Buying Diamonds on eBay? You Better Think Twice…

buying a diamond ring at ebay

Should you shop for a diamond engagement ring on eBay?

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the online auction giant, eBay. From story books, stuffed toys to electronic gadgets, you can literally get anything imaginable there. And that includes diamonds and fine jewelry.

Word to the wise, there are many eBay sellers who blatantly mispresent or cheat the uneducated buyer and it’s a shark tank out there. The short answer to avoid getting scammed in eBay purchases is to buy your diamond jewelry elsewhere.

But what if you still plan to make your purchase there despite all the warnings given? Well, that’s the purpose behind writing this article – to help you understand how these scams work and why eBay is such a bad idea when it comes to buying diamond rings.

The Devil is in the Details And Fine Print

One of the key problems of shopping on eBay is that it is almost impossible to know exactly what you are buying. If you are a complete beginner, you might be easily fooled by what you see on eBay because a lot of sellers use stock photos for their listings instead of actual pictures.

stock photo scam

Don’t expect your diamond to look flawless like the image above.

If you do a quick browse on eBay through their fine jewelry section, you will see plenty of listing titles that scream diamonds, fancy gemstones, platinum or white gold rings being sold at impossibly low prices.

But once you take a closer look at the description details, you will find that their meaning of platinum is actually brass plated rhodium or the diamond being cubic zirconia (CZ). What’s even worse is that important information like this is hidden in fine print or thick walls of text to make it hard to read.

Practices like these should be made illegal and yet, the lax rules and regulations on eBay only encourage blatant, misleading conduct to flourish on the website. The fact that you are required to navigate a minefield of misleading sales tactics just to find something remotely decent makes the entire shopping experience a big turn off.


The key to making educated purchase decisions is to base them on tangible data. When it comes to buying a diamond, a vendor with transparent business practices will offer clear sales policies and data like HD videos/images to help you understand exactly what you are buying.

snapshot video

A typical listing on James Allen allows you to see full details of the diamond.

Forget eBay. You aren’t going to see such features anytime soon. Instead, head over to James Allen and check out their awesome 360° video technology where you get to scrutinize the tiniest details.

Diamond Prices Aren’t Cheaper at All!

People often have the misconception that eBay offers deals and bargains for diamond jewelry because they only compare prices on the surface. The biggest mistake they make is to compare an uncertified diamond on eBay against a GIA certified diamond sold by a retailer and assume that the cheaper diamond is the better deal.

It’s not!  The fact is, when you start comparing apples to apple, the majority of listings on eBay are actually more expensive than buying from a proper retailer. And let me tell you why.

Sellers on eBay are not able to offer a competitive price because of the high fees that are charged when a transaction is made. FYI, eBay charges a fee of 9-12% depending on the value of the item sold and we haven’t even taken into account the seller’s margin, payment processing and shipping fees involved.

In contrast, online retailers typically work with a 10-20% markup and that is inclusive of all the expenses they incur from buying the inventory, customizing the diamond ring to shipping it securely via FedEx/UPS to your doorstep.

Price Comparison Between eBay vs James Allen

Let’s take a look at real life listings to illustrate this.

This is a well cut GIA certified diamond I found on eBay that costs $15,300 with F color and VVS2 clarity. Now, this particular seller is actually one of the better ones that provide photographs and images of what they are selling. After adding up the postage fees, the purchase would cost you around $15,360.

ebay diamond comparison price gia how to buy

To perform the price comparison, I searched for diamonds with similar qualities on James Allen and here’s a screenshot of what I found. For $13,000, I could easily find 4 options with better color/clarity specs. In fact, I could still add in the cost of a beautiful setting to complete the ring and the total costs would still be less than the eBay diamond.

loose marquise diamond gia certified price listings chart james allen

But, here’s the kicker. Not only are the prices significantly more expensive, but the sales policies on eBay are also terrible and don’t protect the interest of the shopper. Case in point, if you were unhappy with the diamond purchase above, you are required to incur the shipping fees to send back the diamond and even a 20% restocking fee.

If you asked me, that’s absolutely ridiculous in this day and age. With a proper vendor like James Allen, you don’t get nonsense like this and get to shop with complete peace of mind.

“Stellar” Reputation of Sellers Can Be Manipulated

ebay seller fine jewelry review

While there are liars and scammers aplenty, there do exist sellers who make an honest living on eBay. But here’s the thing. The only way to finding value on eBay is to manually sift through thousands of listings and reading all the fine print.

One of the first things to check on EBay when purchasing ANY item is the reputation of the seller. How long have they been selling on EBay? Do they have any negative feedback and how had they handled complaints? How long have they been selling jewels or is this the first deal they made?

Unknown to many eBay shoppers, a seller’s reputation can be easily “faked” and improved with the correct tricks. One good question to ask yourself when doing research on a seller is what did they built their reputation on? Could it be that they primarily sell other low priced items in an attempt to build up a good feedback score?

In either case, it is helpful to get a full scope of the seller about who they are and what they are about. Sometimes, you may even come across individuals who are selling unwanted jewelry or their Great Grandmother’s diamond ring. In such scenarios, you should ask for a lab report of the diamond (and obviously, verify it with the lab) as they may not know enough to provide you with what you need.

Identifying a good seller is just the start of running down the rabbit hole. Unlike buying from proper jewelry retailers, you will be sacrificing trade-in options, money back guarantees, warranties and your peace of mind when shopping on eBay.

My Personal Experience With Misrepresented Auctions And Scams

misrepresent picture of diamond auction on ebay

Photograph of vendor’s listing vs. the photograph of the stone I received.

Because of running Beyond4cs.com, I purchase diamonds from different sources all the time to collect samples and material to write about. In this particular transaction I made on eBay, the diamond was irradiated for color enhancement and it was stated clearly in the listing.

That’s fine, because I wanted to purchase some treated diamonds (i.e. laser enhanced, HPHT, radiation) as part of an on-going study. For this particular diamond, the stone wasn’t certified due to its small carat size. I took the word of the vendor about the diamond’s quality since a photograph of the diamond was provided in the listing.

The pictures above showed the vendor’s listing of the diamond and the one on the right showed a picture that I captured with my 10X loupe. In the side by side comparison above, do you see how obvious the inclusions are the picture I captured and how “clean” it looks on the vendor’s listing?

Needless to say, I got a rude shock when I discovered how the diamond was severely included when I received it. And mind you, the photo provided by the seller actually shows a diamond with similar cut qualities and patterning.

This tells me that the vendor didn’t simply use a stock image to misrepresent what they were selling. They actually put in the effort to photoshop the image in an attempt to rip off unsuspecting buyers.

Don’t Want to Get Ripped Off? Shop Elsewhere!

vatche felicity pave diamond engagement ring in 18k white gold 4000 dollars

I bought this fantastic looking Vatche designer ring for only $4,000!

My advice to new shoppers is to avoid eBay all together.

It is a shark tank out there for inexperienced shoppers who are lured by the fake prospects of finding a bargain. It’s just not worth it to put your money at risk. And you don’t have to punish yourself with their terrible search filter interfaces and poor selections of ring settings.

Instead, you should work with REAL reputable online vendors to purchase diamonds or engagement rings. This way, you can always be sure that you get the correct stone that you paid for. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you want to buy a high quality diamond ring, head over to James Allen and White Flash. Both vendors offer a superb selection of GIA/AGS certified diamonds and risk-free sales policies.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    James-
    April 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I saw a few jewelry items on eBay that are certified by GIA accredited appraisers. Is it safe to buy jewelry on ebay? How do I know if the certificate is real or not? If the seller says that a GIA report accompanies the diamond, how can I tell if the certificate is not something that was fraudulently created? Lastly, is there anyway I can tell a natural diamond from an artificial diamond? The last thing I want to get is a lab created diamond when I bought a natural diamond.

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    When someone says a diamond has been certified by an accredited appraiser, it’s a scam. GIA doesn’t accredit any appraisers and you should only rely on a grading report that comes directly from GIA themselves. If you want to know exactly what you are buying, the GIA report will is the best guarantee to let you know whether the diamond is lab created or natural.

    If you actively research and get properly educated about the 4 C’s, namely the cut, carat, clarity and color, you will be able to spot the scammers more accurately. When something just doesn’t seem to match up with what the seller is offering, you should follow your instincts and avoid the deal.

    Since you can’t see the stone itself, you will need to closely examine what is said about the stone. Be sure you have a guarantee to return the stone if you receive it and it is not what you thought it was in the first place.

    You want to ensure the stone is natural and not a lab created diamond or a stimulant as many sellers on eBay use misleading titles and descriptions. Enhanced diamonds are worth a lot less than untreated, natural stones and the price should be reflective of that. The point I’m trying to make here is that you shouldn’t be overpaying for a synthetic stone at the price of a natural one.

    You also want to ensure there is a reputable certificate attached to your diamond. For example, a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certification will have the specifics of the carat, clarity, cut and color as well as other details about the diamond you are purchasing. Make sure you see the photograph of the certificate and examine its authenticity.

    gemstone graded with gia diamond dossier

    GIA Diamond Dossier Report

    Most certifications are laminated; so look closely to see whether this has been tampered with and the certification is not forged. With the serial number of the lab report, you can compare the serial number with the lab to ensure it was indeed certified by them.

  3. Avatar
    rainee-
    July 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I’ve been purchasing a number of loose diamonds and gemstones on ebay and don’t necessary agree with what you say in your write up. Sure, there are scammers on ebay but this happens everywhere in real life as well. You just have to be smart about who you are dealing with and look at the sales policies. Make sure you check in with the sellers before you make a purchase if you have anything you aren’t sure about.

    Here’s a list of the best diamond sellers on ebay and most of them have good reviews.

    1 Wabash jewelers
    2 Superior diamonds
    3 Diamond for good 9
    4 Astro diamonds
    5 deejay jewelers
    6 bennett jewelers

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    July 22, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    GIA doesn’t evaluate diamond rings nor gives details down to the weightage of the white gold ring. I1-I2 clarity is garbage tier and the fact that you are telling me that the ring has a range of clarity tells me that GIA didn’t certify the diamond. If it were an authentic grading report by GIA, it would have stated exactly the clarity grade of the diamond. It’s either I1 or I2 or I3 and not as a range. This is just such a bad purchase on all accounts.

  5. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    July 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I looked at the list of best ebay engagement ring sellers and am really surprised by the type of vendors you classify as being good. You clearly don’t know what you are doing. A lot of these vendors do business in the exact manner I am warning about. From unreliable appraisal certifications, treated diamonds to misleading titles, I would be extremely worried for you if you did buy diamonds from them.

  6. Avatar
    August 28, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks so much again for your help selecting my fiance’s engagement ring. She loved it and said yes! I also saved at least $1000 – $2000 over what a “good” jeweler I located was charging.

    I’d like to purchase her a tennis bracelet for the wedding present but am having trouble finding one. She’s very petite and I like the ones with smaller diamonds. I’m just wondering what you think of buying on eBay which is why I attached the link. Are there any websites you know of that are good for tennis bracelets?

    Have you heard of talia diamonds or dimira jewelry on ebay? If you have any reviews on them, it would be good to hear your thoughts.

    Thank you,

    Kurt

  7. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    August 29, 2019 at 3:32 am

    I’ve never heard of talia diamonds or dimira jewelry. I did a quick google search and found their store listings on eBay. One of them deals in enhanced diamonds while the other deals a lot in CZ-like simulants (which are marketed as diamonds). Both of which raise a lot of questions and red flags when I did a quick browse.

    Buying from eBay is generally going to be a really bad idea. Contrary to what most people think, prices are actually excessively expensive. The listings are unreliable which subjects the quality of what the jeweler claims to be questionable. Plus, there’s little protection for the consumer and if you are going to return the bracelet, there can be complications involved.

    For tennis bracelets, I recommend White Flash as they use super ideal cut diamonds for their melees. Here are a few designs to check out:
    https://www.whiteflash.com/diamond-bracelets/half-bezel-diamond-tennis-bracelet-333.htm
    https://www.whiteflash.com/diamond-bracelets/three-prong-diamond-tennis-bracelet-552.htm
    https://www.whiteflash.com/diamond-bracelets/x-prong-diamond-tennis-bracelet-326.htm

  8. Avatar
    Twee,-
    October 15, 2019 at 8:46 am

    I hope this email finds you well. I’d recently won this eBay auction for a 4.09ct round cut diamond ring. The auction ended at $3689.00 but I’ll be paying close to $4100 with tax and shipment. Please open the eBay link below.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/133190373784

    At first, I thought it was a great deal as the diamond ring is so cheap until I’ve read about clarity enhanced diamonds on your online forum. Although it’s listed as a VS1 in clarity and an I in color, is it possible that this diamond was a i1 or si3 in clarity before the enhancement? If so, do you still think this is a good investment for the price?

    Lastly, when a diamond is enhanced, does that apply to the color as well? If so, how much better can a color get after the enhancement process?

    I look forward to your reply and appreciate your knowledge and expertise.

  9. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    October 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

    You’ve just won yourself a giant rip off. The listing and claims that this diamond is a VS1 post enhancement is outright a blatant scam. Look at the video listing at see how obvious the ugly inclusions cover up the left side of the diamond. This is in no way a VS1 clarity grade and definitely no less than an I1 post enhancement which begs the question. What kind of garbage quality it was prior to the treatments. You best get a refund for the ring and not buy it if you haven’t.

  10. Avatar
    Linda-
    October 31, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Enjoyed reading the information you provided about diamonds and the question and answer portion of your site.

    I am somewhat knowledgeable and own a significant amount of jewelry but one can never have enough!! Most of the diamond jewelry I own is in the range of VS1-2 and Si1-2…color range of G thru I… many of my purchases have been estate pieces and I have been fortunate, getting quality pieces at amazing prices. I want to continue on this path!

    My current concern regards a beautifully designed estate 24mm wide pave diamond ring I found on eBay…it has been GIA evaluated as 3.75 carat weight, H color, 17 grams of 14 ct white gold…the problem is the clarity is awful…I1-I2…I have heard differing opinions regarding pave rings and clarity…the price is $1600 and is 100% returnable within 30 days for a full refund …as I have never considered diamonds of this quality, I am conflicted about even considering this piece and welcome your opinion… I am still grieving over a recent purchase I made on eBay for a brand new 4 carat pave ring, VS2-SI1 G-H color, 13 grams of 14 ct. gold…I paid $1800.00 but I didn’t realize it was a size 11 until I received it and it could not be resized without damaging the pave….it nearly killed me to return it!

    I love the design of the ring I am considering but really don’t know if it is worth anything being of such poor clarity…HELP!!

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