How to Avoid Diamond Switching Scams at the Jeweler’s

diamond switching scams

Casting a Shadow of Doubt?

Whether you are having an anniversary celebration, upcoming engagement proposal or simply want a nice piece of diamond jewelry, you want to take precautions to ensure you receive the correct goods as stated at the point of sale.

Even if you are bringing your jewelry for a routine cleaning at your local retailer, having some knowledge in diamond switching scams will help ensure the safety of your jewelry in their hands.

Here are some basic guidelines on what to look for and how to proceed with caution when dealing with a jeweler; especially one that you are not familiar with yet. 

When Does Diamond Switching Usually Occur?

In most cases, diamond switching occurs when you leave a diamond unattended with an unethical sales associate or a jeweler without taking proper precautions.

For example, did you know that a diamond can be switched right after you had picked it out and need it mounted into a setting? This requires you to leave the stone overnight or over a period of days with the jeweler. With more time to work with the stone, it’s easier for unscrupulous jewelers to make the switch.

Diamonds can also be swapped out quickly when taking your jewelry for a simple cleaning routine. Once you walk out of the store without checking, the jeweler will have complete deniability after you realized the stone had been changed.

Usually, diamonds are swapped with high quality CZ stones because they look as good as the real thing to the untrained eyes. You probably won’t detect anything amiss until months or years later. By that time, it is too late to make any accusations! It’s your word against theirs…

Finding a trustworthy jeweler is the key to shopping with a peace of mind. Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed hundreds of businesses and curated a list of the best. Click here to find out who they are!

Most Jewelers Don’t Want Your Stone Anyway…

I would say that the majority of jewelers in the industry are trustworthy and won’t risk jeopardizing their reputation for a small short term gain. Sometimes, honest mistakes may occur in the workshop. For example, when a piece of jewelry is brought in for a repair or change of setting, there can be cases of mix-ups happening in the workshop.

In order to prevent such an issue and any misunderstandings from occurring, you should always request the jeweler to plot your diamond on a receipt before leaving it in their hands. Basically, this involves the jeweler to map out the locations and types of inclusions clearly on a piece of paper. A copy of this plot is then kept by both you and the jeweler for identification purposes when you return for collection.

If your diamond has a grading report and laser inscription number, this process will be relatively straightforward.

jeweler plot before any repairs take place

A receipt with the plotted diagram helps protect both parties involved.

For any reason that the sales staff or person-in-charge refuses to plot the diagrams, take your business to another jeweler who does. There’s no point in exposing your jewelry to any unnecessary risks.

What to Look Out For When Buying in a Physical Store?

We live in the age of Internet technology and it is easy to get information about a jeweler’s reputation at the click of a few mouse buttons. This is your “first line of defense”. If there had been any scams or concerns raised by previous customers, this information will most likely be documented on sites like the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.

Next, jewelers should be willing to provide information like grading reports and have the necessary equipment for you to verify the diamond prior to completing a sales transaction. If they refuse to do this or make excuses, this is a huge red flag to tell you something is amiss.

Also, you should be extremely wary of businesses that require cash payments upfront without any form of written guarantees. Never take such risks because it is very difficult to track cash payments. Instead, you might want to consider using a credit card for payment as it leaves a paper trail and offers some degree of consumer protection.

Know Your Diamond Inside Out Helps!

know your diamond's inclusions

Inclusions Are Unique to Each Diamond!

Did you know professional appraisers can take up to a few hours to grade and appraise the value of a diamond depending on their experience and the nature of the jewelry? If their examination process can be so detailed and thorough, yours should be as well.

When you are faced with the scenario of leaving your diamond unattended for routine cleaning or re-sizing work, make sure you view your diamond through a loupe. Check for details like unique inclusions or marks on your diamond.

You can use the reference list here to help you identify your diamond’s inclusions.

Make a note of this and let the other party re-confirm the details you had seen and come to a common agreement. This will let the other party know you are paying attention to every detail and they better not be messing around. If there is a laser inscription on the diamond, make it known to the other party too. It can be used as a quick and easy way for identifying the diamond.

Before you leave the shop with your jewelry, make sure you re-verify the details during the pickup. If you notice that something is off, make sure you raise any disputes immediately.

Stay Vigilant, It Never Hurts to be Cautious

With all that said, diamond switching scams don’t happen as frequently as you think they might. When it does occur, it is because the unwary customer didn’t use common sense when choosing a jeweler.

Hopefully, you will keep these tips in mind when you are shopping or taking your diamond ring for a servicing job. Remember, having proper documentation will help avoid unnecessary trouble in the event of a dispute.

Working with a trustworthy and reputable jeweler like Whiteflash or James Allen will eliminate the possibility of getting scammed. These rock-solid vendors are in the business for the long term and the trail of happy customers is testament to that.

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  1. Dave-
    February 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Dishonest jewelers can also run elaborate scams to misrepresent their diamonds through the use of in-house appraisals or try to tell you how bad your purchase is in the hope that you buy from them instead. These are things that we all need to pay attention to.

  2. Julia Q.-
    February 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you for writing this piece of information and sharing it with everyone. I found it very useful as a person who is researching into the world of buying diamonds. I guess the whole takeaway from this article is to be educated and never be afraid to ask questions when you have doubts. This section here is a great place to start reading up if you are new.

  3. Cesar-
    March 3, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    One of my friends had a huge problem with a dishonest jeweler in our local town. She went to the jeweler to get her diamond re-set into a new halo ring design. Apparently, after the setting was done, checks were made against the stone and it didn’t tally against the diamond specified in the grading report she had.

    Her previous stone had a GIA inscription number which could no longer be found on the stone and she realized this only a few months later. When she confronted the jeweler, the blame pushing started and of course, she couldn’t do anything about it since the incident had already happened 2 months ago.

  4. Zara-
    June 9, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    My mother’s wedding ring diamond was a 2 carat beautiful stone. She took it to get it reset and didn’t check it out properly after. Fast forward 20 years to when I go to redesign it…only for a $3 cubic zirconia to fall out and no way to get any sort of justice…be very vigilant guys

  5. Horton-
    June 25, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Very essential blog post! So often we purchase diamonds during various occasions but we don’t know how to verify whether the diamond we’re purchasing are genuine or fake. So after reading this post suggestions I’ve learned quite valuable knowledge regarding diamond.

  6. Lisa-
    September 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Should I be concerned wtih leaving a 3 carat diamon at GIA to get certified? I am NOT mailing it as they suggest. I’m still worried, this is my grandmothers piece and I would be HEARTbroken if anything were to happen to it.

  7. Paul Gian-
    September 28, 2016 at 1:17 am

    You will be fine if you leave it at GIA. Believe it or not, 3 carats is no big deal compared to the diamonds they handle on a daily basis. The process is secure and highly reliable as they have many monitoring systems set up across every stage of the grading.

  8. Neil-
    September 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    We have just had our ring switched at a jewelers in Spain. My wife is heart broken and in tears. We had only just got the ring of a friend but the diamond was loose. We took it to be fixed and the man checked it with his eye glass and test meter for maybe a min. He said it was a very nice ring and he would give us a 1000 Euro for it now. We said no and he said it would be a week to fix it.
    When we got it back I asked him to check it with his meter but he said it was broken. I was a little sucpicious so I asked him if he would still give us 1000 Euro. He said he would but he would have to check it first – but he had all ready checked it a week ago.
    I was getting bad vibes and we left and went to another jewelers.
    He said it was categoricaly NOT a diamond and the ring was not hall marked!
    My wife had noticed the fit and feel colour and weight of gold of the ring was different and it had scatches and chips on it.
    We went back to the jewelers and confronted him with THIS IS NOT our ring. He then went into ramblings about the chips being because he squeezed the mounting and the colour was wrong
    because he had cleaned it in acid. When I pressed him to come round our side of the counter and check it with his glass he agreed in 5 seconds it was not diamond !
    We now go to the police to make a document….

  9. Maxine-
    October 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    My fiancé, mom, and brother flew out to visit me here in Vilnius, Lithuania. My mom brought a ring that her and my fiancé purchased in my hometown (he was flying in from Japan–we’re both military). About a week after he proposed and left, a little stone in the halo fell out. I’m so scared to get it fixed. The diamond isn’t HUGE but it’s near perfect. It’s 1.26k pear shape surrounded by .5 karats of halo stones. I’m so scared to get it fixed out here. I have the paperwork that verifies the worth of the stone and the inclusions. Vilnius is also a big city but few jewelers. Just mall jewelry stores. Any advice?

  10. Paul Gian-
    October 27, 2016 at 3:26 am

    I don’t have anyone I can refer to you for repairs at Vilnius. Anyway, getting the ring fixed is a fairly easy job and most jewelers should be able to do it without much issues. Ask around and talk to the jewelers for their assessment.

  11. Diana K.-
    April 10, 2017 at 1:46 am

    I am also concerned about diamond swapping and when I had to put mine, I honestly told the jewerer that the process makes me very anxious, that this is my problem, not his, but that I respectfully request for him to do it in front of me. He agreed. I paid him generously and appologized and thanked him many times but all in alli feel that’s the only acceptable way at least for me. I do not have to blindly trust people, be they professionals, with pretty expensive things, like my precious stone. Do you think that requesting he does the mounting in my precense was over the top? I was respectful and polite and explained that this was my problem, not his, and he didn’t seem to take offense.

  12. Paul Gian-
    April 10, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Diane, it’s a common issue that consumers have when having someone else work on an expensive diamond. Most jewelers won’t take offense to mount it in front of the consumer if time/schedule permits. It’s just part and parcel of being a jeweler in the business. So, no worries there.

  13. Brad Mathew Smith-
    February 15, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Paul, I would like to know whether it is possible to fake a GIA laser inscription on the diamond. I recently bought a 1.6 D IF diamond from the Antwerp diamond district for 60% of the price that is indicated on the Rapaport Diamond Prices and am concerned that the diamond is a fake. The diamond inscription, however, seems to match with the website. Thank you very much!

  14. Paul Gian-
    February 16, 2018 at 8:54 am

    It is possible to fake an inscription but one thing you need to understand, reliable vendors won’t do that.

    Now, as for using Rappaport report to sell diamonds, that’s a yellow flag and is a tactic frequently used to rip consumers off.

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