Diamond Scams and Tricks

 
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Diamond Scams and Tricks


For most people, diamonds and diamond jewelry are things that they will rarely purchase in their life times - they might literally make just a handful of purchases over their entire lives. In contrast, diamond sellers are often more experienced, and have sold many diamonds during their careers.

This difference in experience, and in the associated knowledge of diamonds, means that buyers may get poor deals, or even that an unscrupulous seller may be able to take advantage of a less knowledgeable buyer.

Additionally, since diamonds are relatively expensive items, as with any type transaction that involves significant amounts of money, there is a potential attraction for the downright dishonest and even criminals to try to get their hands on that money by dishonest means.

Of course, it's also true that there are very many honest diamond sellers and jewellers. It is not always easy to tell who is honest and who might be less honest, but as a general rule of thumb it is probably mostly true, that long-established businesses that have built-up a good reputation, are more likely to be amoung the honest. And, in contrast, also be aware, that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


Diamond Sales Tricks

Every business wants to present its products in the best possible light, and sometimes businesses use tactics which might be misleading, or which at least allow the customer to mislead themselves. Here are some examples:
  • Jewelry ships often present their diamonds under bright lights. This can give a misleading impression of the diamond's appearance and clarity. For a fairer picture, you should also ask to see the diamond under more subdued lighting.

  • Some jeweler's may refer to a diamond as "blue-white" which makes it sound special and rare. However blue-white diamonds are usually considered to be of lesser quality and value.

  • Traditionally, brown diamonds, were considered less valuable than clear, white, or other colored of diamonds, and brown diamonds were often diverted to industrial applications rather than used as gemstones. Nowadays however there has been something of a fashion for brown or "chocolate" diamonds. I can not say whether this fashion will continue into the future, it might, or perhaps it might not - you have to make your own judgement.

  • Sometimes sellers will talk about a diamond's brand, and may imply, or at least want you to think, that being of a particular brand somehow adds value to the diamond. This is very rarely, if ever the case!

  • The weight, usually measured in carats, of a diamond is an important indicator of a diamond's value. However look out for the abbreviation "CTW" or "Carat Total Weight", as this is the combined total weight of all the diamonds in a piece of jewelry, not the weight of the largest diamond. For example, if a ring is labelled 2 CTW, this means that it contains more than one diamond, which when all weighed together, weight 2 carats - and this is, of course, less value than a single 2 carat diamond.

  • Beware of diamond weights given as fractions such as ¼ carat, ½ carat, ¾ carat, etc. It is unlikely that the diamond in question weights exactly ¼ carat, or exactly ½ carat, or ¾ carat - it may well weigh less, and the jeweler has rounded the number to the nearest convenient fraction.

  • There is nothing wrong with buying synthetic diamonds (man-made diamonds) or simulant diamonds (other materials that have a similar visual appearance to diamonds, but are not actually diamonds), if you know that is what you are buying - but labelling may not always be clear. Remember also that synthetic diamonds are usually considered less valuable than natural diamonds, and simulant diamonds are almost always considerably less valuable.

Diamond Scams

Beyond the "tricks" we have discussed already, there are also some people involved in the diamond trade who will resort to outright dishonesty, fraud, and theft. Here are a few common scams to watch out for:
  • Fraudulent labelling: It is possible for a seller to lie about the weight or content of a diamond on a label. They could lie about the diamond's weight, or nature (for example, not disclosing it's a synthetic diamond, or that it's not even a diamond at all, but a simulant). Ask yourself, do you trust the seller? Are you in a position to verify his assertions? Do you have any come-back if the assertions turn out not to be true?

    Frankly this is a difficult one, since most people are not in a position to verify the seller's assertions about a diamond - they simply do not have the knowledgeable, expertise, or tools. However, by buying only from reputable businesses, in the case of larger purchases getting the stone/jewelry independently appraised, and insisting on a certificate from the business, a buyer can reduce his chances of being scammed.

  • If you take jewelry to a repair shop or to be appraised, it is possible for the jeweler to switch diamonds or other gemstones for less valuable stones without telling you. Would you be able to tell? So, again, this is a good reason to stick with reputable established businesses.

    A similar problem that can arise is that if you purchase a jewelry item, find that the stone was not what you had been told it was, and then take it back - the seller might falsely accusing you of having switched the stone!

To Summarize

There are some less than honest people in most walks of life, and sadly that includes in the jewelry and gemstone industries. However, a little knowledge, and being cautious, can greatly reduce the chances of such people tricking or scamming you.


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