Should You Buy Diamonds on the Internet?

A Giddy Finish to 20th-Century Jewelry Sales On Polygon, he's known as “The Commander,” but Chicago dealer Allen Lipscher wasn't having much luck with his latest mission. He was searching for an unusual colored diamond but came up dry when he called his overseas contacts. So he put out a “buy” request on the Polygon trading network. Within minutes, he got a call—from someone in his building. “It was someone I knew but wouldn't ordinarily call,” he says. “It just took a few keystrokes.” Lipscher's experience illustrates the main benefit of the Internet—it allows people to communicate and connect in often stunning ways. Yet even now, years after the rise of the World Wide Web, most retailers and dealers still prefer to do their trading off-line. “[Online trading] is still new and hasn't reached its potential yet,” says Martin Rapaport, the price sheet publisher

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