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Newbie Getting Engagement: Help With Online Choices B2C Vs Union Diamond Vs Blue Nile?


newdiamondfan
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Hello everyone, I have researched diamonds recently and have educated myself as far as I can with what I could engorge online, starting from scratch. I originally knew nothing much at all about diamonds but now feel somewhat confident.

 

I need help from you all on this fantastic forum concerning my question.

 

My question: I have decided to buy online. I am torn between Blue Nile, B2C Jewelers, Union Diamond. I have not found any information on the forums about B2C Jewelers, and yet they seem to have great prices. I called their customer service and the downfall with them is that they take 20% for lifetime tradeup because they give you the pro of being able to trade without forcing the 100% trade up policy. Ie: Buy a diamond at $2,000, trade up for a $3,200, they give you the credit of $1,600 of your purchase towards that $3,200. Kind of a give and take. Either way.

 

I need your help please! If you know of any reputable other online dealers with very good prices, please let me know. I am looking for a 0.5 - 0.75 carat VS2-SI1, excellent/very good cut round diamond to set in a 4 prong solitaire style tiffany setting.

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There are lots of dealers out there. Tens of thousands of them. That's part of the problem with the internet. A few decades ago, the reasonable shopping path involved one of the jewelers within driving distance and for most people that narrowed it down to a dozen or less. That's exploded. There's no way I could give you a straight answer to which is 'best' and I wouldn't anyway because it's a conflict of interest for an appraiser to be giving that sort of advice.

 

B2C is a credible outfit. They've been around for years and have the same basic business model as Blue Nile. Most (possibly all) of their inventory is on virtual consignment so they can sell pretty efficiently. They don't offer much in the way of bells and whistles and they don't have the huge advertising budget of Blue Nile, no one does. It's up to you to decide if that's comforting or irritating. Overall their customers seem to be pretty happy.

 

That's a little unusual for a tradeup program but there are ALWAYS strings to these things. I don't think Blue Nile takes tradein's at all for example.

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Denverappraiser,

 

Fair enough answer, I greatly appreciate it. I just hadn't found much info on B2C, so I called them today and they seemed very competitive if not most competitive in their pricing among other information I inquired about (return policies, etc). But you're right, they lack a few things such as they only have a 1 year warranty, and the 20% trade up take away is a little different. However, blue nile does have a trade in policy, the typical 2x what you payed requirement as of Jan 2011. Union diamond seems to be the most expensive of the three.

 

I would like to hear more about B2C if I could from anybody who can add, as this is where I'm leaning perhaps.

 

Thank you.

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FWIW, I think the Union guys will price match their competitors.

 

Thanks for the info about Blue Nile. I must admit, I haven't read their terms and conditions in a while.

 

I've no clue what the return policy is with Union but they're a traditional jeweler in Atlanta so I would expect them to have the usual 2x sort of policy. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to tell you about it if you ask.

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Denverappraiser,

 

Your welcome. I've read the sites IN AND OUT and am currently in the phase of calling them and drilling them with questions.

 

My concern with the price match is that it sounds like it has to have the same angles and everything to be considered the same diamond, am I correct? Which that itself is IMPOSSIBLE, so it seems the price match might be a null point.

 

Here's what I've gathered about B2C via phone:

B2C Started 4 years ago.

 

What is your return policy? Tag?

30 day return policy, starts from date of receipt of product at home. Even the return shipping is free.

Checked with his supervisor and said it’s okay about the taking off the white security tag to check fit. (Typically it says that you must have the white security tag attached to the ring, but I argued it's tacky and how can you check proper fit upon proposal?)

 

Time between order and arrival?

Diamonds can come from overseas. So call about the particular diamond to see about it’s availability, to see if it’s from USA. Call a week before order date, and have it shipped even without paying first.

 

Placing purchase, is it due in full or is there a pay on arrival option?

Yes in full on puchase, not upon arrival.

 

Trade up policy?

There is no trade up limit in frequency. It doesn’t have a minimum for trade up policy, ie: doesn’t need to be 2x the purchase, it just needs to be more than the diamond. 20% restocking fee however.

 

Do you see the diamonds before?

No, they are a middle man.

 

If ring doesn’t fit, and you need to resize?

No fee. It has to be resized with 60 days, different than the 30 return policy. Takes about 7-10 days. Cannot utilize included free return shipping label.

 

Does the return shipping label include insurance on shipment?

It would be included.

 

Warranty?

Normal wear and tear for one year.

 

Ring sizing fee, setting fee? Tax?

No additional fees. No sales tax (NY exception).

 

Final price costs?

What you see online. 3% discount for bank wire transfer.

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I think the price match refers to exactly the same diamond - which is not uncommon. It does mean though that they are aware of the price difference and willing to work on it - whether they will in your particular case is an open question, but it doesn't hurt to ask!

 

Bear in mind that most online dealers own very little stock (UD may be the exception, since they have a large store in Atlanta) if they own any at all, so they work off stones put up for sale by wholesalers, who may be (usually are) offering the same stone to more than one dealer, so the price match policy does make some sense.

 

As an example, here's "three" stones which are the same one:

 

http://www.diamondreview.com/clk.cgi?http://www.jamesallen.com/diamond.asp?b=20&a=16&c=79&cid=131&item=1361495

http://www.diamondreview.com/clk.cgi?http://www.abazias.com/database/NewDiamondInfo.asp?stock=91743925&flag=dr

http://www.diamondreview.com/clk.cgi?http://www.uniondiamond.com/AE0030580&ptc=DR

 

there's a $426 (~5%) difference between top and bottom prices, which is about as high as it gets, usually.

 

Upgrade policy: the value depends on where you start, and the extent to which you plan to upgrade in the future.

 

For example, assume you start at your $2000 example in the OP, upgrade every two years, but choose to budget your upgrades at 50% at B2C, and at the "minimum" of 100% at BN. After 10 years, you have spent a total of $32,000 at BN. At B2C you have spent $12,025, of which $1900 have been left in the "restocking fee" pot. Of course, you have a lesser diamond, but you have $20k in your pocket...

 

If you are going to go for a single "big" upgrade of a $32,000, then you are leaving in $400 in restocking fees - which may well be of the order of difference between the starting prices, but in any case disappears compared to the $30k you have to fork out for the upgrade.

 

If you are starting from a $16,000 stone and upgrade to a $32,000 stone, you are leaving on the table $3,200, which starts to hurt and is nowhere near any price difference that may have been there to start with. On the other hand, you can upgrade to a $28,000 stone with B2C, that would leave you with the same out-of-pocket, or a $25,000 (or $16020) one.

 

Of course you pay for the flexibility, but it isn't always the worst strategy.

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Davidelevi,

 

Thank you for your input, I greatly appreciate it.

 

Makes sense that the 20% to me seems not a big issue because after I get to a certain upgrade point, am I really going to want to have to spend double what I spent to upgrade? Ie: $10,000 unable to upgrade unless i go $20,000, which seems crazy.

 

I greatly appreciate the point that many online diamond sellers carry the same diamond, I'm curious the fastest way to find out which sites carry a specific diamond. Since you can't really search the sites for the GIA report number, which would be easiest, how can you do so?

 

Hope to hear from you, thank you again.

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One of the easiest ways is to use a multi-vendor database like the Diamond Finder, then use various combinations of filtering/sorting. Same depth/table %, same WxLxH are pretty good indications that it is the same stone. A final check of the lab report on the vendor's sites confirms it.

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