Chicago – home to the marauding Chicago Bulls and the legendary Chicago Bears. The Bulls and the Bears have coexisted in somewhat uneasy harmony. Whenever they clash, they always keep their fans on the edge of their seats. But Chicago isn’t famous only for its successful sports teams. The city also has a heritage steeped in art and architecture. Chicago played a significant role in the development of jazz music. And its majestic landmarks, like the Sears Tower, are proof of the city’s long history of architectural excellence.
Chicago also boasts a vibrant urban life. The city is famed explicitly for its strong blue-collar roots and commendable work ethics. Chi town is one of the only cities in the world where members of the different social classes live side by side.
Chicago’s peaceful roots go way back. The city was among the first in the US to accommodate immigrants of diverse ethnicity. Presently, it’s a melting pot of cultures. No wonder some of the world’s biggest companies are headquartered here. Due to its thriving economy, the city has continued to attract tourists and traders from far and wide. Particularly, jewelry merchants laud the town for its favorable retail climate. Such merchants seek to tap into Chicago’s affluent neighborhoods.
Indeed, Chicago’s commercial district is dotted with boutiques like Chanel, Cartier, and Armani. Also, diamond stores are conspicuously present along Chicago streets. The stores offer all kinds of diamonds and diamond jewelry. Whether you’re looking for bridal, engagement, or solitaire rings, you’ll always find it here.
But with such a massive abundance of jewelry outlets, how easy is it to shop for diamonds in Chicago? Read on to find out.
What Is the Best Way to Buy Diamonds in Chicago?
Whenever you think of buying diamonds, there’s one dilemma you’ll often have to deal with – whether to buy online or offline. Each of these options comes with its perks and drawbacks. However, experts generally recommend purchasing jewelry online, be it in Chicago or anywhere else.
The first significant advantage of buying jewelry online is that you can access a vast collection of diamonds. Online showrooms are quite different from physical displays. That’s because the element of crowding isn’t there. Therefore, you can take your time to sample as many diamonds as possible. What’s more - the online experience is nearly as realistic as the brick-and-mortar experience. Contrary to popular perception, you can now view a diamond online from all perspectives. Some reputable dealers have made that possible by deploying certain state-of-the-art web design technologies. Some of these technologies include the inclusion of 3-dimensional pictures and 360-degree HD videos.
Another benefit of shopping for diamonds online is that prices are remarkably affordable. Compared to brick-and-mortar shops, diamonds prices in online retail outlets tend to be 30 – 50% lower. And the best part is, there’s no high-pressure salesmanship. As such, any decision you make will likely be inspired by sound judgment.
Lastly, buying diamonds online in Chicago is the safer option. Like many cities with a vibrant diamond industry, Chicago has had its fair share of jewelry heists. One such brazen robbery appeared in NBC Chicago. Though sellers are mostly the victims, buyers aren’t necessarily safe. Thieves could easily tail you up to the jewelry shops and wait for you to make a purchase. Then, they could waylay you and make away with your precious merchandise.
But much as it’s convenient, not everyone fancies the idea of online shopping. Some people crave the adventure of shopping for diamonds in physical stores. Indeed, buying diamonds at brick-and-mortar stores also come with some advantages. Most notably, you get to touch and feel the real thing. You also get to interact with the merchants first hand. Besides, buying diamonds from physical stores enables you to verify all documentation. When shopping online, it’s often difficult to verify the authenticity of things like grading certificates.
The best part about buying diamonds from physical stores is that you can try the jewelry on before purchasing it. That’s especially true if you buy a loose diamond and a piece of jewelry separately.
But it doesn’t matter whether you buy diamonds online or offline. The most important thing is that you source the stone from a trusted vendor. Establishing the legitimacy of a vendor isn’t a walk in the park. However, there are specific qualifications the dealer must satisfy.
First and foremost, the vendor must sell only certified diamonds. And the certification must have been issued by a trusted grading entity. Examples of reliable grading labs include the Gemological Institute of America.
Apart from grading certification, also try to check where the merchant sources their diamonds. Cases of blood diamonds infiltrating the mainstream jewelry industry are rampant. The motivation behind selling blood diamonds is to use the proceeds in funding armed conflicts. You don’t want to be part of these intrigues now, do you? Therefore, your best bet is to go for conflict-free diamonds.
Other factors to consider when choosing a jeweler are the additional services the seller offers. Examples include diamond cleaning, resizing, mounting, and insurance. Not forgetting; their returns and shipping policies, especially if you’re buying online. And when all is said and done, you still want fair bargains out of the jewelry. So, go for a seller who offers reasonably-priced jewels.
What’s the Most Popular Place to Buy Diamonds in Chicago
For those who fancy the thrill of adventure shopping, Chicago has your interests at heart. The city boasts a lively diamond district. The Chicago Diamond District is also known as the Jewelers Row. It’s the most popular place in the town to shop for all kinds of diamond jewelry.
The Chicago Diamond District is located in the Jewelers Center. It may not be as vibrant as other major exchanges like the New York Diamond District. However, the Chicago Diamond District boasts over 200 diamond outlets. That speaks volumes about the range of diamond jewelry you can find here. And compared to various locations within the city, diamond prices are also reasonably lower.
But you don’t have to visit the Jewelers Row only to shop for diamonds. The street also boasts iconic 20 th-century architectural landmarks. The Jewelers' Building, located within the district, is an architectural marvel in its own right.
Where’s the Jeweler’s Row Located?
The Chicago Diamond District is located on Wabash Avenue. The East Monroe Street and East Washington Street enclose the district. Jewelers Row is one of the most accessible streets in Chicago. That’s because it’s nestled right at the center of the Loop. Two main stations, namely Washington/Wabash and Adams/Wabash are located close to the street.
The stations service the Brown, Pink, Purple, as well as the Green and Orange lines. Of the two stations - the Washington/Wabash station - is disabled-friendly. The Monroe/Dearborn station is also within walking distance of the Jewelers Row. The street features ample parking lots. Some of the parking areas include the Adams & Wabash Self Park and the Self Park at 55 East Monroe. Remember that being a bustling street, parking fees are somewhat expensive.
Shopping at the Chicago Diamond District
As with any diamond district, buying diamonds at the Jewelers Row isn’t always easy. As you may expect, most shops feature stunning assortments of diamond jewelry. You’re likely to be swayed by the flawless beauty of the diamonds on displays here. And with over 200 vendors in one street, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice. Therefore, your best bet is to go prepared.
Before heading to the district, ensure you have a list of the stores you’d wish to visit. You should research on the stores online first. Identify those vendors that have been in business the longest. Also, try to uncover how previous clients have reviewed them. And while checking out the reviews, keep your eyes out on a vendor’s strongest points. How do they score in terms of customer service? What of the quality of diamonds they offer? Also check on the dealer’s pricing plans, as well as after-sale services.
Generally, a dealer should enjoy positive reviews across the full spectrum. If they sell genuine diamonds, such diamonds must also be duly-certified. And if they offer exceptional customer services, it should also be accompanied by reasonably-priced diamonds.
One significant benefit of shopping for diamonds at the Jeweler’s Row is that you get variety. After honing in on the stores to visit, your main concern will be getting fair bargains. And that’s where we draw the divide between reputable and unscrupulous dealers.
In any diamond exchange center, there are two types of shady vendors. You’ll come across those who offer outright subpar quality gems. It’s worse if the merchants also charge exorbitantly for their inferior quality merchandise. The next category comprises of professional wheeler-dealers. Such vendors sell merchandise of relatively good quality. However, there are always inconsistencies. And if you aren’t discerning enough, these inconsistencies could easily escape your attention. For instance, you could discover gross inaccuracies in their grading reports.
Besides these two categories of merchants, you’ll also have to contend with aggressive salesmanship tactics. By virtue of its location, jewelers at the district pay astronomical rents. The only way to recoup that is by employing hard-selling tactics. Stores located on the ground floors are notorious for these habits. Therefore, we cannot overstate the importance of preparedness before buying diamonds at the Jewelers Row.
Common Jewelers at the District
Ethan Lord operates on the second floor, in the Jewelers Center. What makes them outstanding is the fact that they sell only GIA-certified diamonds. Ethan Lord is primarily known for its custom engagement rings. It’s also a go-to place if looking for exceptional customer experience.
Dimend SCAASI specializes in custom engagement and wedding rings. You can also get lots of diamond jewelry here, from earrings to necklaces and pendants. Dimend SCAASI are renowned for their exemplary customer service. The staff here strive to assist their customers locate a diamond that matches their specifications. You can book an appointment to consult with them before making your purchase.
Here’s another favorite store if looking for GIA-certified diamonds. Diamonds by Windy City Diamonds come in all shapes, sizes, cuts, and colors. The store also employs GIA-trained gemologists. Friendly customer services are also some of their selling points.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile isn’t located in the Jewelers Row; neither is it a specific vendor. Instead, it’s a street that’s nestled within the Chicago shopping district. Unlike the Jewelers Row, the Magnificent Mile primarily features boutiques. However, it’s an excellent place to buy diamonds in Chicago. Especially if you’re looking for a calm and relaxing shopping experience.
Chicago is a major tourist hub in the central US. One of its main attractions is the vibrancy of its streets. With its iconic architectural landmarks and friendly inhabitants, shopping along Chicago streets is a surreal experience. If you’re thinking of diamonds in Chi town, think along the lines of the Jewelers Row. And if you prefer online shopping, there are hundreds of reputable merchants to buy from. Either way, due diligence is paramount.