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Can I buy a good diamond online?

Tuesday, September 27th

Can I Buy a Good Diamond Online?

Whether you are shopping for an engagement ring, an anniversary ring or another type of diamond jewelry, one thing is certain. You want to find a quality diamond that is priced within your budget. A good diamond is a true treasure that may be admired by its owner for decades. More than that, it may even be handed down for generations in a family.

If you are like many other people today, you may prefer to shop online for most items. An online shopping experience is more than convenient. It gives you an easy way to comparison shop for style, price and quality. You can complete your entire shopping experience without feeling the pressure of an overbearing salesperson. You can even request the opinions of others in a matter of seconds by simply sending them a link to the product.

Understandably, you want to enjoy these benefits when you are shopping for a diamond, but you also want to buy a good diamond that its owner will cherish. As is the case when you are buying anything else online, you can make a great diamond selection online. However, there are some pitfalls that you should avoid. What should you do as you shop for a quality diamond online?

Find a Reputable Diamond Retailer

Reputable diamond retailers go to great lengths to confirm the quality of their products and to help their customers make a well-informed selection. The quality of each diamond will individually be reviewed on its own page, and knowledgeable support staff may be available by phone or chat to answer your questions. While you can enjoy a no-pressure shopping experience, you will still have access to assistance when you need it.

A reputable retailer will be established, and this means that you should easily be able to find numerous independent reviews. These will be offsite reviews on well-known review sites, such as Yelp! or Google Reviews. You should expect all retailers to have a few bad reviews, but a respected jeweler will have an overwhelming number of positive reviews. In addition, some retailers should have a great rating with the Better Business Bureau or the International Association of Better Business Bureaus.

Online jewelers should have a lenient return policy. Avoid shopping at websites that have an all-sales-final policy. The unfortunate reality is that some jewelers will pass off low-grade diamonds as expensive, high-grade gemstones. A lenient return policy gives you the chance to return the diamond if its quality is not as advertised. It also enables you to shop with a higher level of confidence.

Learn About the Four C's

The difference between a high-quality diamond and a low-quality diamond is rooted in the four C's. Certified diamonds have been independently graded in the areas of color, cut, clarity and carat. Diamonds that rate higher in these categories are rarer, and this makes them more valuable. As part of the certification process, each diamond is inspected under 10-times magnification. This means that it may be challenging to differentiate a high-quality diamond from a low-quality diamond with the naked eye.

As natural diamonds form in the ground they absorb various minerals. The presence of these minerals causes discoloration as well as impurities. Rare diamonds have no discoloration and no visible impurities under magnification. This gives them a beautiful fire and brilliant clarity that you will not find in lesser diamonds.

A diamond's cut also impacts its value and quality. The style of cut and the precision of the cut affect how light reflects inside the gemstone. A diamond with more facets will have smaller reflections. Cuts with fewer facets have larger reflections. Generally, the ideal cut has 58 facets. Round brilliant, emerald, marquise and many other cuts have 58 facets. Keep in mind that the symmetry of the facets is more relevant to its brilliance and fire than the number of facets.

Carat weight also impacts the value of a diamond. It is increasingly challenging to find a larger, natural diamond that has high ratings in the areas of color, cut and clarity. Be aware that many jewelers advertise the total carat weight, or TCW, for a piece. This covers the carat weight for all gemstones in the piece rather than for the largest stone.

Look for Certified Diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America created the International Diamond Grading System more than 70 years ago, and this system continues to be the standard used by labs around the world. The system established the four C's of diamonds. However, the GIA is only one of several reputable labs that use the International Diamond Grading System today. Some of the others that you may find while you are shopping online for a diamond are IGS, EGL, GSI, AGS and others.

Each diamond is individually submitted to a lab for certification. It is graded in all relevant areas, and documentation supporting the findings is generated. When you shop for a diamond online or in person, you should be able to review the documentation. This empowers you to make a well-educated selection.

Confirm the Certification

Simply looking for a certification from a respected lab and reviewing the details of the certification is not enough. This is because some unscrupulous retailers will create fake certifications for their diamonds. By doing so, they can pass off low-quality diamonds for rarer and more expensive diamonds. Before buying a diamond online, you should always contact the lab to confirm that the certification is authentic. Some labs, such as GIA, have an easy online search system that enables you to make a confirmation quickly.

Look at the Diamond's Imaging

A diamond's product page may include one or several types of imaging. Imaging gives you the opportunity to view color, imperfections, symmetry and other important elements even if you cannot inspect the gemstone in person. A diamond's certification documentation will include a diagram or map that shows its dimensions, symmetry and flaws as determined by the lab. When you view the online imaging of a diamon, you can make a detailed comparison between the imaging and the certification documentation. If you shop with a disreputable online jeweler, the certification documentation on a specific diamond's product page may be legitimate. However, that gemstone may not match the documentation. This is why it is important to compare the imaging to the certification documentation.

Get a Professional Appraisal

Even when you do your best to confirm that a diamond is certified, you need to ensure that the diamond you receive is the one you thought you were buying. Once your diamond arrives in the mail, take it to a certified gemologist for an appraisal. Through an appraisal, the gemologist can confirm that the diamond corresponds with the certification documentation. More than that, he or she will confirm the value of that diamond. You understandably want to buy a good diamond online. However, if you determine through an appraiser that you have not made a quality purchase, you can exercise your option to return the gemstone for a refund.

Start Your Search Today

Buying a diamond online can seem intimidating initially. However, the online shopping process may actually enable you to make a better selection than you otherwise would make if you shop in person. After all, comparison shopping is easier to do online because you have access to a wider variety of options to choose from. You can take your time researching the options until you are confident about your selection because you will not be pressured by a salesperson. You also should have access to imaging for each diamond that you are considering, and this imaging may not be available to you at your local jewelry store. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to start your search for a good diamond online.

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Diamond Store FAQ

One of the most sought-after gemstones in the world, diamonds are one of the hardest substances known to man. Diamonds form from carbon under high pressure and temperature.
Fun backstory: diamonds weren't commonly used in engagement rings until 1947, when the British mining company De Beers featured them in an advertising campaign! The rest, as they say, is history. Diamonds now represent financial success, long-term commitment, and status.
Cut, carat, color, clarity. Cut is the only human "influence" on a gemstone: round, princess, cushion, marquise and oval are some of the more common shapes given to diamonds. Carat represents the weight of the diamond, with 1 carat equal to 200 milligrams. Color evaluates the stone using letters of the alphabet; the closer to "A" , the whiter the stone, though most people find stones in the G-H rating to still be icy-white in appearance. Clarity is a little more difficult for the average consumer to see, especially without magnification: the categories measure inclusions, or irregularities that happen during the formation of the diamonds but are hard to see without magnification, as well as blemishes like scratches or chips.
The names say it all: natural diamonds come from the earth, while lab-created or synthetic diamonds come from scientists! But, other than their origins, these two types of diamonds are exactly the same chemically and optically: even expert gemologists have a hard time telling them apart without using a jeweler's loupe! And, as you might imagine, synthetic diamonds are usually much more affordable.
These acronyms all refer to gemological societies and institutes with diamond grading scales used throughout the industry: Gemological Institute of America, American Gemological Society, European Gemological Laboratory, and International Gemological Institute. Generally speaking, GIA and AGS are seen as the most accurate and scientific, so if you're buying a higher-priced stone you may want to ensure that it's been graded by one (or both!) of those two systems.
If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, you're not going to find it by buying the first pretty ring or solitaires you see at your local jewelry store. Many customers want something with a story that can be handed down as an heirloom: the shape of the stone chosen to match her eyes, the setting selected to complement his personality, and so on. Buying loose diamonds is the first step in a truly unique piece of jewelry.
While you'll find no shortage of companies wanting to sell you diamonds as an investment, most experts say that the average consumer isn't likely to profit from them. Unless you're buying extremely large diamonds (e.g. 20 carats or more) or ones with a noteworthy history (like being owned by a celebrity), you may have a hard time selling the diamonds you buy for more than you paid. If you're planning on spending a significant amount of money for a diamond, do it because you appreciate the beauty or want to own (or give) something precious - but save your investments for more reliable means of generating profits!
Absolutely. Of course, you shouldn't buy a diamond from an online retailer without doing your research: choose a business with a well-established history, preferably with a high rating from the BBB, and be sure that the diamond you buy has been rated and certified by one of the independent institutes or laboratories mentioned above. You can rest assured that the diamond retailer will take every measure to get your stone delivered safely, including tracking and insurance.
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