Let’s start with the obvious: I’m biased. I started Kimberfire almost two years ago because I truly believe we offer consumers the ideal platform from which to buy diamonds and diamond jewelry. While the web is a great place to buy many things (very happy with my new winter coat!), it is not a great place to buy all things.
With that out of the way – I have heard from many customers and friends that starting the diamond search is overwhelming, and it is challenging to know what to look out for. It’s convenient to start out online and definitely a good way to get a sense of design styles and what’s out there generally. If you’re thinking of actually buying online, though, here are some things to keep in mind.
Large Selection is Not Always a Good Thing
You check out a site and they have a huge list of inventory. Seems great, right? Not always.
A little known fact about the various online-only diamond merchants is that many of them don’t own every diamond that is offered for sale. These websites are all linked up to virtual inventory – diamonds currently owned by and sitting with diamond manufacturers around the world. In practice, this means that these online retailers may not be able to tell you what they think of a certain diamond, or how it looks. If asked, they will call the manufacturer and ask for an assessment of the diamond to relay back to the customer, who then has to make their own judgment call.
Unfortunately, many of these websites do not actually see the diamonds they sell… EVER. To save on costs, the diamonds often get shipped directly from the manufacturer to a jewelry sub-contractor who sets the stone in a ring and ships it to the customer’s door. An important purchase like this deserves a bit more quality control than that.
A Penny for Your Dollar
Ring builders are a lot of fun. But often when you select a given set of characteristics, a wide range of prices come up for similar diamonds. Certain things can make a big difference – for example, there is a bump in price when you hit 1 carat – so a 0.95 carat diamond and a 1.00 carat diamond will be priced further apart than, let’s say, a 0.70 carat and 0.75 carat diamond would be. Often times, though, the differences are not as clear.
I always advise my clients to see their diamond in person. This allows you to be confident that it was a good deal without having sacrificed anything on quality, or if a more expensive diamond is chosen, seeing the diamond in person will help you understand why it is more expensive. Without understanding exactly what is going on inside your diamond, it is just impossible to tell if a given price is justified, in either direction. I say this a lot because it’s true: no two diamonds are the same. There are very different types of inclusions within the same clarity grade, different tints within the same color grade, etc.
Recently, I brought a diamond into the country for a client and, on first look at both the certificate and an image, it seemed like a truly amazing stone – not just for the price (which was great too). The image showed minimal inclusions for a diamond of its clarity, and the inclusion plotting on the certificate seemed very minimal. The diamond even looked great on first glance in person. On closer inspection though, the diamond had a very apparent haziness to it, which was very off-putting when put side-by-side with another diamond of similar characteristics. It turns out the diamond received its clarity rating of an SI1 not due to any particular inclusion but due to a cloud of microscopic inclusions that were spread throughout. The material was not attractive and needless to say this diamond went back to the manufacturer and was replaced by a diamond the client was able to truly fall in love with.
If this client had received the diamond at his home, he may have been satisfied and carried on with it. Unbeknownst to him, though, he would have had a diamond that truly was not the great deal he expected it to be, did not shine like it should, and worst of all would not be an attractive option on the resale market if ever needed at any point in time.
Kimberfire, Your Diamond Expert
The bottom line is that buying a diamond is one of the most important purchases you will make in your life. Without a guide on your side, it is easy to be mislead, uncertain, or to be stuck having to exchange a number of diamonds for one that you’re really happy with.
Trust and knowledge are big parts of the diamond game. Traditional jewelry stores certainly offer a high level of service and quality control, but are not for everyone. This is why I created Kimberfire: to provide you with prices competitive to online merchants and at significant discounts to traditional retail, while still enabling you to inspect your diamond in person alongside someone you can trust.
If you’re interested in working with us to find your perfect diamond, be sure to check out our website or call us at (416) 861-8110 to book your free private consultation. I look forward to meeting you!
Jonathan is the President & CEO of Kimberfire – a brilliant way to buy engagement rings, loose diamonds and fine diamond jewelry in Toronto, ON, Canada. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter. Previously Jonathan worked in the Middle East, Belgium and Canada in various roles in the luxury goods sector including manufacturing, business development and diamond wholesale. Jonathan also spent a number of years as an investment banker with one of the large Canadian banks, where he focused on natural resources and diversified issuers.