Considering the abundant potential for fraud concerning diamonds, purchasing a diamond online seems so risky as to be nearly unthinkable. However, given enough knowledge and caution it is entirely possible to purchase diamonds online without significant risk.
The first thing to think about is the reason for wanting to purchase the diamond online rather than making the purchase from a local jewelry store. Price is the most common reason. Online jewelers and wholesalers are able to offer lower prices because the lack of a storefront lowers overhead costs. It is, however, important to be careful–a price that is too good to be true is likely to be.
The big advantage of shopping for diamonds online is the nearly unlimited selection. When shopping offline, the selection within the local stores represents a significant limitation. But to reiterate, a great deal of care and consideration must be taken before handing money over to someone that cannot be seen, met, or verified.
It is critical to learn as much as possible about diamonds before shopping, especially cut, color, clarity and carat weights. Con artists find it far more difficult to rip off someone knowledgeable about diamonds. Once knowledgeable about diamonds, it will be safe to start shopping.
Equally important is to maintain patience while shopping. Don’t purchase the first diamond that seems right or interesting. Instead, look for comparable diamonds for sale. This permits each deal to be examined, weighed, and analyzed in comparison to the others to find the lowest price, or best deal. Once the best deal is found the investigation can begin. Simply having learned about diamonds and finding a diamond that fits the bill at the best deal isn’t enough.
Check out the seller’s credentials, looking for details such as which (if any) professional jewelry associations they belong to. Read and print out a hardcopy the seller’s refund, return, and upgrade policies. Also inquire about additional services, such as settings and mountings, sizing, and free shipping. Conduct a thorough Internet search for customer reviews on this particular company. Especially make sure to check with the Better Business Bureau Online to determine if there have been any complaints filed against the company.
Always request a diamond grading report from an independent laboratory such as GIA, EGL, HRD, or AGS. It’s important to get this verification before making a purchase. Finally, if there is any doubt or the purchase will involve a high dollar amount, use a reputable escrow service, ideally one that will have the diamond appraised while it is in their possession. This way the diamond and the payment are sent to the escrow service, who then verifies the diamond matches the claims the online seller made before sending the diamond to the buyer and the money to the seller. This is the surest way to guarantee the financial safety of both parties. It should go without saying to be certain that a reputable escrow service is used.