Which Company Has the Best Diamond Trade-Up or Upgrade Guarantee?

Timeless Pieces – Classic Style Engagement Rings
November 21, 2017

Which Company Has the Best Diamond Trade-Up or Upgrade Guarantee?

This page contains references to diamonds or engagement rings from different companies. Sometimes I do receive a commission when you click on links and buy the products.

The reality is that at the point of choosing a diamond for a piece of jewelry, often an engagement ring, you’re not at your best point financially. You’re likely to have considerably more disposable income in the years to come than you do now. Therefore it can be tricky choosing a diamond that reflects your position for the majority of your life. It can be appealing to subsequently trade-up your diamond for a bigger and/or better option.

However, not all diamond trade-up programs are created equally. It’s hugely important to compare diamond trade-up policies before you make any diamond purchase. This leaves your options open, knowing you can upgrade the diamond without losing the original look and love of the piece.

Why Might You Want to Trade-Up Your Diamond?

There are a range of reasons as to why you might want to trade-up your diamond. These are the main ones:

  • Status and Financial Standing: Your status and financial standing could well change dramatically during the course of your lifetime. You may have been hindered in what you could afford at the point of purchase, but aren’t now. You may want to keep the setting for sentimental reasons, but upgrade the diamond itself, in order to reflect this.
  • Fashion and Tastes: Fashion does change, and this includes the size and cut of a diamond. While certain pieces, such as the solitaire, are classics, your feelings and opinions may change. Furthermore, the possibilities of diamond settings change – for example, we can now do far more with a tension setting than a few years ago. Therefore a trade-up may help you bridge the gap to a more contemporary feel.
  • Ring the Changes: Often individuals fall in love with the sentimentality of using an heirloom piece, but would actually also love to ‘make their mark’. You want to keep tradition but perhaps want something which represents you and your relationship too. By using a diamond upgrade program you can do this.
  • You’d Like a Change: Of course, you may simply like a change. There is no hard and fast rule that you are limited by. Wearing a piece of jewelry, such as an engagement ring, day in day out, can lead you to desire something fresher, newer, or perhaps a different shape. This is perfectly fine, and maybe even likely, but to be able to do it you need a good and reliable diamond trade-up guarantee.
  • Anniversary Times: We also tend to see people wanting to trade-up their diamond at important lifetime moments, for example a wedding anniversary. A bigger diamond can represent the longevity of the relationship without eliminating the original setting.

Different Trade-Up Guarantees

Firstly, it can be said that a jeweler that offers a trade-up guarantee knows that they are selling you a diamond worth its price tag. Not all jewelers offer these guarantees. You should avoid these, even if you have no intention of upgrading now – partly because you may change your mind over your lifetime, and secondly because it means they aren’t ‘putting their money where their mouth is’. Companies with a trade-up guarantee in place are, in theory, prepared to stand by the value they sold the original diamond for, which gives you some assurance that they aren’t simply in it for a quick buck.

However, not all trade-up guarantees are the same. So you need to look a little closer. Many jewelers offer policies that are labeled ‘trade-up guarantee’ but in reality have so many caveats that it is hard to see how someone could actually take advantage of it.

Here we will compare five that are worthy of consideration: Whiteflash; Blue Nile; James Allen; Tiffany & Co; and, Brilliant Earth. Through comparing these, you should be able to learn about the differences between different policies so that you know who is a reputable retailer, and which has the best trade-up guarantees.

What’s in it for the Jeweler?

Whilst it’s good for the customer to know that trading up their diamond is an option, don’t think the retailers are doing this purely out of the goodness of their hearts! It’s a well-known fact that it’s often easier to entice new sales from existing customers, than completely new ones. You’re a captive audience. It encourages you to continue browsing their diamonds long after you made the original purchase. The more you browse, the more chance there is that you’ll convert to a sale.

However, just because there’s something in it for the jeweler doesn’t mean you should turn your back on it. You just need to check that the trade-up guarantee is balanced and fair.

The Basic Rules of Diamond Trade-Up Policies

Diamond trade-up programs do differ from one jeweler to another so you must always make sure you look at the individual jeweler, as well as understanding how well their program compares to others. However, there are usually some common elements.

  • You won’t be able to upgrade a diamond you got ‘on sale’: Although strict ‘sales’ and discounts in the diamond industry are unusual because diamonds typically hold their value, if you have purchased a diamond on sale it will either be excluded from their trade-up program, or only eligible using the pre-sale price.
  • The new diamond must be worth at least double the original price you paid. Upgrading isn’t something you therefore do regularly, perhaps only once in a lifetime.
  • It will be with the same jeweler. You will be tied in to using that jeweler so make sure you like them!
  • You may get more by selling the diamond and then buying a new stone – this is variable but worth considering. A jeweler obviously needs to protect their bottom line and therefore needs to make allowance for the risk that they may not be able to sell the original diamond at the original price. They will factor this into their pricing.

Whiteflash Trade-Up Guarantee

Whiteflash Trade up guarantee

Whiteflash offer a 100% Lifetime Trade-Up Guarantee which is exceptional, and definitely makes it one of the valuable benefits of choosing to buy from Whiteflash. What’s great about this guarantee is that compared to many others it is very simple and straightforward. You also know that when it comes to the upgrade, you’ll have plenty of choice over your new diamond.

Having listed one of the general rules being a requirement to double the value for you in my explanation above, Whiteflash are the absolute exception to this rule. There is no requirement to trade-up to a considerably more expensive ring, increase its size, or fiddle with any of the 4 C’s.

The Whiteflash policy is also issued once and that’s enough. You won’t have to return the ring to Whiteflash periodically to check its value. They stand by what they said at the beginning – and, as long as you choose from the right selection, it’s simply offered as part of the purchase. Given many of you will use online shopping for your diamond purchase this is a huge consideration.

In fact, there is very little small print when it comes to the Whiteflash trade-up program. It really does offer peace of mind when you’re buying a diamond from them. It applies to any of the Whiteflash diamonds which are certified in-house from the following categories: A CUT ABOVE; Expert Selection, and Premium Select.

There is no waiting period and you can trade-up at any point. You’ll be given credit for the full purchase price less the original shipping costs and any discounts which were applied at the time of purchase. As would be expected, the diamond must be in an undamaged condition, and you will need to return the original diamond laboratory certificate.

Whiteflash also include their Designer Engagement Rings in their trade-up program. This applies to Tacori, Verragio, Simon G, Ritani, Danhov and Vatche pieces. However, it’s worth noting that you may not be able to use the same setting, especially when the size of the center diamond is greatly affected. Additionally, trade-ups of a designer piece are offered with credit for 50% of the original sale price being offered towards a new purchase.

The Whiteflash trade-up policy doesn’t stop there either. They will even consider trading up non-Whiteflash diamonds. There are understandably some conditions here. It must be a round diamond accompanied with the original AGS or GIA certificate. You must be looking to trade-up to a Whiteflash in-house diamond. They will make an offer based on their assessment of your diamond according to current market conditions. This isn’t on a par with their own in-house upgrade, but if you’re looking to make the move to Whiteflash it is certainly worth considering.

The Whiteflash Lifetime Trade-up Guarantee is extremely comprehensive and doesn’t really have any competitors who come close to offering something similar.

Blue Nile Trade-Up Guarantee

Blue Nile want to be seen as a jeweler for life and therefore offer a decent commitment when it comes to their trade-up guarantee. They also offer a lifetime guarantee for all GIA and AGSL graded diamonds. They must have been purchased originally from Blue Nile.

Blue Nile Logo

The guarantee will provide you with a credit for the original price of the diamond which you can then put towards the cost of your new diamond.

As with the majority of trade-up guarantees, the price of the new diamond must be a minimum of double the price of your original diamond. As expected, the diamond must be in its original condition and accompanied by its original certification.

Where possible, you can use your original setting and Blue Nile will set the new diamond in to it. If that isn’t possible, Blue Nile will assess your setting and potentially offer you a credit towards a new setting.

It should be noted that the guarantee only applies to purchases which are shipped within the US and doesn’t apply to colored diamonds.

James Allen Trade-Up Guarantee

Despite being a big fan, generally, of James Allen, their trade-up guarantee is not on a par with the standards of Whiteflash. It is one of the factors that you need to consider when you are deciding between Whiteflash and James Allen, particularly for engagement rings. The James Allen trade-up policy is much more equivalent to Blue Nile than the exceptional terns of Whiteflash.

James Allen Logo

It is a lifetime upgrade and available on all loose diamonds excluding their setting as long as they were originally purchased from James Allen themselves. It will be exchanged for a credit worth 100% of the original purchase value. However, the new diamond must be worth a minimum of double the original purchase price. As with other guarantees, the diamond must be undamaged and in its original condition and accompanied by its original grading certificates.

Brilliant Earth Trade-Up Guarantee

The Brilliant Earth trade-up program is once again available on a lifetime basis. As with James Allen, it applies to loose diamonds which were originally purchased from Brilliant Earth.  However, there are some notable exclusions. The trade-up program doesn’t extend to any of their lab created diamonds, colored diamonds or gemstones, settings, or jewelry itself.

What’s good is that you get a credit equivalent to the original purchase price and the new diamond need only be a minimum of 50% more expensive, rather than the 100% we see with James Allen and Blue Nile. However, the original taxes and duties you paid will be deducted yet you’ll be charged these again on the new diamond, and the credit value cannot be used in payment towards these.

The original certification and documentation must be provided in a saleable condition.

Tiffany & Co Trade-Up Guarantee

Tiffany & Co offer an upgrade program as part of their Tiffany Promise. The Tiffany Promise also includes the certification of the diamond that you purchase. Akin to Blue Nile and James Allen, you need to choose a new piece which is at least twice the price of the original purchase.

Tiffany and Co Logo

However, there are a few other stipulations. The upgrade program at Tiffany & Co is only available for US and Canadian purchase, specifically only for the purchaser or the recipient, and for a new purchase in these two countries. Additionally, it only covers engagement rings (so not wedding bands) and there is no guaranteed amount you will receive in credit. You will be offered a proportion of the original purchase price, via an appointment in store with a certified gemologist, which is offered in credit towards the new purchase. They say this is down to the condition that the piece is in.

This is a notable difference from the other jewelers who offer credit in accordance with the original purchase price. This is the most notable concern regarding the Tiffany & Co upgrade program.

So, Which Company Has the Best Trade-Up Guarantee?

Use the table below to compare the primary points to look at when looking at a jeweler’s trade-up program.

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