It doesn’t matter the number of trips you’ve ever made to jewelry stores in your life. Each trip always comes with its fair share of anxiety. That’s because you never know what to expect. As one of the most precious stones, diamonds are also reasonably pricy. Therefore, you want to be sure you’re getting good value for your money. But to make sure of that, 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’re at the store, what should you check? As you probably already guessed, not all diamonds are the same. Like with any other precious stone, prices vary depending on a few factors. Read on 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’s not uncommon to come across two stores located in the same street pricing their diamonds differently. Therefore, it’s 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. However, 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 diamond is, you shouldn’t just proceed to make an order before learning what the current prices are. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) determines the costs of diamonds and other precious metals nationally. That’s not to mean that 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. Some of these responsibilities include research and identification, as well as 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 GIA’s grading standards. That way, you will know the price range of a diamond and determine whether it’s a good bargain or not. GIA plays an instrumental role in protecting both consumers and dealers of precious stones. It even suggests the criteria you can use to know the purity of a diamond. Apart from GIA, many diamond shops have a price calculator. The calculator is usually available online. After reading up on GIA’s price recommendations, proceed to the website of a diamond store. On this website, look out for this calculator. The calculator provides an estimated diamond price depending on the 4Cs.
Where you are buying your diamond matters a lot. We already mentioned that Austin abounds in diamond stores. You can choose to shop for this precious stone in downtown Austin or even on the outskirts of the city. However, the best place to buy diamonds in Austin is at the Austin Diamond District. The Austin Diamond District is located at 3301 Northland Dr #215, Austin, TX 78731, United States. It’s 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. As a buyer, all this competition works to your advantage. Another reason for buying diamonds at the Austin Diamond District is that you’re likely to get the highest-quality gems. That’s another blessing of the stiff competition among diamond shops in this area. If you can’t 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’s 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 an independent appraiser, ensure they have the right qualifications. At the very least, the appraiser must be an accredited gemologist. Don’t be afraid to ask them pertinent questions such as the college or university they went to, and what their level of training is. You should also establish 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 with a list of their past clients. Then, contact a few of those clients to establish what their experience with the appraiser was. Remember, the appraisal should also come in writing.
Another thing to remember is that some appraisers may not always give accurate appraisals. Not any appraiser that claims to be independent works alone. Some work secretly with jewelry stores. Therefore, they could offer you inaccurate estimates for kickbacks from the store. Most importantly, the diamond should be appraised in your presence. That way, you can check the stone’s details,such as blemishes and dimensions. If you can’t find a competent appraiser, check on 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. And 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’s 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 isn’t just an easy way to get a great bargain from a jewelry store. It’s also instrumental when it comes to getting your jewelry insured. Insurance companies usually rely on the jewelry’s appraised value in determining the premiums. Therefore, we can’t overemphasize the need for an accurate appraisal.
So, what do appraisers charge?
That 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. However, avoid such people. Professional jewelry appraisers charge flat rates. The rate typically ranges between $50 and$150 per hour.
Should You Order Diamonds Online?
When confronted with the dilemma of buying diamonds online or offline, quite a few people would prefer the offline option. 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. First is 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 you can see, you don’t have to go out of your schedule to make a purchase.
Another benefit of buying diamonds online in Austin is that you’re likely to get better bargains. Most diamond stores in Austin have websites. Once you are on such sites, you should first check out the store’s history and background. Stores with experience spanning through several decades are your best bet when looking for high-quality gems.
After checking the background information of a diamond outlet, now sample the offers in their displays. Reputable stores display as much information as possible on their available offers. Check the categories available. For instance, there could be a category listing the different carat weights on offer.
As you go about all these, check how easy it is to use the website. Most diamond stores have fairly intuitive web interfaces. That makes it easy for you to navigate through multiple features of the store.
Another crucial thing to check before ordering a diamond from an Austin store is their support. If a store takes forever to reply to a simple inquiry, perhaps it’s not your best bet. Insist on stores with a responsive customer care desk. And support should be available nearly round-the-clock. Most importantly, you should settle on a diamond store that comes with favorable returns policies.It’s not uncommon to receive deliveries that fail to meet your expectations. In such cases, returns are inevitable.
Buying diamonds in Austin is an experience that comes with mixed feelings. And that especially applies to online purchases. You never know what to expect until the order gets to you. Therefore, your best bet is to choose a reputable online dealer like the ones we’ve highlighted here. But if you insist on a brick-and-mortar store, you’re better off shopping at the Austin Diamonds District. Not only will you get more decent bargains in terms of quality and variety, but the prices will be reasonably low as well.