One of the most popular questions I get from people is whether to buy diamonds online store or go to a local jewel store! Generally, there are 2 reasons behind asking this question:

1)   When it comes to buying something precious like a diamond, shouldn’t you see the product before forking over a good deal of money?

2)   Is it safe to buy online?

The answer to both of these questions is yes!

I’ve personally walked into hundreds of diamonds store, just for checking the variaty of options & prices, in 80-90% of cases, the collections were very limited for whatever budget you want compared to variety of options in online stores.

In 100% of cases, prices were higher with no less than 20% compared to similar diamonds that I match after the visit online on websites like James Allen or Blue Nile.

In most cases (I expand on this below) you definitely should see the diamond before buying – which is why I choose to recommend the best places to buy diamonds online like James Allen, where you can see 360-degree HD images and videos with magnification up to 40x escorted by other features.

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On the other hand, Blue Nile does offer you 360-degree photos but in terms of imaging technology, no one can beat James Allen.

Suggested read: James Allen Vs. Blue Nile Full Comparison & Review.

As for being safe, just like you wouldn’t walk into any Brick-and-Mortar jeweler and buy a diamond, you need to know who you are buying diamonds online from as well. You should only buy from well-known and reputable online retailers, mentioning two above and also Whiteflash (of course there are other stores, and if you have any questions on a specific one feel free to contact me).

So, Why Should You Buy a Diamond Online? Here Are my Top 3 Reasons:

Blue Nile Prices1)   Price: The bottom line is that 9 times out of 10 you will be able to buy a diamond online for a significantly lower price than buying in a physical store. From my experience I have seen that Brick-and-Mortar stores will generally look to make a 30% to 50% margin on any given diamond.  Online retailers have much lower overhead and in general are making around 13%-15%! That’s a huge saving that is being passed on to you!

In addition, In most cases you can easily avoid paying taxes on a diamond purchased online. Most sites only have 1 or 2 states where sales tax is charged and you can easily avoid this by having it shipped to an out of state address.

2) Selection: Walk into any physical retailer and you are likely to see 5 actual diamonds that meet your specifications. Now take a look online and you are likely to see 5 times that number! How can online retailers afford to hold that much inventory? They don’t! In most cases (although not all) the inventory you are seeing online is “virtual inventory”. It is a collection if inventory lists from wholesales that are aggregated and put online. This allows online diamond stores like James Allen and Blue Nile to make a huge selection of diamonds for you without having to front the money for these diamonds!

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3) No Pressure: let’s face it- the diamond industry is an aggressive business, and walking into a jeweler you are likely to feel that you have walked into a new car lot. There will be a lot of pressure and misinformation thrown at you. You will be told you “have” to go with a higher Diamond Color or diamond clarity

Then you might be sold on an EGL vs GIA diamond certificate. By educating yourself on a site like this one and then shopping online you can avoid all the pressure and know that you are getting a great diamond at a fair price.

OK, I am Sold on Buying a Diamond Online. What Should I Look For in a Site?

James Allen Find the OneWhile there are no hard rules on what to look for and what to avoid, here are some general guidelines that I have put together based on my experience with various online retailers.

Money-Back Inspection Period – Any reputable retailer will give you a full money back in 30 days as a full inspection period to see the diamond in person. James Allen for example offers a full refund or exchange in unworn condition within 30 days. If you are not satisfied, just ship the diamond back! I would not recommend buying from any merchant that does not offer a similar policy.

Diamond Photos– If you are buying a VS2 or lower diamond clarity make sure that the merchant offers an actual diamond photo online. I am a big fan of SI1 diamond clarity but only if you see the diamond before buying so that you know where the inclusions are. If you are buying a VS1 or higher the diamond will be eye-clean in any case, so seeing the photo is less of an issue.

Avoid EGL diamond certificate – Please refer to my page on EGL vs GIA to understand why I would avoid this certificate.

–  Avoid “Wire Only” retailers – Many retailers will offer a choice of credit card or bank wire. I prefer buying online buy credit card since it offers protection in case of fraud or if I need to dispute a claim. Avoid any retailer which forces you to pay by bank wire and doesn’t even give the option of credit card, furthermore, check that they include insurance on all of their packages and make sure the box won’t give away what’s inside.

That is why our favorite yet the best online diamond stores like James Allen and Blue Nile, because of the assurance and guarantee that they provide to their customers and offer protection over your shipment from their door to yours. 

– Do research- take the time and do a quick Google search for the retailer in question. You are sure to get a lot of information on people’s past experiences. 

 Being a smart shopper is a choice, do the homework and navigate through websites to assure yourself that you are buying from a trusted dealer and buying the perfect diamond.