Question: I want to buy a diamond, preferably 1 carat. Can you recommend a good place for this? I would like to buy through a website but so many jewelers don't have specific diamonds, just generic diamond rings. I need a website that lists the specifics of the diamond, not just a stock image. Thank you for your help. Daniel
Hi Daniel, thanks for sending in your question.
I’ve been helping people find the best places to find diamonds for a few years now. While many people think that there is such a place as “the best” online store for diamonds the truth is a little more nuanced than that. I know it can be a little frustrating to not have a perfect ranking of 1 to 100 of the best places but finding the perfect diamond jeweler will be different depending on one’s priorities.
For simplicity I will highlight Blue Nile in this article. And as you will see there is a case to be made that for many people this may well be the best place to buy a 1 carat diamond online. There are well over 250,000 diamond jewelers around the globe so there is bound to be more than one place to look, but Blue Nile will satisfy the requirements just about any diamond shopper would have.
Established in 1999 Blue Nile has served millions of customers. It took a few years for the general public to think of going online for their diamond. Buying a diamond had, prior to the turn of the century, been associated with a very special outing to the diamond district. But a solid TV ad campaign started letting people know that maybe, just maybe it could be worth checking out this website. And a few years after its launch Blue Nile was already being cited as “Best Online Jeweler” by Forbes magazine.
Qualities To Look For
Below I list some of the reasons why you may choose one diamond jeweler over another.
Some diamond jewelers are part of a very large business and are unlikely to go under. Their financial position is strong and are likely to still be around when you need to contact them again for service or warranty issues or even for another purchase.
Then there are others still who prefer to deal with a smaller company because they feel that if they deal with a smaller business there is a better chance of getting a more personal service. Small businesses can be in as strong a financial position as a larger one, so the size of the business is not an indicator of how stable it is.
There are however early warning signs that can indicate if a company is struggling. For almost a decade now I have been watching how online jewelers fare. I have seen many come and go.
I have begun to see a pattern in ones that don’t stay in business.
From what I have see the signs that a company is starting to falter include:
- Customer reviews start trending toward more negative experiences
- Website begins having issues,
- Images on the site are not displaying
- Site updates are very old
- The business shows signs of being short staffed
- Is slow to respond to communication
- Customers complain of bait-and-switch tactics
- Expensive litigation
- Very slow with refunds.
You can usually search newspapers, Better Business Bureau, and Google reviews for mentions of the company in question to see if any of those red flags are starting to show.
Blue Nile is a very large company. It was traded on the stock exchange for some years and now is owned privately.
Blue Nile shows none of the red flags I mentioned.
Blue Nile has repeatedly made Forbes’ “100 Most Trustworthy Companies” list.
If you are looking for a very specific or unusual type of diamond you may be limited to a small range of online jewelers.
But for classic 1 carat diamonds Blue Nile offers a massive range.
From colorless “D” diamonds to warmer “K” diamonds in all the standard shapes. As of the time of publishing this article Blue Nile has 8,000 diamonds that are around the 1 carat range. For this count I included diamonds ranging from 0.98 ct to 1.05 ct. The majority of those actually fall at exactly 1 to 1.01 ct: no less than 7,000 1 carat round brilliant diamonds are listed on the site at present.
There are an additional 3,000 fancy cut diamonds of the same weight (1 carat).
Of course when you start searching and narrowing down your selection the list will shrink. However that’s a huge selection to start you off.
A diamond is a diamond, but the 4C’s vary with each diamond. A grading certificate describing the stone’s features must accompany your purchase. Blue Nile lists each diamond’s certificate with each stone. This makes it easy to verify the stone’s description and be sure what you are buying is exactly what you want.
Arguably the most widely recognized name among diamond grading laboratories is the Gemological Institute of America. Diamond manufacturers from all around the world send diamonds to be graded by GIA. They are a trusted brand and Blue Nile has most if not all their diamonds accompanied by a GIA Diamond Grading Report or Diamond Dossier. Some diamonds also come with an additional document called the GemEx Diamond Light Performance Certificate.
This document describes how much light is returned to the eye from a diamond. The measurement is based on five measurements that measure white light (brilliance), colored light (fire), and scintillation (sparkle), as well as a view that reveals the craftsmanship and symmetry of the diamond. Diamonds that measure Very High in brilliance, fire, and sparkle on the GemEx Diamond Light Performance scale are placed into a category of their own called Astor by Blue Nile™ diamonds.
The fact that Blue Nile continues to display each diamond’s grading report on their site is one of the reasons I chose to showcase Blue Nile for the best place to buy a 1 carat diamond above others.
I consider this practice essential to selling diamonds online. Other sites I would have considered to showcase in this article do send you the diamond grading certificates on request and they have obviously made that decision in order to engage their audience a little more.
How To Choose Your 1 Carat Diamond
Going down to the diamond district is a unique experience and shopping online can’t hold a candle to it. You don’t get to experience the great sales spiels nor do you encounter the fantastic characters that diamond districts are known for. For online shopping you don’t need to dress up. You can buy a diamond while laying in bed or sitting at the beach. Yet it should still be something you prepare for. A little research can go a long way to avoiding disappointment.
The thing that surprises many first time buyers is that not all diamonds sparkle equally.
In order to make it easier to find the perfect diamond I wrote an article showing you how to use the advanced options at Blue Nile.
This way you aren’t going in blind and half confused as to how to work with the many choices made available to you.
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.
If you do not receive a response within 48 hours possible reasons include: my response has ended up in your spam folder; your inbox is full; you did not include a correct reply address. The best thing after a 48 hour delay is to try again, maybe using a different contact method.
Thomas J Stevens GIA DG CSG