A new meta search wants to bring greater transparency to online diamond buying.
It’s an interesting quirk that the jewelry e-tail sector is almost as splintered as the jewelry retail sector. Blue Nile is obviously the biggest player, but other players do significant business, including Signet, Tiffany, James Allen, Brilliant Earth, Ritani, and—surprisingly—Costco and Overstock.
Making sense of this maze spurred Ajay Anand —who previously founded Systmapp, an application used by the United Nations—to create Rare Carat, which proclaims itself the “Kayak for diamonds.” (Kayak is the travel meta search engine that compares prices on travel sites.)
Anand, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, found himself frustrated when shopping for an engagement ring last year.
“I liken it to buying shampoo from Amazon,” he says. “You would never buy a shampoo from Amazon that doesn’t have reviews and has less than three stars. And that’s just a $10 item. But here you are, spending tens of thousands of dollars on an item and you are still in the dark about it.
“So I thought: Just give me a list of the reputable vendors in the industry and let me search them. Why should I have to do the searching? I was so shocked and even a little annoyed that no one had built something like this. Why is no one seeing this opportunity?”
The site uses an algorithm, powered by IBM’s Watson technology, that rates online diamond deals on a scale of one to five. That’s mostly based on price, but Anand has found that most e-tail diamond pricing is relatively close, and “brands matter, too” for consumers.