4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Engagement Ring Online

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 

The online gem and jewelry industry has become very competitive, and markups are down to under 25% on prices in most major online retail stores. These markups are barely sufficient to cover advertising and staffing costs.

In today’s online marketplace, your goal should be threefold: 1) get a good deal; 2) ensure you get a top-quality diamond; and 3) ensure that the diamond you get is conflict-free and the precious metal used for your jewelry is extracted sustainably.

As part of our commitment to transparency and customer service, we offer some key insider insights on the traps you might encounter while buying a diamond or engagement ring and tips for countering or avoiding them.

Check out this quick diamond-buying cheat sheet.

Retailers’ Tricks

One of the not-so-cool parts of online marketing in the diamond industry is that sellers might brand their products misleadingly and inaccurately. They might also present unreliable grading reports as the best reports in the industry.

To counter this, here are the four tips that will help you shop online confidently:

  1. Beware and critical. Ask why I am receiving this information.
  2. Compare at least 4-6 sources before deciding where to purchase.
  3. Compare the prices of all major vendors.
  4. Cross-reference your information with the actual educators, such as 1) The Gemological Institute of America (GIA); 2) the American Gem Society (AGS); and International Diamond Council, among others.

Educate Yourself

Seven important factors affect the price of a diamond. They are cut, color, clarity, carat weight, shape, certification, and fluorescents. Consider all these factors while buying a diamond for your engagement ring or any other jewelry. 

Certification is Important

You might get tailored opinions because someone wants to sell you a particular diamond that is either not graded or is graded by a particular lab. Beware of such opinions and go for a diamond graded by GIA, AGS, and/or GCAL if you want the best. Learn more about diamond certification.

Find a Reliable Retailer

If you buy your stone online from a major marketplace, the merchant will most likely pay you the marketplace fees. Usually, they are about 15-20% off fine Jewelry. For example, Amazon charges the merchant 15-20% of the sale amount – in other words, if we sell you a $3,000 diamond engagement ring, Amazon will take $600 of it at a minimum!

Check our James Allen or Blue Nile; they are our top-rated retailers. Also, check our list of the top best places to buy diamonds.

Safeguard Yourself

Make sure you can return the diamond or engagement ring if you do not like what you buy. Also, be sure to read reviews, profiles, and other company registration information before you proceed.

You might have heard the new private is public. If you research well, you’ll find out everything you need to know about diamonds, and buying an engagement ring or diamond will be a pleasant experience. It is a major investment and needs to be taken seriously.

Final Thoughts

An engagement ring has always been one of the most important things a man would buy in his lifetime; the quandary has always been where exactly to buy the ring, where you can be sure of getting a high-quality diamond ring, all for a price that won’t empty out your pockets and accounts completely.

In the past, diamond sales were done exclusively in-store, with salespeople hovering around your back and trying to convince you that every diamond ring would be perfect for your bride-to-be. The prices of the diamonds were usually very high, no thanks to the high markup that the stores had to fix in order to cover their overhead costs. Today though, online shopping provides a perfect solution, enabling you to browse through vast offerings, analyze the features of each, and decide on and buy the perfect diamond engagement ring from home, all at an affordable price, because they have only a small fraction of the overhead that physical stores do. Despite the obvious advantages conferred by buying your diamond engagement ring online, care still has to be taken, and there are some tips and guidelines you should follow to get the best possible deal on a high-quality diamond engagement ring:

Diamond Certificates

A variety of jewelry labs gives diamond certificates, and this may cause some confusion as you try to make sense of all the different acronyms and grades. A good rule of thumb is to buy from stores that offer either American Gem Society (AGS) or Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certificates and their diamonds. These labs are the world’s top jewelry labs, and you can be sure that whatever is contained in their certificates is as accurate as humanly possible. Don’t let yourself be carried away too far, though; keep it at the back of your mind that diamond certificates do not add to the value of the diamonds, but rather just certify the specifications of the stone. Some stores also offer their own certification grades, but these should be taken with a pinch of salt for obvious reasons. Lastly, although one can sometimes find some lovely diamonds that lack certification, if you are not a gemstone dealer and are just looking to make a one-time purchase, it’s much better to simply go for the sake of your peace of mind for a certified diamond engagement ring.

Customer Service

Although one of the advantages of shopping for your diamond engagement ring online is avoiding the pushy salespeople you’d normally come in contact with at physical stores, customer service is still an integral part of the online shopping experience. What if you want to ask a question? Or do you want to quickly communicate some change of mind you’ve had about certain specifications of the diamond? A good store to shop for your diamond engagement ring online would have a number you can call to communicate directly with staff. You can’t reasonably expect them to be online 24/7, so be sure to verify their working hours and crosscheck the time zones.

Return Policy

Read the online store's return policy very carefully and ensure you get them to clarify any part you’re unsure about. Standard return periods are usually between 15-30 days but you have to be aware of the nifty details: stores usually charge a “re-stocking” fee that could reach the 50% mark. Again, clarify all the details to know exactly what protection you have.

Secure Transactions/Privacy policy

In today’s world of personality theft, hackers, and online fraud, it is important to know the extent to which the store is protecting your personal contact and financial details. Check and ask if the website has encryption features to protect your data. Review their privacy policy to be sure they won’t be selling your private information to marketing companies that’ll flood your inbox with spam.

Shipment Policy

The method via which your diamond engagement ring will be shipped is an important consideration. Top carriers like FedEx, UPS, or Express Mail are fully insured in the event of lost or damaged goods.

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