The Consumerist Hive Mind Helps You Buy A Diamond

What are the things you should know when going diamond shopping? Our reader Justin needs to buy one.

I’d love to know what to look out for when buying a diamond. Do dealers change the grades of diamonds, lie about carats, etc? Where can I buy reasonably priced diamonds? There may be a huge mark-up in store, but am I going to get scammed online? Maybe just pointing in the direction of reliable user reviews of local or online retailers, since it’s so hard to know which reviews are genuine and which are the retailers inflating their stock these days.

Before we turn the question over to the readers, here are a few tips taken from Consumer Reports’ guide to buying jewelry. (Here’s another article of jewelry buying tips from Consumer Reports.)

  • Don’t believe the hype of large discounts or sales: “‘Ninety-five percent of the discounts I see are fictitious,’ says jeweler David Nytch, a certified gemologist appraiser who has worked in retailing, ‘because the pieces are vastly overpriced to begin with.'”
  • Make sure there’s a lengthy return period, and have your purchase appraised by an independent appraiser certified by the American Society of Appraisers (, or 800-272-8258).
  • Understand the trade-offs between small local stores, chain stores, and online stores. You’ll likely find the most knowledgeable staff at local stores, but you’ll have to pay extra for that expertise. Chain stores will be cheaper but the staff are less likely to know much. Online purchases are the cheapest route, although they sometimes charge extra for things like sizing and mounting, and it helps if you know what you’re doing: you should understand how the diamond grading system works so that you can compare diamonds online, and make sure the seller offers a good return policy.

Here are some websites where other consumers share diamond purchasing advice:

So now we ask the readers: what’s your advice for buying diamond jewelry? No “don’t buy diamonds!” suggestions, please, unless you have a serious alternative.

“Buying jewelry? Don’t get bling-boozled” [Consumer Reports]
“Don’t get burned buying jewelry” [Consumer Reports]
(Photo: Jeff Koons’ Diamond (Pink), by clagnut)