Recently, I have sold a beautiful pear shape diamond and had made an awesome halo diamond ring to accommodate the center diamond. It was a 3-month journey that I have embarked on with my client. Before finding Pure Diamond, however, my client had purchased a diamond from the online only retailer. This was a very fragmented experience, to say the least. I have pleaded with my client and she was amazing enough to document her ordeal and share the experience of purchasing diamond engagement ring through an online only retailer. Its a wonderfully written article that anyone looking for a diamond engagement ring should read.
“It’s a carat for every year he waits to ask – with a three carat minimum.”
I have been living by that mantra since I was 16 and started dreaming about my own proposal. There was something about that number. It sounded so perfect to me. Plus, three carats is a big diamond. It is also an expensive diamond. So, when my boyfriend Carter* and I started seriously talking engagement we also had to start seriously talking about the budget. We came to an agreed amount of $30,000.
I have a lot more time on my hands than Carter* and had been researching diamonds for a long time before he decided he wanted to pop the question. We decided as a couple that I would find the diamond for the ring. I decided what I thought was the best route for my diamond – or rather the best bang for the buck – was to find one from an online retailer. They don’t have the overhead that a jeweler would have, and so can often offer you better prices. There are several to choose from – Bluenile, James Allen, and Lumera are probably the largest ones. I spent hours pouring over other buyers experiences, both positive and negative, and after I narrowed it down to about four or five retailers I believed to be reputable.
Luckily for me, I had a very concrete vision for what I wanted in an engagement ring. I knew I wanted a pear shaped diamond. I knew I wanted either a very delicate halo or none at all. I knew I wanted the pear to be on the wider side. Keeping all these things in mind I began the hunt. Every day I would go to several online retailers and search the same parameters; pear cut, 3 + carats. H or better in color. Si2 or better in clarity. No fluorescence. The dollar amount under the agreed upon budget. Every day I would compare my search results. Because pear shapes aren’t wildly popular – making up under 5% of engagement rings – the results were slow to change from day to day. I noticed also that a lot of retailers had the same inventory. I would see the same diamond listed on more than one site – always at different prices. This was good knowledge to have because most sites will price match. So you could always get the lowest price from your preferred diamond retailer.
In the video is the Pure Diamond made engagement ring.
Eventually, I discovered a game changer in the diamond search. An amazing website called Rarecarat.com. Think of it as the Kayak of diamond searching. You put your parameters into one site and it searches a ton of different retailers for you. Populating them all on one page. This makes comparing prices way easier and saved me a ton of time searching.
During my search, I realized that with the budget I had and the size I wanted – the coveted three carat mark – I was going to have to be patient. About two months after I began my search I came across something incredible. A 3.83 carat diamond listed for $28,567 CAD on a website called Allurez.com . I was ecstatic! I will admit – living in Vancouver I got caught up in keeping up with the proverbial Jones’, and having a nearly four carat ring was definitely one way to do that. I placed my order for the diamond. Allurez gives you a 1.5 % discount if you purchase through a wire transfer since they don’t have to pay the credit card processing fee. We opted to take advantage of the discount and pay by wire transfer. We got confirmation the funds were received and were off to the races.
But then, I had a change of heart. Once the money was gone from our bank account it became very real how much money we were actually spending on my ring. I know that sounds silly, but talking about spending $30,000 and actually spending $30,000 turned out to be two very different things. I called Allurez and told them I wanted to cancel my order. I figured since nothing had shipped we should have no issues. They have a 30-day money back guarantee on their site. The woman convinced me I should “think about it for another couple days”. I said sure even though I knew my answer would not change. I called back a few days later with more conviction this time and canceled the order. They tried to talk me out of it, but I stuck to my guns. The woman I spoke with told me I could expect to see the money back in my bank account in 3-5 business days.
I canceled the order on Friday, March 17th. I was told via email I should expect the money back in my account in “a couple of business days”. I called the following Tuesday just to make sure everything was good to go since it is a pretty large sum of money. They informed me I would be receiving a cheque in the mail. I told them I was told it would be sent back to me, the woman said we need the wire information to do that. I asked why I wasn’t told this when I initially canceled, she said she didn’t know. I provided her all the information required on that same day. The following Monday (6 days later) I called my bank since the money wasn’t appearing in my account yet and they said they did indeed receive the funds. It worked out to $27,047.68 CAD. I was shocked that $1519.32 was missing from the amount.
I called Allurez to ask what happened to my money. They explained to me that they sent back the exact amount in US funds that they received from me. Meaning they expected me (as the customer) to cover the spread of the conversion rate. I explained that I was invoiced in CAD and had sent CAD and so I expected to receive back my money in CAD – the exact amount I had sent. After speaking to a regular customer service person I said I wanted to speak to a manager to get this resolved.
A manager was put on the phone. She was rude, unhelpful, and completely unsympathetic. I explained to her that because I was invoiced in CAD and sent CAD I expected the money back – the full amount. All she offered was to send a screenshot of the transfer as proof she sent back the full amount they received. I once again explained to her I was invoiced and paid in CAD. She told me she was “sure her customer service rep would have told me to send US funds because they are well trained”. I explained that I was never told that. She told me she would bet her life on it. I told her I would bet her $1520 CAD if she went back and listened to the recordings of the call they would show I was never told that. And if I was wrong she could keep the money but if I was writing she had to send me back the rest of the money. She did not take my bet. Through this whole ordeal, she did not express one iota of sympathy for my situation. It is pretty jarring to just have $1520 go missing, and for her not to care at all just compounded my frustration.
After posting many negative reviews online about my situation I got a call from the CEO of Allurez. He asked me to take down the reviews while he ‘looked into the situation’. I took them down but told him if I did not end up getting my money back I would put them back up promptly. Well, he didn’t do squat. Allurez stuck to their guns, and never sent me back the difference. This, needless to say, put a real damper on my diamond buying experience.
It was at this point that I decided I didn’t even want an engagement ring. I was so disheartened over being treated so poorly by the online retailer and throwing away so much money that I just wanted to forget the whole thing and move on with my life. My now fiance knew that this feeling was a just temporary disappointment and that I have been dreaming of the perfect ring my whole life, he urged me to try and find a local jeweler since clearly, I would never again be able to trust a company so detached from the situation.
That is when I found Alexie at Pure Diamonds. I met with a couple of other jewelers in Vancouver, but none of them felt as trustworthy or knowledgeable as Alexie. When I explained to him what happened with the online retailer he was sympathetic, but not all that surprised.
I gave him my parameters and he began the hunt for my perfect diamond. On our first meeting, he brought me many beautiful stones. He took the time to tell me the pros and cons for each one at my price point. One might be a little further down the color scale, but have fewer imperfections in the clarity. Another might be whiter but perhaps has a few more inclusions. I decided I ultimately didn’t want any of the diamonds he brought in the first round. He never tried to pressure me into picking a diamond just because it was there or made me feel like I was being too particular. He happily sent back the first round of diamonds and brought in another round.
Upon our second meeting looking at diamonds, I let him know my parameters had changed and I now wanted something a bit more modest. Alexie was completely understanding. He again took back the diamonds I was looking at and brought in more. Third time’s a charm though. I came in and he had the perfect diamond for me. It was everything I had wanted. He took all of our past conversations and found the stone that ticked all the boxes for me. It is perfect.
For the design process, Alexie answered every text, question, opinion, and doubt with reassurance, patience, and confidence. He let me change my mind and put in every detail I wanted. He even made a great suggestion that I really love about a small rose gold detail.
Alexei took a situation that had been extremely stressful, and at this point, needlessly expensive, and turned it into an experience that was informative and enjoyable. Not to mention, I have the ring of my dreams.
*names changed for privacy