Wednesday, 6 July 2016

WhiteFlash A Cut Above

I've got to admit, when I decided to propose to my girlfriend, I have zero knowledge in diamonds. I've heard about the 4Cs - Cut, Carat, Color, Clarity from some of my friends, and that's it. Even then, I already felt intimidated by the 4Cs.

Therefore, I started to study materials on Beyond4cs. I've learn much from the site, including things like IdealScope, ASET, the importance of cut, etc. With those knowledge, I then walked into one brick and mortar shop to ask about the diamond rings they have to offer.

Since I know that Cut is the most important factor for a diamond, therefore, Lazare diamonds caught my attention because they are famous for their ideal cut. I was told that if I buy a Lazare diamond, I need not worry too much on whether it sparkles or not because it sure does. During then, I was really tempted to buy one. However, I decided to hold my horses and did not rush myself into the deal because I want to see if I have better options. Hence, I decided to look into the online diamond websites that were introduced in Beyond4cs.

The first website I went to is JamesAllen. After playing with the site for awhile, I managed to filter out JamesAllen's best of the best - TRUE HEARTS diamond. From there, I will calculate the HCA score and see if the diamonds that were filtered out meets the value of 2 or below. Finally, I will cherry pick diamonds that fall within my budget. Unfortunately, JamesAllen does not ship to Malaysia, so well, guess I have to move on.

Next, I went to look at Whiteflash. The site may be daunting but it is actually not, in fact, everything works perfectly fine. I am able to browse through all the diamonds I am interested in using their advance filtering option. I have finally shortlisted 5 diamonds. Then, I talked to their sales representative, which happens to be their CEO, Debi Wexler. She answered by questions such as "Do you guys ship to Malaysia?" promptly. Lastly, I asked her a question regarding the 5 diamonds. Question as below:

Part A: Between these 3, which would be the better choice?http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3449674.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3497427.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3621232.htm


Part B: If I were to top-up my budget, will this stone beat the stone you selected in Part A?
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3607947.htm


Part C: Finally, is this stone worth the premium over the stone you selected in Part A/B?
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3473209.htm

She then redirected the question to their Master Gemologist, Bob Hoskins, who then replied me via email the same day:
Part A - Of the three F color diamonds I would take the 0.53ct. It is very slightly better than the other two and is also slightly larger.


Part B - The 0.591ct E VS1 is larger, a higher color and clarity but looking at the diamond itself I still think I would take the 0.53ct F.


Part C - If I were to make a choice from all five of these diamonds I would without question take the 0.507 D VVS1. It is not only an ACA which means it will have more fire, brilliance and sparkle than all other diamonds but it will also be a D which means it will be noticeably more white than other diamonds. It is definitely worth the premium. The perfect diamond for the perfect lady. You will be a hero!
Based on Bob's reply, it seems that he is quite professional, as he did not agree to go with the 0,591ct, even though it has better specs and a higher price. I did not ask him the reason why, but based on the Idealscope image which is available on their website, I believe that 0.53ct has a slightly better cut than 0.591ct.


I have actually emailed the same question to Paul Gian from Beyond4cs.com, and here is his reply:
You are asking me to split hairs.
These are the 2 best diamonds you can ever find anywhere in the world. It’s that good.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3621232.htm?a_aid=recommended

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3449674.htm?a_aid=recommended
I’m really anal about cut and will dump the other stones.
The first URL is the 0.53ct diamond, while the second URL is the 0.414ct diamond. Both are within the 5 diamonds I have selected. So, based on both Bob's and Paul's suggestion, I bought the 0.53ct diamond.

As of now, you may noticed that Paul did not include the D-color 0.507 ACA diamond. This is because the diamond also has a (Update: 6 November 2017) slight light leakage weaker light return (green colour at the edge of the diamond). Since Paul already mentioned that what matters to him is Cut, that's why he did not recommend me that stone. So, comes another question - Why did Bob recommend me to purchase the stone that Paul did not recommend? Well, here is his reply:
You are correct the 0.53ct has a very slightly better cut but the higher color and clarity far outweigh that difference. Visually there will be no difference in the cut or light performance.
Personally, I won't say that he is pushing for sale, but rather, he is focusing on the rarity of the stone (D-color, VVS1, is rare), and the ultimate look and feel. Overall, I will just say it is just a difference in preference between him and Paul. Since I have been following Paul's advice and agree that Cut is the main reason a stone shines and since both recommended me 0.53ct, which is also within my budget, therefore 0.53ct is my perfect stone! :) But I've got to admit that I might top-up the difference if the cut of the 0.507ct diamond is as good as the 0.53ct's one.

20 comments:

  1. How much did you pay for the diamond?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for dropping by.

      The loose diamond I bought is slighly below USD 2,000 after discount. The exchange rate that time is below 4.2, so I will say it is almost RM 8,400. Custom will charge 6% GST on this loose diamond. The freight cost and insurance cost which is free from the seller, will also get charged 6% GST, however, this amount to me, is negligible in comparison to the GST charged for the diamond. So the total for my loose diamond to reach my hands will be slightly less than RM 9,000, and the parcel can reach within 3 days, meaning if order Tuesday, possibly can reach by Friday.

      On a side note, I used wire transfer/bank TT via M2U. Cost me RM 10 only. Credit card payment is not worth it because of the surcharge, which is already included in the diamond price. So if you pay by wire transfer, the diamond price will be cheaper. ;)

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    2. I am also at the stage of diamond hunting. So sharing is caring. :)

      I am not sure if you have went to many of the brick-and-mortar shops in Malaysia to look at diamonds. Basically, for the price that you paid, it is the Rap price with virtually no discount. It is not a bad deal, given that the diamond has superior light return and is Ideal cut (in terms of HCA and AGA/NAJA specs). However, just to share, if you can negotiate with shops like Wah Chan or Habib, you may be able to get up to 10% off the Rap price for selected diamonds (which may be cheaper when compared to online purchases, even for sites like James Allen). Some of the stones offered are not so nice, with visible inclusions or too thin girdles, etc. But there will be roughly 30% to 50% (Wah Chan generally has slightly better stones, but lesser variety) which are decent in terms of clarity. However, the cut will often not be anywhere close to ideal (or at least in my hunt, I have not seen one).

      I personally don't find the price difference online large enough to justify the additional risk of purchasing my diamonds unseen. Sure, with online, we get a wider selection to choose from but the price is often as high as brick-and-mortar shops. The only difference is that if the site is honest, we will be getting a (lot) better deal in terms of cut. But they are by no means cheap when compared to the Rap price (mind you, Rap only accounts for 3Cs and does not account for cut).

      I also like the fact that I can view my diamonds and look out for inclusions and actual light reflection (though I may not be an expert). I finally purchased mine in Bangkok where I got a huge discount off the Rap for a near ideal cut stone (HCA of 2.0 and AGA of 1B) where I can see my stone before buying it. Bangkok generally offers lower diamond price due to:

      1) Lack of GST (VAT may not apply if you know where to look for)
      2) Bangkok and Singapore are centres for diamond trading
      3) Competitiveness of Retail market segment

      If I were to choose in Malaysia, I would have stuck to Wah Chan or Habib, but the search may take a while with many shop visits to find a stone with a decent enough cut.

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    3. Hey,

      Thanks for bringing up the Rap (Rapaport) price topic, made me went and research a little. It is a price list used by the jeweller to determine the price per carat based on the 3Cs, so yes, you are right, it does not determine the cut quality of the diamond. I can agree that online shopping does not necessary bring the best value in terms of the 3Cs (Colour, Clarity, Carat) , but if one is looking for an excellent Cut diamond, i think it can save a lot of time.

      If we search around online for prices of diamonds, we can see that the prices for same 3Cs (Colour, Clarity, Carat) can be quite different, so the logically, the last determining factor for that price is the Cut of the diamond. One site to go to survey the price is www.audreys.com.my, which I think you may already know since you are really at it. ;)

      As for honesty of the site, my personal experience with WhiteFlash is certainly excellent. As for Brian Gavin Diamonds, the experience should be similar because the founder was from WhiteFlash. If you ask me now, where would I buy my diamond, I will try Brian Gavin Diamonds simply because the reputation left by Brian Gavin (the diamond cutter) for WhiteFlash is already very good. This shows that his workmanship is excellent and I should really follow the cutter (regardless of the company), and also, of course the price!
      However, my online experience with one of Malaysia's online site is surprisingly funny because one of the founder told me that "when the diamond is graded with triple excellent, it is guaranteed excellent". In the end, one or more diamonds he suggested scored poorly in HCA (more than 3.0).

      Now, as for brick-and-mortar shops(I can't remember which shop I visited at those shopping mall road show), I remember that the salesperson said that the Cut of the diamond is not important...

      Yeap, Wah Chan is certainly famous for its reasonably priced loose diamonds. A lot of forumers in Lowyat has been recommending it. Even my colleague also recommended me too. So if one wishes to buy from a brick-and-mortar store, he/she should pay Wah Chan a visit. As you said, always negotiate for the best deal. At the same time, look into each of them to find the best one. ;) Personally, not sure about HABIB, but it is worth for anyone to take a look at it as well, since you have experience with it and find it reasonable.
      Be it brick-and-mortar stores or online stores, there can be pros and cons. I can understand why some people like to go to the store and look at the real thing. This is because it is good to determine the diamond of your choice by looking at it personally. It can also make people feel more secure. And if there is anything wrong, we can always go back to the shop. I have to admit the risk is there for online shopping, especially parcel lost, but the benefits outweigh my concerns, that's why I decided to buy online. Online sites are able to provide the necessary diamond images that allow me to discuss with different experts on the internet. Secondly, it is because the price is quite competitive for an ideally cut stone. I am not against buying in brick-and-mortar stores, as long as the salesperson allow me to get more details of the loose diamond I am interested in, for example, writing down the GIA cert number so that I can verify its cut quality via HCA, AGA (the one you mentioned, thanks!), and also cut score calculator provided by Enchanted Diamonds (https://enchanteddiamonds.com/cut-score-calculator). In fact, I am even willing to pay a little more just for the sense of security. Most importantly, each of us need to do our due diligence before purchasing anywhere (offline/online).

      Haha, I only know Bangkok can get cheap suits, didn't expect can get cheaper diamonds too! Thanks for the tip. Do share with us the where the good stores that have reasonable price in Bangkok, especially those that can skip VAT. Btw, how long did it take you to look for your diamond, and did you go to Bangkok just for diamond?

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    4. Yes, online searches does save a lot of time as it has abundant of choices. However, do not that online is just online, we don't get to see and touch the diamond in our hands and there are many things that online do not tell us.

      A comment on Audrey's Diamond. Kudos to their well created site, which I use it as a price comparison very often. In terms of pricing, theirs is not the most competitive, I can say that with certainty. But their price is fair when judged against the Rap.

      There are things which you need to be aware of as well. Online, there are many 'academic diamond experts' who has little knowledge of the actual practice in the diamond market. Let me shed some light into the issue and you will understand why some brick-and-mortar sellers made the comments that they made, and why online 'gurus' say the things they do.

      One example is Paul Gian from BeyondCC. I can quite safely say that he is the epitome of 'academic diamond expert' with little knowledge of how diamonds are actually priced and traded. I do respect him for the amount of free knowledge that he shares, but I can quite safely say that he lack market knowledge. Diamonds are actually traded off the Rap price in the bourse, and it is the defacto price list that traders use. Paul has no clue whatsoever on the amount of discount that is being offered in the bourse, and he only relies on online sites like James Allen to make his decision. And if you place a diamond with its GIA cert in front of him and ask him whether 10% off the Rap is a good buy or not, he will not be able to answer. The point I am trying to make here is that there are many many out there who are excellent teachers in theory, but when it comes to real market, they have 0 knowledge.

      Now comes the brick-and-mortar sellers. Those guys have been in the business for a long time, and they are not academicians. They sell diamonds based on the price that they are able to source from their suppliers. Over time, those who are long enough in the business would understand that diamonds are generally priced based off the Rap. Deviations off the Rap is often due to marketing (such as Ideal / Super Ideal cut, etc) and Cut beyond the GIA and AGS certificate matters little in the final pricing. HCA score is completely ignored, but AGA/NAJA score has an impact. So when the seller at the shop tells you that all that matters is GIA 3EX, they are saying it based on their experience from the business. They may not be as booksmart as Paul, but they have experience. If you think about it, this is why diamond cutters try their very best to compromise on Cut to achieve more Carat weight. In fact, floresence has a bigger impact on price adjustments to the Rap than cut.

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    5. Now comes to Cut. Not everyone agrees with the HCA score. HCA favours shallow cut diamonds considerably, and is ok with crown angles below 32 degrees. If you actually surveyed the market, there are very few diamonds cut this way. HCA completely rule out many of the GIA 3EX diamonds if we were to take a HCA score of 2 as the cutoff. Similarly, not everyone agrees with AGA/NAJA since it is only a compilation of the best parameter ranges of diamonds based on the author's experience. Trying to find a diamond with HCA of less than 2 and AGA/NAJA 1A is like finding a needle in the haystack. Also, looking at GIA and AGS, they have different criterias for awarding their top scores for Cut. For me, I tend to agree more with GIA's criteria of viewing the diamond based on eye, and use the other mathematical formula to aid my decision. And then we have the Enchanted Diamond calculator which uses their own proprietary formula, which I have never used before to be honest. (side note: just plugged in my GIA number and looks like it is an Enchanted Heirloom. Yay!)

      I would also want to add a bit of a comment to the HCA scoring. Most online advice of removing anything above 2 may have some truth. Having a HCA score of 4 may not mean that the diamond is actually a poor light reflector. There is a terrific article on what HCA is actually about here: http://www.goodoldgold.com/consumers-guide-hca

      In my opinion, everyone should read that website before actually using HCA as their guide in diamond selection. Not doing so is a disservice to themselves.


      Finally we arrive at Price. Consider this 2 diamonds, named X and Y with the same 4Cs (with 3EX). To make things even better, let's give some real world example. The 4Cs are G VS2 0.52c 3EX. Rap price is USD 1872.

      We have X stone with a HCA score of 1.1, AGA score of 1A and considered as super ideal cut. And then we Y with HCA score of 2.3, AGA score of 1B and may only qualify as close to ideal cut. Now, if I were say that Y cost 10% less than X, which would you choose? How about 15%? 20%? Imagine paying $ 1872 (RM 7862) for X, but only $1498 (RM 6290) for Y. Which would you choose? Or if say you still want to pay for $ 1872 (RM 7862) but maximising your budget, you can get the following option of similar close to ideal cut:

      1) G VS2 0.65c 3EX (has 16% more face-up area which is noticeable)
      2) D VS2 0.53c 3EX (colour difference may be noticeable to the keen eyed people, especially if setting is white and when compared side by side with another person's diamond)
      3) F VVS2 0.51c 3EX (better colour and significantly better clarity)

      The point I am trying to make is that online prices are very close to Rap price (mostly less than 5% off the Rap price) whilst Wah Chan and Habib may offer up to 10% or a bit more. I just checked my historical database of the diamonds I saw and I have one in Wah Chan with 15% off Rap price! But that has HCA of 4.9 which is a bit too high for my liking. The thing is what is the price that one is willing to pay for superior cut at the expense of the other 3Cs? Yes, cut is very important. But after reading much online and going to many places to view diamonds, I came to the conclusion that guys online may have placed a bit too much focus on cut at the expense of all other features. Cut is by far the hardest to judge of the 4Cs, but I don't think it is the most important. It is all about give and take within the 4Cs and the price premium that we have to fork out.

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    6. I took about a month of extensive research and travel to get my diamond. Basically all of my free time is spent on either reading or being in shops to look at diamonds. Visited about 20 shops, viewed diamonds in 9 shops (may be more) I think.

      I did not go to Bangkok just to buy diamond of course. Went there due to personal reasons and found out that it is cheaper there. Hence I decided to make my purchase there. But in Bangkok, need to be careful about where you buy from as well, cause there are many fakes and scams out there. Best place I suggest is near Silom area where there are many shops.

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    7. Hey,

      Thanks for replying.

      "Deviations off the Rap is often due to marketing (such as Ideal / Super Ideal cut, etc) and Cut beyond the GIA and AGS certificate matters little in the final pricing. HCA score is completely ignored, but AGA/NAJA score has an impact." -> Are you saying that Rap prices rely on AGA/NAJA as well?

      "So when the seller at the shop tells you that all that matters is GIA 3EX, they are saying it based on their experience from the business." -> This is also an online-based seller in Malaysia actually. So I can't view the actual diamonds. However, saying that 3EX is all that matters is a bit too vague for customers that would want to buy something that really sparkles. After sometime, plugging the GIA cert of some diamonds he recommended me into the Enchanted Diamonds Cut Score Calculator show that there is a mixture of good and bad ones. Bad ones scored below 65% if I remember correctly. Personally, 3EX is just a start, we can try to move on and search from there.

      "If you think about it, this is why diamond cutters try their very best to compromise on Cut to achieve more Carat weight." -> Yea, heard about that too. Some people just prefer bigger stones. But personally, I still prefer stone that can sparkles better simply because that's what a diamond should do. Anyway, it is really up to individual preference.

      "And then we have the Enchanted Diamond calculator which uses their own proprietary formula, which I have never used before to be honest. (side note: just plugged in my GIA number and looks like it is an Enchanted Heirloom. Yay!)" -> Haha, congrats!

      "I would also want to add a bit of a comment to the HCA scoring. Most online advice of removing anything above 2 may have some truth. Having a HCA score of 4 may not mean that the diamond is actually a poor light reflector. There is a terrific article on what HCA is actually about here: http://www.goodoldgold.com/consumers-guide-hca

      In my opinion, everyone should read that website before actually using HCA as their guide in diamond selection. Not doing so is a disservice to themselves." -> Yea, will read it soon. Agreed that HCA cannot be used a selection tool. It is only used as rejection tool. And I also strongly advise against using HCA tool alone to determine which stone to buy too.

      "We have X stone with a HCA score of 1.1, AGA score of 1A and considered as super ideal cut. And then we Y with HCA score of 2.3, AGA score of 1B and may only qualify as close to ideal cut. Now, if I were say that Y cost 10% less than X, which would you choose? How about 15%? 20%? Imagine paying $ 1872 (RM 7862) for X, but only $1498 (RM 6290) for Y. Which would you choose? Or if say you still want to pay for $ 1872 (RM 7862) but maximising your budget, you can get the following option of similar close to ideal cut:" -> For engagement ring, I won't mind to look for ideal cut. If the price is not right for me, I will continue looking. I am not only looking to buy something that is excellent in comparison to Rap price, but I am trying to buy something that gives me the best value that includes taking consideration of the cut. If the price in one shop does not suit me, I will go to other places.

      I will continue later. Need to rush to work!


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    8. "The point I am trying to make is that online prices are very close to Rap price (mostly less than 5% off the Rap price) whilst Wah Chan and Habib may offer up to 10% or a bit more. I just checked my historical database of the diamonds I saw and I have one in Wah Chan with 15% off Rap price! But that has HCA of 4.9 which is a bit too high for my liking. The thing is what is the price that one is willing to pay for superior cut at the expense of the other 3Cs?" -> HCA 4.9 is really too low to any liking. And my guess is that the reason it is 15% off Rap price is because it is quite hard to sell due to the fact that some people already know that the HCA score of that stone if they research online. Secondly, the stone may not be that sparkle after all (just my guess, take it with a pinch of salt). Since you been to Wah Chan and took a look, what do you think about the actual diamond? Anyway, do you still have the GIA cert number for that stone? Would like to find out more. Just curious, did the salesperson straight away use -15% off the Rap price? Or is it after negotiation?

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    9. "I took about a month of extensive research and travel to get my diamond. Basically all of my free time is spent on either reading or being in shops to look at diamonds. Visited about 20 shops, viewed diamonds in 9 shops (may be more) I think.

      I did not go to Bangkok just to buy diamond of course. Went there due to personal reasons and found out that it is cheaper there. Hence I decided to make my purchase there. But in Bangkok, need to be careful about where you buy from as well, cause there are many fakes and scams out there. Best place I suggest is near Silom area where there are many shops." -> You ended up in Bangkok after intensive research in Malaysia. What is the main factor that made you to buy in Bangkok, but not from Wah Chan or HABIB?

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    10. Oh okay, sorry, missed out that you were not able to get a decent enough stone so far locally. Mind sharing the price range and the specs of the diamond your purchased in Bangkok?

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    11. Are you saying that Rap prices rely on AGA/NAJA as well?
      -> AGA/NAJA is basically a compilation of the best cut parameter ranges. It is derived from one of the diamond trader's view on what is Excellent cut, which will invariably largely corresponds to what market is pricing based on.



      This is also an online-based seller in Malaysia actually. So I can't view the actual diamonds. However, saying that 3EX is all that matters is a bit too vague for customers that would want to buy something that really sparkles.
      -> When I mention that 3EX is all that matters, I am trying to explain to you from the perspective of diamond traders / sellers. Often, 3EX is the major determinant of price and NOT HCA score. In fact, Floresence has a bigger impact on price than HCA score, if it has any impact at all. HCA means squat in the majority of diamond traders. But I do agree with you that HCA does mean something in my personal assessment, but not to the diamond market.



      Yea, will read it soon. Agreed that HCA cannot be used a selection tool. It is only used as rejection tool. And I also strongly advise against using HCA tool alone to determine which stone to buy too.
      -> I am actually going beyond that and only use HCA as a guide. Even if the stone has a HCA score of 2.7, it may be still worth assessing it. After going through that article and having seen quite a few diamonds myself, I would not put a hard and fast limit on HCA score, since ultimately it all boils down to the price that I am willing to pay for the sacrifice of HCA score. However, if the HCA is above 4, I am more likely to not take it seriously as I can still find stones below 4 with some effort in brick-and-mortar shops.



      For engagement ring, I won't mind to look for ideal cut. If the price is not right for me, I will continue looking. I am not only looking to buy something that is excellent in comparison to Rap price, but I am trying to buy something that gives me the best value that includes taking consideration of the cut. If the price in one shop does not suit me, I will go to other places.
      -> Finding for an ideal cut with HCA score lesser than 2 in affordable shops in Malaysia is extremely difficult. You will either have to pay a considerable premium for that, or keep visiting shops. Even that, I doubt you can get one with HCA lesser than 2. Of course, if you have more time (something like a year), your chances may be better. Having said this, my example that I gave is actually quite similar to real life. In brick-and-mortar shops like Habib and Wah Chan, they can give you a discount which online websites are often not able to. The trade off is the not-so-nice / lousy cut. You can say you will go to other places, but in my personal research, I cannot find such a deal in Malaysia. So it is either you pay close to Rap price for online purchase of an ideal cut, or you get a discount (up to 15% but more often 5%-10% off the Rap price). This is true for the 60 pointer range that I am looking for, which I believe also applies to other carat sizes.

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    12. HCA 4.9 is really too low to any liking. And my guess is that the reason it is 15% off Rap price is because it is quite hard to sell due to the fact that some people already know that the HCA score of that stone if they research online. Secondly, the stone may not be that sparkle after all (just my guess, take it with a pinch of salt). Since you been to Wah Chan and took a look, what do you think about the actual diamond? Anyway, do you still have the GIA cert number for that stone? Would like to find out more. Just curious, did the salesperson straight away use -15% off the Rap price? Or is it after negotiation?
      -> I think the diamond's H&A lines are not that good, if I remember correctly. Clarity wise is ok (since it is VS2). It was after some negotiation (but not hard one since I have not decided yet) that I got the discount. Here is the GIA 7221998558. The discount was 12.5% (not 15% as I remembered it wrongly earlier), but I believe 15% should be achievable with some extra bargaining. Thing is, Wah Chan operates on historical price purchase to set their sale price. So sometimes, due to Forex volatility, their diamonds can actually be quite cheap.



      I paid just a little more than you did, but I got a 61 pointer E VS1 with HCA score of 2 in Bangkok. And mind you, I was looking for a premium size (60 pointers are premium sizes) and had I looked for a 50 pointer like you did, my discount would have been higher. I actually referred to Paul for advise, but like I said, he does not know much about the actual market scene and only based on his judgement from sites like James Allen.


      All in all, what I am trying to say is this:
      1) If you decide to buy online, what you will get is a wide selection and the ability to choose the finest available cut out there. But at the same time, you won't be able to see the diamond in real for yourself and have to rely on pictures and videos only. Price is often fair, but not having a big discount.

      2) If you decide to buy in a shop in Malaysia, some discount can be afforded. Likely 5% to 10% off the Rap price, may be more if you're lucky. However, finding one with an Ideal cut could be very difficult as you may have to visit multiple shops as the diamonds are scattered all over the branches.

      It all boils down to if you are willing to trade the discount for a better cut, and whether you believe pictures more (ASET Scope/Idealscope/H&A pictures) or do you believe your own eyes more? In a local shop, we will only get a H&A picture at best, but that is decent enough for me. (p/s: Did you know that the H&A scope can tell you more than the symmetry of the Hearts and Arrow? It can tell you to some extent the light reflection characteristic of the stone, just like ASET Scope/Idealscope, but I guess none of the online guys actually mentioned that)

      For me, I chose to shop in a brick-and-mortar shop because:
      1) I will likely make a diamond purchase only once in a lifetime
      2) I get to practice what I learned from online, and verify the information stated online
      3) I can learn more about things that are not told online
      4) I cannot find the courage to make online purchases
      5) Most important of all, the price is better than what I get online.

      Like I said, I can settle for a slightly less ideal cut, may be something with a HCA score of 2.7 but with a 35% discount.

      One more final thing, it is worth noting that when you choose to sell back your diamond, cut is one of the lesser relevant information. Dealers will buy it back from you based on the Rap price. May be something you want to consider.

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    13. Hey,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I certainly find it useful, and I hope other readers may find it useful too.

      I'm curious about this: "Did you know that the H&A scope can tell you more than the symmetry of the Hearts and Arrow? It can tell you to some extent the light reflection characteristic of the stone, just like ASET Scope/Idealscope". Mind to share more?

      For me, I chose to shop in a brick-and-mortar shop because:
      1) I will likely make a diamond purchase only once in a lifetime -> Hence, shop-hopping for the experience, eh?
      2) I get to practice what I learned from online, and verify the information stated online -> This is quite true.
      3) I can learn more about things that are not told online -> Yup, you will encounter different kinds of salesperson with different experience & knowledge, which is a good thing.
      4) I cannot find the courage to make online purchases -> Fair point. In fact, a lot of people are quite reluctant to do so. But if one day, you decided to buy another diamond (for any reasons), do give it a shot.
      5) Most important of all, the price is better than what I get online. -> I am glad you landed yourself a valuable deal which made you a happy customer. ;)

      "One more final thing, it is worth noting that when you choose to sell back your diamond, cut is one of the lesser relevant information. Dealers will buy it back from you based on the Rap price. May be something you want to consider." -> Lol, I guess that's the last thing that any of us want to do, unless we are talking about upgrading the stone in the future, but from a reselling value point of view, it is a good piece of advice. So, thank you!

      Btw, where did you do your ring setting? Mind to share?

      Lastly, congrats on getting married! Live well and happily ever after. (I hope I didn't get it wrong, you are getting married, right?)

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    14. I'm curious about this: "Did you know that the H&A scope can tell you more than the symmetry of the Hearts and Arrow? It can tell you to some extent the light reflection characteristic of the stone, just like ASET Scope/Idealscope". Mind to share more?

      -> This depends on the scope you are using as well. The best way is to have a look at a diamond with a Super Ideal cut and then look at those with normal cut. The colour of the H&A diagram can tell you if there are light leakages for the diamond based on the colour and intensity. But this may vary from scope to scope as some uses Red & Black whilst others uses Blue & White. Even if they use the same colour, the length of the internal reflector will play a part. This is not super accurate and is definitely not as good as IdealScope/ASET Scope, but given that most Malaysain stores only has the H&A viewer, I just make do with what we have.


      Btw, where did you do your ring setting? Mind to share?
      -> For this, I am still finding. Haha. Given that I just procured my diamond, I am looking to do the setting. Can you perhaps share more on your iDo Jewellry experience? How much did you pay, and how heavy was the ring? I believe you should have receive your ring by now.

      But for now, I find that rings and setting in Malaysia is generally more expensive than in Thailand. Gold price is definitely more, something like 20% to 30% more. Workmanship appears to be more expensive too, but then again, am not sure about the quality in Malaysia. I need to assess it first before making my plunge. I read about your experience with Tailored Jewel, and would not like to go through that experience to be honest. They are honest from what your described, but to go back multiple times for me would just not cut it.

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    15. 1. Thanks for explaining on the H&A scope, now I get what you mean.

      2. My experience with iDo was somewhat satisfying, somewhat not. I am satisfied with her craftsmanship, by far, she has one of the best outcome. I like how she make the whole diamond standout by making the crown higher. I am not sure how heavy is my ring because I did not weigh it after I got it back. We did ask before the same question, but the answer is hard to answer because it depends on the design and stone size. All I can say that is based on what I can feel by holding it, it is okay and acceptable, not too shabby and better than some shops. You can take a look here: http://www.idojewellery.com/portfolio_page/comparison/. Anyway, in my in my opinion, I find that it still lose to Tailored Jewel in terms of weight.

      3. Talking about Tailored Jewel, I guess that as long as I request for a new mould for a simpler design, things should be fine. I should have looked more carefully at other client's end product. Dealing with Tailored Jewel is easy for me because this company can accommodate to my location. On the other hand, iDo Jewellery will usually meet up with you at Bukit Jalil area.

      4. If you decided to engage iDo Jewellery, it is best to follow-up from time-to-time. This is because iDo can make mistakes like wrong ring size (which is quite surprising). Also, it is best to ask iDo to check for any scratches on your ring body before she pass it to you.

      5. When i engage iDo, the price is RM 1,600. I have been told that the price now has been updated to RM 1,800.

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    16. Despite some hiccups, both Tailored Jewel and iDo serve customers well so far and I definitely won't mind to engage either one in the future again for custom jewellery. Although my experience may not be that well in terms of certain areas, but to me, it is their after-sales service that I am satisfy with, especially Tailored Jewel's Ethon, whose service is top-notch.

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    17. I met up with iDo, but somehow I find her price quite expensive. Workmakship is good, but it is on the high side. She quoted me RM 1.9k for the engagement ring, with the weight likely to be 4g or so.

      To share, the price of gold is around USD 40 now, and assuming that the ring is around 5g (which is considered heavy for engagement ring). Even if we take Wah Chan / Poh Kong's gold price which is very expensive at RM 205 for 22K gold, we end up with only RM 1k for the cost of material (it is likely a lot lower, probably at 700 to 800). Now, this means that workmanship costs RM 1k for that ring alone, which I find it overly expensive.

      Am probably going to hunt for other options.

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    18. Alright!If you don't mind, do keep me posted on your findings. Would like to know what are the other options out there in the market too! Thanks and good luck!

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