Most of us aren’t competing to be Kim K. We’re not shopping for 2 million dollar diamonds that weigh more than a small dog.
We just want an engagement ring. A normal engagement ring. Something pretty, something within budget. Maybe we’re aiming for a classic 1 carat round solitaire, or maybe we live in a bigger city where 2 carat rocks are the norm.
Either way, the price tag on our modest ambitions still has us feeling like we need a hit reality series just to get engaged.
It’s no secret that diamonds are overpriced. And they’re hardly rare. But there’s nothing more disappointing than not getting the diamond, simply because you felt like you couldn’t afford one.
The good news is if you know what to look for you can avoid overpaying for a diamond and even get more bling for your buck!
Here’s what you need to know before you start diamond shopping.
1. Grade Bumping
You’ve probably done your initial homework on the 4 Cs (cut, color, clarity, carat) and how they contribute to a diamond’s overall value. But did you also know that the 4 Cs can also be somewhat...subjective?
For example, a diamond graded by the GIA and EGL may have the same stats, but look completely different. For example, the GIA-graded diamond may be graded as an H color, while the same diamond graded by the EGL could be graded as a G.
The point? Diamond grading companies have different standards. The GIA is considered the gold-standard, but remember that individual gemologists evaluate the stones, so understanding that it comes down to personal opinion within a broad set of guidelines is key. Of course, our gemologists are all AI, so that helps cut down on that expensive little thing called human error.
2. Comparison Shop
Our rule of thumb: Always get a second opinion on both doctors and diamonds.
If you find a diamond you love, but it’s out of your price-range look for a stone with similar stats somewhere else. You’ll be surprised when you start to notice the wide-range of prices and just how much market value relies on individual evaluations. You’ll want to compare at least 5-10 diamonds.
Diamonds aren’t rare, so if you find a stone you love, we’ll help you find the same stone (or one better) for much, much less. And we make it easy to compare all the available stones from any retailer - online or off.
3. All Online Retailers Are Not Considered Equal
Online can still be overpriced.
There’s a general sentiment that goes something like “if I found it online, it must be the best deal.”
Yes. Generally speaking buying a diamond online is much cheaper than buying diamonds in a brick and mortar store. But you still have to do your homework. Just because you found your dream diamond from an online retailer that boasts the best prices in town, doesn’t mean that’s true. In fact, when we compared some online retail prices with brick and mortar prices we were shocked. The brick and mortar diamond wasn’t that much more, and we had the added advantage of getting to see the diamond in person before we bought!
This discovery led us to spearhead Rare Carat Local. One of our newest initiatives that allow us to partner up with mom and pop jewelers to help get their prices down, while still catering to people who will never be comfortable buying a diamond off the Internet.
4. Designer Names Aren’t Everything
Tiffany. Cartier. Winston.
Sounds like a lineup of my favorite friends ;)
But in reality, don’t get caught up in the hype. Brand names don’t guarantee a better diamond. In fact, most of your engagement ring budget goes to just affording the name and not towards the stone itself.
We understand why the names are appealing. Beyond status, these companies have been around forever, so we trust them. They must know what they’re doing.
They do indeed know what they’re doing and what they’re doing, is marking those prices up sky-high.
Not only will you be paying for the diamond itself, but you’ll also be paying for that brand name status and the experience it brings -- which can cost quite a pretty penny.
But we’re not just talking about the fancy-schmancy names. Think twice before you give your credit card over to Zales, Kay, and any other of the friendly mall jewelers.
They know buying a diamond can be an overwhelming experience and are willing to help you… for the price of a mall sized mark-up.
Our advice? Ditch the overwhelm and get educated. You’ll be surprised just how lovely of a stone you actually can afford.
5. There Are Other Stones Out There
This may sounds silly, but in a post De Beers diamond craze haze it’s gotta be said: there are other stones out there -- just as beautiful and sometimes more rare -- than diamonds.
Before you make the final decision on your dream diamond, take a look at other stones -- just to see if anything at all lights your soul on fire. Tourmaline, sapphire, ruby, morganite are all gorgeous options for a stunning (and substantial) engagement ring that would have any bride saying “what diamond?”
But if you’re like us, and it’s too late for you, take your time when shopping. Remember, this process is called luxury shopping for a reason. Don’t force yourself to make a quick decision, shop around, buy your own champagne, and take as much time as you need to find exactly what you want, for a price that feels just as pretty as the stone itself.
Ready to crack open the bubbly and start shopping? Let’s get started search diamonds here!