To understand the difference between selling diamonds retail or wholesale, you must first understand what each avenue hopes to gain as far as business and profits. Retail sales differ greatly from wholesale sales and understanding this will better decipher the difference between the two in the diamond market.
Selling diamonds retail generally means you are in the market to sell diamonds as jewelry and not a commodity. Diamonds sold retail are sold just as diamonds but generally for the purpose of placing that diamond in a ring, earrings, necklace or some other type of setting to complete it. Selling diamonds as a retailer means that you are looking to sell the diamond for your wholesale cost plus your net profit. This is done through make-up of the diamond and by placing the diamond in a setting to increase its value. Retail sales are generally made in a storefront; this can also be done virtually over the internet.
Wholesale is an entirely different approach to sales. Wholesale is sometimes called the middle man. This type of sales is based on bottom line cost associated to the purchase of a diamond based on its carat weight and other intangibles. Diamonds sold wholesale in many cases are uncut and unrefined stones. The wholesaler will in-turn resell the diamonds to a jeweler or investor who will create the final diamond you see in the jewelry retail outlets.
Simply stated, the wholesale purchase of diamonds is done at the initial life of a diamond, uncut, unpolished and not ready for public resale. Where the retail sales of diamond are refined, polished and in most case set and made available to the public for purchase.