Customers sometimes ask, “Why do the diamonds sold on-line, on sites like Blue Nile and James Allen, seem to be less expensive than the diamonds sold in your store?” It seems to be a rhetorical question because most people think they already know the answer. They think there’s more of a mark-up on the diamonds we sell. They may understand that the local retailer has different expenses than on-line retailers, but they don’t want to help pay for those expenses.
The accurate answer is not so simple, but anyone who has done as much research as it takes to ask the question ought to be invested enough to hear the truth. For years, consumers have been coached about the 4Cs of a diamond–Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight. They’ve been told that these four features define the value of a diamond. It made explaining and understanding diamonds easier–something that both sellers and buyers wanted. Diamonds were a commodity that could be categorized. All excellent cut, G, SI1, 0.80 carat diamonds would be in the same category.
But, if that’s true, then why does the same retailer charge different prices? The other day I went on Blue Nile. (Yes, we check out the competition!) and discovered that you can buy a 0.80 ct/G/SI1/Ideal cut diamond for $2789. You can also buy one, a little further down the list, for $4006. Why would anyone choose to pay $1200 more for the same thing? Why would a retailer who’s offering the same level of service on both diamonds, expect anyone to pay $1200 more? The reality is, if you’re buying a D colored diamond or a diamond of flawless clarity, there’s very little variation with those rankings. But most of us don’t choose to pay the premium that goes along with those rankings. The more commonly chosen SI1 ranking covers a broad range, as does the G color.
The only conclusion is that all 0.80 ct/G/SI1/Ideal cut diamonds are NOT the same. And, if that’s the truth, then who will show and explain the difference? Will employees at Blue Nile help you distinguish a good representation of four specific C’s from a poor one? Will they have you look at the diamond under a microscope and compare it to the plot provided by the grading laboratory? How will you know that you are getting a good value for your money?
The truth is, as with most products, you get what you pay for. If you buy a diamond in a local, reputable, A.G.S. member jewelry store, from a well-trained sales person who knows that his/her next sale may very well come from your recommendation, chances are excellent to ideal (pun intended) that you will get a quality diamond that accurately reflects the money you’ve spent. Then there are the extra benefits you get when buying your diamond from a local, reputable jewelry store. As long as that store is in business, you have a friend, an expert you can turn to should you have problems. Then there’s the story. Finding your diamond with someone you can talk to, laugh with, and even develop a friendship with, is a much deeper, richer experience than checking a box on your computer monitor. Finally, there’s the opportunity for legacy. Most married couples have kids, and those kids grow up, fall in love, and want to exchange rings as a symbol of their union. Generations of families come to our store, and it’s a wonderful tradition with deep meaning to those families.
In the end, you must decide where to buy that special diamond that signifies the most important relationship in your life. Make sure you have the information you need to make the right decision.