Thinking of Buying a Diamond Online? Read This First.

How well do you know diamonds?

Sure, you may be familiar with the 4c’s. You even may be very familiar with the 4c’s. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the industry wants you to be, familiar. These four important factors are just that, important factors. While they are important, they are also a dramatic oversimplification. The 4c’s barely scratch the surface on all there is to know about a diamond. In fact, they are often used to sell unsuspecting clients a diamond that looks great on paper, at a premium price, for a sub-par diamond. Most clients believe that a diamond that has identical carat, cut, colour and clarity will all look the same, but this is not the case.

You may think to yourself: “This doesn’t apply to me! I am buying an excellent cut diamond!” Unfortunately, it does, and not all excellent cuts are the same. Did you know there can be a 20-30% price difference between various excellent cut diamonds? This is based on how each one handles light.  Do you know the tricks used by cutters to maintain carat weight? How about depth and table percentages? Crown and pavilion angles? What about the effect fluorescence has on a diamond? How thick should the girdle of the diamond be? Sure, these are all things you can google, but even these factors are only part of the picture. A diamond is the sum of all of its parts, and knowing how these parts work together is extremely important. We often see clients being overconfident in their research, and paying more for factors they don’t completely understand.

Another point we often hear is: “Make sure you see the diamond in person, or at least a high-resolution image of it before purchasing.” You can definitely do that whether you’re purchasing online, or in-store. But, do you even know what you are looking for when you see the diamond? To the untrained eye, most diamonds will appear sparkly, especially when the online retailer is manipulating the camera to do so. Typically with diamond images, most clients are just looking at the inclusions. There is much more to a diamond than it’s inclusions. All of this seems very negative, but at the end of the day you want someone who really knows diamonds to be in your corner. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of, not only diamonds, but the industry itself. A trusted jeweller can provide expert advice, and in turn, save you time and money.

Online retailers do not own their inventory.

Do you think that Blue Nile and James Allen would have their prices that low if they owned their diamonds? Not a chance. All online retailers are pulling from the same pool of diamonds; brick and mortar stores included. The difference? The diamonds you are seeing online for lower prices are the diamonds that jewelers pass over. That’s right, it’s not some big secret, most of the cheaper diamonds you see are “discount” stones. Weird proportions, unfavourable inclusions, fluorescence, and even the location the diamond is coming from, all factor into how these diamonds are priced. Too good to be true definitely applies here.

At a brick and mortar store, you are going to pay more. Are you going to pay thousands more for the same diamond? No. A little bit more? Yes. Keep in mind that we are always as competitive as we can be, otherwise we wouldn’t be in business. We understand that the market is changing, and we need to keep current and competitive. Small businesses have some overhead: Rent, lighting, insurance and of course the expertise of a diamond expert. Think of your diamond consultant as your “Diamond Realtor”. Imagine you are moving to a new city, and are trying to find the perfect home in a good neighbourhood. Without knowledge of the market or the the city, you wouldn’t know where to start. You would most likely trust the advice of your realtor to find you that perfect home in the safest neighbourhood. This is what we do when assisting you with a diamond. We fit all of the pieces of the puzzle to find the best possible ring for you, whatever your specifications might be.

What can my local jeweler offer me that online can’t?

This is my favourite point. I love online shopping. I do it all the time. Who doesn’t love ordering random things on Amazon? I also have the expectation that what’s pictured isn’t always exactly what I’ll receive. Have you ever tried to return a product to an online retailer? Maybe that sweater you bought didn’t fit, so you need to pack it in a box and return it. No big deal. Now imagine instead of a sweater, the thing you are returning is a small, sparkling rock that you just spent a substantial chunk of money on. Are you just going to put it in a box and hand it to the kid at the FedEx counter? What happens then?

Okay, maybe your diamond arrives and you love it. Awesome. Who is going to set it for you? Did you know that no jeweller is going to cover any damage that occurs to a diamond that isn’t from them during the setting process? Although this doesn’t happen often, it does happen. You also need to be prepared to not have any warranty or aftercare provided to you. Yes, all of the online retailers offer it, if you are prepared to send your ring away for 8-10 weeks.

Another thing to keep in mind: having your claws checked. Modern rings need maintenance. Most women these days want a thin, dainty band, with thinner, daintier claws holding the diamond in place. (Sound familiar?) These types of rings need to be checked at a minimum every 6 months. This ensures that your savings do not literally fall out of the setting. Rhodium plating, size adjustments, and general maintenance are a reality of owning fine jewelry. Having a trusting relationship with your jeweler is important, since your engagement ring is the beginning of many more jewelry purchases you will make. Once again, we go back to having someone in your corner.

Our Recommendations:

  • Purchase from someone you like and trust. Having a relationship with your jeweler can be the key to a great experience. Not only for the purchase, but for the future as well.
  • Don’t purchase just because it is a good deal. Make sure that it is the right diamond for you. It needs to tick all the boxes, not just the price box.
  • Educate yourself! We offer one-on-one diamond and design consultations, and take pride in giving clients every detail we can, so that you feel confident in your decision.
  • Know the Top 10 Mistakes When Purchasing a Diamond.
  • Have fun! Buying your loved one something special that will be treasured forever should be enjoyable, not stressful.