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Big price disparity...local vs online vendor


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I have been shopping at a very well-respected local jeweler in Oregon for a 1 carat princess cut H-J color, VS1-si1 clarity. They have a very attractive stone 1.00/I/VS2 selling for $4500. I know almost nothing about diamonds, so this seems reasonable to me. However, I started looking online a couple days ago (specifically, Uniondiamond.com) and I see lots of stones with better numbers/vitals selling in the $3000-$3500 range. This seems strange for their to be a $1000+ difference in price between the two, especially with the supposedly better diamonds being cheaper. Is the local jeweler ripping me off, or is Uniondiamond trying to unload some crappy stones?


Thanks in advance for any help!



ps. If I do decide to buy online (and now that I think of it, probably even if I buy locally), I would like to have someone who knows what they are doing take a look at the stone when it arrives. I have read a few online forums which stress the importance of getting your diamond appraised by someone who does not themselves buy or sell diamonds, but I havent had any luck locating an "independent" appraiser here in town (Eugene, OR). What should I do?

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Follow up question. A few months ago, while casually shopping with my future wife at the same local jeweler mentioned above, she picked out what she said at the time was "THE" ideal setting. The girl helping me said that the ring (A Precision Set brand, "FlushFit" line very simple solitaire) was available either in 14K gold for around $250, or in platinum for around $1000. About three weeks ago, I go back to the same shop, but there is another girl helping me, and she says now that the ring is now only available in 18K gold with a platinum head for around $1000, or in all platinum for $1700. What gives? I know I might be answering my own question here, but is there any possible way this jeweler is dealing honestly with me? The problem is, even though I feel they may be ripping me off, what can I do? My girlfriend has already said that this is THE setting. No one else in town sells this brand of setting, and it is not available online. Should I just suck it up and buy it, or does anyone have any better ideas?


Thanks again in advance.

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I wouldn’t say a $1000 markup is a ripoff but yes, it’s entirely possible. They may be negotiable and they may be adding something valuable to the deal. Similarly, Union surely has some stones that you wouldn’t care for but I’ve got no way to know if this applies to the ones you’re looking at. Dig into it and make sure that the stones are genuinely comparable. Union is a well regarded company.


Also dig around for dealers of Perfect Set. I think they have quite a few. It’s possible that Union can get it for you if you ask them. They have a store in Atlanta (I think) and they may have a connection to the line.


Check for appraisers at American Society of Appraisers and National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Neither requires their members to be independent and the majority are not, but you will start with some people you can ring up and ask. Most of the independents are members of one or the other group. If push comes to shove, there are several of us that work with clients worldwide.



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B&M jewelers have significant overhead costs that on-line vendors do not have, hence a good part of the cost differential for Princess Cuts that have similar "numbers".


The B&M jeweler is also providing you with "Live" hands-on access to the diamonds.


Keep in mind that "numbers" alone in Princess Cuts are absolutely NOT predictive of their visual beauty and that two Princess Cuts with the very same "Numbers" can vary considerably in their face-up visual appearence.


When shopping on-line it is imperative that at the very least, you get photos of the diamond, otherwise you're shopping blind.

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