When making a purchase as seismic as a ring, There are a few things that should be considered:
First, be sure that the store you are shopping in has a microscope with two eyepieces. Also, make sure that the microscope's eye pieces are both focused on the same plane. It is not uncommon for microscopes to be in a state of disrepair making it difficult for you to see exactly what you are buying. If you are having trouble focusing on the facet junctions inside of a diamond (the places where the individual cuts on a diamond meet) be sure to ask your sales associate to focus the microscope correctly. There is a lot of value in every millimeter of the diamond you are purchasing and you should be able to clearly see what is there!
All diamond certifications are not equal!
Certification papers prepared by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are the gold standard of the industry. GIA laboratories are not affiliated with any manufacturers or suppliers and are therefore unbiased reports of the quality of a diamond. Many retail jewelry chains create their own "certifications" on their diamonds. They might use the same 4C terminology, but unless the diamond was actually graded by an INDEPENDENT laboratory, the certification is simply a grade given by the seller. Be sure to do online research about the certification laboratory on any grading report. It will be easy to see for yourself that GIA and AGS are the only trusted independent certification laboratories.
Forevermark Diamond Institute is a certification created for Forevermark diamonds specifically and uses technology to ensure that each diamond is graded properly according to GIA standards. Because of the closed supply chain of Forevermark diamonds (tracing the diamonds to the mine in order to avoid any possiblity of conflict diamonds in the supply chain) these diamonds are certified by a laboratory within the secured diamond pipeline. Any Forevermark Certification is guaranteed to be in line with GIA standards and uses the same equipment and standards used at GIA laboratories.
All warranties are not the same!
Almost all jewelry warranties require the client to return to the store where the jewelry was purchased every six months for a warranty check. Many jewelry chains will void a warranty if their customer is late by only one day for any of these checks. Even if the warranty was purchased, the late customer finds themselves with no warranty and high charges for the maintenance of their precious piece.
At Thollot we have a free nationwide Preferred Warranty that will be serviced at any one of hundreds of fine independent jewelry stores across the United States. This ensures that no matter where you live, there will be a store close enough to help you maintain your warranty. Even if you are late in having your jewelry checked, your warranty will immediately be put back in active mode the moment the jewelry is seen at a Preferred Jewelry store anywhere in the nation. If a Preferred Jeweler goes out of business or stops being a part of the Preferred Network, another jeweler in the area will pick up the warranty. This means that your warranty is truly a LIFETIME warranty!
Be sure to ask about what happens if you miss a warranty check! No one likes a sad surprise as costly as a voided warranty.
Many custom jewelry stores require a deposit before doing any design work for their clients. It is important to know up-front how many revisions this deposit covers. Sometimes it takes several revisions to get a design right and a second deposit is needed after the initial number of revisions is used.
At Thollot, we do not require any deposits up front because we are absolutely committed to getting a design right without any obligation from our clients. We find that most clients are somewhat nervous about designing a piece of jewelry. Our designers are very skilled at dialing in a design so that it is exactly what a client wants and is a viable design for a durable piece of jewelry. We are so confident that we will get it right that we supply as many visual renderings and changes as are needed to get a design perfect before we ask for even a penny! When a client believes the design is exactly what is desired, we go the extra step of printing a 3D prototype that can be tried on before our clients decide to put a deposit on their custom piece and move it into production.
Be sure to ask about the custom process and any hidden fees that may be encountered during the design phase!