Common Scams to Avoid in Diamond Purchasing

diamond scam alert

Be Vigilant!

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.

Is the Market Flooded With Fake Diamonds?

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.

How Commonly Do Jewelers Sell Uncertified Gem Stones?

loose diamonds of all kinds of shapes and sizes

How Can You Make Sure It Is Real

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.

Should You Trust Online Distribution Services Unconditionally?

Online vendors like James Allen and Whiteflash have been around for more than a decade and are honest businesses that had served thousands of customers. These are businesses which I give my thumbs up to and are worth your time checking out.

Real videos/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.


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.

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  1. Avatar
    April 24, 2016 at 1:44 am

    This is wonderful information you have assembled and graciously offer to the world at large with apparently no financial benefit to yourself. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into this project!

    I just wanted to bring your attention to a little spelling error so you could correct it and leave your project in great shape! When you are referring to gems or materials that are meant to imitate or look like real diamonds those are called simulants, not stimulates; which are a class of medications that effect the brain and

    A minor slip of the finger but I thought you’d want it fixed.


  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 24, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Thank you! I was unaware of the correct spelling when the article was written. Updated the errors.

  3. Avatar
    June 16, 2016 at 1:59 am

    Early this month I bought a 14 karat white gold mans diamond ring from KALLATI. It’s 1.00 ctw white diamonds It has 4 rows of 8 diamonds. The ring is being made. The color/clarity is GH-SI I1 for $4500.00. I purchased it from a store on the Carnival Cruise Ship LIberity. The sales lady said the appraised value would be about $10,000. Have I been ripped off?

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 16, 2016 at 3:55 am

    It’s a really pricey piece considering how small the diamond melees are. The appraised value is just to make you feel good about an extremely bad purchase. Try selling the diamond ring for $5,000 back to them (or to any other jewelers) since they say it’s valued at $10,000. I can assure you that you will be extremely lucky to find someone who’s even going to pay you $2,000 for the ring.

    As a reference, this article may interest you:

  5. Avatar
    August 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    What do you think about clarity enhanced diamonds? I’ve visited NYC recently and came across a seller that offered such a ring at a huge discount to the normal diamonds.

  6. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    August 30, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    They are a can of worms and you had better stay away from them. Sellers who deal with such goods tend to overstate the benefits of enhanced diamonds but in reality, you are going to overpay for garbage quality stones.

    In a recent undercover story, it was found that clarity enhanced (CE) diamonds were sold without proper disclosure to consumers in New York’s Diamond District. The only good thing I can say about your encounter is that the jeweler actually disclosed the treatment to you.

    But it doesn’t change the fact that clarity enhanced diamonds are absolutely horrible because of misrepresentation, terrible quality and problems down the line with the stone.

    As a consumer shopping online or in a jewelry store, your only form of safeguard is a 3rd party’s grading report on the diamond you are about to purchase. Buy only GIA or AGS graded diamonds as the rest of the gemological labs or an in-house appraisal reports are usually inflated.

    There’s another reason why I only recommend GIA and AGS. Both labs do not grade fracture filled diamonds and if a permanent type of clarity treatment had been used, the lab report would clearly indicate them on the report.

    Doing your own research prior to hitting the shops is extremely critical when shopping for an engagement ring. The more you learn, the harder jewelers find it to trick you with sugar coated words. Like all other things, applying a little common sense can go a long way. Remember, in the jewelry trade, you get what you pay for or you get less.

  7. Avatar
    Ahmad mehdi-
    November 6, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    I just got ditched while trying to help someone deliver diamonds from nigeria. they were sending me photos and a certificate of ownership and everything while taking money from me to finish the process. and then suddenly while she was on her way to lebanon, she landed in ethiopia where she asked me for more money because of aviation rules and stuff. she already took 1400$ for the dhl transfer of the diamonds.

  8. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    November 7, 2018 at 2:17 am

    You should have known better than to wire money to random strangers online. There are many versions of such scams via emails where these crooks pitch themselves as royalty or someone with a huge inheritance that can only be unlocked if you help them pay some of the fees involved in the process.

    Go to the police or call your bank/credit card agency. I don’t think you will get your money back though, so don’t get your hopes high.

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