Question: When doing a search for my engagement ring, I found that the same diamond appears on multiple sites and have different pricings. These are diamonds with the same exact GIA certification and the dimensions/proportions for them are exactly similar.
By the way, here are the links to what I had mentioned above:
1) 0.94 Heart from B2CJewels
2) 0.94 Heart from Since 1910
It happened again when I was surfing through Bluenile’s inventory.
1) 0.97 Heart from Bluenile
2) 0.97 Heart from B2C Jewels
It looks fishy to me. How can a diamond exists in 2 locations or be owned by the different vendors at the same time? Imagine if I were to purchased it, how can I be assured I will receive the actual diamond that is being listed? Could you shed some light on this?
Answer: Most online vendors list a virtual inventory in which they do not own. Instead, the actual diamonds are owned by a wholesaler who could allow several vendors to market the stone on their behalf. Different dealers could work with similar suppliers and because of that, some stones in their inventory could sometimes overlap.
Click image to see enlarged view (same diamond appears on multiple sites at Since 1910 & B2CJewels)
Most online stores do not have a physical store front. With virtual inventory, they do not have to worry about stock keeping or additional costs incurred with keeping physical diamonds in their inventory. This reduces their operation costs and overheads. In turn, the savings are also passed onto the consumers as they get to enjoy lower prices compared to buying in a brick and mortar store.
This is common practice in the online diamond industry. Both consumers and vendors win in this scenario. Wholesalers move their inventory faster and vendors also have a larger variety of stones for the consumer to choose from.
So, if there’s a stone that you like or had short-listed, you need to call and check in with the vendor on the availability of the stones. Sometimes, listings can get outdated and inventory that had already been sold still shows up as a listing when the list don’t reflect the stone’s latest status.
Going for the cheapest listing doesn’t necessary means it is going to be the best deal for you. It is important to consider the policies that different companies have. For example, is there an upgrade policy for your ring? Do they offer free value added services like future ring sizing? Do they offer routine maintenance for your jewelry? Do they have buy back policies?
Some Internet vendors even go further by having the ability to access their virtual inventory and offer value added services like magnified images, light performance data. Depending on their outfit, some may even be able to call in the stone for an in-house gemologist review on your behalf.