Diamonds Direct review
Should you buy your engagement ring or wedding ring from Diamonds Direct?
Diamonds Direct is firmly established as one of America’s largest diamond specialist stores – they were founded in 1995 and have grown to 22 stores and counting.
Diamonds Direct position themselves as cutting out the middlemen and passing on savings to customers. So do their claims stack up?
In this Diamond Direct review, we will primarily examine them from the point of view of buying a diamond engagement ring. However, the findings are equally relevant for any other type of jewelery.
Diamonds Direct ring selection
Buying an engagement ring is a deeply personal process and there are an unlimited combination of diamond quality, shape and setting styles to choose from.
Diamonds Direct tries to make this easy and guide you through the process, by offering you two options: ‘settings’ and ‘create your ring’:
The main difference here is that one allows you to begin with the setting itself (‘settings’), while the other allows you to begin with the diamond (‘create your ring’).
Whichever path you choose, Diamonds Direct offers 576 setting styles to choose from:
This is a slightly overwhelming number to choose from, so Diamonds Direct offer filters to narrow down the search and make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for:
Solitaire and halo are two classic styles that have stood the test of time. Solitaire settings are a generally less expensive setting than other styles and are great for keeping the focus on the center stone, while a halo setting can make your ring stone look larger and more impressive. Diamonds Direct offers their diamond engagement rings in three styles – vintage, classic and contemporary.
Overall, there’s an impressive range of engagement ring setting styles and diamond shapes on offer from Diamonds Direct, which means you should be able to find something that suits your taste.
Diamonds Direct diamond quality
Engagement rings are all about the diamond, and being able to choose a diamond that will sparkle brilliantly will make the difference between a truly stunning engagement ring and one that looks dull and unimpressive.
In this section of our Diamonds Direct review, we’ll examine the quality of diamonds they offer, as well as how transparent they are about the quality of the diamonds themselves.
To make it as easy as possible for you to find the right diamond, Diamonds Direct allows you to choose the quality of your diamond in their product filter;
At the time of writing, Diamonds Direct offers 30,017 diamonds:
30,000 is a good number of diamonds to be able to choose from, but far fewer than our recommended retailer James Allen which offers over 300,000 to choose from. The more diamonds there are available, the more likely you are to find the perfect stone for you.
Diamonds Direct offers a wide variety of diamond shape, to enable you to choose the one. Elongated shapes like the oval and emerald cut are particularly popular at the moment, so it’s a definite plus that Diamonds Direct caters to these.
As with most jewelers though, it’s the round brilliant that is the most common shape offered – its classic style is popular for a reason and it is the diamond shape that delivers the most sparkle.
Diamonds Direct understand the importance of 4C’s, and have added an important fifth to be considered – certification. Certification is something which is overlooked by many jewelers, so the fact that Diamonds Direct use GIA-graded diamonds is a big plus for me.
On the Diamonds Direct website, you’re able to choose the diamond carat size and you’re then presented with a range of diamond options with set cut grades:
Carat weight is a huge factor that determines the cost of a ring, so the fact that Diamonds Direct allows you to choose your carat weight from 0.5 carat to 5+ carats means that it’s easy to scale the diamond to your budget.
The Diamonds Direct search tools also allow you to choose color and clarity – important factors that affect the appearance, and also the price of your ring.
As a quick piece of guidance, when it comes to color, G or H are good options if you’re looking for a round diamond. Above this level and the diamond doesn’t look much whiter, but is much more expensive, while below this level the diamond can look yellow (which most people don’t like).
With clarity, VS2 is a safe bet as it means that the diamond will look ‘eye clean’ with no inclusions visible, without overpaying for ‘quality’ that doesn’t actually affect what the diamond looks like.
But the most important factor that determines a diamond’s sparkle and beauty is the ‘cut’ grade.
A well cut diamond will reflect more light, and display beautiful flashes of ‘fire’ and sparkle.
Diamond is too shallow:
Light passes through the diamond and is lost, meaning the diamond looks dull and sparkles less than it should.
Diamond is too deep:
Light is bounced off the bottom facets at the wrong angle and is lost out of the side of the diamond, reducing sparkle.
Excellent / Ideal cut:
Light is reflected off the bottom facets and back through the table to your eye, meaning the diamond sparkles beautifully.
Unlike some US jewelers, Diamonds Direct doesn’t hide their diamonds cut grade.
They understand the very important role of cut in producing a beautiful diamond and allow you to filter by cut grade on their website. When talking about their diamond search, they put the ‘cut quality’ in the advanced search; excellent and good are the cut they offer. However, I would recommend that you only consider an ‘excellent’ cut diamond to ensure that its sparkle is maximized.
Overall, Diamonds Direct offers all the tools you need to narrow your search and find a beautiful diamond – much better than the majority of jewelry stores.
Diamonds Direct diamond grading labs
Diamonds are graded on four key factors – carat, color, clarity and cut – and a host of smaller factors too. Diamonds which score higher are generally more expensive – an F color diamond will be pricier than an H color, if everything is the same.
It’s important therefore that diamond grading levels can be trusted – you don’t want to pay more for an F color diamond if it is actually an H. This is why independent diamond testing labs are important. An independent testing lab doesn’t have any incentive to say that a diamond is higher quality than it is, as they don’t make any more money if they do. In fact, if they bump up diamond quality grades, it may mean people trust them less, which might mean they make less money.
Retailers DO have an incentive to increase diamond quality scores, as it will mean that they can sell a diamond for a higher price. For this reason, I recommend that you always look for a diamond which has been graded by an independent authority – my usually recommendation is the GIA, although there are other good diamonds ‘labs’ too.
Diamonds Direct’s diamonds are all graded by GIA, which is a huge plus point. It means that you can trust that you are actually getting what you are paying for.
Diamonds Direct don’t make the grading reports available online, but they can be requested from their customer service agents. This is an extra step compared to many online retailers, but overall it isn’t the biggest deal.
Overall, we’re very satisfied that Diamonds Direct offer GIA graded diamonds – a much better experience than most other jewelers.
Diamonds Direct service
Buying an engagement ring is a special purchase, and you want to have confidence that the retailer will not only treat you well while buying your ring, but also that they will stand behind their product after the purchase too.
Diamonds Direct has 22 retail stores across the US, which means that if you have a branch near you, visiting a store to choose a ring, or talk to a sales associate is very easy.
Returns-wise, if you feel the ring isn’t right for you they will give you a full refund within 30 days, which is better than a lot of jewelers.
Looking at reviews on Google, the Diamonds Direct in Charlotte, NC has a impressive score of 4.5 from 750 reviews, indicating that people are happy with the service they have received from Diamonds Direct
Overall, it’s hard to fault the policies or the service that Diamonds Direct offers customers.
Diamonds Direct value for money
Buying a diamond ring is a big commitment – both financially and emotionally. So it’s important that you ensure sure that you are getting good value for money and aren’t spending more than you need to.
After all, if you’re buying an engagement ring, it’s likely that you will have a wedding to pay for soon.
To see how Diamonds Direct value for money compares, we’ll compare it to one of my recommended retailers – James Allen. James Allen is an online bridal jewellery retailer who I have helped hundreds of people buy from over the last 10 years.
When comparing, we’ll keep the diamond clarity, color, carat as similar as possible.
Looking at Diamonds Direct, they offer a diamond in 1 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, excellent cut, round shape and GIA certified for $7,367
If we look at this price compared to my recommended retailer, a 1 carat, H color, VS2 clarity, excellent cut, round shape and GIA certified, the same as Diamonds Direct, the cost is just $5,520
This is obviously a significant difference in price!
Diamonds Direct are asking $1,847 more for a diamond with the exact same specifications – a huge 33% more!
While you may not be looking for a diamond of this size or price, it is indicative of the high prices Diamond Direct are charging – over $1,800 more for an identical quality diamond.
Of course, this is just an example, and the diamond you are looking for may be very different to this. However, it’s worth noting that with the money you would save by buying from James Allen instead of Diamonds Direct you could:
- Increase the carat weight of the diamond
- Increase the quality of the diamond
- Spend it on a really special proposal
- Put it towards your wedding cost
Or possibly all of this!
The prices at James Allen may be different on the day you look – maybe higher, maybe lower – it’s worth clicking through to see today’s prices for exactly what you’re looking for.
Diamonds Direct Review
Value for money
Do we recommend Diamonds Direct?
Diamonds Direct offer a huge range of diamond ring styles and settings – and the shopping experience with them is better than most. They offer GIA graded diamonds and make it easy to choose exactly what you’re looking for. They also offer a wide selection of engagement ring settings, which means that most people will be able to find a setting to suit their taste.
However, it’s the lack of value that really seals the deal. While they position they self as a direct diamond importer, with the promise that these savings are passed on to customers, as we have seen their prices are significantly higher than most online-only stores.
- Wide choices of engagement ring settings and diamonds
- GIA certified diamonds
- 30 day return policy
- Diamond cut grade hidden away in ‘advanced search’
- Not as many diamonds to choose from as some retailers
- High prices