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Internet diamond prices & considerations.

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niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
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1,792
"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that''s all... When you pay too little, sometimes you lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot, it can''t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

-- John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

Amen to Ruskin! A man that knew what was going on before we were even born...

Quite a few of the more prominent internet diamond companies have no physical presence, they are merely a paper maché star twinkling at you from the depths of cyber space... These companies offer little more than a virtual list of diamonds which has been downloaded from the various multiple listing services reserved for the trade and republished at various profit margins... This is why you might see a diamond with the same weight, color, clarity and characteristics advertised by five or six different diamond web sites at different prices. Unfortunately most of these sites offer very little in terms of customer service, proper representation of the diamond''s characteristics and peace of mind for consumers because they never see the diamonds that they sell and there is no physical location to refer to if you experience a problem... The owner of the company may not even know that much about diamonds, they merely process the orders, collect the money and have the diamonds drop shipped to their customers from the suppliers... No muss! No fuss! No service! And no peace of mind for their customers... However internet-only diamond brokerages continue to thrive because they offer diamonds at prices significantly less expensive than most traditional jewelry stores.

Traditional Brick & Mortar (B&M) retail jewelers offer consumers face-to-face customer service and the advantage of being able to physically inspect and evaluate the diamonds being offered for sale, but usually at price points which are staggering and quite often prohibitive for the budget people have in mind. However, people are likely to pay more for a diamond that they can see as opposed to risk losing their hard earned money on a diamond that they can''t see... Or they might settle for a smaller or lesser quality diamond in exchange for the peace of mind offered by a jewelry store with a physical location... However it would be foolish to assume that the jewelry and diamonds offered for sale by traditional brick and mortar jewelry stores are of the same or better quality simply because it is being offered for sale in a traditional retail environment because the fact is that many retail jewelry stores make their money by selling sub-standard merchandise at very high prices... Furthermore, it would be foolish to assume that a jeweler is reputable and will stand behind their product simply because they have a physical location.

It is important to know the full details regarding the diamond or jewelry item that you are considering the purchase of regardless of whether you are buying it from an internet diamond dealer or a traditional brick and mortar jewelry store... You should obtain the following from either type of vendor before buying a diamond:

  • The original diamond grading report or a high quality scanned color copy of the original diamond grading report so that you will know the inclusion types and their location.


  • A detailed written description of the inclusion types and their location.


  • Clarity photographs of the primary grade maker inclusions.


  • Detailed proportions analysis in the form of a full page Sarin or OGI generated report.


  • A written guarantee with a reasonable inspection period with the option of returning the item for a full refund in the event that you decide to return the diamond for any reason other than damage.

You should also verify the good standing of the vendor within the community where they do business by contacting the Better Business Bureau for the region and within the trade by contacting the Jeweler''s Vigilance Committee in New York City by telephoning (212) 997-2002. A little time spent investigating the company you are considering buying a diamond from in advance of making the purchase is an excellent preventative step that can save you a lot of time, money and grief.

There are quite a few diamond vendors here on Price Scope who operate traditional brick and mortar locations and maintain a strong internet presence... These vendors offer clients the best of both worlds by providing the stability of a traditional retail environment combined with the lower price structure that can be maintained with the volume of an internet site. We are obviously one of these vendors, Jonathan at Good Old Gold is another... WhiteFlash and SuperbCert both maintain a physical inventory and while we''re unsure as to whether they are operating a traditional jewelry store or an office, they are both operating out of dedicated space which provide customers with a sense of stability and a physical location to visit... Other internet vendors who maintain a physical inventory and a store front should speak up on this thread so that diamond buyers can be aware of the options available to them... Let''s separate the Click & Mortars from the Virtual Lists right now for the benefit of the public


Leonid, for the sake of the diamond buyers here on Price Scope, we think that there should be a designation on the diamond listings advertised here on Price Scope which make it clear to consumers whether the vendor advertising the diamond has the diamond in their physical possession or is merely listing a diamond for sale that they have never seen... It seems to us that consumers have a right to know whether they are buying a diamond off of a list or from a vendor who has seen the diamond and who has therefore verified the characteristics as stated by the laboratory... Based on the comments we receive from customers regarding their confusion as to how "the same diamond can be offered by six different sites" it seems like a fair designation for Price Scope to make. Those people who are only interested in price are likely to continue to buy their diamond from the lowest bidder and those interested in quality, price and service are likely to continue to buy their diamond from ourselves, GOG, WF and SC but at least they will do so with a clear understanding of whether the vendor they are buying from has ever actually seen the diamond... This would further avoid confusion regarding diamonds advertised by vendors who maintain both a physical inventory AND advertise the diamonds off of the multiple listings reserved for the trade which are not in their physical possession and will be drop shipped to the buyer... We can see the value in this sort of designation both as a seller of diamonds and as a general consumer. Perhaps the designation could be made as a "status" column with a designation of "in-house" or "virtual".

We look forward to reading the comments and suggestions of the other dealers and consumers here on Price Scope.
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
I concur with Ruskin. I do not mind paying a bit more for service (note I mentioned "bit). I am not going to pay twice the price for a blue box, etc though.

All that said, how would a vendor handle a consumer who asks to match the price of the drop/ship vendor when the vendor has provided all the necessary information? This is a nightmare situation because many of the stones *are* available on the net to various vendors.

Personally, I don't mind asking to be a tad more competitive; but, I would never expect them to match the price.

As for listing vendors services, it is clear who provides the necessary info & who maintains their own inventory. I would never entertain the idea of buying from someone who would not put their money where their mouth is. If they do not buy for their own inventory, how much confidence do *they* have in their ability to pick saleable stones? Also, how solvent could they be to handle a problem that arises if they don't have the money to invest?

Again, that said, I think there exists some vendor in between. I don't know how much inventory DCD carries. Although, I know they carry some. I do know they will call in stones for personal viewing. Perhaps with some vendors, the price is higher for more services asked. Don't know.
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792

----------------
On 6/17/2003 9:42:31 AM fire&ice wrote:
All that said, how would a vendor handle a consumer who asks to match the price of the drop/ship vendor when the vendor has provided all the necessary information? This is a nightmare situation because many of the stones *are* available on the net to various vendors.
----------------

Since most of the internet dealers have access to the same inventory from the multiple listing services (and so do most retailers by the way) it is completely possible for us to match the price for an identical diamond and we often do... Perhaps we look at things differently than a lot of dealers, but we're willing to match the price of the dealers who drop ship diamonds and still provide the level of service that we offer on a day to day basis... And there have been retailers who have adjusted their profit margins on a case-by-case basis to become more competitive with our price structure when faced with the loss of a legitimate client. However we think it is realistic for people to expect to pay a little more for excellent service and the peace of mind that comes from such service and it seems like you argee with that concept as well... We're not suggesting that people shouldn't consider price as part of the equation, it certainly is an important factor, but we are saying that it is likely that you will receive better service overall when you are willing to pay a little more than the lowest bidder is offering his product or services for...
 

LesleyH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 28, 2000
Messages
506
Great post R and T. Just to divert slightly, the following scenario seems to be happening more and more often with relation to: "Traditional Brick & Mortar (B&M) retail jewelers offer consumers face-to-face customer service and the advantage of being able to physically inspect and evaluate the diamonds being offered for sale, but usually at price points which are staggering and quite often prohibitive for the budget people have in mind".

A customer sees a diamond in a store and then comes home, jumps on the internet and low and behold, there's that very same diamond that he has just seen in the store, listed for hundreds or thousands of $$$ less than it was priced at the store...There are various ways for the internet vendor to handle this scenario, but with the transparency of the net, these stores who continue to sell diamonds at staggering mark ups are going to have to sharpen the pencil as more and more customers decide to buy from companies with an internet presence who offer a multitude of services to make the diamond buying experience comfortable and safe.

LesleyH
www.whiteflash.com
 
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