Online Diamond Shopping - Diamond Guide for the Internet Age
By Bryan Boyne (g.g.) , Wednesday, March 06, 2013
The thought of buying something as expensive as a diamond online is a scary proposition for most people. But for those who can get past that first impulse and explore the idea a little deeper, a brilliant new world begins to open up. And that new understanding can be very rewarding indeed! Online diamond buyers often get more beautiful and valuable diamonds for much less money than traditional shoppers. And, if done right, buying diamonds online is as safe or safer than making a cash purchase from a local source. This article will walk you through some of the advantages and some of the important issues to consider when shopping for diamonds online.
Credit Card Payment
The first thing that should bring comfort to buyers making any large purchase is the protections provided by paying with a major credit card. You are in a very strong position should you be dissatisfied with your purchase for any reason. If you do not receive merchandise you have paid for with a credit card, or the merchandise is not as advertised, you have almost immediate recourse. You simply report the issue to your credit card company and they will reverse the charge and launch an investigation. The burden is then on the merchant to prove to the credit card company that they have delivered the merchandise as promised.
Many sellers do offer alternate methods of payment, and options such as wire transfer are often associated with a price advantage as the transactions are less expensive for the merchants to process. If you have a very high degree of trust in the company that you are dealing with, this is a way to save money and get better value.
Reputation of the Business
The fact that you have recourse by paying with a credit card is not a substitute for being smart about the company you choose to do business with. The good news is that in the information age it is very easy to learn all about the companies who are offering the products. From online Better Business Bureau reports to online reviews and forums where real customers share their experiences, a little research can produce a wealth of information and advice that can give you a very strong indication of the practices of that business.
As we all know, the internet has exploded the amount of information available about all kinds of products today. Online diamond offerings are no exception. In fact, there has been an absolute revolution in the diversity and depth of information available about certified diamonds
posted by the best online diamond merchants today. In addition to educational articles or comprehensive diamond guide
posted by professional diamond companies and laboratories, individual diamonds are often posted with extensive gemological evaluations including light performance imaging. This information not only reveals all of the identification and quality factors associated with the diamond, but can give you a full understanding of how the diamond is handling light. Armed with an understanding of this information, diamonds are no longer such a mysterious commodity and shoppers can do apples to apples comparisons of diamonds offered across the web.
Laboratory Graded Diamonds
Buying diamonds online or in a store, it is important to fully understand what a certified diamond is and some of the issues involved. Not all certified diamonds are created equal!
First, there are many gemological laboratories issuing reports or certificates on diamonds, but there are only a select few that are considered authoritative. The GIA and the AGS Laboratories
are the labs that have the best reputations for grading accuracy and consistency. But many so-called “laboratories” are very small operations, without the expertise or equipment to conduct all the tests essential to accurately determining the identity or quality of a diamond. The GIA is by far the biggest and best known lab with a world wide reputation for diamond grading. The AGS is much smaller but has specialized in cut quality analysis and has developed the only scientifically vetted light performance cut grading system in the world. Because of the importance of cut quality to diamond beauty and value, AGS reports are preferred by consumers looking for diamonds with the best fire, brilliance and sparkle. For more information about the differences between the labs please see our article on GIA vs AGS
Diamond Light Performance
The best online diamond sellers post actual photographs of their diamonds along with technical light performance images. Understanding the significance of these images provides a shopper with a much deeper understanding of the cut quality of the diamond than can be derived from studying the information on a typical diamond certificate such as a GIA report. And direct diamond light performance imagery
is something that shoppers can easily understand without having advanced knowledge of diamond cutting. Seeing ASET, Ideal Scope and Hearts and Arrows imagery of a diamond is infinitely more informative than just seeing percentages and angles on a report. It is like the difference in understanding you get from actually seeing a rainbow as opposed to having someone describe it to you in ten words or less!
Bricks and Clicks
Of course, one of the big objections many people have to buying an online diamond is that they do not get to see it before they pay for it. Although many astute shoppers are actually able to “see” their diamond in tremendous detail by putting together all the gemological and light performance information discussed above, it is always better to be able to go to an actual “ bricks and mortar” store to see it in person, and look the seller in the eye before finalizing the transaction. That is why the best companies understand the power of a combined “bricks and clicks” approach. That is, combining a comprehensive online diamond catalogue featuring comprehensive education and information about each diamond, with the opportunity for customers to visit in person and inspect them before purchase. Companies that offer both advantages are few and far between but their numbers are growing as customers naturally want and expect the best of both worlds. Whiteflash has recognized this demand and recently opened a very special Houston Jewelry Showroom
to serve clients living in or traveling to Houston.
Consumers today are empowered and inspired by the knowledge that where they spend their money can impact society in powerful ways. Social responsibility is very important to consumers today and this is very much the case with diamonds. The issue of conflict diamonds
is important to anyone who wants to be sure that their dollars are benefiting society and not contributing to hardship and suffering. With a little research and by asking the right questions of the merchants, the internet makes it possible to make the right choices today.
Even after reading all of the advice in this diamond guide, you may still be hesitant to actually make a diamond transaction over the internet. And it may or may not be for you ultimately. But do yourself a favor and keep an open mind. Take your time and you just may find that you get more comfortable with the idea the more you learn. Even if you do buy local, you are much more likely to get a great buy on a beautiful diamond by doing your homework. And if you have read this far, congratulations! You are well on your way to having a Brilliant Diamond Buying Experience®.
For more specific questions ask our experts