A Complete Guide to the Best Diamond Trade-up/Upgrade Guarantee?

During the magical moments of engagement, the thought of trading up your engagement ring may seem unfathomable. Do I not, after all, dedicate my time to helping customers find their perfect diamond first time? While it is true that you want to find a stunning diamond for your proposal, you must also look to the future and give yourself options.

Before dismissing or overlooking diamond trade-up policies, read this guide.

What is a Diamond Trade-Up Guarantee?

Trade-up guarantees all differ slightly but work to the same basic structure – they allow you to trade your diamond for a diamond of greater value and pay the difference. Usually the new diamond must be at least double the price of the original diamond.  A strong upgrade guarantee is a positive sign that the jeweler in question has confidence in the quality of their diamonds, and also that they will stand by the original price the diamond was sold for.

There is a benefit here for the vendor too. Providing they have had a positive experience the first-time round, an existing customer is easier to sell to than an entirely new one. There’s also a sense of your current diamond feeling like ‘money in the bank’ making the trade-up feel a little easier on the wallet (even though in most cases you will be spending the same amount again).

For a customer, trade-up guarantees can be a sign of a trustworthy vendor, but I still advise caution. The small print on some upgrade guarantees renders them useless for the majority of customers; this is why a thorough read through and complete understanding of your guarantee is essential.

Why Would I Trade-Up my Diamond?

Over the years, I have helped customers secure wonderful upgrades, and in most instances, I hear ‘I never thought I’d want to change it, but…’ There are several reasons why couples or individuals would choose to trade up their diamond.

Here are some of the most common examples:

• Change in financial position: Perhaps you made small sacrifices when choosing your diamond in order to suit your budget at the time. This is extremely common for many couples, particularly when partnered with the financial pressures of the impending wedding. But, should the time come that you have more disposable income, a good trade-up policy will allow you to find your dream diamond without compromise.

• A change in taste: It may be the greatest fear of every ‘proposer’, but a change in taste, trends and styles can result in a desire to trade-up your diamond. A good guarantee will transition concern to excitement with the wonderful opportunity to find an even better gem.

• An anniversary gift: Wedding anniversaries, vowel renewals, the birth of a child…there’s going to be a lot to celebrate throughout your lives together. A brighter, bigger or more brilliant diamond is a wonderful way to mark the moment without losing the original sentiment.

Diamond Upgrading Your Diamond: The Basics

A diamond trade-up shouldn’t be treated as a safety net. You need to have purchased a quality diamond for a good price in the first place, otherwise the whole process is flawed. If the original sale was not sound, an upgrade will just mean throwing good money after bad. These are some of the common ‘rules’ that most vendors set out in their trade-up policies:

• Trade-up policies are in-house. This means you will be restricted to using the same jeweler hence why it’s so important everything goes well the first-time round.

• The new diamond must be double the price of the original diamond (there are exceptions to this however, read on to find out more).

• Beware of sales! Some online vendors do offer small sales but remember the golden rule; there’s no such thing as a bargain diamond and ‘sale’ diamonds are usually a red flag. Buying a diamond ring in a sale will also void any trade-up policies so this is worth considering before you buy.

• It’s not the only option. You can always try selling your diamond on the second-hand market and buying a completely new one. It is a gamble and involves more work on the customers part, but there are success stories. If, for whatever reason, you have bought from a vendor and had a poor experience or walked away with a subpar diamond, don’t feel chained to the trade-up policy. Other options are out there.

So, now that you’re well versed in diamond trade-up guarantees, let’s take a look at what the leading diamond sellers are offering when it comes to upgrading your diamond.

Whiteflash Trade-up Guarantee

Let’s begin with the best of the best. Whiteflash don’t just knock it out of the park on diamond quality; they also offer customer focused benefits and this includes a straight forward and fair trade-up scheme. Here are the highlights:

• Any diamond purchased from one of Whiteflash’s 3 in-house categories (A CUT ABOVE®, Expert Selection and Premium Select) automatically qualifies for the 100% Lifetime Trade-Up Guarantee. No waiting period, no bi-annual checks. No questions asked.

• Perhaps the most stand-out feature of the Whiteflash upgrade policy is value. Any diamond purchased from the three categories listed above can be traded in at anytime for any in-house diamond of equal or greater value. With most companies expecting a minimum of 50% increase in new purchase value, this part of the policy is a huge differentiator for Whiteflash. It also demonstrates their utter confidence in their diamonds and the transparency of their quality and pricing.

• The exquisite selection of designer engagement ring settings is also included as part of Whiteflash’s trade-up guarantee with 50% of the original sale price going towards your new setting.

• Whiteflash will do everything they can to accommodate special requests. This may include surprising your loved one with an upgrade and working with the Whiteflash team to secure a new diamond without returning the original beforehand. I commend Whiteflash for their communication with customers and in these special circumstances, they will truly go above and beyond to fulfil their client’s wishes.

• New to Whiteflash? They will even consider upgrading diamonds purchased from other vendors. The stipulations are a little stricter here but entirely fair and the perfect way to become part of the Whiteflash family.

Read my Whiteflash Review

James Allen Trade-Up Guarantee

James Allen are a good choice for buying a diamond online, with excellent diamond imaging and a huge selection of diamonds and settings. However, their trade-up policy doesn’t quite reach the heights of Whiteflash. Their page detailing their policy is extremely brief but you will find more in the small print.

• Any James Allen diamonds can be traded up for another James Allen diamond at least 2x the original price for 100% credit of the original value. The diamond must be in its original condition and be accompanied by all certificates given at the time of purchase.

It’s not a bad policy, it’s just fairly basic. It’s an after thought rather than an appealing point of consideration for customers.

Read my James Allen Review

Blue Nile Trade-Up Guarantee

The Blue Nile upgrade policy is very similar to James Allen. It states that:

• The value of the new diamond must be a minimum of 2x the original diamond price with 100% store credit on the original diamond.

• Colored diamonds do not qualify for the trade-up guarantee and orders shipped outside the US must be assessed on a case to case basis.

• If it’s possible to use your original setting, Blue Nile are happy to re-set your upgraded diamond. When this isn’t suitable, Blue Nile will assess your setting and potentially offer store credit for a new setting.

Read my Blue Nile Review

The Final Word

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be to read all policies in detail before making a purchase. Not only do they tell you what your entitled to as a customer, you will soon learn that they also give you a sense of a company’s confidence in their diamond and commitment to their customer.

Here, I have scrutinized the policies of three vendors, all of whom I recommend. Whiteflash stand out as having the best policy by a mile, but Blue Nile and James Allen’s policies are entirely fair and will still prove valuable to many of their customers. This is not the case for all jewelers and this includes bricks and mortar stores. Even if you believe you will never desire to change your diamond or engagement ring, a thorough understanding of trade-up policies is an important due diligence for any informed diamond buyer.