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A Diamond Research Project


assassin
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When self-educating myself on diamonds I realized quickly that national chain B&M stores were overpriced. How overpriced? I wanted to find out.

 

I went to Jared Galleria which prides itself on its "no hassle, best price" guarantee. What you see on the tag is what you pay, they tell you. Perfect - I knew their "best price" and could compare it against similar prices here on this website using the "find online jeweler" feature.

 

At Jared I looked at 2 diamonds that I was interested in. 1 round and 1 princess cut, both about a carat in weight. What I found really surprised me:

 

(disclaimer: I obviously was not able to view these stones side by side. I realize that there is more to a stone than the numbers. This is merely to show the potential savings that can be achieved if you use this website to search for your diamond. These prices were as of Feb 2007.)

 

Jared Galleria Round

1.02 ct, I color, I1 clarity (actually they didn't specify which I type but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt), 6.56x6.61x3.91.

Price: $4200

 

Online Round

1.02 ct, I color, I1 clarity

Price Range: $2283-$3081 (average $2682)

 

Jared Galleria Princess

1.00 ct, E color, I1 clarity (again, not specified), 5.42x5.29x4.04

Price: $4000

 

Online Princess

1.00 ct, E color, I1 clarity

Price Range: $1876-$3038 (average $2457)

 

Jared 10 diamond 0.65 white gold band

Price: $1600

 

Online identical 10 diamond 0.65 white gold band

Price: $1100

 

So basically an extremely similar $5800 ring at Jared might cost you only ($2682+$1100) $3782 at an online jeweler.

 

That's a potential savings of over $2000!!! Or put another way you could get almost twice the ring for your money!!!

 

This is what prompted me to stop shopping at local jewelers altogether to focus my attention on the reputible dealers featured on this website.

 

Online is definitely the way to go.

 

Also, when I took my ring to my local jeweler I asked him how much it would have cost at his store. He stated that he no longer sells princess cut diamonds because he simply cannot compete with the online diamond industry. Yet another example of the online stores being the way to go for the savvy.

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Real fast here, yes, there is sales tax online.. Depending on the state you live in, nearly every state that collects sales tax also requires you to pay sales tax on any online or catalog purchase.. The fact that very few people pay this tax is irrelevant to the fact that it is tax evasion..

 

As the internet and state laws mature we are seeing more and more actual audits and prosecution of tax evasion for not reporting htese purchases.. So, never, ever, assume that since you bought it online you don't have to pay taxes..

 

The rest of your post is well, skewed.. There are quite a few very good jewelers in the world that are incredibly competitive with internet purchases..

 

And finally, you can not compare diamonds based soley on the stats you listed.. 1.00ct E color I1 clarity is just the tip of the iceburg when pricing diamonds.. That sort of like saying a red car with 4 wheels will always cost the same as any red car with 4 wheels..

 

"Generally" you may find a lower price for similar items online.. But there are many factors involved in any purchase, including service and customer support that also contribute to the 'value' of the purchase..

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That wasn't my experience at all.

 

But to each his own.

 

Yes, there may be some great jewelers out there. But my experience was pushy salespeople who showed you inferior diamonds at outrageous prices. This was my experience store after store after store.

 

I like being able to sit down at home and price compare jewelers from all over the country. That is more important to me than walking into a store where I have no real idea what I am getting myself into.

 

And you do have to rely on the person at the online store when it comes to viewing the diamond for you. I have no problem with this.

Edited by assassin
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I’m glad to year that you were satisfied with your purchase and I’m not surprised that Jared’s wasn’t the lowest cost provider but I’m with Steve in questioning your research methodology.

 

Go to the top of the page titled ‘find online jeweler’ and search for a 1.00-1.02 I-1/I. You’ll get 4 pages of offers. You can sort them by price by clicking on the title in the header bar. Prices range from $1070 to $3210. The cheapest one is probably a typo but there’s a pretty smooth distribution of offers from $1739 on up. All of these are from online dealers.

 

As a researcher, if the only difference between diamonds is where and how the dealer advertises, how do you explain this?

 

It’s worth noting that a significant number of the online dealers are nothing more or less than a successful local jeweler in someone else’s community that is using the Internet to expand their sales territory beyond the boundaries of their own neighborhood.

 

Neil

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What Neil said.. I just punched the 1.02ct I I1 into our diamond search on our website (lots of our diamonds that are no where else plus a few from very select dealers) and my most expensive stone is priced slightly under your 'average' and it's bigger.. The point being, I'm a B&M.. I just happen to also sell on the web.. So blocking out B&Ms is hardly fair since most of the sites you see are backed by real jewelers.. And I don't consider Jared's a real jeweler.. They are more of a mall/retail outlet with the associated overhead of being in those locations and the discounts they are required to give to be successful..

Edited by Feydakin
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It should also be noted that Jared is owned by the same company that owns Kay Jewelers.

 

A close comparison would be Kay jewelers is like Honda and Jared is like Acura. Honda and Acura are both owned by the same company, they first tried selling luxury vehicles under the Honda brand but found consumers were unwilling to buy them at Honda which was known for cheap transportation. So they created a new brand, Acura, and if you compare the models from both brands you will find there are many similarities.

 

In the jewelry world, people go to Jared for more expensive stuff and Kay for cheaper stuff and few realize they are the same company. As a result, you are not gonna find any real good deals at Jared. You will find the Leo Diamond at both Kay and Jared. BTW, you won't find any good deals at Acura either.

 

The premise of assassin's post is correct though, brick and mortar stores in general cannot compete with the prices of internet vendors. Assassin could've called around and gotten price quotes from a few more stores, but it would've just furthered his point. However, kind of like at Walmart when you pay lower price it also means you get no service (no answers to questions, no price checks, etc) and have to wait in line longer. When you buy online you are giving up certain things as well: in most cases you give up the ability to look at it in person first, you are on your own to learn about it and make the best decision you can instead of having an expert educate you and ask you what you are looking for then help you find it, there's nobody to clean it or tighten prongs or service it, you can't walk into a store and yell at somebody if something goes wrong.

 

Not seeing it first in person is HUGE because any good photographer can make something look better in pictures than it does in person. You also have no idea what the difference in a good cut and excellent cut will look like, what the difference betwen an F color and a J color will look like, and so on. And you won't be able to see comparable gems. I once bought a watch for $300 online, it looked nothing like it did in the pictures and took me a month to decide I didn't like it and didn't want to wear it, at that point I'd lost $300. I once bought my girlfriend (now fiance) a $500 fancy sapphire ring on Ebay which also looked different in pics than in person, long story short she didn't like it and never wore it (she ended up making me buy her a $200 fancy tanzanite ring she picked out at a store and she still wears every day.) Same thing happened with a pair of alexandrite earrings I bought her online: never liked it, never wore it, and I ended up buying another pair she picked out at a store. GIA says consumers tend to favor deep and steep diamonds, HCA says thier study was flawed and people really favor shallow diamonds, only you can say which you favor.

 

Also, if something goes wrong (and they occasionally do) your only recourse may be an email war with somebody on the other side of the country (you occasionally see this on PS.) You also see people online who know nothing about diamonds buying a D color, IF clarity stone with a poor cut when they could've probably bought an F color, VS2 stone with an ideal cut for half the money and gotten a much more beautiful stone. There's cheaper prices online, no doubt, but there's also a tradeoff for those cheaper prices. I'm also no fan of the 300% markup you see in some stores, all sales and little substance. Thankfully the internet is starting to kill those tactics off.

 

I bought my diamond online but setting at a store, I thought it worked well.

Edited by hermann
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Assasin,

 

My experiences in Lafayette, LA match your's exactly. There are maybe a total of 12 to 15 jewelers in my entire city that sell diamond engagement rings. So far I have visted about a half dozen of the top stores including some of the chain stores found in the mall. Granted some places are more helpful than others but so far every store simply wants to sell me low quality stones for top notch prices and question me like I'm an idiot if I request specific criteria for the diamond I want to purchase. Lots of super bright halogen lights so you can't see the flaws in the diamonds they are trying to hawk you. Don't even think about trying to ask to view the diamond in a different lighting condition because then they go into a 10 minute tirade about how they have special lighting, blah blah, etc...

 

If you don't mind I'd like to send you a PM about my experience on Thursday when I drove out to White Flash in Houston, TX to meet with them in person and view selection of diamonds I had researched on their website.

 

Take care,

Brian

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The whole point of this thread was not to state that every B&M are the same. Or every online jeweler for that matter.

 

The point was to create discussion. Yes, this is horrible study scientifically. But could it be practical? Or at least feasible? Sure, which was the point.

 

And I know that you can type in a specific diamond and get ranges from $1700-$3000. But chances are if you put the $3000 online diamond up against the "most expensive" diamond from most B&Ms the price would be almost double at the B&Ms. Is their diamond twice as good? Most definitely not - which again is the point of this thread.

 

@Brian - I would love to read your presonal experience. Please send me a PM.

 

I look forward to this continued discussion. Very interesting stuff.

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I see a lot of this kind of discussion and I think it’s a very dangerous step. Some jewelers and diamond dealers have significantly better prices than others. With this I would agree. It’s when you say that ‘online’ is better that I take exception. Some online dealers are superb, some B&M stores are superb. It’s not the style of advertising that makes one better than the next, it’s the character of the people behind the counter/keyboard.

 

The very worst of the sharks are online dealers because it’s easier for them to hide. Slick web design is comparatively inexpensive and it’s remarkably easy to make a very attractive site from nothing. It’s pretty difficult to make an attractive storefront without a major investment. It’s also much easier for them to evaporate into nothingness without so much as a trace. Some aren't even in the same country much less community that they are trying to serve! Use at least as much care selecting an online dealer as a local jeweler. They are NOT all the same.

 

Assassin, I noticed that you made your final selection from Union Diamond. That’s a B&M store in Atlanta. :D

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Kind of reminds me of a recent thread over at another forum:

I recently purchased a diamond online. I won't mention the vendor until he has a chance to make me happy. Here's what happened: We talked on the phone and he told me the diamond was .64, E, SI2, with a good cut. He also mentioned that the diamond was very close to being an SI1. I know this means nothing so I threw this comment away, and assumed it was an regular SI2. Mind you, this diamond I was buying was uncerted. When asked where he came up with the grades he said his onsite GIA trained gemologists evaluated the diamond. So I purchased the diamond... for $1800.

 

When I received the diamond, it came on a card with some hand written grades. The card said the diamond was .64, F, SI2. I called up and asked what the deal with the F was. (My receipt also said F) He informed me that he must have made a mistake writing it out and he would send me a new receipt saying I had paid for an E. At this time he assured me that if I got it certified, it would certainly come back an E if not a D. I decided to send it to GIA as I don't have a lot of time before my planned engagement to get this stuff squared away.

 

Yesterday I received the diamond back from GIA. Guess what? They say it's .64, F, I1. I realize GIA is tougher on their grading than most labs, but he told me this diamond was evaluated by his GIA trained staff! I had prepared myself for the fact that it would most likely come back as an F, but an I1? Also the measurements from GIA came back as (5.50-5.59 x 3.36mm) The measurement on the original card I received were (5.53 - 5.58 x 3.37) I'm definitely not a gemologist but the actual measurements are not up to debate are they?

 

My initial thought would be to send the diamond back and demand my money back, but there are three things that prevent me from doing that. 1) I really do like the diamond. 2) I don't have enough time to shop for a new diamond and make my enagagement date. 3) I got a personal inscription on the diamond at GIA. I know the last one was probably stupid, but I figured I'd have to keep this diamond either way.

 

My question is, is there any chance of getting some of my money back? What's my recourse? I wasn't wild about paying $1800 for a .64, E, SI2 in the first place, but $1800 for a .64, F, I1??

 

Maybe I'm wrong and I don't deserve anything back because it was uncerted and I took a chance, but a decrease in color AND clarity seems like an unethical misrepresentation to me. If I'm wrong let me know, but if I'm right please help me figure out what my recourse is.

 

For anyone who is reading these posts in anticipation of buying a diamond, without a doubt the moral of this story is to stay away from uncerted diamonds!!! The cost savings will never make up for the stress and hassle.

 

Sorry for the long winded message. I really appreciate everyone who posts here. It's an awful lot of help to those of us who aren't in the know!

For the record, there's a .65 carat AGSL certed F color, SI2, cut graded 000 diamond over at a more reputable online dealer for $200 less than he paid for his .64, F, I1 diamond. He ended up getting a $350 refund but still didn't get a better deal than he could've gotten in a store. There are good online dealers and bad ones both online and B & M. There are a lot of online dealers selling diamonds with EGL Israel certs as well, the average shopper may not know to look for GIA or AGS certified ones instead.

Edited by H and A
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Union is a fine outfit and I don’t call them a local jeweler in any way as a means of disparagement. I like local jewelers, at least some of them. I think the right jeweler can add great value to the whole shopping experience and that their contributions are often seriously underrated although I agree that they are rarely the rock bottom prices and that some of the internet only dealers are extremely attractive. I point Union out as an example of how an online presence really is not the big difference you’re making it out to be, any more than advertising in the newspaper, radio, direct mail or telephone is what makes them deserving of your business. Union and most other jewelers do these things too. I would not be surprised if the owners of Jareds spend a factor of 100 more on television advertising alone than Union does on their entire internet presence. Why doesn’t this make them a ‘television jeweler’ instead of being your benchmark of a brick and mortar retailer, most of whom have no TV budget at all?

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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Union is a fine outfit and I don’t call them a local jeweler in any way as a means of disparagement. I like local jewelers, at least some of them. I think the right jeweler can add great value to the whole shopping experience and that their contributions are often seriously underrated although I agree that they are rarely the rock bottom prices and that some of the internet only dealers are extremely attractive. I point Union out as an example of how an online presence really is not the big difference you’re making it out to be, any more than advertising in the newspaper, radio, direct mail or telephone is what makes them deserving of your business. Union and most other jewelers do these things too. I would not be surprised if the owners of Jareds spend a factor of 100 more on television advertising alone than Union does on their entire internet presence. Why doesn’t this make them a ‘television jeweler’ instead of being your benchmark of a brick and mortar retailer, most of whom have no TV budget at all?

 

Neil

 

You make a very good point. I guess the problem is that most of the B&Ms that I visited simply aren't willing (or are very reluctant) to even try to match an online price. Yes, I know that you get better service with an actual store in your area. And I agree that most of these said stores spend millions of dollars a year on advertising.

 

I wish that I would have walked into a store and someone would have realized that they really needed to come down on their price to earn my business. I would have paid more for a ring than I paid at UD - just for the peace of mind, the ability to view the stones side by side, and the customer service. But most of the stores, in my experience, simply aren't able or willing to compete.

 

Maybe I didn't shop around or maybe I should have travelled to a larger city but again, that is a hassle and I wouldn't know how long it would take to find a jeweler who was willing to play the game. I was simply not willing to pay $2000 to $3000 more for a ring which I viewed (and still view) as being very similar to one which I could purchase relatively easily online and send back in 30 days if I wasn't 100% happy.

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You did find a jeweler in a bigger city. Atlanta. It’s not the size of the city that does it either by the way. There’s a hugely popular online store based in Boise Idaho and another one in Roseburg Oregon.

 

The jewelry business has changed dramatically in the last decade or two and a lot of jewelers are having a tough time adjusting. Others, like Union, are extremely successful with the new paradigms. I absolutely agree that as a consumer you should feel under no obligation to pay more than you need to to get what you want. If the local stores can’t or won’t face pricing realities then they need to adjust their business models to attract and keep their customers or go the same was as most of the local the blacksmiths. In the meantime, take your business to dealers who treat you like you want to be treated. There’s good reason that customers use the Internet as a shopping tool and why some major players have appeared who take this approach very seriously.

 

Frankly, I’m a little surprised that Lafayette doesn’t have a top rate store but I've never been there. The biggest wholesale jeweler in the country is based there and I would expect this to provide a jeweler good access to both good supplies and skilled workers.

 

Neil

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Neil,

 

I assume you are speaking of Stuller Settings. While I don't doubt you can find excellent rings, wedding bands, etc in Lafayette, I have yet to find anyone interested in selling high quality diamonds locally. We have one store, Lee Michaels, that has a few older AGS certified diamonds but did not have any AGS certs for princess cut diamonds. The princess cut diamonds I saw had easily visible inclusions using only my eyes. Almost everytime I ask for GIA or AGS certs, people look at me like I have the plague!

 

I was amazed when I went to visit White Flash in Houston. They were in a 7 to 10 story building that was nothing but jewelry stores! I think there was one dentist in the entire building. I'm guessing there were b/w 30 to 45 jewelry stores in a SINGLE building! Granted competition doesn't guarentee quality, but it usually prevents one guy from gouging on his prices if you can walk across the hall and find a better deal!

 

I don't think assasin and I are claiming that EVERY online store is a great one either, but you have to admit with message forums like this its much easier to know which online diamond retailers are good ones than it is to find out if a local jewelry in my town is a good one. What are the chances that even 1 person from this message board has bought something from a jeweler in my city? Slim to none. What are the chances that someone has purchased something from Blue Nile, Excel Diamonds, etc etc... I'd say close to 100%! I used the "FindMyJewler.com" website and the ONLY dealer it returned was in Baton Rouge, LA which is about 60 miles away. I'm going there later today to compare their selection with what I saw at White Flash.

 

I appreciate all the help you and others here provide to us new guys starting out, so please don't feel that we are somehow attacking your B&M store by sharing our poor experiences with local B&M and chain stores. (Althought I think most of us can agree that the chain stores are usually a rip off)

 

Take care,

Brian

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Neil,

 

I assume you are speaking of Stuller Settings. While I don't doubt you can find excellent rings, wedding bands, etc in Lafayette, I have yet to find anyone interested in selling high quality diamonds locally. We have one store, Lee Michaels, that has a few older AGS certified diamonds but did not have any AGS certs for princess cut diamonds. The princess cut diamonds I saw had easily visible inclusions using only my eyes. Almost everytime I ask for GIA or AGS certs, people look at me like I have the plague!

 

I was amazed when I went to visit White Flash in Houston. They were in a 7 to 10 story building that was nothing but jewelry stores! I think there was one dentist in the entire building. I'm guessing there were b/w 30 to 45 jewelry stores in a SINGLE building! Granted competition doesn't guarentee quality, but it usually prevents one guy from gouging on his prices if you can walk across the hall and find a better deal!

 

I don't think assasin and I are claiming that EVERY online store is a great one either, but you have to admit with message forums like this its much easier to know which online diamond retailers are good ones than it is to find out if a local jewelry in my town is a good one. What are the chances that even 1 person from this message board has bought something from a jeweler in my city? Slim to none. What are the chances that someone has purchased something from Blue Nile, Excel Diamonds, etc etc... I'd say close to 100%! I used the "FindMyJewler.com" website and the ONLY dealer it returned was in Baton Rouge, LA which is about 60 miles away. I'm going there later today to compare their selection with what I saw at White Flash.

 

I appreciate all the help you and others here provide to us new guys starting out, so please don't feel that we are somehow attacking your B&M store by sharing our poor experiences with local B&M and chain stores. (Althought I think most of us can agree that the chain stores are usually a rip off)

 

Take care,

Brian

 

I agree completely with Brian. Very well said.

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I don't think assasin and I are claiming that EVERY online store is a great one either, but you have to admit with message forums like this its much easier to know which online diamond retailers are good ones than it is to find out if a local jewelry in my town is a good one.

 

Take care,

Brian

Gentlemen,

 

No insult taken at all. I very much understand the problem that consumers are facing and I generally agree with your conclusion that price sensitive customers are well served by shopping online. For the record, I’m not a dealer at all, I’m an independent appraiser. I don’t sell diamonds, gemstones or jewelry. In true irony of this conversation, many of the local jewelers count me as something of the enemy because my service empowers the internet dealers, at least the good ones.

 

The problem is this. A quick Google search for “discount diamonds†produces just over 2.3 million hits. “Wholesale diamonds†produces a mere 1.8 million. Sure, some of these are duplicates and some are selling paint or completely unrelated products but the vast majority of these are bonafied diamond sellers. We’re talking about at least tens of thousands of online dealers here and most of that doesn’t even include the 109,000 diamond items currently listed on ebay. 99% of these sellers would not have a single customer on the forum here or anywhere else that you might be inclined to post your questions. To say that ‘online’ as a category is fully represented by the fine firms that you’ve itemized is simply not correct. It's like saying that Paris Hilton or Rosie O'Donnell is representative of all women.

 

Yes, I was referring to Stuller. They are WAY more than settings. For example, they are a direct DeBeers siteholder for rough diamonds. In the last 5 years they have be come one of the biggest diamond dealers in the world.

 

Neil

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Yes, but UD is still one of the best online jewelers, imo.

Define best... does Union Diamond:

have the most selection? No.

have the best quality? No.

have the most positive reviews out there? No.

have the best service? I dunno.

have the cheapest prices? Probably not.

 

I went over to UD's website and a couple of things bothered me.

-first, they sell EGL diamonds which most of the more reputable sellers online have decided not to do because EGL's reports tend not to be as reliable (especially EGL Israel). Often people send their diamonds to EGL to avoid an I1 clarity grade or K color grade from GIA or AGS. If you have an opportunity to view the diamond and make sure it's of good quality, then EGL may not be such a bad way to go (if you know what you're looking at) but most of the diamonds on UD's website are diamonds not even Union Diamond have looked at.

-second, they are selling diamonds of SI3 clarity. SI3 is a controversial grade as many labs don't recognize it. And it wouldn't be so bad if just the EGL certified diamonds were listed as SI3s because EGL recognizes the grade, but they are also listing GIA certified stones as SI3 clarity (just a couple of examples):

http://www.uniondiamond.com/diamond/0-91ct...d-AA325524.html

http://www.uniondiamond.com/diamond/1-00ct...d-AA325526.html

and GIA doesn't recognize the SI3 grade. The certs for those stones aren't available to look at but I'm sure we can assume they were really given I1 clarity grades from GIA.

-their idea of ideal seems to be looser than other vendors

-some stones say they are certified by one particular labs, but a cert from another is shown such as this one:

http://www.uniondiamond.com/diamond/1-07ct...d-AA328031.html

 

I'm not saying Union Diamond is a bad place to buy from, but I will say that it's probably not possible to qualify them as "one of the best." It's hard to find reviews from people who've had experiences with this company. The qualifying factors just aren't there, and all that's left is subjective opinion. And as Neil pointed out, having a great website doesn't necessarily make you one of the best dealers. The one thing UD does have going for it is that they do have an actual B & M store instead of just selling their diamonds out of their basement or out of a warehouse so there is an actual physical presense of their company to go after if there is a problem. And they are an established company, probably bonded and insured too. And as Neil pointed out, it's kind of ironic that the best thing it has going for it (a storefront) is the one thing this thread's original poster despises.

 

you have to admit with message forums like this its much easier to know which online diamond retailers are good ones

I'd be careful with that kind of assumption as well. One of the problems with these kind of boards is they are all either owned or sponsored by online diamond dealers. This seems to be one of the better ones, but on others I've seen they have very little tolerance for people recommending companies other than their forum sponsors, people saying their forum sponsors aren't the best dealers online, or people who bring up things detrimental to their forum sponsors such as synthetic diamonds or unbranded diamonds gving you a better deal than branded ones. Also, one tactic I've seen on other forums is forum sponsors or owners using obvious schill identities to bring up discussions or praises that benefit their particular company.

 

Bottom line: I agree with you that you can get a better deal online. In fact I bought a $4000 diamond online myself just recently for my fiance and am extremely happy with my purchase. But to say the online route is best for everybody is an irresponsible notion. Price isn't the only factor for everybody. Not everybody is savvy enough to know what they should be looking for in a diamond and when to avoid a vendor that seems shady. Not every salesperson is a sleazy slimeball who tries to sell you what they want you to buy instead of helping you find what's best for you. Many B & M stores do try to stay competitive with their prices. And, like me, you can lose money buying jewelry online that looks good in pics but not so good in person.

Edited by H and A
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H&A;

 

You make several good points.

 

Bottom line: Do your research, become informed, ask questions, and find your comfort level.

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I don't despise B&Ms. Just the ones that try to rip me off with crappy diamonds.

 

That's all. I'm sure there are great ones out there but I didn't come across any.

 

And yes, I will admit that this thread is misleading. I shouldn't have grouped all onlines together or all B&Ms together. Doing research is a must. But most novices such as myself will go to the "mall-type" B&Ms first because of their advertising and visibility. They are the B&Ms that I was targeting in the first place with this comparison.

 

To me doing research on my computer about the online stores is 100 times easier than trying to figure out which local stores are good. There is almost nothing good or bad as far as reviews go to help me find a good local B&M.

Edited by assassin
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There is almost nothing good or bad as far as reviews go to help me find a good local B&M.

 

I'm actually working on a project to change all that. I'd love for you and anybody else on this site to be a beta-tester:

 

http://www.ivouch.com

 

And yes, as you will see UD has been one of the early adopters.

 

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

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There is almost nothing good or bad as far as reviews go to help me find a good local B&M.

That's true. But at least at a storefront you can walk into the store and be able to tell whether these are people you want to do business with or not (although looks can probably be deceiving as well.) One thing that kind of tipped me off was if they had GIA graduate certificates on the wall. I came across two such stores (out of maybe a dozen that I shopped at) with these on the wall and it tells you they've sent at least some of their staff in to the GIA for training. I instantly knew these were stores I would rather do business with. They both had highly qualified jewelers and appraisers on staff as well and dealt with more of the high end stuff. They weren't even the friendliest, but they were mature and experienced, knew what they were talking about, and were not pushy. Unfortunately, both of these places had more 9-5 type hours which made it more difficult to shop there but it was worth it.

 

I did come across one place that just by looking at it I knew for sure I didn't want to buy there, and I also came across another that I would be willing to buy there (if I found something I liked) but I would NOT be willing to buy from the salesperson that helped me.

Edited by H and A
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The Win/Win for me was finding an online store that was within driving distance so I could view the stones in person and meet the people who worked there.

 

H & A,

 

Maybe I should not have said "good ones" but rather which ones aren't "Bad ones". In my case I was able to use the internet and the BBB to verify that I wasn't about to do business with unreputable company.

 

Take care,

Brian

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