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The Controvert
01-28-2005, 05:16 AM
Although I am solidly against the evils of the diamond trade and the DeBeers cartel (and I know diamonds are a poor investment), I find myself in a bind as a man who needs to obtain a diamond in the next month for my fiancee.

I want it to be genuine diamond (not fake CZ) and certified. Looking through eBay, it appears that I can save a significant amount of the price if I buy a clarity-enhanced diamond.

Apparently, "clarity-enhanced" means they fill in the occlusions with a glass-like material to mask little fractures and imperfections.

Not only does it cut down the price, it makes the diamond look better, in my estimation. I believe artificial diamonds will take over one day, anyway.

I know there are quite a few jewelry experts on this board... So my question is this: is there any pitfalls or noticeable drawbacks to buying a clarity-enhanced diamond?

longhair75
01-28-2005, 10:07 AM
friend controvert.

i am not a jeweler, or a trained expert. i just learned a bit while buying mrs. longhair jewelry over the years.

single word answer: no

a clarity enhanced diamond may be cheaper, but you definitly get what you pay for. the fill material is not as stable as they would lead you to believe. heating your diamond, for example can cause the fill to discolor. cleaning it in an ultrasonic cleaner will also cause damage to your stone.

you do not have much time, so go out this weekend and ask the jeweler to allow you to compare a clarity enhanced stone to a non-enhanced stone under the gemscope. crank the scope to its highest magnification and i am sure you will see the difference. now, imagine this fill material turning yellowish brown over time....

if your jeweler will not let you examine the diamonds you are thinking about buying under a gemscope, do not buy from him. find another jeweler with more honesty and less to hide.

lh

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 11:10 AM
Well, I am not planning to subject the gem to extreme heat, lasers, cutting torches, industrial acids, or recutting tools.

If I ever need to clean it, I'll drop the ring into a cup of warm water along with an alka seltzer.

I'm just wondering if normal wear will cause discolorations within a 50-year timeframe. Like submerging it in hot, sudsy dishwater? Or exposure to normal sunlight?

Perhaps someone who owns a clarity-enhanced diamond has firsthand experience where it actually changed color or got noticeably worse over time? (or didn't worsen?)

Squink
01-28-2005, 11:26 AM
Well, I am not planning to subject the gem to extreme heat, lasers, cutting torches, industrial acids, or recutting tools. Sure, YOU aren't, but who can ever say with certainty just what hijinx a future wife will get up to with her diamond ring?

Ike Witt
01-28-2005, 11:33 AM
I'm just wondering if normal wear will cause discolorations within a 50-year timeframe. Like submerging it in hot, sudsy dishwater? Or exposure to normal sunlight?

How long have the enhanced diamonds been around? You probably aren't going to be able to get information on how they'll hold up in 50 years.

I'm curious as to why you asked for imput and then dismiss the first feedback you get when it isn't what you want to hear. Will you consider what longhair75 if others give you similar advice, or do you just want me to say, there is nothing wrong with clarity enhanced diamonds and you should buy several for your soon to be wife?

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 11:56 AM
If I offended you Adam Yax, then I'm truly sorry.

I was just trying to clarify what is meant by "heating". Some of the web sites I've looked at describe it so vaguely, you'd think it would discolor if you breathed on it wrong. Other places describe industrial cutting torches, etc.

I would like to believe longhair, but he didn't mention any first-hand experience with a clarity-enhanced diamond. Therefore, I assume he is citing second-hand information. Is it possible that some of these fears of diamond discoloration is unfounded? Maybe, or maybe not... I'm just trying to get the straight dope. Thank you.

Cheesesteak
01-28-2005, 12:00 PM
Here's a thread (http://diamondtalk.com/forums/showthread.php?goto=&threadid=4084&postid=&action=) about clarity enhanced diamonds, some good info on the process and history.

My question to you is whether or not you are well versed in the diamond grading trade, so you can better understand what it is you are buying and frame your search. I like PriceScope (http://pricescope.com/) they have a lot of basic info about diamonds, and how they're graded/priced, along with links to some online dealers who have a wide selection of stones at decent (for diamonds, at least) prices.

I bought my wife's engagement ring online and had a fairly good experience with it. I'd be worried about going through eBay though, at a minimum check out some of PriceScope's linked dealers for price comparison.

DrDeth
01-28-2005, 12:23 PM
Does your Fiance inist on a Diamond? Does she insist on a new ring?

DanBlather
01-28-2005, 12:29 PM
Iy you are going to set it in a yellow gold ring you can save some money by compromising on the color of the diamond. A pure white diamond will be wasted if it's next to yellow gold.

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 01:35 PM
Dan, good tip, but I'm going after a white gold ring.

DrDeth, she didn't insist, but she told me she preferred a real diamond and a new ring.

Cheesesteak, that's good info, but what I'm primarily concerned with now is whether the clarity-enhancement is going to cause a noticeable discoloration problem in the future. The recommendation I've seen is that it's fine for earrings or pendants, but not good in rings.

I'm wondering if the problem with rings is that normal wear and tear causes them to discolor (which I currently have no factual evidence of, but would be a dealbreaker for me). Or perhaps the fear is that in a ring, the normal banging of the gemstone against hard surfaces could cause damage to the clarity-enhanced diamond. (which is not a dealbreaker for me, since I can simply replace the gemstone)

longhair75
01-28-2005, 01:49 PM
friend controvert,I would like to believe longhair, but he didn't mention any first-hand experience with a clarity-enhanced diamond. Therefore, I assume he is citing second-hand information. Is it possible that some of these fears of diamond discoloration is unfounded? Maybe, or maybe not... I'm just trying to get the straight dope. Thank you.

i did start my post with a disclaimer.

however, the information i posted was what i have been told by several different jewelers. i have no first hand experience. i would not purchase a clarity enhanced stone. i would rather buy a smaller, better quality stone than a larger stone with obvious flaws. the repairs made to a stone being sold as "clarity enhanced" are rarely visible to the naked eye, but pretty obvious under examination through a 10x jeweler's loup. put them under a gem scope cranked to 35x, and they look like pieces of broken glass.

you did, however, mention that you were comparing prices on e-bay. are you planning to buy this clarity enhanced diamond sight unseen from someone on e-bay?

lh

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 01:53 PM
Yes, my current thinking is to buy sight-unseen from an eBay seller with a high positive feedback rating and long history of sales. The ones I've seen have a 10-day or longer no-questions-asked return policy.

longhair75
01-28-2005, 01:58 PM
friend controvertYes, my current thinking is to buy sight-unseen from an eBay seller with a high positive feedback rating and long history of sales. The ones I've seen have a 10-day or longer no-questions-asked return policy.

then my suggestion would be to get the no questions asked return policy in writing with a notary stamp, and have the stone appraised at at least two reputable jewelers immediately.

good luck, my friend. i hope it turns out well.

lh

Cheesesteak
01-28-2005, 02:03 PM
One issue with clarity enhanced is that in order to fill the defect, the defect must break through the surface, which is bad to have, it makes the diamond less sturdy.

gotpasswords
01-28-2005, 02:43 PM
Just so we're on the same page, when you say a "real" diamond, can we assume you mean mined vs cultured (eg: Gemesis) Both are real diamonds, as opposed to CZ.

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 03:46 PM
Thanks for the Gemesis suggestion. After some research, it appears they are all very yellow in color and not the look I'm going for. (Engagement ring) If they could produce some colorless artificial diamonds at better prices, I might reconsider.

longhair75
01-28-2005, 04:14 PM
friend controvert,

before you plunk down your hard earned cash on an e-bay diamond read this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=299404)

lh

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 05:14 PM
Heh, as with anything in life, there is risk. There are risks involved with buying retail, too.

- I might not get the gem I think I'm buying since I'm not a gemologist.
- I might overpay (retail markup) for the gem quality that I receive.
- I might break or lose the gem by accident.
- A mugger may steal the gem from me on my way home.
- I might pay a fair price (through luck or haggling) and see the price plummet anyway (if something happens to the diamond market).

As I see it, there is a fair to good chance of one of the above things happening. If it does, I am out many thousands of dollars. (Say, $5000)

On the other hand, there is a small, but tangible chance of a problem ordering through eBay. I can minimize it by going with a seller that has a great reputation, a great refund policy, thousands of successful sales, positive feedback and numerous customer testimonials. If I am screwed anyway, then I am out many hundreds of dollars. (Say, $500)

At least, that is my risk assessment algorithm right now. Not sure how accurate it is, though. Yet, this is why I am considering the notion of buying a diamond on eBay when others might consider that to be "crazy".

even sven
01-28-2005, 05:33 PM
There is no such thing as a "new" diamond or "new" gold. All this stuff has been around for millions of years. Diamonds have almost no resale value, and you can pick up very nice ones from pawnshops for rock bottom prices. Then you can have a jeweler custom design a new setting out of the melted down gold and you'll have a nice ring for a good price without feeding the diamond industry.

lee
01-28-2005, 05:44 PM
Whatever you get her, be sure to tell her what it is. If I were to get a diamond ring, first thing I'd do would be to have it appraised for insurance purposes. That would be a nasty surprise.

samclem
01-28-2005, 06:06 PM
What carat weight diamond are you aiming for? What have you seen for prices for that stone on eBay? Give me some specifics, and I'll give you some very specific prices here.

You also said you want a certified stone. Do you mean that the lab which certifies the stone will call it an SI1-H, or do you mean that they'll certify it as a diamond?

I buy and sell diamonds for a living, in addition to being a coin dealer. Give me some specifics.

Bill H.
01-28-2005, 06:15 PM
At least in my end of the world, it would not be cool to give a disclaimer to your wife to go along with this most romantic (and permanent) of gifts: "don't wash it or get it too hot!"

Nothing screams cheap quite so loudly.

Maybe in some jewelry in a birthday present. But an engagement ring is supposed to be symbolic of your eternal love, etc.

Personally, knowing now what I do about diamonds and their intrinsic worthlessness and the evil they fund in places and the greed of debeers I think I would've gotten her something else in an engagement ring. But it sounds like you know all about that side of things.

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 07:01 PM
Bill H: Well, that's why I'm asking... is this an irrational fear (i.e. maybe a clarity-enhanced diamond is usually 99.9% diamond and 0.1% filler?) or are these real concerns? (i.e. "10% of the time, you will see noticeable discoloration in the first year...") If less than 1% of people ever experience a problem, no matter how badly they mistreat them... then I wouldn't think twice about choosing one.

samclem: Glad you showed up, my good man! Ok, here are some specific examples:

Ring set, 1.15 TCW, 0.7 CT Center Stone G, VS2 (enhanced) sold today at $1,182.00

Ring, 1.98 TCW, 1.50 CT Center Stone D, VS2 (enhanced), current bid $787.00

Ring, 0.93 TCW, 0.62 CT Center Stone H, SI2 (enhanced), current bid $455.00

Ring, 2.15 TCW, 1.03 CT Center Stone F, SI1 (enhanced), current bid $761.51

Ring, 2.17 TCW, 1.09 CT Center Stone G, VS2 (enhanced), current bid $1325.00

Granted, some of these prices will go up before closing...

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 07:10 PM
Some more answers to samclem:

I'm shooting for 0.7 to 1+ carats, G/H, SI2 or better. Preferably round brilliant cut.

(although I've seen some real sorry looking SI2s and even SI1s... I am going by the textbook definition of SI2, with no visible flaws to the naked eye)

The eBay seller sends an "Appraisal", but this isn't really an officially certified gem. A lot of places refuse to certify clarity-enhanced diamonds, and I know, I know... that's supposed to be a warning sign.

I'm not sure I care if it is truly certified, because I fail to see the correlation between someone else's opinion of value and our enjoyment of the gemstone. And I'm not planning on resale, since I figure it is futile given the nature of the diamond market. I'm also not planning to ever reset or recut the stone.

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 07:14 PM
Sorry, one more that ended just now:

Ring, 1.64 TCW, 1.00 CT Center Stone, H VS2 (enhanced) sold for $1800.00

btw, these enhanced gems are princess cut, not round. :smack:

LouisB
01-28-2005, 07:41 PM
Whatever you get her, be sure to tell her what it is. If I were to get a diamond ring, first thing I'd do would be to have it appraised for insurance purposes. That would be a nasty surprise. And some wives have'em appraised just because they can----if you scrounge on the engagement ring, you ain't getting off to a good start if she does have it checked out.

Cheesesteak
01-28-2005, 07:43 PM
Some more answers to samclem:

I'm shooting for 0.7 to 1+ carats, G/H, SI2 or better. Preferably round brilliant cut.

<snip>

I'm not sure I care if it is truly certified, Without a reputable certification, you don't know that you're getting the color or clarity you are paying for. This is why GIA certified diamonds go for more than EGL certified diamonds of the same grade. EGL is looser with the grade, it might be accurate, but it might grade for less than what you paid for. I think EGL will cert enhanced diamonds.

You also have no idea about the cut of the diamond, maybe some eBay sellers provide cut angles and measurements, but I wouldn't count on it. For all the talk about clarity and color and carat, a lousy cut will make for a lousy diamond.

OTOH, for all the potential negatives, the price sure looks right, I'm seeing .70ct H/SI2 going for about $1,800 online, then you have to buy a setting and side stones.

samclem
01-28-2005, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the comeback. I'm gonna talk to our repair guy in the AM. He'll tell me the ins and outs of experience with sizing a ring with a "glass filled" diamond. I've heard the heat problems, but would rather get it straight from the horses mouth.

I'll also talk to both of our GIA graduate gemologists about the filling. I'm not sure how you grade a diamond VS2 when it's filled. It was an SI2 at best before filling.

We see them from time to time, but tend to not buy them. We certainly knock them down mightly in price.

I may not post til Sunday morning. Even mods have Saturday night lives..............

Ok, usually I don't. But tomorrow......... :)

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 08:06 PM
It's okay, samclem... a lot of the auctions don't close until next week and there will probably be more that show up anyway. I'm not in a huge hurry, but I am planning to buy in the next week or two.

As for getting a lousy diamond, I'm relying on the no-questions-asked return policy. I figure I will look at it and if it looks great, then I'm all set. Otherwise, back it goes.

DrDeth
01-28-2005, 08:18 PM
You do know that to the untrained ye- a CZ looks even nicer than a diamond, right? And a $1000 diamond looks exactly like a $5000 diamond. Get it appraised.

Or of course- you can ask her "I'll buy you a CZ+ downpayment on a nice car- or a diamond". :p

The Controvert
01-28-2005, 08:39 PM
DrDeth: Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. :D

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