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!
Key Takeaways About Rare Carat Reviews
If you’re just looking for the big takeaways, here’s what you need to know:
- Business Model Shift: Rare Carat transitioned from a price aggregator to a marketplace, directly competing with established brands like James Allen and Blue Nile.
- Inventory and Quality: Rare Carat claims to have a large inventory of both lab-grown and natural diamonds. However, the lack of quality videos and control over their diamonds raises concerns about their credibility.
- Pricing: While sometimes competitive, the lack of transparent videos makes it risky to purchase based solely on price.
- Unique Features: Rare Carat offers additional filters like “Rare Carat Ideal Cut,” “Price Score,” and “Quality Check Score,” but these seem to be compensatory measures for their lack of quality control.
- Low-Cost Lab-Grown Diamonds: Rare Carat aims to be a budget-friendly option but falls short in providing reliable diamond videos.
- Customer Experience: The platform suffers from inconsistent photography and video quality, making it difficult for customers to make informed decisions.
- Reviews: Previous high ratings may not be relevant anymore due to the change in their business model.
- Marketing: Rare Carat has aggressive marketing campaigns but needs to improve its product to match the hype.
- Policies: Offers free insured shipping and a 30-day return policy, but shipping times are vague.
- Conclusion: Despite competitive pricing and a large inventory, the lack of quality control and transparent videos makes Rare Carat a less reliable option compared to established retailers.
Rare Carat Business Model
From Price Aggregator To a Marketplace
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. You could find there brands like With Clarity, Friendly Diamonds, Do Amore, Lovbe, and other small retailers.
In 2022 Rare Carat 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.”
Low-Cost Lab-Grown Diamonds
Riding the wave of the lab-grown diamond trend, Rare Carat positions itself as a budget-friendly option, a sentiment shared by rivals like Clean Origin and With Clarity. These companies often fall short in providing reliable diamond videos, making up for it with eco-friendly claims and attractive deals to lure customers.
Rare Carat’s marketing strategy hinges on the “high-risk, high-reward” principle. In the context of investments, this implies that higher gains come with increased risks. For Rare Carat, the elevated risk lies in their inconsistent and subpar video quality. The potential reward? Securing a larger diamond at a reduced cost.
This budget-friendly angle serves as a bait, encouraging customers to ignore the inherent risks in pursuit of a “deal.” While some might be willing to take the risk, as a diamond consultant, I advocate for caution. The drawbacks of engaging with a less-than-reliable seller far outweigh the financial advantages.
Rare Carat Diamonds Inventory
Rare Carat Lab-Grown Diamonds
As it stands, Rare Carat boasts an inventory of 224,416 lab-grown diamonds, but only 45,527 come with a video or image. While this technically makes them the largest repository of lab-grown diamonds globally, the absence of videos diminishes their credibility. In today’s market, purchasing a diamond without a high-quality video is akin to buying blindly—a practice that’s increasingly rare. Therefore, I can’t give weight to their inflated inventory numbers; if a diamond lacks a video, it’s virtually non-existent to me.
Their collection spans from a modest 0.18 carat D IF diamond to a substantial 15.00 carat G VS2. The range of colors varies from K to D and clarities from SI2 to FL. The inventory includes 17,354 GIA-certified, 1,228 GCAL, and 205,854 IGI lab-grown diamonds. Some certificates even specify whether the diamond is HPHT or CVD and whether it has undergone post-growth treatment. (1, 2, 3)
The expansive range is likely due to their multitude of roughly 250 different vendors. These vendors can list the same diamond on Rare Carat and other platforms simultaneously. While this can be advantageous for consumers looking for better pricing, it’s a business model that doesn’t favor Rare Carat. All you need is the certificate number to find the same diamond elsewhere, often at a more competitive price.
One significant drawback with Rare Carat is the lack of quality control over their lab-grown diamonds. Since any wholesaler can list their diamonds, there’s no filtration process. This is in stark contrast to retailers like Blue Nile and James Allen, who own their lab-grown diamonds and exercise control over every aspect of their growth and cut. They can ensure higher quality, better brilliance, and more sparkle.
In summary, expanding an inventory merely for the sake of size isn’t a wise strategy. A more curated selection of 20,000 high-quality lab-grown diamonds would be far more valuable than sifting through an overwhelming 224,416 options.
Rare Carat Natural Diamonds
As of my latest review, Rare Carat lists 594,848 natural diamonds, with 484,180 accompanied by an image or video. This places them among the world’s largest selections, rivaling competitors like James Allen and Blue Nile. If you apply the “Quick Ship Diamonds” filter, 9,758 diamonds are available for shipment within three days, not accounting for additional time needed for ring setting.
The natural diamonds on Rare Carat are comparable to those offered by Blue Nile and James Allen. The diamonds are authentic, and the quality varies based on customer preference, whether you’re looking for SI or VS, nearly colorless or colorless. The real issue is whether Rare Carat offers a trustworthy customer experience and fair pricing.
Rare Carat Ideal Cut
One feature that stands out is the “Rare Carat Ideal” filter, designed to showcase diamonds meeting specific criteria for light performance. These criteria include symmetry, polish, girdle percentage, girdle thickness, table, depth, and crown angle. It’s a time-saving feature if you trust their parameters, and it aligns closely with the recommendations I make on my own site.
Rare Carat Scores
This score indicates how competitively a diamond is priced according to Rare Carat’s own calculations. Options include great, good, or fair price. The inclusion of a “fair price” option raises questions about why a retailer would openly admit to offering just a fair price (Red Flag).
Quality Check Score
This is an algorithmic evaluation based on the diamond’s certificate.
My Review of Rare Carat Diamonds Inventory
In my view, Rare Carat’s additional filters like “Rare Carat Ideal Cut,” Price Score, and Quality Check Score seem like attempts to compensate for their lack of video quality and quality control across both natural and lab-grown diamonds. A truly reliable platform would eliminate poor options from the outset, sparing customers the task of sifting through an overwhelming inventory.
The goal of being the largest marketplace shouldn’t come at the expense of customer clarity and ease of research. A streamlined, trustworthy selection process is far more valuable than a cumbersome one, no matter how extensive the inventory may be.
Rare Carat Pricing
Rare Carat Natural Diamonds
As previously noted, Rare Carat competes in the low-cost lab diamond market, where higher profit margins allow for more competitive pricing. However, the same flexibility doesn’t extend to the natural diamond sector. To better grasp the trade-off between Rare Carat’s enticing price points and their lack of transparent videos, we’ll compare them with industry leaders like James Allen and Blue Nile in both the natural and lab-grown diamond sectors.
Additionally, we’ll assess how Rare Carat measures up against other budget-friendly competitors such as Ritani and Whiteflash in the lab-grown diamond market. This comparison will help us determine whether Rare Carat’s offerings truly stand out as a good value.
Natural Diamonds: Rare Carat vs. James Allen | Rare Carat vs. Blue Nile
All diamonds share the same grades, GIA certified, triple X with no fluorescence:
|Rare Carat||Blue Nile||James Allen|
|0.5 Carat E VS1||$1,181.00||$1,310.00||$1,210.00|
|1.00 Carat E VS1||$6,536.00||$7,370.00||$6,450.00|
|1.50 Carat E VS1||$13,504.00||$14,650.00||$14,420.00|
|2.00 Carat E VS1||$26,984.00||$31,730.00||$29,720.00|
|2.50 Carat E VS1||$46,067.00||$42,960.00||$54,170.00|
|3.00 Carat E VS1||$66,738.00||$87,740.00||$71,540.00|
As you can see in the table above, 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 $1000 price gap, buying a diamond based on their videos is a gamble I won’t recommend.
Lab-Grown Diamonds: Rare Carat vs. James Allen | Rare Carat vs. Blue Nile
In this comparison, we’re really testing our limits as customers—what are we willing to sacrifice in terms of safety and transparency to chase “the best deal”? I put that in quotation marks because a deal isn’t worth a dime if you don’t know what you’re actually getting. When we inspect a sketchy video, we have no clue what we are paying for. With trusted names like James Allen and Blue Nile, we are paying a premium to be in good hands and have peace of mind, sure, but at least you know you’re not getting played.
|Rare Carat||Blue Nile||James Allen|
|0.5 Carat D VS1||$350.00||$590.00||$520.00|
|1.00 Carat D VS1||$919.00||$1,490.00||$1,310.00|
|1.50 Carat D VS1||$1,615.00||$2,630.00||$2,310.00|
|2.00 Carat D VS1||$2,870.00||$4,640.00||$4,080.00|
|2.50 Carat D VS1||$4,715.00||$8,210.00||$6,870.00|
|3.00 Carat D VS1||$7,447.00||$12,690.00||$11,160.00|
Lab-Grown Diamonds: Rare Carat vs. Ritani | Rare Carat vs. Whiteflash
It’s an amusing comparison, really. The low-cost diamond market targets customers who prioritize price over peace of mind. Both Ritani and Rare Carat claim to offer “transparency.” Ritani breaks down their costs to show you their affordability, while Rare Carat, with its myriad of wholesalers, leaves it to you to sift through filters and find a fair price.
Then there’s Whiteflash, a different beast altogether. Known for their premium natural diamonds, they’ve recently entered the lab-grown market. Surprisingly, they didn’t aim to compete with James Allen or Blue Nile by charging a premium for top-quality lab-grown diamonds. Instead, they’ve joined the budget-friendly fray.
If you’re willing to overlook video quality in pursuit of the lowest price, Whiteflash is my pick. They’re a reputable brand that won’t leave you hanging. I can’t say the same for Rare Carat or Ritani. (1, 2)
|0.5 Carat D VS1||$350.00||$213.00||out of stock|
|1.00 Carat D VS1||$919.00||$588.12||$916.00|
|1.50 Carat D VS1||$1,615.00||$1,086.80||$1,551.00|
|2.00 Carat D VS1||$2,870.00||$1,809.60||$2,295.00|
|2.50 Carat D VS1||$4,715.00||$3,583.84||$4,205.00|
|3.00 Carat D VS1||$7,447.00||$5,921.76||$7,043.00|
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:
How Consistent Photography Looks Like:
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.
James Allen and Blue Nile are part of Signet Jewelers, a global leader in the jewelry industry. They share a sister company, Segoma, solely dedicated to producing high-quality diamond videos in-house. This setup allows for stringent metrology and quality control, ensuring consistent video settings each time. (1, 2)
The uniform grey backgrounds across all videos signify identical white balance and lighting conditions. Segoma’s focus is on creating a balanced, natural light environment. This approach aims to offer customers an authentic inspection experience free from light manipulation that could artificially enhance a diamond’s appearance. Unlike commercial or marketing photography, these videos are crafted strictly for inspection purposes.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Rare Carat legit?
Yes, Rare Carat is a legitimate business that has been operating for several years. However, it’s essential to note that they recently transitioned from being a price aggregator to a marketplace. This change has implications for their service quality and reliability.
Are Rare Carat Diamonds Real?
Rare Carat offers both lab-grown and natural diamonds. While the diamonds are real, the quality and authenticity can vary due to a lack of stringent quality control measures.
Who owns Rare Carat?
Ajay Anand is the founder and owner of Rare Carat, which operates as a private company.
What does Rare Carat do?
Rare Carat started as a price aggregator for diamonds, collecting data from various online retailers. It has since evolved into a marketplace that sells diamonds directly to consumers. They handle everything from payment processing to shipping.
How long has Rare Carat been around?
Rare Carat has been in operation for several years. However, their transition from a price aggregator to a marketplace is a recent development, which has led to changes in their service offerings and customer experience.
Where is Rare Carat based?
The headquarters of Rare Carat is located at 311 W 43rd St, New York, serving as the hub for their online operations.
How do I return my ring to Rare Carat?
Rare Carat offers a 30-day return policy with free shipping and zero restocking fees. To initiate a return, you’ll need to contact their customer service for instructions and to receive a prepaid shipping label.