Where can you buy that perfect diamond engagement ring?
Unquestionably, e-commerce has become ubiquitous in our lives. Most of us are accustomed to buying everything online. From pizzas, new laptops, clothing and even groceries, I’m sure you probably bought something online before.
However, when it comes to larger expenses, many people tend to be more cautious toward spending money online. Just like how buying a new car online might not make you feel comfortable, buying a diamond ring online may induce skepticism for first-time shoppers.
When done well, buying a diamond ring online can be very rewarding with better quality selections and significantly lower prices. If you do a simple search on Google, you will probably find a myriad of websites offering jewelry and diamond rings at various prices.
While most of them are legitimate businesses, the question really is if you are able to make the best purchase and how do you choose between which vendors to go with?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Over the years, I’ve personally mystery shopped hundreds of vendors on the Internet and conducted in-store shopping reviews of the biggest brands in the industry.
You can read my unbiased and unfiltered shopping experiences with different diamond retailers. You can even get to see videos and detailed photographs of the diamond rings that I’ve purchased in these reviews.
Some of the gorgeous diamond rings I’ve recently bought from my favorite retailers…
Here is a list of topics we will be covering. If you are looking for a review of any particular business, feel free to jump directly to the corresponding sections below:
#1: James Allen – The leading online jeweler with real images and magnified videos. JamesAllen.com is one of the first online sites to revolutionize the world of buying diamonds over the Internet.
With high resolution videos and pictures of diamonds combined with free value-added services like having an in-house gemologist to evaluate your choices, you can shop with peace of mind.
More importantly, you get to see exactly what your diamond ring looks like in real life and have a large selection of GIA/AGS certified diamonds to cherry pick from.
#2: White Flash – This Houston based jeweler specializes in AGS super ideal cut diamonds and designer engagement rings. If you are looking for ideal cut rounds or princess diamonds with superlative performance, Whiteflash is definitely a vendor you want to check out. They also offer a vast selection of designer rings and breathtaking settings to choose from.
#3: Brian Gavin Diamonds – Brian Gavin is a man who is held in the highest esteem by the industry. He is one of the pioneers who popularized hearts and arrows diamonds which are known for their superior light performance.
Brian Gavin has also patented several diamond cutting styles like the cushion hearts and arrows and recently launched their signature line of ideal cut emerald diamonds. If you are looking for the best of the best, they are the place to go to.
When it comes to buying a diamond online, one of the most important things to look out for is whether you get exactly what you see. You see, anyone can download stock photos of different diamonds and put them in a listing.
Sadly, this happens frequently where many of the mediocre online vendors use generic diamond images in their listings and pass it off as if the diamonds they sell look like that.
Also, anyone can upload CAD (computer-aided design) drawings of different jewelry artwork and claimed that they made the design. What you should expect from a great online diamond distributor is their willingness to share information and data with you.
For example, a series of actual photographs of the stone you are about to buy, videos capturing the performance of the diamond in different lighting or even essential information like grading reports should be made readily available to you.
When buying online, you should also do your own due diligence when sizing up a potential purchase. For example, you could start by comparing the stone’s image with deep zooming or virtual loupes against the grading report.
Doing so can help you verify the genuineness of the photographs/videos provided. Needless to say, this is also a practice you should bring to your local jeweler if you intend to shop offline.
Which is the best online jewelry store to buy a diamond from?
Another aspect of good e-stores is whether or not they provide good customer service. Buying diamonds is usually heavy on your wallet and the industry is full of technical jargon that can easily confuse someone new.
So, it’s normal to expect and ask for a live voice or messaging system where you can clarify any questions you might have.
In fact, you could test a sales person’s product knowledge by asking them a few simple questions: “How can I tell that the diamond I am looking at matches the descriptions in the lab report?” or “Are all GIA triple excellent diamonds the same?” If the answer is to trust them on their word or that all GIA triple excellent stones are the same, you should probably look for another vendor.
Another question can go like this: “What’s the difference between EGL and GIA certifications?” If the jeweler tells you they are of the same standard and tries to push for an EGL stone, you will know he/she isn’t being honest with you.
Of course, you probably need to ask other questions pertaining to cut or doubts you have and see how they respond to your queries.
James Allen is a vendor that excels in this regard. When it comes to customer service, they have raised the bar very high with their “Diamond Inspection” function where you can chat with a consultant in real time and review a diamond on the same screen while asking any questions you have.
All you need to do is to click a button on the diamond listing page and a professional consultant will be with you in seconds. Thereafter, both of you can interact with the diamond video and you can simply ask your questions.
One of the biggest advantages online distributors have over physical stores is the immense inventory size and product range they can offer. In contrast, the assortment of diamonds a physical store can offer would be limited to what the local market is interested in buying.
On this note, an online store should usually be able to provide more options and meet your needs (i.e. 4cs specifications/budget) easily compared to a traditional brick and mortar store.
Due to the number of choices and options available, the usability of the website would play an important role in the overall shopping experience. Jewelers with categorized search criteria and neat layouts will help you narrow your selections in an organized manner.
Some of the better vendors like White Flash will even enable you to compare diamonds easily after you have shortlisted your favorite options.They will even go above and beyond to help you capture real-life comparison videos to help you make better decisions.
All of the requirements mentioned above may seem like bare replacements for features the majority of “offline” stores have to offer. However, the truth is far from that. Great photography and videos are very useful and more important than you think it is.
Now, I’m sure you have all heard what the local jewelers had been saying in defense of shopping online: “Nothing beats seeing the stones in reality.” Well, let me rephrase the question and turn it around to you. If you were given 2 diamonds to examine in the store, do you know which to pick or what to look out for?
Most consumers can’t and don’t understand diamonds sufficiently enough to make a smart decision. In fact, you would more likely be able to make a rational decision when there’s no one pressurizing you into a sale compared to having a salesperson talking non-stop beside you.
Explore hundreds of beautifully crafted ring designs in 360° videos at JamesAllen.com
Of course, you could argue that most physical stores will probably have a “qualified professional” who can help you find what you want and explain why you would want to choose a particular diamond or setting design.
If you want to have a great variety of options, you can still drive to, say, New York and find a huge store that has a wide range of products where you can get ideas from. Needless, these are all features you have to pay for and the prices in a physical store (usually double of online prices) are indicative of it.
My question to you is: Do you really need to do that in today’s modern age? You can get the same kind of experience via online shopping too. In contrast to local stores, online jewelry vendors are required to offer all the above-mentioned features and more if they want to survive in this competitive market. That is the change we are seeing in today’s online businesses and consumers are the ones who benefit the most.
Internet vendors have a different business model which is based on the absence of expensive rentals and steep advertising fees. With increasing technology and better broadband speeds, you will be surprised at how advanced the experience of Internet shopping can be.
For that reason, a good online diamond jeweler can even offer to design an identical ring replica found in your local store, with significantly lower prices and turnaround time.
Lovely Tacori engagement ring that features the iconic crescent design.