How to Buy Diamonds in New York

Buying Diamonds in New York

Bottom Line Recommendations

  • Before heading out to the diamond district in New York, it is crucial that you do your research and that you know exactly what you are looking for. Many salesmen will take every opportunity to rip you off your money.
  • Also, don’t just enter any jewelry store that you can find. Make sure that you do your due diligence and you already know the physical stores that you are going to visit.
  • Always buy your diamonds from a seller who is not pushing you to make a purchase and one that offers guidance and support to help you make the best choice. While there are many unscrupulous diamond sellers at the diamond district, there are still some good and reliable sellers.
  • We recommend buying your diamonds online to avoid all the risks and hassle of physically searching for your diamond at the diamond district. James Allen, Blue Nile and Whiteflash are the best in the market and offer high-quality videos to help you make the best evaluation. What’s more, you don’t have to deal with a nagging salesperson trying to trick you into buying a diamond.
  • But if you do plan on buying a diamond from the diamond district, our guide below will help you avoid getting ripped off.

Whenever you are thinking about diamonds in New York City, you will probably be thinking about the diamond district. Here, you can find over 4000 jewelers all in a single location. The diamond district is situated in Manhattan and is filled with jewelry stores that sell not just diamonds but precious stones as well.

The diamond district generates a whopping 24 billion in sales annually. 90% of all the diamonds that enter the US will pass through the diamond district before exchanging hands to sellers in other states and locations.
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Should you Buy diamonds at the diamond district? 

There is no doubt that as a tourist the diamond district is a nice place to visit. It is a place where you can hang out and do window shopping for some stunning jewelry.

But many believe that there is no main reason to buy a diamond at the diamond district.

For one, the prices here are not very competitive owing to the high overhead costs and staff costs. The diamond prices can be up to 20% more than you will likely find online. We recommend buying your diamonds online.

Let’s look at a few tips for buying your diamonds in New York’s diamond district.

Tips for shopping for diamonds in New York

It’s easy to think that the first place to shop for a diamond in New York is the diamond district situated at 47 streets. However, the truth is that it can be difficult to get the best quality diamond at the most competitive prices.

The challenge is because, for a new diamond shopper, there is an overwhelming number of sellers and options at the diamond district. And due to the competition, it is easier for the sellers to try and coax you into buying a diamond quickly especially if they notice that you don’t know much about diamonds.

The salespeople here are aggressive and can tell you anything to make you buy a diamond. So, you need to be careful and armed with the right information.

Some may even quote prices that seem too good to be true. If you notice this, avoid such salespeople.

Always be prepared

If you are planning on shopping for diamonds at the diamond district, always make sure that you do your due diligence to avoid being ripped off.

Remember that the jewelers will not give you information on the diamond and they will certainly not tell you about a diamond’s flaws. Many buyers end up getting ripped off by unscrupulous jewelers simply because they lack the right knowledge.

Customer service is not given a front-row seat at the diamond district and the salespeople are more oriented to closing a deal.

Pick the jewelry stores you will visit in advance

Before going to the diamond district, make sure you do your research and that you know in advance which stores you plan to visit.

Be aware of vendors that talk smart and are very quick to lure buyers into their store and to make a purchase. Often something is amiss.

If a salesperson approaches you and tries to attract you with some sweet words, avoid them and walk straight to your chosen jewelry store.

This is not just something to apply in New York’s diamond district but anywhere in the world.

Don’t be pressured into buying a diamond 

The diamond district is full of salespeople who are known to notoriously push customers to buy a diamond.

They are also known to use shady marketing tricks by saying that the item you are purchasing is in high demand and is going to be gone by the time you return.

And they may also tell you that they are willing to drop the price by a certain amount but only if you buy the diamond immediately.

Some will even act like they are offering you a big discount and pretend to talk to their CEO, manager and get the discount allowed.

Always stay true to your commitment and do not be intimidated by the salespeople. Ask any questions that you may have. If they are coming off as too aggressive, simply walk out the door and try out the next jewelry store.

Always compare prices

There are over 4000 jewelry stores in the diamond district all of them selling the same thing. This allows customers the chance to visit different stores and compare the prices. Never purchase without comparing the prices from several stores. This will safeguard you from being ripped off.

The main mistake made by many diamond shoppers when comparing prices is that they are not comparing the same diamonds. Always pick diamonds that have similar specifications and proportions. Also, make sure that the certification lab is the same.

One lab uses completely different methods of grading diamonds compared to the next lab.

Also, note that there is no such thing as wholesale prices with diamonds. This is a gimmick that is used by sellers to market their diamonds. If you notice a store that is offering, “wholesale prices” simply walk away.

When you are talking to a sales representative, always make sure that you don’t mention your budget. If you mentioned the budget, they will automatically choose this as your price. Ask them instead to show you the diamonds that you are interested in.

Research prices

One of the best things you can do is to research online on the prices of the diamond. That way, before you head out to any jeweler in the diamond district, you already have a good idea of the prices to expect. It is a great way to avoid getting ripped off.

Not all shops are bad and there are some great places where you can get good customer service. Look for a store that will take the time to understand what you want and what you are searching for. These stores will also not pressure you to buy and will help you evaluate the diamond to make the best purchase.

Watch out for clarity enhanced diamonds

These are diamonds that have their look enhanced by laser drilling to remove impurities. Note that such methods of enhancing clarity may weaken the structure.

The unscrupulous seller may try and sell them at a higher price claiming that they are high-quality diamonds.

Sellers are required to disclose any information in case the diamond’s appearance has been enhanced.

Don’t get tricked into color scams

Some diamond shoppers are after yellow diamonds. However, if you are one of these shoppers be careful not to get ripped off.

The yellow diamonds, also known as canary diamonds have a natural yellow hue. These are rarer than diamonds on the D color scale which are completely colorless.

They are fancy colored diamonds. However, always keep in mind that not all diamonds with yellow color are canaries.

Colorless diamonds are graded via a D-Z color scale. The lower you go on the color scale the more the tint. It starts as a slightly yellow hue to a browner tint as you get to Z.

If you are not careful, a salesman might try to sell you a diamond lower on the color scale and claim that it is a fancy yellow collared diamond. This is an easy scam and it is important to do your research before heading to the diamond district.

Know the history

Every piece of jewelry and diamond has a story. When shopping for your diamond at the diamond district, note that some stones have a more pleasant history than others. What’s more, not all diamonds are earth mined and some will be lab manufactured diamonds. However, some sellers may want to pass them on as natural diamonds.

Also, avoid buying diamonds from the back alley. These are stones that are offered for sale in secondary markets. They are second-hand diamonds. While this may not bother some buyers, it is advisable to know the history of the diamond.

Some diamonds could be stolen or owned by many people previously. This means that even if it comes with a diamond certificate, it may have chipped meaning that the certificate may not paint a clear picture of the diamond.

You may also come across the term estate diamond when shopping at the diamond district. The mind is often drawn to thoughts of deceased persons. However, when it comes to diamonds, the word estate simply means that it was owned by someone before. In other words, it is a more decent term to back-alley diamonds.

And while you may be tempted to buy that diamond, sometimes these are diamonds where someone called off an engagement and decided to sell the diamond.

Bottom line is that knowing a diamond’s history is important. You don’t want to buy an engagement ring from someone who called off their own just to propose to your significant other using the ring.

Always check the lab report

Diamond sellers will sometimes use diamond appraisals to give the customers wrong information about the value of the diamond. They could also use some unpopular grading reports. Always remember that different diamond labs use different methods of grading their diamonds.

Make sure to avoid diamond reports from grading labs such as the EGL, IGI, GALA, and GAI. There is a high chance that such reports will over grade the diamonds. This could cause you to pay more money on a lower quality diamond.

The only two diamond lab reports that you should focus your attention on when grading diamonds is the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America.

Ensure the guarantees and return policies are on paper

Whenever you are shopping for a diamond, never do so with the plan of returning the diamond. Aim to make the correct choice and make the right first purchase.

Don’t be surprised when it suddenly becomes clear that most of the diamonds are not ideal cuts. Most sellers have very difficult return policies and some do not even offer them on paper.

Always ensure you read through the return policies of the seller to safeguard yourself against any eventualities where you might need to return your diamond.

Also, understand what return and refund mean. Return means that you can take back your diamond to the seller and exchange it with better quality stone. Refund means that after taking the diamond to the seller you can claim your money back.

Ensure that the terms are written down and they are simple to understand. The ideal seller should provide you with a no questions asked refund policies valid for between 14 and 30 days.

If you notice that the jeweler will only accept returns but is unwilling to give refunds, avoid buying from them. This shows that they are not confident in their products. Do not allow any vagueness in the purchase of your diamond. With more than 4000 sellers, you are spoilt for choice and you can always find a seller with more favorable terms.

Avoid the Hawkers in the streets. 

You will come across hawkers at the diamond district. These are smooth talkers that will solicit you to their diamond shops to make a purchase. They can be annoying and quite aggressive.

Often you will find that businesses that have hawkers will tend to offer low-quality products. Think about it for a moment. Any business that is confident in its products doesn’t have to deal with hawkers.

Always verify the details before buying

There are stories of sellers who show customers one certificate of a good diamond and they offer them a completely different diamond.

The unscrupulous sellers use this method to trick customers hoping that they will not tell the difference. Always make sure to countercheck the details on the certificate with the proportions of a diamond.

Some sellers might even use false certifications. These appear similar to the original. To prevent such scams, research and understand how original certificates by the GIA and the AGS look like. You can even confirm from the database using your mobile phone.

Also ask for a receipt that shows the vendors address, name, date of purchase, total amount as well as any taxes applicable. If the jeweler provides any verbal claims or even guarantees, they should also put them down in writing. In case the claims were false, you can use this for legal action against them.

And lastly, if you are not happy with the service and if you don’t feel comfortable with a store always leave. Given the number of diamond sellers in the area, you don’t have to buy from a store you are not comfortable with.

Make use of credit cards 

Many jewelry stores in New York’s diamond district prefer to use cash and will not accept cheques. Make your purchases using an American Express card. When there is a dispute, AMEX will often side with the customer and will even perform chargebacks to ensure the customer receives their money back.

Buying your diamonds online

If you find all of this quite hectic, you always have the option of buying your diamonds online. Some top sellers will provide quality service and are transparent throughout the diamond shopping experience.

We recommend buying from James Allen, Whiteflash or Blue Nile. These have the best quality videos and offer their loose diamonds at a competitive price. The reason is that they have very little overheads and staff costs.

What’s more, you do not have to feel pressured by pesky salespeople coaxing you to make a purchase. You can simply take your time and inspect multiple diamonds before arriving at your ideal choice.

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