In a nutshell: "Do you have a minute?"
Mark Turnowski was actually the first one I took the time to call. After I decided cushions were what I was leaning toward, I went to BE's site to take a look. On it, I found the diamond that another vendor had just told me he had put on hold for me. I also found another diamond that I thought might be interesting. So I gave Mark a call.
The "boyfriend diamond" (as I call it since it's the one he picked out personally) was unavailable – my guess it's because the other vendor put it on hold. Mark and I chatted a couple of minutes as I gave me an idea of what I was looking for. Then he asked me "Do you have a minute?"
I was actually taken a back for a second because by the time he had asked that, I had already been talking on the phone for several minutes and gave the usual parameters. Of course I had a minute, so he began to ask me questions on exactly what I was looking for, and describe to me the differences between certain cuts of cushions. He even drilled down to girdle width, asking me if a thick girdle was OK (you lost carat weight there).
I really felt that Mark wanted to know what I wanted, and was taking the time out to really consider my preferences. I told him I was considering at the boyfriend diamond at the other vendor, so not to worry about it too much but see what he could come up with. He said the way he ran his business was to get on things right away.
Sure enough, the next day he did find a lovely diamond (by the numbers) for me. However by this time I had agreed to have the other diamond called at the other vendor and I said he should probably hold off on doing more work for me.
When the diamond came in at the other vendor and passed rep's inspection, I gave Mark and call that I was having it sent to an independent appraiser. Again, he wanted to take a little more of my time to go over the diamond I was looking at, if I didn't mind. I had the GIA cert copy and read him the specs. He said, "As much as I would like the sale, I think that diamond is going to work for you. I would be surprised if it doesn't." He told me he thought it would be very pretty, and thought he knew who the supplier was, based the ex/ex for polish and symmetry.
I was so appreciative that even though I had just told him that I was pretty sure I was going with the other diamond, that he would take the time to help me and give me more information! I knew of his reputation for really knowing cushions, so it helped alleviate my concerns when he gave it a thumbs up. He asked that I keep him posted, and he actually followed up with a call a week later to see how it all went.
Mark is someone that felt like my own personal jeweler. Truly a step above, an absolute gentleman, and I would without hesitation recommend him based on my experience. And yes, that recommendation would cover shapes other than cushions!!!
I wrote that review back in 2006. Since then I actually bought the other diamond I was considering from him for my mother. He put it in a temporary setting that was cost effective, but it was so gorgeous, we never ended up changing it. I also bought diamond stud earrings for my aunt and they were gorgeous and a fantastic deal. He's really a gem, pun intended. :)