable supplier and educate yourself well enough to
check them. Just part of being in business today.

Wayne


#5

Wayne, and all!

Here is my appraisors qualification, as is on his business card.
“B.B.A.; B.ED.; D.G.; C.S.; GEMOLOGIST”…my inference to be being a
G.I.A. was assumed. But now I’m relating his authority in this field
of ‘ours’ plus he has his own ‘test stones’ to colour grade.

I prefer to have an “third party” to give me an honest unbiased
opinion of diamonds. I am not qualified enough in grading to put my
name to a certificate…When a person is buying something of great
value measured in thousands of dollars, whats the deal in spending a
few more dollars to get it properly noted.

Many local appraisors spend much of their time doing "pre-certs"
it’s been done all of the time up here, it’s part of the cost of ring
manufacturing…its not at all time-consuming, but its a very
necessary duty to perform, every one wins!..

Gerry!


#6

As a GIA alumni, I take an issue with Wayne characterization. When we
talking about appraising something, we are assigning value to an
object. Before value can be assigned, it must be determined what the
object of appraisal is. GIA training has to do with determination of
what object is using scientific principals. After the nature and
quality of object, diamonds in our case, was determined, then
appraisal using these finding can try to assign value to the object.
The reason that GIA does not teach appraisal, because the value
depends on market conditions which are impossible to predict and
frankly useless. The stone can appraise to one value and be valued
50%
more or less in 3 month, while quality shall stay the same.

In Gerry’s case he should have employed gemologist and not an
appraiser. In my experience, just because someone calls himself a
diamond dealer does not imply gemological competence. It only implies
that person knows how to make money selling diamonds or what he
thinks are diamonds. The adage " Let the Buyer Beware " still
applies.


#7

To further this “Pre-Cert” scenario!

I made a ring for my niece some years ago…(don’t remember the finer
details) I memo’ed this stone from my…“dealer”, all was well. But
the mother of the guy wanted an independent verbal and alsoa written
appraisal of that stone…she insisted that ‘we’ visit another
appraisor downtown Toronto.

Well after some talking and meeting with this fellow, he decided to
grade the stone…it came back to me/us a BETTER grade and colour,
than what my dealer actually gave me…so here was a more positive
story…For a few extra dollars for their time and fees out of 'her’
pocket, everyone was very happy.

A ‘diamond dealer’…(sic) from out of our Ontario province was
selling large one carat stones to many jewellery store owners. My
client bought a parcel of 6, one carat stones, but for some unknown
reason, they said that they didn’t have enough ‘on-hand’ diamonds to
sell him…So he paid them for the stones up-front and they would
send his new selection from their office. This was a red-flag day and
he missed it!..bad move!

He gets his stones, but something was terribly wrong…he called me
in to his store and ask me point blank what do I think of his
purchase? Well, after a few moments I quietly told him of an error in
two of the ‘stones’…MOISSANITE!!!..point to this…“out of province,
out of sight!” Buyer beware, he knew of this tragic purchase, but
couldn’t do anything to prosecute!

Its good to buy stones, but ‘trust’ the seller, know a bit of your
stones, learn also on how to judge them, listen to your 'gut’
feelings…

Gerry!


#8
I had something worse actually happen to me. I had purchased what I
thought were VS and I had purchased 50 of these diamonds in
different sizes. They came pre-certified but I felt a little
suspicious and had my own appraisals on them before I even saw
them. 

What do you mean when you say the stones were pre-certified? By
whom?

Were these stones purchased in response to your inquiry of a source
for “High quality lab created diamonds” in March of this year? Do you
realize that genuine lab-created diamonds cost nearly the same amount
as natural diamonds? Did you purchase these on a venue such as eBay,
for very little money? And how did you get them ‘appraised’ without
seeing them first? What did this ‘appraisal’ cost?

I think the first lesson here is to know your materials, their
standard pricing, and reliable vendors, before you buy. If you are
selling what you make, your customers deserve to know what is really
being included in their purchase. I’ve had countless people try to
sell me CZ’s as diamonds, gold plated as solid gold, german silver as
real silver, etc. If you aren’t 100% sure what you are using, I think
you shouldn’t be selling it.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#9

When I stared manufacturing jewellery with diamonds in 1975 I was
buying smalls and melee from Bachs and Strauss in London, England. I
had a very close relationship with the company and they taught me a
lot about the Diamond business. Every few months I would fly to
London, sit in their office and examine every stone in the parcel
(1,000s) Even though the parcels were pre-graded, this was how it was
done. Afterwards I would receive shipments by post or airfreight and
I would always grade every stone. I remember having dreams at night
with thousands of stones cascading down in front of my eyes like a
continuous waterfall. Usually I would look at hundreds before finding
one stone to reject. In the diamond business the onus is on the buyer
to determine the quality and value of the stones that he or she is
buying.

In later years I had mature relationships with suppliers that were
so consistent in their grading that I only examined the stones as I
used them, even then I would end up with a few stones to send back. I
always look for make as well as colour and clarity in every stone
that I use. I want every piece that I create to have exactly the same
appearance from stone to stone. I do this with coloured stones as
well, buying only the very best, then recutting every one and
re-grading them after they are cut. In this case they are colour and
size matched for each piece. Sometimes it will take months, if not
years to accumulate the coloured stones for a single piece of
jewellery. If a stone is broken in the setting it might be months
before I can match a replacement for it. By comparison the diamond
work is easy, but you still have to do it. I don’t think that sending
your diamonds for certs is very practical except for larger stones,
even then you should know what grade you are going to get before
sending them. Get a white pad, a 10x loop, some very good tweezers, a
couple of keystones for colour and Bruton’s book on diamond grading
(GIA standards are little tighter, but you will figure it out). Any
diamond dealer will let you look at parcels of stones in their office
and the good ones will help you get experience. Diamond grading is
not a mystery or difficult, every jewellery maker should be able to
do it well. Coloured stones are.

Dennis Smith - thejewelmaker


#10

Leonid I agree with your position valuation is the most difficult
part of the appraisal process.

GIA teaches identification not valuation. Valuation depends on
accumulated experience in most cases. But there are so many diamonds
in the marketplace that valuation is relatively simple if you’re
sure of what you’ve got.

Most people (civilians) do not understand the process and simply
want to know ‘what’s it worth?’. Before you know what it’s worth you
have to know ‘what ya got’.

KPK


#11

Gerry I agree with you have your diamonds appraised twice. Prior to
insertion into a ring or whatever and then after. I actually had an
employee that was very cunning - he would have a stash of CZ’s that
he would switch while making the rings. That is why I know have my
diamonds appraised before and after. When I get repairs I always have
pictures of the rings and then a quick appraisal by our inside
appraiser. Then I know that the customer cannot come back and tell us
that we took out their diamond while we had their ring. Some people
will try almost everything and anything to get something for nothing.

Leslie


#12

The diamonds were pre-certified that they were of the colour and
grade that I was purchasing. I don’t know something inside of me
told me to send them to my appraiser before I did extensive work on
setting them into rings etc. So they came to my shop and my
appraiser picked them up and appraised them. They were supposed to
have been appraised by a Gemologist with a GIA certification. I found
a good source for Canadian Diamonds and a good source for regular
diamonds now. This happened before I opened my doors. I realize all
the implications of selling and purchasing diamonds. This one buy was
from a dealer that would drop his price with volume purchasing. I
only ordered the one order from him and then went back to my regular
dealer (he was off for a year and I was faced with an empty stash.)
Now my regular supplier is back and I am happy with all of his
diamonds.

Les


#13

Gerry,

I empathize with you; however, this happens all the time. Therefore,
one has to be very careful when one is buying diamonds.

In this case, it was a trusted source; therefore, there can be no
excuse for what your supplier did. In fact, it would be in your
supplier’s interest to keep the trust intact. In this case, I believe
that they failed to do so. I can only attribute this to greed.

At the same time, when a buyer does not know diamond grading, he/she
would mention certain specs and shop around for the best price.
Dealers can smell this and they are tempted to offer poorer specs
and, hence, lower prices to garner the business.

The rough diamonds are mined by diamond mining conglomerates such as
De Beers and the rough prices are set by them. Everybody downstream
simply distributes and/or cuts and polishes the stones. Therefore,
there is a lower limit on cut and polished stone prices with specific
specs. Frequently, buyers do not know much about the production and
distribution of rough and polished stones. If they did, they would
immediately suspect something if they were offered stones below a
certain price.

Just my 2 cents.

Regards,

Rasesh Chasmawala.
Mumbai, India.


#14

Rasesh, and all!

I supplied him directly all the parameters of my needs…size,
colour, qualities, and the need of a few extras…in case of a minute
difference of sizes during setting! I even asked for a top-end of
quality and colours and to the lower-end if possible…! My
gemologist-appraisor micro-scoped EVERY stone before accepting them
for me. His reputation was also on the line! Its like saying I want a
Mercedes and my order comes back as a lesser quality, 2 door
sub-compact…duh?

I knew my requirements, they thought that just ‘louping a few
stones’ would suffice…bad move on his and their part…my trust with
’them’ is now history!

After a few decades or working with diamonds, I do have some
"working knowledge" of these necessary catagories. In fact I am to
start another class in Gem-Stone setting tomorrow morning (Saturday)
and use this interesting scenario to explain to my students what can
happen if knowledge is lacking to some degree…

Gerry!


#15

I thought of something that I wanted to add to my earlier post.

Diamond cutters and dealers assort stones according to ‘value’ in
terms of USD/carat and not as per color and clarity. And, assorters
judge value by the amount of overall ‘light’ returned by the stone
and its appearance or beauty.

Although size, cut, color and clarity play a role in value, they do
not constitute all the parameters that define value. For instance,
scintillation or fire does play a significant role in the value of a
stone since it greatly enhances the beauty of a stone. And, no
lab/institute has quantified scintillation as yet.

For instance, two stones with similar sizes, cuts, colors and
clarities but different scintillation would be valued differently.
This suggests that since a parcel has stones within a narrow range of
values, it is likely that the parcel would have stones with different
colors and clarities if their scintillations are different.

However, frequently, buyers unfamiliar with diamonds do not
understand the above and feel that color and clarity are supreme
since that is all they read about on the Internet. Even buyers that
are familiar with the above are forced to buy as per color and
clarity since that is what end buyers want. As a result, this has
always been a bone of contention between buyers and dealers.

Regards,

Rasesh Chasmawala.
Mumbai, India.


#16

I can understand this. When DH and I bought my diamond, it had be of
a certain clarity and color, smallest bow tie (marquise cut), and it_
had _to have fire! I would have taken a lower clarity or different
color as long as it had fire. I’m not a big fan of diamonds because
so many of them are cold looking. For me the scintillation was the
selling point. It took us 6 months to find “my” diamond. Every so
often DH talks about “upgrading” and I say “fine but it has to have
fire!” He quiets down. I rejected roughly 200 diamonds before we
found mine and he doesn’t want to go through that again. =)

Michelle