Washington is a land of contrasts. From the towering peaks of Mount Rainier to the wheat-capped hills of the Palouse, there’s no getting enough of this state. Washington is aptly referred to as the Evergreen State. That’s due to its abundance of lush, green forests. With a total of six natural forests and over 200 state parks, there’s a lot 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. That’s because the state 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. Examples include Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, to mention but a few. And contrary to some perceptions, the state’s capital is Olympia and not Seattle. However, each of these cities features a thriving economy and a vibrant nightlife. The majestic skylines that characterize most of Washington cities make them ideal for people who fancy the glamour of urban life.
Washington doesn’t appear among the safest states in the US frequently. However, 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 isn’t only a tourist haven. It’s also an industrial hub from where big corporations operate. Notable mentions include Amazon, Zillow, and Starbucks.
Diamond merchants are among the traders who’re 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’re probably already familiar with the expression “ Four Cs.” Essentially, these are the parameters used to determine the quality of a diamond. The elements include color, cut, carat, and clarity. When buying diamonds, many shoppers often fix their attention on these aspects. Well, that’s perfectly alright. 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. Not as much attention is given to how the diamond fits the center stone. That’s why experts stress the importance of pre-examining the setting before buying a diamond.
A setting that’s exceedingly fine could cause the stone to fall out. Conversely, a setting that’s too heavy may hinder the penetration of light through the ring mount, into the jewel. As such, the brilliance of the right could be affected severely. Therefore, you should shop from a store that not only understands these challenges. But also one that’s 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. Jewelers who’ve been in the game long enough tend to be honest and professional.
Recommendations will come from the left, right, and center. Some of these referrals 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’re at it, remember to stay woke. It’s easy for a company to claim that they enjoy lots of positive reviews. But the legitimacy of those reviews may be highly questionable. Don’t fall for sponsored reviews on some shady websites. Instead, check for a company’s approval ratings on reputable sites.
Remember, you’re looking for the most suitable jeweler in an entire state. As such, you want to get it right first, before possibly visiting their physical stores.
But what if a vendor is based in a city that’s far away from your location? No cause for alarm. As you check up reviews of the store, also 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 don’t, and visiting their brick-and-mortar store means traveling to a different city, perhaps you should find another vendor altogether.
However, even if the vendor ships to your location, don’t place your order just yet. Establish whether they offer a suitable return policy. The policy will help in case you receive faulty merchandise.
Another crucial consideration when choosing a diamond store in Washington is awards and accreditation. Accreditation means the company is a legal entity that adheres to the industry’s best practices. And awards lend even more credence to their reputation as a diamond seller.
You might also want to check the kind of staff the store employs. Are they industry-trained? Some shops may employ GIA-accredited staff, which is a plus. But the most important thing is how much practical experience those employees have. Workers with hands-on experience working in busy diamond exchanges are likely to be highly knowledgeable.
Lastly, you should assess the responsiveness of a store before choosing it. Are they disposed to answer your questions willingly? Whether you’re 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’s devastating to discover, upon visiting a store that they lied about the diamonds they stock. So, when it comes to customer interaction, responsiveness and honesty is everything.
If you’re based in Seattle, you may want to check out these diamond stores. Here are some recommended diamond dealers in Spokane. And if you’re 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. And sadly, the same applies to diamonds too. So, 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 the gem. You can uncover the four Cs in the stone, even when some of these aspects aren’t 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 that are graded by the Gemological Institute of America. And even then, ensure 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’s a non-profit organization. Besides, it operates independently. Therefore, you’re assured that there are no conflicts of interest in all their diamond grading processes.
At times, you may come across companies with in-house grading professionals. It’s difficult for most in-house graders to work independently. 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 the GIA, we also have the European Gemological Laboratory. The EGL was created by the Diamond High Council, as an alternative to the GIA certification. Independent grading reports may not have a direct influence on the price of diamonds. However, they give you the peace of mind knowing you’re buying the real thing.
Are The Diamonds Ethically-sourced?
Questions on ethical business practices aren’t new in the diamond industry. Neither are they unique to it. “Ethical,” in this sense, doesn’t 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’s often quite hard to determine whether a diamond is blood of conflict-free. Most of the time, you’ll have to take the vendor at their word. However, some tips might clue you in. For example, diamonds that come from mines in Russia tend to be conflict-free. Same as those that come from South Africa.
It’s presently estimated that up to 99.8% of diamonds that are traded globally are conflict-free. But when it comes to ethical issues in business, you can’t be too sure. If in doubt, you can ask the merchant where they get their diamonds.
Additionally, request for some conflict-free guarantee. It’s even better if the vendor is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. RJC is one of the councils that endeavors to foster ethical business practices among jewelry dealers. An alternative to the body is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The scheme was founded in 2000 to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds.
Buying diamonds in Washington is an experience to relish forever. It’s almost as thrill-inspiring as exploring the state’s lush green landscapes. However, being the expansive state 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 on a store, and then place your order. If the vendor is based far from your residence, ensure they ship to your location. But if they have an outlet within your city, you won’t go wrong with a physical visit to their showrooms.