Online shopping has made our lives easy with almost anything you can imagine just a few clicks away. Buying precious goods online like diamonds and jewelry is common with many retailers are joining the online bandwagon. However, there are certain risks involved when you buy diamonds online which can be easily avoided. Here are a few tips to keep you safe when you’re buying diamonds online.
1. Research about Your Diamond Vendor
Before you consider buying from an online vendor, always check out their credentials. One of the simplest ways to know about a company is to Google it. Buy only from registered and certified diamond dealers. Diamonds bought from such deals are manufactured from legit sources. If you don’t find proper information on the company’s website, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, check out various consumer forums to find out feedback from previous customers.
2. Be an Educated Buyer
To make the most out of your diamond purchase, educate yourself on the 4 C’s (cut, colour, clarity and carat). You can also learn a few basics of buying coloured diamonds from various guides available on the web. Once you have this knowledge, you’ll know what the vendors are talking about and the value of the diamond you’re purchasing.
3. Check for a Grading Report
Buy diamonds that come with grading reports from GIA or AGS, two of the most reliable independent grading labs for gems. Every diamond that’s graded has a unique microscopic signature number inscribed on its girdle. The grading report will also contain that number mentioned under “comments”. If the grading report of your diamond doesn’t list any unique number, avoid buying that piece. Diamond without a grading report can create issues if you try reselling it.
4. Make Sure to See the Actual Diamond or Its Images
It’s a common practice among online retailers to use stock photos as they’ll usually hold thousands of products. Always ask for the actual picture of the diamond from the vendor that you intend to buy from. Give preference to sellers that operate online as well as storefront near your location. If it isn’t possible, utilize the evaluation tools available on the site. See if the company provides high-definition images with magnifications options. Only after viewing the actual diamond, physical or virtual, should you make your decision.
5. Check out the Payment Methods
Most online companies provide a secure payment gateway. However, to keep your transactional information (credit card or net banking) safe always check if:
• The transaction page has an HTTPS protocol
• The page shows padlock signs and safety seals like Symantec SSL, etc.
E-commerce websites and auction sites generally offer several payment options. Payment through credit cards is a good choice because if there’s any issue during the transaction, your credit card company may provide recourse. Another great option is PayPal. It verifies the merchant so you’re assured that the company isn’t a scam. Additionally, if you want to claim your money back due to defects or wrong product delivery, then PayPal also allows you to do that.
6. Read the Return Policy Carefully
Many online vendors provide a 15-day or 30-day money back guarantee if you wish to return the purchased diamond. However, most of them don’t offer a free returns shipping policy. This means that ultimately, you might end up spending more than $100 just to return the jewelry that you don’t want to own! Therefore, always make sure to read the return policy of the company before you hit the “Buy” button.
7. Get Your Diamond Appraised
After you make your online purchase, always make sure to immediately take it to an independent appraiser. An independent appraiser is the best choice for evaluating your diamond because he/she doesn’t sell diamonds and won’t have any personal agendas like other jewelry/diamond retailers. Get it appraised before the return period allowed by the vendor expires so that if the quality doesn’t match the description, you can return the diamond. Having your diamond appraised is also important for insurance purposes.
Buying diamonds online is safe if you do your homework before hitting “buy”. Do your research well. Choose a company that offers a money back policy, check out customer feedback and the way it deals with customer complaints. The better the deal when you buy, the better the deal when you resell!