Amazed at how you ladies find a decent diamond broker/dealer...

  1. Not long ago I visited Chicago's "jeweler row," which is a street just filled with jewelry stores including one high-rise packed with jewelers... My BF and I were out to buy me a diamond eternity ring.

    A surprisingly large number of them were Chinese. I am Chinese, and I speak Mandarin fluently and chatted several up, was very friendly, etc. Yet I still couldn't shake the feeling that I really wasn't getting a deal...

    Perhaps they could just tell I wasn't very knowledgeable? Or that we had money burning a hole in our pockets?

    Really not sure how one goes about finding a good diamond dealer who doesn't have insane markups, or ridiculous (non) return policies, etc. I hear Amanda and Vegas Long Legs speaking almost *fondly* of their jewelers!! I can't imagine finding someone to have such a longstanding relationship with... wish I could.

    By the way, we did end up getting a diamond ring for me that day. From a woman and her daughter, who are Chinese. I bargained her down quite a bit from the original price, and after my credit card was swiped she said to me, "Oh well, what do I care, I get it dirt cheap anyway!" I don't really care whether or not she gets it dirt cheap as long as I feel like I'm getting a fair deal out of all this...

    Anyway, sorry to ramble. Any advice on how to find a decent dealer? Or rather, how one should behave in these stores in order to get good service? I suppose being armed with knowledge is one.
     
  2. Congratulations on your new ring! We'd love to see pictures when you have a chance.

    My DH and I have a favorite jeweler too and in all honesty we wouldn't dream of buying anything from anyone else. It's a family business and over the years we've become quite comfortable with them. My DH usually calls the owner prior to us going in and gives a general idea of what we want. Then we make an appt. and the jeweler brings in a selection of items for us to look at.

    In all honesty, we found the store by pure accident, but it's been a good thing. I just couldn't buy anything of high value from anyone else. With this store, I just know it's good quality. Even though I'm sure their prices are reasonable and fair, at this point in our lives, we're mostly concerned about getting the best there is.
     
  3. Annie, it's just like any other SA. . . lots are bad some are fantastic!
    I agree though, learn all you can because some jewelers prey on unsuspecting customers that have no idea all stones are not created equal.
    We can help a lot here, but also check out pricescope.com, it's FULL of insanely educated jewelry lovers and people in the trade.
    It's not as sophisticated site as tPF but has lots of great info to dig into.
     
  4. Try Blue Nile.

    My bf purchase me some fab diamond earrings from them. Its suppose to be G/H (preset earrings) but when it came, it was so nice and white. If you're just looking for an eternity ring, something simple, as a promise ring you really dont need to research that much into it. That time will come when you're getting your engagement ring.

    I went to Chicago's jeweler's row today and purchased a setting, my jeweler's (Chinese too!) stuff was really really nice so I decided on them. Strong and well-crafted looking. We spent $800 on the prong halo setting, for a 1.5mm band/1.0mm halo with about .40-.50 pts set in 18K gold.

    I saw some really nice eternity bands and they're about $400-500 from this guy. Really delicate.

    The thing is, don't think about getting ripped off too much. Eternity rings use really small delicate diamonds, just make sure its SPARKLY TO YOU and REALLY WHITE TO YOU. Most jeweler's will say "Oh we use F color" but in reality, its probably a G because when a diamond is small and in a say 1.5-2mm setting, you really CANNOT tell the color difference between a F and a G.

    Bring cash and you can bargain HARD.
     
  5. I found my jeweler by pure chance and used him for over ten years. Over the years he always gave us excellent service, great deals, good advice, and even gave me lots of scoldings because I wasn't treating my rings with the care that I should have been.

    It was a very big blow when I found out 3 weeks ago that he was retiring from the business. Now I am without a jeweler and pretty stressed about it. We asked him for recommendations but he wouldn't/couldn't recommend one so now I am back to square one. Ugh.

    Hope you are able to find someone you like!!! Go with your initial gut instinct then from there begin to build a relationship with him/her through repeat business.
     
  6. Hi,

    Firstly I think you need recommendations. I started going to this jeweler when a colleague recommended her to me and similarly, she was recommended to my colleague by her ex-colleague. Jewelers do give better quotes to regulars and customers recommended by their regulars. When I was making my first purchase with my jeweler, I told her upfront that I love jewelry and if I get a good deal and like the service and product, I will be a long standing customer. Now, the jeweler is on my speed dial and she rings me whenever she has something new in her store that she thinks I will like.

    Secondly, you need to know your stuff. When you possess the knowledge of the gems/jewelry that you are going to purchase, no jeweler will bluff in your face and give ridiculous quotes and sell you low quality product. I second swanky's suggestion to go to pricescope.com for info.

    Lastly, don't work with anyone who doesn't seem to know what they are selling or know less than you do.

    Jewelry shopping is fun and addictive. Hope you can find a good jeweler to work with.
     
  7. PM'd you
     
  8. totally agree w/ everything especially the bolded. When I'm fondling bling, if I ask or the price my jeweler will look at the tag and actually say to me, "well it's $xxxxx, but Mr. Swank's price is XXXXXXX because I know he won't pay retail!"
    LOL!
     
  9. I 100% agree with the recommendations for jewelers and for the jewelers to know who has recommended them to you. Through some bad experiences, that is how my fiance ended up at the jeweler he went to... I think in situations like this, they know people who are loyal customers, and not just shopping around for a one time deal. When I walk into the store, which I now consider to be our jewelers, I feel that they aren't trying to ever rip me off, they negotiate, and yes, I may be able to sometimes find something less expensive elsewhere, but my place stands behind their work and is willing to work with us - and our friends - to make sure everyone is happy. For us, these are people we hope to work with a lot through our lives, and will happily return to for future purchases. And it is definitely all about building a relationship slowly with them, not expecting the best deal the first day you are in there.
     
  10. My mother used to buy jewelry from a bunch of different jewelry stores in NYC's Chinatown. But when she bought my presents, I (a jewelry freak) always realized there was something wrong with them (missing a diamond, used silver for the looping instead of gold, etc.) I always felt bad because she'd have to go confront these jewelers and I always thought they were ripping her off (she doesn't know much about jewelry). Finally, her friend who is a fellow board member with her recommended a newly opened jewelry store in Chinatown where she was chums with the owner. My mom went in and introduced herself as this person's friend. The store people were super nice to my mom and gave her the best price they could. They didn't do the whole bargaining tactic. Now, we always get our jewelry from them. If your mom has a jeweler or has friends in the business, you should definitely get in contact with them so you can visit their stores and just see how it goes. My SO on the other hand just prefers to buy simple jewelry from the internet like Blue Nile or Tiffanys.
     
  11. If anyone ever needs a recommendation for a Jeweler in their area, you are welcome to PM me. I am listed in the Jewelers Board of Trade and do a lot of wholesale business with Jewelers allover the US. I would be happy to give you a recommendation.

    I also highly recommend Internet Shops because you can get great deals this way. Quite frankly Internet prices are often 30% less than Brick and Morter. Very competitive. But you have to know what you want.
     
  12. ^^^
    Japster, thank you! Adorable baby, by the way. Congratulations!
     
  13. im not too fond of buying jewelry in the US, usually i get them from my parents and they live in the middle east. i know over there its a big difference whether you pay by cash or credit card. if you come in and pay with credit cards, i think the difference can be up to 40%. i bought hoops that were originally priced at $500 for $300. (but that is also from very aggressive bargaining with the seller :p)
     
  14. I think that the best way is to take the time and visit many different jewlery stores and start striking a conversation....then when you find a piece you love....take some time and talk it over with them....

    This is how I ended up dealing with a few nice jewler...but honestly....its nice to have a few places rather than one person you go to. Ive seen simular designs with simular quliaty at very different prices at each of my jewler....each one of them get different pieces at different prices so shopping around is key.

    The other route is to know or get in contact with a real broker....the one that distribute and buy for jewlers...this is harder to do because they only deal with the buyers who purchase big and hard to get pieces. I know of one and its so true that it is way, way cheaper....but I happen to like design over carat weight so I dont get to deal with him often.