The huge inventory that is accessible at your fingertips at present makes it easier than ever to find a diamond the exact size and color you want.
It’s a bit different to walking down the diamond district.
Sure, the haggling and sales pitches are part of the experience of buying a diamond in the world’s big diamond districts, but some of us don’t necessarily want to feel that sort of pressure.
Sitting on the computer you are safe from high pressure tactics and can do your research at your own leisure.
OK, this ad by James Allen is tempting, but only if a person is already planning on spending at that level.
This is a real ad and if you follow the link you will see that James Allen is in fact giving free rings (up to a value of $1500) with the purchase of a diamond over $30,000.
But on the overall there are fewer pressures to do anything when online. You can take your time, do your research, and narrow it down to a short list and finally decide on the beautiful stone you want. Not one that is being pushed on you.
If you are completely new to diamond shopping you will of course need to do some research as there is no one who is going to guide you through the process in the same way you would be helped when shopping at the local jeweler’s shop.
The first thing to understand about diamonds is that without an accompanying paper listing its characteristics you are flying blind.
Fortunately any diamond seller worth their salt will only deal in diamonds that have the appropriate paper work.
The document in question is called a Diamond Grading Report and is issued by a laboratory where the stone is inspected and everything is noted down. Note: Diamond Grading Reports are also known as Diamond Certificates, or Certs for short.
The Gemological Institute of America is the lab that issues a great number of Diamond Grading Reports so you will see GIA on many sites.
Here are some online diamond jewelers that show you the stones’ corresponding Diamond Grading Reports on each listing:
And for lab created diamonds:
A decade ago many, if not most, diamond jewelers that had begun trading online offered a mere 7 day return period. Innovators in the field of online diamond selling shocked the world by offering 21, 30, 60 or even 100 day return periods. It certainly caught people’s attention, but as I will show you, a long return period should only be a small factor when weighing up the pros and cons while choosing a jeweler to buy from.
Today the most common time period for returns is 30 days. There are certain jewelers whose personal service reduces the need for such a long return period and have found that a 15 day return period is adequate. So I wouldn’t immediately exclude a jeweler just because they have a 15 day return period. It could well signify that they provide a more individual and tailored approach to their customers and 15 day inspection period is perfectly adequate as all potential issues are resolved way ahead of delivery.
There are a few jewelers that give longer than 30 day return periods. This is mostly done in order to stand out from the competition, but its value, in practice, is minimal. If you don’t like the diamond on the day you open the box, does it matter if you have 30, 60 or 100 day return period?
Terms & Conditions
It’s also important to note the fine print in some online jewelers’ Term and Conditions. Sometimes it stipulates that custom work can not be exchanged. Opting for engraving may also mean the purchase does not qualify for returns except in the case of actual defects or the item arriving damaged. Many jewelers offer free engraving, so read their Terms and Conditions to find out how it affects the return period, and what the return covers if you choose to have your ring engraved.
Again, if you are dealing with a jeweler that is carefully making sure the order is one that will suit you then getting an item engraved will not be an issue.
I have been able to see the rates of return for some jewelers and sometimes it can run quite high, I have even seen rates as high as 25% some months. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It shows that this jeweler is honoring their guarantee. Yet it also tells me that many people are buying jewelry, diamonds in particular, without fully understanding the range in qualities that can be found among diamonds.
There are several ways to avoid this situation.
- Work with a jeweler that has well trained customer service, even fully qualified gemologists. Examples of this would be: Whiteflash, Victor Canera, Brian Gavin Diamonds, Ritani, to name a few.
- Another way to reduce the chances of having to return the merchandise is to find an affiliate that has trained with GIA that can give you some advice. The latter is something that I offer. See my Concierge Service. I have provided consultation to many people who wanted to do some homework and preparation first before they were to contact the jeweler.
Often is just a matter of speaking with the jeweler and letting them know where you want to prioritize. They will undoubtedly know how to help you get the most for your spend.
There is a great deal of individual taste involved in the selection of diamonds. What to one person is an acceptable amount of color is way too dark to another. A good jeweler can help you identify the diamond that suits your preferences.
A basic foundation in the 4C’s is helpful, but even if you start out without knowing a carat from a carrot, you will quickly get acquainted with the 4C’s in the course of browsing for diamonds.
It goes without saying that most people want to get the biggest and best stone their money can buy. As the price of a diamond can reach very very high, and not everyone has the deep pockets that Grace Kelly’s suitor had, it becomes inevitable that some compromise must be found. This requires some experience and a careful evaluation of several factors.
Send in your question
If you are looking to buy any type of diamond jewelry online you are welcome to send in any questions you may have.
As an affiliate of the some of the world’s finest jewelers I am motivated to find the right purchase that is perfect just for you. Every person has specific needs and every jeweler has specific areas in which they excel.
Please use your preferred contact method.
Thomas J Stevens GIA DG CSG
If you contact me by email and do not receive a response within 48 hours possible reasons include: my response has ended up in your spam folder; your inbox is full; The best thing after a 48 hour delay is to try again, maybe using a different contact method.