As you walk along on your quest for the perfect diamond for your mate, you hear, “Pssst! Hey mister, I hear you’re looking for some good rocks. I’ve got some great stones, really reasonably priced. I’ll even throw in the ring for free!”
Sounds shady? You bet he is! Of course, you wouldn’t really buy a diamond from a guy in an alley wearing a trench coat, right?
Bet you’d be amazed by how many scams are pulled and in broad daylight by jewelers who seem absolutely honest. Some of them even have beautiful shops that look really hi-tech. Beat them at their own game by learning their scams.
The bigger the better, a lot of people say. When a jeweler tells you that you have a five carat diamond ring, don’t get dazzled by the carats. If there was only one stone then you’d have no problem. You might actually be getting a 1 carat diamond surrounded by eight half-carat smaller pieces.
An honest jeweler will tell you the weight of each stone in the ring separate from the center diamond. In fact he’ll even give you a certificate from a reputed lab such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as proof. If he can’t or won’t do these, you’re better off buying from someone else.
Then there’s the bait and switch. The jewelry store will advertise a diamond at a great price. Problem is that when you get there, they’ll tell you that it’s already been sold and try to convince you to get another piece instead. Rarely is this case true. Usually there was never such a piece and they’ll show you something more expensive that they will try to get you to buy instead.
If the diamond that they announced for sale isn’t available, ask for another just like it. If they can’t produce another one of the same special quality and price, you are better off walking out the door. Don’t let them get your hard earned money.
Normally when you go to a jewelry shop, the gems are lying on a beautiful cloth bed under bright lights. The gems are so white and tempting. Hold it right there! Most diamonds really will look whiter especially under lights that give off a certain blue component. If you really want to check the color of a stone, check it in sunlight. If they refuse, refuse to purchase as well.
You were finally able to find the gem that symbolizes your love. You ask your jeweler to now make it into a ring so that you can propose to your beloved. He said that you would have to leave it with him for a few weeks and he’ll call you when it’s ready.
When the ring arrives, it is beautiful but something about it just doesn’t feel right. You can’t quite put your finger on it but this doesn’t seem to be the diamond that you bought. How can you tell?
The solution is simple: have the diamond checked by an independent gemologist certified by a group such as the GIA. Have them compare it to the certificate of your diamond to confirm that it is a match. After all, no two diamonds are exactly the same. Then you’ll know and can demand proper action.
Bottom line, to avoid scams you should take the time to educate yourself about the basics of diamonds. Next you’ll need to find a jeweler or gemologist that you can truly trust. Lastly, always ensure that you are given the proper certificate for your gem, one issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or another reputed independent lab. These tips will save you a whole lot of money and avoid giving you headaches at a time when you’ve got many other things to think about.
Liza Shtromberg says
As an independent jeweler based in the neighborhood of Los Felix in Los Angeles for over 10 years, I very much connect to what you are describing in your article.
I have many clients who have come to me for engagement rings, and have described being treated strangely in other jewelry stores. They often shared with me that their wishes were being ignored, if they expressed non traditional requests, such as the center stone to be not a diamond, but another stone.
I often find that my clients feel surprised when I tell them that I have no intention of telling them what they should buy, but help them go through a process of identifying choices that will meet their needs.
I feel that an engagement ring, and wedding bands are such a personal, important choice, and my responsibility to my clients is to educated them to the variety of options, and help them make a selection they can feel good about for the rest of their lives. The elements I focus on are both design and budget, and make all efforts to help clients find a piece they will feel good about in the budget they assigned for themselves.
I feel it is our responsibility as service provides to listen to our clients, and treat them with honesty and respect.