I Use Insider Information to Learn the Truth
Starting in 1998…
I have tested almost all of the top online diamond stores in the United States, 100’s of them, and reported my test results for the best of the best on this site.
I Found Very Few So Far
So far, it has been very frustrating, since I have found so few who meet the criteria I consider important. Also, over the years, even the ones that pass my initial tests eventually fail their customers and I have to take them off. For complete test results and my reviews of the online jewelers that passed, use the Tested Jewelers tab at the top of any page. To see a list of the largest stores that failed my tests, go to Online Jewelers that Failed My Tests. I love to share about How I Make Money on this site – it’s a win-win-win-for-all. Here is How I Number/Rank Online Jewelers.
To pass my criteria and be listed on this site, an online jeweler must rate “excellent” in each of these categories:
Selection of Diamonds — must have a large selection of high quality loose diamonds in stock, and be able and willing to order whatever you want Diamond Expertise — must have GIA Graduate Gemologists on premises, and prove to me they will answer your questions in detail, and accurately, to your best advantage Service — must prove to me they will take ample time to educate and help you make the best decisions Prices — must be among the lowest online diamond prices in the U.S. (remember :: the very lowest price quotes are not always truthful) Quality — must stock the highest quality diamonds including stones with D Color, IF Clarity, or excellent Cut Grade as well as Ideal Cut, Super Ideal Cut, and other rare and unusual qualities Certificates — must stock diamonds with a GIA (GTL) Cert / Certificate, as well as AGS (AGSL) Diamond Grading Reports, in addition to any other reports they might offer Selection of Settings — must have a good selection of popular as well as unique, high quality settings in stock, including fine name brand designers Jeweler Skills — must be able to set diamonds in simple settings by the next day, or in custom pieces within a reasonable time for the complexity of that design — must be able to create anything you want from scratch Reputation — must have an excellent local reputation, as well as an excellent reputation within the diamond trade Trade Credit Rating — must have excellent ratings with the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT), to enable them to access any diamond you want Ethics — must be a member in good standing with the BBB Online and/or Chamber of Commerce — must prove to me that they will guide a customer with truth and technical accuracy Security — must proven online security, with a minimum of 128-bit encryption, with a Verisign EV SSL certificate Professionalism — must be a member in good standing in some of the foremost jeweler organizations such as ::
- Jewelers Vigilance Committee
- American Gemological Society
- Diamond Dealers Club
- Jewelers Board of Trade
Email — must answer email promptly, preferably within minutes or hours, and accurately answer technical questions about diamonds and settings Phone Calls — must answer phone calls promptly, and answer all questions with technical accuracy Return Policy — must have a 30 days, unconditional, money-back guarantee and prove to me they honor that guarantee Store Hours — must have convenient phone hours, including weekends Age of Business — must have been in business for at least 10 years online, under the same name Size of Business — must be one of the top 10 volume diamond stores online
The Testing Process, Step By Step
I personally tested every online store that has been in business for at least 10 years online, every year, starting in 1998. Of course, back then, all online businesses were new, so I tested businesses that were in business locally for at least 10 years. Now things are different, so if a store does not have a copyright on their site that states at least 10 years, we pass and test someone else. The First Two Questions Our first question is :: “Do you have loose diamonds?” Most say no, so we hang up. Our second question is :: “Do you have GIA certificates on your diamonds?” Most say no, or explain they can get them, so we hang up. If they pass those two questions, we ask a number of other ones about their store operations, what they have in stock, store policies, and technical questions about diamonds. Test for Patience and Integrity By asking numerous questions, we test their patience and compassion with a newbie, and see if they advise and educate with integrity and technical accuracy. If even one question receives the wrong answer, we simply hang up and go to the next jeweler in the search returns. Pricing Pricing is the final discussion. If the first price offered is not an excellent price, we hang up and move on. It is important that pricing should NOT be dependent on their mood, or their sales goals, or holiday timing, or someone’s negotiation abilities, or anything else. Pricing should be consistenly low, or… you got it… we hang up and move on. This process eliminates more than 98% of the stores we call in the first 1-3 minutes on the phone. If they pass that, it takes us hours of testing to confirm all the criteria we are looking for. Background Checks After this process of questions on the phone, we continue our testing by looking in the JBT (Jeweler’s Board of Trade), which tells us their credit rating and reputation in the trade. Here is a sample report, which I access through someone else to protect my anonymity. This report is often very different from their reputation with consumers. Trade reputations cannot be bought, while local reputations are easily bought with good ads. Then we further check their background ::
- the online BBB
- online testimonials and reviews
- research to find any prior criminal records for the owners
We also study their advertizing materials, to make sure promises are made honestly and are not misleading or illegal. Calling the Management Then… when a jeweler has passed all of those tests, we call the management, and tell them the test results. We interview them then, about their policies, staff hiring practices, advertising methods, percentages of new vs. repeat and referral customers, etc. Watching Customer Reviews For Years Now comes the long term process of watching testimonials and reviews over the years. If negative reviews pile up, we suspend a jeweler from our list until we have a chance to investigate. If it happens that customers call us in to fight for them, we do so, but take the jeweler off our list. Also, in watching reviews, it is important to note that some review sites are NOT entirely honest, so we trust iVouch.com the most, with their patents that ensure the most honest testimonials. Now you know the process. Hope that helps!