To go with the perfect proposal, you will need the perfect engagement ring. In most cases, the engagement ring of choice is a diamond ring. And with approximately 35% of couples spending a maximum of 3 months searching for the perfect engagement ring and only 24% spending up to 6 months looking for the perfect engagement ring as reported by The Engagement Ring Bible, knowing the best place to buy the diamond engagement ring from is important.
For the most part, many people will begin their search for the perfect engagement ring online, but to find the actual ‘perfect’ ring, they will take to the family and friends of the fiancé to be, all in an effort to make the right choice.
But this not enough, and even with the right ring insight, what you’d really want to know is whether to buy the ring online or from a retail store.
In this article, we’ll weigh online vs. retail diamond jewelry purchases, but first, a look at some basics.
Why diamond prices differ in-store and online?
It’s obvious that the internet has resulted in drastic changes in the nature and operations of businesses in the 21st century.
Businesses are no longer limited to running from physical locations, and they are no longer confined to the opening and closing retail hours, all thanks to the rise of the digital age.
This setup gives businesses a high level of autonomy, at the same time, allowing customers to research easily and compare products and prices instantly.
One of the products people review and compare online is diamonds, with diamond rings being the most common item.
And the noticeable thing about the diamonds is that there is a huge price disparity between the diamonds sold online and the ones sold in retail stores. Which brings the question, which are the diamond prices different online from the retail stores?
So, why is this the case?
1.Cost of operations
The diamonds sold online are significantly cheaper than the diamonds sold in retail stores, and the primary reason for this is that the online sellers don’t have to pay for property rental fees, interior decorations, or staff salaries.
Essentially, an online store isn’t worried about the high operational costs that the retail store is burdened with, which means that the burden of these costs isn’t transferred to the customers.
Retail stores are only able to cover the high operational costs by transferring these costs to the customers. Since this isn’t the case with the online stores, you will find that the diamonds sold in the physical retail stores are as much as 40-50% higher than the cost of the same diamonds sold online.
With such big price differences, it makes sense to buy the diamonds online. And with diamonds sold in the five figures price range, the 40% to 50% savings are definitely a big win.
The second reason for the big differences in diamond prices online and in retails stores has to do with inventory costs. Diamonds are not cheap, and the cost of holding inventory like diamonds is hefty. Each of the diamonds physically brought into the jewelry store comes with high shipping, insurance, and stocking costs.
Therefore, the physical retail stores will keep limited selections of the diamonds in their stores because carrying too much volume is too expensive compared to what you get from an online store.
Note that the online stores keep their costs down/ lean and efficient while keeping very few pieces in inventory.
By keeping few pieces in inventory and showcasing the whole range of what they have to offer, the online stores keep the cost of business low, and even when the existing costs are factored in, they won’t influence the total cost of the diamonds significantly.
The other reason for the high cost of purchasing diamonds from retail stores, unlike the lower cost of the diamonds for online purchases, has to do with taxes.
More specifically, buying diamonds from different states online often means that you may not have to pay taxes.
This often results in significant price differences and great savings. Goods shipped out of the state of New York, for example, are not subject to sales tax, which means savings for online purchases made in New York and shipped out.
4.Refunds and Free Return Shipping
Online shopping is quite risky, and you may have suffered in the hands of a disloyal online vendor in the past. But this doesn’t make online shopping for valuables like diamonds a forbidden practice.
This is because, despite the risks involved, top companies that deal in diamonds offer assurances of the safety of the diamonds and even refunds in case of losses or mismatched product information.
These companies also allow exchanges and free return shipping, as well as 100% money back refunds. These benefits aren’t offered by the physical diamond stores, which makes shopping online safer.
5.Is It Safe to Buy Diamonds Online?
Though the thought of spending thousands of dollars on diamonds from an online store sounds ridiculous, it’s nervous and stressful; the truth is that it’s safe to buy diamond jewelry online.
But, it’s only safe to shop for diamonds online if you buy from a reputable vendor.
A reliable online retailer offers written assurance in their terms, and any issues will be negated without any losses on your end.
Pros and cons of buying diamonds online
Buying diamonds online may seem appealing and the most recommended thing, but it’s an imperfect option, as you will see below.
Pros of buying diamonds online
- A wide selection of high-quality diamonds
- Easy comparison of the diamonds sold by different merchants
- Lower diamond prices in the online stores than the physical stores
- Solid refund policies from reputable companies
Cons of buying diamonds online
- The internet is a vast, unregulated space with good and bad merchants selling bad and good diamonds, meaning that you need to be careful about where you buy the diamonds from
- Some stores don’t sell the actual stones that they advertise.
- Oftentimes, the diamonds sold online aren’t certified or conflict-free.
Pros and cons of buying diamonds in store
Pros of buying diamonds from a retail store
- You get to see the actual diamonds in person from the store, and this makes the selection process easier.
- Good price range to match your budget and options
- Often, the salesperson educates you on the different types of diamonds – cut, clarity, color and carat/ sizes, etc.
- You get to connect to the diamond you like
- Immediate gratification from walking out of the store with the diamond in your pocket
- Access to great credit plans and a long-term financing option
- Some stores offer upgrade policies, which you could take advantage of and trade-in or even trade up your diamonds later on.
- A good relationship with the store means that you have a place to go for the diamond’s maintenance, whether that means prong tightening, cleaning, or sizing.
Cons of buying diamonds in retail stores
- The diamonds are expensive.
- The sales agent may mislead or misinform you, and this can happen intentionally or unintentionally.
- High overheads result in unreasonably high diamond prices.
- You don’t always get guarantees over the quality of the diamonds you choose, and the certification given might be bogus.
Buying Diamonds Online vs. Retail. Which is better?
With the information about online and retail diamond purchases made above, which is a better option for you? Should you walk into the retail store and pay more for what you fall in love with and connect with, or should you buy the diamond online from a reputable brand that assures you of a 100% refund in case of an issue?
Well, it depends. If you are looking for a safer shopping experience, wider variety, and better product choices, better value for money, good quality, and money-back guarantees, then buying the diamond ring online might be a better option than buying the ring from a physical store.
But this doesn’t mean that you are putting off the idea of buying the diamond piece from a retail store because this could be an option for you if you are skeptical or against online purchases, and if you won’t mind the excessive mark up for that piece of jewelry.
Generally, it is important to keep an open mind, and you need to know that despite your beliefs, the online space offers more advantages, including a bigger and a higher quality selection range that is often risk-free. The online stores also offer money-back guarantees as long as you buy the diamond from a reputable company that actually refunds the full value of the diamond if you are dissatisfied.
So, if you are to choose one over the other, we’d recommend buying the diamonds online.
The online space offers the best shopping experience and a greater variety of diamonds at significantly lower prices and high-quality pieces.
But regardless of the choice you make, you’d want to makes rue that you confirm the diamond cuts, clarity, carat size, color, and shapes.
You also need to look at how the diamond settings look like in real life.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.