Is Amazon.com a great place to shop for diamond jewelry?
Globally, the rise of e-commerce and online shopping trends have changed the way consumers shop. Amazon is one of the biggest tech giants who is responsible for disrupting the retail market and I’m pretty sure they need no introduction.
From electronics, fashion, hardware, baby products to home improvement, you can find almost anything on Amazon. In fact, in almost any industry that Amazon enters, they disrupt and create a real impact on traditional businesses.
But what about the diamond and engagement ring industry? Has Amazon created a compelling marketplace for consumers to buy diamond rings? Can you find good deals for diamond jewelry on Amazon or are the listings a value trap for the uneducated consumer?
In this article, we will review what Amazon has to offer and how it compares to other online vendors. We will look at product quality, prices and the ease of shopping to see how Amazon fares when it comes to selling engagement rings.
Amazon can be considered the bazaar of the internet. They sell everything from books, toys, clothing to electronics and whatever you can think of. When it comes to jewelry, you can find silver, gold, diamonds being listed; separated for men and women, categorized by price and even by occasion of use.
Search results for diamond engagement rings on Amazon.com
Diamonds are expensive and when it comes to buying an engagement ring, we are talking about prices in the realm of 4 or even 5 digit figures. Naturally, the high price tags will induce some skepticism and fear in many buyers.
However, one fundamental reason behind Amazon’s success is that they do a thorough job in creating a safe environment for shoppers. On top of that, they are a company most people are familiar with and already trust.
As an e-commerce platform, Amazon can operate with narrow profit margins because of their high sales volume. This gives people the perception that they can get “better deals” when buying diamond jewelry (although this is actually a misconception).
On top of that, Amazon offers a money-back guarantee for jewelry purchases which removes the risk the consumer takes. If you aren’t satisfied with the product, you can always return it for a refund.
Lastly, Amazon may appeal to people who are looking to finance a huge purchase without incurring substantial credit costs. They offer a flexible financing system where shoppers can pay for a purchase via a zero interest installment plan for products above a certain value.
If you think everything is going to be fine and dandy when shopping at Amazon, you are in for a huge shocker. The fact is, Amazon.com is one of the worst places to buy a diamond engagement ring despite what most people think.
That’s because of the vague titles and misleading product descriptions in the listings. In many cases, these are purposely crafted to misrepresent the diamond’s quality and to trick unsuspecting consumers.
Results returned when I searched “solitaire diamond ring” on Amazon.com.
Let me be clear about this. Unlike other online jewelry distributors, Amazon does not sell diamonds themselves. Instead, individual sellers use Amazon as a platform to reach shoppers by listing their goods there.
And I take an issue with how the product details are being listed.
If you look at the listings above, do you notice that each of these listings show a ring with a near flawless center diamond? Next, read the descriptions and look at the extremely low clarity that the diamonds have.
As a professional in the industry, I can tell you that an I2 diamond will NEVER look anything close to what you see in the listings. Here’s how an accurately GIA graded I2 diamond looks like in real life.
The scumbag sellers on Amazon use stock photos instead of actual images.
Does it resemble the clear, sparkling center stones you see in those listings? Contrary to what is being shown in the listing, this is what your engagement ring will look like when you buy an I2 clarity diamond. And let me tell you this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Besides blatant misrepresentation of product images, there are even more problems like unreliable grading reports (or certifications as the sellers on Amazon call it), unclear specifications and fake reviews.
I’ve even come across listings when searching for diamond jewelry only to realize that what is being sold is a diamond simulant. It just creates so much confusion for the consumer when sellers list cubic zirconia jewelry as CZ diamonds or cheap diamond rings!
As a consumer, there are so many pitfalls that you need to avoid when buying a diamond ring at Amazon. The fact that you need to be on your toes all the time just to avoid getting ripped off leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Ok. Let’s say you are really tech-savvy and you know how to use the right terms in the search bar (e.g. GIA graded diamond rings) to get a better selection of rings to choose from. In fact, let’s assume you’ve already done some prior research on Beyond4cs.com and can navigate through the scams.
Even so, Amazon’s business model still doesn’t resolve a fundamental problem for engagement ring shoppers. Think about it. The diamond ring is a very personal purchase and it is made up of 2 components: a setting design and the center diamond.
At Amazon, you have very limited choices on the choice of setting (solitaire, pave, halo etc…) and the ability to select the right quality diamond is non-existent. In fact, almost every listing you see on Amazon.com is a preset diamond ring where you have no say over the quality of the center stone.
As a consumer, this matters because it means you have no idea what you will be getting exactly and you have little control over the final cost/quality of the ring. In contrast, when you are buying a diamond ring from a proper jeweler like Blue Nile, James Allen or White Flash, you get to choose and customize your order completely to your liking.
Hundreds of beautiful ring settings for you to choose from at Blue Nile.
Hundreds of GIA graded loose diamonds for all kinds of budget and preferences.
One of the biggest misconception that consumers have when shopping for diamond jewelry at Amazon is that they get better prices and “discounts”. The truth is far from that. Let me show you with real listing examples and tangible proof that prices aren’t necessarily lower at Amazon.
First, let’s take a look at this 1 carat H color I1 diamond graded by GIA. It is listed on Amazon at a price of $3,317.05. Comparatively, a similar diamond on James Allen would only cost $2,980! And that’s roughly a difference of 10% in prices.
Price comparison of Amazon.com versus JamesAllen.com loose diamonds.
In the next example, a random GIA certified diamond listing was selected on Amazon.com. As you can see below, the 0.7 carat, F color, VS2 clarity, round cut diamond is priced at $4,204.04. For this comparison, a similar diamond was selected from another vendor and it only costs $2,793 at BlueNile.com.
That’s close to a whopping 50% price difference!
Price comparison of Amazon.com versus BlueNile.com loose diamonds.
I could continue with a neverending list of examples to show you why it isn’t cheaper to shop at Amazon but I think you get the point. Besides the differences in prices, the other thing I want to highlight is the lack of photographs/videos when you shop at Amazon. Basically, you are expected to shop blindly for a big-ticket item and that really puts you in a position of disadvantage.
While it may be true that you can find better prices and discounts on many lifestyle products when you shop at Amazon, buying diamond jewelry at Amazon isn’t going to be cheaper. They are seemingly low price because of the garbage tier quality you are getting.
And let me be absolutely clear about this. The fact that diamonds are often sold with descriptions like “G-H” or “I1-I3” range is a BIG problem because you will never be exactly sure what you are buying. In most cases, you are actually paying MORE for a lesser quality piece of jewelry on Amazon!
Although buying diamonds on Amazon may seem like a viable option (especially for consumers who don’t know better), I personally think it would be a better idea to get your diamonds from online jewelry websites that specialize in them.
You’ll get better customer service, tangible data to base your decisions on, better prices and consultations with in-house gemologists if there’s a need for more details on a particular stone.