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plaw88

Online Or In Store Buy?

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hey guys, im new to this. So im looking for a 1 to 1.5 carat princess cut diamond with the specifics of.

No lower than G for colour

VS1 for clarity

and would like a very good cut. ive looked abit deeper into depth table and girdle and so on but it all confuses me abit.. so far blue nile are looking good and ive read mainly pretty good reviews with a few bad.. ive looked instore and have realised that a diamond with these specifics will go for almost douible than what bluenile sell for.. so this is where im skeptical. Also im from australia if that has any play into it. any feedback/advice would be greatful appreciated. cheers

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In your circumstances, the problem with Blue Nile is that they do not see the stone prior to shipping to you, and any cut grade is issued by Blue Nile on the basis of frankly inadequate information (i.e. what is on the GIA report), since GIA does not grade cut quality on princess cuts. Considering that prices for a GIA-graded 1.0x G/VS1 vary by a factor of over 50% basically because of cut quality, it's not an insignificant factor in any decision.

 

FWIW, I would up expectations/selection criteria on cut, and lower them on clarity to VS2 or even SI1, and possibly on colour down to H. You will definitely see the difference in cut, but you will not see it on clarity, and very unlikely to see it on colour once set.

 

One advantage of Blue Nile compared to other online dealers is that - as far as I understand it - they will deal with the import/export/return bureaucracy for Australia, which could be a significant hassle if you need to return the stone. On the other hand, they provide limited service and information on the stones they sell, so a return becomes somewhat more likely.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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It is alway better to buy something in store, but the offer is much bigger online and it is a bit cheaper, so take all factors in consideration and make your decision.


www.adiamor.com - My site

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The perceived advantage of buying in a store is that you can see what you are buying before actually making the purchase. The disadvantage, apart from the obviously higher price and smaller selection, is that stores are set up with lighting and backgrounds that enhance the stones you are seeing. The reality is that you don't always really know what you are buying in a store, but you have the comfort of seeing before buying. Online stores have the great advantages of selection and price but some fall short on information. Ultimately you can get more accurate informed information from online stores that touch and feel the diamonds they are selling and can send you pictures of the actual stones. If you are considering fancy shapes, they can show you one stone next to another and you can judge for yourself which has more shape appeal. Consistency of photography goes a long way to helping you understand which stones have more brilliance than others. Not all online vendors are set up to do this as many of them never actually see the stones they are selling. If you can find an online vendor who will do the work you need in order to satisfy all your concerns, then this will be your best option.

 

Don't forget to check on return policies as well. Make sure you have ample time to receive and get your purchase independently appraised and can still return it for a full refund, not just store credit.

 

Hope this helps

  • Like 1

Laurent George
Diamond Ideals
New York City

www.diamondideals.com
212-207-4845
laurent@diamondideals.com

 

 

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I think there a few other advantages, both online and on the street. Here’s a few more:

 

 

Local.

There’s a much more personal feel. It’s a lot easier for most people to connect with a person face to face than through email or telephone.

 

It’s MUCH easier to compare 2 or 10 items with each other, choose or reject a few, and move on to another selection.

 

It’s nice to support your neighbors.

 

Delivery is, or at least can be, immediate.

 

Shoppers radar of recognizing a BS merchant is generally better tuned for physical stores. It’s pretty easy for a crook to set up a slick website, it’s much more difficult and much more expensive for them to set up a slick storefront.

 

Local stores tend to have lots of local customers so personal referrals are usually easier to come by. Your friends, relatives and coworkers may have shopped there and you can get personal feedback. This is amplified because a lot of them have been around since the beginning of time and 10 years is a really long time for a web store. Many online stores are no more or less than a local store in someone elses neighborhood but the pure internet players are generally pretty new companies.

 

Complaints can be handled quickly and relatively easily. Resizing, for example, can be a pain over long distance and is usually easy nearby. When people come to me with new purchase consultations, something I do on a daily basis, and there’s a problem that involves going back to the jeweler, at least 50% of the time it’s about the craftsmanship on the mounting. If the seller is local it’s usually easy to go back and have them fix it. If the seller is far away it’s decidedly more painful.

 

Certain locals do very well with the custom experience. The very best craftsmen seem to want to work for themselves and they seem to like to work face-to-face with their clients. If you’ve got one of these in your community it can be a very satisfactory shopping experience that the online stores are hard pressed to replicate.

 

Online stores routinely list things for sale that they don’t actually have. Many of them don’t have any inventory at all. This means that there’s a very real possibility that you’ll choose a stone only to find out that it’s no longer available. If a store shows you a stone, that’s pretty good evidence that they actually have it and really are prepared to sell it to you.

 

 

 

Online.

Online stores tend to be far more transparent about their pricing. There’s the occasional coupon or whatnot but, for the most part, the online guys say what they are charging without games. As mentioned above, most of the online stores are pretty aggressive pricewise.

 

Most jewelers can get pretty much whatever you want and are even drawing from many of the same sources but the online guys seem to do a better job of facilitating the search quickly. It’s not that the local jeweler can’t get the selection, it’s that it’s so painful to search for it. Some are much better than others but for computer savvy shoppers it's hard to match a good web interface with a salesperson at this.

 

Online shopping is anonymous. You can shop late at night, look as long as you want, go back as often as you want, and you’ll never hear from them with high pressure close or feel pushed to leave the store for being a looky-loo.

 

The online stores usually (not always) have better terms and conditions. ‘No Refunds’ is common on the street and it’s death online. 30-days no-questions refunds for any reason is common online and is rather rare in the stores. "No Refunds" should be a deal killer from any jeweler, online or on the street by the way.

 

If you know what you want, online can be fast. Start to finish you can buy a diamond, a ring, get it set and sized and shipped across the country to be ready for presentation within a couple of days. Local’s rarely can do this, especially if what you want is in any way beyond the ordinary. You usually have to visit the store at least a couple of times, they have to order in parts and wait in line for the craftsman, etc. Your part online, from selection to ‘buy it now’, can be done in just a few minutes if you want.

 

In both cases it's worth noting that the address of the merchant or the way the advertise is NOT the key element of what makes one better or worse than another. That's about the character of the people behind the counter/keyboard. You aren't doing business with the Internet or the mall, you're doing business with a specific merchant. Each deal and each dealer should be evaluated on their own merits.

Edited by denverappraiser
  • Like 1

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thank you Neil. That was definitely a more complete answer. My focus was more of the perceived comfort of touching and feeling when in fact those do relatively little towards assessing the quality of what you are actually seeing. Far too many of our friends and clients have purchased live and in person and been unaware of what they were buying. This happens every day here in NYC when people travel to the Diamond District and all too often get taken advantage of by less than wholesome sales tactics.


Laurent George
Diamond Ideals
New York City

www.diamondideals.com
212-207-4845
laurent@diamondideals.com

 

 

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Thanks George. Back in my days at retail, we had a 'diamond room' at the store where salespeople would take a client to do diamond sales in private. It was nicely lit, had a desk, decent privacy and was generally a very nice space. Naturally there was a microscope and people would look at stones through the scope to decide if it was a good one. They pretty much always were. The problem is that diamonds magnafied ten or fifty times are really really cool. Even marginal ones. Most folks have never seen it before, they have no idea what to look for, and they get caught up in the whole thing. My store was good and no misrepresentation was going but for 90% of the customers that microscope did no good at all unless the salesperson guided them through it. I see a similar problem now with people looking at online photographs. It's better than nothing but it's not as useful as people think it is so it goes back to the reliability of the store providing it.

 

I had a recent experience with ASET scopes. I'm a big fan of AGS and have been part of the ASET development since the beginning so I was thrilled to see it crop up at the mall with a sign advertising that store had and used it. I promptly went in and asked to look at some diamonds. The salesman cheerfully complied, and he put them on the ASET to show me how great they were. Actually they were decent. I asked him which was better and why. He had no idea, but it sure was pretty and I should pick the one with the prettiest pattern. He brought out the manager. He didn't know either! Supposedly NO ONE EVER ASKED THAT QUESTION so it wasn't part of their training. Huh?

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Hope it isn't too late. I worked with an online retailer that was at the website rijewelers.com. They have comparable deals to blue nile. However they get you on the phone, and essentially talk you through the diamond buying process. Which is as close you can get to the in store experience without being there. Hope this helps!

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Um - I don't think that "talking people through" is a replacement for "showing people", and showing is rather difficult to do on the phone...

 

@Neil: clearly they think ASET stands for Another Sales Enhancement Technique. ;)

Edited by davidelevi

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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It depends on the website. If you look - for example - at Good Old Gold or our site (Diamonds by Lauren) you get a LOT more information on each stone than anyone would be able to transmit through a phone call. Blue Nile - despite or perhaps because of its size - is at the "low end" in terms of helping the customer to choose, and many of the other e-tailers will provide more service through in-house inspection, photos, additional scans etc.

 

This is not to dismiss your positive experience - I just find your claim that "it's as close as you can get" is not realistic, and while rj may provide more guidance than BN that doesn't prevent a lot of others from doing the same as rj (or even better).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Good point, I wasn't talking about necessarily referring to only RJ. I was referring to more of the process of getting on the phone with someone who actually knows what they are talking about, and getting real guidance on the type of stone you should buy. The diamond guides that every single jewelry website gives is the same information regurgitated literally thousands of times.

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More guidance than BN is a pretty low bar. People shop with BN for a variety of reasons, some of them pretty good, but it’s not generally the shopping experience that motivates them.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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