The Diamond Pro

A Guide to Buying Diamonds in Seattle

By Michael Fried

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For a limited time, take advantage of James Allen’s 25% OFF Pre-Black Friday Sale!

Every year, I manage to make it to Seattle two or three times. I’m sure I could cut down on that number, but it’s one of my favorite cities. Why pass up on the chance for incredible seafood, chilled atmosphere and all that green? Being there so often, I’ve had the chance to do plenty of secret shopping.

If it weren’t for the traffic, the Emerald City would be one of my favorite spots to secret shop. Unlike most of the cities we’ve written about, Seattle doesn’t really have a fashion/shopping district that dominates the “where should I shop” conversation. We put in serious time in the car getting around on this trip to visit several jewelers in the city. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Pike Place Market, but it’s not exactly teeming with fine jewelers.

Buying a Diamond Online Vs. At a Local Retailer in Seattle

Tapered Petite Engagement Ring, Details Here

As many of our education articles explain, we strongly recommend buying a diamond online instead of in bricks and mortar stores. Online, you get a better selection of diamonds and jewelry at much better prices. For example, the retailers in Seattle were 30-40% more expensive than comparable rings we could find online at Blue Nile and James Allen.

We know that not everyone wants to buy their diamond online. That’s why we discuss local Seattle options below. Keep in mind that you’re paying a premium to purchase from a local retailer. Make sure the jeweler is worth paying the premium. 

The Best of Both Worlds

Seattle has a great secret weapon up its sleeve. What if you can actually walk into a showroom to one of those web-based retailers we mentioned? That would give you the best of both worlds. Fortunately, Blue Nile has a showroom in Seattle. We’ll talk more about that below.

Top Tips for Buying a Diamond

When shopping for a diamond, there are several aspects to consider. Here we breakdown the most important elements to look at.

  1. Verify the Certification  Independent lab entities evaluate diamonds for the 4cs and other qualities. The goal of these lab reports is to help you feel confident in what you’re buying and to tell you more about the stone itself. All lab entities are not created equal, though. In fact, some labs are inconsistent and unreliable. That’s why we strongly recommend only considering a GIA or AGS certified diamond. GIA and AGS are the two most reliable and reputable lab entities in the world. If a jeweler is trying to sell you a diamond with a different type of certificate, politely decline and shop elsewhere—or ask to see their GIA and AGS diamonds.
  2. Evaluate Cut Quality  The quality of a diamond’s cut is the biggest indicator of its beauty. The Cut will either make the diamond full of sparkle and brilliance—or leave the diamond looking dull and lifeless. Narrow down your search to only Excellent and Ideal cut diamonds. From there, when searching for a Round Cut diamond, look for a depth percentage below 62.5% and a table percentage below 60%. For recommendations on other shapes, check out our Diamond Shapes guide.
  3. Aim for Eye-Clean Clarity When it comes to Clarity, look for a stone that is eye-clean—meaning no blemishes and inclusions are visible to the naked eye. If you’re in the store, pull the diamond away from the bright lights to look for imperfections. Sometimes the bright lights can mask inclusions. If you’re shopping online, examine the diamond up-close using images and videos. 
  4. Watch for Fluorescence While shopping in Seattle, we noticed many of the colorless diamonds had medium or strong fluorescence. Because the fluorescence can impact the brilliance and fire of a stone, we suggest looking for diamonds with a faint or light fluorescence, or no fluorescence at all. 
  5. Compare Your Options While you may feel pressured or rushed to make a decision in the store, remember to take your time and do your research. For example, look online to see if you can find a comparable diamond at a better price. Or ask us to take a look at the diamond you’re considering (just send us the GIA certificate number). Making sure you get the most exquisite diamond at the best price is time well spent. 

Where to Buy a Diamond in Seattle

There are several options for buying a diamond in Seattle. Here are the top places we recommend—and why.  

Blue Nile Showroom – Bellevue Square

This is where the best of all worlds meet.

We mention all of the advantages of buying from an online retailer. Having the showroom to sit down and try the different settings gives you the best of both worlds. No other store can compete with this. If you live in Seattle or will be traveling there, we highly recommend making a stop into the Blue Nile Showroom in Bellevue Square. 

Ben Bridge – Downtown Seattle

Ben Bridge is another option for those of you shopping in the downtown area. Our experiences at Ben Bridge have been varied, but you can definitely find a nice diamond there. Be sure to focus on GIA or AGS certified diamonds.

Shane Co – Lynnwood

Shane Co is a mainstay of the local community. Anyone who is shopping north of Seattle can’t really miss Shane Co. They have some stunning setting choices. If you are visiting Shane Co, be sure to check out the cut parameters. If you have any questions about the diamond, don’t hesitate to send us a message (just write down the certificate number of the diamond).

Options for Buying Online

Just as there are plenty of jewelry stores, there are also plenty of online vendors. Throughout our years of experience in the industry, we’ve vetted which sellers are trustworthy and which ones are not. Below are the top vendors we recommend and why.

James Allen

  • Offers best-in-class imagery for viewing diamonds up-close
  • Provides an extensive collection of beautiful diamonds and settings
  • Free shipping and free returns

Blue Nile

  • Maintains the world’s largest online inventory of diamonds and settings
  • Offers gorgeous diamonds and rings in a variety of shapes and styles
  • Free shipping and free returns

Engagement Ring Styles

As you shop for a ring, you’ll see a myriad of options. There are classic rings like this Round Cut solitaire in 14k white gold or more intricate designs like this Princess Cut in a twisted pave band. There are vintage settings for Oval cuts and Pear shaped diamond rings with side stones.

All of these options allow you to design a stunning ring that your partner will adore. Just take each decision one step at a time. Select the shape of the diamond, then look for the setting style you like best. Decide what type of precious metal you want—whether that’s rose gold, yellow gold, white gold or platinum. Consider your partner’s personal style and their other jewelry to determine what to choose for their engagement ring.

Above all, though, make sure to choose a diamond that offers plenty of brilliance and fire. A well-cut diamond will sparkle, no matter the carat weight. Review our top tips for buying a diamond to find a stone that will shine throughout your marriage.

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. And for a limited time, take advantage of their 25% Off pre-Black Friday Sale!
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.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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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