Diamond jewelry stores aren’t what they used to be! And the number of different places were you can buy diamond jewelry today has become massive!
There are lots of places to buy diamond jewelry today…. just the other day we got our bill from the gas company and they had a little flier in with the monthly statement advertising some diamond jewelry and about 6 weeks ago, the online computer equipment retailer where I buy some of my “big boy toys” also just started offering cheap diamond engagement rings!
In a previous life, when I was an outside road salesman for a diamond jewelry manufacturer in NYC, I traveled around upstate New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania visiting diamond jewelry stores (also over 20 years ago, when I lived in LA, I had a similar job but I traveled the Western US).
After visiting hundreds and hundreds of diamond jewelry stores I ended up developing the ability to quickly size up the quality of a diamond jewelry store. This was important because I was entering many of these stores for the first time. I will share my thoughts of what to look for in a local diamond jewelry store.
All diamond jewelry stores are not created equally….
There are two broad categories when I think of a diamond jewelry store-
a jewelry merchant and an actual jeweler
The largest group, the jewelry merchant,jewelry store they will buy finished diamond jewelry from diamond jewelry manufacturers and then sell to the public without “getting their hands dirty” by making diamond jewelry themselves.
They will have a pretty narrow focus of the type of diamond jewelry that they offer, with nothing too different than what other diamond jewelry stores would offer. They will be able to do some servicing of diamond jewelry- ring sizing, setting a stone, simple repairs, etc. They may or may not have a service person in store, if they don’t they will send jewelry out to a trade shop to perform any work that needs to be done.
I will put many of the national diamond jewelry stores (Zales, Kays, Jareds etc.), mall kiosks, wholesale member’s clubs (Sam’s Club, BJ’s, etc.), and a department store’s diamond jewelry store into this category.
An actual jeweler is much easier to spot…. they are a jeweler and they are proud of it. When I’d arrive in a new town, I would look in the yellow pages to start sizing up the local diamond jewelry stores.
Common traits of a jeweler include…. a multi-generational businesses, they have in-house jewelry repair or jewelry manufacturing facilities, they are members of different industry associations (AGS, RJO, JA, their state’s jewelers association, etc.), the owner is likely a GIA Gemologist or they have a Gemologist on staff, they manufacture some or all of their diamond jewelry inventory, and they have a much wider, more diverse, selection of diamond jewelry.
So, shop smart for an engagement ring and be safe! Use only a reliable jeweler who offers great policies like easy returns and money back guarantees to avoid getting screwed over.
For a list of great diamond retailers, you might want to refer to this useful list here: http://beyond4cs.com/2016/01/best-online-diamond-retailers/