Once upon a time, buying diamond jewellery was such serious business that you had to make sure your bank account was well-padded, then get dressed up to schlep down to a jewellery store, get served tea, coffee or mineral water, and peruse glass cabinets of shiny baubles, before picking a few pieces — presented on velvet trays — to try on.
If that’s your jam, all good. The shopping experience cannot be discounted. But in an age of rampant e-commerce and Covid, there’s another way.
Local lifestyle retailer IUIGA started offering one-carat diamond rings at unbeatable prices in 2019, and these were exclusively sold on their website, and had to be pre-ordered, with a waiting time of six to eight weeks. The opening price was an incredible $1,799. It was later adjusted to $2,099. Still amazing considering one-carat diamond rings are usually several times that amount, dependent, of course, on cut quality, clarity, color and shape.
You won’t get served coffee or tea or velvet trays, instead, you pay a $199 deposit for a try-on kit that has cubic zirconia and sterling silver versions of your ring, sent to your home. The deposit will be returned once you return the kit. It’s meant to replicate the real deal — round diamond and 18K white gold. The settings and designs are simple and there isn’t much customisation.
The rings were popular and continue to do well today, though their prices seem to have gone up somewhat — the one-carat diamond solitaire ring, great for proposals for those who like a classic design and don’t want to wade through the quagmire of information when it comes to diamond-buying — now starts from $2,499 and goes up to $3,399.
Bolstered by the rings’ popularity, IUIGA just started offering diamond necklaces online — the petite diamond necklace collection spans 10 designs and the price ranges from $399 to $799. Here’s what you should know before buying.
#1: There’s no try-on service for the necklaces.
Jaslyn Chan, Chief Growth Officer at IUIGA, tells 8days.sg that there isn’t an at-home try-on service for necklaces at this time as “necklaces are a fair bit more adaptable and flexible [than rings] when it comes to fitting.”
#2: Diamond necklaces are easier buys than diamond rings.
“I think rings and necklaces have different symbolic meanings,” says Jaslyn. “Both are gestures of affection and memory and so it really depends on the context. What is clear is that diamond necklaces are targeted at everyday shoppers, both couples and individuals looking to gift or make a personal purchase.”
#3: You need to wait for your diamond necklaces.
While rings are pre-ordered with a waiting time of about six to eight weeks, necklaces will take about four weeks to reach you.
#4: The diamonds used are lab-created diamonds sourced from international suppliers.
When asked about the other reasons for IUIGA’s price competitiveness, besides the fact that the diamonds are lab-created, Jaslyn says, “Our pricing is definitely still competitive when you compare it to traditional jewellers as we do not have fixed overheads like rental or manpower to consider for this category. To preface, it isn’t the case of ‘cheaper’, rather it is more about the IUIGA mandate for more accurate and realistic pricing for diamonds. I think we let consumers decide for themselves because today’s shoppers are definitely more informed and savvy.”
#5: The idea of buying diamonds online works thanks to a new and savvy breed of consumers.
Jaslyn tells us, “The success of our diamond rings came from a good combination of careful product sourcing and the supportive receptivity of our customers who’ve trusted us with such a symbolic purchase. The introduction of diamond necklaces are part of the broader retail strategy to build more depth and breadth in IUIGA’s Home & Living product categories. More significantly, as our retail presence online continues to grow, it made sense to continue to offer more options online. What is clear is that our omnichannel business model is validated by the changing consumption patterns and buying behaviours of today’s shoppers.”
#6: But not everyone loves the idea of buying diamonds off the Internet.
Says Jaslyn, “Resistance always exists. However, the resistance is more contextual to the culture and behavioural norms of the shopper psychography rather than the product itself. Shopping demographics and buying behaviours evolve with time and it is about adapting to it rather than fighting against it. Much akin to how the shopping experiences for furniture and furnishing has progressed through the years, it will take time for buyers to warm up to the idea of associating diamond jewellery with online shopping.”
#7: Perhaps it will be fun to try something new.
Says Jaslyn of this innovative way of shopping for diamond jewellery, “It is about giving consumers new ways to experience diamond jewellery and shopping online with a degree of privacy and personalised services. It is a departure from how jewellery is purchased but it is also less intimidating a process.”
IUIGA diamond jewellery is available at https://www.iuiga.com.