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How safe is diamond and jewelry shopping on the internet? What do you need to know! An interview with Patrick J. Boening, President & CEO of the Diamond Wholesale Corporation, aka: DWC Inc. One of North America's top firms in the diamond online and wholesale business. (http://www.DiamondWholesaleCorporation.com)February 11, 2004-- Interviewing Patrick J. Boening, President and CEO of the Diamond Wholesale Corporation.Q: More and more people decide to purchase their diamonds online. DWC Inc. could improve its online sales by an impressive 83%. How come?A: Price, Quality, Variety, Availability and good Customer Service. The confidence and trust in online diamond firms grow over the last years enormously, as most online businesses did. This is the 21st century; you dont have to spend hours in jewelry stores only to be shown a medium quality diamond, in dimmed light for a ridicules price. Then you need to compare and run to the next store to start the whole process over and over again. A tiring, long and expensive way to do business. Retail stores will not give prices over the phone. They need you trapped within their environment. They have to sell you what they have on stock rather then what is available on the market. Remember, when you purchase a diamond or a piece of jewelry in a store, you pay for everything, the expensive location, the beautiful and costly store decoration, sales and security staff etc. etc. The price differences between online and store can easily be 50 70 %. On the other hand, jewelers are spoiled and hate the internet. It is like a secret leaked out. Did you ever wonder why jewelers did so well and whenever you passed by the store, their is hardly customer traffic? The smart and educated client with access to the internet realized all that. Q: Isnt it to risky to purchase such expensive items over the internet, and how can one minimize that risk?A: I have never heard of an internet diamond firm that "ran off" with the clients money. That would be a one time action. The internet is the fastest media in the world, such actions would be known and spread in hours, around the world and this company would be black listed forever. Surely you should not trust anyone just because they have a web site. If you keep these 9 rules, your purchase will be safer then in most stores:Rule # 1: Trust a web site (company or organization) only if they publish on their web site, the full businesses address (not only a PO. Box) and phone number. If they dont, they have a reason. Many web sites are owned by the same company or person and would show the same address and phone number. Rule # 2: Check their references (Testimonials) and talk to existing clients. You will quick find out if they are real or made up.Rule # 3: Check the professional trade networks and organizations, in the diamond and jewelry field: JBT (Jewelers Board of Trade), Polygon, Rapaport Network etc. If they are not registered there, they are no professionals.Rule # 4: Check with your local BBB (Better Business Bureau). This is usually one of the first organizations that will receive a customers complaint. Rule # 5: Make sure the company you are dealing with gives a full money back guarantee of at least 5 days. This will give you enough time to have the item checked by a professional (Gemologist/Appraiser) of your choice. Rule # 6: Always choose the appraiser / gemologist yourself. Never let the salesperson recommend one. If the firm recommends an independent appraiser or sends the item (s) to an independent appraiser/gemologist of their choice, rest assure, that they are in cahoots. (If you have to sign a contract, would you ask the other parties lawyer for advice? Or would you hire your own lawyer?) Rule # 7: Dont be blinded by photos of diamonds. In most cases the are very misleading. Everyone who understands a little about photography knows that, photos are totally worthless. You need the scientific facts of the diamond, which are written in the Diamond Report, or Certificate. The more details you get the better. AGS (American Gemological Society) provides at the moment North Americas top certificate. It will mention details of cut that are most important and unfortunately most ignored. Crown angle in degrees and height in percent. Pavilion depth and girdle thickness. AGS is as tough as GIA (Gemological Institute of America), but gives you much more scientific details. Rule # 8: If you found your stone, go for it! Dont wait too long because this diamond could be sold to someone else and you have to start all over again. There are no endless supplies on diamonds in every size, shape, clarity and color out there. Like with most things in life, you often have to compromise. Rule # 9: Compare apples with apples! When you compare one diamond and its price with another, hold both certificates (print out the copies that you get via e-mail) next to each other. Look at all the facts and compare, consult the gemologist if data is not clear or you need advice. Comparing one company and their prices with another, take in consideration if taxes, insurance during transport and shipping are included, is any extra cost involved, certificate, appraisal etc., or does it all come as a complete package?Q: What will the New Year (2004) bring the Diamond Online Industry?A: Growth! We expect a minimum total growth of 37% this year for the diamond online firms. The Diamond Wholesale Corporation (DWC Inc.) invested heavily and increased customer service as well as keeping the prices at the lowest level possible in order to insure satisfied clients.