Here’s a fact! Diamonds with the exact same grades can look very different from one another. If you don’t believe this, please ask any Graduate Gemologist, Certified Diamontologist or any other qualified diamond expert (except those that are employed by one of the many online diamond companies.) Those that work for an online diamond company certainly don’t want you to know these facts as they are relying on selling you a diamond sight unseen.
However, everyone with any decent amount of time and experience looking at diamonds will tell you that they have seen many diamonds that can look great on paper, i.e. on a Gemological Laboratory Grading Report (commonly referred to as a Lab Certificate), but that don’t look so great when compared to other diamonds of similar quality. These diamonds can come with high ratings in clarity, color and cut, but can appear somewhat dull and lifeless, lacking brilliance and beauty. This is especially noticeable when comparing that diamond to a brighter and more beautiful diamond. The reason for this is because of the actual rough material formed in nature. There are no categories or descriptions of this rough diamond material on any Lab Report. However, this may in fact, be the most influential aspect affecting a particular diamond’s beauty and brilliance. Every diamond expert knows that a Lab Report only tells a part of the story regarding a diamond’s beauty and brilliance.
Those that buy diamonds sight unseen usually either don’t understand this fact or they may not really care. Some shoppers feel that good enough is, well… good enough. Or maybe they are buying a diamond sight unseen because an online diamond company’s representative did not tell them the truth in a phone conversation or via instant-chat. To test this, I recently used an alias and had an online instant chat with a representative from one of the most recognized internet diamond companies.
The following is part of the transcripts from that “conversation”:
You have been connected with Josh
Josh: Hello Sam
Sam: Hi. I have a ring that my Grandmother gave me and I’m looking for a one carat diamond for it. I would like to spend no more than $5500.
Josh: I see - Thanks. One moment please
Josh: Here is a diamond that is actually below budget. It offers what we would call, 'visually perfect'. Meaning, it will
appear colorless to the eye, unless it were to be compared to much higher graded diamonds, and the Clarity of VS2
means there are no eye-visible flaws. Most importantly, the Cut Grade of Ideal will guarantee the most brilliance, fire and scintillation.
Sam: should I click on this link?
Josh: Yes, that is to the diamond I was referring to.
Sam: It’s not a one carat?
Sam: I already found one this size that had even a higher grade at a local jewelry store
Josh: I did find a 1.00ct that is the same VS2 Clarity and Ideal cut under your budget.
Josh: I’m sending you the link to view this diamond : www.(companynamewithheld.com) # XXX 416805.
Josh: I should say, though, that you would hardly see the size variance between the smaller diamond I sent to you before
Sam: Do you have this diamond in front of you?
Josh: We have 70,000+ diamonds, they are vaulted all over the world. However, based on the GIA diamond certificate,
I know that this diamond is going to be perfect to the eye. That is how we have become such a popular company.
Here is the most important part of this “conversation”
Sam: They told me at a local jewelry store that diamonds that have the same grades can look very different from one another. Is this true?
Josh: That's not true – Especially for Round diamonds. A Round Excellent cut is about the best you are able to receive in terms of visual perfectness. You really can't do better than perfect.
Sam: so every diamond that is Ideal cut and has I color and VS2 will look exactly the same?
Josh: That's correct - If you had 2-3 diamonds side by side, only a skilled diamond gemologist would be able to determine which is which.
Sam: okay, I'm getting conflicting information here from what I was told when shopping at some well respected jewelry stores. I think I need to investigate this more.
Josh: Sure, I would encourage you to do so
As you can see, this representative did not tell the truth. Either he just doesn’t know the truth or he is being intentionally untruthful. Please understand that I am making no assumptions regarding their true intentions. It should be mentioned that these same kind of untrue answers were received when our other associates had similar “online chats” with other representatives from several of the most popular online diamond companies. This is upsetting since the average diamond shopper is relying on this representative and other associates of internet diamond companies to provide them with accurate information, so that they can make a wise decision in their diamond purchase.
Another fact to be aware of with most internet diamond companies, is that they normally do not own nor do they even normally see the diamonds that they are selling. All they usually see is an accredited Gemological Laboratory Grading Report, which as we reminded you earlier, does not adequately describe the diamonds actual brilliance and beauty. If we could buy diamonds from just looking at their Lab Reports or by fax, phone, e-mail, etc. and still insure that we had the most beautiful looking diamonds for the money, I can assure you that we would do so. Then we would not have to send our Diamond Buyer, Brant Kane to the diamond centers of the world to hand-pick each and every diamond. Sending Brant overseas several times per year to select our diamonds costs our company quite a bit, when you consider the airfare, hotel costs and the time he is away from our company. However, it is also critical to send Brant there in order to insure that we are offering our customers a selection of the brightest and most beautiful diamonds possible.
If we could simply buy diamonds from a Lab Report or by fax, phone, e-mail, etc and still insure that we were getting the most beautiful looking diamonds for the money, believe me, we would not hesitate to do so. However, the fact is, you have to see a diamond in person and compare it to other diamonds, in order to find the most beautiful diamonds. Just like most things in life, there are usually no short-cuts to success.
So knowing these facts, why would anyone buy a diamond sight unseen?
Most diamond experts are still amazed that anyone would buy a diamond without seeing it up close and comparing it to other diamonds. The answer is that most online diamond purchasers just don’t know the truth about diamonds – that diamonds with the exact same ratings can look very different from one another. And that even the finest quality diamond (on paper) may not be the most beautiful and brilliant diamond, when compared to a similar quality diamond. One other answer is the reality that some people shopping for a diamond just don’t care about finding the most beautiful diamond for their money. As long as they can find a diamond that looks good and is affordable, they’re content. The irony here, is that quite often, a diamond of a lower color or clarity or even cut or any combination of the three can appear to be brighter and more brilliant than a diamond with higher grades. Sometimes, the less expensive diamond is even more beautiful, so it always makes sense to see diamonds in person and compare one to another before purchasing your diamond. Another fact is that just like many other things, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so what is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another. This is also very true in diamonds.
When shopping for diamonds, remember the adage: Caveat Emptor, which translated from Latin, means “buyer beware”. Even an associate from the most well known online diamond company may not be telling you the whole truth. I’d suggest that you shop at a reputable jewelry store and look at a lot of diamonds and take the time to compare one to another. Look at these diamonds under the proper lighting, using a 10X calibrated Gemscope with the guidance of a Graduate Gemologist or Certified Diamontologist. You should always listen to your intuition. If you don’t trust the person or the company showing you diamonds, then don’t buy from that person or company.
It is wise to make sure that there is an accredited independent Gemological Laboratory Grading Report with the diamond and to look at its ratings, but do NOT buy the diamond based strictly on its grades. These grades are just for your protection, to give you an idea of the quality of that particular diamond and a rough reference for price. However, these grades are not meant as a complete description of the diamond any more than a drivers license will adequately describe you or the one you love.
The diamond that you should purchase is a diamond that you have seen with your own eyes, that you have viewed using the proper gemological equipment and that you have compared it to other diamonds at the same store and at the same time.
Remember that the human mind is incapable of storing the concept of color, beauty, brilliance, etc. So once you leave that store, you will not be able to remember exactly what that diamond looks like. It’s best to purchase the diamond that looks the brightest and most beautiful to you, the diamond that appears under natural light to have the most life and sparkle, the diamond that seems to call out to you. This is the diamond that you’ll want to own, to give to the one you love and plan on sharing your life with.