Although most of the readers of this blog are well versed in the ways of the diamond and jewelry industry and are well aware of all the methods of choosing and buying diamonds, the financial crisis has forced many of us to change our habits and turn to the internet for buying and selling jewelry, especially due to lower operating costs for the merchants and better prices for the consumer.
Here is a short guide on how to buy diamonds and diamond jewelry on the internet.
1. Know what you want to buy. Browse brick-and-mortar jewelry stores so you can get a sense for what piece of jewelry you want and how it looks and feels like, including the price. Once you know approximately what type of diamond you wand (the famous four 'C's – carat, color, clarity, and cut), and the price range, it's time to look for your gem online.
2. In the past few years, online jewelry stores have spread like wildfire across the internet. There is a danger that anyone who begins looking for a piece of jewelry online might give up just because there are so many stores and jewels to choose from.
A good place to start is www.jewelryspotter.com, the internet's first search engine dedicated to diamonds and jewelry. There you can narrow your choice based on specific criteria such as the type of metal (gold, silver, platinum, etc.), the type of stone (diamonds, pearls, rubies, etc.) and of course the price.
3. Once the search engine narrowed down your search, browse the search results and the pictures and compare them with the design, stone, and price you already decided you want to buy. Once you click on one of the results, you will be redirected from the search engine to any number of independent jewelry websites for the purchase. Because online jewelry lack the visual effect of buying in a store, the online merchant will usually give detailed information such as the type of diamond, its shape, weight, color, and clarity, as well as its setting and metal information.
4. Research the store you are buying from and make sure it is a reputable merchant and is recognized in the industry. Much of the diamond and jewelry industry is based on mutual trust and jewelers' organizations such as the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the New York Diamond Dealers' Club are a good place to look for the merchant, as well as the IDI company directory. Also make sure there is a good return policy for the jewelry. Any good online retailer will allow about 30 days to return the merchandise, no questions asked. Of course asking around is always a good policy as well.
5. Once you received your jewelry in the mail (and after it was properly insured for shipping), consider taking the piece to a store for verification and make sure you got what you paid for. A jeweler can appraise the diamond for you, but you will of course have to pay for it (but usually no more than $100 – depending on the size of the diamond).
For many, changing our purchasing habits from brick-and-mortar stores to the internet is a scary step, especially when buying something as valuable and important as jewelry. Despite this, safeguards and consumer protection for online purchases have come leaps and bounds in recent years, making internet shopping a much safer and more pleasant place to buy jewelry. All you need to be is an informed and responsible consumer and you are in for some good deals.
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