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Tips for buying a diamond online

Wednesday, September 28th

Tips for Buying a Diamond Online

When it comes to buying a valuable gemstone like a diamond, you may be inclined to shop in person. However, there are true benefits associated with making an online purchase. For example, you will have access to a much wider selection of diamonds online than you would in person. This enables you to comparison shop and find the best quality at the best price. More than that, you will not feel pressured by a salesperson when you shop for your next diamond online from home.

The benefits of buying a diamond online may be too good to pass up. However, as is the case when you buy anything online, you need to do your research to get a good deal on your purchase. What steps should you take as you walk through the online buying process?

Learn About the Four C's

Diamonds are graded using the four C's, and these are cut, clarity, color and carat. Each of the factors plays a role in the beauty of the diamond as well as its value. With this in mind, regardless of whether you shop for a diamond online or in person, you should be educated about the four C's.

Cut

The diamond's cut, for example, describes both the shape of the diamond and how many facets it has. A Round Brilliant cut is the most popular cut. In addition to having a round shape, it has 57 facets. These enable light to enter the gemstone and to reflect off of the angled surfaces. As a result, the cut can impact how brilliant or fiery the diamond looks. A few of the other popular cuts are Princess, Oval, Cushion, Emerald and more.

Clarity

A diamond's clarity describes how many internal and external imperfections can be seen in the diamond under a 10-times magnification lens. Some of these imperfections may not be visible with an unaided eye, but they can impact brilliance. The imperfections come from mineral accumulation during the natural formation process. Diamonds with fewer or no imperfections are exceedingly rare and are more valuable.

Color

Diamonds can also become discolored by the minerals that are absorbed during the formation process. Colorless diamonds have a glass-like quality, and this gives them a brilliance that makes them more valuable and rarer. Diamonds are graded on a color scale that ranges from colorless and near-colorless to visibly colored. Some of the diamond colors that you may find are blue, pink, gray, yellow and brown. Both the hue and the saturation level are taken into account with the grading process.

Carat

When you look at the carat weight of a diamond, be aware that several factors may make a heavier diamond look smaller and vice versa. For example, imperfections in the diamond can make it weigh more or less than other diamonds that have the same physical dimensions. In addition, the diamond's cut will impact how large it visually seems.

Another important matter to consider if you are buying a diamond in a setting is its total carat weight. This refers to the collective weight of all of the diamonds in the piece of jewelry rather than the weight of the largest stone.

Read the Diamond's Grading Report

Diamonds that are sold by reputable sources will each come with their own diamond grading report. Grading reports should be generated by reputable sources, such as GIA, rather than by the seller. The report will detail everything you need to know about the four C's so that you can make an informed decision. You should be aware, however, that there are fraudulent grading reports circulating for some diamonds. If the report is from GIA, you can easily run a check on the institution's website to verify its authenticity. Simply confirm that all data on the seller's report is accurate before you make your purchase.

How can you confirm that the diamond you are interested in purchasing corresponds with the grading report in front of you? The diamond should have a laser inscription. Usually, this is a tiny number that has been laser-etched onto the diamond's girdle. It may only be visible under magnification. This number should match up to the number listed on the grading report.

Research the Jeweler

When you buy anything online, you need to ensure that the seller is reputable. Does the seller have good reviews? What is their return policy? These and other questions are relevant when you are buying a diamond as well. Before you make your purchase, research how long the seller has been in business and what associations they are affiliated with. For an added sense of confidence, research those associations to determine what guidelines the members are required to meet.

In addition to conducting research in these areas, take time to read consumer reviews. These should be off-site reviews on independent websites rather than reviews on the jeweler's website. Consider calling the business directly as well. Pay attention to how easy it is to reach an informed person, and ask specific questions to gauge their knowledge level. Finally, look at the transaction policies. Is the transaction secure? Will the seller insure the shipment? Where is the shipment coming from? What is the seller's return policy?

Consider Paying with a Credit Card

When you take these steps before buying your diamond, you may enjoy a high level of confidence when making your purchase. However, there is one additional step that you can take to add a layer of protection to your shopping experience. Many major credit card companies offer some type of refund policy that can provide you with recourse. For example, if you find out that your diamond is not actually a diamond after it arrives and the seller is not refunding your money, you may be able to get a refund through your credit card company.

Be aware that not all sellers accept credit card payments. When you pay with another payment method, you limit the recourse available to you. Before paying with a credit card, however, confirm your creditor's buyer's protection policy.

Appraise the Diamond

By taking all of these important steps, you may make your purchase confidently and receive your diamond in the mail without a hassle. Before you consider the transaction finalized, take one more important step. Contact an independent diamond appraiser. Ask the appraiser to confirm that the description of the diamond matches the actual diamond that you received. The appraiser may also provide you with a written valuation of the diamond. This can be saved so that you can properly and fully insure your purchase with your insurance provider.

In the event the diamond does not correspond with the description or the value is significantly off, you understandably want to return the diamond. This involves walking through the steps in the seller's return policy. If you run into an issue with the seller's return policy, you will need to work with your credit card company to seek essential recourse.

Added Benefits from Shopping Online

While there are many steps to take when you are buying a diamond online, these steps should also be taken when you make an in-store purchase. However, when you shop for a diamond online, you can enjoy the added benefits that come from an online shopping experience. From access to more diamonds to the ability to conveniently walk through your process without pressure from a salesperson, it makes sense to make your next diamond purchase online. Simply keep these tips in mind so that you can make a smart selection with confidence.

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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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