When shopping for diamonds, many today are still undecided about if it's best to buy their diamond online or physically in a retail store. I have decided to make this comparison to help determine if shopping online is best for you or not. There are several factors that influence if it's the best choice or not, with some advantages and disadvantages for each. In this post, I will explain as best as I can the benefits and downsides of the two.
Most online retailers only sell certified diamonds, either by the GIA, HRD or IGI. In many physical retail stores, a majority of the diamonds will not be certified. This is normal, as jewelers themselves are almost always certified graders, but it does not inspire confidence for some consumers. In all cases of a trusted jeweler, there should be no doubt about the quality of the diamond. However, certification costs money, and an advantage of buying certified diamonds vs non-certified diamonds is that you will often find them at a cheaper price. However, in general it is highly recommended to buy certified diamonds, because although all jewelers may be able to tell the clarity and color of a diamond, some may not as easily distinguish bad cuts of grades of fluorescence.
You will have to visit many shops before you encounter the large selection you will find inside the average experienced online diamond vendor's store. The average jeweler usually only carries a fraction of the diamonds in a physical location in comparison. I would estimate the average jewelry shop would have around a handful of dozen (usually less) loose diamonds of noteworthy size (noteworthy, I use a relatively strict definition of about 0.50 carats). The selection of less than a hundred compared to the thousands you would find online is where the online selection shows the largest advantage. The larger selection allows for the potential buyers to have a much easier time finding exactly the diamond that they might want, whereas if the client is inclined to buy in a retail store, the situation will often end with the buyer settling for a diamond slightly different than he might have wanted.
In the case of all online vendors, they are connected with a direct line to the cutters, which buy directly from the miners. There are no unneeded middle men this way. Most jewelers depend on people buying from the cutters and selling them onwards, which is why they don't have direct access to such large lists, which only increases prices, but more on that later.
However, a downside of this large selection is that the average online retailer needs about two weeks to deliver, while when visiting the store you can pay on the spot and leave with the item instantly. For the person who does not wish to wait, this might be a big factor. A lot of people don't have the patience to wait so long for what they purchased, which I find very understandable. …