Can you trust an online diamond?

June 4, 2020

How heavy is too heavy for an online shopping cart?

The internet has done a lot of great things for our industry, from allowing us to showcase our entire inventory online, to providing an endless resource of information, resulting in a more knowledgeable consumer than ever before.

It’s also done a lot of damage.

Be it the showcasing of flashy lifestyles that create a comparison mentality, to the spreading of myths and misconstrued truths, it’s created a lot of fears and hang-ups in the modern shopper that never existed before.

At the same time as it’s cultivated mistrust in the consumer, it has allowed emerging platforms to be flooded with sub-par diamonds that are priced low, to move them quickly. While we applaud fellow providers with transparently priced stones, there is a hidden danger in online shopping.

Here is the absolute truth – when it comes to the diamond industry, in this day and age, there is no big secret, no shady margins, and no crazy deals. The diamond industry is so closely graded, sorted, monitored, and so tightly competitive, that there’s a pretty concrete rule that you’ll get what you pay for, and if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Now, there are anomalies! Sometimes a 3.1 carat diamond will have the same spread as a 3.5 carat, be exquisitely cut and absolutely beautiful, and you will save money in choosing the lower carat weight. And sometimes a J might have faint or medium fluorescence, which will have it face up much whiter, and look more like an H color. Sometimes an SI2 will have such slight inclusions, barely visible, and all these details would result in a great price for a great stone, but, those are also the reasons for the great price, you are paying for a 3.1 carat, not a 3.5, you are paying for a J, not an H, and you are paying for an SI2. There are good SI2’s and bad ones, excellent H colors, and less than. The unique intricacies of each stone make them more or less valuable, but there is a reason for every price. Not all stones are created equal, and this is why it’s incredibly important to see a stone before you buy it.

Here is the truth of the matter, the best stones don’t need to be online. Often, the best stones are in circulation, traveling the globe when and where they are demanded of, and in constant demand in the big city boutiques and 5th avenue type retailers. The very best vendors work with the very best cutters and the very best of retail. Those stones move and move quickly, typically making listing them online a time consuming and unnecessary task. Then there are the second, third, and fourth tier of diamonds, that won’t move as quickly, and those go online. The higher quality stones are demanded in person by a discerning clientele, as it’s understood that a stone’s beauty can not be seen via the internet.

Our job as diamond experts, with in-house Gemologists, is to ensure we curate the very best stones to show you, leveraging the stone’s qualities, and seeking out the finest of what’s out there. Now, we don’t mean D color, Internally Flawless, as unless money is no object (which is rarely the case) we would not recommend you spend your money this way. We look for the perfect spread and dimension, getting the largest look for your carat weight. We look at the “make” of the stone, from the raw qualities of the natural material to the precision and excellence in it’s cut – as it’s these factors that are responsible for the stone’s beauty, sparkle, and brilliance – and we accept only the ones we deem as stunning. We scrutinize the color and clarity on your behalf, pulling in the stones that face up the whitest, and those that sparkle brighter than their peers, showing extraordinary scintillation and life.

Remember, a diamond is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and sometimes the beauty is simply stone specific. Each stone holds an innate quality that’s formed in the earth’s mantle, and each cutter has an artisan technique that goes far beyond what we know of 4C’s. We have seen stones that on paper have everything in the right order, but they simply lack “life” – they are just dull and dead. Until you are viewing two stones, side by side, and in your hands, there is no way of distinguishing that beauty.

We only receive stones from the finest artisanal cutters that source from the finest rough, and of those stones, we show you a selection of the most beautiful that won’t compromise your budget. There is no trickery, there is just experience, a keen eye, and our mastery – and this comes at no extra cost to you. This selectivity doesn’t exist online.

Anytime we have a client that has shown us a stone they have seen online, convinced that there is a better deal to be had, we are always happy to look into it with them. Every time, something quickly emerges to explain what they are seeing. Sometimes that might be the weight, a stone that weighs in at 2 carats for example, but when you look at the dimensions, it’s bottom-heavy and has the visible spread of a 1.6 carat. Or perhaps it says SI1, or VS2, which should be a visibly clear stone, but you see the photos and videos of the stone, and there are carbon flecks and crystals clearly visible on the surface. That is what the price reflects.

Subtle in photos, distinct in person.

This wouldn’t pass as a presentable SI2 in our store.

So can you trust an online diamond?

Well, there is a price for every stone and a reason behind every price. If you see a 2.4 carat, H color, SI1 clarity stone in a store that is stunningly beautiful, and then find a stone of similar spec online for a few thousand less, there will be a very good and discernable reason – one that we are always happy to explain to you and let you make your own decision.

A word of warning, a common con we have noticed with online retailers, is they will list a fantastic GIA registered stone online at a great price, however when you enquire about it, you will be told it has “sold” or is “currently overseas”. They then direct you towards a “similar stone,” and because you found the first initial good deal you feel more confident in their recommendation and that their prices are low. This is a trick, they never had the initial stone, it is simply a lure. Sadly, this has not yet been moderated by the industry.

It’s for these reasons that we always advise our friends, family, and clients to always always see a stone before they even consider purchasing it. And if you think you have found a great stone online, give us a call or drop us an email! If we think it’s an excellent deal, we will tell you, and if we can see anything that we wouldn’t want for ourselves, we will always be transparent about it. There is a very good chance that we can show you something even more beautiful at the same price!

More importantly than anything else, don’t assume that by us being a retail store we would have higher prices – that is simply not how it works. We are a direct to consumer, family-owned and operated company, and we will never push your budget higher than the price you set. Furthermore, we are in Manhattan, which is the epicenter of the diamond industry. About 80% of the world’s diamonds come through New York City, resulting in the tightest, most cutting edge margins, making New York the most competitive market in the Diamond industry. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that by working with a New York Atelier you will be paying a premium, as this is the rare instance where the opposite is in fact true!

We will, however, be able to curate the most beautiful stones on the market, the ones that rarely ever make it to the online platforms, give you the opportunity to explore and compare a range of stones in person, and provide you the most competitive price in the industry. Couple that with the quality of our craftsmanship, our award-winning designs, and that every piece is made right here in New York City, you stand to have the best stone and the finest setting, without the extensive markups of our 5th avenue counterparts.

We at Marisa Perry won’t work with Diamonds bought externally or online – with good reason. We are known for our quality and craftsmanship, and the quality of our stones have to remain consistent with our standards. With the influx of lab-created diamonds spilling on to the market and the immense drop in their value, we are seeing more and more of these being coupled with counterfeit GIA reports that are copied from another stone, and circulated online as a natural diamond. For our security and the assurance of our customers, we are very exclusive in the diamantaires that we work with, ensuring the quality and life long value of our stones.

This brings us to the second most important part of the equation. The setting! The most undervalued factor for men and one of the most important to women! Here are some helpful blogs for further reading:

The mistake that too many men make.

How to save money when shopping for a diamond.

Where to begin?

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