As the internet proves more and more invaluable in providing those cut-price consumables and a myriad of buying choices, more people are also purchasing expensive items like diamonds online. But what are the risks involved here and do they outweigh the advantages?
At one time, there was only one way of purchasing an engagement ring. You’d spend time in various high-street stores, listening to the advisor tell you about the cuts and settings and probably part with a substantial amount of cash at the end of it. Nowadays, online shopping has made even precious stones like diamonds more affordable. But is this a better way of buying, or should you stick to the shops?
There’s no doubt that you can get more for your money on the web. Online prices are much more competitive for diamond jewellery and companies are able to offer these because of reduced operational costs. There’s also an up-and-coming wave of diamond wholesalers available on the internet, where you can save considerably on the store mark-up by buying a loose stone, but you do need to be sure about what you want.
A lot more choice is available to the online consumer as well; there’s potential to view more variety in cuts and colours, as well as shop overseas and save more but in this case, do check things like return policies and extra charges. The grading is even more important when you’re buying blind, so check that you’re only looking at certified diamond rings that have been graded by an independent gem lab.
Lastly, many people find the freedom to take your time, choose well and avoid the constant sales patter you find elsewhere is a big part of the appeal of online shopping and jewellery is no exception.
Of course, there are undoubtedly risks involved when buying something you have not examined in the flesh, from someone you have not met. You can check the website’s policies, fine print and sources and read through customer reviews but unlike other products, each diamond is unique so while you can get an idea of a company’s reputation, you can’t be sure of the quality of the stone itself.
If you have trouble separating good and bad diamonds, an online store is probably not a good idea. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with the unknown and putting a large amount of faith in the information that you are told. If a problem arises to do with the delivery, guarantee or the look of the diamond, it could result in a lot of hassle.
However, there is one way to bring together the benefits of both offline and online shopping. Shop around on your local streets, examining different cuts and settings, comparing prices and listening to as much advice as you can. Then if you comb the internet for bargains, you are much better informed over what to look for and can feel confident that you’re getting the best price from a reliable source.
Finn Jacobs has written for various websites and magazines on topics from gemstone grading to certified diamond rings. Her fascination with precious jewels grew from an early age and her aim is to one day own a pair of pink diamond earrings.
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