In-Stock Diamonds

It may come as a surprise to many diamond shoppers that the vast majority of diamonds offered for sale on the internet have never been evaluated or even seen by the merchants selling them. That’s right, even diamonds listed with documentation and images (even videos) overwhelmingly fall into the category of “virtual inventory” and are not in the possession of the merchant offering them for sale. In fact, a high percentage of these diamonds are actually housed overseas. This is in contrast to in-stock and in-house inventories that are actually owned and housed by the merchants offering them. While there are advantages associated with ‘virtual’ inventories, there are also major downsides. Moreover, there are very good reasons to appreciate the advantages of shopping in-stock diamonds that are fully evaluated, on-hand, and ready for immediate delivery or in-store viewing.
Whiteflash Diamonds

Browse our Inventory of In-Stock Diamonds

Background

In a time before the internet, diamond shoppers would go into their local jewelry stores to look at diamonds and be educated about diamonds by a jeweler who had developed trust in the community over the years. Jewelers used to carefully buy and stock their own diamond inventory. There was a certain level of confidence and protection built into that model, especially if the store had national credentials such as membership in one of the prestigious trade organizations such as the American Gem Society.
Things are very different in the internet age. In many ways far better. In other ways, much more uncertain. Today, the number of stores actually stocking a decent inventory of high quality diamonds is very small. Most rely on consignment and/or trade networks to access diamonds on demand. Everyone with a website can also now be a diamond dealer, posting thousands of diamonds for sale, with or without any particular level of expertise, investment, or standing within the industry. Prices and availability for many of these listings can be extremely unreliable and therefore very misleading to consumers. And the data and evaluations associated with diamonds that have never been inspected or verified by the merchant, are very much open to question.
Whiteflash Diamonds
Developments in information technology over the last 15-20 years have made it possible for e-commerce websites to post for sale vast numbers of diamonds cloned from database listings. This 'virtual' market concept makes a lot of sense and is being utilized effectively by many legitimate and conscientious sellers today. The model allows for broad selection and sharp pricing because the vendor has no financial investment in the inventory. The advent of this virtual model has served to reduce diamond prices across the board, as information concerning diamond values has become more readily available to the public. In general this trend has been very beneficial to consumers.
Modern reputation tools such as review sites and information forums empower consumers to identify reputable sellers and get real time peer recommendations. And learning the added value that the merchant provides in the form of diagnostic evaluations, assurance policies, buyback and trade-up guarantees allows a consumer to understand differences in pricing between sellers so that they can make the best choice based upon what is most important to them.

The Downside of Virtual Diamonds

Despite these benefits, there is also a downside to shopping the virtual market. Virtual diamonds are typically listed on multiple websites, so actual availability is not guaranteed. Prior sale or delivery delays may cause disappointment and frustration. The diamonds are not pre-vetted by the merchant and therefore there is risk of unforeseen issues.
Diamonds listed with old certificates, with limited objective data, with mismatched data, with minimal return options, or by sellers with questionable or unproven reputations, are all red flags that should be taken very seriously by consumers. Virtual diamonds coming from overseas are difficult and expensive to return, thereby creating an incentive for the merchant to fulfill the order even if an issue is discovered. In this way, problems are sometimes passed along undermining the protections a consumer would expect the merchant to provide.
Because there has been a massive trend in the industry toward the virtual model, the value of in-stock, fully vetted diamonds available for immediate sale is sometimes under-estimated. The opportunity to see a comprehensive set of diagnostics on the diamond and the option of having a gemologist answer questions with the diamond in hand, or provide additional information such as comparison images, can be very valuable for such a special purchase. This also makes it possible for a consumer to visit the vendor to see the diamond in person and get to know the merchant and the operation face to face. On large dollar purchases, many smart shoppers do exactly that.

How can you tell if a diamond listing is virtual or in-house?

It’s not always easy to tell. The merchant naturally wants to give the impression that the diamond is available and ready for sale. This is precisely why so few shoppers are aware of this issue. If the stone is actually in stock it will usually be called out on the site. But the best way to be sure is to inquire specifically about the status with the vendor. If you are dealing with a reputable merchant they will be honest with you. (Remember: there is nothing inherently wrong with virtual offerings – it’s just that they are not the same as pre-vetted in-stock offerings). Listings that show delivery times of several days are a tipoff that the diamond is not on hand.
Whiteflash Diamonds
Merchants with diamonds in-stock will also be able to provide extra services for you such as making a staff gemologist available for a consultation with the diamond in hand, or taking photos of the diamond in comparison with others you may be considering. The mere fact that a diamond is listed with a photo or even a video is not proof that the stone is in hand. If you ask for one of these services and they are not available, that is an indication that the merchant does not have physical possession of the diamond.

Whiteflash In-house Diamonds

Whiteflash is dedicated to providing the broadest and deepest in-house inventory of precision cut diamonds of any retailer anywhere. We have three categories of diamonds that are in-stock, fully evaluated, and ready to ship. A CUT ABOVE® and Expert Selection consist of AGS Ideal round and princess cut diamonds, and Premium Select feature the top cut quality and light performance available in GIA Triple Excellent grade. All in-house diamonds have been subjected to the rigorous Whiteflash review process and are posted with a complete set of light performance diagnostics including 360 HD video. They are available exclusively at Whiteflash and come with an assurance package that includes 100% Lifetime Trade-up benefit.

Conclusion

While e-commerce in general provides consumers with a fantastic array of opportunities, it is still necessary to perform due diligence and to use sound judgement when making significant purchases. Being confident about the quality of a purchase and the timeline to delivery are extremely important considerations for an expensive and emotionally important purchase. In-stock diamonds that are fully vetted and ready for an in-store viewing or a personal consultation with a professional who has the diamond in hand, can be of enormous value for the modern diamond shopper.
Whiteflash Diamonds
With an in-house diamond a shopper has confidence knowing that the diamond has been specifically selected by the merchant for their inventory. The merchant has essentially 'put their money where their mouth is’ and feels strongly enough about the quality and value to invest their own money in it, knowing there are many potential buyers for it. It is in-house inventory that comes with the most generous buy-back and trade up benefits for the same reason.
Whether you are comparing in-house or virtual inventory (or some of each) as you shop, it is important that you know the distinctions so that you can make the best choice based upon your needs and sensibilities.
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