Chicago is home to the marauding Chicago Bulls and the legendary Chicago Bears. The Bulls and the Bears have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Every time they clash, they always keep their fans on the edge of their seats. Though famous for its successful sports teams, Chicago also has a heritage steeped in art and architecture. The city has played a significant role in the development of jazz music. Its majestic landmarks, such as the Sears Tower, prove the city’s long history of architectural excellence.
Chicago also boasts a vibrant urban life. The city is famous explicitly for its strong blue-collar roots and commendable work ethic. 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 is a melting pot of cultures - it is no wonder that some of the world’s biggest companies are based here. Due to its thriving economy, the city has continued to attract tourists and traders from far and wide. Jewelry merchants particularly laud the town for its favorable retail climate. Such merchants seek to tap into Chicago’s affluent neighborhoods.
Indeed, Chicago’s commercial district is replete with boutiques like Chanel, Cartier, and Armani. Also, diamond stores are conspicuously present along Chicago streets that offer all kinds of diamonds and diamond jewelry. Whether you are looking for bridal, engagement, or solitaire rings, you will always find them there.
But with such a massive abundance of jewelry outlets, how easy is it to shop for diamonds in Chicago? Read further to find out.
What is the Best Way to Buy Diamonds in Chicago?
Whenever you think of buying diamonds, you will often deal with one dilemma – whether to buy online or offline. Each of these options comes with its rewards and drawbacks. However, experts 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 because the element of crowding is not there. Therefore, you can take your time to sample as many diamonds as possible. Furthermore, the online experience is 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 doing so 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 physical retailers, diamond prices in online retail outlets tend to be 30 – 50% lower. The best part is that there is no high-pressure salesmanship, which is why every decision will 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 on NBC Chicago. Though sellers are mostly the victims, buyers are not necessarily safe either. Thieves could tail you up to the jewelry shops and wait for you to make a purchase. Afterward, they could waylay you and make away with your precious merchandise.
But much as it is 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 firsthand. Besides, buying diamonds from physical stores enables you to verify all documentation. When shopping online, it is 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 before purchasing it. It is especially true if you buy a loose diamond and a piece of jewelry separately.
But it does not 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 is not a walk in the park. However, there are specific qualifications the dealer must satisfy.
First and foremost, the vendor must sell only diamonds with certifications 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 do not want to be part of these intrigues now, and 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. Do not forget to investigate their returns and shipping policies, especially if you are buying online. After everything 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 is 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, which speaks volumes about the range of diamond jewelry you can find here. Compared to various other locations within the city, diamond prices are also reasonably lower.
But you do not have to visit the Jewelers Row only to shop for diamonds. The street also boasts iconic 20th-century architectural landmarks. The Jewelers' Building, located within the district, is an architectural marvel.
Where is 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 because it is 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 from 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 because of being a bustling street, parking fees are expensive.
Shopping at the Chicago Diamond District
As with any diamond district, buying diamonds at Jewelers Row is not always easy. As you may expect, most shops feature stunning assortments of diamond jewelry. You may be swayed by the flawless beauty of the diamonds on displays here, and with over 200 vendors in one street, you will be spoilt for choice. Therefore, your best bet is to go prepared.
Before heading to the district, ensure that you have a list of the stores you wish to visit. Research the stores online first and 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 is the quality of diamonds they offer?; and so forth. Also, read the dealer’s pricing plans and after-sale services.
A dealer should enjoy positive reviews across the spectrum. If they sell genuine diamonds, such diamonds must also be duly-certified. Besides, if they offer exceptional customer services, they 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. This is where we draw the divide between reputable and unscrupulous dealers.
In any diamond exchange center, there are two types of shady vendors. You will come across those who offer outright subpar quality gems. It is worse if the merchants also charge exorbitantly for their inferior quality merchandise. The next category comprises professional wheeler-dealers. Such vendors sell merchandise of relatively good quality. However, inconsistencies always loom large, and if you are not discerning enough, they can easily escape your attention. For instance, you could discover gross inaccuracies in their grading reports.
Besides these two categories of merchants, you must also contend with aggressive salesmanship tactics. Under 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 is also a go-to place if looking for an 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 is renowned for its exemplary customer service. The staff here strive to assist their customers in locating a diamond that matches their specifications. You can book an appointment to consult with them before making your purchase.
Here is another favorite store if looking for GIA-certified diamonds. The store also employs GIA-trained gemologists. Friendly customer services are also some of their selling points. Moreover, Diamonds by Windy City Diamonds come in all shapes, sizes, cuts, and colors.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is not located in Jewelers Row, nor is it a specific vendor. Instead, it is a street nestled within the Chicago shopping district. Unlike the Jewelers Row, the Magnificent Mile primarily features boutiques. However, it is an excellent place to buy diamonds in Chicago, especially if you are 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 are thinking of diamonds in Chi-town, think along the lines of the Jewelers Row. Besides, if you prefer online shopping, there are hundreds of reputable merchants to shop from. Either way, due diligence is paramount.