I have a customer who dropped off her wedding set for an appraisal. She told me that recently while on a cruise, she upgraded her 1/2 carat diamond to a 3/4 carat “Crown of Light” diamond. (The primary difference is that the new diamond has a domed top that is faceted, instead of a flat table.) Interestingly, the width of the 3/4 ct COL diamond measures like a 1/2 carat.)
Similar to other trade names like Jared’s “Hearts on Fire” and Kay’s “Leo” diamonds, there is an element of exclusivity that plays into marketing, but relative to an appraisal, I’m wondering if anyone has any input or advice for appraising this particular cut. The COL website video seems to use a kind of scare tactic, advising that no other appraiser, even the most trained of GIA professionals, is qualified to appraise their diamonds; so you should send your ring to Crown of Light for them to appraise their own stones. The customer does not want to mail her ring anywhere. I must admit that her bill of sale does cause me to raise an eyebrow (i.e. she was charged for a new head, even though there is clear evidence the stone was retipped into presumably the existing head, the selling price appears to be a 4X markup from the same size RBC, which is what she was charged they deducted the trade-in for her 1/2 carat for a trade-in.) Perhaps there is a level of increased replacement cost due to this being their specialty, but I would appreciate hearing from anyone who may have encountered a similar situation.
My experience is that my friends who have been on cruises have been ripped off. One example is a gold bracelet that was not gold but a cheap gold plated alloy. Another is a jadeite that was a dyed nephrite. If you buy from a cruise jeweller insist on a money back guarantee with full particulars such as email address etc. If they don’t provide it or prevaricate - back off. Don’t think that going to the cruise company if you find the goods unsatisfactory will help you. The cruise company. will say that the firm etc involved is not their agent and they have no consumer responsibility but they get their “cut” anyway.
I have no experience with this, but your story tells me that this customer needs some education from you about appraisals and value. Obviously [to us] a Crown of Light seller is NOT the right appraiser for such a stone, with an obvious conflict of interest. Also, the fact that the COL 3/4 ct stone spreads like a 1/2 ct RBC is an issue of which she should be aware. The best way to value one of these stones would be to find re-sales of such stones in the retail market, but that may be hard to do. Absent that, I would tend to value it as I would any other 3/4ct RBC that spreads 1/2ct, maybe with some upgrade if the brilliance is outstanding or this kind of cut is sought after as rare and interesting. Your client probably needs to be gently informed that she was taken… -royjohn
GIA is offering analysis and grading of loose diamonds. I think that this would be extremely helpful in giving your customer an appraisal of their diamond. It would be a good professional starting point and would be unbiased.
Hi Mindy, I realize some time has passed since you posted your question, but I’m going to respond anyway, as the information may be useful sometime down the road.
If you are an accredited appraiser, you can be added to Diamonds International’s list of Crown of Light appraisers, and it’s a pretty straightforward process. COL is a patented cut (not just a registered one) and replacement value is solely through DI because they own the patent. The replacement value is what they determine it to be, period, regardless of how we may feel as appraisers viz where the valuation should be positioned. For that reason, it is not a conflict of interest for their stores to determine the replacement value. Their markup is (literally) their business and we must try to reject any preconceptions about these types of diamond cuts; otherwise, we’re doing our clients a disservice.
Hope this helps