Guide To Buying Diamonds Online
Buying diamonds online is considered to be the cheapest method, allows for the greatest selection and the educational resources and forums available online simply can not be matched. Despite this, online diamond sales are a fraction of what retail sales are.
Assessing A Potential Diamond
Whiteflash.com writes on three methods of assessing a diamond's cut. From least effective and accurate these are:
- Looking at the proportions of a diamond from a certificate and comparing these with specifications set out by various "authorities" such as laboratories and gemmologists.
- Looking at images from tools such as the Ideal Scope and Brilliancescope. These tools are designed to measure the amount of light a diamond returns, thus measuring the perfomance of a diamond's cut. However, it should be noted that the brilliancescope has a 5% margin of error.
- Looking at a diamond in person. This is considered to be the best method for assessing a diamond's beauty as the consumer can see with their own eyes and compare a diamond with other diamonds
In addition to cut quality, imperfections such as inclusions and polish marks are difficult for a consumer to assess without expensive photgraphic equipment. Similarly, a diamond's colour and clarity grade may differ from lab to lab due to such factors as the location of inlusions.
Advantages For Australian Consumers
Unlike the USA where the population is relatively decentralised, Australia's population is centralised within four or five cities.
Therefore, unlike their counterparts in the USA, who have have invested heavily in diamond analysing and photographing equipment, most well established merchants have established "virtual offices" in major capital cities, allowing customers to view and compare diamonds prior to purchase.
On most diamond merchants' sites you will see lists containing hundreds, maybe even thousands of diamonds.
These lists are usually diamonds from the merchant's overseas wholesalers and offer consumers the opportunity to choose from a large amount of diamonds with the merchant acting as a broker.
However, listing diamonds like this have the following downfalls:
- Assessing the quality of a diamond may be difficult from the information presented.
- More information such as a grading certificate or photo may not be available.
- The list may be outdated or inaccurate.
It should also be noted that many merchants may be competing to sell the same stone. Thus, consumers may be able to compare and negotiate the best price from a number of merchants.
A large portion of the retail price of a diamond consists of overheads needed to maintain a retail shop.
On the other hand, online diamond merchants' overheads are a fraction of retail overheads, thus the markup is a lot lower. Typically, gross margins are between 10 and 20 percent for online diamond sales. This means that there are usually no "percentage off" sales, or heavy discounting from the listed price.