For the uninitiated, buying a diamond ring can be a scary undertaking. Finding a trusted diamond dealer is the first step you must take in your shopping process and a very crucial one indeed.
There are literally thousands of vendors available, and access to them has never been easier with the help of the internet. When finding a jeweler to work with, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you get the best possible deal when making a purchase.
Also, I’ll be explaining the kind of policies to look out for and how to spot a good dealer. Based on my personal experiences, I would also recommend vendors who have a good reputation and proven track record of delivering quality goods.
How’s their reputation like? – You reap what you sow and this statement is especially true when it comes to the jewelry business. The quickest and easiest way to find out is to check online forums or dealership websites for reviews and testimonials. Finding out the past experiences of customers is a good way to size up a company’s service. This goes for both online and offline dealerships.
What kind of diamonds do they sell? – You can find out whether the dealer handles quality diamonds by browsing their inventory. If the jeweler only deals with EGL/IGI graded or other “in-house certified” diamonds, it’s a telltale sign for you to RUN!
9.5 out of 10 jewelers who deal solely with such stones don’t sell decent stuff based on my experience. In fact, they are banking on you to be inadequately educated so that they can overcharge you for an inferior stone with an inaccurate report. It’s a shark tank out there and the only way a layman consumer can protect themselves is to ask for an AGS or GIA certificate.
Are their prices competitive compared to other competition? – The best way to do this is to utilize the same specifications of a diamond and ask around different dealerships for prices. A good benchmark would be using the listed prices of online vendors. By comparing the information, you will be able to figure out a rough average and have an idea of whether you are overpaying for a stone.
Do they provide information about the 4Cs? – A good dealer will always seek to educate the consumer on what they are buying. These are carat, clarity, color and cut. Of course, it’s also a good idea to research on these topics before you even start shopping.
Make sure that the company or dealer are willing to address any questions you have and if they can’t or won’t, move on. If they can’t even get basic customer service correct, imagine what would happen if something was to go wrong or if you needed their advice for post-purchase services.
Do they have a certified gemologist on staff? – A gemologist will be able to give you detailed information on everything that has to do with the diamond and what makes it unique. I am not referring to sales people here but qualified personals who can handle diamonds knowledgeably. Make sure that they are using the correct tools when assessing the value of the stone.
What are the return policies (if any)? – Is he/she willing to give you a 100% refund guarantee if you decide to change your mind within the return period? You will want this to be in writing in case any disputes arise. If they don’t have a refund policy, I recommend changing vendors. Otherwise, it would be prudent for you to seek the advice of an independent gemologist to assess the diamond before buying it.
Is the diamond conflict free? – You will want make sure that the dealer only trades with conflict free diamonds. Sadly the “blood diamonds” that had funded the African civil wars and violent activities are still in heavy circulation. It’s recommended that you request proper documentation and proof that the gemstone was fairly imported before making a purchase.
The merchants are listed here because they had all upheld a certain level of service to both online and offline customers. More importantly, all of them strictly abide by the rules that are stated in this article.
This list is not exhaustive and comes from the tons of online sites that I had personally tested so far…
I would love to share a list of sites that DO NOT meet my expectations and warn you of who to stay away from but unfortunately I can’t. One reason is that there are simply too many of them around and would take more than a page to fill (think eBay, Amazon, Blue****.com etc…).
The other reason is that there might be legal ramifications for singling them out. If you happen to come across any other online sites that you might not be sure of, feel free to email me in private for my opinions.
Before we end this article, I think that it would be a good idea for you to spend some time learning about effective shopping and have a rough idea on how diamonds are priced. Doing so would help you understand why there could be potentially huge price difference in your diamond choices.
Not only would better knowledge lead to a much better deal in the long run, it will help you avoid bad decisions. Remember, most vendors want to help you find what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and express your honest opinions. After all, you are the customer and the one who’s paying!