The ever-ongoing debate about the benefits and the drawbacks of purchasing diamonds online is almost impossible to follow.
As with any decisions we make, there are obvious advantages and disadvantages in going with the choices in front of us. Our task here is not form a verdict but rather, to identify the situations when we can make the most out of the advantages and diminish the disadvantages.
Purchasing diamonds online has become a ubiquitous phenomenon and is rapidly gaining popularity for people seeking an alternative avenue for jewelry shopping. Why had millions of people engaged in it and chose not spend their hard earn money at places like Tiffany’s? Surely, there have to be serious upsides that continually draw people towards e-commerce and to ding the local stores.
This jewelry guide will take you through the ins and outs of the diamond e-commerce businesses.
For the uninitiated consumer who enters a traditional jeweler’s shop for the first time, the most common reaction would usually be astonishment at first. There are shining gemstones everywhere, price tags suitable for millionaires, elegance and sumptuousness. However, if you have a specific idea on what you want to buy or cannot find the elusive pink marquise cut you had been searching for ages now, all that luxury might soon appear penurious.
Checking out some online distributors might be the solution to your problem. Since they do not operate with a limited product range and are able to connect to multiple jewelry databases, they offer an unimaginable range of inventory. Also, it’s easy to assess the offerings on any sites and get it tailored to your specific needs. By using the advanced filtering tools that most websites now offer, you can easily hone down to find what you need.
And if you still can’t find it, simply hop over to another website and start browsing in literally seconds. Can you imagine the inconvenience of doing the same in a physical retail space?
You do not need a master’s degree in mathematics or economics to realize that the there is a huge gap between the price you pay for the diamond and the wage miners are typically paid. There is nothing wrong with that. Let us take a look why does the gap have to be there in most cases.
The price of a diamond consists of the following costs – The profit of each individual members of the process chain (including the miner, the cutter, and the appraisers), taxes paid towards the state, price control by different organizations like the De Beers cartel and costs of business operations.
In the case of traditional businesses, the marketing, salaries of salesmen and rental fees can amount to a huge chunk of expenses. On the other hand, online jewelers do not have the need to maintain showrooms nor require an excessively huge support chain. As a result, operation costs of online distributors are much lower.
The essence of all this explanation can be put simply with the following notion. Online distributors usually offer you a lower price. They do this because they can and not because they are selling fake or low quality products.
A traditional, offline distribution chain cannot always afford to hire professionals in every single shop of theirs. Even if they do, you might often feel embarrassed asking someone in person questions that you consider – let us say it: dumb.
Most brick and mortar stores hire sales people to push sales instead. Based on my own experience, most sales personals usually lack any form of advanced knowledge to answer questions beyond the 4Cs intelligently. If you think about it, how many times had you experienced pushy salespeople who are out to make a commission with no regards to what you really need?
On the other hand, online services usually provide 24 hours live customer support and have at least one professional gemologist within their ranks. Even if the person attending to you isn’t a professional gemologist, they are usually trained to handle most queries. And in the event that they can’t, they can easily reach out to their in-house gemologist for more information on your behalf.
It’s not surprising that a number of people find it more comfortable to talk to someone distant about their questions. In my experience, online live support actually yields better knowledge of diamonds to potential customers as compared to a real life salesperson hassling you in the store.
Like every other industry, there are always businesses and people with unethical practices. Most people are worried about getting conned or scammed in a deal because of the narrow mindset they have about buying stuff online. Little did they know that, the same is true even if you walk into a brick and mortar store.
In most cases when people are tricked, it is their mistake for making a purchase without doing due diligence or succumbing to greed with unbelievable prices. So, do not blame anyone but your own foolishness if you receive a potato (or nothing) instead of a diamond for your three thousand dollars.
The most common feedback that I receive from people with bad experiences usually stem from those who buy ‘blind’ or people who somehow manage to get a “deal of the lifetime” in a local store. After impulsively making a purchase, they decided to read up more in hope of finding answers to comfort themselves and justify that they had made the right choices.
You see, great quality jewelry is never on sale. These are the stuff that consumers would whole-heartedly pay and jewelers know that. What do you think happens to the not so great stuff that had been sitting in stores for ages? Well, they get cleared out with discounted prices.
The number one issue that most people have with buying jewelry online is that they are buying “blind”? A huge majority of online jewelers on the Internet work with a virtual listing of inventory. That is, they simply download a computerized list and display available inventory from their suppliers.
What happens here is that when a customer makes a purchase, the diamond is drop-shipped to the consumer directly without ever passing through the hands of the company. One notorious example of such an online vendor is BlueNile where they only provide a grading report on the diamond and no other information is furnished on the stone. What’s shocking is that consumers only make decisions based on a certificate.
To me, this is not a method I would recommend you to shop with. Many times, there are hidden problems which a GIA/AGS report doesn’t tell you about a diamond. How can the online jeweler give you constructive advice on a diamond that they had never seen themselves?
For this reason, I advise you to work with stores (e.g. James Allen, White Flash or Brian Gavin) that provide magnified images/videos of the diamond. Not only does this proves that they had handled the stone themselves, additional data like ASET and Idealscope images also makes it easier for you make a selection as you browse through their inventory.
Finally, only work with online vendors that provide you with a money-back guarantee. This will remove any risk on your end if you are not 100% satisfied with the product. Oh, they do not have that? Well, that might be a sign that you should look for another provider.
Besides a comprehensive library of articles found here, we had also arranged our content into various categories to help you get information on a specific type of jewelry. Feel free to explore the guides at your own pace. If you ever meet with any questions, help is just an email or a comment away.
Online Proposal Rings
Diamond Earrings Tips
Choosing Wedding Bands
Pendants And Necklaces
Guide to Loose Diamonds
Fancy Colored Diamonds