When we think about buying diamonds, it tends to be in-person, in the imagination. We don’t really think about squeezing next to each other on a computer chair or sofa scrolling through image after image of almost identical stones, discussing the respective merits of each according to the detailed information below. The information which may or may not mean anything to us! But with the world readily adopting online shopping for everything from groceries to gadgets, why not gemstones too? Here are some pointers and tips on how to shop for diamonds online.
First, any jeweler whose website you visit should have accreditation from AGS or GIA, and certificates from at least one of the two should be offered with every large diamond that they sell. The diamond industry is very careful about tracking and monitoring stones, from their emergence into daylight at a mine all the way through the cutting process to their final destination in a jewelry store – physical or online. This is done for a number of reasons: to prevent conflict diamonds (stones mined using slave labor, or used for funding crimes or acts of terror) finding their way into the legitimate diamond trade, to make sure that all the diamonds being sold as real are in fact from natural sources rather than laboratory-grown, and finally, to keep trust in the industry high by keeping the unscrupulously-minded out of the process. One bad vendor selling poor diamonds as good could shake the faith of hundreds of buyers – and that would be terrible for the industry as a whole.
Too Good to Be True?
If you stumble across a diamond being sold for a ridiculously low price, you should be wary. Diamonds tend to hold their value over time, so it would be important to drill down into why the seller is putting such a low price on their stone – and even sob stories in which there is a sudden urgent need for funds should be eyed askance. Diamonds tend to sell well all the time, so there would be no need for a drastic reduction in the asking price. While there may be a genuine vendor, unwittingly selling their treasures for much less than they are worth, it is far more likely to be an attempt to trick you into handing over money for a dud. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
This is not to say that you should pay whatever the initial asking price is. Ask around, and do not be scared to ask for a discount, if one is available. Some sellers set their prices to around the highest that the market will bear and are happy to come down a few percentage points in order to score a sale – the worst that will happen is your request is denied, while at best, you could save yourself a few hundred dollars!
And finally, when you have narrowed your choices down to a few online diamond vendors, make sure you read some reviews. Where possible, find reviews hosted on third-party sites simply because many retailers like to minimize the impact of negative reviews by hiding them or making them quite hard to find! Sort the reviews by date, reading the latest ones for the most up-to-date information on the company – and obviously, avoid those with a recent run of poor service and disgruntled customers!
By following all these tips – or as many as you can – you should soon be able to click ‘submit payment’ on your chosen diamond, happy in the knowledge that you will be getting exactly the stone you are expecting to receive.