Bottom Line Recommendation
Recently Rare Carat changed its business model and joined the big boys’ online competition, along with big names such as James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brilliant Earth. Although sometimes they offer competitive prices, their inventory and diamond videos are not good enough to make a safe purchase (for my taste). For that reason, I don’t see any reason buying from them when you can buy from a much more reliable retailer such as this one.
While Rare Carat offers you a 1.00 carat E VS1 for $10,452 with a poor quality video, you can buy the same grades here for $10,380 and see a clear video of the diamond you get.
Table of Contents
Is Rare Carat legit? That’s the question on many people’s minds, and I’m here to give you a full review. Rare Carat is a diamond retailer that has been around for a few years now. They claim to have “the world’s largest online inventory of independently certified diamonds.” But is their quality good? Are their prices competitive? Keep reading to find out!
Rare Carat Business Model
Initially, Rare Carat used to be a price aggregator, gathering information and diamond feeds from different online retailers and displaying everything in one gallery. This way, the customer could compare different retailers at once.
In 2022 Rare Carat had changed its business model and turned into a “marketplace” that takes care of everything: They process your payment, logistics, customer service, and shipping. You are no longer buying a diamond from a retailer because those retailers turned into wholesalers, providing diamonds to Rare Carat.
With that change, Rare Carat joined a tough competition with enormous and well-known online brands: James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brilliant Earth. They must provide an excellent shopping experience to beat those well-established etailers. Honestly, I don’t see it happening that easily. Right now, they are far behind… In the following sections, you’ll see exactly why.
Rare Carat is claiming to be a marketplace, but are they? It’s not clear. Most marketplaces don’t manufacture the only product they sell. They let other sellers offer products inside the marketplace.
Like Etsy and eBay, marketplaces earn a fee from letting sellers list items for sale + a sale commission. Another example is Asos and Amazon, building an in-house brand while selling other brands. In Rare Carat’s case, they sell only one brand: Rare Carat. They try to cover it with a marketing tactic, telling a story about “buying directly from the wholesale.” In reality, the wholesales are just their diamond vendors. Simple as that.
Let me tell you a secret, it’s exactly what happens in James Allen and Blue Nile. Those brands don’t claim to be a marketplace; they tell you directly, “buy from us, and we will take care of everything.” The only difference is the “marketing story.”
With that business model, I believe Rare Carat earns a profit from every sale and not from letting wholesalers list diamonds for sale on their “marketplace.”
Rare Carat Diamonds Inventory
Rare Carat Lab-Grown Diamonds
Suppose you are interested in buying a diamond from Rare Carat. In that case, I’d say 90% of you are interested in lab-grown diamonds. So I have news for you: I have a problem with their lab-grown diamonds (quality, price, transparency). Stay with me to see why.
There are two types of lab-grown diamonds:
1. HPHT – These diamonds are “as-grown diamonds,” meaning there is no need to use post-growth treatment to enhance the color and clarity of the diamond. What they grow is what you get, just like in nature. This is the good stuff… and it’s much more complicated to grow. For that reason, it’s much more expensive.
2. CVD – In this method, the lab grows low-quality diamonds in masses with low color and clarity; usually, they show grey or brown colors. Since nobody wants such a diamond, they use post-growth treatment to enhance the color and clarity.
Now you can tell me, “Yaniv, I don’t really care..” and I understand. The problem is that those diamonds are worth half the price of an identical as-grown diamond.
For example, let’s compare the following diamonds: Rare Carat offers a 1.00 carat D VS1 CVD for $1,668, while James Allen offers an HPHT diamond with the same grades for $1,690. You might think that Rare Carat offers a better deal, but as I’ve said… No! Their diamond should be sold for half the price of James Allen; 1.00 carat D VS1 CVD for $845.
Since most customers are unaware of the difference, the sellers try to rip you off and sell it for the same price as an HPHT as-grown. Simple as that.
I want to make it clear. In the natural diamonds market, a diamond seller can use the same process to enhance a natural diamond’s color, but such diamonds are much cheaper.
Rare Carat Natural Diamonds
The natural diamonds of Rare Carat are not different than those of Blue Nile and James Allen. At the end of the day, it’s in the customer’s hands to choose the quality of the diamond. Whether it’s SI or VS, nearly colorless or colorless, you can find that on Rare Carat. The real question here is if you get a good deal or not.
Rare Carat Pricing
As you can see in the table below, Rare Carat offers natural diamonds at a competitive price. That being said, their videos are horrible and unreliable. Even if you get a diamond for a $100 price gap, buying a diamond based on their videos is a gamble I won’t recommend.
All diamonds share the same grades, GIA certified, triple X with no fluorescence:
|Company||James Allen||Rare Carat|
|0.50 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut||$1,990||$2,000|
|1.00 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut||$10,380||$10,452|
|1.50 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut||$22,560||$21,990|
|2.00 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut||$39,950||$41,407|
Rare Carat Shopping Experience
Here is the problem with buying a diamond online: you must trust your eyes. Buying a diamond blindly is a pure gamble. That problem leads us to another one: most websites don’t have good quality videos with consistent photography. Notice that every photo on Rare Carat’s gallery looks different: the diamond is positioned differently, under different light conditions and white balance settings. As a customer, you cannot really know the actual color of the diamond, so you cannot compare different diamonds and pick the best one. It’s unreliable. Again, a gamble.
Rare Carat Inconsistent Photography:
On the other hand, this retailer offers consistent videos with the same lighting and white balance settings on all of its inventory. For once, we can see the actual color of the diamond because they use natural lighting. So here, you can compare different diamonds and pick the best one.
How Consistent Photography Looks Like:
Searching for reviews before paying someone thousands of dollars is something I strongly recommend. But! What do we do when all the reviews might not be relevant any longer? Why do I say that? Because Rare Carat has changed its business and service completely. In the past, they used to be price aggregators. Nowadays, they turned into a marketplace, selling you the diamond directly. They have lovely reviews with high ratings on Trustpilot and Google, but 99% of them are relevant to their old service. How can we know if their new product is suitable? Time will tell.
Rarecarat Reddit Reviews
The reviews about Rare Carat on Reddit are mixed, to say the least. I’ve read about people who had a great experience and others who had a terrible experience. As I’ve said before, these old ones are not relevant because they were made when Rare Carat was a price aggregator. Nowadays, they sell the diamonds directly to the end customer, so we’ll have to wait and see what people say about their new service.
Rare Carat Marketing
Since I have a background in online marketing, spying on retailers and seeing how to reach their dream customers is one of my favorite things to do, a hobby, perhaps. And let me tell you, there is a lot to see about Rare Carat Marketing strategy.
I feel they have deep pockets because the amount of budget they spend on paid ads must be enormous. In fact, if you read this article and you’ve never heard about Rare Carat before (which is why you want to read this review), most likely that you’ve come across one of their ads.
Their marketing team does an excellent job because you’ll get more ads the second you click on one of their ads! Some funny memes to make you love their brand, and some testimonials to make you trust them.
However, don’t let their marketing team fool you because, as you can read in this article, their product team has a lot of work to do to make their diamonds worth your money.
Rare Carat Policies
Rare carat Shipping Policy
Rare Carat offers free insured shipping via UPS or FedEx. Your personal signature is required. Keep in mind that the manufacturing time varies depending on the diamond you choose. You can see an estimated shipping date on every diamond page. This is because every wholesale needs to ship the diamond to Rare Carat, and they need to mount it on your chosen engagement ring. One ring can be shipped within 10 days, while another can take 20 days. The actual shipping time is not detailed. To say the least, this is a little vague.
Rare carat Return Policy
They made it clear and straight to the point regarding their return policy: You have a 30-day return window, with free shipping and zero restocking fees.
Rare Carat recently underwent a change in business model and entered the online market alongside well-known retailers like James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brilliant Earth. While they may offer competitive prices at times, their inventory and diamond videos do not meet my standards for making a safe purchase. Because of this, I do not see any reason to buy from Rare Carat when there are more reliable retailers available.