Why should I buy diamonds from a private dealer vs a big company?
There are a few very important things working with a private dealer can give you that a retail experience cannot. Firstly, nothing can beat the personal experience of working one-on-one with someone. When walking into a big company/chain, you don't always know who you are dealing with. You may work with an employee who just started working there yesterday or who is leaving the company tomorrow. You also don’t know how deep their knowledge of stones and jewelry may be – surprisingly, many salespeople are not well educated in what they are selling. Plus, you may not end up working with the same salesperson over multiple visits or long enough to develop a rapport, which is incredibly important.
When dealing with a private dealer you know that they personally stands behind their brand and they will do everything in order to satisfy you, the client. You get personal, private service as well as guidance and advice if needed. Another key advantage is access to a vast inventory of stones as a private dealer usually knows a lot of people in the industry and can source almost any diamond a client wants. In contrast, retail stores typically take longer to arrange a few stones for a customer to see in person while a diamond dealer can oftentimes arrange a viewing in a matter of hours.
Most importantly, one of the main reasons a person decides to go to a private dealer versus a retail store is the price. Private dealers offer far better pricing than a retail store can. A retail store has a high overhead so they need a high-profit margin while a diamond dealer who doesn’t have to pay for the storefront or the staff and can sell for a quick and small profit in order to make the deal.
What should I look for when buying a quality diamond ring?
The obvious things are color, cut, and clarity, though I always tell clients to not get overly hung up on the technical aspects. That takes the romance out of the whole process. Don’t throw those things out of the window, but buy something you love the look of and that you feel something for and you can almost never go wrong.
That being said, while buying a nice diamond is obviously a huge part of buying a ring, a lot of people only think about the diamond and totally overlook the ring itself. A lot of rings these days are mass produced or very cheaply made with very little concern for quality or detail. The average person may not notice a low quality or poorly made mounting, but it does really make a difference. I don’t like to use off-the-shelf mountings for my customers if I can avoid it and I don’t work with jewelers who take shortcuts or are unskilled and do sloppy work. I work with an amazing jeweler who custom makes all of my rings. A well-made ring should be the perfect companion to your diamond. After spending all of that time and energy picking the ideal stone, you want the perfect ring to go with it!
What about lab diamonds?
The subject of lab diamonds is a very hot subject in the industry these days. In general, I am not against them but I really must stress that the consumer must know what he is buying. Many people are swayed by the idea that lab diamonds are often made of the same material (carbon) as a natural diamond, therefore, thinking they must be exactly the same. What they may not understand is that just because they are made of the same material does not make the end product identical to what nature created both with regard to beauty and durability. After all, on the one hand you are looking at a product that was created by humans using technology in a short period of time versus something that was formed in the earth over millions of years.
In the past, lab grown diamonds were not specified as such on GIA certificates, which caused a lot of aggravation within the industry. Not knowing what you were working with made the trade tricky and difficult to know what you were working with. That left a lot of people within the industry with a negative opinion of lab diamonds.
In the end, the consumer needs to decide what they want and works in their budget.