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Insights: Indulgence

Once the soul domain of local jewelers, precious stones can now be purchased wholesale online
Matt Kramer
From the Print Edition:
Dennis Hopper, Jan/Feb 01

(continued from page 2)

If you're interested in purchasing top-level diamonds, it can pay to get a second opinion. You can wind up paying a premium for what one grader generously deemed a "D" color that another might tell you is really a (less expensive) "E."

All of which underscores that your best protection is knowledge. This is especially true with colored stones, including colored diamonds. The best way to learn about precious stones is to see them. Visit a few top jewelers and look at their stock. Ask to see their best stones, so that you can create a reference. It won't take more than a few looks to see what makes a particular stone outstanding.

When it comes time to buy, take your time. If you're buying on eBay and you're spending thousands, make sure to use a credit card for your own protection. Also, consider using an escrow service. Above all, check the seller's feedback reports. Make sure to e-mail the seller all sorts of questions. Learn the lingo.

But when the time comes to set a precious stone, that's when you head to the best jeweler you can find. Settings are to stones what frames are to paintings. They focus the eye on beauty. A great jeweler really earns his money by his craftsmanship. You want something designed just for your stone, and discovering how a top jeweler can fashion a setting for your particular jewel is deeply satisfying.

With these precautions, the rewards are great. You'll own stunning precious stones bought at wholesale prices. Seeing your jeweler's craftsmanship in setting the stone, all the while knowing how savvy you've been, makes for a personal thrill. It's like hearing an orchestra play something you composed -- which is exactly the case here.

Matt Kramer is a columnist for Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado's sister publication.

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