Big Diamonds Sold on ‘Net

Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping on the Internet, as evidenced by the growth in sales of big-ticket diamonds.

In November, Internet jewelry retailer bluenile.com sold a $170,000 5 ct. diamond solitaire, and on “Cyber Monday,”—the Monday following Thanksgiving Weekend—it sold a $114,000 3 ct. diamond engagement ring. It also sold a pair of stones in the $80,000 range this holiday.

The company has said that purchases of more than $20,000 increased more than 72 percent this year, and that 20 percent of its revenues come from purchases of $15,000 or more.

Even Amazon.com sold a pair of $94,000 diamond earrings for Christmas—making it the highest-priced item the company sold this season.

The drop earrings were set with two 2.50 ct. yellow diamonds and two 1 ct. white diamonds for a total weight of 8.34 cts.

Another Web site, abazias.com, which is making waves with its Paris Hilton watches, recently sold a 7.02 ct. round (J/VS2) for $90,000 and a 3.03 ct. round (G/VS2) for $47,606.

And then there is the smaller site, diamondregistry.com, which recently sold a stone of more than 10 cts. for $385,000.

“I find that people don’t buy just on the click,” said the site’s owner Joseph Schlussel. “But after a few weeks of phone calls and e-mails they feel comfortable.”

All that is nothing compared to what’s currently being offered on eBay, where, post-holiday, the highest-priced diamond item was an 81.98 ct. D-Flawless emerald cut with a starting bid of $10.9 million. At press time there were no bidders.