Being the internet geek that I am, I started out by doing some research on choosing diamonds – namely the 4 C’s. I also checked out several wedding forums for information on diamond purchasing before heading to the stores. With that, I was feeling pretty confident of picking out a decent ring based on my initial specifications and intended budget.
In the heart of Singapore’s famous shopping street, Orchard Road, I headed for the “jewelry street” at Ion Orchard shopping mall. For people who had never been to Singapore, you need to know that this is a location where clusters of leading jewelry stores are located side by side.
You can also get access to “up market” international stores like Tiffany & Co in the neighboring shopping malls. If you can’t find a suitable diamond ring along the shopping belt, you probably can’t find one anywhere else in Singapore.
* For the purpose of protecting myself from legal issues, I won’t name or single out any local jewelers that I had walk-in experiences with.
Walking into the first jewelry store, I told the sales assistant of my intentions of a heart shaped diamond ring and my budget. The reply was disappointing: “Sorry, we have a limited selection of heart shaped diamonds and currently, we don’t have any that are less than a carat in stock. We currently have two heart cut diamonds that are more than 1 carat in weight and cost more than $15,000.”
I took a quick look and politely left the store without asking for further specifications of the ring as it was way over my intended budget. Moving on, I headed into more stores and made inquiries only to find out that most local jewelry establishments do not carry heart shaped diamonds in their inventories.
With further store hopping, I did manage to find a number of heart shaped diamonds (a total of 8) at one of the more prominent stores. With my budget, the sales assistant helped me to narrow the choices down to a diamond of the following specifications:
When the sales person was asked how he deemed the cut of the diamond to be excellent despite having no such grades listed in the report, the reason he gave was that the diamond had “excellent” brilliance and sparkled under the jewelry store’s lighting.
Note: Under high powered halogen spotlights and bright lighting, even a poorly cut diamond will sparkle and look “fiery”. Back then, when I viewed the selection of diamonds in the store’s lighting, every diamond looked almost identical to me. And if you are a first time shopper who doesn’t know better, chances are you’d probably be in the same shoes too.
Now, you’ll probably hear many people say things like: “You must view diamonds in person to determine its cut.” My response to this is: Do you know what to look out for? If you haven’t seen the best and set a benchmark against that, how do you know if any of the diamonds you had seen so far are really the best? To me, believing a salesperson blindly is one of the biggest minefield many newbies unknowingly step into.
One of the gravest mistake people make in their judgment is to make a purchase in-store based on the “best” diamond the store had to offer. Little did they know that the “best” stone the store had to offer is barely mediocre when they compare it to a truly well-cut diamond.
It’s not easy for beginners to tell differences in brilliance from one stone to another under high powered LED lighting. Personally, it took me close to a year and the experience of viewing thousands of diamonds before I can identify well-cut fancies without the aid of any light performance tools like the ASET or Idealscope.
Moving on, I took note of the diamond’s specifications and left the store. Read on to learn more about the SHOCKING discovery after making some simple comparisons to online vendors.