To qualify as a recommended diamond jeweler that gets my endorsement a range of stipulations had to be met. The weighting of the different factors have been fine tuned over the past few years.
I have been contacted by a number of diamond jewelers over the years asking to be endorsed. The fact is that out of 250,000 diamond sellers there are only a few that can make the cut as ones that can deal with a global marketplace and handle the pressure of fulfilling orders from around the globe. There have to be solid procedures in place to handle refunds, resizing, and be able to field questions from consumers that are new to diamonds.
This website was first devised with the aim of having ten diamond websites that can provide the type of service I had in mind. It turned out to be fairly difficult to compile a list of ten such businesses. The primary problem was being able to establish a feel for the ethics of the owners of the business. I have for example been contacted by some companies that emailed me using a pseudonym, asking it I had heard of X company and if I would consider listing them.
I exchanged a few emails and ended up diplomatically declining cooperation. The fact was that I had been able to identify who had sent the email and even found their business profile and saw that they were the marketing manager for X diamond jeweler pretending to be random consumer asking an innocuous question. These kind of sneaky communiques don't sit well with me and in my experience always hint at a habit of not being totally upfront.
As I am putting my reputation on the line by endorsing a diamond business I have to be very cautious when a business wants my recommendation. The diamond business relies a great deal on implicit trust and though some people scoff at gut instinct, I have found that when I have reservations about a company it doesn't take too long before other areas of compromise become evident in said company.
There have been several companies that I investigated extensively and chose to not include them in my endorsed lists. For example I found out that the company in question left their customers in the lurch, having filed for bankruptcy under a previous incarnation, or simply shuttered their doors, causing mayhem in their wake. In other instances a diamond jeweler wants me to endorse them but they don't have anything unique to offer.
To endorse that type of business would require a website called mytop1000diamondwebsites.com. It's hard enough for me to keep up with the developments at ten or so diamond jewelers which I have come to trust. This list is curated and actively monitored. I provide personal recommendations to those of my readers who need help finding a diamond so I have to keep my knowledge about my top jewelers up to date and understand in detail about what they all offer.
I am also in a unique position to be able to see the rate of sales that require a return within the 30 day period. As this rate fluctuates I adjust my recommendations accordingly. So, the factors that are taken into account include: ease of website use, range and quality of diamond selection, industry experience, consumer education, quality of lab used for diamond grading reports.
I pored over countless reviews on review sites and consumer protection and complaint sites. I had to gauge the response from the business to see if they deal evenhandedly and responded fairly to customer concerns and complaints. I tracked the amount of complaints that related to the customer not having read the terms and conditions and if the customer was complaining about delays during the busy holiday season or if delays were the result of natural disasters.
I also tracked the amount of complaints that related to financing, and found that in some cases the complaint should have been directed at the finance company, not the diamond jeweler in question. Yet the noble jewelers addressed those complaints and worked with the customers to find a happy resolution. These types of scenarios are of little concern to someone shopping for a diamond as they are usually way too focused on how to find the right diamond that they can't or are disinclined to expend a great deal of energy on understanding what kind of customer service the company provides. I therefore made it a priority to investigate any and all cases I could track down.
Yet this is one of the factors that weighs heavily in my assessment and must absolutely be investigated. There are two types of companies: those that are really in the business and live breathe everything that surrounds the topic and those who just happen to sell diamonds. The companies that are run by people with passion show their passion in a number of ways: maintaining an active blog, interacting with their social media followers, get in the news with special initiatives, they make their customers feel special, and understand the emotional journey of life and how diamonds play a role in making people feel special and loved.
Diamonds are an integral part of modern culture and those who understand the deep philosophy that can be found in the study of diamonds have a certain ethos that manifests in the way they conduct business.
Essentially the requirements could be summarized in one sentence: Would I recommend them to my friends? I therefore only include those jewelers that can satisfy the following requirements.
- They have to have established themselves as having a reliable and trustworthy reputation as a jeweler.
- Provide a good variety of diamonds to look at and choose from.
- Provide a positive customer experience as a jeweler that understands what is needed.
- Have quality diamonds (yes there are some shockingly bad diamonds around).
- Provide a decent choice of settings.
- Preferably offer a custom ring creation service.
- Allow online inspection by having diamond images, not stock images.
- Make diamond grading reports/certificates available without too much hassle.
- Have fair pricing.
- Have a responsive customer service team.
I have therefore created a formula which I use more as a process of elimination.
- Quality Of Product
- Public Praise
- In the News
- Connections and Past Roles of Directors and Founders
- Efficiency of Website
- Public Generosity, Connecting With Social Issues & Charitable Efforts
- Reported Product Complaints
- Reported Financing Related Complaints
- Reported Delivery Complaints
- Reported Customer Service Complaints
- Responding to Complaints
- Resolving Complaints
- Excellence of User Experience
All values may be positive or negative numbers within the formula.
All values have near equal weighting with marginal discretionary fluctuation.