Online Diamond Buying Guide
Buying diamonds online can be a great option for the informed consumer. With online retailers you have the opportunity to do the necessary research easily, comparing different offerings to one another, and making sure that you get what you set out for. Some of the better online retailers tend to have very large selections as well, so you really do have the opportunity to find diamonds that meet your requirements, in your price range. In addition to finished jewellery and loose diamonds, you also have the option of buying wholesale diamonds online, which can be difficult through other avenues, in many cases because brick-and-mortar diamond wholesalers tend to be located almost exclusively in large cities.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when purchasing diamonds online. There are many online retailers selling diamonds, some offering seemingly impossible deals. However, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. To some dealers, diamonds look like an opportunity for a quick buck because, although they command high prices(*1), many buyers don’t really know how to distinguish a good value from a bad one.
When making such a large investment, it’s highly recommended that you go with a reputable retailer. You can expect much more detailed and accurate product information from quality retailers. This will make your purchase more secure, as you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and how you’re going to get it. Three very good examples of trusted online diamond vendors are James Allen(*2) (www.jamesallen.com), Mondera(*3) (www.mondera.com) and Blue Nile(*4) (www.bluenile.com).
Shipping insurance(*5) is also a must for any online diamond purchase. Again, any reputable retailer will offer insurance on shipments of diamonds. Putting such valuable, expensive items in transit without insurance is simply not worth the risk, no matter how much it might look like you can save.
Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck
There are several important variables(*6) that affect the price of diamonds. Only you know exactly what you’re looking for in a diamond, but when it comes to getting the best possible value, there are some trends you might want to take into consideration.
The factor that has the greatest influence on the price of a diamond is its carat weight. The most inexpensive loose diamonds are the lightest ones, while the heaviest ones tend to be very expensive. Diamonds above two carats are usually priced well outside the budget of most buyers. In the lower carat ranges, one-carat diamonds tend to represent the best combination of value and overall quality, as there isn’t a huge jump in price from half-carat to one-carat diamonds as there is between, for example, three and four-carat diamonds. Another thing to keep in mind with respect to carats is that they reflect only the weight of the diamond. Lower carat diamonds are simply smaller than large ones – a high-carat diamond can still be of relatively low quality. If you’re looking for the best value, it’s a good idea to go with a smaller yet higher-quality diamond.
Online Diamond Buying Guide
When it comes to diamond clarity ratings, diamonds with the VS1 and VS2 ratings offer the best overall value. The aesthetic differences from one clarity grade to the next are virtually imperceptible to the naked eye (to put it into perspective, the flaws in VS1 and VS2 diamonds can be difficult to see even under a 10x microscope), but when all other factors are the same a large difference in clarity grade can mean a big difference in price. This is why diamonds in the middle to lower range in clarity represent a superior value.
Small differences in color grade can be similarly difficult to discern. In the case of color, diamonds with color ratings in the G-I range, which are white to the naked eye, represent the best overall value. If you’re on a tighter budget, though, the J-L range can also be a good bet because, while the yellowish tint is still barely perceptible in these diamonds, they do tend to be somewhat less expensive.
There can be large differences in the price of diamonds in accordance with their shape(*7). Round cuts are the most popular, partly because round diamonds reflect light in a pleasing way. In the process of making round cut diamonds, though, a fair portion of the original diamond has to be removed, making round cuts somewhat inefficient. At the same time, because of their popularity, round cut diamonds are usually much more expensive than other cuts. Princess cuts tend to represent the best value to the consumer, largely because Princess cuts retain a higher percentage of the diamond’s actual mass after cutting.
Finally, the diamond’s cut is another factor which can have a relatively small effect on price, and because of this, ideal and premium-grade cuts usually end up being the best value to consumers.
*1 – “Diamond Prices” article
*2, 3, 4 – jamesallen.com, mondera.com, bluenile.com reviews respectively
*5 – “Diamond Ring Shipping Insurance” article
*6 – “Diamond Ring Grading” article
*7 – “Diamond Ring Shapes” article