Friday, July 24, 2015

An answer to one of the most frequently asked questions I get. Diamonds: To purchase online or have me source it for you?

I source and sell quite a few diamonds. Every client that approaches me, always asks what the benefits are to purchasing a diamond through me versus buying it online. There are several reasons for this, but one very important factor is that I look for a specific diamond to suit the clients' needs and budget. I then get the diamond in, or when necessary, several diamonds, to show the client. They invariably enjoy the process of being able to see the unmounted stones and handle them with tweezers to inspect them . I get the opportunity to point out the subtle differences between the goods, and educate the client on the important factors when entering into the realm of purchasing a small object which comes with a price tag exactly the opposite. That is, big. There is never any obligation to buy any of the stones, as I return them to my dealer(s) if they are unsold. In this way, the client is able to see the subtle differences (of which there are many) in each stone and pick the one that appeals to them the most before committing to purchase. In almost every instance- one of the stones usually jumps out at a client. In a way I suppose, this can be likened to buying a puppy. It's a big commitment and one need to be drawn to a particular choice with all of it's own characteristics. 

Another key benefit of this process is that it allows the clients to see that even if several stones are all within a very narrow set of specifications, there are always subtleties to each stone which may affect one's performance against another. I have been in the diamond business for 22 years now. I personally the diamonds I order in for viewing so as to gauge whether I  agree or disagree with the report which accompanies it. I don't care if the stone comes with a GIA report or otherwise.  If I don't agree with the grading, I return it. There are so many minute aspects which affect the pricing of a diamond. One thing I have learned over and over in this business is this: with diamonds (as with many other things in life), you get what you pay for. Sometimes two stones can carry practically the same grade, yet one outperforms the other. This is because grading is highly subjective and can vary from person to person when grading the diamond.  On the topic of grading, I will write a separate post. I will say this here though: the use of the word "certificate" is misleading when talking about what is actually known as a grading "report". There is no legislation governing the accuracy of a grading report, and it isn't possible to certify anything if one is able to give it to another grader who will give his opinion on the grades. Regardless of whether you are looking at a stone that carries a GIA report, or for example an EGL, IGI, AGS, or several other well known gemological laboratories. In this business, there are companies that are well known and reputed for over-grading diamonds, seeing as there are no specific laws in place to govern these practices. I refuse to acquire diamonds carrying reports by many well known companies, simply because I realize that they are reputed for over-grading. More to come in a following post on this specific topic. 
Since the inception of buying diamonds "online", the margins have almost disappeared. The days when jewellers used to make all of their money by selling diamonds has long gone due to the online competition. I can openly state however, that if you do decide to use me as a broker for you diamond, you will pay more. The reasoning for this is that I never sell anyone a diamond that I can't stand behind and be accountable for. To some, my experience is worth the marginal extra cost. Peace of mind and deferring to knowledge and experience is what my clients don't mind paying for. I don't "sell" you a diamond. I broker it. I educate you on your available choices. I source them to show you. I educate you on them individually and then if you decide to purchase one- it is you choice, based on my opinion. In most cases, clients will ask me, "which one would you choose." In most cases it isn't the most expensive one- based on all of the factors I would have explained when showing you the stones. 

Some people see value in having me source the stone and educate them about their choice.