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The Short Version: If you’re thinking about popping the big question, the first step is to find the right diamond to take her breath away. Most guys start by choosing a price range, carat size, and stone shape before embarking on the journey of researching jewelers. However, even if you think you’ve found the best ring, you may find yourself in need of some advice on how to get the biggest bang for your buck. For consumer-focused tips and ring-hunting help, people often turn to Rare Carat. This free online search tool makes it easy to sort results by price, value, retailer, or any of the 4 Cs. Rare Carat facilitates over $100 million in engagement ring sales annually thanks to its connections with a broad range of jewelers, from local boutiques to major brands and online-only retailers.
A few years ago, Ajay Anand decided to ask his girlfriend to marry him, and he began looking for the perfect engagement ring. He had accepted the fact that he’d be spending a lot of money — which he viewed as an investment in his future — but he still wanted to research all the options. After deciding on a budget and a stone shape his soon-to-be fiancée would love, Ajay took to the internet to find a diamond.
“When I was getting engaged, I was like every guy out there: You have to spend an amazing amount of money on a stone, and you don’t even know where to start,” he said. “You’re just hopping sites, manually putting in the same criteria over and over. It was super annoying, and I couldn’t believe no one had built anything for that.”
After Ajay bought a ring — and his now-wife said yes — he decided he wanted to make it easier for other guys to impress the loves of their lives. He enlisted the help of software engineers, certified gemologists, and other business-savvy folks to launch his project Rare Carat. In the last two years alone, Rare Carat has facilitated more than $100 million in engagement ring sales – even though Rare Carat itself doesn’t actually sell jewelry. Instead, the business is focused on helping potential ring buyers more easily navigate the experience with as much information as possible.
“We are totally aligned with consumers,” Ajay said. “We have a search engine that includes a million different diamonds from the retailers we have listed — but the beauty is they’re all competing against each other for users on our platform, so the prices are pretty amazing even compared to some of the bigger sites that are out there.”
Not long after Ajay and his team launched Rare Carat, Forbes published a piece describing the site as the “Kayak.com for diamonds.” Kayak.com modernized the concept of buying a plane ticket by searching a multitude of sites for the best price on airfare. Rare Carat does the same thing by helping users search multiple retailers for diamond engagement rings that fit their specifications with a single click.
Just like Kayak, Rare Carat doesn’t sell the diamonds itself, nor does it take a cut of the diamonds users purchase through the site. That distinction makes Rare Carat completely independent from the retailers featured on the site. Instead, Rare Carat makes money only when you click on a jeweler’s website, similar to how Google generates revenue, regardless of whether you decide to buy.
“If you click on a diamond, we make money. We don’t care if you buy it. We don’t make any more money by getting you to buy something that is here,” Ajay said. “So, that’s helped us kind of divorce ourselves from being on the retailers’ side. We can really be unbiased.”
That unbiased guidance is also built into the site’s artificial intelligence tool, which helps many guys locate the right diamond at the right price. While some guys may be shy about buying a diamond online, many of the retailers on Rare Carat offer a 30- or 60-day money-back guarantee. Ajay recommends taking any diamond you purchase through its jewelry retailers to a local, independent appraiser to help bolster confidence in the value of your stone.
“Appraisers always come back confirming the specifications, but they also say they cannot believe what the consumer paid for it,” Ajay said. “People really end up with truly beautiful diamonds at really great prices thanks to the technology and the gemologists we have at Rare Carat.”
Retailers tend to list high-quality, GIA-certified diamonds at the lowest prices they can to compete with the other jewelers on the site. The result is greater transparency around one of the most important and historically murky purchases you’ll make during your lifetime.
If you would rather buy from a smaller jeweler in person than from an online-only brand, Rare Carat offers plenty of tools and advice to help inform your decision-making. The most popular resource is the free “Rare Carat Report.”
“We use artificial intelligence to analyze 50 data points and determine whether the price is a good deal or a bad deal, and we give you that rating. But we go above and beyond simply telling you if the price is too steep or if the stone has a cavity,” Ajay said. “We have gemologists from around the world that work with us, and they will actually review the diamond, through video or photos or whatever you’ve got, and they’re tasked with one thing: What would you tell your best friend in this situation? The report is a no-brainer for consumers because it’s free and can be used on any diamond.”
Shoppers can run up to 15 reports for free, with Rare Carat gemologists weighing in on different diamonds up to five times each day. The free Rare Carat Reports are designed, again, to add transparency into the diamond-buying process and provide professional, unbiased advice.
The team behind Rare Carat is made up of data scientists, software developers, and engineers working to more efficiently scour the web for you and present search results more clearly. While its 30 employees are deeply involved in the diamond industry, Ajay said they all care more about helping the customer than facilitating gem sales.
Rare Carat has already powered more than 6 million searches by folks planning an engagement, most of whom are between the ages of 22 and 35. And, if you’re wondering how your choices and budget compare to the average Rare Carat user, check out its trends page. From the percentage of people buying certain sizes and cuts to which colors are most popular to how much on average people are spending per state, Rare Carat’s data can help you answer many of the questions ring-shoppers ask themselves, including the popular, “How much should I spend?”
Between the trends page, the blog, and the other rankings available at Rare Carat, potential diamond buyers can learn a lot about diamond cut, clarity, color and a characteristic known as fluorescence. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make a smart buying decision in down-to-earth language that makes it easier to understand the different variables.
Even with all the resources on Rare Carat, many buyers still prefer to purchase from a local jeweler instead of from those featured on the site. But Ajay respects the consumer’s choice. Along with offering the Rare Carat Reports for free, the site also allows consumers to book risk-free appointments to view diamonds at mom-and-pop shops across the country with plans to invest more in local relationships in the near future.
“Studies show that 80% of the demand is still local,” he said. “The idea here is we’ll give people the benefit of working local. We only onboard the best mom-and-pop stores in any given city, so you’ll be connected to a domestic supply of diamonds at really competitive prices.”
Through the local partnerships, you won’t have to worry about negotiating jewelry prices on the spot. If you’ve connected with a small jeweler through Rare Carat, you lock in a price before you go and see the diamond. It’s just another step toward greater transparency and improved customer experience.
“We’re just going to keep racking our brains to figure out more ways to make diamond-buying more transparent and fight back,” Ajay said. “It’s us versus the really big players in the industry who thrive on the lack of transparency.”