Recently I have been put in charge of in house appraisals and hypotheticals. It is very interesting work and very time consuming. Also, I am doing insurance work with State Farm where I research how much it would cost to replace an insured's jewelry in the event of loss.
The gold buying department is also my responsibility. After extensive research, I believe that I have the best resources for obtaining the highest prices for my customer.
My favorite area of responsibility involves diamonds. When we receive a diamond ring for repair it is my job to plot the stone. This is a procedure that I trained for with the GIA. I have completed the GIA diamond grading course where I received an A. I also obtained the title of Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) with the GIA. After becoming members of The American Gem Society I earned the title of Registered Jeweler (RJ) and must be tested every year in order to maintain that title.
Recently I visited one of the biggest websites for diamonds, you know the one, and was very impressed. They use GIA and AGSL (American Gem Society Labs) certificates for grading their stones. The amount of education they offer to the customer is accurate and well organized. Their pricing seems to be fair and I'm sure they have mastered the methods of selling the stones without the customer actually examining it first.
This got me thinking ... Wouldn't it be nice if there was a place where you could get all this education, documentation, great pricing, top it off with an independent (not an in house) appraisal and not have to pay for the diamond until all your questions were answered face to face and you had a chance to use a $4000.00 microscope to examine your prospective purchase?
That's when it hit me ...
We use GIA and AGSL certificates. In fact we are an American Gem Society Store. Only 5% of the jewelers in America are members. I have actually found the same stone (speck for speck) on that big website as we had in our store and the price was the same (we were a little lower). Why? They may be big but our overhead is small. We own our stores. We own our buildings. Our lower prices practically absorb the lower 3.5% sales tax that we are permitted to charge in our location.
They say, "a little education is a dangerous thing" or "I know just enough to be dangerous".
I say, when buying something as important as a diamond, go ahead and get as much education as you can. Use the Internet and the big websites. Then come to us. As members of the American Gem Society, we have chosen the path of consumer protectionism and serving our customers in ways most stores and websites can not.