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It’s good to see you again, Melbourne.
Years ago, I headed off to Australia for a year of work and travel. My first stop was Melbourne and I fell in love with the city immediately. I’m glad that I was able to head your way to do some secret shopping. It makes me happy finding quality diamonds and the best bang for your buck. Getting to revisit Melbourne was an added bonus.
As we explain in many of our education articles, we feel strongly that you should purchase a diamond from a reputable online retailer like James Allen or Blue Nile. You can almost always find a better selection at a much better price when diamond shopping online. For example, even after negotiating, the retailers we visited in Melbourne were 30%-40% more expensive than the comparable rings we found online.
We know that not everyone wants to buy online. That’s why we still go secret shopping and provide honest feedback to our readers.
In this guide, we cover local Melbourne jewellers. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that you’re paying a premium to buy from a local retailer. Read through our guide and reviews to ensure the place you choose is worth the premium.
There are plenty of jewellers scattered around the city. The “diamond district” — if you were to call it that — is in the heart of downtown. It’s concentrated on Collins and Little Collins streets between Queen and Elizabeth. In this area you can find the gamut from smaller independent jewellers to the high-end luxury brands.
In general, we recommend buying a diamond online to find the best selection and price. If you’re shopping locally, though, there are a few qualities to look out for. Ultimately, we want our readers to find the most beautiful diamond at the best price.
Here are the top five things to do when shopping in a store:
Confirm Certification – It’s essential that any diamond you consider comes with a certificate from either the GIA or AGS. By having a certificate from one of these reputable laboratories, you’re verifying the diamond that you’re paying for.
The certificate describes various elements of the diamond, such as clarity and color. While other lab entities issue certificates, they’re often unreliable and inconsistent. That’s why we only recommend diamonds certified by the AGS or GIA.
Fortunately, most of the places we went to in Melbourne strictly offered GIA certified diamonds. There were places that relied on the Australian laboratory GLS. Being perfectly honest, I don’t know enough about GLS to provide a recommendation.
Watch for Fluorescence – We usually don’t put fluorescence high on our list for evaluating a diamond. However, the stores in Melbourne were better than other retailers we’ve visited around the world. For instance, Cut and Certification weren’t issues in Melbourne like they can be in other places.
Fluorescence, though, was a persistent nuisance. Many of the colorless diamonds had a medium or strong fluorescence. As we discuss in our fluorescence guide, we discourage buying diamonds with medium or strong fluorescence.
Select a High-Quality Cut – While shopping in Melbourne, we saw mostly excellent cut diamonds. In general, we recommend only considering excellent or ideal cut diamonds. But there’s more to look for in order to get the most beautiful stone.
You want to keep the depth percentage below 62.5% and the table below 60% to maximize the brilliance (white light reflection). If you’re shopping for a shape other than round brilliant, consult our shapes guide for buying tips.
Evaluate Clarity – This characteristic is often the simplest to evaluate, but can be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Above all, look for a diamond that’s eye clean. That means the diamond should be free of inclusions and blemishes when you look at it with the naked eye (not under magnification).
To assess Clarity in a store, look at the diamond closely by moving it away from the bright lights. The intense lighting often produces more sparkle and hides inclusions. Most importantly, you don’t want to end up at home with a diamond that has noticeable flaws.
Take Your Time – When you head into a store and start looking at diamonds, it’s easy to get excited. You might find “the perfect ring” and get distracted. The salesperson, who often works on commission, will likely notice your excitement. They may use tactics to influence you to buy, and to buy quickly.
With this pressure, you may feel like you need to make a rash decision — a decision you may later regret. Our best advice is to take your time. Compare what you found to top online retailers like Blue Nile and James Allen. You want to make sure you’re getting the most stunning stone for the best price.
We’re even happy to take a look at the details for you. Feel free to contact us and we’ll give you our honest opinion. If you’re able to write down the GIA certificate number of the diamond you’re considering, we’ll have an easier time making recommendations.
Cerrone was an absolute gem of a shoppe. They were hands down our favourite store while secret shopping in Australia. We had fantastic experiences shopping with the help of Hannah and Rebecca. The settings were remarkable and the diamonds were top quality.
This was another excellent option in Melbourne. The service was outstanding and they had some unique choices. We found the quality to be a bit inconsistent, but you can definitely find a beautiful diamond at Canturi. We found the prices to be a bit high for what you’re getting, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide.
This was an interesting retailer for us. We did not have a good experience in Melbourne, but our experience in Sydney was fantastic. We found the dichotomy of it all to be very confusing. Perhaps you’ll have a better experience than we did in Melbourne.
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