Just about any market on Earth has its drawbacks and darker side; that of diamonds is no exception. Thankfully, there are a few easy-to-follow tips and practices you can use to help you choose diamonds that live up to their value and can be considered a gifted purchase.
Like anything else in life, you have to realize there will always be people and companies who will try to trick you into unethical deals. Once you accept that and learn to live with this phenomenon, you will also learn how to identify the signs of a fair transaction.
In general, if you pay a little attention to details and do some prior research, you would be well equipped with knowledge to avoid frauds. Let us examine some of the common scams frequently encountered by diamond shoppers and the methods you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
The most common “fakes” and simulants found in the industry are cubic zirconium stones (CZ) and man-made moissanite. To the untrained eye, these stones can appear like the real deal until you inspect them a little more closely.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t expect to pay only $1000 for a F colored 1 carat diamond. Nothing is too good to be true in real life. In most cases where simulants like cubic zirconia or moissanite are used in jewelry, they are sold with a significantly lower price tag as to what they are worth. They are merely simulants and nothing more.
Anyways, the easiest way to tell a cubic zirconia stone apart from a diamond is through the use of a thermal tester. This is a handheld device which you can easily get on eBay for $10 and works by touching a copper tipped probe onto the surface of the unknown gemstone.
Most diamonds you will stumble upon in brick and mortar stores usually come with a certificate from one of the renowned gemological institutes, like GIA – Gemological Institute of America.
This grading certificate will contain important information such as values for each of the “four C’s” and is also proof that the diamond had been subjected to a series of inspections to verify its authenticity.
Sometimes, you might come across jewelers who would try to sell you un-certified diamonds. The best thing to do here is to stay away. Even if these are the real diamonds, you can never be sure of the diamond’s quality that is being presented to you.
Without a neutral 3rd party grading report, you are putting yourself at severe risks in overpaying for an inferior product. The ugly truth in the industry is that subtle differences which may not visible to the novice, can actually mean thousands of dollars of price differences and getting ripped off. The rule here is more than simple: never buy a diamond which doesn’t has a trusted certificate from GIA or AGS.
Jewelers might try to sugar coat their words and promote diamonds with lab reports from unknown sources. Without a reliable grading report, you are basically taking the seller’s word for the diamond’s specifications and price.
The reason they do this is that they are hoping to take advantage of human greed and promote such stones in a way where you appear to be getting a huge discount no one else can offer.
Real photographs of the stones, unconditional money-back guarantees and reliable diamond certificates are a few of the features that can help you tell a trustworthy business apart from a shoddy one.
On the other hand, there will always be “black sheep” and rogue jewelers on the Internet who prey on unwary customers and give the trade a bad name. If you intend to make a purchase online, make sure you do your due diligence and perform background checks on the business you are dealing with. Better Business Bureau and Jewelers Board are good places to start looking for signs of red flags.
If you are unsure or have doubts on any particular vendor you are considering, drop me an email and ask me for my opinion.
Remember, you really get what you pay for when it comes to diamonds. If someone claims to sell a superb gemstone of the best quality for a few bucks, perhaps it’s time to view the deal with skepticism. Don’t get drawn into special promotions which involve huge discounts because they are gimmicks. Unlike the fashion industry where sales are held at the end of the season to clear old stock, the diamond industry doesn’t work in this manner.
On this note, it’s also not worth spending your time with businesses sell very cheap or low grade diamonds (think of stones with I2-I3 clarity ratings or industry grade stuff). Personally, I had been there, done that and got scammed by sellers on eBay while trying to build up a small collection of diamonds for my private self-study. In my experience, nothing fruitful has ever come out of deals like this.