You’ve found the perfect life partner. Her eyes are hypnotic, her hair flows endlessly down her shoulders and when you look at her from across the room, oh my, she is absolutely stunning… You think about her constantly when you’re apart and you never want to leave her side when you’re together. When you hurt she is strong for you, when she hurts you’re strong for her. This woman makes you unstoppable, because everything you do, you do for her. She is the one you’ve been waiting for all your life.
We completely understand.
Now it’s time to commit and you want to give her the best diamond engagement ring you can afford. The problem is that what you want to give her and what you can give her are two different things. You want the most perfect stone in the world, one that represents who she is to you. One that flashes firey light as she moves – a diamond that is both scintillating and brilliant. A diamond whose shape is perfect, size is significant and whose color, cut and clarity are flawless to the eye. Let’s face it she’s not a prude, but she wants a beautiful diamond too. She is a woman in every sense of the word and a beautiful diamond engagement ring makes her feel special, loved and important. Now it is up to you to find that diamond and present it to her, taking her breath away with an offering that is so amazing that she can’t possibly say no.
Don’t worry, Jewelers.NYC is here to help. By the end of this article you will be well on your way.
First let’s dispel the three concerns about buying engagement rings online.
Concern #1 – Diamonds online are worse quality than in-store diamonds.
If you buy from one of the myriad of unknown diamond jewelry stores online this is certainly possible. However, if you choose one of our “Big Three” online diamond stores, their diamonds are as high quality as the top brick and mortar stores. Importantly, many of their diamonds are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) the best and most consistent diamond-grading lab in the world. A GIA certified loose diamond for the engagement ring is a must – it eliminates a lot of problems. Please don’t buy any other kind.
Also, each of the three stores was rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau at the time of this article. This is important, because an A+ rating is hard to get and easy to lose. So diamond dealers with this designation actively overwork to achieve customer satisfaction.
Concern #2 – There is no real cost savings when buying a diamond online.
This is not true. Online diamond stores don’t have significant overhead (rent, salespeople, etc.). Because of this our research solidly points to about a 40% savings over big chain diamond stores like Zales. The savings is even greater if you are comparing prices to a store like Tiffany.
Concern #3 – The settings are inferior.
Wrong again. Unless you are looking for a custom made, hand cast setting for your diamond, they come from basically the same stock as the big diamond stores you see throughout the United States.
Online diamond stores follow a “business disruptor” model. They remove a level of service to achieve a lower price. In this case, the level of service is face-to-face hand holding. It’s just too expensive. In return you get a wholesale diamond (circa 30-50% less).
Overhead = store rent + service, etc.
The diamond itself is only half the battle for some men. Sometimes they want to be told what to buy, and face-to-face advice costs money. When you buy a diamond at a brick and mortar store you are paying for the diamond of course, but you are also paying for the store’s rent, financing costs for its unsold inventory and the “advice” from the salesperson himself/herself. In fact a major input cost of a diamond at a retail store is salespeople’s compensation. If you’re willing to forgo an education on diamond basics and buy your diamond from a virtual store instead of a physical location, you will save circa 30-50%.
Zales overhead is 48.5% of the cost of the diamond*
Blue Nile’s overhead is 15.4% of the cost of the diamond*
Put another way. If you’d pay Zales $10,000 for a diamond engagement ring, you’d pay Blue Nile about $6,600 for pretty much the same thing.
The difference in price is the cost of doing the homework yourself. You’d also have to wait 2-3 business days to receive your diamond from Blue Nile – at Zales you can walk out the same day. This is probably not a big deal for this type of decision, but you need to know Blue Niles does not have same day service. They DO overnight it to you however, and all three stores pay shipping and insurance.
What You’re Paying for at Blue Nile…
Diamond Engagement Ring——–X———————————————–Hand Holding
What You’re Paying for at Zales…
Diamond Engagement Ring—————————X—————————Hand Holding
If you are okay to do the work yourself, there are three online diamond stores that are world-class. Blue Nile, Brian Gavin and James Allen. Our top overall recommendation is James Allen, followed by Blue Nile, then Brian Gavin. Here is the difference between the three, in a nutshell.
James Allen is our clubhouse champion again – two years in a row – we absolutely love this company. They were the first to offer 3D HD diamond inspection and their tool can zoom up to 20X (a jeweler’s loupe is 10X) on your exact diamond. The diamonds on display are the clearest of the three if you ignore the x-ray feature of Brian Gavin. You will absolutely know what you are buying when you buy from James Allen.
Blue Nile is the company that successfully started the online diamond movement. Yes others came before them, but those were not well capitalized and went out of business quickly. Blue Nile sells more engagement rings than Tiffany, and the quality of their diamonds is undisputed. The main area where they fall short (in our humble opinion) is that they do not have a gemologist final inspection before the piece is shipped out to the customer. Is this the end of the world? Not really. Their diamonds are graded, many by GIA (which we think is the only way to go for a buyer that is new to diamonds), but if the piece is set wrong it might make it to you and you’d need to return it for additional work – not the end of the world. Does this happen often? Rarely.
What we do like about Blue Nile is that they were the least expensive overall of the three online diamond stores (James Allen was a close #2), and they have the best selection. Blue Nile also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you know you’re four C’s view their diamonds here. If not, go to the bottom of the page and click the education links. It will take about 10 minutes to know everything you need to know.
We like Brian Gavin, but think that the firm may be trying too hard to be the best of both worlds. Brian Gavin himself inspects every diamond piece before it goes out, which is terrific and means that there are very few returns, but the brand is positioning itself to be the Tiffany of online diamonds, which means you’re not going their for the best price, but rather the best service- a bit of an oxymoron for an online diamond store. Still, Mr. Gavin does have a terrific x-ray like online inspection tool that views the diamonds purchased with different types of light – it’s pretty cool. What we don’t like about Brian Gavin is the 15-day return policy. This is just too short.
The final step is to go find her the diamond engagement ring that she’s been waiting for! One that represents what she means to you. The best part is that you will get about 40% more diamond for your money! Click on a link below to begin your journey and play with the diamonds online from the group of three using each site’s selection tool. At each store you can pick the diamonds, settings and most importantly, compare offerings.
* Source – Zales and Blue Nile’s 2013 Audited Financial Statements