âI could find a diamond, grab that G.I.A. number and find all the retailers selling it,â he said. âThere would be four or five retailers all selling it for a different price. It could be a $2,000 difference.â
In the end, he paid $15,950 for the two-carat round diamond.
âThe biggest hurdle is not seeing it in person, not holding it,â Mr. Doyle said. âI donât think it matters if youâre spending $5,000 or $25,000 â itâs a lot of money.â
And itâs also not like shopping for shoes on Zappos. âYou donât buy four pairs and see which one you like,â he said. âEven though the sites have good return policies, youâre tying up a lot of money.â
He was gratified when the diamond was appraised for $19,500. But for him, the true test will be when he proposes to his girlfriend in a few weeks.
Mr. Mobley from the Diamond Producers Association took a more nuanced view of the price difference. Diamonds, he said, are not dependable, presentable cars that will get you safely where youâre going. Diamonds are imbued with the emotion of the moment when they are given. Their value is physical, emotional and, over time, sentimental.
Quantifying that, Mr. Mobley said, does not always come down to which store has the cheapest gem. âItâs the total experience,â he said. âIf you go to a jeweler with a great reputation and you pay $300 more, itâs all about that lifetime of service. You have to take that into account.â
Mr. Tairaâs search was more about paying the right price for the diamond he wanted. Complicating the effort, he was looking for a larger diamond in a perfect condition. The price difference could be as much as $4,000 among various retailers.