Is it Safe to Buy Diamonds Online?

a lovely heart shaped diamondThe practice of obtaining our goods and our services through online mediums has become ubiquitous during the last decade. Diamonds and jewelry products are no exceptions as businesses join the online fray to fulfill needs of tech savvy consumers. It’s no coincidence that the number of online distributors has kept increasing as more and more people get connected to the Internet.

As with anything else online, judging the security of a certain service is highly subjective. For a consumer, the trust and security issues are even more important considering the typical expenditure spent on a diamond ring purchase.

There are a few checkpoints which should be met by your chosen vendor before you hit the “Pay” button. Let us take short look at online security and safe practices when it comes to buying diamonds.

The Power of a Brand And Blatant Technical Tips

The Internet has been around for more than 20 years with e-commerce becoming well-established and consumer awareness being raised. For newcomers or distributors to the diamond industry, he/she would most likely not be able to hold out and gain short term profits in the market. The industry doesn’t work like that.

You see, skepticism runs high when it comes to spending thousands of dollars by entering a credit card number. Given a choice, who would you choose to do business with? The business that had built a brand around their products for years or an anonymous website that was just created last week? The answer is pretty clear – most renowned companies can overcome that skepticism and establish trust with a potential customer.

Telltale signs of good online jewelry distributors include being around for a decent period of time and a good amount of past customers. In fact, you can check the brand through customer review websites like Yelp, iVouch or via Google. Generally, you should not trust sites branded along the lines of “very cheap diamonds” or “un-certified diamonds”, but that probably seems obvious.

Where the Online Market is Unbeatable – Product Range and Price

When you start browsing the product range of online vendors and compare it to what you seen at your local store, don’t be surprised to see a 10,000 times difference in inventory size. Heck, you might even be thinking that Bill Gates must be funding the company in question.

Well, I do not know much about Mr. Gates’ investments in the jewelry market, but I might know the reason behind the choice abundance that online distributors have. They simply download and connect several databases of diamond lists from their suppliers and don’t actually own the diamonds themselves. By adding an interface with different search filters, you could tweak the parameters to narrow down choices that suit your needs.

Also, no “offline” jeweler can come even close to the prices offered by online competitors. Online distributors can spare a lot of money by not having to pay rent for showrooms and lesser overheads like salary to a salesman in a physical store. Lower overheads equal lower costs. That ultimately results in unbeatable prices as the savings get passed on.

Can your local jewelry store allow you to cherry pick from a massive inventory size of more than 40,000 diamonds? I doubt so. Besides vast diamond selections, JamesAllen.com enables you to inspect diamonds with upclose videos to see even the finest details!

Everybody Likes to See the Product Before Payment, Is That Not Obvious?

inspecting a diamond's quality

Diamonds are products where their beauty is based entirely on their visual performance. A diamond’s cut quality is actually defined by its capacity of reflecting light. The question here really is: “If I can’t see it, how do I know it sparkles well?”

There are businesses that operate both storefront as well as virtual operations. One example of such a vendor is Whiteflash.com. Not only do they run a credible online business, they had recently launched a showroom in Houston, Texas to enable customers to arrange walk in appointments.

That said, unless you are staying in that particular part of the world, most headquarters of online diamond distributors are probably located at a distance from you. Also, not every online store has a physical location that allows walk-ins. This means you cannot take a look at the gemstone physically and put it behind a jeweler’s loupe.

What should you do in such cases?

The REAL trick to shopping online is to utilize evaluation tools. This will make your shopping even safer than buying one in store where you rely on the jeweler’s recommendation. For example, does the website provide real photographs of their products at high magnifications? Do they also provide light performance evaluations like ASET or Idealscope?

Once you have these data on hand, it allows you to make rational decisions without the hassle of being pressured into a sale when dealing with in-store salespeople. In fact, I personally think that it is better to buy diamonds online rather then walking in store because you are less likely to make impulsive mistakes.

Summing It Up: Is Really OK to Shop for Diamonds Over the Internet?

complete set of wedding jewelryBuying diamonds online is not something that you are likely to pioneer. The fact is, millions of people have done it and are still doing it. However, you still have to be really careful to end up with proper products for your money.

First of all, do your own research. Make sure that the company you had chosen has some positive reviews. If they have negative feedback being posted, find out why and how the company deals with responding to such reviews.

I personally think how a company handles complaints is even more important than reading testimonials of previous customers. Good businesses take care of customers in the event of problems. Bad ones? Well, they don’t and won’t even bother trying to address issues.

Finally, you should make sure that the vendor offers a money back guarantee on your purchase. This is really to safeguard yourself and removes risks in the transaction. In the event that you are not satisfied with the diamond bought, you can still to send it back and have your money returned.

All in all, applying some common sense and doing a little legwork in research will go a long way to ensuring a successful purchase. Lastly, we recently posed as customers and tested out some of the most well-known companies in the industry. Some are great but the majority of them just fall short. If you would like to read our reviews in detail and find out which companies came out winners, click here to find out more

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7 Comments

  1. John-
    April 13, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Hey there, I just saw your website describing your experience in purchasing that beautiful heart-cut diamond ring :) – it’s really beautiful! (especially when the diamond shows of a brilliant glimmer)

    I’m also shopping for a heart-shaped diamond, as I’m planning to propose to my girlfriend of 4 years.

    Just want to ask your opinion on whether online jewelers are really legit? – are they the real thing???????????

    I’m pretty worried at the moment as the diamond that I am looking for, would cost approximately $2800-$3500 – that’s a pretty big transaction! I’ve read on your website that most of these jewelers would prefer wire transfer, which adds up to my dilemma, since I’ll be transacting a lump sum of cash to someone which I have never met oversea (I’m from Malaysia actually).

    What if they run off with my money without giving me the goods? Or send me the wrong diamond, or they send it via fedex, but apparently, someone inside fedex stole the diamond and sealed the bag up nicely and deliver it as usual…

    So, your entire transaction with b2cjewels went great/smoothly without any hiccups?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  2. Paul Gian-
    April 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for your email and congrats in making the decision to propose. : )

    Please see answers in below.

    The online jewelers are really legit. As you can see from my own personal experience, I also had the same dilemma as you when I was shopping for diamonds online. But after careful shopping and analyzing, yes, they are real and I saved about $3000 off instead of buying it in malls from Singapore.

    The good thing here is that diamond rings are always delivered in a fully insured shipping. A ring around $3k USD will cost about $100USD in shipping (with full insurance)! When the package is fully insured, the shippers don’t fool around. It’s the same for other stuff in real life business. A brick and mortar shop ships in goods like clothing, bags supplies and etc. A single shipment can have a goods value of more than $10k easily and they don’t get tampered with when they are insured.

    Online jewelers will NOT swap/send the wrong diamond. They have nothing to gain from it. A bad review or a complaint in BBB will cause a loss in reputation which incurs greater losses for them. You will get the diamond as mentioned in the cert. If you want a peace of mind, get a 2nd opinion about the diamond after receiving it ( I was a skeptic as well ). Bring the ring to a local gem appraiser and have him/her look at it.

    It will measure up. If you still don’t like what you see, send it back to them for a refund. They will honor it. But my advice for you is to do it once, do it well. If you did proper research before buying a heart shaped diamond ring, you won’t have to worry about sending it back.

    So, your entire transaction with b2cjewels went great/smoothly without any hiccups?

    No hiccups at all. In fact, I was really silly not to buy the wedding band together with the ring. I would assume you are a Chinese based on your surname. In my customary, we have to buy wedding bands and I didn’t think of it when I bought the proposal ring. So, a month later, I had to make another purchase from B2C Jewels for a matching band.

    I ended up paying for another round of Fedex shipment which cost me an additional $60 USD.

    So, I had 2 successful shipments with no hiccups so far.

    *Update (Jul 2018): After my proposal ring was purchased from an internet vendor, I had never looked back. I went on to buy several more rings for my wife. You can read through the experiences in the following links:

    https://beyond4cs.com/fancy-colored/cushion-cut-fancy-intense-yellow-diamond-engagement-ring/
    https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/brilliant-earth/
    https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/blue-nile/
    https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/whiteflash/a-cut-above/

  3. John-
    April 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Hi there Paul!

    Didn’t think you’d reply so fast! Really appreciate it, and your email is a real confidence booster – I’m also looking at some of the other links that you have included on your email.

    Sorry to bother you further, but I’m just curious on something – how long did it take to complete your first transaction (the one which you bought your proposal ring). Meaning from the first email inquiry, right up to paying for the transaction?

    Thank you in advance Paul! :)
    Regards,

  4. Paul Gian-
    April 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Excluding the prior research on choosing diamonds (took me about 3-4 weeks of online research / books reading), it took me about 2 days after first contact with the retailer to make the purchase. Most online jewellers have a live chat system where you can check in with them with regards to any questions you have. Alternatively, you might want to give them a phone call. You will probably be able to get immediate answers to any inquiries.

    In my case, paying for the transaction was immediate as I have a paypal account and the online retailer to allow me to use it. Most jewelers understand that a customer might need more time to head down to the bank to make a transfer and would usually extend the hold on a diamond for you once you confirm your interest in it. Of course, if you have access to internet banking, that would be immediate as well.

    Before you make any money transfer, you want to double check again that the diamond is available. Online diamonds fly off the shelves very quickly, especially the better ones.

    Paul

  5. Nathan Johnson-
    March 31, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    My anniversary is coming up and I know that my wife would like to get a real diamond ring. I would like to buy online because of the wide selection and convenience but I’m still nervous about it. I appreciate you talking about how to do it safely. It seems like it can still be done as long as you do your homework. Thanks for the info!

  6. DJ Jones-
    November 24, 2017 at 3:32 am

    I stay near downtown Dallas (The Big D) and had visited some of the jewelry stores in the area. However, prices all seem really expensive and I am having difficulty in finding a 1.5ct princess cut diamond engagement ring. The biggest sizes that the stores have range up to 1.2ct only. Would you have any idea of where to shop and if you know of someone in the city, I would gladly love a referral.

  7. Paul Gian-
    November 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    If you are looking for well cut princess diamonds, there are 2 vendors that specialize in them in Houston city. It’s a short drive away from Dallas and you can get more details here: https://beyond4cs.com/jewelry-guide/engagement-rings-dallas-texas/

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