November 19, 2016

Diamond District LA: How to Save on Engagement Ring

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Thinking of shopping for diamonds in the Los Angeles diamond district? Read this helpful local guide for the best tips to get the perfect engagement ring.

The Los Angeles Diamond District is dazzling, hectic, and overwhelming. Approximately 5,000 stores are crammed within 6 city blocks, offering everything from loose diamonds, engagement rings, precious gemstones, and gold.

It’s easy to have a horrible and frustrating time here if you’re not prepared. But you can have a lovely time instead. We’re going to show you how.

In this guide:

Largest Jewelry District in the U.S.

The Los Angeles Diamond District (also known as the Jewelry District) is the largest jewelry district in the U.S..

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, it’s a pleasure to stroll around among the gorgeous 1920’s art deco architecture. The setting takes you back to an era of LA long since gone, and the dazzling diamond displays only add to the glamour.

The Diamond District is bordered by Olive and Broadway in between 5th and 8th Street, with most of the shops on Hill Street. See the map below.

Getting There / Parking

There are a couple of ways to get to the Los Angeles Diamond District.

LA Metro: Most people who live in Los Angeles don’t even know public transportation exists. But it’s actually pretty easy (and cheap!). The Red Line has a metro station that stops at Pershing Square, which is just off 5th and Broadway.

By car: The good news is that there is plenty of parking in downtown Los Angeles, from covered garages to tiny valet lots, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. The bad news is it may cost you a pretty penny. Here are some nearby parking structures you can park in:

  • 550 S Hill St. (Hill & 6th)
  • 625 S Hill St. (Hill & between 6th & 7th)
  • 700 S Broadway (Broadway & 7th)
  • 725 S Grand (Grand & between 7th & 8th)

Tip: LA Downtown parking can be hectic, so if you want, you can use an app like BestParking or SpotHero to find and reserve a spot even before you arrive. From a quick search on BestParking, there are tons of parking options in and around the Diamond District.

What You Should Know Before You Go

Now, it’s no secret that we’re huge advocates of shopping for an engagement ring online. But we understand that you may want to look at some diamonds in person. Plus, it’s fun to go around to the different stores and try on different styles (okay, maybe this is just fun for girls).

So here’s what you should know before you go:

The number 1 rule is to never go unprepared. You don’t have to walk into a store an expert, but if you sound like a total newbie, you may as well have a huge red target painted on your forehead. Some stores will be only too happy to take advantage of your cluelessness.

At the very least, spend some time to:

  • Learn about the 4C’s. To not get ripped off, it’s important you learn a little bit about diamonds and what drives diamond prices. This is a good place to start for beginners. We break down each C (carat, cut, color, and clarity) and explain its level of importance, what you should prioritize, and what you can “sacrifice.” We also show you how going up and down grade levels for each C affects the price of the diamond.

  • Research pricing online first. Even if you want to buy your diamond from a store in person, start your search with online retailers first. Play around with different settings for each of the 4C’s to get an idea of how much a diamond costs with certain characteristics.

    James Allen and Blue Nile are both great places to start to get a feel for prices and what you can expect.

  • Make a list of what stores to visit: There’s an overwhelming number of shops in the jewelry district. Some will be good and some not-so-good. You won’t have time to pop into each one or hope that you just randomly stumble into the perfect store. Do some research beforehand and read reviews.

We’ve listed a few stores below, but you probably want to do your own research too in case you’re looking for something specific.

Notable Stores You May Want to Check Out

It’s hard to weed through the literally thousands of stores. And if you happen to have a bad experience in the first couple, you may feel discouraged by the whole thing.

Yes, there are stores with shady practices, but some true gems (no pun intended!) can be found within the Los Angeles Diamond District too. These stores all have a solid reputation and consistently receive 5-star reviews for their good customer service and trustworthiness.

If you’re not sure where to go, these stores are a great starting point:

  • Capri Jewelry (601 S. Hill St. #A1): This is a boutique, family-owned jeweler with over 30 years of experience in the diamond business. What sets them apart is their service and genuine concern for their customers. Their goal is to help each customer find what they’re looking for at a price they can afford. They have an impressive selection of diamonds and are conflict free.

  • Icing On The Ring (607 S Hill St #316): Another family-owned jeweler with a trusted reputation in the Los Angeles Diamond district. They are happy to guide you every step of the way in your selection process. You’ll even learn how to look at diamonds with professional tools so you can view and compare until you find the perfect one. They have a large selection, including rings from well-known designers.

  • INTA Gems & Diamonds (631 S. Hill Street): INTA is a family business that has had 40 years of experience. Their goal is to make each customer’s experience special by providing friendly, family-style service. INTA’s jewelry has graced the carpets of the Golden Globe, the Grammys, and Miss USA. Besides diamonds, they are also known for having an amazing selection of gemstones if you want to check out some alternative options.

  • Aspen Diamond (635 S. Olive St. Suite A): Aspen is a third-generation jeweler and designer of engagement rings and wedding bands. This shop is by appointment only, so if you’re nervous about just walking into a diamond store, this will take the stress off. You will have all of his attention. Aspen is dedicated to helping customers find a ring within their budget.

  • SN Queens (607 S Hill St.): For the ladies who like a more vintage look, put SN Queens on your list. This small boutique shop specializes in beautiful handmade vintage-style rings. If you don’t see anything you love, the two owners are happy to custom design the exact ring you want.

Tip: Make sure you check the hours of the stores you want to go to. Some aren’t open on Sundays. And most of them are only open until 5:30 pm.

Tips for Shopping in the Los Angeles Diamond District

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So now comes the fun part: going shopping.

Unfortunately, this experience could also be stressful and unpleasant, especially when faced with pushy salespeople. Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to have a happy experience:

  • Do not ever feel pressured into making a purchase. And do not ever feel uncertain about a diamond or the price. If you had spent some time learning about the 4C’s and diamond prices, then you should have some idea of what to expect.

    If you’re at a store and feel like the salesperson is pushing the hard sell or is using shady tactics (such as “This awesome deal only lasts today. Normally the price is $XXXX, so I’m giving you a good deal!”), then walk out. You should always feel comfortable and happy about the purchase. And deals on diamonds don’t exist.

  • Ask to examine the diamond. A good store will let you examine the diamond with a professional jeweler’s loupe and even light performance tools. If a store does not let you examine and compare diamonds and claim that their diamond is high-quality without any proof, that doesn’t sound very trustworthy. Take your business to another store who does not try to hide information.

  • Make sure you get a certification from a reliable lab. We recommend only buying diamonds graded by GIA or AGS, as these two labs have the highest standards, and more importantly, are reliable. Other labs may not grade to the same standards. So a diamond graded as having a color of H by one lab may in actuality only be a J by GIA or AGS.

  • Understand the store refund policy and warranties. A lot of stores will offer a full refund within 14-30 days. But some stores may only offer store credit (which is useless, because why would you spend your money there again if you didn’t like it the first time around?). Be very, very clear about the store’s policy before handing over any money. Also ask about their other policies such as warranty and diamond trade-up.

  • Use a credit card for purchase protection. We don’t mean that you should charge the ring if you don’t have the cash (because ideally, you should only spend what you can afford). But a credit card does give you certain protections, such as if the item you received is not what was promised.

  • Get a receipt and have all agreements/policies written down. This is very important. After you have made a purchase, make sure the receipt clearly states the store name, address, item, purchase amount, and date of purchase. In addition to that, have the store rep write down all verbal agreements and the refund policy, just in case a less-than-reputable store tries to go back on its word later.

Conclusion

We’re not going to lie and say that shopping at a diamond district (anywhere) will be completely stress-free. But if you do your homework beforehand, you’ll have an easier time. We cannot stress it enough: research, research, and research. Learn about the 4C’s and diamond prices, and read reviews of stores you may want to visit.

Just remember, you should feel comfortable every step of the way. Don’t ever feel like you’re being pressured. If a salesperson is making you tense, just walk out. There are hundreds of other stores you can visit instead. We hope we gave you a good starting point in our shortlist.

And lastly, are the prices at the Los Angeles Diamond District really cheaper? In our opinion, not really. Of course they’re cheaper than prestigious branded stores, but for the most part, prices are on a par with online stores such as James Allen. So if you like being able to look at diamonds in person, you may find better prices compared to high-end stores, but don’t expect outrageous deals either.

Have fun and good luck!

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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