Leon Mege Blog

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" - Albert Einstein.

Affliction to blogging is a warning sign of a mental disorder. In the world, where humorless nuts with righteous attitude and exaggerated sense of entitlement drown down the voices of professionals in a tsunami of idiocy and gossip, staying silent is no longer an option.
This blog is a raw stream of thoughts and experiences written for the benefit of a consumer.

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With the world making the transition from brick and mortar to a cloud, choosing one diamond out of hundreds of options seems like an incredible opportunity.

 The internet actually makes sourcing and buying diamonds easier, more convenient, and less expensive, but selecting a loose diamond on your own is still wrought with a great deal of risk.

 Find out the answers to common questions, as we debunk five of the most widespread myths surrounding the transition from buying a whole ring to buying a diamond and a setting separately.

 

Myth #1: Buying a loose diamond from an online vendor is cheaper than purchasing one from a jeweler.

Fact: Actually, it’s not. Diamonds are a commodity and are traded on the international market through worldwide listing service called Rapnet. Any member of the trade can buy a membership and gain instant access to virtually any diamond in the world. Any reputable jeweler, including your local mom and pop store, is a member. Any member is able to buy the same stone at exactly the same price.

 

Myth #2: Big re-sellers have price advantage over small jewelers due to volume pricing.

Fact: Not at all. Diamonds are not sold in bulk - they are sold one by one. There is no advantage on each individual sale, despite lots of sales.

 

Myth #3 Designers will charge a “designer” price for a stone.

Fact: While some unscrupulous jewelers might attempt to take advantage of trusting customers by charging exorbitant commission, true artists would be satisfied with a very small commission on a stone, since they are used to earning money with their labor, not by speculation. Hence the diamond price is actually lower, despite obvious premium pricing of the setting itself.

 

Myth #4 Buying a diamond without seeing it in real life is too risky.

Fact: With detailed grading reports from GIA along with photos and 360° videos, shot under high magnification, you can easily determine the visual appearance and specifications of a diamond you are buying. Reputable jewelers allow buyers a wealth of information prior to buying, providing the confidence needed to be sure that a diamond is genuine and it’s properties are represented objectively and precisely.

 

Myth #5: It’s cheaper to buy the stone and mounting from two separate vendors.

Fact: When you buy a stone directly from a jeweler you usually get a mounting at a reduced price as well as other perks like faster production time, etc. What’s even more important is that the stone is selected with a specific design in mind. With an appropriate stone, the resulting piece always looks better.

 

In conclusion:

 Before the internet, most diamonds were sold by professionals - people who were trained to sell diamonds. Yes, there were always few who fell for the guy at the corner of 47th and 6th whispering: “Tsss, buddy, wanna buy a watch?”

 That guy is gone, but he has been replaced by an army of self-appointed “experts” dishing out diamond buying tips in blogs and chat rooms. For their job of steering an unsuspecting consumer towards buying a wrong stone they get a hefty commision.

 Getting a stone from a professional, aka the jeweler, who will design and make your custom ring, will not cost you more but will actually cost you less and yield a dramatically better result.

Discounted diamondSavvy buyers know that when it comes to choosing an engagement ring, a diamond has no equal. Even with the ‘diamond cartel’ (DeBeers) pumping millions of dollars into heavy-handed promotion of diamonds, the choice of a gemstone for your engagement ring should not be between a diamond and something else, but rather between a round or not-round diamond. Whether you are rich, poor, or somewhere in between, you should expect to drop three months’ worth of your paycheck on a stunning piece of petrified carbon!

Diamonds come in a dizzying variety of cuts, shapes, qualities and brands, and buying them can be an amazing experience. But do you know what’s even better? Getting that diamond at an incredible discount — up to 50% off what fancy jewelry stores are charging! Is this really possible? It is with Leon Megé direct-to-consumer service.
In business since 1996 and online since 1997, Leon Megé offers smart shoppers deeply discounted diamonds direct from all major diamond cutters. You can save on every stone and hand-made engagement ring produced in-house entirely by hand. Browse and compare different shape, color, clarity and size categories and combinations.

The road taken by a diamond engagement ring leads through several stops:
First a diamond cutter turns rough diamonds into faceted gems;
The diamond dealer buys the gems and resells them to manufacturers of finished jewelry, or to a retailer;
The jewelry manufacturer then sells finished jewelry to a wholesaler or retailer; and
The retailer sells the finished diamond jewelry to a consumer, either in a store or online.

The title “diamond dealer,” “diamond broker,” “vendor,” “wholesaler,” etc. does not have a clear definition. In fact, there is no legal obligation for any person or company to belong to any specific group in the chain of diamond supply. Even if you see words such as “wholesale,” “direct,” “warehouse,” etc., these might be misleading characterizations. The responsibility of doing diligent research into the legitimacy of anyone in the diamond supply chain is up to the consumer. There are many new players on the scene today; the century-old chain of supply has been severely affected by the arrival of online shopping.

One thing to watch out for is the diamond broker, a scavenger who lurks in the trade’s shadows trying to squeeze few extra bucks by “flipping” stones (the diamond market's equivalent of a day trader on Wall Street). These brokers sometimes call themselves “online vendors.” An “online vendor” purchases diamonds from the diamond market feed (which is accessible to all diamond merchants) and resells the diamond at a premium, without investing in the overhead associated with running a legitimate business. Low overhead sounds like a great deal for a consumer, right? Wrong! The consumer ends up paying a price that is only slightly lower than retail. The online vendor pockets the rest.

New York is a clearinghouse for diamonds cut around the globe. Most diamond cutters list their stones on trade-only networks accessible by any trade member, dealer, broker, or retailer. In fact, there is a good chance that the stone you are buying from a faceless online retailer is actually sitting in the vault of a dealer in New York’s Diamond District! Diamond cutters would actually rather sell diamonds at a discount than let them sit in a vault — getting a small profit is better than getting nothing at all. But if the cutter just lowers the price, dealers might keep their prices the same and simply pocket the difference. Cutters don’t want to risk alienating their main supplier of rough diamonds, the ‘diamond cartel’ on one side, and their customers, the wholesale diamond dealers, on the other.

At Leon Megé, we bypass the dealers completely and buy direct from the cutters in order to get the best possible deal for you. Our company is authorized by a select few cutters to offer the highest-quality diamonds to our loyal customers, who get a top-shelf diamond at a significant discount. Our exclusive diamond suppliers like this arrangement because it helps to move the inventory and to maintain liquidity, and smart shoppers who use our services love the deeply discounted rates.

By the way, don’t assume these deals are for undesirable rejects and gems from hard-to-sell categories. In fact, we see diamonds of every cut, color and clarity hit the ‘unsold list’; we even on occasion see D Flawless gems go for steep discounts! The Leon Megé website is constantly updated with new markdowns and discounted deals. There are also special rates for in-house selection, as well as special unannounced private offers. To be informed of the latest news and special offers, you can sign up for our Mailing List. By signing up, you’ll be part of a privileged group that gets access to special unpublished discounts.

When you shop with Leon Megé, before you know it you’ll be engaged with the best rock your money can buy, plus you’ll have lots of money left over for those “unimportant” things like paying your student loan, buying a house, or raising a family!

 

A few years ago, a customer (who for obvious reasons will not be named) came in to have her ring cleaned. She is a very wealthy owner of an important diamond, a stone so big that it would look right at home at the Smithsonian. She spends a lot of her time going to war-torn countries  doing charity work, and she had just returned from an aid mission overseas.

“Leon,” she said, “I don’t know why I even need this diamond anymore.”

The ring she had brought in was a copy set with the exact replica of her multi-million dollar stone. The real diamond was worn only occasionally here in New York. Both rings were identical to allow her to choose when to wear her priceless diamond.

“It seems like everyone thinks it’s the real stone anyway.“ She smiled. “I might as well sell the real diamond and keep this clunker!” 

“Look how beautiful it looks!” she said as she admired her freshly cleaned ring. “Just like my diamond, only six figures less!”  She was actually modest about the value of her diamond; it would probably fetch seven figures at Christie’s or Sotheby’s.

The harsh winter sun bounced off her stone in my direction, sparkling in a rainbow of color.

“Wait a minute!”  I said as I grabbed the ring. “Let me just see something….”  It took me a moment to get over my disbelief. It WAS the real diamond!

Suddenly, I realized what had happened. Sometime in the past, she had switched the two rings, and all these years she had been wearing the real diamond while the replica stayed locked in her safe deposit box.

“But I wear this ring all the time! I could have been robbed!!” She was mortified.

“Simple,”  I replied. “Criminals sense your vibe. Since you think it’s fake, they think so too.”

Let’s face it - willingly or unwillingly, we all engage in stereotyping, like guessing someone’s social status by their appearance and manners. It’s simply human nature.

 Why people wearing fake diamonds

Perhaps you would not be surprised if I told you that identifying the value of a diamond simply by looking at the person who wears it is extremely unreliable. Telling the difference between a $100,000 diamond and a $5 CZ from a few feet away is next to impossible. Ordinary people rely on other minute clues to tell the social status of someone wearing a diamond; maybe there is a price tag still attached to the dress she is wearing, or her nail polish hue makes the wrong statement.

In my line of work, we often see wealthy people buying cheap simulants. We also see the reverse - low income clients splurging on some fabulous bling that is seemingly beyond their means.

There are more people who purposely wear “fake” diamonds - simulants - than you think. In fact, there is a huge online community with chat rooms dedicated exclusively to all sorts of “sims,” as they are lovingly called. And of course, the online fan forums are crawling with various  “sims” pushers actively steering sims fans towards a particular type of the stone they happen to be selling.

There are five reasons why people would buy a diamond simulant:

  1. To save money;
  2. As a temporary placeholder to be replaced in the future with a real diamond;
  3. To follow a tradition despite a dislike of jewelry;
  4. Because of deceptive advertising. With names like “Diamonique,” “Asha,” or “Amora,” it’s hard to tell the difference between real and fake; or
  5. As a “backup” copy for travel.

Leon Mege fake diamonds and moissaniteAre these simulants able to fool everyone? The answer, surprisingly, is “yes.” And that is  because:

  1. Any diamond simulant, even a glass replica, cannot be distinguished from a diamond by a regular person from a few feet away, especially in poor lighting.
  2. Most people don’t want to offend someone by questioning the authenticity of a diamond. Even when someone exclaims, “Is this REAL??? IT’S HUGE!!!” we all know that the rhetorical question is simply meant as a compliment.
  3. What is the point of questioning? You can’t prove anything anyway. No one would drag his or her friend to an appraiser without appearing like a seriously disturbed, jealous jerk.
  4. Most people are gullible and simply take your word for an answer. And the answer is,”Of course it’s real!”

So, should we stop wearing natural gems in favor of “Frankenstones”? The answer is “No.”

As we learned from my story above, simulants can be useful sometimes, but when the time comes to express your eternal love, don’t reach for a sugar pill hoping for the placebo effect!  Get a natural gemstone instead.

Natural gems are rare and unique. They were created by Mother Nature and their supplies are limited at best.

And if you must get a simulant, opt for the cheapest and best diamond stand-in - a Cubic Zirconia (CZ).