Buying Diamonds online is a risky venture, but there are some steps that you can take to evaluate the situation, and lower your risk.
1) The most important tip for buying diamonds on ebay, is know your seller. Make sure they have some feedback. Sellers with a diamond for sale and 0 feedback are not who you want to buy from. Also look at their percentage score, but go further and see how many customers have left negatives. It is possible to have a 99% score and still have made 500 customers very unhappy...if the seller deals in volume. Look at the negative feedbacks and ask yourself, "Are the complaints about quality, or are they coming from unreliable ebayers" Take the time to do a little backround research, especially if the item is high dollar.
2) If it sounds to good to be true, It probably is. If you see a diamond with a buy it now price of $50, its probably not real. Make sure you read the text carefully. If it says russian, diamond-like, our little secret, just the letter C, this diamond is most likely fake. Now just because a diamond starts at .99 cents with no reserve doesn't mean its fake. Many sellers rely on their reputation and their diamonds themselves to run up the price.
3) Comparion shop.Look around and see what the going rate is for the stone you are looking at. The ebay searches are great for this. Make sure you get the best deal for your diamond.
4) Know you diamond lingo.
- CUT: This is the shape of the stone. There are many cuts, and many of them can be spelled differently or have other common names.
- Round (also known as the brilliant cut) is shaped like a circle
- Oval (also known as oblong) is oval in shape.
- Princess(also known as square cut) is sqaure in shape. **note in gemstones square and princess cut do not have the same facets, but many ebayers use them interchangably.
- Marquise is the diamond shape cut
- Pear (also known as tear drop) is shaped like a pear
- Trillion (also known as the triangle cut, trilliant) is shaped like a triangle
- Heart shaped diamonds are shaped like a heart
- Emerald cut diamonds and radiant cut diamonds are shaped like a rectangle. However Emerald cut diamonds have a step cut (that looks like a hallway of windows) where a radiant cut is faceted in the back like most other cuts.
- An asscher cut is square in shape but is faceted much like an emerald cut.
There are other specialty cuts including stars, cushions, 8 sided, as well as specialty faceting (more facets mean more brilliance) an examply of this maybe the hearts on fire diamond.The difficulty and rarity of the cut increases the price of the diamond. More common cuts, such as the round, will be more affordable because of the ease of availability.
- COLOR: Color of a diamond ranges from D-Z and then there are the fancy colored diamonds.
- D colored diamonds are absolutely colorless. They are perfection on the color scale.
- E-F are still considered colorless.
- G-H are near colorless. Color may not be detected by the average person, but by comparison to a better diamond may be apparent. This is an excellent color range to find value in.
- I-J are faint yellow hued ranges. These are a good value, but you will be able to detect a hint of yellow
- K-Z have strong colors of yellow.
The fancy colors will simply by listed by name (ie fancy blue, fancy red, fancy black etc)
Mistakes in this category cause much frustration to diamond shoppers. You have to know what you are getting, because pictures can be deceptive.
- Flawless (FL)A diamond rated FL is completely flawless.
- Internally Flawless (IF)This is a diamond that has no internal flaws, but may have external blemises
- Very Very Slight Imperfection (VVS1 VVS2)This category rates stones that have tiny inclusions which are difficult to detect even with ten power magnification. These tend to appear "perfect" to all but the most trained professionals, and then only under optimal viewing conditions!
- Very Slight Imperfection (VS1 VS2)This indicates very slight imperfections which are still difficult to see with ten power magnification. This grade of stones appears to all but the trained eye as perfectly clear. More affordable diamonds start at this grade and as the grade gets lower, the diamonds get cheeper.
- Slightly Included (SI1 SI2) These diamonds have slight imperfections and inclusions visible under ten power magnification. They represent one of the best values for a nice diamond. The stone will look great, but you don't pay for the additional laboratory-only clarity which makes little actual difference in the appearance and beauty of the stone. Sharp eyed individuals can sometimes spot an inclusion without magnification in SI2 stones.
- Imperfect (I1 I2 I3) These grades are where the vast majority of "jewelry store" diamonds are found. I1 stones are often reasonably priced and a great value. Most people can see I class inclusions without magnification.While a majority of diamond you will see are I1, diamonds of I2-I3 range are of poor quality and can cause many buyers great unhappiness
- CARAT WEIGHT: This is all about the size of your diamond. Knowing what size of diamond you want helps to keep you from falling into the extreme close up/blown up picture trap. 1/10th of a ct (.1ct) is a very small diamond. For a small engagement ring, 1/4 ct (.25 ct) is small but afforable. A large diamond tend to be those over 1 ct. Its all a matter of perspective on what size is appropriate, but its important to look at the numbers, not jsut at the sparkly picture. Also, realize that some stones look larger due to the nature of their cut. For example, a 1/2 ct marquise looks much larger then a 1 ct round because of the nature of the cut.
Being armed with information will take away a lot of the stress and danger of diamond buying. Other safety tips include looking for sellers that use paypal, and avoiding those that want a money transfer. Paypal is the safest way to transfer money and protects you against those who would steal your money.
Once you have received your diamond, ALWAYS get it checked to verify its authenticity. Many sellers will misrepresent the clarity and color of the diamond, and many times its because they are just guessing about it. If the exact color, clarity, and weight are of utmost importance to you, have it evaluated. However, if the diamond looks like its everything it was advertised, and you are completely satisfied, you still need to have it tested to make sure it is a real diamond. Almost all jewelry stores have a diamond tested. This includes mall chain stores. Take it in and have it tested before you leave feedback. If it is fake you can contact the seller and if need be, paypal as well. This is an important step for your piece of mind.
Many sellers offer an appraisal or certification with their diamonds. Be advised that a lot of these are bogus certificates made up on their computer, so don't rely on these. Look for accredited certificates if you want a certified diamond. EGL and GIA are the most common bonified certified diamonds.
Ebay offers great values on diamonds that would be otherwise unobtainable for some people. It also offers great search engines to find exactly what you are looking for. So review all the things you need to know about buying the diamond of your dreams, and good luck on your diamond purchase!