What are Virtual Diamonds?

I have been asked a question which I am sure other people are also wondering about. What are Virtual Diamonds? If you have no idea what the term Virtual diamonds means you could easily start wondering if these are some sort of imaginary diamonds. Are the diamonds really there? What the heck are virtual diamonds? Have no fear. We’re here to clear  up any confusion surrounding virtual diamonds.

In a sense virtual diamonds are not there, so in a way you’d be right. But the good news is that they are somewhere. They do exist. They just aren’t being physically kept by the jeweler that is retailing them. Virtual diamonds are the diamonds which are still held by  manufacturers, ie siteholders. These diamonds may be listed by a number of jewelers as virtual inventory by permission from the siteholder. Some online jewelers’ inventory is entirely virtual. This is how James Allen and Blue Nile began.

Jewelers who own their own inventory such as Brian Gavin Diamonds  do also have access to diamonds held by siteholders and are therefore able to also list these diamonds on their website. There are a few reasons they may choose to do this. For example listing virtual diamonds allows them to increase the number of choices available to their customers. Brian Gavin Diamonds has a very large fan base. Anyone who has experienced the care and service that Brian Gavin Diamonds provides would likely look to Brian Gavin Diamonds for their next diamond purchase. As such Brian Gavin Diamonds increases the variety of diamonds available by also listing virtual diamonds. This simply gives more options to anyone browsing their website.

Advantages OF BUYING FROM VIRTUAL INVENTORY

On of the advantages of being able to access a virtual inventory is that  you have access to a wide selection of diamonds. The ability to compare many different diamonds allows you to select for whatever attributes you want. Some people select size over quality of cut, others (who do their research, and know that a poorly cut diamond is not going to sparkle) make their selection based on the quality of the diamond’s cut. But the choices are there and much of this is made possible through virtual stock. Jewelry retailers can list diamonds without having to arrange and maintain secure storage not to speak of investing untold millions of dollars in the precious cut stones themselves. The wide variety of stones available through virtual stock is great for those who like to research and narrow their search down to within specific parameters.

Disadvantages of buying from Virtual Inventory

One disadvantage of browsing through virtual stock is that not all listings include a photo of the specific diamond. Often listings only show a stock photo, or none at all. This is not always the case, but it is understandably quite a logistical challenge for a jeweler to photograph inventory they do not have possession of. Which is why James Allen’s amazing feat of photographing tens of thousands of diamonds is all the more impressive. One disadvantage to buying from a virtual selection that has given rise to complaints on more than one occasion is that in rare circumstances the diamond someone wants may already be in the process of being sold to another jeweler. If this were to happen to you most likely your jeweler would be happy to suggest some alternative stones. However you may have thought long and hard about a particular diamond and will understandably not be too happy at being told that it’s no longer available. Another disadvantage of buying from virtual selections is that all the best signature cuts are generally not included in virtual listings. Signature cuts are best bought directly from the cutter for the best deals anyway.


While we’re on the topic of signature cuts, some jewelers whose signature cuts are to die for and are definitely worth checking out are:

To sum it up, virtual diamonds present us with an opportunity to browse many more diamonds than would be possible if jewelers had to own all their stock.

While the highest grade diamonds are usually purchased from those who specialize in such items and are often hard to find in virtual listings, every inventory will have better and lower quality diamonds. One simply has to choose in which areas they are willing to compromise: size, cut, color, or clarity.