Posts Tagged 'buying a diamond'

Chocolate, Champagne, Cognac – Better to eat & drink, or to wear?

December, 13 2012

Chocolate, Champagne, Cognac – Better to eat & drink, or to wear?

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, I thought I should shed some light onto a few things I have noticed. Granted I started seeing holiday shopping guides, commercials, and advertisements the day after Halloween, but now that we are mid-December, it seems the jewelry industry especially is pouring on the deals and bargains for “luxury” and high end items.

The most common commercial I have seen is one involving chocolate diamonds, and how to “upgrade her craving for chocolate” by purchasing an exclusive and rare chocolate diamond ring, necklace, or bracelet.

I find these commercials, like most marketing, to be misleading. By the same token, I recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that many people like the look of chocolate, champagne, or cognac diamonds. My goal for this article is just to give the rest of the story – you know, the one the jewelry industry sometimes leaves out.

As a quick refresher, diamonds are typically graded for their absence of color in the D-Z color range. Any diamond that displays a hue of color found in a rainbow, other than yellow or brown, is graded as a fancy color. Diamonds that display a yellow hue that is outside the Z color range is still considered a fancy color, while brown is not. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) recognizes 27 hues, or the basic impression of color, for color-grading diamonds brown is not one of them.

Circ Graph

Legend for Graph

Note: The predominate hue is stated last. Source: GIA – Winter 1994 Gems and Gemology Article.

Brown diamonds are considered to be low quality, and until the 1980’s were considered industrial quality only.  It was during this time that abundant quantities of them appeared from the Argyle mines in Australia.

Given the diamond’s poor quality, and that the diamond market did not recognize brown as a fancy color, the Australians took a creative route. They began setting these diamonds in jewelry and gave them names like “champagne” and “chocolate” – words that evoke ideas of luxury.  Needless to say the marketing worked and brown diamonds are not only the least rare, but are also the most common diamond color to be found in medium-priced jewelry designs today.

So, if the one you love is perhaps “craving” something a little different, and is interested in having a brown diamond, just keep these things in mind when shopping:

1)   Brown diamonds range greatly in tone, or their relative amount of lightness or darkness. You want to look for one that has a medium to dark tone, with a warm, golden to reddish appearance.  These look the most vibrant when used in jewelry, and still maintain some of the brilliance that is expected of a diamond.

2)   Brown diamonds should be sold at a considerably lower price point than their colorless counterparts. If you think you are paying too much, you probably are. There are other gemstones that have a similar appearance to a brown diamond, but are sold at a fraction of the price. – Consider a Smoky Quartz, Imperial Topaz, or Brown Tourmaline as some alternatives.

Regardless of the amount of marketing, advertising, and sales that are going on this holiday shopping season, being an informed consumer is the most important thing. Always do your own research, and ask questions! MJ Gabel is ALWAYS available to answer questions, or address concerns that people have about a jewelry purchase. We are happy to guide, educate, and consult with consumers so they can make an informed decision.

As the holiday approaches, please remember what this season is truly about – it’s not about the gifts, the money, or the diamonds! This season is about spending time with the ones you love, giving back to your community, and be thankful for all the things, small or large, that you are already blessed with. Happy Holidays!

If you are unaware of what your diamonds characteristics are, contact MJ Gabel and take advantage of a free diamond evaluation.

www.MJGabel.com

800-804-1980

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When a Diamond isn’t Forever

When a Diamond isn't Forever

MJ Gabel understands the value of your diamond pieces, and respect the importance of feeling valued as a customer.

November, 16 2012

Ethical Standards in the Diamond Retail Industry

Written by Anne Johnson, Managing Director at MJ Gabel

I want to start off by pointing out that these are blanket observations, and are my own. There are many loyal, trustworthy, and honest individuals in the diamond retail business and it is important to give them credit for their efforts to keep the industry ethical, and to keep hard earned consumer confidence.

Ethics. They seem simple enough to understand, but somehow are easily passed over, forgotten, or slipped.  Every sector of business, education, religion, even our lives has it’s own set and variety of ethics. Many overlap, and are fairly standard “rules” or moral principles of conducting oneself in a socially agreed upon way. As a quick example; just as most individuals would not take a cookie out of a small child’s hand, a business owner should not misrepresent a piece of merchandise to a potential client.

It has unfortunately been my experience lately to work with clients who have been misinformed regarding a diamond they were sold. Whether the color or clarity was not clearly explained (or worse was misrepresented), to carat weight being discussed in very general terms such as fractions. In the diamond industry, as with any sector of business, it is unethical to misrepresent the value, characteristics, or performance of any item. This includes misrepresenting or misleading a diamond’s characteristics in any way to the consumer.

As with any industry there have been growing pains and learning curves that the diamond industry has needed to over come. One of which was how to represent the characteristics of a diamond consistently and accurately in a way that was universal to everyone in the business and could be translated easily to consumers. These are now known as the Gem0logical Institute of America (GIA) color scale of D-Z, and the 11 grades that make up the GIA clarity grading scale. In addition to these scales, the standard of practice is to represent the carat weight of a diamond in decimal form to the nearest hundredth of a carat.

A diamond that was sold as “a carat” may in fact end up weighing 0.97cts, and stating it as being a carat is just plain wrong. While this distinction may seem slight to many, it is unethical to the industry, and will translate to a decrease in value upon resale. All things being equal, there is a fairly large value difference in value between a 1.00ct diamond and anything below that “magic number”. In regards to this common selling practice, Section 23.12 of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries clearly states that giving carat weight in such general terms without further explanation of the exact carat weight is “unfair and deceptive.”

The same is true with misrepresentation of a diamond’s clarity characteristics and color grade. More often than not, most individuals were told when they purchased a diamond that it was “flawless”, “near flawless”, or “perfect.” To be direct, very few diamonds have a clarity grade of “internally flawless”, and even fewer have a grading of “flawless.” Again, the FTC in the same publication, section 23.17 states in regards to describing clarity:

“It is unfair or deceptive to use the word ‘flawless’ to describe any diamond that discloses flaws…[and] is unfair and deceptive to use the word ‘perfect,’ or any representation of similar meaning, to describe any diamond unless the diamond meets the definition of ‘flawless’ and is not of inferior color or make.”

Using such general descriptions of a diamonds characteristic’s is not only extremely misleading, but gives an unfair representation of the diamond’s value.

Education and knowledge about what you are buying is the only way to know for sure that what you are paying for is what you are getting. When shopping for a stone, it is important to ask clear questions to what you are purchasing.

“What is the exact carat weight?”

“What is the diamond’s color grade?”

“What is the diamond’s clarity grade?”

Asking specific and direct questions helps to ensure that the information you are receiving is correct, and not just general terms to describe the diamond. Keep in mind that purchasing a GIA certified stone (one that has undergone independent GIA lab verification of it’s characteristics) is the only sure way of knowing that without a doubt your one-carat, colorless, flawless diamond is in fact a 1.00ct, D Flawless diamond.

If you are unaware of what your diamonds characteristics are, contact MJ Gabel and take advantage of a free diamond evaluation.

www.MJGabel.com

800-804-1980

Taking a Step Back


Written by Anne Johnson, Managing Director at MJ Gabel

In our previous blog posts, I have written mostly about the process and mechanics behind the diamond industry. Truths about the actual value of diamonds, as well as how they reach their price tag value by the time they reach a woman’s finger. While our website sheds light onto our massive crush on diamonds and personal interaction with clients, I thought I would take the time to explain why we are different than other companies. Let’s spell it out.;

I often use a car analogy when speaking of diamonds because it is often the easiest for most people to relate to, so humor me once again. If you are in the market for a new car, you go to a car dealership and someone who specialized in selling cars- they do not make the cars, or for that matter buy them back (unless it’s a trade), sells one to you. Many times consumers will do LOADS of research on the right car for them, and how and where to get the best price.

Jump a few years, and it’s time to upgrade or your just ready for a change. You may opt not to take the car to the dealer because you know they a) will not buy it back with cash and b) if you trade it in, you will take a massive hit. Your choice becomes selling it on your own, or trading it and taking less for it than both you and them know its worth.

Most people do not do nearly as much research on how to sell their used car, as what they put into finding the best price when purchasing it. If we were in the car business, this is where we would come in! Even though our love is diamonds, we can still apply this same scenario to the diamond marketplace.

The majority of individuals do not to nearly as much research on diamonds as they do with cars before they buy. In fact, the majority of customers know very little about their diamond when they buy it, and only when it comes time to sell it does the research begin. Like a car, consumers know what they paid for their diamond. This becomes usually one of two pieces of weaponry in their knowledge arsenal. The second piece is an appraisal that has been done on their diamond. With these two numbers in mind, most consumers believe that they must be able to get at least half or more of these two values.

In contrast to selling a car, the jeweler is often the first place a consumer might stop to sell their diamond back. Like a car dealer however, the jeweler really only sells diamonds, and their offers tend to be similar to a trade in value since they will need to make a profit again if they buy the diamond back. Thus, individuals tend to travel around looking for what different sources will offer them for their pieces. They hear a low number, and move on to the next stop.

This is precisely where we differ from others. Instead of just giving you a number, we walk you through exactly how we came up with that number. We take the time to illustrate for our customers how every aspect of their diamond has played a role in the price we have calculated. In addition, instead of just shooting a low offer out, we are happy to give you alternatives if we believe we can help you get more for the piece. The value of the stone is nothing compared to the consumer feeling valued as a client and that their best interest is our priority.

In the car market, consumers utilize Kelley Blue Book, or Edmunds as a resource to tell them what their car’s value is and what they can expect to get for it. We are to diamonds what those companies are to cars! The only difference is, we value the connection you have to the piece, how much you spent on it, the importance of educating the consumer, and the basic human interaction involved in selling it. The other difference is, unlike Edmunds or KBB, with MJ Gabel we will pay you the price we acknowledge your piece to be worth, or happily broker a transaction that will.

MJ Gabel / Diamond Buyers

www.mjgabel.com

800-804-1980