If you want to buy loose diamonds online, there is a reasonably good chance that you have a setting that has lost its center stone along the way. Perhaps it’s an heirloom from a long gone relative, a gift from one generation to the next, or just a setting that you found at an heirloom shop and love. Whatever the reason, buying diamonds online has the same rules as buying any other diamond jewelry.
Rule #1 – know what you want
Do you know if that wonderful setting had a round or emerald diamond? Was it 1/2 carat, 1 carat, 2 carats?!? Jewelers can adjust the prongs to fit just about any center stone, so you should be okay there, but it becomes more difficult if you are looking for diamonds to fit in the shank (the band). If it’s the latter, knowing the exact size and shape of what you’re looking for is very important.
Rule #2 – know the four c’s
Jewelers.NYC has great education on the four C’s, as do online diamond superstores Blue Nile, James Allen and White Flash. It’s important that you know the quality of the diamond that you want before you buy anything, online or on foot.
Rule #3 – comparison shop
At Jewelers.NYC we use a “test diamond” to determine who has the best price. This diamond is what the average American buys for an engagement ring. The characteristics are: round, 1 carat, VS2 clarity, Very Good cut, G color and GIA certified. The price results are shown in the graph below.
Rule #4 – know the store’s return policy
After successfully completing steps #’s 1, 2 and 3 above, you would think that your decision would be spot on, and it might/probably will be; however, you need to ensure you have the flexibility to return your loose diamond if you need to do so. The decision to return could come from a myriad of reasons (she does not like it, she says no (god forbid), etc., but the bottom line is you need to be protected.
Where to Go
Jewelers.NYC has a wonderful resource called our Online Diamond Store Review. If you want to know extreme detail about how each online diamond retailer fares, go there and you can read our exposé on each. However, if you just want to get down to it, we have highlighted winners #’s 1, 2 and 3 (in the proper order) below. The swing factor between the three was so close, that we recommend comparing the loose diamond of your choosing from all three shops.
#1 James Allen
#2 Blue Nile
#3 White Flash