Washington is a land of contrasts. From the towering peaks of Mount Rainier to the wheat-capped hills of the Palouse, one cannot get enough of this state. It is aptly referred to as the Evergreen State due to its abundance of lush, green forests. With a total of six natural forests and over 200 state parks, there is a great deal to see and do for adventure-loving souls.
Horticulture is one of Washington's economic mainstays. The state accounts for the highest percentage of apples, spearmint oil, and pears produced within the country.
You can easily explore Washington's many charming islands as you watch the sun sink beneath the horizons since it has the world's largest and most sophisticated ferry systems.
Besides the quaint and serene countryside of this majestic state, Washington also boasts some of the most bustling cities in the Western US, such as Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, to mention but a few. Contrary to some perceptions, the state's capital is Olympia and not Seattle. However, each of these cities features a thriving economy and vibrant nightlife. The majestic skylines that characterize most of Washington's cities make them ideal for people who fancy the glamour of urban life.
Washington does not frequently appear among the safest states in the US, though it still boasts reasonably low crime rates. Recent statistics put the rate of violent crimes at a paltry 21%, way below the national average.
With its relative peace and adventure-filled landscapes, Washington is a tourist haven and an industrial hub from where big corporations operate. Notable mentions include Amazon, Zillow, and Starbucks.
Diamond merchants are among the traders who are keen on setting up their bases in the state. The cities of Seattle and Olympia already teem with renowned jewelers. So, how does it feel to shop for diamonds in Washington?
How to Go About Buying Diamonds in Washington
Look Beyond the Four Cs
You are probably already familiar with the expression "Four Cs," the parameters used to determine a diamond's quality. The elements include color, cut, carat, and clarity. When buying diamonds, many shoppers often fix their attention on these aspects, which is fine. However, in your quest to find your ideal diamond, you must look beyond these elements.
First, you might want to consider other aspects, like the setting. Many people often look at the setting with respect to how the ring, pendant, bracelet, or necklace fits their jewelry. Given that not as much attention is given to how the diamond fits the center stone, experts stress the importance of pre-examining the setting before buying a diamond.
An exceedingly fine setting could cause the stone to fall out. Conversely, a setting that is too heavy may hinder the penetration of light through the ring mount into the jewel. As a result, the brilliance of the right could be affected severely. Therefore, you should shop from a store that not only understands these challenges but is also ready to help you find the ideal setting for you.
Some reputable stores in Washington will take you through the entire process of designing a perfect setting. The process usually involves creating a CAD and a 3D Wax mold of your finger.
Choose a Reliable Jeweler
The term reliable is quite relative and subjective. But when it comes to diamond shopping, the connotations are clear and straightforward. Insist on a vendor who enjoys a reasonably long existence in the industry because jewels that have been in the game long enough tend to be honest and professional.
Recommendations will come from the left, right, and center, some of which might be from friends or relatives. However, experts discourage acting upon every recommendation you get. Your best bet is to research a company's reputation online, and while you are at it, remember to stay woke. It is easy for a company to claim that they enjoy lots of positive reviews, but their (the reviews') legitimacy may be highly questionable. Therefore, you must not fall for sponsored reviews on some shady websites and search for a company's approval ratings on reputable sites.
Remember that you are looking for the most suitable jeweler in an entire state, and so you must get it right first before possibly visiting their physical stores.
But what if a vendor is based in a city far away from your location? No cause for alarm. As you check reviews of the store, confirm if the merchant ships to your preferred address. A well-established outlet should offer shipping services to every corner of the state. If they do not and visiting their brick-and-mortar store means traveling to a different city, you should find another vendor altogether.
However, even if the vendor ships to your location, do not place your order forthwith. Establish whether they offer a suitable return policy, which will help in case you receive faulty merchandise.
Another crucial consideration when choosing a diamond store in Washington is awards and accreditation. Accreditation means that the company is a legal entity that adheres to the industry's best practices, whereas awards lend even more credence to their reputation as a diamond seller.
You must also check the kind of staff the store employs and if they are industry-trained. Some shops may employ GIA-accredited staff, which is a plus, though what matters the most is the practical experience. Workers with hands-on experience working in busy diamond exchanges are likely to be highly knowledgeable.
Lastly, you should assess a store's responsiveness before choosing it and see if they are disposed to answer your questions willingly. Whether interacting online or offline, the staff should be happy to assist with your shopping. Besides, they should be responsive enough to address those concerns as soon as you raise them. Above all, the employees must practice honesty in all their interactions with you. It is usually devastating to discover, upon visiting a store, that they lied about the diamonds they stock. Thus, when it comes to customer interaction, responsiveness and honesty are inevitable.
If you live in Seattle, you may want to check out these diamond stores. Here are some recommended diamond dealers in Spokane. If you are in Olympia, you might want to give these jewelry shops a visit.
Check for Certification
Every industry has specific quality indicators that you should always look out for in a commodity. The same applies to the diamond industry. But as you may expect, not every marker of quality is issued by a reputable entity. Sadly, the same applies to diamonds, which is why looking for certified diamonds is only half the hassle. The other half involves investigating the body behind the grading of such diamonds. Diamond grading is essential, as the report that comes with it enables you to understand the specific details of your desired gem. You can uncover the four Cs in the stone, even when some of these aspects are not immediately noticeable.
A merchant may readily tell you that their stones are certified. However, they may appear reluctant to reveal the identity of the grading organization. At the very least, insist on diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America, and even then, ensure that the grading report offered is valid and legitimate. Thankfully, you can check for the authenticity of such reports on the GIA website.
One advantage of the GIA is that it is a non-profit organization and operates independently. Therefore, you can be confident that there are no conflicts of interest in their diamond grading processes.
At times, you may come across companies with in-house grading professionals. It is difficult for most in-house graders to work independently, and interference by their employers could see them issue inconsistent grading reports. Therefore, the convention is to look for a third-party grader like the GIA. Besides, we also have the European Gemological Laboratory, created by the Diamond High Council, as an alternative to the GIA certification. Independent grading reports may not directly influence the price of diamonds, but they give you peace of mind knowing that you are buying the real thing.
Are The Diamonds Ethically-sourced?
Questions on ethical business practices are not new in the diamond industry, nor are they unique. "Ethical," in this sense, does not imply honesty between buyers and sellers. Instead, it refers to how diamond vendors source their merchandise. Issues of blood diamonds have been rampant lately. Blood diamonds refer to the diamonds sold to fund armed conflicts. Unfortunately, most of them come from African mines located in countries like the DRC.
As a buyer, it is often quite hard to determine whether a diamond is blood or conflict-free. Oftentimes, you have to take the vendor at their word. However, some tips might clue you in. For example, diamonds from mines in Russia tend to be conflict-free, similar to those from South Africa.
It is presently estimated that up to 99.8% of diamonds traded globally are conflict-free. But when it comes to ethical issues in business, you cannot be certain. Hence, if in doubt, you can ask the merchant where they get their diamonds.
Additionally, request for some conflict-free guarantee; it is even better if the vendor is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. RJC endeavors to foster ethical business practices among jewelry dealers. An alternative to the body is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, founded in 2000 to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds.
Buying diamonds in Washington is an experience to relish forever. It is almost as thrill-inspiring as exploring the state's lush green landscapes. However, being the expansive state that it is, you should research carefully before making a purchase. The internet has made diamond shopping a quick and easy process. You can quickly go online, research a store, and then place your order. If the vendor is based far from your residence, ensure that they ship to your location. But if they have an outlet within your city, you will not go wrong with a physical visit to their showrooms.