In a lot of ways, buying a diamond is like buying a house or a car. It’s a big investment, you’ll want to shop around before making a final decision, and if you’re lucky, you’ll know when you’ve found “the one.” Another similarity: you can negotiate the price.
A lot of people don’t realize it’s an option, but most jewelry retailers expect it. The markup on jewelry ranges from 100% to 400%, which leaves a lot of wiggle room for a lower price. As a general rule of thumb, offer 50% of the asking price and go from there. If you do everything right, you could end up with a 30% to 40% discount. Here are some tips on negotiating the best price for your diamond.
When you enter the store, you should know what you’re looking for. This means you need to do your homework. By learning how the price of a diamond is determined, you put yourself in a better position to negotiate. If you don’t know the 4 C’s, you won’t be able to answer the retailer when they ask, “Why should I lower the price?”
Not only should you understand the basics, but you should also be able to express them in a coherent way. Take the time to learn the correct terminology. If you sound knowledgeable and educated, the jeweler is more likely to take you seriously, and less likely to try and take advantage of you.
Before beginning the negotiation process, it also a good idea to look around and compare the prices of similar diamonds. That lets you know whether their starting price is on par with other retailers, which will help you bargain for a fair price.
It’s also important to set a price limit and stick to it. It can be easy to get sucked into the negotiation process, and retailers will try and pressure you into spending more than you’re comfortable with. If you begin with a firm limit, you won’t let yourself surpass it. Of course, be careful not to share this information with the person trying to make a sale!
In the store
Now that you’re informed and prepared, the thrill of finding a great bargain can begin. But, this can get tricky. Jewelry salespeople have all sorts of tricks and techniques to sell a diamond at a higher price.
It’s not uncommon to see signs in a jewelry store claiming a sale is “today only” or “ends tomorrow.” This is to give you, the customer, a sense of urgency. By pressuring you into making a decision quickly, they might be able to get more money out of you. If you find yourself in this position, remind yourself it is a sales tactic and nothing more; the majority of the time, the sale will still be there when you return at a later date.
If a salesperson states they are not allowed to lower the price, it might seem like you’re stuck. Fortunately, there is an easy solution: ask to speak to their manager. If the manager isn’t in, return when they are. Don’t get sucked into paying more because the salesperson you are working with doesn’t have the authority to negotiate.
The store you are in will affect how much you pay. Chain stores are less likely to give a high discount, and some, like Tiffany & Co., won’t give any discount at all. Independent retailers are much more likely to negotiate the price with you. Remember that any business competes on multiple levels (price, service, delivery, sales capacity, and quality) and depending on the value you receive from the store could affect the overall price of a diamond.
If it seems like you’re at a stalemate, ask about extras. If the lowest price is still a bit higher than you’d like, ask if they will drop the sales tax, or include insurance, appraisal fees or cleanings.
This article was contributed by Frank Fisher.