Since most local jewelry stores do not carry heart shaped diamonds in their inventory or had grossly overpriced their diamonds, it was time to seriously consider buying a diamond online.

buying diamonds online - is it safe?

Here Are My First Thoughts of Buying a Diamond Internationally

1) Why are the prices so drastically different? Is this too good to be true?

2) Will the diamond be switched and not match up to the grading report?

3) What if a payment was made to the online jeweler and they disappeared on me?

4) What if the delivery gets lost?

5) What if the delivery guys (i.e. FedEx or UPS) tampered with the delivery and exchanged the ring with another item?

6) What if the ring arrived and didn’t meet my expectations?

I know I might be sounding a little paranoid here, but these were all legitimate security questions that were at the back of my head. If you aren’t familiar with making purchases over the Internet, I bet that these would be similar questions on your mind.

After In-Depth Research, I Had Answers…

1) Online stores do not have huge overhead expenses like rental and salaries for sales staff. The lower operating costs translate to better prices being passed onto the consumer. Does this makes sense? Well, it did to me.

2) If I bought the ring online and get it independently appraised by a local gemologist, I could verify the authenticity of the diamond. This would only cost me an additional $35 in appraisal fees and I could have a peace of mind. In fact, this is something I would do even if I purchased my diamond from a local store.

3) Online stores that had been around for some time would already have built up a customer base. Doing your due research on the company you intend to buy from is definitely a must. Likewise, the same logic applies even if you intend to shop in a local store.

Would you purchase a stone from a makeshift store by the alley or buy from some unknown jewelry store in the mall without conducting prior research?

No, you wouldn’t.

who what where why questions

For online stores, you can read up on reviews and feedback from past customers via websites like iVouch or Yelp. For your convenience, I had also consolidated reviews of popular online vendors here.

4) Delivery is always fully insured to protect both the vendor (sender) and consumer (recipient). After all, you aren’t the only party involved and concerned about safe deliveries.

5) In a fully insured delivery, the delivery guys like FedEx and UPS are very unlikely to “mess” around with your parcel. Even in the unlikely event of a tampered item, the jewelry store would help you sort things out and file a claim against the insurance company.

With further research, I realized that “high value” items are delivered via courier services all the time. If there were so many issues with courier services, FedEx or UPS would probably be out of business now. Admittedly, on rare occasions, parcels can still get lost and occasional screw-ups might happen. On this note, you are protected by point #4 where the insurance policy would come into play.

6) Having a good return policy is an indication that the vendor fully stands behind their product. Personally, I would only do business with stores that offer an unconditional money back guarantee as it would eliminate risk. In the event you do not like the piece of jewelry after receiving it, you could always return the ring back for a full refund.

Do take note that some online sellers (most notably eBay sellers) would charge a restocking fee should you return an item. I do not recommend buying from such vendors as there is a higher chance of running into problems.

Vendors like James Allen will pay return shipping for customers in U.S. if you are not 100% satisfied. James Allen also has one of the most generous return policy in the industry with a no-quibble 30 days money-back guarantee. This means there’s zero risk when you make a purchase.

As you can see, even if any unexpected problem arises, you are always protected at each step of the sale process. In fact, you would be pleased to know that out of the thousands of readers I had personally helped so far, not a single one had met with any shipping issues when they shop at reliable vendors.

Now that we had addressed the security issues of online purchases, I will show you both sides of the coin when it comes to online shopping.

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  1. Paroji-
    March 2, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Dear Paul,

    I found your website after long time of research.
    I live in Germany and my husband bought me a wonderful and expensive engagement ring in Israel.

    The problem: the center diamond had inclusions.
    The quality is VS2 and there should not be any visible inclusions…. but in the first diamond was a cloud and after exchange the second diamond had a tiny scratch on the surface.
    So I returned the ring for repair…again.

    The center diamond is a round brilliant and measures 4.70 – 4.81 x 3.28 mm.

    The weight is 0.5 carat, color grade is F, Clarity grade VS2 and cut grade “Very good”.

    Finish and Polish is also very good and fluorescence “faint” – clarity enhanced.

    The jeweller wants to replace the diamond with a VVS2 diamond, but it is 0.45 ct. I know the quality is better, but I dont know how much difference 0,05 ct would make in value.

    He wrote me this: “…the weight of the diamond is 0.45ct, but the diameter is exactly equal to 0.50ct (this stone is even 0.1mm bigger than your 0.50ct diamond). You will not see much difference since it is only 0.1mm bigger than your diamond.”

    My problem is, that I dont have good experience with this jeweller, since he sent a diamond two times, which was not the promised quality. Now I dont know, if his offer is good or even worse, even if the diamond quality is better.

    I do not have any experience of how much the diamond value differs in that case.

    I believe you get many questions ….but I would be very thankful for an answer. The jeweller is waiting for my message.

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 3, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    The problem I see in this purchase is that the diamond isn’t graded by GIA. If it was, you shouldn’t be able to see any inclusions for an accurately graded VS2 diamond with such a small carat size. The clarity enhancement is a big red flag that tells me you were ripped off in this purchase.

    The fact that you were sold a clarity enhanced diamond raises alot of red flags with this jeweler. Is this what you wanted in the first place and were you properly explained about how a garbage tier diamond was used for treatment to make it saleable? Sending bad diamonds to you on two occasions should be a big warning sign to you.

    If the 2nd replacement diamond isn’t a GIA certified diamond, get a full refund for the ring and go elsewhere.

  3. Jamie-
    September 15, 2018 at 5:02 am

    Great website and full of informative content presented in a clean and concise manner. I have some questions for you.

    1) Would a difference of G or H color rating be observable by the naked eyes? I am somewhat concerned about buying a lower color diamond for a two carat size engagement ring.

    2) Is the idealscope of aset better for analysing cut performance and light return?

    3) I have shortlisted these two diamonds and would need you help to review them for me. How did I fare?

    4) I’m an Aussie and there are sales taxes here for importing diamonds from the US. Is it better for me to stay with local stores or buy a hearts and arrows diamond from an online retailer? Between James Allen and White Flash, who would you say is better?
    5) What are your thoughts about buying a loose diamond online to see it first and then buying the setting from a local jeweler. There is a setting that I like from a jeweler in Melbourne.

    Thanks mate! If I can help in any way to repay the favour and kindness, let me know!

  4. Paul Gian-
    September 18, 2018 at 1:23 am

    Hi Jamie,

    1) Not noticeable to the naked eyes in the face up view even in a side by side comparison.

    2) ASET is the easiest to understand : for a shortcut, just compare them to the references I made in that link.

    3) Cut quality wise, both diamonds are on par. I can tell you that these are 2 of the best buys to get performance and value for money:
    The first diamond offers the best value for money above. That’s the one I would personally get. If you need to go lower in budget, then go for the 2nd stone.

    4) There’s no issue buying from White Flash or James Allen. Even after taxes are included, they will be cheaper than like for like diamonds sold in local stores. That is, if they even have well cut diamonds to begin with in local stores. Most Australian jewelers sell “junk” cut diamonds and Australian readers I’ve help have feedback the same thing (lower prices). I will reiterate, better prices are not the primary reason for going online. Cut quality is. Better prices are just a byproduct of going online.

    Both reliable vendors and specialize in different things. White Flash is great for round diamonds. It also depends on the setting you like. The different online retailers sell very different designs.

    5) I recommend you get the setting done at the place you get the ring from. It reduces hassle and makes one jeweler completely responsible for the entire piece. Who are you going to trust with for that diamond? You will need to do the legwork all over again. And for the record, I can tell you that the settings made by White Flash and James Allen are top-notch.

    Sharing the website with people you know who are buying diamond rings would be the best way to “repay” me. When readers do that, it tells me I’m doing something right with the website.


  5. John-
    December 7, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Paul,

    As many have said, amazing site – so glad I found it. Every time I think I know diamonds enough to make an educated decision, I learn something new thanks to sites and candid honest opinions like yours.

    So here I am looking for an engagement ring. I live in Seattle, but work primarily out of San Francisco right now, so am exploring multiple options. I’ve looked at retailers’ websites, looked at Blue Nile & James Allen, visited 1 local/boutique shop in Seattle, and am now visiting a few SF diamond district sellers. Looking for some more opinions.

    Current specifications I am leaning towards:
    • Budget for stone only – $8K
    • Shape – round
    • Cut – Excellent. After reading your threads, I am looking to go with triple excellent and hopefully your ideal proportions
    • Color I (potentially H)
    • Clarity – SI1 (maybe a really strong SI2 or a VS2 if the price was right)
    • Carats – 1.1 – 1.5 (based on prices I’ve seen with these filters, depending on the vendor)
    After narrowing the filter on my search, I’ve come up with these two stones. Thoughts on stone quality and price? (I’d negotiate).

    I just want to make sure I am understanding all of your logic correctly. These are the best prices I’ve come across for the carats. General thoughts on a vendor like this? And what kind of negotiating power I might have? I have set an appointment with them for tomorrow afternoon.

    For ring setting, I am still torn between 18K white gold and platinum. I saw in one of your comment threads in another article you recommended white gold to not pay the premium, can you say exactly why? This vendor told me one setting I liked was about $500 in white gold, and probably $750 platinum.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Paul Gian-
    December 8, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Prices aren’t negotiable for the online vendors as they are very competitive to begin with. You don’t get shenanigans like quoting you an insanely high figure in brick and mortar stores and slashing prices off by 50% to make you think you’ve gotten a good deal. Tactics like these are used to rip off unsuspecting consumers when the fact is that online prices are going to be much better than brick and mortar stores even AFTER any claims of discounts. As for the choice of platinum vs white gold, it really is up to what you like and prefer. Platinum feels heavier and is good for sensitive skin. White gold is cheaper and offers better value for money.

    As for the 2 diamonds, both are well cut diamonds and I do like the first diamond a little more because of its eyeclean inclusions. Go for that!

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