The number of trips you make to jewelry stores could not matter less since each trip comes with its fair share of anxiety. It is so because you never know what to expect. As one of the most precious stones, diamonds are also pricy. Therefore, you want to be sure that you are getting good value for your money, for which you must know where to look for great bargains.
If you are in Austin, you may be tempted to look for diamonds along the city's high-end streets. Downtown Austin teems with jewelry stores that offer all kinds of diamonds. Most of these shops have promotional taglines purely intended to draw your attention. But once you are at the store, what should you check? As you may already have guessed, not all diamonds are the same. Like with any other precious stone, prices vary depending on a few factors. Read further for an insightful view on how to buy diamonds in Austin.
Factors That Influence the Price of Diamonds in Austin
The price of a diamond in Austin varies from one store to another. Indeed, it is common to come across two stores located in the same street pricing their diamonds differently. Hence, it is essential to understand the factors that influence these price variations.
Availability is another factor that determines the price of diamonds in Austin. Diamond is relatively abundant compared to other precious stones, such as gold, though there are certain situations where the jewelry could be in short supply.
A classical case is during Valentine's Day. Generally, jewelry tends to be scarce during the gifting seasons, and when they become rare, prices are bound to rise.
2. Prevailing Prices
As precious as diamonds are, you should not place an order before learning the current prices. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) determines the costs of diamonds and other precious metals nationally. It does not mean that the GIA has a strict manual on how each store in Austin should price its jewelry. However, this institution has various responsibilities that indirectly impact the price of a diamond, such as research, identification, and the grading of diamonds. Therefore, most diamond outlets in Austin will settle on prices considered average of industry rates.
Before you order a diamond in Austin, you should learn of the GIA's grading standards so that you can know the price range of a diamond and determine whether it is a good bargain. The GIA plays an instrumental role in protecting both consumers and dealers of precious stones and suggests the criteria you can use to know the purity of a diamond. Apart from the GIA, many diamond shops have a price calculator, which is usually available online. After reading up on GIA's price recommendations, proceed to the website of a diamond store. There, look out for the calculator that will provide an estimated diamond price depending on the 4Cs.
Where you buy your diamond matters greatly both in terms of price and quality. We have mentioned that Austin abounds in diamond stores. You can choose to shop for this precious stone in downtown Austin or on the outskirts of the city. However, the best place to buy diamonds in Austin is at the Austin Diamond District, located at 3301 Northland Dr #215, Austin, TX 78731, United States. It is a street within the city with numerous jewelry stores.
As you may expect, diamond prices are generally fairer in the District. With so many diamond stores in such a small area, each store strives to outdo the others in terms of winning and retaining clients. This competition can work to your advantage. Furthermore, buying diamonds at the Austin Diamond District may get you the highest-quality gems—another blessing of the stiff competition among diamond shops in this area. If you cannot find your desired quality in one store, you can be sure to find it in the next one.
4. Cost of Appraisal
An appraisal refers to an estimate of the value of your diamond. When shopping for diamonds in Austin, it is advisable to buy a duly-appraised diamond.
Reputable diamond dealers in Austin offer appraisal services. However, your best bet is to hire an independent appraiser. If going for one, ensure that they have the right qualifications; at the very least, they must be an accredited gemologist. Do not be afraid to ask them pertinent questions such as the college or university they went to and their training level. Moreover, also try to look into some of the stores the appraiser has worked with before. High-end diamond shops in Austin only deal with certified appraisers.
Lastly, check if the appraiser has a record of happy clients. Ask them to issue you a list of their past clients and then contact a few to establish their experience with the appraiser. Remember, the appraisal should also come in writing.
Besides, please remember that some appraisers may not always give accurate appraisals and that every appraiser who claims to be independent may not necessarily work alone. Some work secretly with jewelry stores, and therefore, they could offer you inaccurate estimates for kickbacks from the store. Most importantly, the diamond should be appraised in your presence so that you can check the stone's details, such as blemishes and dimensions. If you cannot find a competent appraiser, check institutions such as the American Gem Society, the GIA, and the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers for recommendations.
You should also differentiate an appraisal from a diamond grading certificate; the difference lies in the content. While diamond grading reports primarily capture the 4Cs (Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color), appraisals focus on the dollar estimate of the jewelry. However, it is difficult for the appraiser to proceed without these crucial details. In addition to the grading reports, appraisers also rely on the market's price dynamics.
A diamond appraisal is an easy way to get a great bargain from a jewelry store and proves instrumental in getting your jewelry insured. Insurance companies usually rely on the jewelry's appraised value in determining the premiums. Therefore, we cannot overemphasize the need for an accurate appraisal.
So, what do appraisers charge?
It will depend on a few factors. Naturally, experienced jewelry appraisers with the proper credentials charge higher than their new counterparts. Some appraisers may charge you based on the value of the diamond you wish to buy, though you must avoid such people. Professional jewelry appraisers charge flat rates, typically ranging between $50 and$150 per hour.
Should You Order Diamonds Online?
When confronted with the dilemma of buying diamonds online or offline, some people would prefer the latter option (offline). Nothing beats the thrill of walking down to an Austin diamond store, checking out the displays, and making your purchase. However, have you ever considered how inconveniencing it is? On the other hand, buying diamonds online comes with a host of benefits, such as comfort and convenience in one package. You can place your orders regardless of your location within the city.
In most cases, the store will ship your order within a few hours. As is evident, you do not have to go out of your schedule to make a purchase.
Another benefit of buying diamonds online in Austin is that you are likely to get better bargains. Most diamond stores in Austin have websites, and once you are on them, you should first check out the store's history and background. Stores with experience spanning several decades are your best bet when looking for high-quality gems.
After checking the background information of a diamond outlet, sample the offers in their displays. Reputable stores display as much information as possible on their available offers. Check the categories available—for instance, a category listing the different carat weights on offer.
As you go about it, check how easy it is to use the website. Most diamond stores have fairly intuitive web interfaces, thereby making it easy for you to navigate the store's multiple features.
Another crucial thing to check before ordering a diamond from an Austin store is their support. If a store takes a long time to reply to a simple inquiry, it may not be your best bet. Insist on stores with a responsive customer care desk, available nearly round-the-clock. Most importantly, you should settle on a diamond store that comes with favorable returns policies. It is common to receive deliveries that fail to meet your expectations; in such cases, returns are inevitable.
The experience of buying diamonds in Austin comes with mixed feelings, which especially applies to online purchases. You never know what to expect until the order gets to you, and so your best bet is to choose a reputable online dealer, like the ones highlighted here. But if you insist on a brick-and-mortar store, you will be better off shopping at the Austin Diamonds District. There, not only will you get more decent bargains in terms of quality and variety, but the prices will be reasonably low as well.