A Guide to Buying Diamonds in Sydney

By Michael Fried

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DEAL ALERT: Take advantage of James Allen’s summer promotion knocking a crazy 25% off the price of the setting!

Years ago I spent some time living in Sydney. It was on my way to a year and a half living in Tassie and some of the best months of my life. When we recently noticed more and more readers from Australia on our site, I didn’t need much of a push to head down under for a secret shopping trip.

We came to town at the best time of year to be in Sydney: New Year’s Eve. So diamond rings and flashy jewellery were not the only sparkly things we saw.

In this guide, we’ll cover the main retailers where we secret-shopped on our trip. We’ll also mention which areas are best for shopping as well as specific tips for buying a diamond locally in Sydney.

Buying Online Vs. At a Local Retailer in Sydney

With our extensive experience in the industry, we feel strongly that you should purchase a diamond from a reputable online retailer like James Allen or Blue Nile. Even after negotiating, the retailers we visited in Sydney were 30%-40% more expensive on average than comparable rings we found online. We provide comparisons to bricks and mortar stores below (and you can read more about specific stores in our reviews).

We cover the local Sydney options below, as we understand that not everyone wants to buy diamonds online. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that you’re paying a premium to purchase from a local retailer, so make sure the place where you end up justifies that premium.

Where to Buy a Diamond in Sydney

There are plenty of jewellers scattered around the city, but the highest concentration of jewellery shoppes are clustered around the shopping areas near Hyde Park. In this area, you can find everything from the ultra-luxe shoppes to your more casual retailers.

Another option is to scour some of the shopping centres. I have to say that I was surprised to find a decent jeweller there: Gregory Jewellers. More about them later.

Top Tips for Buying a Diamond

When you’re buying a diamond, there are several aspects to consider, which is one of the reasons we suggest buying online. If you are walking into a jewellery store, though, there are five important things to consider:

  1. Cut Quality – The majority of the round cut diamonds we saw in Syndey were excellent cut diamonds. In general, we recommend choosing only excellent or ideal cut diamonds, although there’s a large difference in the beauty and quality of these stones. To ensure your diamond has maximum brilliance, aim for a depth percentage below 62.5% and a table percentage below 60%. If you’re choosing a shape other than round brilliant, check out our shapes guide for specific buying tips.
  2. Clarity – When it comes to Clarity, our recommendation is pretty straightforward: find a diamond that’s eye clean. In other words, blemishes and inclusions shouldn’t be seen with the naked eye. When you’re in the store, move the diamond away from the super-bright light because it induces more sparkle and hides the inclusions. You don’t want to get home with a diamond and then notice its imperfections. Often times, if you find an inclusion later, it will gnaw at you every time you look at the diamond.
  3. Certification – Independent lab entities evaluate diamonds. They provide certificates to verify their grading. Unfortunately, there are several less stringent laboratories that inflate their quality claims. These loose and inconsistent labs make it easy to fall into the trap of overpaying for a low-quality diamond without even knowing. Fortunately for you, the overwhelming majority of places we went to in Sydney strictly offered GIA certified diamonds. There were a smattering of places that relied on the Australian laboratory GLS. Being perfectly honest, I don’t know enough about GLS to comment. In general, though, we strongly recommend that any diamond you consider has a GIA or AGS certificate, because they are the most reliable and consistent lab entities.
  4. Fluorescence – This characteristic isn’t normally so high on the list, but the stores in Sydney featured better quality diamonds than other retailers we’ve seen around the world. Cut quality and Certification weren’t as much of an issue in Sydney as in other places (but you should still be vigilant). On the other hand, fluorescence was a lingering nuisance we noticed while shopping. Many of the colorless diamonds had medium or strong fluorescence, which takes away from the beauty and brilliance of the stone.
  5. Take it slow – It’s easy to get excited and make a rash decision when it comes to a diamond. If you see “the perfect ring,” you may get distracted or influenced by pushy salespeople — especially those working on commission.

Because a diamond is often a substantial purchase, it’s important to take your time and compare your options. For instance, you may want to compare a ring you saw in a store to a similar one online to ensure you’re getting a good deal. You can even contact us to do a comparison for you. We’re happy to look at the details — try to write down the GIA certificate number — and we’ll give you our honest thoughts.

Diamond Retailers in Sydney

Hardy Brothers Jewellers (click here for review)

If you read our review, you’ll learn that we had a Jekyll and Hyde experience between Hardy Brothers in Melbourne and in Sydney.

Stunning Diamond at Hardy Brothers in Sydney
Stunning Diamond at Hardy Brothers in Sydney

In Sydney, our shopping experience at Hardy Brothers was unparalleled. We had an incredibly luxurious experience with fantastic service and saw beautiful diamonds. With that luxury, though, comes a price. As you can see in our review, we saw this stunning diamond in a gorgeous solitaire setting for AU$21,000. We found an equally stunning Astor Cut diamond from Blue Nile with this setting for 35% less. That’s quite a bit of saving, but at least Hardy Brothers in Sydney offers you an immersive experience that some shoppers might feel justifies the premium.

Gregory Jewellers (click here for review)

This one came as a surprise to me. Despite being located in shopping malls, I was very impressed with the experience at both Gregory Jewellers stores. I was doubly impressed at the Parramatta mall — considering the general ambiance of the mall.

Gregory Jewellers offered pretty good service and very nice diamonds, but there were some questionable ones as well. For example, we saw this diamond at Parramatta which was too deeply cut. On the other hand, there was a stunning 1.80ct pear shape diamond in a halo setting in the Westfield Bondi Junction that we would have recommended to readers.

When shopping with Gregory — or any Sydney jeweller — we suggest you keep in mind our recommendations for the 4 C’s and compare what you find to an online dealer like Blue Nile and James Allen (to ensure you’re getting the best deal).

Independent Jewellers

In addition to all of the big name jewellers, there are plenty of smaller independent shoppes around Sydney. In these places, you need to be even more vigilant about certification and other issues. But you can find some decent options. We were pleasantly surprised by GS Diamonds in the Victoria Building. They were definitely no-frills, but their premiums (compared to online jewellers) were more competitive than most jewellers we visited.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. For a limited time, take advantage of their Summer Shine 25% off promotion!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

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