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Just Purchased From Amazon.com


cwguth
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I first started shopping about 2-3 months ago for a diamond, the first time I've ever purchased such an item. Although I've always been ok with buying just about anything else online, I was skeptical about a diamond without seeing it.

 

I started my search at local jewelers in my area and was able to get an idea of what I wanted from them, but at a cost of more than I was willing to spend. (I'm very fortunate to have a girlfriend who doesn't want me to spend a huge amount of money and actually specifically told me I better not go into any debt just to get her a ring.)

 

My girlfriend and I had talked about what she likes. I knew she wanted a white gold band, relatively small with a few channel-set side stones. After comparing sizes of the diamonds in the local stores, I decided I would want to get close to a 3/4 ct diamond (princess cut) and maybe about a 1/4 ct total weight with the side stones.

 

I also decided that I wanted an H or I color (after comparing them in stores on a white background and not being able to see any color difference between the higher ones, especially on stones already set), and I just wanted it to be eye-clean. I settled on VS1 or VS2 as the lowest clarity I would go.

 

I couldn't find a lot of reviews from people buying at Amazon.com, but I've been a fan of Amazon for a long time and the couple reviews I did find were all great. I decided with the 30-day return policy I could really do no wrong. I found the diamond I wanted (.71 ct, very-good cut, I color, VS2 clarity) for $1690. I could not find this same diamond in a local jewelry store for less than $2200. I also found a 14k band that looked like it would be exactly what my girlfriend would want, with 5 round channel-set side stones on each side of the band totaling 1/4ct. The total price for the ring was $2140.01 with free next-day shipping (after they set the stone of course). This is easily at least $1000 off the lowest price I could find at a retail jewelry store in the area. I priced something similar at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and I think it was about $3400-$3500, although I cannot remember exactly what the diamond specifications were so you might be able to get it a little better than that.

 

I placed the order on 9-2-08 in the evening, and it arrived on 9-10-2008. When I finally got it open I was very pleased! This ring looks even better than the pictures on Amazon.com. It is slightly smaller than the picture looked online, which is actually what I wanted and was hoping for since the online pictures of rings are so close-up it's hard to gauge exactly what it's going to look like on a finger (to me anyway). The package came in a great ring box, and the only thing stamped inside the ring is the "14k" mark (I read an online review of someone else whose ring was stamped "Amazon" on the inside, and while I would have been ok with that, I like it much better with it being plain).

 

The diamond is GIA certified and also comes with a signed Amazon.com appraisal, appraising it for about $800 more than I paid ($2950 or so--can't remember the exact number and don't have it in front of me). I think this is probably more for insurance purposes than anything else, and in fact I am taking it to my homeowner's insurance agent today to make sure the ring is covered.

 

I'll try to get a picture to upload in the future, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I would absolutely purchase from Amazon.com again. I considered other online retailers that have been mentioned by others on here, including Union Diamond, Blue Nile, and James Allen, but in the end I decided on Amazon because of my previous experience with the company and because I was able to find the exact diamond and setting that I wanted.

 

I would appreciate any thoughts/feedback/questions you may have, or any suggestions on things I may not have thought about since I am such a newbie to jewelry purchasing and diamonds. Thanks to everyone who have posted here in the past--I have learned a lot from reading all the advice you have given to others.

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Edited by cwguth
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Nice write up, ill keep amazon in mind on my next purchase. I cant bring myself to buy locally. I dont have money to throw away, I used the local stores to find out what my g/f's tastes and preferences were but thats about all I can do. I wouldnt mind doing business with them, but I just cant afford paying 100% markup. We had a ring picked out locally for $2700 and it was $1100 online.

 

Always nice to see a thread WITH pictures.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm in the market for a ring for my wife for our 10th anniversary, coming up in September '09. The engagement ring I gave her is a family heirloom that's nearly 100 years old - an elegant, thin white gold band with a ~ .25ct stone. The problem is the band is loaded with nickel, and my wife has developed a severe nickel allergy, and can't wear the ring (unless she wants to tolerate her hand breaking out in lots of little blisters).

 

So I got the idea last year to start squirreling away money to surprise her with a new ring. The first place I started looking was Amazon, using their interesting "create your own ring" tool, which allows you to select the stone based on a number of criteria using sliding selectors (so you can quickly narrow your range of color to, say, G through I, and it will refine the search results to include only the stones that match your requirements). I decided on a round cut stone in a platinum setting (which should be OK for her to wear) with side stones. Based on my projected budget of about $8000, I anticipated being able to get somewhere in the .75-1ct range for the primary stone somewhere in the G-H color range and VS2 or better. I got some fairly reasonable prices based on picking various stones around the 1ct size.

 

But my problem was that I had no real concept of exactly what a 1ct stone looked like, or what the other qualities meant, at least in comparison to each other (like, "what is the difference between looking at a G and an I?"). So one day when I had some free time I ducked into a local Jared store and spent about 40 minutes talking to a salesperson. I got a real hard sell to buy it that day, but I was firm about not being ready to buy for several months. But it was definitely useful to me to see some different stones up close and get a better idea of what it is I'm looking for.

 

One of the main lessons I came away with is that cut is far more important than I would have expected. After showing me a number of "heavy 7/8" or .90ct stones in the $3000 range, she showed me a similar size stone in an ideal cut which bumped the price to around $4000 if I remember correctly, but there was an obvious difference in the presentation of the stone... compared to this stone, all the other ones were dull and lifeless, and this one really sparkled.

 

So, armed with that experience, I've determined to spend the next few months learning even more about diamonds (I would say I knew the "basics") so that when I am ready to make the purchase, I know I'll get the best deal I can. I'd be interested to know if more people have had good experiences with Amazon, because they definitely seem to have good prices, but I'd be curious to know what the long-term customer experience is. One of the "features" (which I believe was going to cost about $1000) of the Jared ring was the lifetime warranty which covered just about everything other than theft, if the salesperson was to be believed (also include the "trade-up" policy). It required 6-month inspections, which I would only find to be a problem in the event that we moved to some place that doesn't have a Jared or affiliated store that would honor the policy and perform the semiannual inspections.

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