Low Price Diamonds. Diamond Customers are Cheating Themselves.

Low Price Diamonds.  Diamond Customers are Cheating Themselves.

As a diamond wholesaler with 40+ years of experience in addition to two generations who preceded myself, there is nothing that upsets me more than seeing the ruination of the engagement ring buying process as a result of the Internet.

No, I am not referring to the loss of the “romance” that is inherent in the process of selecting a diamond engagement ring. I understand that getting engaged is a time honored tradition that I hope is filled with excitement and romance and promise despite changes in the way that one goes about in the selection process.

My frustration stems from the fact that, to many consumers, the search for an engagement diamond has evolved from the acquisition of a something that is supposed to be beautiful to something that is not beautiful at all.

Internet searches for anything – whether a TV, an appliance, or personal items – are often motivated by finding the ”BEST” price. To many consumers, the “BEST” price is the lowest price. This customer ignores the basic concept of “Value”.

When this motivation is applied to a diamond engagement ring, the customer is often the loser in that while the price may be low, the diamond is most likely not what it is supposed to be – something that is truly beautiful and spectacular!

I speak from experience. In my wholesale business I sell beautiful engagement diamonds and beautiful diamond engagement rings priced from $1,000.00 (or less) to $100,000.00+! I have sold many $1,000.00 rings that I know are truly beautiful and which I am certain that the buyer will look at and will admire.

I have also sold $10,000.00 and $20,000.00+ diamonds that are “Price Point” diamonds. These diamonds may be 20% to 50% cheaper than a “nice” diamond of the same Gemological grade. These are diamonds that were purchased by a buyer who only understands low price. In this case, the buyer got the “deal” he/she was looking for but sacrificed the overall attribute of a diamond – something that is spectacular and precious.

Unlike the professional pride I feel when I have sold a beautiful $1,000.00 ring and the knowledge that I have truly served the client with the “right” diamond, I gave the “Price Point” customer what they wanted – lowest price!  This is not the diamond that I want to sell but unfortunately there are consumers who are cheating themselves out of one of Nature’s most beautiful creations as they chase only the lowest or best price.

When set into a diamond engagement ring, the difference between the low priced diamond and a more expensive diamond is the difference between something that is truly beautiful and something not beautiful at all unless the buyer thinks that lowest price is beautiful!

I admit that I have fallen victim to the low price Internet search game myself on purchases that I have made. I have bought several items over a period of years that were not up to my quality expectations. Sometimes I just live with my mistake. Sometimes I ended up spending much more money because I ended up replacing the original item with a better quality item. In this case I ended up paying significantly more that I would have paid in the first place if I had just bought the better quality product.

(For those who need specifics, I urge you to buy a Breville ($144.99) toaster oven instead of the Black & Decker ($32.99) toaster oven that is 1/4 of the price!  Yes, both are toaster ovens! However, the extra money spent is the difference between a cheap toaster that sounds like a ticking time bomb and which doesn’t make good toast and one that does it right and will continue to do so everyday – for many years!)

In my wholesale diamond business, I have seen a significant increase in the number of ugly diamonds in the market. This is in response to increased market demand for lower quality “price- point” diamonds that are being marketed on many of the leading Internet diamond websites.

Additionally, I often see diamonds that one has bought previously and now want to trade-in or just simply sell – often because the buyer has come to understand that their diamond is not beautiful and the customer now wants to acquire a “nice” diamond.  Unfortunately this same buyer will come to understand that a nice diamond will always have “value” and a price-point diamond isn’t worth much – when you are buying it or trying to sell it!

A diamond engagement ring is something that you do not want to make a mistake on. It is something that you / your wife will wear every day for many years. Hopefully, a lifetime!

This is not to say that a diamond engagement ring has to be expensive. Beautiful diamonds come in all sizes and all budgets.  If you pay attention only to the lowest price, you are cheating yourself out of acquiring something that is beautiful. And cheating yourself out of something that you will cherish and appreciate every day of your life!

I have a sign on my office wall that reads:

To the customer who insists on finding the “best” price, this quote will be meaningless, as he/she believes that he/she has found a way to beat the system. Trust me, they haven’t!  To others, I urge you to understand the difference between “low price” and “value” when going about the diamond buying process.

As I have stated in my previous posts, the best way to buy a diamond is to put your “trust” in someone who is “knowledgeable” of diamonds. You may want to believe that you have all the knowledge that you need because you have “learned” from the Internet.  I assure that that knowledge of diamonds is something that cannot be learned from the Internet.

Most importantly, buy a diamond with your eyes!!  While a diamond grading report may be critical in buying a DEF color / VVS clarity diamond, a diamond grading report is only a small part of the buying process when buying the typical engagement diamond.  That is why there are such pricing differentials even among similarly graded diamonds.

I urge you to find a GIA credentialed Gemologist or professional jeweler in your community and to look at a diamond with your eyes. I believe that when you do this, you will benefit by the professional expertise that will be shared and you will benefit by acquiring a diamond that you will be proud to own for a lifetime.

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For those who are disbelievers of what I have stated above, here I will attempt to illustrate the differences between a “nice” diamond and a price point diamond.

The photos below are four actual photos of four diamonds each of the same carat size and same grade.  Each of the four diamonds are graded as “H” color /”SI2″ clarity.

I have listed with each photo the exact diamond weight, color/clarity ratings, proportion grades and the “wholesale” price for these diamonds.

1.00 Round Diamond, H/SI2, IGI Certified, IDEAL CUT, EX EX EX
Wholesale Cost: $3,250.00

 

 

This diamond is certified by IGI as opposed to GIA.  This lab is not in any way in parity with the standards of the GIA.  Diamonds from IGI and EGL are much less expensive than similarly graded diamonds with a GIA report.

Note the two major white flaws on the left side of the diamond. In addition, note the major black carbon inclusion located in the center. These flaws are visible to the naked eye (without magnification). This diamond is lacking brilliancy and fire.

This is not a nice diamond. This is a Price Point diamond. When set into an engagement ring, one will easily see obvious flaws.

 

1.01 Round Diamond, H/SI2, IGI Certified, IDEAL CUT, EX EX EX
Wholesale Cost: 3,950.00

 

This diamond is also a non-GIA graded diamond.

Note the many black inclusions in this diamond.  These flaws are visible to the naked eye (without magnification) and the diamond is lacking brilliancy and fire.  Additionally, this diamond has an overall grayish tone because of the nature of the inclusions.

This is not a nice diamond. This is a Price Point diamond. When set into an engagement ring, one will easily see obvious flaws.

 

1.01 Round Diamond, H/SI2, GIA Certified, IDEAL CUT, EX EX EX
Wholesale Cost: $4,600.00

 

Note the  black inclusions in this diamond located in the table area (Center) as well as on the left side of the photo.  Though better than the diamond above, these flaws will be visible to the naked eye (without magnification).

This diamond is a good example of the majority of diamonds sold on leading internet sites. This diamond, though better than the two diamonds above, will still have visible inclusions when set into an engagement ring and will tend to have a more grayish tone than a “nice” diamond.

 

 

1.01 Round Diamond, H/SI2, GIA Certified, IDEAL CUT, EX EX EX
Wholesale Cost: $5,400.00

 

This is the “right” diamond.

Although it is priced at 66% more than the cheapest diamond (top photo), this is what a beautiful SI2 grade diamond should look like. It has no inclusions or flaws that are visible to the naked eye and will sparkle with brilliance and fire.

This diamond will be an absolutely beautiful in an engagement ring.

 

I have written about his subject before, as this is a subject of frustration. See: www.ndrdiamond.com/blog/lowest-price-gia-diamonds

 

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