Diamond Buying Guide: How to Buy a Diamond Online
In this day and age, people are turning to the internet for buying everything from diapers to diamonds. And why not? Shopping for diamonds — and rings in general — is already as intimidating for most men as getting in an octagon cage for a mixed-martial arts fight with UCF star Chuck Liddell.
So why not give yourself the time to ponder all of the various factors (size, clarity, cut, color, carats, settings, mounts, gold or white gold, local or chain store) from the comfort of your couch without some pushy salesperson making you feel stupid and/or cheap? Use our diamond buying guide as a resource to learn the ins and outs of how to buy a diamond online. And don’t worry– we’ve got your back (unless, of course, you are actually up against Chuck Liddell).
Now that you’ve decided the one you’re with is the one you want to be with for the rest of your life (and hey, congratulations, by the way), it’s only opened the door to a hundred other decisions. And before you even pick the ring, you need to decide where and how to buy it.
Online or off, education is the key to buying confidently
While the words “online” or “internet” may still carry a stigma when it comes to dating or the purchase of high-priced collectibles, cars, and jewelry, buying the same products in brick-and-mortar stores isn’t in itself a guarantee against scams. There are just as many ways for consumers to be ripped off when it comes to buying diamonds in person as there are online.
The best thing to do to guard against scamming is get as much of two things as you can before shopping: education and information. Knowledge is, in fact, power when it comes to diamond buying.
The Four C’s
Our diamond buying guide starts with the four basic C’s: Cut, color, clarity and carat.
While they are subjective in terms of their order of importance, many experts stress cut first. Cut is a measure of the diamond’s polish, proportion and symmetry. The better the cut, the larger and more brilliant the diamond looks.
Carat is probably the next most important factor as it’s a measure of its weight, and therefore the most direct determinant of its value. This is the least subjective and most definitive measure, and also the hardest to screw around with, but that doesn’t keep some sellers from trying.
While diamonds can come in just about every color of the rainbow, it’s primarily the ranges of white that most buyers and collector are concerned with. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) rates white diamond’s body color in from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow).
Clarity simply means how many — or how few — blemishes or flaws there are in the diamond. Again, the GIA employs a ratings system ranging from perfect or flawless to “imperfect 3.” The fewer flaws, the greater the value.
Avoiding unimportant factors used in diamond marketing
Now that you know the basics of how to buy a diamond, it’s time for the real education to begin. There are a bunch of bogus terms people in the business of selling diamonds use to confuse and/or trick you into paying more. Familiarize yourself with these terms (like “blue-white diamonds, fracture filling, and chemical color coatings.”)
Also know specific and telling terms like “carat total weight, exact weight (rather than rounded off), and laser drilling.” Refer to our diamond buying guide for definitions and to learn about which terms you should care about and which should raise a red flag.
And lastly, many of the terms often associated with disreputable used-car dealers also apply to unethical diamond sellers. Terms and words like “bait-and-switch”, the old switcheroo, inflated list prices, 50-percent and going-out-of-business sales also bear as much of a hard and in-depth look with a cynical eye as they do on the car lot. Use your common sense and make sure you find a reputable dealer—whether online or off—that comes recommended (and preferably without a used-car-guy-moustache).
It may sound like a lot, but just like in almost any other high-ticket item shopping, the more informed the buyer, the better the result. Like we said, Diamond Buying School has your back, so check out our many valuable helps and hints throughout the site!